MADERA COUNTY – Paul Cliby is a career firefighter and 29-year resident of Yosemite Lakes Park. He is also a challenger in the upcoming June 3rd election, hoping to unseat incumbent District 5 Supervisor Tom Wheeler.
“You can stand on the side and complain or you can put yourself out there and make a difference,” says Cliby, who says his education in finance and accounting will help create real solutions for critical issues faced by the County.
Cliby has been a professional firefighter for over 34 years and is also a volunteer firefighter at Station 10 in YLP, where he was named Firefighter of the Year in 2013. He teaches classes in Driver Operators, Surface Water Rescue and EMS as well as regular training for local firefighters.
From 1989 to 2001, Cliby was a member of Madera County Working Posse (Search and Rescue), serving as an officer of the board and also a training officer. He has volunteered with the local Feed America Food Bank for over three years, has been a youth coach for the mountain area children sports, and is currently driving a school bus as needed for his local school district.
Cliby, 57, has five children and three grandchildren, and he and wife Cheryl are long time residents of Madera County.
For the last 12 years, Cliby has served on the Fresno City Fire and Police Retirement board and has been chairman the past 4 years, handling some $1.5 billion in assets. He says serving on the retirement board has allow him to expand his education, financial background and knowledge of finance and money management.
Cliby says he is running for District 5 Supervisor to address tough issues he feels are being mishandled by the incumbent. His list of starting points include:
- Ponding basins and completion of gray water lines
- Personal involvement in a citizens’ ad hoc committee to bring urgent healthcare back to Eastern Madera County, including personally recruiting and motivating healthcare professionals
- Respecting the existing General Plan and Area Plans
- Fighting for citizens’ right to burn a renewable energy source – wood – that creates jobs, increases watersheds, creates healthy forests that reduces pollution from catastrophic fires
- Keeping YARTS out of Madera County and positioning Madera County as the only county fighting for continued freedom of access to Yosemite Valley by private vehicles
Another big issue Cliby thinks the Board of Supervisors must deal with immediately is the pension fund.
“Addressing the budget and pension solvency will take tough decisions tempered with common sense and critical evaluation of every line item,” says Cliby, who feels the incumbent’s efforts in this regard are sorely lacking.
“He must acknowledge the severity of the pension shortfall before a solution can be found, rather than kicking the can down the road.”
Cliby also promises to make Highway 41 safety a top priority.
“According to state law, Madera County receives 75% of gas taxes and the right to choose road projects. I would start with widening Deadwood to three lanes for fire and commuting safety.
“All of the preceding will create more jobs, boost local economies and increase tax revenues,” says Cliby. “Together, working with District 5 constituents, we will create real solutions for these critical issues.”
Cliby says he absolutely opposes what he calls “the taxpayer-boondoggle of High Speed Rail and the proposal to raise the gas tax $.12 to pay for it. This is NOT what was passed by voters.” He points the finger at Supervisor Wheeler as being the deciding vote in stopping County opposition to the project.
As to his opponent’s notion that County staff is “lean and mean,” Cliby says that translates to “understaffed and overworked,” noting that one-third of County employees were let go during the downturn a few years ago.
Cliby says that leadership is best defined by actions, not words, and cites his volunteer work with the Food Bank, the YLP Fire Station 10, and as a youth sports coach as constant reminders that each and every team member is important.
“As a 34-year veteran firefighter, you learn to face the critical situations and make the tough decisions,” he says. “If you don’t believe that you and Madera County are in a better position than eight years ago, I humbly ask for your vote to be your voice.”