By CLAIRE ST. JOHN
Calaveras County Supervisor Paul Stein has been elected president of the California State Association of Counties by nearly 300 of his counterparts from San Diego to Yreka.
That means that besides making decisions for District 2 covering West Point, Mokelumne Hill, Rail Road Flat, Mountain Ranch and Glencoe Stein will speak for California's 58 counties.
"I won't just be representing Calaveras County, I'll be representing all of California," Stein said. "I'm very excited about the opportunity."
Stein, now serving his second and final term on the Calaveras County board, worked on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's campaign and has said he hopes to be appointed executive director of the state Department of Fish and Game.
Stein has a bachelor's degree in fisheries biology and a master's in limnology (the study of lakes and streams). He has run a fish hatchery in Rail Road Flat for 25 years.
But this state ambition will not interfere with his duties as CSAC president, he said.
County budgets are being squeezed because, as his first act as governor, Schwarzenegger cut vehicle license fees and the local government cash that they generate.
"We will continue to lobby our position that (VLF) money has to be returned somehow," Stein said. "We've sent a letter in and a request to meet with Gov. Schwarzenegger already."
Stein has faith that the governor will do right by counties.
"I don't think he would do anything to harm local government. I'm confident that the governor will provide some relief. How we do that and how that occurs at this point is unclear," he said.
Stein will serve as president of CSAC until December of 2004 when another member will be elected from an urban county. For the time being, Stein is excited to represent rural communities.
"Now it's my turn and I'm very excited by that and looking forward to the opportunity," he said. "It's really quite an honor for me and an honor for Calaveras County."
If Stein is appointed to the position as director of state Fish and Game, the governor would appoint Stein's replacement to the county board.