Name: Clyde Clapp

Age: 69

Occupation: Incumbent 5th District supervisor

What is your favorite smartphone app?: “Next Door. It’s like a neighborhood bulletin board, for

a lost dog, a found cat, a lawnmower for sale, looking for a plumber.”

What are you reading?: “Paradise Lost” by John Milton

“He’s probably the greatest writer in the past 300 years. I like him better than Dante. He’s basically the first Star Wars. He’s talking about the fall of man and the redemption of man. I pretty much read it every year. It’s poetry, basically that’s how they wrote back then.”

Who is a leader you admire?: Charlemagne

“He was a German leader who ruled all of Europe. He preserved western culture that wouldn’t be here if he hadn’t stopped the Moors in France back in the beginning of the Renaissance, probably around the year 1200. He was recognized by the Pope, but he took the crown from the Pope and put it on his own head.”

Name: Benjamin Stopper

Age: 43

Occupation: Water treatment operator

What’s your favorite smartphone app?: “The one I use the most is probably Facebook, and that probably makes that my favorite. Connecting with other people, networking.”

What are you reading?: “A Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin

“ The last book I read is probably an agenda packet. The last book I read that I didn’t help my kid with was ‘Game of Thrones.’ I read the whole series. It’s seven books, but they aren’t done with it.”

Who is a leader you admire?: George Washington

“I would have to go back to the forefathers, the guys who started our country. George Washington. The fact that he fought for our freedoms and gave us the country we have today.”

Calaveras County voters in District 5 have a choice Nov. 6 between an incumbent who has supported banning commercial cannabis since he won the seat two years ago, and a younger challenger who is in favor of regulating commercial cannabis.

Clyde Clapp has supported banning commercial cannabis since he came to office in the November 2016 recall of Supervisor Steve Kearney.

Benjamin Stopper says he is in favor of regulating commercial cannabis activities and keeping grows out of residential neighborhoods.

District 5 includes New Hogan Reservoir on the Calaveras River and the communities of Milton, Jenny Lind and Rancho Calaveras.

The race has not been without incident.

Recently some people at Mar-Val Food Store and at the Jenny Lind Veterans Hall, both in Valley Springs, have called law enforcement to complain about Clapp. In both cases the Sheriff’s Office generated a report number. No enforcement actions were taken. Clapp responded to questions about both incidents in a phone interview Wednesday.

The first incident was about 3 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Mar-Val. Clapp had set up a table or canopy to campaign, according to the Sheriff’s Office. An assistant manager at the Mar-Val on Wednesday referred questions to the manager, who he said was not working and was unavailable to comment.

Clapp said he was campaigning in the parking lot and he was set up in the same place other people have campaigned previously, including Stopper.

“It’s my right,” he said. “Any shopping center I have the right to freedom of speech. My attorney has already contacted Mar-Val’s. I’ll be bringing litigation to Mar-Val regardless of the outcome of the election. If I win or lose, either way they’ll be served.”

Asked for comment on the Mar-Val incident, Stopper said he has previously asked the manager at Mar-Val if he can campaign outside the store and the manager told him no, because he’d already told Clapp no. Stopper said he walked the parking lot once during campaigning before the June primary. But he never set up a table to campaign there.

The second incident was around midday Oct. 18 at Jenny Lind Veterans Hall, where there was a report that Clapp was asked to leave a luncheon, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Clapp said it was a lunch for senior citizens. He said he is on a governing board for the Area 12 Agency on Aging, and Common Ground Senior Services is a vendor for Area 12. They provide meal options, transportation and other services for seniors.

Clapp said he’d heard that the place that provides free meals to seniors was charging.

“So I went down there to see if it was true,” Clapp said. “There’s a spot where they can donate, and it was happening. Seniors who are eligible for free meals were being told to donate $4 for a meal that was already paid for.”

Clapp said he phoned Kristin Millhoff, executive director for Area 12, which is based in Sonora. Clapp said he reported what was going on and he was supposed to meet Milhoff at Jenny Lind Veterans Hall on Oct. 18.

He said he was there, and he was told, “Clyde you can’t be here.”

“They didn’t give me a reason,” Clapp said. “They asked me to leave.”

Asked why anyone would call law enforcement on him, Clapp said sometimes people do that so a deputy will come and there won’t be a report of the incident, and that way anyone can build their own story off it. Clapp said it’s called fake news.

Clapp said he still wants to know how much money Common Ground Senior Services has been collecting. He said Area 12 is investigating, and their legal counsel is part of that inquiry.

Milhoff was not available to comment Wednesday. Tracey Sawyer, assistant director for the Area 12 Agency on Aging, said in a phone interview, “We’re aware of the situation, and the agency does not discriminate against anyone and we are conducting an investigation and working with our provider to resolve this issue in a timely manner.”

Late Wednesday afternoon, Janice Acocks, a resident of Valley Springs and a volunteer with Common Ground Senior Services, shared a letter she and seven others signed, addressed to Elisabeth Thompson, stating that at a lunch service on Oct. 11 at the Veterans Hall, Clapp “approached the kitchen window and began loudly harassing the volunteer kitchen staff.”

Clapp eventually left and a woman who was with him went back to her table. The letter said the volunteers found it unnerving to be accosted and yelled at by an elected official, and they felt bullied.

Acocks said Wednesday in a phone interview the Oct. 11 incident is why law enforcement were called when Clapp came to the Veterans Hall on Oct. 18.

Asked Wednesday afternoon about the letter and its contents, Clapp said he was trying to tell the volunteers that seniors over 60 do not have to pay for their meals, and the volunteers got upset so he left to avoid any further confrontation.

The issues

Stopper has said his top priorities are public safety and the economy. He said he is pro-growth, but it must be sensible growth.

“I believe Calaveras County’s economy needs to be as diverse as it’s topography – we should follow all promising leads, invest in critical infrastructure, and protect and enhance property values wherever we can,” he said on his website.

He has campaigned on the need for transparency in the budgeting process. He believes the current board has eroded public trust with budget “shenanigans.” He also said he wants to expand public waste facilities because the Rock Creek facility is nearing capacity.

Stopper has lived in Calaveras County since 1983 and is a Calaveras High graduate. He is married and has one daughter.

Clapp has said community safety begins with opposing sanctuary cities, counties and states. He would like to see the tax on lodging increased to be used for law enforcement and fire services.

He counts among his achievements working to use the transient occupancy tax for roads, the Visitors Center, law enforcement and the fire districts. He is working on a project to get PG&E to put power lines underground and to get a medical facility in Valley Springs.

Clapp has lived in the district for more than 40 years and was a union journeyman carpenter.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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