The following letter was submitted by Inyo County 4th District Supervisor Mark Tillemans:
Although it may be just a coincidence that Inyo County is kicking off its 150th celebration on the same day that the world recognizes World Water Day, it couldn’t be more fitting.
Water is what has always defined this region. It is the single greatest resource that has sustained families in Inyo County for thousands of years – from the very first people who used water flowing from the High Sierra to irrigate fields of native plants to those of us who use the same water for our prosperity today.
150 years ago, Mr. Von Schmidt’s federal survey helped to establish the boundaries of Inyo County. The mountains, creeks, streams and rivers are what defined this region on a map. And they are among the natural resources that continue to make this County great – a place where we choose to live and raise our families. Ask anyone what comes to mind when they think of this place and you’ll probably get the same response that you would have 50 years ago, or 100 years ago, or a thousand years ago: the mountains, sunsets, lakes, fish, birds, the peaceful way of life. Basically, all the things that made Inyo special then still does today. All this life is made possible by the life-giving gifts of water.
I’m not sure if Von Schmidt documented the economy of this region in 1866, but I’m certain that Inyo wasn’t known for its diverse and robust economy then. And it certainly isn’t the case 150 years later. The relationship of water to life, also applies to our economy. Everything is connected in that way. It’s important that we recognize Inyo County for what it has been historically, and what it can be when planning for the future.
Since joining the Board of Supervisors just over three years ago, I’ve gained substantial confidence in our Administration, Department Heads and staff. Inyo County employees truly value where they live, and work hard every day conducting the Public’s business to ensure a quality of life for their families and future generations.
The health of public engagement in Inyo County is getting stronger and stronger each year. The people of this County care deeply and participate in the public process in a civil manner, making us more understanding of each other and our views, which results in an increased sense of community.
The same holds true with regard to tribal relations. Few counties in California have a strong tribal presence, and the Paiute people of this valley continue to play an active role in the stewardship of Inyo County and hold public officials accountable for our decisions and action. I am grateful for that.
On the surface it appears that relations with the City of Los Angeles are strained, and while there may be disagreements on many issues, the professional relationships and mutual respect for each other is consistent and will prove to be a valuable asset in the future.
Implementing changes in how the County operates and delivers services to its residents is not easy. These issues are part of life, so the ability to adapt and minimize impacts to our most valuable resources is key to resiliency and success.
The goal of a sustainable environment and smart economic growth for Inyo County’s future is something I look forward to being a part of as one of your Supervisors for the next 4.5 years.
In an area that has been called The Land of Little Rain, seeing storm clouds gather over the Sierra Nevada on World Water Day and the 150th celebration of Inyo County gives me great hope for the future.