An interview with Tom Cranmer!on October 24th, 2011 at 12:30 PM
One of the many races on the ballot this year that might not get as much attention as a Senate Senate race is the Soil and Water Conservation District. Recently, we sat down with Tom Cranmer for some Q and A. Don’t forget to vote for him and John Peterson on November 8th.
Why are you running for the position of a director of the Soil and Water Conservation District?
The Soil and Water Board and staff need to focus more on major problems in Fairfax County, the State and the Chesapeake Watershed. For example the September board meeting after the hurricane and the subsequent major rain storm the discussion was about rearranging fences and manure piles on a five acre, three-horse farm and how they would give $8,500 to the farm. They should have discussed the impact of the soil erosion, the washing out bridges, and the damage to roads. The advice they give to home owners is not sufficiently practical to assist homeowners with well testing and corrosive water. They need to give specific advice on dealing with problems like the invasive Japanese stilt grass.
What are some of your qualifications?
I have a degree in geology and civil engineering from Yale and an MBA in finance and economics. I’ve worked on soil and water projects for four decades around the world. My experience has involved analyzing, developing, managing and financing major projects. I was the manager of operation for oil, gas and electricity reconstruction in Iraq. In Iraq I photographed and recommended improvements in the salted irrigation system and restoring the swamps that Saddam drained to drive out the Marsh Arabs. I wrote a book on agriculture in India and identified best practices that Indian farmers should use.
What does the Soil and Water Conservation District Do?
Too little. It is supposed to “offer environmental leadership, technical assistance and environmental education…with the goal of reducing the impact of urban and suburban activities on Fairfax County’s water and land resources.” However most of the activities are directed at technical assistance.
Why is it important for people to vote for Soil and Water board members? How do the board’s decisions impact Fairfax County?
The Soil and Water Board’s elected members should be responsive to the voters. Bureaucrats do not have to be responsive and are not overseen adequately by elected officials. The board’s decisions should have a major impact on Fairfax’s policies that affect soil and water. Nevertheless the impact has been minimal, due to most attention being paid to small projects, like horse farms.
What would be some of your goals as a board member?
A key goal would be to evaluate how to improve the baffles in the streams to slow the erosion during major rainstorms. Another important goal would be to identify how to avoid the flooding and damage to roads and bridges. Along with these goals the costs and financing of remediating the problems will be necessary. I would also arrange for advice to home and farm owners to be more specific about controlling problems.