If the campaign season rhetoric can be considered an accurate gauge, the race for the District 4 seat on the Board of Supervisors may come down to a single issue: off-highway vehicle access to Tolowa Dunes State Park.

Challenger Gerry Hemmingsen has said he wants to see the park and Kellogg Beach opened to OHV riders. However, he's been unable to explain how he might convince California State Parks to go along with that idea.

Incumbent Sarah Sampels has taken a more proactive approach to the issue of OHV use in Del Norte County. She has lobbied California State Parks for OHV access to at least part of Kellogg Beach, but as it became increasingly clear that state parks managers weren't going to allow that, Sampels came up with a good alternative a proposal for an OHV park in the Smith River National Recreation Area.

It's that sort of creative thinking and problem solving that makes Sampels an effective county supervisor. She not only knows how to deal with political problems, but she can spot opportunities for win-win solutions. That's why she's earned our endorsement for re-election.

Sampels is a progressive, proactive public servant who knows how the political game is played and who plays it to Del Norte's advantage. After 34 years in county government, she not only knows her way around the workings of local government but also has well-established connections with state officials who can help us get things done here.

Sampels demonstrated her savvy and her skill with a Rolodex in brokering the recent meeting between Crescent City Harbor officials and representatives of the California Coastal Commission. It was there that the Coastal Commission folks got their first look at the harbor's redevelopment plan.

Her thinking was that now is the time to get the Coastal Commission on board with the new master plan. Not only does that help smooth the early going for harbor redevelopment which is a key to Del Norte's future but more significantly it helps us avoid costly stumbling blocks down the road.

Sampels offers a combination of experience, knowledge, creativity and political skill that will serve our entire community well for the next four years.

The Daily Triplicate