Pat Hume began a four-year term on the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors last month, replacing his predecessor who retired after holding office for 28 years.
Hume succeeded Don Nottoli in representing District 5, which lies in southern Sacramento County and includes Elk Grove, Galt, Isleton and Rancho Cordova. Prior to narrowly winning the election in November, Hume had served as an Elk Grove City Council member since 2006.
He spoke with CapRadio about transitioning into the county supervisor office, Cosumnes River flood planning in the wake of winter storms and transportation projects in the south county.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Kristin Lam: You were an Elk Grove City Council member for 16 years before you started your term as a Sacramento County supervisor last month. What has that transition to county government been like?
Pat Hume: It's a lot of what I have been doing, but on a much larger scale. The scope and breadth of the issues, as well as the geography for the constituents, has increased. But the governance and the nuts and bolts of it all is very similar.
It's kind of like if you were traded from one team to another. You know the game, but you just need to learn the plays and the players.
Your predecessor, Don Nottoli, was the county supervisor for District 5 for 28 years, since 1994. He endorsed you during the election. How do you plan to build on how he represented southern Sacramento County?
Don Nottoli and his predecessor, Toby Johnson, set the bar for representation. Starting from a place of public service, putting the work of the people first and making sure that you're representing the unique interests of the fifth district. I feel like the district deserves to have that model of public service continue.
Nottoli was considered to be a moderate member of the board. Are there any issues you have a different view on compared to your predecessor?
I'm sure there will be times where I will have a different opinion than he may have. I check in with him frequently to get the institutional knowledge that he obviously took with him. But we're different people.
He told me, “I don't want you to live in my shadow. Go be your own supervisor.” I may not come to the same conclusions that he may have.
The November election between you and Jacqueline Moreno was close. You won by 341 votes or less than 0.4%. Is there anything you'd like to say to your constituents who voted for Moreno?
I have the distinction of being the most narrowly elected supervisor in Sacramento County history. I would say that I ran on a platform of unity, bringing people together and trying to put our differences aside. For those that may have supported my opponent, I welcome them into the fold. I have an open door policy and their concerns matter to me as well.
Let's talk about the winter storm impacts in the southern part of the county. Your district includes communities like Wilton, which got flood evacuation orders. What should District 5 residents know about recovering from the storms?
I've been touring the damage that's been done in the South County both on foot and up in the air. I’ve been meeting with our congressional delegation as well as other agency representatives to start talking about what relief and recovery looks like. And then flood control for the long term and how we find that perfect mix of habitat restoration, flood control, climate adaptability and groundwater recharge.
So that we can preserve what is unique about the Cosumnes River, but also make it a little safer and less volatile when these storm events happen.
Can you share examples of some long-term flood protection solutions that you're looking into?
There's a couple of things that I'm looking at that ought to happen. One is providing some sort of way to slow the water as it's coming down. Certainly, we're not going to dam the Cosumnes. It's the last undammed river on the west side of the Sierras — and that's a pretty special thing.
But there's a way that we can perhaps take some water off of it in a high water event. Because right now we have a good warning system that tells us when a flood is coming, but there's absolutely nothing we can do about it except wait for the water to arrive. So, I think that's the first piece.
The second piece is working with some of the farmers and ranchers adjacent to the Cosumnes and trying to do controlled breaches rather than having a catastrophic release. Maybe we can build some weirs into the system that let some of that pressure off so that those levees hold. We'll also work toward groundwater recharge.
Measure A, the county transportation sales tax measure failed in November. It could have funded a lot of projects in District 5, including in Elk Grove and Rancho Cordova. How do you see some of those projects moving forward?
I think all of the projects are still on the table. They're just going to take longer to bring to fruition because the funding will be harder to scare up in order to make them happen. I would envision that there will probably be another measure brought forward at some point, maybe not in the next election, but at some future election.
There's a lot of good projects out there, such as the light rail extension and some roadway improvements. The state and federal government determine how much money they're going to send back to this region and it never seems to be enough.
Do you have any goals for your first year in office as a county supervisor?
Right now I'm looking at surviving it because I have a lot of stuff coming at me all at once. I've been taking on briefings with different departments and trying to learn more of the things that the county does and the services that we provide.
But I can already see how this is a very fulfilling job. I'm really enjoying getting to meet new people and getting out into the district. I think for this first year, it's going to be building camaraderie with my colleagues on the dais, as well as trying to carry on the work that's been happening here.
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