Brooks, Smith, Spencer appointed to Pala-Pauma Sponsor Group

The Pala-Pauma Sponsor Group has three new members.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors, which makes the official appointments of sponsor group members, voted 5-0 Jan. 8 to appoint Ben Brooks, Bradley Smith, and Stephanie Spencer to four-year terms expiring Jan. 2, 2017, and to reappoint Fritz Stumpges to his third four-year term. The Pala-Pauma Sponsor Group, which also includes three members whose terms will expire in 2015, recommended the appointments Dec. 4.

Brooks is currently retired but had a professional position as director of sales for Dow Chemical from 1970 to 2004. He also spent part of 2011 as the interim chair of SAFY (Specialized Alternatives for Family and Youth) of America, and he has also been on the SAFY of America board.

“Being a home owner I have a vested interest in the success of the community and the protection of the environment,” Brooks stated.

Brooks cited his experience with non-profit organizations, his business and financial management, and his interpersonal relationship skills among his qualifications.

Smith is a retired civil engineer. He was with the City of Los Angeles from 1968 to 2008, retiring as the chief deputy city engineer, and he still engages in consulting work. His professional work included traffic engineer activities and public works design, planning, and construction.

“I’ve recently moved to Pauma Valley full-time and would like to contribute to the community by applying my work experience,” Smith stated.

A sponsor group member need not live in the community planning area, and last year the sponsor group sought to improve its relationship with neighboring sovereign Indian reservations by appointing Pala tribal chairman Robert Smith to the board. Smith’s appointment was confirmed by the Board of Supervisors on April 3, and he chose not to seek a full term. The sponsor group recommended Spencer, who is the Rincon tribal vice-chair, to replace Smith.

“I am interested in serving on the Pala-Pauma Sponsor Group for numerous reasons. As vice-chair of the Rincon tribe and resident of the Rincon reservation, I wish to see cooperation of planning efforts between the local tribes and our neighbors. I believe there is a need for better understanding of tribal governments as well as a need for tribal governments to be more aware and educated about the concerns and wishes of our neighbors,” Spencer stated.

“The first step to improving relations and finding areas of cooperation and mutual benefit is to get to know each other and begin to talk to each other. Often there is a history of mistrust and lack of knowledge between tribes and neighboring communities. The Rincon band believes in confronting such artificial barriers and investing in a future where the needs of the tribes and the needs of the communities are no longer mutually exclusive,” Spencer stated. “I believe serving on the Pala-Pauma planning group affords me the opportunity to open doors between the respective communities and planning recommendations that represent a more comprehensive point of view.”

Not only does Spencer bring tribal policy, governmental affairs, and Indian law expertise to the planning group, but she was also a counselor for the All Mission Indian Housing Authority in the 1990s.

In addition to Robert Smith, John Ljubenkov and Jim Beezhold were replaced by Brooks, Bradley Smith, and Spencer.

Stumpges was originally appointed to the sponsor group in 2004. He professionally has been a mechanical engineer for Fluid Components International since 1987.

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