Thursday, February 16, 2006
Jyl Lutes realizes that she is taking a risk by challenging long-time County Supervisor Lou Calcagno for his District 2 seat, which encompasses North County and parts of Salinas.
“I’m the David, he’s the Goliath,” says Lutes, a Salinas City Councilwoman. “I don’t have the war chest that Lou has.”
It’s doubtful that Lutes will raise a fraction of the cash that Calcagno will. According to early filings, Calcagno has $80,220 in his campaign fund. As the June election approaches, Calcagno will likely receive more money from developers and big agricultural execs who don’t want to see Lutes on the county board.
On the two big issues of the supervisorial race, Lutes and Calcagno are on opposing sides. Lutes supports the slow-growth Citizen’s General Plan initiative. Calcagno does not. Lutes supports the referendum in which grass-roots groups collected some 15,000 signatures to kill the sprawling Butterfly Village home-and-golf-course development, the first piece in the larger Rancho San Juan plan. Calcagno voted to approve the project.
“This is the key difference between Lou and I,” Lutes says. “He thinks you can divide rural issues and urban issues. I say they dovetail.
“The people in Salinas don’t like Rancho San Juan. It might be for different reasons than the people in Prunedale, but they are all concerned about water, traffic, sprawling, and leapfrog development.”
Granted, Calcagno’s support for Butterfly Village was tepid, at best. He said his yes vote was intended to keep the county out of the courts.
But even an unenthusiastic yes vote on Butterfly Village didn’t sit well with some of Calcagno’s former North County supporters.
On Feb. 13, Lutes formally announced her candidacy at McKinnon Park, near the school where she teaches kindergarten. Supporters included Center for Community Advocacy’s Juan Uranga, who is married to Salinas Mayor Anna Caballero, Rancho San Juan Opposition Coalition Chair Julie Engel, and LandWatch’s Chris Fitz.