Thursday, January 12, 2006
Monterey County’s political climate changed dramatically early this week, with state Assemblyman Simón Salinas filing papers to once again run for a seat on the County Board of Supervisors.
Salinas served on the Board from 1993 to 2000, when he was elected to the 28th Assembly District. Supervisor Butch Lindley currently sits in the County’s District 3 seat, which Salinas is now seeking.
Salinas’ move comes as a surprise to many. Term limits are forcing the popular assemblyman out of office. What he’d do next was a topic of discussion in a slew of local political circles. As such, he says his phone rang incessantly on Jan. 9 when word got out that he intended to run for the board seat.
“I think most people thought maybe I’d make a move to the Senate,” Salinas says.
While a move to the state Senate seems a more natural progression, Salinas’ reasons for coming home make sense.
“My father is in in-home hospice care, and I have a son who’s a sophomore in high school,” he says. “The best place for me right now is close to home. The last thing I wanted to do was look back in four or five years and wonder what I’d missed. You can’t get the years back with your kids or your family.”
Salinas said he’s excited about getting to work on local issues. “I have the experience, and I believe the credibility, and I am looking forward to working on the General Plan and environmental issues. I can bring together the ag industry, developers, and the environmentalists.”
Lindley has yet to decide whether or not he’ll seek reelection but says he expects to make that decision within the next couple of weeks.
“[Salinas] was kind enough to call me over the weekend and tell me he was going to run,” Lindley says. “So I wasn’t too surprised. But I don’t think it will play into my decision of whether or not to run.”
Hartnell College Trustee John Martinez, Soledad Mayor Richard Ortiz, and Alejandro Chaves, an aide to Supervisor Fernando Armenta, are also running for Lindley’s seat.
Also on Jan. 9, Salinas Mayor Anna Caballero—who’s been plagued over the past several years by a citywide budget crisis—finally announced her candidacy for Salinas’ Assembly seat.
“I want to help solve California’s budget woes so the finances are stable and reliable,” Caballero said at a press conference at the National Steinbeck Center.
Caballero will face off in June against popular Watsonville City Councilwoman Ana Ventura Phares, also a Democrat. Republicans Bob Perkins and Ignacio Velazquez will each vie for their party’s nomination for the same seat.
With Caballero running for the state office, the city’s mayoral seat will also be vacant. Salinas City Councilwoman Maria Giuriato and Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce Chairman Dennis Donohue are both expected to announce their candidacies within the week.