Thursday, November 2, 2006
MAYOR | Dennis Donohue
While we have deep respect and admiration for Maria Giuriato for her lifetime dedication to local government on boards, committees, and the City Council, we think Donohue comes to the table better prepared. We are excited about the prospect of a thriving Salinas under his specific plans.
He’s rock-solid in his ideas to boost economic development by bringing in new businesses, and shoring up safety citywide. Donohue gets that without addressing safety first, businesses, shoppers and their tax dollars won’t make it to town—leaving Salinas exactly where it was before Measure V’s dollars rescued the city from economic collapse.
Giuriato says Donohue lacks the experience to lead Salinas. We disagree. Donohue has decades of public service and governmental experience through places like Second Chance Youth, the Planning Commission, the California Library Association, the Salinas Affirmative Action Commission, the Salinas Citizens’ Review Committee for the General Plan, the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce, and a plethora of other boards and committees.
Donohue, a Salinas-educated businessman, is the president of European Vegetable Specialties. He has garnered support from the ag and business communities. Environmentalists also back him.
We believe Donohue is up to the task of integrating
business with residents to make Salinas the better place he
envisions—a city that embraces business, arts, culture, and
youth empowerment through recreation.
CITY COUNCIL, DISTRICT 2 | Tony Barrera
Once again, Barrera is challenging incumbent Roberto Ocampo. We believe Barrera’s ongoing community activism will be a tremendous asset to the East Salinas community.
While Ocampo is often accused of being unavailable and out of touch with his constituents, Barrera has been a viable, visible leader. He founded the Alisal Betterment Association, where he now serves as president. He’s also president of the Alisal Education Foundation, is a commissioner with the Salinas Municipal Airport, and is former president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He’s taken his work directly out into the streets by volunteering as a parent patrol for the Jesse Sanchez Elementary School.
In 2002, the Weekly called Barrera a doer. Our position hasn’t changed. Since then, Barrera has been a strong advocate for good land-use planning and affordable housing. He hosted community meetings and helped circulate petitions to oppose the Rancho San Juan development and support the General Plan Initiative. He was a force to reckon with late last year when the community became outraged over East Salinas’ portrayal in the local media as a dirty, scary place.
Barrera has taken the district under his wing, and now we
want to see him do it in an official capacity. Barrera’s the
leader the district has so desperately needed since Ocampo
CITY COUNCIL, DISTRICT 3 | Joel Panzer
We are inspired by Panzer’s innovative approach to bringing business to this district of the community. He’s got bright ideas for incentives to attract businesses and keep them. He also offers up a viable plan to reduce violence via early intervention through recreation and after-school programs.
While his opponent, two-term Councilwoman Janet Barnes,
certainly has the experience to get the job done, Panzer’s
step-by-step plan to tackling key elements of the
city—business, housing, crime and jobs—is bold and creative.
Panzer seems to realize that Salinas’ fiscal climate demands
hard-hitting solutions. We believe the Council is in desperate
need of new ideas and approaches, and we’re willing to throw
our support to Panzer’s ideas and then hold him accountable to
CITY COUNCIL, DISTRICT 5 | Roberto Garcia
This district lost a tireless advocate when Maria Giuriato decided to vacate this seat and run for mayor. Nevertheless, constituents say they’re looking forward to a highly visible, accessible leader. That leader is Garcia.
We are troubled by accusations that a Republican official may have made financial offers to one candidate to pull out of the race. We don’t care for funny-business politics and were glad to see Garcia jump into the race. He’s simply the most well-rounded candidate.
Garcia’s a lifelong Salinas resident who’s spent 30 years in education, has served as a school trustee and been involved with the library and planning commission. His priorities of local jobs for locals, adequate funding for cops, and access to affordable housing make sense. He’s the positive change residents want.
• SAND CITY
MAYOR | David K. Pendergrass
Pendergrass has been in office 28 years, and he wants Sand
City to know he’s still working hard. Of late, he points to
real progress on the City’s desal project (including a
critical state grant for $3 million) and a
hotel-condo-and-restaurants development on Tioga Avenue that
he says is in the EIR stages. Critics say they don’t want so
much of their tax revenue going into planning development, but
into their infrastructure. Pendergrass counters by saying he’s
put $15 million into infrastructure in the last 12-13 years
and that development is part of a bigger, better future for
the city. While the Weekly likes what Pendergrass has
done, we would love for him to continue to transform Sand City
without getting enamored with development along the eroding
coast—and to bring more citizens into the public
CITY COUNCIL | Craig Hubler ~ Bjorn Lundegard
This intriguing race keys on potholes and participation. Neighbors Chris Monypeny and Craig Lundegard, an insurance underwriter and Seaside’s Public Works superintendant, respectively, loudly say that the City Council is ignoring how angry citizens are that their now-prouder city has so many streets in bad condition. Longtime Councilmembers Craig Hubler and Jerry Blackwelder point out how far it has come—and wonder why their opponents haven’t attended more council meetings.
They’ve got a point. But so do their challengers: While their has been some investment in streets and sidewalks, citizens genuinely want more attention paid to municipal improvements. The Weekly wants to see that voice become part of the discussion. Hubler and Blackwelder concede that their platforms are essentially identical, and very much in step with the mayor’s. New blood would help balance the focus between future development and current community needs—and above all attract more involvement from citizens. Given Lundegard’s experience in city government and infrastructure, he deserves the spot over his slatemate. Hubler and Blackwelder are both well-qualified and work with the City Council very well, so it’s a tough call, but Hubler’s standout leadership in support of the arts earns our nod.
MAYOR | Ralph Rubio
We wish Paul Mugan was running for a seat on the City Council. Mugan’s an intelligent man and a great planning commissioner. He knows land use, and would make an excellent planning director. But he doesn’t have the experience or political chops to be mayor.
Seaside is a city with tremendous potential. And, with several new development projects in the works—including the Fremont and Broadway redevelopment, the planned Main Gate shopping center, Fairmont hotel, and ongoing City Center project—it’s a community that is going to change a lot in the near future. It could become the model of smart growth on the Peninsula, with mixed-use development, single-family homes, walkable communities and a vital downtown.
Mayor Ralph Rubio has big-picture goals for this city, and
an economic plan to make them into reality. He’s an honest,
well-spoken politician who skillfully uses his union organizer
roots to push for things like good-paying jobs and resident
housing. We look forward to seeing what he will accomplish in
a second term.
CITY COUNCIL | Dennis Alexander ~ Thomas Mancini
While Darryl Choates deserves high marks for initiating a housing assistance program to recruit and retain police officers and firefighters, for doggedly pushing a fitness center for the city, and even for creating his own ideas about the controversial auto park plan, we think it’s time for change on the Seaside City Council. Choates is blustery and arrogant and his voice-of-opposition routine often seems intended to get press, rather than a genuine effort to make his fellow councilmembers look at a differing view. Choates on occasion will produce a smart, original idea, but more often than not, he stalemates the governing body. We believe a candidate who knows how to build consensus and set priorities would lead to a more productive City Council. That candidate is Alexander.
A math teacher at Seaside High and a reserve police officer, Alexander serves as chair of the Neighborhood Improvement Commission, which is a perspective lacking on the current council. We believe Alexander will be able to implement big things as a councilmember—his top priority is economic development—as well as the little things that matter deeply to residents—clean neighborhoods and repaired roads.
He says voters want to see teamwork on the council and an improved prioritization process. As a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines, Alexander convinced village leaders to work together for common goals. And as president of Rebuilding Together, an organization that rehabilitates homes for the elderly and the disabled, he has to prioritize projects and keep a 12-member board moving forward. These qualities are much needed on the Council.
Mancini, in his 12 years on the council, has consistently advocated for senior and youth programs, and been a solid vote in support of smart-growth for Seaside. The Weekly supports his reelection bid.