Candidates reach out to voters

Strong rhetoric filled the air Tuesday as a number of candidates
in several key races squared off in what may be the last political
forum before the Nov. 5 election.
Strong rhetoric filled the air Tuesday as a number of candidates in several key races squared off in what may be the last political forum before the Nov. 5 election.

A total of 10 candidates in four races reached out to voters during a forum sponsored by the San Benito County Farm Bureau and the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce.

The forum started with a lively debate between the five candidates vying for the District Two and District Three seats on the Hollister City Council.

Much of the debate centered around Hollister’s current struggles with its wastewater treatment system and the $1.2 million in fines imposed against the city by the state’s Regional Water Quality Control Board.

“I feel the City Council was lacking in watching out for the welfare of the City of Hollister and the county as well,” District Two challenger Robbie Scattini said. “I believe someone was asleep at the switch.”

Other candidates blamed Council’s attitude before the RWQCB for the doubling of the fine and wasting much needed funds.

“This is your money and our future that could have been better spent on other things to benefit the community, and now we can’t build a fire station,” District Three challenger Randy Pfeifer said.

The other District Three challenger, Henry Sumaya, also criticized Council for mishandling the sewage treatment issue.

“Because of that, many of the locals involved in the construction industry are being told that they can no longer build homes or practice in their livelihood,” Sumaya said.

The incumbents running for re-election said the time for blame is over.

“It’s something that I wish hadn’t happened, but it did, and the Council has to take the fall for it because the buck stops here,” District Two incumbent Peggy Corrales said.

She and fellow incumbent Pauline Valdivia said it is time for the city and community to pull together on the issue rather than dwell on past mistakes.

“We need to work together and see how we can overcome the obstacles and to make sure these things are done in the correct manner, because these things effect the whole county, not just the city,” said Valdivia, the District Three incumbent.

San Benito High School District Trustee candidates Sylvia Sims DeLay and Judy Rider talked about their qualifications for running for the school board.

“I felt the Board could benefit from a parent’s point of view, so I ran,” DeLay said. “I don’t think people realize how much work goes into being a trustee unless they have sat on the board.”

Rider echoed several of Delay’s thoughts.

“Being a trustee isn’t always an easy job. I think we work very hard to do what’s best for the high school,” Rider said. “If they are not happy with the current trustees then I urge them to come out and run for the board.”

Assemblyman Simon Salinas, D-Salinas, and challenger Jane Howard held a cordial but enlightening exchange of ideas.

“I’m proud of my record and I’ve put together a package of legislation that benefits the entire district,” Salinas said. “You have to have a representative that can bring people together.”

Howard urged voters to vote for a return to fiscal responsibility.

” “I’m running for the assembly because I’m very concerned about the current economic conditions and the overspending by the current administration,” Howard said.

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