Candidates who deserve a serious look

With Tuesday’s election comes two open seats on the Hollister City Council, one in District 2 and another in District 3; the District 4 seat on the county’s Board of Supervisors; the race for district attorney and three of five seats on the San Benito Joint Union High School District Board of Trustees.

In District 2 for Hollister City Council, the clear choice is challenger Robert Scattini over incumbent Peggy Corrales.

Scattini, the county marshal, backs slow growth until infrastructure issues are answered and has shown a keen business sense, running the marshal’s office and its members with more than a $100,000 budget.

Scattini also has more than four decades of law enforcement experience, including county sheriff for four years. In this capacity, he has displayed a good sense of leadership, which the Council needs.

Corrales voted for more development while knowing infrastructure problems were at issue and she continually backs projects as a member of LAFCO despite infrastructure problems that arose in the form of the sewage spill.

Because of this, we recommend Robert Scattini for District 2.

It’s a shame incumbent Pauline Valdivia and challenger Randy Pfeifer are running against each other for the Hollister City Council District 3 seat because they’re the most qualified of the bunch.

Valdivia, executive director of Jovenes de Antano, has worked hard to address issues of the elderly and has earned the respect of the community.

She is articulate, caring, a good communicator and has always shown good intentions. She realized infrastructure problems with continuing development and voted against the Award Homes project, and she has shown she can take command at Council meetings, evidenced by her recent scolding of two fellow members for their childish actions.

Pfeifer showed a genuine desire for positive change during interviews and offers a fresh outlook on problems facing the city.

He also displayed a natural skepticism about Council staff and will demand better communication occur with all parties involved in city government.

While both are qualified, our nod goes toward Pauline Valdivia.

Voters in the District Four Supervisor race will have to make a tough choice between two qualified candidates – incumbent Ron Rodrigues and challenger Reb Monaco, either of whom would serve the district well.

For the past eight years, Rodrigues has worked hard and dedicated much of his time representing the interests of District Four and the rest of the county. He has served as Board chairman and on a number of appointed positions as a representative of supervisors.

However, Monaco, a teacher in the Hollister School District for 32 years, brings a new vitality, energy and sense of purpose to the Board. His passion for coalition building might be the key for healing the relationship between the City of Hollister and the county.

While each is qualified, serious consideration should be given to Reb Monaco.

Local defense attorney Arthur Cantu is a passionate advocate who cares deeply for San Benito County and the local legal system. Under normal circumstances, Cantu would be a worthy successor to the position of district attorney.

However, the county is fortunate in that voters have the opportunity to vote for John Sarsfield, who is just as passionate about the community – which he has made his home for the past 10 years – but who possesses a superior record as a prosecutor with a 14-year history of actual trial experience.

Sarsfield, who has already won the backing of every law enforcement association in the county, has a sound, workable plan for carrying the district attorney’s office into the future.

The Free Lance recommends that you cast your vote for John Sarsfield for district attorney.

San Benito High School has made great strides in past years, most notably making the high school one of the area’s safest to attend. The current Board of Trustees has also developed an innovated plan to build a freshman campus to help ease overcrowding and to help incoming students transition into the high school environment so they may succeed academically during their first year. But the winds blowing through the district are signalling that change is needed.

A chasm between teachers and the Board has created an atmosphere of distrust and a lack of communication. A highly public controversy over the inconsistencies in punishment handed out in regards to the school’s zero tolerance policy has disenchanted many. Although the Board revised the policy, it was a little too late.

The SBHS Teachers Association, the Hollister Elementary Schools Teachers Association and the League of United Latin American Citizens are among some of the local groups that are calling for a change in the current Board.

We believe the three best candidates to help lead the SBHS Board of Trustees are Bill Tiffany, with his 12 years of experience on the Southside District School Board, his first-hand experience dealing with the zero tolerance policy and his vision to heal the mistrust; Stefani Fowler, with her credentials and her career in education would bring a thoroughly qualified member with fresh ideas to the Board; and Ken Kovanda, with his Board experience, being part of the many new strides the school has taken and showing a strong voice on the Board.

In other races, the Free Lance recommends:

Measure U, City of Hollister Growth Cap: Yes.

State Assembly District 28: Simon Salinas.

State Senate District 12: Rusty Areias.

U.S. Representative District 17: Sam Farr.

San Juan Bautista City Council: John Hopper, Priscilla Hill and Art Medina.

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