Notebook

What? A civil election?
It’s in the book
A stroll through downtown Hollister on a sunny Monday morning
didn’t turn up anything in the way of gossip, graft or corruption,
but it helps explain why so many of us walk around with goofy
smiles on our faces. There’s a lot to like about San Benito
County.
What? A civil election?

It’s in the book

A stroll through downtown Hollister on a sunny Monday morning didn’t turn up anything in the way of gossip, graft or corruption, but it helps explain why so many of us walk around with goofy smiles on our faces. There’s a lot to like about San Benito County.

First stop was at the county Historical Museum, located in the old Wapple House at West and Fifth streets. The home, a magnificent Arts and Crafts mansion, could use a little paint, typical of quite a few public structures in this cash-poor county. But it’s a rich resource, and several people were there Monday.

A small door on the right side of the building leads to the museum’s historical library. Presiding over it on the second Monday of each month is Verona Flint, a charming woman who knows her way around the stacks of volumes. The collection is fascinating – old yearbooks, voter rolls, jail ledgers, tax records – you name it.

The library is free – and so is the delightful mushroom-y smell of old leather-bound volumes.

Leaving the museum, soon-to-retire County Clerk John Hodges is presiding from the balcony of the courthouse, just outside of his office.

Hodges, who among other things directs the elections department, talked about the Nov. 7 race and handicapped several local races – to a point. Like any good poker player, he’s careful not to show his hand. After his unsuccessful play for the District 4 supervisorial seat last June, Hodges is not saying which of the two remaining candidates – Tracie Cone and Reb Monaco – is likely to take the lion’s share of his votes.

Speaking of elections, the next stop was the mayor’s. Actually, Robbie Scattini was wearing his county marshal’s hat at the time, working in his tiny, cluttered courthouse office. You wouldn’t know he was in a hotly contested race to keep his seat, because he is brimming over with plans for the next several years. Chief among them is a resurrected biker rally, run by real professionals with experience in these things.

Cut to the afternoon

A few hours later, a stop at Gordon Machado’s Rustic Turtle embroidery shop – located in an old shed behind Colonial Cleaners, revealed a one-man band juggling work, phones and a political campaign.

Machado, who is also a county planning commissioner, has a history of tilting at some big windmills, but his campaign against Measure S, the initiative that would be a first step for a Sun City senior housing development north of Hollister, takes the prize. With the silk screen for signs still drying in a corner, Machado acknowledged his effort is definitely homespun. His warchest was up to $700 Monday. The Yes on S people reported Friday spending upwards of $650,000 on the effort so far this year.

Give the guy credit for not shying away from a fight.

Is it election time?

Speaking of elections, it’s hard to believe there’s one coming up in just a few weeks. Recent elections in San Benito County have often had the flavor of a good roller derby contest. But politics does not appear to be a blood sport this time around. As contentious as a city sales tax measure and the Sun City proposal may be, with as many contested races as we see, it’s refreshing to see us all behaving ourselves.

Gee, maybe we’ll even get to make our decisions based on the issues. That’ll be exciting.

Look over there!

We’ve known for as long as Karl Rove has been in Washington that conservative political strategy often includes shell games. How often have you heard statements in the press from conservative pundits along the lines of “Yes, Bush may have lied to us to get us into a war that has cost the lives of 3,000 Americans, 600,000 Iraqis and has accomplished nothing except to recruit more Islamic terrrorists, but Clinton had sex in the White House!”

Well, Rove’s genius is trickling down to local races, although the genius part may have been a little watered down by the time it reached Prunedale.

Received this week in The Pinnacle offices is a letter from Sam Farr detractor Yvonne Pea, who resides in Prunedale and has a very interesting conspiracy theory. It seems she believes Farr, D-Monterey, who represents San Benito County in the reprehensible House of Representatives, is paying off any Republican challengers to simply go away.

Why does she think that? Because “messages left, concerning [Republican candidate Anthony] De Maio’s whereabouts at the California Republican Party headquarters are not returned.”

A-hah! So when a conservative candidate goes AWOL from the Republican Party, it’s because he’s on the payroll of Democrats. Interesting.

“Was DeMaio paid to ‘run’ in the primaries so he could ‘run’ the day after so Farr could win again???” Ms. Pea asks.

Not only that, Clinton had sex in the White House.

Notebook is compiled and written – mostly – by Mark Paxton, with contributions from Pinnacle staff members as the muse – or desperation – strikes.

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