Editorial: Tough call for District 4 supervisor

Good luck predicting the outcome on the June primary ballot in the three-man race for District 4 supervisor.
Perhaps it is a reflection of an unpredictable outlook in the race, but none of the three candidates for District 4 supervisor gained a majority consensus among five voting members of the Free Lance Editorial Board.
Victor Gomez, Jerry Muenzer and Daniel Recht all brought necessary dedication to their campaigns and awareness of the most pressing issues facing the county – such as energy policies; tourism; responsible budgeting; and funding mechanisms for the library, parks and other quality-of-life institutions – but none of them stood out as a frontrunner.
Although Recht’s campaign showed a keen understanding of budgeting – he comes from an accounting background – he didn’t do enough to explain specific steps in a plan to move the county forward.
Between Gomez, the Hollister councilman seeking a move up the political ladder, and Muenzer, the incumbent seeking a second term, each gained votes from two editorial board members. A fifth editorial board member would not give a nod to any candidates.
On the upside, Gomez brings a necessary urgency about the need to improve local economic conditions. He also conveys a willingness to make tough decisions – such as his consistent stand against the petroleum initiative on the November ballot as the other two candidates have avoided giving direct answers on it.
To the contrary, though, Gomez has shown a tendency of getting too immersed in politics while apparently having his eyes on higher offices. An example has been his refusal to give any serious consideration to city-county law enforcement consolidation and his subsequent campaign endorsements from the Hollister police and county sheriff’s unions.
Muenzer’s primary upside is a commitment to homework. Whether people agree with Muenzer on specific matters, he always does necessary research and makes sure he fully understands all sides of issues before making decisions.
The biggest problem for Muenzer, though, is that he often has difficulty making those decisions. As an example, he repeatedly has refused to offer a personal stance during his campaign on the ballot proposal to ban fracking and limit petroleum production. His ambiguity on the measure goes in line with Muenzer’s lack of leadership toward promoting the newly minted Pinnacles National Park. It came to light with his opposition in 2013 to re-naming Highway 25 as Pinnacles National Park Highway – a broadly supported idea among government and business leaders – after a few South County residents grumbled about having to change their street addresses.
Since there is no clear-cut favorite in the District 4 board race, individual voters will have to do something candidates didn’t do enough of during their terms in office or campaigns – make a difficult decision.

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