Assembly, Senate, judge races are set

The most hotly contested local primary on June 5 will be in the 30th Assembly District, which encompasses all of San Benito County, much of Monterey County, and portions of southern Santa Cruz County, and southern Santa Clara County, including Gilroy and Morgan Hill.

Incumbent Anna Caballero termed out, and is running for the California State Senate, leaving a wide-open race, with six candidates—four Democrats and two Republicans.

California’s primary system send the top two vote-getters to the General Election in November, regardless of party affiliation.

The race pits city against city, as four popular local elected officials hope to make the jump to Sacramento, and are counting on their local support to carry the day.

San Benito County Supervisor Robert Rivas of Hollister is one of the Democratic candidates. He is a counselor at San Benito High School. He has received Caballero’s endorsement.

Here is his contact information:

361 Fifth St, Hollister

Hollister’s neighor to the north, Gilroy, is offering up its Democratic candidate, two-term City Councilman Peter Leroe-Munoz. He is Vice-President of Technology and Innovation Policy for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, in San Jose.

Here is his contact information:

These cities’ neighbor to the west, in Santa Cruz County, has its own Democratic candidate for the 30th District, Watsonville City Councilwoman Trina Coffman-Gomez

Her office is at 444 Airport Blvd., Suite 101 in Watsonville and her website is:

The fourth Democrat in the race in the 30th District is from the largest city, Salinas.

Bill Lipe works with Fresh Foods, Inc. in Salinas. His website is at

The two Republicans vying for a spot on the November ballot in the 30th District, are Nathan Mallamace of San Benito County,, and Neil Kitchens, a lawyer and rancher from Salinas, whose website is

Two of San Benito County’s top elected officials, District Attorney Candice Hooper Mancino and county Superintendent of Schools Krystal Lomanto, are guarantied reelection—barring write-in campaigns. They were the only candidates to file for their respected offices.

For the California Senate’s 12th District, there are also six candidates—three Republicans and three Democrats— for the seat being vacated by Anthony Canella, who also termed out.

The sprawling district stretches from Hollister south to San Luis Obispo.

The candidates are:

Derek Robinson (Republican), Councilmember, Madera

Robert Poythress (Republican), Supervisor, Madera County

Johnny Tacherra (Republican), Farmer, Salinas

Dennis Brazil (Democratic), Small businessman

Anna Caballero (Democratic), Member, State Assembly

Daniel Parra (Democratic), Councilman/Defense Analyst

The county elections office are collecting fees, and checking paperwork filed by all local candidates.

Once a candidate’s qualifications have been confirmed, the candidate will be marked as qualified.The final slate of candidates will be confirmed later this month. The filing deadline was 5pm March 9

Four candidates qualified for “No. 2” San Benito County Superior Court Judge’s race. There is no incumbent listed on the county registrar’s list of candidates. The four who qualified are:

  • Gregory Michael LaForge, attorney at law. His email address is [email protected]
  • Frances Henderson, Family Law Facilitator for San Benito County. Email address is [email protected]
  • Jose “Omar” Rodriguez, Assistant County Counsel for Santa Cruz County. His email address is [email protected]
  • Robert Michael Foley, retired Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge. His email address is [email protected]

For the “No. 1” judge’s seat in San Benito County Superior Court, the incumbent, Steven R. Sanders, is running for re-election without any opposition.

In the race for San Benito County Sheriff-Coroner, incumbent Sheriff Darren Thompson is seeking re-election. He is facing one challenger: Deputy Sheriff Bill Hutchison, who qualified March 10.

Thompson qualified for the June ballot on Feb. 12, according to the Registrar of Voters’ website. He has served as the county’s sheriff since 2011.



  1. Mr. Chief Justice John Marshall correctly concluded: “The power to tax is the power to destroy.” McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 327 (1819). The Founders went to war over taxes that hardly appear on radar screens today. The confiscatory level of taxes/fees/fines/assessments/mandates, combined with crucifying regulations, have made California the Small Business Killing Fields. Every bankruptcy or business leaving is another pelt on local politicians’ wampum belts. They have made it so bad that the small business failure rate is 80% (4 out of 5) in the first five years. It’s worse for some (truckers, restaurants) than for others (doctors, realtors), but nobody is immune from financial distress. The wealth redistribution syndrome endemic in local government targets the self-sufficient, like transit agencies feasting off gas&diesel taxes, and our elected leaders aid and abet and condone the persecution. And they persecute us thru unelected joint power authorities like COG, where the appointed Directors of that governmental body, separate from the County and the two Cities, are immune from voters’ recall, and the Directors have no accountability to voters because they are appointed. Their waste is rewarded by our leaders, and concealed by false financial accounting that is prohibited for us to use by the State and federal tax regs. The conceal their immense waste of tax dollars by Enron-style, Bernie Madoff-style, “off book,” accounting, which a COG Chairman told me was “generally accepted government accounting.” Yep. Unaccountable, non-transparent, and have contempt for the voters. They just want to reward their special interest supporters, using O.P.M. (other peoples’ money—yours and mine). How many more neighbors from SBC will flee California? How many more small business owners will be forced into Bankruptcy Court. Our leaders refuse to cut their boondoggles, and instead, increase our tax&fee burdens, just like Sacramento does. They remind me of medieval physicians whose blood-sucking leeches killed their patients, and then blamed the family for not calling them out sooner to apply the blood-sucking leeches. And we let them do this to us? Unless we reverse course, we’ll be like Vallejo, Stockton, Detroit and the other bankrupt governments governing ghost towns whose residents fled. Caveat viator. Joseph P. Thompson, Esq., Past-Chair, Legislation Committee, Transportation Lawyers Assn. (408) 848-5506 e-Mail: [email protected]

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