Election season officially begins


Candidates for local government and school board offices can begin filing for election—or re-election—beginning Monday, July 16, and some local school candidates have already made their decisions about their next steps.

A desire to complete several school construction projects within the San Benito High School District is a major reason why both Board President Steve Delay and Trustee Juan Robledo will be seeking re-election in November.

“My experience on the board has been amazing,” said Robledo, who thanked SBHS district voters for approving two bond measures “that have made it possible to make SBHS a better, nicer place for our students and future students.”

While Robledo is finishing out his first four-year term on the local high school district’s governing body, Delay has been on the Board of Trustees since first winning election in 2006.

“I started out in that district as a teacher so I’ve always had a soft spot for it,” said Delay, who later got involved with facilities and construction in 1986. “We’re doing so much with the bonds I would like to continue to see that plan come to an end and continue to be part of it.”

The third expiring trustee seat is occupied by Bill Tiffany, who let his board colleagues know that he was not going to seek another four-year term.

“I would like the opportunity to continue working with our staff to complete the construction that started right after I first got on the board,” Robledo said. “Besides construction, I feel that my 38 years of teaching at SBHS has given me a background that will allow me to continue to help provide direction for our school.”

The SBHS district will conduct its first trustee area/by district elections in November after converting from an at-large format. The new setup allows only candidates living within a designated trustee area to run for that office. Additionally, only those residents living within a specific trustee boundary can cast a vote in that race.

“The only thing that really will be different is that you won’t be responsible for campaigning throughout the whole county. You only have to convince a smaller percent of people to vote for your,” said Delay, who  lost his re-election bid in 2010 but rejoined the board as an appointee for an abbreviated term.

Altogether, 34 trustee seats among 12 different school districts within San Benito County will be on the ballot for the Nov. 6 general election.

The candidate filing period for the Nov. 6 election is July 16 through August 10. Incumbents failing to file a Declaration of Candidacy by the Aug. 10 deadline are then prohibited from filing for the office during the extension period; and the nomination period for that office is then extended until 5pm on Aug. 15.

In the Hollister School District, which encompasses the primary TK through 8th grade sites, there will be at least one new member of its Board of Trustees with Peter Hernandez competing in a two-candidate runoff for the San Benito County Board of Supervisors.

“I definitely have felt that we’ve moved the ball forward in the right direction and pushed a lot harder for academics,” said Hernandez of his four-year stint on the HSD board. “A lot of decision that I’ve been part of have done a lot of good for our community.”

Hernandez hopes the school board will continue to engage the community and garner more parent participation in meetings.

“From the beginning, I’ve always wanted to get parents to become a lot more active because I believe they are the missing element,” Hernandez added.

Board President Patricia Moore would not comment when contacted by the Free Lance. Trustee Elsa Rodriguez could not be reached for her status in the upcoming election.

In the election for the Board of Trustees for the county-side Office of Education, two seats are up for re-election and neither incumbent has declared for re-election.

County board President Joan Campbell-Garcia represents District 3. Former board president Mitchell Dabo represents District 4.

Dabo had told his colleagues in December that he would be resigning his seat, following a ruling in a Superior Court civil case that he had violated state Probate Law when he transferred more than $600,000 from a charitable trust into his personal accounts, and repaid only a small portion of the funds to the San Benito County Community Foundation.

“Mr. Dabo has been attending board meetings and has not indicated that he is resigning outside the email he sent in December, 2017,” said Supt. Krystal Lomanto, in response to a Free Lance question. “I do not know if he is going to run again. He has not articulated that he is going to run again.”

In the City of Hollister, Mayor Ignacio Velazquez, Vice Mayor Mickie Luna of District 2, and Councilmember Karson Klauer are all up for reelection, but have not yet officially stated their intent to run again. District 4 Coucilmember Jim Gillio is a candidate for county supervisor, so he is not seeking a return to the City Council.

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