The Free Lance takes a first look at the District Two county supervisor race. The Free Lance will look at the candidates in District One and District Five next week. Coverage of candidates’ views on top issues will follow.
One year ago, four-term San Benito County Supervisor Anthony Botelho announced he would not seek reelection in District Two, in the northwest corner of the county.
Within weeks, the stampede began. Five candidates announced and would eventually file for the seat. They face off in the March 3 primary. If one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the winner will be declared. Otherwise, the top two face off in November.
The candidates filed their paperwork, ballots are being printed in preparation for a Feb. 3 mailing, the voter guides are arriving in mailboxes, yard signs are sprouting on lawns and along roadsides and campaign forums began this week—the first on Jan. 16.
District Two offers the hottest contest in San Benito County. The center of the district is San Juan Bautista, where much of the campaigning will occur. The district is about 46 percent Latino and several candidates are publishing communications in English and Spanish.
Public safety, water quality, transportation and growth issues are big topics in this district. A March ballot measure seeking whether to approve the commercial rezoning of land around four Highway 101 interchanges in the district may impact the outcome of the supervisor race.
Frank Barragan is a financial controller with law and MBA degrees. He lost a 2018 election for the county Health Care District.
“I decided to run for supervisor because I feel my education, work experience and background will be of service to our county. Over the past 20 years I have worked for the State Controller’s Office and agricultural industry as an auditor, controller, and business resource manager. As an auditor for the State of California I had the opportunity to audit state education, federal energy department, and financial service organizations. While working as a controller and business resource manager I have led cross-functional teams to reduce cost and improve efficiencies. My leadership and understanding of financial records will considerably benefit our county. I will work vigorously to reestablish fiscal responsibility to our county’s budget, which will lead to a healthier economy.”
“If I am elected, I will ensure that we have strong transportation infrastructure, beneficial economic development and well-planned growth, while maintaining open spaces for our families to enjoy for years.”
Valerie Egland is a county planning commissioner (appointed by Botelho) and former parks commissioner who lives in San Juan Bautista.
“Having grown up in a family that worked the land, I have great respect and admiration for our local farmers, ranchers and others involved in the agriculture industry.”
“I currently serve as Supervisor Botelho’s appointee to the county Planning Commission which has given me a deep insight into the issues of land use and development throughout San Benito County. I am bound to uphold the General Plan as created by the people of the county. That includes respecting property rights and our cultural history, conserving ag land, growing our local economy, providing for a healthy community, and provision for parks and recreational opportunities for all our residents.”
Egland is a former Parks and Recreation Commissioner, Parks Foundation Emeritus Board member, Council of Governments Bicycle/Pedestrian Committee member and retired 25-year business owner. She is a member of the Aromas Grange, Native Daughters of the Golden West, the SBC Cattlewomen, San Juan Bautista Historical Society and the SBC Chamber of Commerce.
John Freeman is a San Juan Bautista city council member whose city term expires in 2020. He is also chair of the county Water Resources Board.
“During my tenure as a City of San Juan Bautista council member our city government has become more professional because of my intentional vision and steadfast efforts. The connections that I have made with many outside political agencies have not only served our city well, but have extended a forward vision to the County of San Benito, due to our mutually beneficial relationship.”
Freeman is a member and former chair of the San Juan Bautista Strategic Planning Committee, and former president of the San Benito County Water Resources Board. He is a member of the Central Coast Broadband Consortium, a member of the Board of Directors of the Association of Monterey Bay Governments, and board member of Monterey Bay Community Power.
Kollin Kosmicki of San Juan Bautista is a former editor of the Free Lance and owner/editor of San Benito Live, a community news website.
“I’m driven to help move this community forward while fighting to protect its precious heritage. For many years as a local journalist, I’ve acted as a watchdog of local politics and gained a deep understanding of county government. My journalism work has spurred dialogue, informed the public on important issues, shed light on corruption, highlighted critical government decisions, and provided a platform for positive stories about countless local people and organizations.”
“At the forefront of the county’s challenges: Housing, roads and a still sluggish local economy.
“With regard to housing, growth has become a significant concern throughout the county. Our current road system can’t handle additional traffic and rapid growth will lower overall quality of life here. County planning policies should reflect this, so I will support tightening controls so they promote slower growth of single-family housing. I will support increasing the requirement for affordable, multifamily, senior and farmworker housing in new developments.”
Wayne Norton is a director or the Aromas Water District and past Aromas Rotary president who is active in local Democratic politics. He is a long-term care ombudsman.
“I am an actively engaged citizen, father, grandfather, elected water board director, advocate for vulnerable populations, veteran, former public school administrator, former newspaper political reporter and managing editor.”
Wayne was appointed to the water board in August 2012, then elected in November 2012. His third term ends in 2020. He has lived in Aromas since 1985 and has served in a variety of community organizations including the Aromas Eagles, the Aromas Community Center Foundation, San Juan Bautista Rotary, the Aromas Service Club and Aromas Cares About Our Environment.