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June 28, 2022

Election 2002: Sumaya a proactive candidate

Henry Sumaya is mad. He said incumbent Pauline Valdivia was part
of a Council that worked did not work cooperatively with staff and
agencies to solve problems.
Henry Sumaya is mad.

Sumaya, 62, said incumbent Pauline Valdivia was part of a Council that worked did not work cooperatively with staff and agencies to solve problems.

He said there is one major difference between himself and his two opponents, Valdivia and challenger Randy Pfeifer, for the Hollister City Council District 3 seat on the Nov. 5 ballot.

“I’m the only one who wants blood,” Sumaya said.

He said members of the city staff created the sewage problem because they delivered the information to Council.

After a 15 million gallon sewage spill at the city’s wastewater treatment plant in May, the Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a cease-and-desist order on all new building and fined the city $1.2 million for mismanagement.

Sumaya said Council members could have prevented the disaster by taking evident problems more seriously.

“She (Valdivia) made a statement to the fact that this (new sewage plan) should have been done 10 years ago,” Sumaya said. “Well, she was there for four years. She should have been aware instead of depending on staff.”

Sumaya said he is qualified for Council because of his 40 years of service in Hollister. Sumaya said he helped bring projects to the city during the civil rights movement in the late 1960s, such as a food stamp program.

And now he wants to continue serving Hollister as a Councilman and urge agencies to better work together to make progress.

“If you work with the other agencies, you can manage a well-groomed plan,” Sumaya said. “But you’ve got to work with them – work as a team.”

Sumaya said it has not been a lack of communication between Hollister and agencies. He said it’s been a “flat out lack” of participation by Hollister. Sumaya named the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments and the San Benito Water District as examples.

“Three years ago, the San Benito Water District offered the City of Hollister $12 million to pursue a sewer system, including a water treatment plant,” Sumaya said. “Had they taken the district to task, we wouldn’t have this problem.”

Now, he does not oppose the long-term wastewater management plan approved in September for a simple reason.

“That’s the only plan they (city officials) have left,” Sumaya said. “The question is moot. Yet again, the San Benito Water District has offered its help, its engineers, its specialists to the city, again.”

And he said the city declined, again.

Sumaya expressed disdain about the economic suffering already caused by the cease-and-desist order.

“Look at our local contractors,” Sumaya said.

The only solution to an inevitable economic slump in Hollister, according to Sumaya, is convincing the water board to lift the moratorium.

Down the road, if things do not work out for businesses in Hollister, Sumaya said he will not fret.

“We have one advantage,” Sumaya said. “We were born as American workers. We can always go back to being American workers.”

He thinks the current Council has just played too many political games. And Sumaya said he will lead forcefully if elected.

“You have to,” Sumaya said. “After what happened to San Benito County, you have to.”

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