Guest view: Time for progress, ideas on board of supervisors

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By Kollin Kosmicki

When I entered this race for District 2 supervisor, I made my intentions clear and stand by what I said: I’m wholeheartedly committed to representing everyday residents’ interests and will do everything I can to end the Good-Old-Boy system of politics that favors the influential minority. 

Unlike most other candidates for local office, however, I’ve backed up my words with very specific ideas, goals and promises. If elected, I will stand by those pledges with action. 

When it comes to true representation, I’m the first candidate or elected official in the county’s history to commit to holding town halls before every regular county board meeting. 

When it comes to my commitment for political integrity, I’ve taken another unprecedented local step by limiting individual donations to my campaign while avoiding contributions from special interests or developers. If elected, I will propose campaign finance reform that strives to even the playing field and reduce the deep influence of big-money spenders in local politics.

With housing, we must slow the rampant pace of new single-family, market-rate homes—I’ve proposed a 1 percent annual growth cap—while exempting real affordable housing from that restriction. We must force developers to build such inclusionary housing in all subdivisions and end a locally corrupt system allowing cheap payoffs for builders to forego such development.

We must address a severe shortage of farmworker housing and take a multi-jurisdictional approach to doing so. 

With infrastructure, fixing local roads and expanding highways are absolute top priorities. Under my leadership, we will aggressively pursue state and federal dollars to go with our Measure G sales tax investment and other local funding sources, and ensure Highways 25 and 156 are on track for completion. I’ve proposed the county hire an incentive-based grant writer to seek such outside funds.

With the economy, I’ve proposed a detailed plan for job creation centered on boosting our tourism promotion, branding San Benito County as “Home of Pinnacles National Park,” increasing our investment in the Economic Development Corporation with job-performance goals linked to any additional funds, moving ahead on a significant broadband infrastructure upgrade and doing more to take advantage of the Hollister Airport and its rare “through-the-fence” access.

With public safety, I’ve been open about the need to shift more dollars into the sheriff’s office, which has just two deputies patrolling our vast county at any given time, with an intention of working with the sheriff to boost a seemingly nonexistent traffic-patrol presence and enhancing training to prevent racial bias or combatant situations. 

With parks, I’ve proposed the county explore developing an actual parks system while looking to consolidate services with the cities, and I’ve proposed jurisdictions offer a business sponsorship program to help fund park improvements. 

With the far-prolonged San Justo Reservoir closure, I’ve proposed the county pursue a partial reopening for off-shore activities and look into options for construction of a separate manmade lake.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, I’ve proposed the county significantly increase its coordinated outreach efforts in order to educate the public on the importance of precautions and get our numbers down so we can fully reopen our economy and get our children back in schools. 

With elections, I’ve proposed term limits for the county board to prevent incumbents from becoming overly complacent and ensuring new ideas and outlooks are a given. 

Those are just some of my ideas, and now it’s up to voters to decide whether they want more of the same or someone like myself with a laser focus on real progress.

Local journalist Kollin Kosmicki is a candidate for San Benito County Supervisor, District 2.