A guide to the local candidates in the June 8 primary election
Traditionally, Good Times does not endorse candidates—but we can help you make informed decisions. We asked the candidates vying for a handful of key offices—County Board of Supervisors, the 17th Congressional District, and County Superior Court Judge—the same set of questions to help you get an idea of their platform and their plans for action. So take a gander at our candidate profiles before you head out to the voting booths for the June 8 primary—you may be surprised at what some of them have to say.
17th Congressional District
The 17th District congress member represents Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Sam Farr (Incumbent – D) Key Issues: Jobs; expanding our educational-technology base (keeping teachers in schools, incubating new technology centers); expanding agriculture sales and tourism opportunities; growing small business; protecting our environment; keeping our commitment to affordable education, housing and healthcare.
Why He’s The Person For The Job: Leadership is about getting results. Being one out of 435 members requires know-how. I have it. The district is a region—you’ve got to know the territory to build partnerships. I have it.
I have been a County Supervisor, State Legislator and Member of Congress. I helped create and enhance the Marine Sanctuary, the new university at Fort Ord – CSUMB, expanded parks, local school programs, agriculture and marine research, construction jobs, health clinics. All of this is about doing the job, and getting it done for the people; it’s about delivering results.
First Order Of Business: I will continue to advocate for economic opportunity for the Central Coast. I want to put Americans back to work rebuilding America, and do so in a way that protects and maintains the quality of life we’ve come to love and respect on the Central Coast. That means bringing federal dollars to the district; it means promoting policies that support our way of life; it means preserving the environment so both commercial and recreational interests can use it without harm. Keeping my eye on the big picture will always be a part of the job.
Arthur Dunn (D) Did not respond.
Jeffrey Taylor (R) Key Issues: Lack of fiscal responsibility in government; lack of honesty, integrity and transparency in our elected representatives; increasing involvement of government in our daily lives; the drug trade; immigration.
Why He’s The Person For The Job: I believe my biggest qualification is that I am not a career politician. I don’t owe anybody any political favors, and I am not tied to the opinions of my political party leadership. This allows me to use common sense in my decision-making and to actually represent the people of the district in a responsible manner. I have always been involved in youth activities and ministries, supporting and investing my time and resources. In the last year and a half I have been involved in community response to gang activity with several groups in the Salinas community.
First Order Of Business: I will seek out fellow members of Congress, across the aisle of our (currently) polarized two-party system to find those that truly desire to serve others. To succeed, our nation needs representatives that truly desire to serve the ideals of our forefathers as set forth in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Peter Andresen (R) Key Issues: The economy; health care; immigration; the environment.
Why He’s The Person For The Job: I have more than 20 years of experience in the private sector, as a self-employed fee-only investment advisor, which has trained me to understand economics, finance, and budgeting issues. I understand what it is like to run a business, pay a mortgage, and save for my own retirement. I also have a decent understanding of the legerdemain, which Wall Street and the big banks employ to control our financial system, and I am prepared to work to regulate them appropriately. I also have years of experience managing wilderness and serving in the United States Marine Corps.
First Order Of Business: To vote “no” for increases in government spending. My next order of business will be to participate in the dismantling of Wall Street’s control over our national financial structure. Most of all I have a feeling that reality has a humbling effect on the newly elected, and we can never accurately predict what issues will loom largest during the first days in office. That’s why the diversity of my experiences are such important preparation.
Gary Richard Arnold (R) Key issues: Federal intervention; wars and foreign occupation; border protection; job outsourcing; bank bailouts.
Why He’s The Person For The Job: I don’t seek to please any group. I reject ‘bossism’ be it union, political party or business cartel, or racial intimidation. I will use the Constitution as a guide. I advocate the Arizona Border Plan, which has been gravely misrepresented by the press.
First Order Of Business: Join with others to secure the border. Bring the troops home. End government mandates over education and other sectors of our society. California is a basket case because of Washington D.C.’s interference. The 45 percent of California that the federal government controls should be turned over to the State Legislature. They can use the land to end the deficit … and make available the resources for a fresh start and a new vibrant economy.
Eric Petersen (GRE) Key Issues: Ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as quickly as possible; conserving this beautiful area; dealing with water and transportation issues; the economy and the budget.
Why He’s The Person For The Job: I’ve had the privilege of having been represented in Congress by two top-notch members, Pete McCloskey and Don Edwards. I’ve seen what a really good member of Congress can do—and how it can be done. We don’t need public meetings only when an election approaches, we need public meetings often, and as openly as possible. We need a real leader, not the American equivalent of a “back bencher.”
First Order Of Business: Humorously, find a decent place to live in Washington DC—and ask myself what I got myself into. Seriously, get involved with the other members of Congress who work on the key issues as quickly as possible. There is a Progressive Caucus I would join. There are other groups of House members dealing with ending the war, transportation, and so on. I would jump in and get involved as quickly as possible.
Mary Larkin (LIB) Key Issues: Corporate and union lobbyists controlling our politicians; “Big Money” running the show; loss of jobs and rights; government regulations that make life more difficult for the individual, small business and industry; tax increases; the failing economy.
Why She’s The Person For The Job: I have been a libertarian for 20 years; I am not politically ambitious. I simply want to restore a country that was once able to successfully address the problems of racism, pollution, and poverty. I’m not suggesting there aren’t still problems, but we have come a long way. As a libertarian, I am not invested in either the Right or the Left. I want to bring both sides together to show them both how we all really want the same thing and share the same values. We have all been used and bamboozled by special interests that are willing to destroy this country for their financial gain. I want to bring us together on the same team to combat these forces.
First Order Of Business: I support pulling our troops back home as soon as possible and putting them to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. Here’s what else I want to do: undo. Politicians spend too much time passing unnecessary laws to make special interest groups happy. We need to rely on government less, and expect more voluntary community involvement to solve our problems. Some regulation is needed to prevent abuse or monopolies, but it should be simple and absolutely needed. Simplify and reduce government and free the people. That is my goal.
Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors
The county is divided into five districts, each led by an elected official. Two are on the ballot this year. District Three includes the communities of Davenport, Bonny Doon, and the North Coast as well as UC Santa Cruz and the City of Santa Cruz; District Four includes most of the City of Watsonville and a large portion of the unincorporated area of South Santa Cruz County.
Key Issues: Jobs; making county government work better; public safety.
Why He’s The Person For The Job: I have been an active community member for the past 20 years. I am a small business owner in Santa Cruz. I care about our community and have grown frustrated with the county. I have no further political aspirations. I don’t want to be a politician. I just want our county to be an efficient and open service provider. I will fight to bring open and responsive government back to Santa Cruz.
First Order Of Business: To listen. I will set up a system where residents can have access to me in order to voice concerns and offer opinions. Government works best when public officials actively listen. The best results come from collaboration and input, not from decisions made behind closed doors. Next, I will call for an independent audit of all County departments. The goal will be to improve delivery of services to residents and remove waste and redundancy. In these difficult economic times, the county will need to operate on a reduced budget.
Key Issues: Community safety and development; fiscal responsibility; the water supply; transportation.
Why He’s The Person For The Job: I believe there is a need for a proactive and regional creative, sensible, entrepreneurial, and environmental thinker on the Board. For well over the last 25 years, I have been continuously and effectively participating in the community and working on the very serious concerns and issues of community safety, resource conservation, and sustainable and sensible development, as well as our water catastrophe and its solution. I have already given much thought and effort to them as well as achieved tangible, positive results. In the course of my community activities over the years, I have taken the time and effort to get to know our community leaders. From a practical perspective, I have also designed and developed for the City of Santa Cruz, saved wetlands and historic buildings, proposed viable and innovative low income housing tax credit financing initiatives to UC Santa Cruz, and proposed creative local solutions to our regional water crisis.
First Order Of Business: There is only one first order of business possible for a county supervisor: that our community is safe for everybody and that we follow the law. If I am elected, I will begin that work on June 9.
Neal Coonerty (Incumbent)
Key Issues: Budget challenges; public safety; jobs; the environment.
Why He’s The Person For The Job: I’ve been a successful supervisor during my first four years during extremely challenging times. I succeeded in reducing county costs while minimizing layoffs and maintaining a good working relationship with the unions. I have been a strong environmental advocate and led the Board in opposing recent attempts to increase offshore oil drilling. I played a leadership role in setting up a chronic inebriates program to reduce crime while increasing treatment opportunities. I’ve been a strong and consistent advocate for affordable housing. My experience and accomplishments as a supervisor, small business owner, and Santa Cruz City Council member after the Loma Prieta earthquake make me the best person for the job. In addition, my endorsements from leaders like Congressman Sam Farr, State Senator Joe Simitian, Assemblymember Bill Monning, Sheriff Phil Wowak, and all my fellow Supervisors illustrate the confidence they have in me to be effective and responsible.
First Order Of Business: After the June 8 election, the Board immediately goes into two weeks of budget hearings for the next fiscal year, 2010-11. Each day we will hear specifics from each county department, from the Sheriff’s Department to Public Works. It is a very tough year and we’ll be including the work furloughs that saved the taxpayers $11 million in payroll costs last year. Every year we pass our budget on time and balanced . . . and then we wait to see what damage the State of California does to our budget, and re-balance it again. No matter what the financial challenges are in our county, we need to craft a budget that provides for public safety, environmental protection, safety net essentials for our poor, and economic development programs that create good jobs for our community.
Key Issues: Jobs; public safety; neighborhood planning (traffic, congestion, roads); good schools; parks.
Why He’s The Person For The Job: We need fresh ideas. I’m calling for term limits: I think eight years is enough, and 12 years is more than enough. I’m not beholden to any special interest groups or political action committees. The only people that I’m beholden to are the residents of our area. I’ve spent a lot of my adult life as a community organizer. I’ve worked with the Knights of Columbus, the American Legion, and the Lions Club. I was also an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and the National Guard. I learned there that a leader has to show leadership by example. I’m calling for the supervisors to take a 25 percent cut in pay as an example to the rest, and for cutting more of a percentage of the top employees, anybody making over $100,000 a year on salary, in order to save the jobs at the bottom. As leaders, people making a good wage are going to have to take a bigger cut rather than laying off personnel and frontline workers that are only making $25,000 or $30,000 a year.
First Order Of Business: The first order of business would be something that is doable quickly, and that would be for the Board of Supervisors to agree to take a 25 percent cut in pay. The other would be to get rid of supervisors voting in their own races.
Tony Campos (Incumbent)
Key Issues: The unprecedented condition of our economy, including employment opportunities; community infrastructure; community programs; and spurring technical industry into our region.
Why He’s The Person For The Job: I am the best candidate to represent the Fourth District at the County level through these unprecedented economic times because of my distinct proven leadership record of 22 years and my broad and diverse political, professional, and life experience. I was born and raised in the Pajaro Valley to a working family of sharecroppers, graduated from Watsonville High School, and loaded lettuce for 14 years before my wife and I started our own real estate business. As a businessman, I expanded my knowledge and refined my negotiation skills to successfully work with people, solving day-to-day business issues, and forming practical solutions. During this time, I also developed valuable relationships with Watsonville residents, the business community, and government officials. I became the first Latino elected to the Watsonville City Council and the first Latino Santa Cruz County Supervisor in more than 150 years. I also served as Watsonville Mayor.
First Order Of Business: If reelected to County Supervisor, I will support a comprehensive economic development strategy that promotes new training and employment opportunities, invests in community infrastructure, and restructure community programs to reduce layoffs during difficult times. As one example of my economic development approach, I spearheaded the establishment of a vocational/technical school that will break ground in downtown Watsonville on or about July 1. The trade school campus will include a capital infrastructure-building project that is a state-of-the-art LEED gold-certified “green building.” The trade school will provide educational opportunities, provide hiring opportunities for emerging businesses, and play a critical role in revitalizing downtown Watsonville.
Emilio Martinez: Did not respond.
Santa Cruz County Superior Court Judge
There are 10 judges on the County of Santa Cruz Superior Court bench. Superior Court judges, who serve six-year terms, are usually appointed by the governor, but if judges retire when their terms expire, their seats go up for a vote, as is currently the case for Offices 3 and 10. Each candidate was asked “What is your background?” and “Why are you the person for the job?”
Background: The wide range of experience and expertise that I have gained in seven years practicing criminal law and 23 years of civil law makes me uniquely qualified to bring honesty, integrity, and fairness to the bench. During my long legal career in Santa Cruz County I have represented people from all walks of life and I listened, learned, and gained the experience that has taught me what it takes to be a great judge. I have been the survivor of an assault and multiple burglaries myself, so I know first-hand the importance of a fair, efficient, and effective criminal justice system. If elected, I will continue to listen, learn, and put my experience to work making sure that all voices are heard inside the courtroom, and that justice is always applied in a fair and impartial manner. If I can answer any questions or provide you with more information about my experience, my campaign, or myself, please call me directly at (831) 461-1694, or e-mail me at [email protected]
Why He’s The Person For The Job: Since I launched my campaign and throughout my 30 years of service to our community, I have built relationships based on trust and confidence with the local judiciary. As a result, 15 current and former local judges and justices have endorsed me. I’ve also built important relationships with leaders in the local law enforcement community and have received endorsements from local sheriffs, police chiefs, law enforcement agencies, every member of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, the city councils of Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, and Capitola, and the only four members of the Watsonville City Council to endorse in this race. These individuals and organizations know that my personal and professional background provides me with the best combination of honesty, integrity and fairness to serve our community as a Superior Court Judge.
Philip J. Crawford
Background: In addition to having extensive attorney experience, having litigated in all departments of the Superior Court including family, juvenile, criminal, probate, civil, small claims, and traffic, I have significant experience as a police officer, justice/law professor, court administrator, and criminal justice consultant. My experience includes: eight years as a police officer and sergeant (SJPD); Professor of Judicial Administration, Law, Sociology and Political Science; 23 years of experience in litigation; court administrator/executive for numerous local programs and boards; and consultant for the Los Angeles Police Department, San Francisco Police Department, California Youth Authority, and California Department of Corrections, Superior Court (Special Programs Auditor), and Cook County Chicago Sheriff’s Office, Detroit Police Department, and Buffalo New York Police Department, “Crisis Intervention and police psychological services.”
Why He’s The Person For The Job: I am the only candidate who: graduated from law school with honors; has both a sitting Appellate Court Justice and Supreme Court Justice endorsing my candidacy; has police experience and direct work in gang suppression and prevention; was appointed by Ron George, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, to a Judicial Council Advisory Committee; and who has actually worked for the Superior Court administering day-to-day operations. I am also the only candidate for Seat 3 supported by the Santa Cruz County Progressive Coalition and endorsed by: a sitting member of the United States Congress, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (chair of the house ethics committee); Dolores Huerta, co-founder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers; and the California Federation of Teachers, the Operating Engineers Local 3, the Iron Workers Local 377, the United Food and Culinary Workers Local 5, Teamsters Locals 287 and Local 912, Carpenters Local 505, and the Monterey County Building Trades Association. I am also supported by the first woman elected Sheriff in the State of California and 14 Superior Court Judges.
Background: I graduated third in my class from Western State University College of Law in San Diego. In 1990 I was hired as an Assistant District Attorney in the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s Office. During my three years in the Santa Cruz DA’s Office, I tried 72 jury trials. For the last 17 years I have worked as a Deputy District Attorney in Santa Clara County, where I have rotated through assignments on the Robbery, Assault and Theft Team, Career Criminal Unit, and Sex Crimes Unit, taking another 78 cases to jury trial. For the last two years I have worked investigating and prosecuting Real Estate Fraud. As a recognized authority in multiple fields, including gangs, sex crimes, identity theft, real estate fraud, and computer crime, I’ve developed and presented countless trainings to prosecutors, police, and the public; been called to testify in Sacramento; and authored laws that shut loopholes for sex offenders and drunk drivers.
Why He’s The Person For The Job: This election is for a trial judge position. However, neither of my opponents have any significant trial experience. I have spent 20 years as a trial lawyer, trying 150 jury trials and countless court trials, motions, and other hearings. I have roughly five times the practical experience of both my opponents combined. This experience provides me with the reflexive instinctual knowledge of the rules of evidence necessary to effectively serve as a trial judge, and I am intimately familiar with the often-complex rules governing sentencing, bail, probation conditions, and other decisions that a competent trial judge must be able to make quickly and routinely.
Background: I am a 20-year resident of Santa Cruz County and am a partner at the Grunsky law firm in Watsonville. Following my graduation from UC Davis Law School, I had the high honor of serving two federal judges—highly valuable and prestigious experiences in which I advised judges appointed by the President of the United States. My professional background is broad, with experience representing a diverse range of clients, from indigent farm workers and nonprofits to businesses and governmental entities. I’ve also served the legal community as president of the Women Lawyers of Santa Cruz County and as treasurer and secretary of the Santa Cruz County Bar Association, where I led the effort to establish the Environmental Law Group for the Santa Cruz County Bar Association. I’m committed to sustainability and our environment, having co-founded a sustainable agriculture nonprofit now operating as Protected Harvest.
Why She’s The Person For The Job: I have the widest range of legal and courtroom experience, including my work in criminal prosecution, defense, civil law, business law, federal litigation, First and Fourth Amendment cases, and legal research. I have the most direct experience as a judge, based on my current service as judge pro tem in Santa Cruz County family law court, a volunteer appointment for which I was selected by a panel of Santa Cruz County Superior Court judges—after rigorous training in conduct and demeanor, ethics and the elimination of bias. I have worked on behalf of people, organizations, and issues across a wide spectrum as an assistant district attorney in Santa Cruz County and as a civil litigator. I’m proud to have a record of achievement in fighting for our Constitution locally and at the federal level, including having won major First Amendment cases in federal and state courts. For three years I worked for the Migrant Farmworker Project of California Rural Legal Assistance on housing and employment cases on behalf of farmworkers in the Central Valley. If elected, I would be only the second sitting judge fluent in Spanish. Visit rebeccaforjudge.org for more information.
Background: I have been practicing law in Santa Cruz County for 32 years. I was a public defender for the first 16 years and have been in private practice since. With well over 200 civil and criminal jury trials, I am one of the most experienced and successful trial attorneys in this county. I am the past president of the Santa Cruz Criminal Defense Bar. I have a long history of community service, served on the boards of many nonprofits, and am actively involved in public education and mentoring at-risk youth.
Why He’s The Person For The Job: Santa Cruz County has never had a criminal defense attorney as a Superior Court judge. My diverse professional experience will provide balance, important input and a new voice that is currently missing on our bench. I am the most experienced and qualified candidate in this election. I have spent my entire career inside the courtroom ensuring that people are treated equally and fairly. I fully understand how our courts operate. I know our state’s laws and the rules of evidence. I believe strongly in constitutional protections and the rights of all parties, including the rights of victims. I care deeply about this community and understand the problems and challenges we face. I have strong, broad-based community support that includes not only defense lawyers and public defenders; I have also earned the respect and trust of the courts, prosecutors and law enforcement. Visit stevewrightforjudge.org for more information.
take note of the race for …
27th State Assembly District
Covers: Portions of Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Clara counties.
In the Running: Incumbent Bill Monning (D) and Linda Black (R).
28th State Assembly District
Formerly Held By: Anna Caballero (D-Salinas).
Covers: All of San Benito County, and portions of Monterey, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz counties.
In the Running: Francisco Dominguez (D), Janet V. Barnes (D), Luis Alejo (D), Allen Lloyd Barket (R), Robert E. Bernosky (R).
14th Congressional District
Covers: Portions of San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties (most notably Silicon Valley). As of 2006, it was the third wealthiest congressional district in the nation.
In the Running: Anna G. Eshoo (Incumbent; D), Ronny Santana (R), Dave Chapman (R), Paul Lazaga (LIB—Ben Lomond).
State Senate District 15—special election June 22
Former Representative: Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) resigned in April to become California’s lieutenant governor.
Covers: Santa Barbara County and parts of Monterey County, Santa Cruz County, and Santa Clara County.
Hot Topics: The state budget; the two-thirds voting threshold; environmental protection; taxes.
In the Running: John Laird (D, Santa Cruz); Jim Fitzgerald (IND, San Luis Obispo); Sam Blakeslee (R, San Luis Obispo); Mark Hinkle (LIB, Santa Clara); Ron Chesshire (D, Monterey).
Controversy: Santa Cruz County Elections Clerk Gail Pellerin, along with candidates, has been vocal about her opposition to the governor’s call for a June 22 special election to fill the vacant senate seat. “The governor had the opportunity to save $3 million by consolidating the Senate District 15 Special Vacancy Election with the November 2 General [Election],” she said in a May 21 press release. “His decision to call two separate special vacancy elections this summer, one for the primary and one for the run-off, will end up costing taxpayers millions of dollars and will disenfranchise certain voters.”
Local Man Runs for Gov.
Among the candidates for governor on the June 2 primary ballot is one of Santa Cruz’s own, Lowell Darling. The longtime artist will be up against fellow Democrats Jerry Brown, Richard Aguirre, Joe Symmon, Peter Schurman, Chuck Pineda Jr., and Vibert F. Greene, with hopes of making it into the November gubernatorial election.
Additional reporting by Elizabeth Limbach