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The Best of the Rest

[whitespace] Congressional District 15

The race between U.S. Congressman Tom Campbell and his Democratic opponent, Dick Lane, boils down to a certain beret-wearing young woman. Campbell supports impeachment investigations of President Clinton; Lane wants the whole mess put to bed. Campbell, generally considered among the most moderate of Republicans, has sided with his party-mates on issues that matter more than just the Starr investigation. The Congressman voted against raising the minimum wage and against the 40-hour work week.

San Jose State University lecturer Dick Lane supports the classic Democratic package: more money for homeless, more tax on alcohol and cigarettes and health services for illegal immigrants and their children. He opposes school vouchers, supports increasing the child tax credit and has been endorsed by the Santa Cruz Green Party.

Metro Santa Cruz recommends Dick Lane.

Congressional District 17

Sam Farr (Democrat)
In a Congress dominated by Republicans, it's important that safe seats like the 17th remain in Democratic hands. Farr's leadership on environmental issues, particularly in regard to protecting Monterey Bay, has earned him high marks. Farr is a reliable vote for better health care, education, support for working families and preventing further erosion of health and safety laws.

Metro Santa Cruz recommends Farr.

Scott R. Hartley (Natural Law)
Hartley is a third (or fourth or fifth) party candidate who would like you to believe he can win. Natural Law candidates believe in things like "getting real on crime" and "emphasizing prevention" in health care.

Bill McCampbell (Republican)
McCampbell is a pro-choice, environmentalist Republican and has taken a strong stand in favor of campaign finance reform. But McCampbell also espouses too many failed Republican ideas. He wants to build more day-care centers, for example, but thinks the private sector should do the job (it hasn't yet). He would reduce the role of the government in health care, although he has no plan for covering the tens of millions of un- or under-insured. McCampbell's first vote would be for Speaker of the House, and that means more Newt Gingrich. That alone should disqualify him.

Rick S. Garrett (Libertarian)
Garrett runs a Scotts Valley wholesale tour business. As a Libertarian, he has mostly predictable views: repeal the income tax, reduce the role of government. He diverges from the party line in his support for an active government role in protecting the environment.

Assembly District 27

Fred Keeley (Democrat)
Keeley has recently gotten into trouble over a voter registration group he sponsors, and also has a reputation for trying to be all things to all people. But Santa Cruz County has been well represented by Keeley and should return him to office. Keeley's legislative accomplishments include the recent passage of the Marine Life Management Act, tax breaks for solar energy and pushing for more local control of timber harvests. The most important vote any assemblymember casts is his first: for Assembly speaker. For that reason alone, Keeley should be returned to the Assembly.

Metro Santa Cruz recommends Keeley.

Phillip Chavez (Republican)
Chavez if a wholesale fruit and vegetable exporter who describes himself as a Steve Forbes-style pro-growth Republican. Chavez is opposed to local control of the logging industry and favors widening Highway One. He opposes the Terrace Point development and says he is not opposed to raising the minimum wage. When it comes to affordable housing, Chavez trusts the free market to provide it.

Dirk Walker Deardorff (Libertarian)
Deardorff says he pretty much follows the Libertarian Party line (minimal government and taxes). One difference, he says, is his opposition to Prop. 227, the recently passed anti-bilingual education initiative. Deardorff is pro-choice, pro-school vouchers and against all government support for schools. Like most Libertarians, he is also opposed to the so-called War on Drugs.

Assembly District 28

Alan Styles (Democrat)
Alan Styles, the out-going mayor of Salinas, is running on an education platform that emphasizes changing the two-thirds vote needed to pass school bonds and more vocational education. Styles says that his combined 12 years' school board and city council experience gives him more expertise than incumbent Peter Frusetta on how decisions in Sacramento affect local communities. If the district's Democratic majority goes to the polls, Styles could win.

Metro Santa Cruz recommends Styles.

Peter Frusetta (Republican)
Republican incumbent Peter Frusetta embarrassed himself when he put up a fuss about Alan Styles' caricature of him "horsing around" in Sacramento and then refused to debate. His recent run-in with a constituent--who says Frusetta called her a "bitch" for refusing to take a piece of his campaign literature--as well as allegations that he made remarks lauding Hitler for overcoming adversity, make it important to send this buffoon back to his ranch.

Kate Woods (Libertarian)
As a Libertarian candidate, Woods supports minimal government.

Capitola City Council

(Three seats open)

Dennis Norton
Norton supports preservation of historic buildings and the Village ambiance, complete with a cultural performing arts center and recreational usage of a restored wharf. The city council has lagged in developing long-range plans, says Norton, a former planning commissioner. The contamination of Soquel Creek is something Norton finds "embarrassing" and says its cleanup is a priority. Like all of the candidates, Norton supports the Redtree development but says the project "should have been reduced by 25 percent."

Metro Santa Cruz recommends Norton.

Bruce Arthur
Like Norton, Arthur wants long-term planning for the wharf, the Village and the city's finances. On the question of a planned new library, Arthur recommends partnerships with the schools to use their library resources in lieu of a temporary library, which has been recommended by some. Arthur is respected for his management abilities and straight-ahead approach, but his support for the Redtree development as a member of the Planning Commission leaves us leery of his suitability for the council.

Kerry Heaps
Heaps serves as executive director of Ombudsman/Advocate Inc. and has a laundry list of experience in the nonprofit human service sector working with senior, mental health and disenfranchised populations. But his solutions to immediate problems, like Soquel Creek contamination (educate people upcreek to use environmentally friendly fertilizers) and public forums to encourage community participation, are too lightweight.

Stephanie Harlan
The Capitola mayor drew criticism from some, including this newspaper, for her support of the Redtree development. Harlan admits that the city needs a long-range fiscal plan, as well as a plan for Capitola Village.

But the relentless minutiae of leadership seem to have wearied Harlan, who is serving her second term as mayor. In the case of Soquel Creek, she says she doesn't think there is an immediate solution. As for the Village, Harlan wants to develop a business plan and bring the merchants together to work toward common solutions for long-range viability--whatever that means.

Harlan's deaf ear to community concerns about the Redtree development and her stubborn refusal to acknowledge the city's fiscal problems make her unfit to serve another term.

Scotts Valley City Council

(Two seats open)

Stephany Aguilar
Aguilar has been on the council for two and a half years and served as mayor for the last year. She opposes the Glenwood Homes project because of concerns over lot size, habitat sensitivity and water availability. By contrast, Aguilar wants to encourage more affordable housing. Aguilar supports the Skypark development project on the Ow property. Aguilar says she wants to encourage economic growth while keeping Scotts Valley rural--which strikes us as a responsible approach.

Metro Santa Cruz recommends Aguilar.

Bart Cavallaro
Cavallaro is a four-year incumbent on the City Council. He is the most pro-development candidate in the race, supporting the Glenwood project.

Cavallaro favors popular issues, like providing more youth recreation facilities, but that's a no-brainer. Scotts Valley needs councilmembers who will ask the hard questions about development projects, particularly in light of the coming water crunch. Cavallaro does not strike us as being willing to do that.

April C. Nordstrom
Nordstrom is a political newcomer with an unsophisticated approach to politics. Although that can be refreshing, we weren't convinced that she has really studied the issues in much depth. She seemed most concerned about traffic and water issues, which we applaud.

Paul Watkins
Watkins is a hospital administrator and member of the Scotts Valley Water District. Watkins did not return phone calls.

Watsonville City Council

(Three contested district races)

District 4

Ana Ventura Phares
Planning Commissioner Ana Ventura Phares says her top priority is community safety. She believes the proposed Aptos secession from the Pajaro School District would be detrimental to students but supports Aptos' right to choose. On water issues, Phares says that before any decisions are made there must be communitywide education through bilingual public forums. Phares blends common sense and experience.

Metro Santa Cruz recommends Phares.

Stan O'Hoppe
The self-proclaimed "law and order candidate," Stan O'Hoppe is unapologetic for his blunt proposal to take local gangs to court and ask for an injunction against their activities. O'Hoppe's hard-line tactics don't bode well for consensus building.

District 5

Ramon Gomez
Ramon Gomez is taking on Councilmember and Mayor Dennis Osmer because he feels his district has been underrepresented. His has been an EEOC commissioner, with the local credit union for local businesses and participated in citizenship and neighborhood watch programs. Gomez's platform is crime reduction and preserving agricultural land, particularly annexed property, from development.

Dennis Osmer
Mayor Dennis Osmer rides his bike to city hall, runs a program that helps low-income people with their energy bills, helped lead the charge against the sale of Watsonville Community Hospital and enjoys the support of the environmentalists. His support for developing the annexed 94 acres while many vacancies remain in the city limits is controversial. Osmer has deeps roots in the area and brings an open style to public service.

Metro Santa Cruz recommends Osmer.

District 7

Marion Thomas Martinez
Marion Thomas Martinez sees Watsonville as an ecotourism destination. She opposes the development of agricultural land and believes that the city has failed in its attempts at economic stimulation by approving shopping centers away from the downtown area. She seeks greater support for locally owned businesses. Although less knowledgeable about the nuts and bolts of city government, her conservation stand on water issues and faith in Watsonville are refreshing.

Metro Santa Cruz recommends Martinez.

Betty Bobeda
This incumbent and former mayor believes the city should be doing everything in its power to attract outside business. She sees the lack of land for commercial development as a major hindrance to the city's economic health and recommends using the annexed 94-acre site for commercial development, as well as other parcels she says could be studied for possible rezoning. She also says more affordable, entry-level housing is needed. Bobeda believes the city has made great strides in the areas of crime and youth violence, and that the current course of downtown development is working.

Selected Local Initiatives

Measure E (Pajaro School District)
This measure would construct new facilities to relieve student overcrowding and repair school buildings in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District. A $67.5 million school bond, Measure E is a scaled-back version of last spring's failed Measure A. About $37.6 million will go to Watsonville's 19 schools; almost $30 million will go to the six schools in Aptos--with each contributing about $10 million to the building of the district's new high school in Watsonville. The bond has gained wide support--from the Watsonville City Council to the chief petitioners for the Aptos School District reorganization. Parents United Against Measure E opposes the bond because it doesn't guarantee secession. But without adequate facilities, the state will never allow reorganization.

Vote Yes.

Measure F (Santa Cruz)
This measure would increase the salaries of Santa Cruz City councilmembers from $500 a month to $1,000. For the amount of work these folks generally put into the job, $1,000 seems to us to be too low. Who would put up with the kind of abuse dished out over the Beach Area Plan for $500 a month? On the other hand, cities of similar size have not raised their stipends. Monterey (pop. 33,000) pays its five councilmembers $300 per month; Watsonville (pop. 37,000) pays its seven councilmembers $300 per month; and Davis, a university town with a population almost identical to Santa Cruz's (54,000), pays $557.91 per month each. Even so, we still think it's a tough job that deserves a boost.

Vote Yes.

Measure G (Santa Cruz)
This measure authorizes a $7 million bond to help purchase the 246 acres of the Bombay property, provide seismic upgrades for three fire stations, build a south-of-Laurel playground and sports field and possibly build a new fire department headquarters. The governor and state Sen. Bruce McPherson are on board with the Bombay purchase, and it would be a serious setback if the people of Santa Cruz were to balk. The price for homeowners would amount to $9 a year per $100,000 of assessed value. It needs a two-thirds majority to pass.

Vote Yes.

Measure H (Santa Cruz)
This measure would repeal a portion of the city charter known colloquially as the Rule of Five. Presently, the city is required to hire from the top five scorers on tests for city jobs. The city says it wants to expand the pool of people eligible to be hired. Since the passage of Prop. 209, the city has been looking for ways to promote affirmative action in hiring without running afoul of state law. Expanding the hiring pool is one way to do that. The city proposes to repeal the charter language without a specific alternative proposal to replace it. But another system might encourage cronyism. Until the city prepares a companion ballot measure to replace the Rule of Five, we recommend a No vote.

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From the October 22-28, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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