In his first term as a Modesto City Councilman, we thought Dave Lopez brought a welcome presence to local politics. His “everyman” qualities, gregarious nature, and love of Modesto made him an appealing representative of Modesto citizens.
Over the years, Lopez began to look more and more like an opportunistic politician than the people’s representative. A nominal Democrat, Lopez endorsed Jeff Denham instead of Jose Hernandez in 2012—clearly a move calculated to gain favor with Denham’s many supporters rather than a stand on principle.
In his campaign against Stanislaus County Supervisor Dick Monteith, rather than favor farmland preservation, Lopez courted developers and the Modesto Chamber of Commerce. Maybe he thought he was offering voters a younger version of Monteith’s pro-developer politics but he lost badly, most likely because Dick Monteith does Dick Monteith better than his imitators.
Now Dave Lopez is running for Mayor of Modesto. It’s bad enough that he’s weaseled on Measure G, but even worse is his announced policy for dealing with the homeless—like a caricature of a Wild West sheriff, Lopez want’s to, “run em out of town.” Yes, he wants to ferret out homeless people who came here from other cities and buy them bus tickets back to where they came from.
Even granted there are differing views on how to deal with the homeless problem in Modesto, Lopez doesn’t come close to attaining minimum standards, which should stipulate that solutions to homelessness be legal, humane, and effective. Lopez doesn’t get one out three.
Lopez also violated California Fair Political Practice Commission (FPPC) regulations after his run for supervisor. After the campaign, he had over $8,000 dollars left in campaign funds. He spent some of the money on personal travel, some on salary expenses never itemized during the campaign, and $4,372.24 on un-itemized expenses, supposedly of under $100 each.
FPPC regulations are clearly stipulated in Section 18951 and Section 89519-20 (Use of Surplus Funds) on the FPPC website. The rules are specific and do not include using surplus campaign contributions for personal expenses.
We suspect Dave Lopez simply overlooked the FPPC regulations, but he is a veteran office holder and campaigner and should know better. His form 460 not only shows he broke the rules but raises concerns about over 44 different expenditures of under $100, supposedly on items or services approved by the FPPC.
Modesto and the San Joaquin Valley are still struggling to regain economic momentum lost during the Great Recession. We need leaders who will address homelessness, crime, and a multitude of other problems with wisdom, compassion, and care. Recently, Dave Lopez has shown poor judgment and a cavalier attitude toward fundamental political guidelines. He’s not the leader we need.