Lopez vs Monteith
We wouldn’t sink to the Bee tactic of holding the current administration responsible for the sins of its predecessors, but it is amusing to see the Bee endorse City Councilman Dave Lopez for Stanislaus County Supervisor. During the campaign for the one cent sales tax, the Bee argued we couldn’t trust Modesto City Government, mostly because of scandals that happened during the Ridenour administration, which the Bee didn’t get around to covering until Mayor Garrad Marsh and an almost entirely new City Council were elected. Lopez was one of the few holdovers from the Ridenour era.
Former Bee Opinion Page Editor Judy Sly and Publisher Eric Johnston were big factors during the campaign against the sales tax, and both are gone, so it wouldn’t be entirely fair to claim the Bee has a double standard—it’s a new regime that’s backing Lopez. On the other hand, the endorsement of Lopez wasn’t exactly enthusiastic. “Lopez has a penchant for bending to the political winds,” said the Bee editorial.
That’s an understatement. When Democrat Jose Hernandez ran against Republican Jeff Denham, Lopez, a nominal Democrat, endorsed Denham. Even the Bee admits Lopez flips and flops on the issues. His one consistent position seems to involve an algorithm for bringing in plenty of developer money.
The Bee touts Lopez’s enthusiasm and holds Monteith’s age against him, but can’t find much good to say about Lopez. Given the trust issue and Lopez’s well-earned reputation as a political chameleon, don’t be surprised if he changes colors a few more times before the election.
Calkins vs Withrow
Former State Secretary of Agriculture Bill Lyons was considered a shoo-in before the last Stanislaus County District 3 Supervisor’s election. With name recognition, a high profile, and deep pockets, he was anointed by out-going incumbent Jeff Grover and endorsed by the Modesto Bee.
Then along came David. The man who slew the Goliath that was Bill Lyons was Terry Withrow. Even though Lyons spent a local record $63.51 per vote for the 5,038 votes he received, he still couldn’t finish ahead of Withrow.
That’s one reason people have to wonder whether Scott Calkins is this election’s David. Calkin’s late announcement surprised the Withrow camp, and left many asking how Calkins could possibly win against a popular incumbent.
However, despite the Bee’s claim that the candidates share almost identical platforms, Calkins has a raised issues that both distinguish him from Withrow and are worthy of consideration.
Unlike Withrow, Calkins prefers a moratorium on mining groundwater until we can assess the likely harm to our overall supply. He also wants the Stanislaus Workforce Alliance to justify funding or face termination for what he suggests is wasteful spending.
Calkins would take a much harder line on expansion of Highway 132 than Terry Withrow. Calkins thinks the County can do more to minimize the effects of the expansion on farmland in District 3.
Both candidates have long and strong family ties in their district, and both are men of impeccable character. Whatever the outcome, this is one of the rare local campaigns that features superb candidates and clear issues. Bruce Frohman’s interviews with the candidates are here and here.