Four candidates participated in the Modesto Bee’s Candidates’ Forum for Modesto City Council’s District 6 on September 16. Two of the candidates, David Wright and Kelsten Obert, said they would be voting for Ted Howze for congress. Given Howze’s contempt for science and medicine, his documented lies, and his failure to explain racist and xenophobic posts on social media, we believe this endorsement alone disqualifies them for local leadership. The other two candidates are Jessica Gonzalez and Hunter Sauls
In what amounts to an endorsement of Mayor Ted Brandvold and a city council that failed during the Covid crisis, David Wright distinguished himself among candidates in general by saying he thought the council and mayor have, “done a good job.” When asked who he supported for mayor, Wright replied he supported both Brandvold and Doug Ridenour. If elected, David Wright would almost certainly help prolong our crisis in much the same way Ted Brandvold has — by denying science and resisting state mandates.
Wright seems determined to represent the status quo at a time when we’re in dire need of change. Given the greatest crisis of our times, Modesto Mayor Ted Brandvold followed Donald Trump into the dark abyss of scientific ignorance and mortal peril by urging reopening last April. Now, he’s doing it all over again in a video urging local authorities to stop enforcing Covid restrictions. Endorsing him is tantamount to endorsing a longer bout of Covid-19 and more delays on reopening our businesses and schools.
Kelsten Obert is an appealing young businessman whose comments about Congressman Josh Harder sounded like he was reading from a Ted Howze campaign mailer. During a time of extreme polarization, Harder has won awards for bipartisanship and managed to be more effective in two years than his predecessor was in eight, yet Obert claimed Harder has done almost nothing since elected. There’s no reason to expect a candidate who recites rote campaign material from a Trump acolyte will help reboot a council stuck in a mire of discord and dysfunction, especially since the council has been led by a mayor who also supports Ted Howze.
Jessica Gonzalez would be a fine representative on the city council. She’s part of a successful local business and is in constant contact with a wide variety of Valley residents; she has a good sense of the issues people care about.
Hunter Sauls’ five years’ experience in the army taught him the value of teamwork and gave him a clear sense of mission. He noted that the military follows and enforces Covid-19 guidelines closely. He took a firm stand in favor of setting and following Covid guidelines.
Sauls’ family has deep roots in Modesto. They’ve been associated with Willey Printing for decades and Sauls works in the shop. He’s part of a rising generation of young leaders who will safeguard our health and bring back our economy. Mature beyond his years, Sauls is our choice to help redirect a council that lost its way under the leadership of Ted Brandvold.