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The Monterey Bay Partisan tries to tell you how to vote

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Back when I was editor of the Monterey Herald, I found it amusing to compare our political endorsements with those of the Monterey County Weekly. The Herald was, of course, the local headquarters of the mainstream media and the Weekly was the alternative.

But for a brief period, I was able to drag the Herald’s endorsements a little to the left, far enough that the choices of the daily and once-a-week publications became a rather close match. I imagined the ink-stained wretches at the Weekly gnashing their teeth, at least a little. Part of the job description at alternative papers everywhere is to huff and puff about those corporate suits over at the daily.

I suspect the fine folks at the Weekly don’t mind at all that the Herald in my absence has done a much better job of being the voice of the establishment. For proof of that, look no farther than its support for the Monterey Downs horse-racing, home-building venture despite flaws such as no water and no financing. Or its upcoming endorsements in the local political races. Last time around, the Herald even endorsed Marina water board member Howard Gustafson, the Donald Trump of Peninsula politics.

Today, I set out the Partisan’s endorsements in the local political races and I am afraid that close observers will notice a strong resemblance to the choices made this week by the Weekly. In my decidedly subjective view, the Weekly made some wise choices and I found the presentation to be excellent as well. Short, to the point, easy to follow and filled with entertaining tidbits.

I’m afraid that this exercise will accomplish little except to reinforce the choices in the latest Weekly. I’ll flag any variations.

CONGRESS: Jimmy Panetta

I don’t care for political dynasties either, but being Leon’s son should give Jimmy a big head start in Washington. While his GOP opponent, Casey Lucius, would be one of many new faces in Congress, Jimmy’s Rolodex will be overflowing with the names of ready-made allies.

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Panetta

Panetta is the smart, engaging former prosecutor who served in Afghanistan and never did anything wrong. Lucius may be right when she says he wouldn’t be on the verge of congressional office if he was, say Jimmy Williams or Jimmy Smith, but, then again, he just might be.

Lucius has gained excellent name recognition and a crowd of admirers. She’d be wise to put that into a race for state office, but because of her military and other federal experience, she seems interested only in Washington. I imagine the 20th Congressional District seat will be Panetta’s for as long as he wants it. If Lucius really has her heart set, she’d be wise to make a run at the Assembly in a few years. Her politics are a bit conservative for the region but she has already shown an ability to win people over.

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Lucius

Lucius constantly makes the point that she deserves the job because she has worked hard for it and really, really wants it, and that Panetta is the favorite in part because of his lineage. That resonates with voters who are tired of what Washington has become. But elections aren’t about being fair to underdogs or rewarding earnestness. Panetta brings everything that Lucius brings to the job and he will be a particularly able representative from day one.

STATE SENATE DISTRICT 17: Bill Monning, no matter who might be running against him.

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 29: Mark Stone, no matter who might be running against him.

ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 30: Anna Caballero. This one gives me pause. She’s not in the same realm as Monning and Stone. While they are true public servants, she is more of a career politician/bureaucrat. She had no problem accepting tons of money from wherever, especially the charter school movement, which is a thinly veiled attempt to weaken the teachers union.

Despite some drawbacks, Caballero still inspires more confidence than her opponent, Karina Cervantez Alejo, the former Watsonville mayor and wife of soon-to-be Monterey County Supervisor Luis Alejo, the former assemblyman. There seems to be a tag team approach to the Alejo campaigns and at least some element of mystery to their agendas.

Monterey City Council: Incumbents Libby Downey and Alan Haffa

This is about balance of power on the council, old school vs. new school.

Representing the old school is challenger Dan Albert Jr., son of the former longtime mayor. To a large degree, he is the candidate of the longtime Fishermans Wharf interests, Cannery Row and the closely related hospitality industry.

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Downey

Downey, a retired school nurse, and Haffa, a Monterey Peninsula College, are running as an unofficial slate. Though they have had their differences, they are united by their effort to reform the city’s leasing practices at the wharf, where businesses that signed leases decades ago are living off sub-leases costing the tenants many times more. Albert’s father was a major player in adopting the old order on the wharf. While the elder Albert deserves credit for major accomplishments, including the Monterey Sports Center and the fantastically successful Windows on the Bay initiative, he also remained a close ally of the corporate interests that have pulled the strings at City Hall for decades.

By electing Albert over either of the incumbents, voters would be tipping the scales to the corporate side and away from the reform side.

Albert was a long time teacher and principal in the Monterey Peninsula school system. He recently retired as assistant superintendent of the district, a position in which he did not distinguish himself. He turned much of the district’s bond financing work over to a Clovis-based consultant who has since been fined by the Securities & Exchange Commission for conflicts of interests and who is currently embroiled in an FBI investigation in Fresno that focuses on a school contractor that also did considerable work here under Albert’s watch. I will be surprised if some of the Monterey district’s bonding troubles aren’t incorporated into the Fresno investigation.

The $100 million bond measure that Albert oversaw for the Monterey schools began with a political campaign financed largely by the same bonding companies that later received contracts to execute the bond. The state Treasurers Office has since banned such arrangements, something that should have happened decades ago.

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Haffa

Despite being past retirement age, Downey is a tireless representative of the city at various other agencies and a voice of reason on transportation and water issues. She is more of a moderate than the aggressively progressive Haffa, who was active in the Occupy Wall Street movement and who was a Sanders delegate. He brings political passion to the council task but he also has shown a pragmatic side when necessary.

Marina mayor: Bruce Delgado

Delgado is a true believer in environmental causes and the inherent goodness of people. He is an idealist who has learned to support intelligent economic development for the good of his constituency. He is an effective mayor and a truly nice guy in a city that doesn’t always play nice. His opponent, Kevin Saunders, is all about medical marijuana and creating a fuss.

Pacific Grove mayor: Bill Kampe

Kampe is so solid as to be downright boring. He’s good with the administrative aspects of the job and he has dived into the technical aspects, including the water issues that dominate local governance. In my view, he’s been too friendly with Cal Am and other corporate interests, but he can back up his positions with a reasonable amount of logic.

His opponent, Councilman Dan Miller, loves his city but he simply doesn’t have the temperament for the job. His friends say he has been getting calmer over time but it could be a while before he’s ready to pick up the gavel.

Salinas mayor: No endorsement

Incumbent Joe Gunter, the former police detective, is a throwback to simpler times in a city that faces every type of big city problems, including heavy duty crime and homelessness. His support for law enforcement hasn’t translated into putting more cops on the street, though, and remarkably the Police Department has even had to close its narcotics bureau simply to keep the numbers up on the streets.

Gunter runs an OK meeting but he has shown little of the leadership that the city needs to build its economy, reverse some of its blight and quiet the gangs. The previous mayor, Dennis Donohue, was too much of a dreamer, a big spender chasing elusive rewards. Gunter is too much the opposite.

Unfortunately, his opponent, auto repair shop owner Amit Pandya, has a somewhat sketchy reputation in business circles and he hasn’t been able to demonstrate where he would find the money to finance his big promise to add lots of officers to the force. The Weekly endorsed Gunter.

Salinas City Council District 1: Brian Contreras

For as long as I can remember, Contreras has been the talking head that media types turn to for comment whenever gang activity spikes in Salinas, which is often. He founded the Second Chance Family and Youth Services organization, and he does know as much as anyone about the gang problem. He stands out in a weak field.

Incumbent Jose Castaneda mouths the type of politics that the Partisan embraces, seriously progressive and inclusive, but it’s all for show. His pouty opposition to everything has become an obstacle and a distraction. He needs to go away. Sheriff’s union leader Scott Davis is a creation of contractor Don Chapin’s pro-development political machine and a shill for Sheriff Steve Bernal.

Salinas City Council District 4: Virginia Mendoza

I don’t know much about her but I’m at a loss to think of a reason to vote for De La Rosa. The Weekly gave her a thumbs up.

Salinas City Council District 6: Incumbent Jyl Lutes

She has a long record of public service, representing progressive views for the most part, and her opponent, Tony Villegas, hasn’t give any good reason to support him.

Seaside mayor: Kay Cline

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Cline

Cline started as a one-issue candidate, but it’s the biggest issue in town. Monterey Downs. She has been an active opponent of the misbegotten project along with her husband, retired meteorology professor Bill Weigle. Though there is some support for the big racetrack/housing project in Seaside, it’s mostly the short-term variety bought and paid for by the would-be developer. The project is a fiasco and incumbent Ralph Rubio’s support for it is one reason he should go. Rubio has been a solid mayor but it was often difficult to tell if he was wearing his mayoral hat or his Carpenters Union hat.

Cline has been a leader of the Sustainable Seaside environmental group for a decade now and she is on the side of transparency and economic development that enhances the city without simply enriching the developers.

Former Mayor Felix Bachofner is making another run at the office and he also represents a decent choice. The downside is that he mostly a budget wonk and, well, he’s already had his chance. Newcomer Gertrude Smith could make a great councilmember and/or mayor someday.

Seaside City Council: Kayla Jones and Dave Pacheco

I was impressed by Ian Oglesby when I met him a decade ago. Mature, articulate, he was like a reborn Jerry Smith with additional skills. But he has been a major disappointment on the council, showing himself to be a follower instead of any kind of a leader.

Jones is the freshest of fresh faces, just 23 years old, but articulate beyond her years. She comes from a political family and already understands city politics, and its needs, as well as Oglesby.

Incumbent Dave Pacheco is the nice guy that every council needs. He is the former city recreation leader and he oozes concern for youth. For him, this is about service, not politics.

That’s it, folks. I’d like to make recommendations in the Pacific Grove and Del Rey Oaks city council races, but I don’t know enough about the candidates to make intelligence choices. For the PG council, the Weekly went with Cynthia Garfield, Robert Huitt and Jenny McAdams. In Del Rey Oaks, the Weekly went with Mike Ventimiglia and Kristin Clark.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jane Haines October 14, 2016, 3:06 pm

    Bravo! You said it far better than I could. I agree with everything, except in PG for me it will be Kampe, Huitt and Garfield only. I was leaning toward Nick Smith until I learned his endorsers. So I’ll vote for Kampe, Huitt (a must), and Garfield, since voting for one more would slightly dilute my vote.

    • Luke Coletti October 14, 2016, 6:13 pm

      Bill Kampe’s attempt to circumvent the State Water Board’s cease and desist order (CDO), by using the “saved” potable water freed up by Pacific Grove’s proposed recycled water plant perfeclty illustrates how corrupt he can be. He led the ill fated attempt to use this freed up potable water (that must be returned to the Carmel River) to built the Project Bella hotel which has now been moth balled because Kampe and others (Jane Haines) went about endorsing a project that can not yet be built. Kampe’s “leadership” is really nothing more than incompetence and wishful thinking stitched together with his strong aptitude for public relations spin. I’ll be voting for locals Dan Miller for mayor and Jenny McAdams for council and that’s all. Cythinia Garfield has only been a permanent PG resident since 2015 and she is far too secretive about her past work experience and political affiliations.

  • Natalie Gray October 14, 2016, 3:37 pm

    I think you got it right, although I believe that Amit Pandya is much better than you have given him credit for, having met him and seeing his commitment to Salinas. Gunter is old school and opposes Measure Z, which disqualifies him for me. Anyone who can’t see that climate change is a huge problem should not be running. (Hear that Panetta and Lucius?). Anna Caballero is, as you said, supported by the charter schools movement. That means she is against unions or teachers or both. She would not be a good pick in my opinion. We need support for public schools and teachers, not a bleeding off of funds to charter schools. (Some are successful. The majority are not).

    In Pacific Grove, I would have to advocate for Jenny McAdams. She is a lifelong Pagrovian with a clear and creative vision for our town. She understands the issues and will make a great council member, as she has Pagrovian’s interests at heart, not developers or short-term rental types. She is also widely respected for getting things done.

    Other than that, I would say your picks are good. Love your paper.

    Natalie Gray
    Pacific Grove

  • denise October 14, 2016, 3:44 pm

    agree agree and agree some more. plus libby has the best sign doesn’t she?

  • Dan Miller October 14, 2016, 4:15 pm

    Really Royal? YOU with the most notorious temper of anybody in the newspaper business?

    • Royal Calkins October 14, 2016, 11:31 pm

      Yup, and it would be an issue if I ever decided to run for mayor of Corral de Tierra.

      • Eric Petersen October 15, 2016, 7:41 pm

        Or First Commissar?

  • Morley Brown October 14, 2016, 5:21 pm

    Royal, thank you for your important endorsement of Libby Downey. I have known her for years, since we were much younger. She has been everything you would want in a city council member. She is bright, diligent, committed, responsible, honest, transparent … She does her homework and speaks her mind. She does her best to represent her constituents. In addition to her civic activities, Libby has quietly done an enormous amount of charity work over many years. Libby is energetic and active, always for the good of others.

  • Eric Petersen October 14, 2016, 5:29 pm

    There is a lot more to Jose Castenada than most are willing to recognise. A few years ago, he and I were stuck in the same place for a few hours, as we talked. The more we talked, the more I understood him — and the most I agreed with him and realized why things are the way they are. He is dedicated to the residents of District 1, and works for them, understanding the level of poverty they face. If I could vote for Jose, I would. I offered to donate money to his campaign, and he refused it, preferring to run a campaign based on talking to people. No signs, no mailers, totally unconventional in this well-financed day and age.

    A clue as to why things are they way they are is in a cooment he made to the mayor a few years ago during one of their many heated exchanges: “You don’t like me because you arrested the wrong person.” The mayor should use some of his Marine leadership training and recognise that Jose actually represents many — and deserves the respect of an elected official whetner the mayor likes him or not.

    • Helga Fellay October 15, 2016, 9:52 am

      Thank you, Eric, for speaking out in defense of the most maligned, most vilified local politician that everyone loves to hate, or so it seems. He is one of the very few who truly and honestly represents the best interests of the people he is supposed to represent. As such, he is out of step with most politicians who represent special interests and of those who paid them the most in “donations.” He is the spokesperson of the poorest Latinos, and much of the hatred directed towards him is nothing more than the hatred and contempt with which both the poor and racial minorities are treated. He is a smart man and a proud man, and if he seems abrasive at times, consider what hatred and discrimination he has to deal with on a constant basis. If I could, I would vote for him any day.

      • Eric Petersen October 15, 2016, 7:47 pm

        Thank you for your comments! Even if you don’t live in Salinas, I encoursge people to get to know Jose. He spends an amazing amount of time doing good things for other people. Just one example is that he coordinated a group of churches to help feed the Salinas homeless.

        And while Jeff Mitchell and The Californian put enormous effort to publicizing the citation Jose received for allegedly driving on a suspended driver license, did anybody hear so much as a peep when the charges were dropped? Very biased, unethical reporting by somebody who should know better!

        • Frank Lambert October 15, 2016, 10:12 pm

          Eric & Helga: Good points made and thanks for defending Jose Castenada who has been treated unfairly (in my opinion) by the MSM. Earlier this year, I sat in my car listening to Jose being interviewed by KPFA’s Dennis Bernstein regarding agricultural issues, pesticides and the plight of the farm workers and what they’ve been up against. He is well informed and definitely in touch with the common folk. Castenada made a believer out of me.

  • john m. moore October 14, 2016, 6:06 pm

    I am a resident of Pacific Grove. I am a licensed attorney with an Av rating based upon the opinions of my peers and judges(A=highest in legal ability, v=highest for honesty and integrity). I am a boring, careful and thorough researcher of facts and law. I have backed my political opinions with Commentaries that have been published in Ca. and throughout the nation about the impact of collecting bargaining by public agency employees about salary and benefits(prohibited for federal employees).
    Bill Kampe has betrayed Pacific Grove voters in favor of the city staff and unions. Under his watch, Pacific Grove is the worst off of all Ca. cities in terms of pension costs(25% of annual revenues)and pension debt(using market rates, pension debt is about $150M. $1.4M per employee). Pacific Grove government is dominated by its city attorney with Kampe’s approval.

    Governors Reagan and Brown legalized the state collective bargaining system in Ca.. The state of Ca. and every city and county is dominated by government elected officials at the state level and by the staff and unions at the local level. Monning, Stone and Caballero are all agents of those unions. There is not a single Republican pension reformer because if one dared suggest reform the unions have the reformer replaced. They are that powerful. Casey Lucius, a Republican was put on the PG council by the unions.

    Since collective bargaining by govt. employees in Ca., it has gone from best to worst in every aspect of family life except for govt. employee families.. The unfunded pension liability for all state and local agencies exceeds a trillion dollars, compounds annually and is irretrievably under water.

    The Herald and Weekly have been simple propaganda pieces for the govt. agency staff and unions.Both actually believe that state and local govt. are doing a good job. In cities like Pacific Grove and Monterey it does not matter who is elected to the city council. They always do what the staff and unions dictate.

    Thanks to the local press, pension reform is not a local issue. Govt. revenues from city and county publication requirements provide a powerful conflict of interest that totally compromises their objectivity.

    • Natalie Gray October 14, 2016, 7:29 pm

      John M. Moore- I am a proud union member who gets charged a good 10% of my paycheck for my pension. No one is giving me anything. It is time to treat our workers well, and remember that those workers are also taxpayers. (In fact, being single, I subsidize families, etc…). I don’t know how the pensions got out of control, but lambasting the unions and workers is ridiculous. Unions made the US strong. We only have 7% of workers in unions. How’s that working out for working families?

      • john m. moore October 14, 2016, 7:55 pm

        Natalie: I understand why you feel good about govt. unions. I am a strong supporter of unions in private industry and hope they make a come-back. FDR correctly opposed collective bargaining in govt. because he understood that non-elected union leaders would dictate policy. I hope that you get a reasonable pension, but per a comprehensive study by the Hoover Institute(May 2016), it is expected that most govt. pension plans in the U.S., but especially in Illinois and Ca., will be unable to pay full pensions in just eight years, give or take. And it will be downhill from there. If ts too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.

  • Kevin Saunders October 14, 2016, 7:12 pm

    Royal… Have we ever met before ol timer?

    I’m actually running on Rent Control, Bodycams for Marina PD and bringing a downtown to Marina.

    To simplify my life and advocacy to ‘only MMJ’ and ‘creating a fuss’
    was kinda rude and not accurate.

    Look for a surprise win on Nov 8th.

    Again, have we even met before?

    Kevin Saunders

  • Kevin Saunders October 14, 2016, 7:27 pm

    One more thing.

    It says under your masthead for The Monterey Bay Partisan this Royal….

    A Fair Shake For Everyone

    Hmmm? Did I get a ‘fair shake’ Royal? No interview from you or from The MC Weekly. The ONLY candidate not to..

    What say you Mr Caulkins????

    • Royal Calkins October 14, 2016, 11:33 pm

      There’s no U in Calkins, Kevin. Good luck with your campaign.

  • Amy L. White October 14, 2016, 7:34 pm

    Great suggestions, Royal. I only disagree with Bill Kampe for mayor of Pacific Grove. I interacted with him on serious issues when I was the Executive Director of LandWatch. He’s fought against the Pebble Beach affordable housing project and, as a member of FORA, he’s been very reluctant to take a stand on Monterey Downs. I could be wrong about his current stance on Monterey Downs, but in the past, I lobbied him on various issues regarding Monterey Downs. He seems to prefer the safer “wait and see” approach. It was disappointing. I don’t know Dan Miller, but I have lots of friends in PG that I’ll encourage to examine Mr. Miller’s potential.

    • Jane Haines October 14, 2016, 9:32 pm

      Amy, my experience with Kampe at FORA differs from yours. I found him very helpful in getting the FORA appeal fee lowered from over $4,000 to below $1,000, and although I’m sure you’re right that he didn’t jump into opposing Monterey Downs, I’m also sure he didn’t jump into supporting it either. He’s cautious to the extreme. I talked with him for over an hour on the Cal Am water supply issues and to my surprise, I modified my own views as a result. I hope that before you advocate for Kampe, you’ll speak with your PG friends associated with the Aquarium. Also, if you get a chance to listen to a PG council meeting on Channel 25, please do. The contrast between Kampe and Miller is stark. BTW, what grade are you teaching, where and how’s it going?

      • Jane Haines October 14, 2016, 9:35 pm

        I meant to say, I hope that before you advocate AGAINST Kampe — I realize that you are critical of him.

      • Dan Miller October 14, 2016, 9:42 pm

        Better yet take a look at the candidates forum which you can see at the AMP website. Kampe, at council meetings is a lot like what Mr. Hoff describes about Mr. Gunter. That appeal fee lowering sure helped the taxpayers of PG. How could you not jump into being against Monterey Downs? He did jump at using $600,000 of taxpayer money to fight a taxpayer initiative and keep it off the ballot. Always nice to fight a citizen’s initiative with their own money. I’m sure they all agreed that they didn’t want it on the ballot since all it did was get the cost of CalPers under control. As a result we owe CalPers over $120 million. As far as the Aquarium I’m sure Ms. Haines is alluding to my support of putting measure P on the ballot for the people of Pacific Grove to decide the issue. Kampe was against it, then for it saying the city couldn’t survive without it, then was against it. I guess the Aquarium people will tell you that I don’t do what they want, but then the Mayor shouldn’t be representing them.

    • Royal Calkins October 14, 2016, 11:34 pm

      Amy, I share your concerns about Bill Kampe but Dan has had plenty of opportunity to demonstrate his potential.

    • Luke Coletti October 15, 2016, 7:56 am

      Yes, Amy, one of the biggest lies ever told in PG politics is that Bill Kampe is an environmentalist. Instead, Kampe sees any potential for revenue as being worthy of pursuit, no matter how wacky the proposal, e.g., a city wide fiberoptic network distributed through our sewer system! Needless to say the project took up a lot of staff and council time but went nowhere. Speaking of going nowhere, the ill-fated Project Bella hotel, that could only be realized by defying the State ordered cease and desist order, indicates to me that he and his supporters are willing to defy environmental concerns so long as there’s an opportunity to cash in. I’ll be supporting Dan Miller for mayor. Pacific Grove needs common sense leadership, not technocrat spin that sounds good (according to Jane Haines) but in reality leads nowhere.

  • Carmelita Garcia October 14, 2016, 8:52 pm

    Thank you Amy for your comments regarding Dan Miller. He will make a great Mayor and Dan has always had the best interest of the voters and residents of Pacific Grove in all of his dealings as a council member. Unlike Kampe, Dan is a SUPER HERO when it comes to transparency. Ask Dan any question and he will answer it. Unlike Kampe who recently declined to answer the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce Candidates Survey.

  • Jack Hoff October 14, 2016, 9:17 pm

    Anybody who thinks Salinas City Council meetings are well run must not have seen any since the Donohue Era! Joe Gunter rolls his eyes, interrupts speakers, rolls his eyes, verbally attacks those who dared to disagree with him, rolls his eyes, attacks a councilmember he dislikes, rolls his eyebrows, lets Kimbley Craig boss him around and interrupt a councilmember she dislikes, rolls his eyes, cuts off some speakers at two minutes but lets his friends continue longer, rolls his eyes, and generally blunder through meeting after meeting, a walking talking Brown Act violation. He is seldom in control of meetings. He looks bored, and probably is.

    Salinas will be the better off as soon as there is a mayor who knows how to run meetings.

    Did I say he rolls his eyes?

  • bill leone October 15, 2016, 12:29 am

    What gibberish! Anyone who attacks unions & collective bargaining as the source of all economic evil must be stoned on “Trickle Down,” Voodoo Reaganomics, & overlooking the millions of dollars the cigarette industry, oil industry & drug industry are spending to defeat or support their respective measures &/or counter-measures on this November’s ballot. Moreover, there are individuals, like the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, & other Fat Cats who are spending hundreds of millions of dollars of their personal fortunes to influence elections across the US, & You are demonizing unions & collective bargaining…..incredible. Unions & collective bargaining represent the Voice of the Middle & Working Class. The cigarette industry, oil industry, drug industry, the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, et al, are representatives of death, deceit & destruction. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    • john m. moore October 15, 2016, 12:59 pm

      Bill Leone. Read what I wrote. I did not state that unions and collective bargaining are the source of ALL economic evil as you said. It happens to be the area of Ca. governance that I study and write about. Also, like FDR, my argument is that collective bargaining in govt. about salaries and benefits is destructive and the federal govt. discontinued the practice in 1986. Since the time collective bargaining by govt. workers was legalized in Ca., cities and counties are insolvent. Every salary increase creates a corresponding pension liability several times the amount of the salary increase. But the liability does not show up as a budget expense so it is non-existent to council members.

      Last year eight firemen in the Richmond fire district collected over $400,000 each. They will receive a 90% of salary pension. This example is common place(Look up the pension of the recently retired city manager of Monterey, six figures several times).

      The important point is that the academic liberal experts about Ca. govt. pensions have shown that mathematically, over ninety per cent of the pension systems in Ca. cities and counties will be insolvent within a decade(Monterey county has a $1.3B pension deficit using fair market cost. Did you know that. It will double in nine years no matter what and then double again).

      If the best you can do, is accuse an objective citizen who is trying to protect govt. employees pensions, of using drugs and immorality as you have, maybe you should become more knowledgeable.

  • Frank Lambert October 15, 2016, 7:00 am

    Royal, In Marina, Frank O’Connell and Gail Morton are two of the best Council members you can ask for, in serving the people in our community. Also, a Yes vote for Measures U, V, X, & Z

    • Royal Calkins October 15, 2016, 2:46 pm

      You’re absolutely right about O’Connell and Morton. Didn’t get into them because they have no opposition. Measure Z is on my endorsement list as well.

      • Frank Lambert October 15, 2016, 10:23 pm

        Thanks, Royal! Yes, they have no opposition but it’s a tribute in recognition of their wisdom and understanding of the issues of the day in making sound decisions and likewise casting their vote for the common good of the community. And we hope the four Measures pass as well.

  • Ed Mitchell October 15, 2016, 11:15 am

    Gunter in Salinas is for fracking. That’s one think that folks should consider in the many TV ads where Gunter is against banning fracking. He wants to allow it. He also was party to comments about the City of Salinas losing tax income from San Ardo. That is completely wrong. It gets none now. He knows it but is willing to mislead the public. That is not the type of mayor Salinas deserves. Want to see how Salinas would be hurt by fracking? Do a little research on the internet about traffic problems and increased accidents when fracking expands into counties. Imagine a thousand more heavy trucks on Hwy-101 competing with residents and Ag trucks.

    Meanwhile Amit Pandya demonstrated to me during the recent candidates’ forum that he’s researched the fracking issue’s pro and cons, leading him to support a ban on fracking. If I could I’d vote for Pandya and not someone misleading the public.

    • Luana Conley October 15, 2016, 12:30 pm

      Salinas Mayoral Candidate Amit Pandya is very well informed, with engaging communications skills, supports YES on Z, and appears to be very compassionate towards city residents most in need. Patrons of his business are pleased, and your comment “has a somewhat sketchy reputation in business circles” could be a considered a compliment in Salinas. Ask Pandya about why massive vacancies continue to blight S. Main St., or how he’d stop the alarming hemorrhaging of city funds to crony consultants’ contracts. Maybe that’s where a couple cop salaries could come from, and maybe a porta-potty or two for the homeless, rather than continue with the current mayor’s efforts to criminalize bodily functions on behalf of those “business circles.”
      Contreras is funded by Big Ag, the district is largely farmworkers. That’s a no-go. I suggest everyone read this revealing interview with Chris Hedges and learn more about Jose Casteñeda and the forces aligned against his cause.
      http://www.alternet.org/investigations/chris-hedges-how-one-city-revolting-against-corporate-takeover

    • Eric Petersen October 15, 2016, 8:02 pm

      It is always good to be able to agree with Ed, it means that I’m right!

      Two additional points:
      1. I’m still stinging from two times he attacked me verbally because I dared to disagree with him, including once when he disclosed my home address (City Council meetings are broadcast to the public over community television).
      2. It is mostly irrelevant, but information about fracking permits is available on the Monterey County Planning Depaertment web site. And, why spend a lot of money to get a permit to frack then not use the permit?

      • Eric Petersen October 15, 2016, 8:04 pm

        Oops, by “he” I meant Mayor Gunter, who has the habir of verbally attacking people who disagree with him.

  • Christina Lund October 15, 2016, 11:51 am

    Thank you Mr. Calkins. Your voting recommendations are just right– experienced, thoughtful and to the point.

  • bill leone October 15, 2016, 8:17 pm

    John m. Moore, no you did Not write exactly that: unions & collective bargaining were the source of All economic evil, but you Did write:
    “Since collective bargaining by govt. employees in Ca., it has gone from best to worst in every aspect of family life except for govt. employee families.. The unfunded pension liability for all state and local agencies exceeds a trillion dollars, compounds annually and is irretrievably under water.”

    That is Not, in my humble opinion, a ringing endorsement of unions & collective bargaining.

    Perhaps you have not noticed in your extensive “study” of government unions & collective bargaining by government unions, that many wealthy individuals, like The Donald, & corporations that realize tens of billions of dollars in profits, do not pay Any taxes. Or that these same obscenely wealthy individuals & corporations spend vast sums of money to influence lobbyists & legislation to benefit themselves, at the expense of the Middle & Working Class; the same people who belong to unions (in the government & the private sector), & that workers who have Union jobs usually have better pay, better benefits & are treated with greater respect, are not abused or exploited by their employers (including the government), & are not intimidated into meeting unreasonable expectations by their supervisors, managers or administrators. And perhaps you didn’t notice, in 2007 those non-union Wall Street Bankers & Financiers who managed to pull off a single-handed Great Recession, which would’ve led to Another Great Depression, if the Public did not bail them out. Moreover, was it the unions & collective bargainers who caused the Great Depression of 1929? Or was it the Robber Barons & Wall Street fraudsters who created an economic depression that lasted for over 10 years, until it was bailed out by the……tax paying
    Public.

    Have You ever been a union member Mr Moore, or do you just “study & write” about them?

  • bill leone October 16, 2016, 10:26 am

    Those Partisan readers who might go so far as to actually Believe the nonsense statement that inferred FDR was apposed to Public Sector unions & collective bargaining by employees of federal,
    state, or local government, should be obliged to set the record straight by reading the following article.
    In summary: the usual Right-Wing-Rant that FDR held this position is only partially true.
    FDR believed Public Employees had the right to belong in unions & participate in collective bargaining; however, he was against Public Employees going on strike, thereby shutting the government down (as Republicans have recently done), since he believed the government IS the Public.

    Here is the article:
    http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2013/aug/13/scott-walker/Did-FDR-oppose-collective-bargaining-for-governmen/

    We’ve had Enough of Right Wing Double Talk & Deceit. The Donald Trumps of the world & obscenely profiteering corporations are perfectly capable of manipulating the truth & lying for themselves as their propaganda clearly demonstrates; they don’t need lawyers lying for them.

  • Jane Haines October 16, 2016, 11:59 am

    Mr. Leone, I appreciate you posting the Politifact article. I learned by reading it, as I have from your dispute with John Moore. In both cases however, I regret to read such name-calling as “Right Wing Double Talk & Deceit” and “Pacific Grove’s city government is dominated by its attorney and Kampe.”
    My main purpose in making this comment is to recommend you (Bill Leone) check out John Moore’s credibility at http://www.martindale.com/John-Merton-Moore/201812-lawyer.htm. It shows Mr. Moore’s Martindate Hubbel rating. Martingale Hubbel is a respected rating source by attorneys. Not many attorneys receive a perfect 5.0 rating from their peers as Moore does. I read the article you posted the link to, I learned from it. So I also want to thank you for posting it. I just wish you’d engage in constructive dialogue with Mr. Moore, because I would learn even more.

  • bill leone October 16, 2016, 4:06 pm

    Ms. Haines, I humbly apologize if my NYC, Brooklyn Bluster offended you. However, I must insist that Mr. Moore’s point(s) about unions are no less nonsensical or offensive in themselves. Moreover,
    I will concede Mr. Moore has won high acclaim in practicing law; however, that has does not give him a free pass to write gibberish about California politics. Ben Carson is a pre-eminent surgeon, & his rise from abject poverty, as an African American is no less than astonishing, but that does not stop him from making a Fool of himself on Fox News.
    I am curious about what exactly you learned from reading the article I posted.

    • Jane Haines October 16, 2016, 6:44 pm

      Mr. Leone, I learned from Politifact that the current head of the National Federation of Federal Employees agrees with Mr. Moore, i.e., he says FDR believed there should be no right to federal bargaining over wages and benefits. I learned from your reply that I don’t wish to continue discuss this with you further.

  • Willard McCrone October 17, 2016, 12:46 pm

    Royal, you hit the nail on the head with your endorsement of Libby Downey and Alan Haffa. Both are hard workers who are willing to devote the time to research and study the issues coming before them. At stake in this Council election is whether the public will be served by forging ahead with the remarkable new policies enacted for Wharf Leases last April, or whether the good ole boys on the Wharf will be able to return things to the wholesale subsidy of wealthy private operators on the Wharf. Dan Albert is a nice fellow, but will be a tool of the Wharf Lords like Ed Smith. He would make a majority that would bury the public ripoff for another 30 years, while the rich get richer on the taxpayer’s dollar. Haffa and Downey will complete the new policies with leases that would forever change the subsidy culture on the Wharf.

    Let’s return them to office to complete the job.