SLY: Lopez, Monteith running for supervisor

July 6, 2013 

The 2013 election is still four months away, but the games are under way for 2014.

Dave Lopez announced he is running for Stanislaus County supervisor, which comes as a surprise to almost no one. Lopez considered an Assembly run shortly after he was re-elected to the Modesto City Council, but advisers told him that wouldn't go over well with supporters.

Meanwhile, Dick Monteith's camp sent out a press release Tuesday saying he was running for re-election, which was even less a surprise since in January he filed the notice of his intent to run.

The press release quotes Monteith: "I want to thank the people of Stanislaus County for giving me the honor to serve them for the past 3½ years ..." Let's see, Monteith is 2½ years into his current term and has served as a supervisor for 6½ years. Does that mean Monteith has been honored only half the time? No, he's liked it all, insisted spokesman Lee Neves, who never quite understood my question about the calendar math.

Monteith's announcement did take a little dig at Lopez: "We need a strong voice for fiscal responsibility and cooperative problem solving to move our county forward. It's not about the next step of a political career. ..."

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Be prepared to be accosted by people seeking your signature on initiatives. There are eight in circulation already, all aimed at the 2014 ballot. The proposed California Welfare Reform Act would prohibit young moms (under 18) from applying for public social services for their child. Another provision states that "both parents shall be ineligible to apply for public social services on behalf of another child or children born within the first five years after the last public benefit payment."

Should we discourage women from having children while on welfare? Probably. But this initiative is punitive beyond belief.

Another initiative would amend the state constitution to allow Bible-quoting people to say almost anything against sex, drugs, gays and 49 other subjects. The long list includes homosexuality expressed at least three different ways and astrology, yoga, cohabitation, other religions and against "coarse jesting" — a New Testament reference to obscenity.

This protection against hate crime charges would extend to schools and all public places and would only apply to those who claim Jesus Christ is Lord. In other words, expand free speech for zealous Christians only.

These two examples underscore why you should read the full initiative before signing any petitions. And since you probably don't want to do that when you're trying to get in or out of the store, just say no.

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Farmer Michael Eggman, formerly from Turlock and now from Kingsburg, who is running for the 10th Congressional seat in 2014, has collected more $115,000 as of June 30, according to his campaign. "The average contribution amount was under $400 with over 268 contributions under $250 — a reflection of the focus on grassroots donors," his campaign wrote.

The Federal Election Commission website shows Republican incumbent Jeff Denham with substantially more — $324,000 cash on hand at the end of March. The report for the second quarter is due July 15.

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The No. 1 sin of politicians? Well, incompetence and corruption are bad, but hypocrisy might top them both. In that vein, the National Journal did a story in late June that zeroed in on many members of Congress who are collecting public pensions at the same time they are earning salaries as senators or representatives. There are several examples from Northern California — Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, Rep. John Garamendi and Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, whose district includes our part of the Mother Lode and Sierra.

The article concluded: "... McClintock, a California Republican and a tea-party- style conservative long before the term existed, has railed against a bloated public sector — and the looming pension crisis in his home state — for years. Yet when he arrived in Congress in 2009, he began collecting two taxpayer-supported state pensions, worth $9,579 in 2012. Why didn't he pass on them? 'You'd have to take up that question with Mrs. McClintock,' he says."

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Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, husband Rod and their children have moved to Riverbank, which will make her R-Riverbank for future references in The Bee.

Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O'Neals, has been appointed to the Select Committee on Renewable Energy Economy in Rural California for the 2013-2014 legislative session. He also recently was elected chair of the Legislative Rural Caucus, replacing Olsen.

Sly is editor of the Opinions pages. Contact: jsly@modbee.com or (209) 578-2317 or on Twitter @judysly.

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