Terry Withrow has been doing a good job as the District 3 representative on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. We see no reason anyone would want to make a change.
In fact, were not exactly sure why his opponent, Scott Calkins, is running since they appear to agree on so many of the countys most significant issues. When they met with The Modesto Bees editorial board, Calkins prefaced answers to several questions with, Im going to sound like my opponent, but
• Both know the value of surface and groundwater to our communities and vow to protect it.
• Both are unequivocal in their support of Wood Colony and its battle to stay out of Modesto.
• Both agree Salida the largest unincorporated population center in the county should decide its own fate, allowing residents to choose whether they want to become part of Modesto.
• Both are likely to support a transportation sales-tax initiative, though they differed on priorities. Both agreed we need other forms of transportation to get goods and people in and out of the region; both want to ensure that jobs, not more houses, are the priority for the old Crows Landing Naval Air Station; and both feel ag will continue to be the top job-generator in the county.
• They even agree on Calkins overriding issue keeping development off Highway 132.
The only significant difference is Calkins who lives roughly a block from Highway 132 would altogether halt the states highway improvement project. Still, he insists he is not a one-issue candidate. But his stances on the other issues were so similar to Withrows that there appears to be little to separate the two.
Calkins told The Bee he wants to provide a fresh perspective, but we dont see how it will be any fresher than the perspective Withrow already provides.
On the issue of Highway 132, we prefer Withrows approach. He sees an improved corridor as safer, crucial to moving people and products and unlikely to be the scene of additional development since he worked to get two significant parcels perpetually preserved as ag land.
Withrow offers other positives. He is already a leader on what we consider a strong Board of Supervisors.
When board chairman Jim DeMartini expressed his disdain for the process of developing sustainable groundwater rules, Withrow stepped in to represent the board. The committee has 19 members, many with deeply opposing needs and objectives, yet it appears to be staying on task. Only the presence of consensus builders such as Withrow makes that possible.
When it comes to transportation, Withrow says Stanislaus must become a self-help county meaning voters must pass a sales-tax initiative. If anyone has the ability to help the county reach consensus on the tax, its Withrow.
As a partner in an accounting firm, Withrow knows how to look at numbers, giving the board an incredibly important dimension.
Calkins is a teacher and a sincere candidate. His voice could be beneficial but not at the expense of losing Withrows expertise, vision and ability to create partnerships across the county and throughout the state.