Last year, on election day, we saw the culmination of the most rancorous presidential election in living memory. Today’s election will be absolutely nothing like the one in 2016. Except in one way. It matters.
Too many consider odd-year elections unimportant; only 22.3 percent voted in 2015, only 22.9 percent in 2013. We won’t elect a president, senator or representative, but in ways that actually matter to your life these elections are more significant.
There are races for the Modesto city council, the Stanislaus County Office of Education, Modesto City Schools and five other school districts. There are initiatives to continue a miniscule yet hugely important library tax and a request to tax marijuana in Modesto.
The Bee didn’t make recommendations in every race; we rarely do. Often, there was no need. Tom Orvis ran unopposed and will bring a calming voice (we hope) to the incredibly contentious Oakdale Irrigation District board. Turlock ID is the polar opposite. The terms of three board members are up, but no one challenged Ron Macedo, Joe Alamo or Charles Fernandes.
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Cindy Marks and Chad Brown will continue providing stability and thoughtful input for Modesto City Schools. Two other seats are being contested by three candidates each, so there will be change.
The Bee recommends:
Yes on Measure S – This continues the 22-year-old eighth-cent library tax and, by extension, continues our 13-branch library’s tradition of excellence. It costs so little; does so much.
Yes on Measure T – Modesto is asking voters for authority to tax the marijuana businesses, from growing to production to sales. This permission is absolutely necessary if the city is to align its taxes, fees and regulations with other cities and Stanislaus County. It should be a no-brainer.
Modesto City Council, District 2: Homero Mejia is community activist, director of a non-profit deeply involved with finding a solution for homelessness and a faith leader. Though a political newcomer, we consider him more qualified than incumbent Tony Madrigal and capable of better representing the people of south Modesto.
Modesto City Council, District 4: Bill Zoslocki has developed a reputation for integrity and for making careful, well-considered decisions. He’s running against a political neophyte whose ideas seem to be taken mainly from internet searches.
Modesto City Council, District 5: Jenny Kenoyer can be cantankerous but she is also fearless, perhaps a privilege of age (she’s 82). We don’t always agree with her (or any elected representative), but we always know where she stands. Her opponent moved out of a district he was elected to represent in Tuolumne County some years ago and as of last month had never attended a city council meeting.
Modesto Irrigation District – Jake Wenger has shown the dedication, intelligence and determination to protect our region’s most precious asset, our 135-year-old rights to use a portion of the Tuolumne River. Challenger Stu Gilman is righteously angry over the district’s treatment of electricity ratepayers – an anger we share. But Wenger is better suited for this job – not because he’s a farmer, but because he will best defend those crucial water rights. Then he must be prepared to explain why farmers absolutely must pay more to use it.
Too few voters take part in odd-year elections. We hope this year is the exception. Because it matters.