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Outgoing Stanislaus County supervisor leaving California for a nearby tax-free state

Supervisor Jim DeMartini (left) gives the State of the County address Tuesday morning February 6, 2018 at the beginning of the Board of Supervisors meeting in the basement chambers of Tenth Street Place in downtown Modesto, Calif. Also pictured is John P. Doering, county counsel and supervisor Vito Chiesa (right).
Supervisor Jim DeMartini (left) gives the State of the County address Tuesday morning February 6, 2018 at the beginning of the Board of Supervisors meeting in the basement chambers of Tenth Street Place in downtown Modesto, Calif. Also pictured is John P. Doering, county counsel and supervisor Vito Chiesa (right). Amy Vickery/ Stanislaus County

Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini is making it clear he won’t seek a fifth term in office.

Though he will serve out his 16th year on the Board of Supervisors next year, DeMartini and his wife Anne already have taken steps in moving to the “no-income-tax state” of Nevada. Residents of the Silver State pay the IRS but no state tax on income.

“I have had it with California,” said DeMartini, who was Stanislaus County’s Republican Central Committee chairman for 20 years. “It’s the hostile business climate, the politics and high taxes.”

The four-term supervisor and farmer has purchased a five-acre spread near Reno. In November, his 1,100 acres of farmland between Ceres and Patterson were sold and proceeds were used to buy commercial and industrial property in Nevada. A new garage is planned for his collection of 31 classic and vintage cars, he assured.

Former state Sen. Anthony Cannella recently announced that he will run for the District 5 seat in the March primary.

DeMartini, 65, was one of two candidates who unseated incumbents in 2004, following a scandal that toppled former county Chief Executive Officer Reagan Wilson. He often faced challengers when his supervisorial seat came up for election every four years. The district includes most of Ceres, as well as Newman and Patterson in western Stanislaus County.

During his 15 years of service, DeMartini was a sharp-tongued opponent of West Park before the county pulled the plug on the ambitious project in 2012. He was for small government and sound management of the county employee pension fund, and liked the ceremonial duties when taking a turn as board chairman.

More recently, legal cannabis was one of the irritants that brought out his plainspoken nature.

“I hate dealing with it,” DeMartini said. “We are trying to regulate some of these businesses. I am not going to miss dealing with marijuana at all.”

DeMartini serves on the Airport Advisory Committee, Agricultural Advisory Board, retirement board and Local Agency Formation Commission, among other assignments. His ideas helped shape the agricultural element of the county General Plan. In addition, he wrote a scrap metal ordinance and created health care task forces for West Side communities.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Terry Withrow said Friday that he admires his colleague’s dedication to what is officially a part-time position. DeMartini attends many events in his district, from fire district functions to municipal advisory committees to city council meetings.

“He is probably one of the hardest workers on the board,” Withrow said. “He puts in a ton of hours. He attends everything that is going on in his district.”

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