Politics & Government

Second candidate enters race to succeed Olsen on Stanislaus Board of Supervisors

Waterford Mayor Mike Van Winkle announced he will run for the District 1 seat on the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors.

Van Winkle is the second candidate to emerge since Monday’s announcement that former state Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen won’t seek a second term as a county supervisor. Modesto Councilman Bill Zoslocki declared he was a candidate within hours of Olsen’s statement, which apparently signaled the end of her 15-year political career.

Olsen, who represents the Oakdale-Riverbank area for the county, said she will complete the remaining 18 months of her term. Supervisors Vito Chiesa, representing Turlock-Hughson, and Jim DeMartini, serving the West Side and most of Ceres, also come up for election in the March primary, with a possible runoff set for November 2020.

Van Winkle has been Waterford’s mayor for 4 1/2 years and previously was a councilman for six years. He serves as chairman of the Local Agency Formation Commission and a member of the Stanislaus Council of Governments.

The mayor takes credit for his work in bringing businesses to Waterford and for construction of a new police station, fire station and City Hall. Another project was Waterford’s purchase of a water system from Modesto to spur business activity.

“I feel it’s time to take my knowledge and experience to the next level and run for county supervisor in District 1,” Van Winkle said in a prepared statement.

Among the many challenges facing the county are providing safe drinking water for residents and ample irrigation water for farms, he said.

Van Winkle said that two priorities as the District 1 supervisor would be fighting a state plan for higher river flows that would reduce deliveries to farmers. He also promised to support business opportunities to create better-paying jobs for residents.

“We must support our public safety so we can keep our homes and streets safe,” Van Winkle said. “We also have a growing homelessness problem that must be solved.”

Zoslocki, a Modesto councilman for five years, said he would remain vigilant about the State Water Resources Control Board and their “antics to redirect water” from local communities. To fend off what was called the state “water grab” last year, Modesto and the county supported an agreement, negotiated between Modesto Irrigation District and state agencies, to provide more Tuolumne River water for environmental purposes in the San Joaquin-Sacramento River delta with fewer economic impacts on agriculture and cities in the county.

“That created a lot of hope that we can get somewhere with the state,” Zoslocki said. “As we have seen that has been challenged.”

Zoslocki said he would also continue with efforts to use Measure L transportation tax funds as seed money for winning large grants from federal and state sources. He ticked off a list of applications, with coordinated support from local leaders, that resulted in a billion dollars for the Highway 132 realignment, North County Corridor, rail connections and roads.

“We have a lot of failing bridges, a lot of challenges in fixing our roads, and Measure L has given us a way to secure money from the state and federal government for our efforts,” Zoslocki said.

“We spent multiple times at the state capital talking to the California Transportation Commission people and we have had some serious success,” Zoslocki said. “One of our tasks is making sure we have delivery of freight from our county, and we need to fix some of the transportation gridlock so people have access and are not stuck on roads for three hours at a time.”

As for the county’s homeless crisis, Zoslocki said he has real-world experience in building affordable housing apartments to house people at competitive rents. He worked for nine years in a homeless ministry that helps people work through the challenges of homelessness and rebuilding their lives, he added.