Posted by: Lisa Pampuch | October 12, 2010

For county offices, vote Wasserman and Escoto

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” ~Plato

When it comes to two county races, the right choices are obvious and important.

For District 1’s seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, I’m voting for Mike Wasserman. Although Wasserman wasn’t my first choice — in the primary, I voted for Teresa Alvarado — he’s clearly superior to the other option, former San Jose city councilman Forrest Williams. The concerns I have about Williams that I cited in my column ahead of the June primary are just as  relevant ahead of the general election:

“Williams, the longtime San Jose city councilman, has shown himself to be no friend of taxpayers in general and of South County residents in particular.

“Here’s what Williams told the Santa Clara County Peace Officers Association recently, when asked to explain his labor relations philosophy: “Number one, the employees are number one for me.” That ought to strike fear in the heart of every taxpayer; after all, aren’t constituents supposed to be elected officials’ top priority? In this economy in which out-of-control public employee compensation packages — especially pensions — threaten to bankrupt communities, I wonder what constituent-serving programs Williams would cut or taxes he’d raise to keep his top priority happy.

“In his interview with the Times’ editorial board, Williams defended South County’s shameful under-representation on the Coyote Valley Specific Plan task force; he was not at all concerned, for example, that Gavilan Community College, within whose attendance boundaries Coyote Valley sits, did not have a seat on that task force.”

Wasserman has an solid history of balancing budgets and earning constituent trust in Los Gatos. As a businessman and a elected local government official, he understands the importance making difficult decisions with limited resources. He also understands that government can help or hinder business, and that in this economy, more than ever, it’s important that government do the former, not the latter.

For District 7’s seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Education, I’m voting for Adam Escoto. He’s facing Cy Mann, who currently occupies a seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District board to which he was appointed. Morgan Hill Unified School District trustee Julia Hover-Smoot’s name also appears on the ballot, although she has withdrawn from the race and has endorsed Escoto. Escoto has also been endorsed by Jane Howard, the current District 7 trustee.

Mann’s service as an appointed water district trustee has been less than stellar, to say the least. Whenever I hear the name Cy Mann, I think of three things: 1) His support for a self-serving redistricting plan that, had it been adopted, would have split South County into two districts (however, Gilroy and Palo Alto would have been in the same district) but that would have prevented Mann from facing Don Gage for his water district seat in this election; 2) His habit of paying his water bills late for eight years; 3) His decision to spend $829 of taxpayer funds on an iPad. Moreover, Mann seems to have no particular experience in, passion about, or affinity for the important business of educating our children in public schools.

Escoto, on the other hand, has worked in public education for more than two decades. A longtime Morgan Hill resident, Escoto just retired from an assistant superintendent role in the Ravenswood City School District in East Palo Alto. He has also worked as an assistant principal and a principal. As a principal, he helped Horace Mann Elementary School improve its test scores and leave No Child Left Behind’s Performance Improvement status. Escoto knows what works in classrooms, he knows South County, and he’ll work to ensure that the Santa Clara County Board of Education helps our local schools achieve those goals.

For two county races — Board of Supervisors and Board of Education — you can choose between inferior and superior candidates. Make superior choices. On Nov. 2, vote for Mike Wasserman for District 1’s seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors and Adam Escoto for District 7’s seat on the Santa Clara County Board of Education.

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