The Candidates, The Issues
Thursday, June 3, 1999
Three candidates are actively vying to fill the vacant Seaside City Council seat left by the December resignation of Helen Rucker.
&bul; Steve Bloomer, a 36-year Seaside resident, was a city planning commissioner from 1992 to 1996. A veteran of numerous community committees and organizations, Bloomer met Mayor Jerry Smith years ago when the pair both served on a Stop the Violence task force. Bloomer says Smith and his supporters encouraged him to run-- "What they essentially said was please run"--but Smith says he encouraged all the candidates to participate in the process. Bloomer''s campaign manager, Brian Pratt, also represented Smith in the November election that ousted Don Jordan. Councilman Tom Mancini has been vocal in his support for Bloomer, who is the manager of planning services for the Pebble Beach Co. and who ran unsuccessfully for council in 1992.
His platform: Bloomer identifies hiring a city manager as the most important issue facing Seaside, with economic development as the second. Bloomer says his experience in community planning will aid Seaside''s developmental efforts and he will work to obtain a government grant-writer who can get the city funds.
What he''d bring to the council: "I would listen closely to what each and every individual is saying. Remove all the adjectives, etc., and try to listen closely to what the person is saying. Take that and promote that...I would like to see us work closer together, have a little give and take."
His money: Bloomer has raised more money than his opponents. According to campaign disclosure statements filed May 27, Bloomer has raised $3,382, including $500 from developer Nader Agha, $500 from developer Don Orosco''s construction company, and $300 from individual contributors, including $100 from his wife and $200 from Sheila Dickson, a nurse at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.
Who''s for him: Mancini says, "I think that with his emphasis on economic development, his experience as a planning commissioner, his experience with the Stop the Violence Task Force and all those other things, he brings a depth of knowledge with him...I think he''s probably of all the candidates--in spite of Lance''s experience as mayor--the one who brings the experience that is needed."
What others say: "Steve Bloomer''s ideas and theories are certainly in line with my vision for the city," says Mayor Smith, who nonetheless adds he isn''t endorsing any candidate for the election. "At this point, I don''t think any of the council should be endorsing one over the other. It could only hurt the unity of the council."
&bul; Luther Hert has lived in Seaside for 26 years, the same number of years he''s worked for the Monterey County Sheriff''s Department, where he''s now a deputy sheriff. Hert is a newcomer to Seaside politics who has nonetheless drawn up a surprising base of support. Lisa Mitchell, an educator who originally filed to run in the special election but who later withdrew (although her name will still appear on the ballot) has thrown her support to Hert. Former mayor Jordan and former city manager Tim Brown have Hert''s campaign signs in their front yards, and Rucker counts herself among his supporters, as well. Choates, the sitting councilman, also supports Hert.
Hert, however, doesn''t align himself with any of his supporters.
"(They) aren''t getting involved in my campaign," he says. "All I''m taking is the votes. I''m serious."
His platform: "It all begins with safety," is Hert''s mantra. He supports a larger police force, quality housing developments, economic development, more jobs and special program for youth and seniors. But those things won''t happen, Hert says, until the community is safe.
What he''d bring: "I''ve got a lot to offer with my background (in public safety)," he says. "I do a lot of what we would call municipal planning in the city, I do that for the county. I hope to bring those skills to the city...I''m going to vote for what''s best for the city of Seaside."
His money: $1,794.91 total, including filings listed on May 27. Support includes $250 from the Peace Officer Research Association, which endorsed Hert, and $574.50 in contributions of less than $100.
Who''s for him: Councilman Darryl Choates says, "I''m going with someone who has the experience, and that''s Luther Hert. He has the law enforcement experience, he understands our general plan and how important it is to develop Seaside. He has the experience and admiration from people. This guy should be city manager."
Former mayor Don Jordan: "He''s an individual that''s committed to Seaside, but he''s not committed because of politics. He has the best desire to serve the community."
The Peace Officer Research Association, the Monterey County Realtors Association, the Monterey General Labor Council, Operation Engineers No. 3, the Mexican American Political Association and the California Legislative Black Caucus have endorsed Hert.
&bul; Lance McClair, hands down, is the candidate most familiar with Seaside--and should be the one most familiar to Seaside voters. He was the city''s longest tenured mayor, serving from 1982 to 1994 (when he was, incidentally, ousted by Jordan in an election upset). But he''s also a candidate who comes with a lot of baggage. McClair''s mayoral tenure was marked by highs, such as a successful fight to create a fourth supervisorial district to represent Seaside and Marina, the addition of three auto dealerships to the city''s auto mall and the construction of the Embassy Suites hotel, an eyesore to many, but also a venture that brings significant income to the city each year in transient occupancy taxes (TOT), a tax levied on hotel rooms. But his time as the city''s honcho was also tainted by terrible lows. He was the first politician in the state brought up on charges that he''d violated the state''s open meeting law, the Brown Act, but the charges were later dropped when a jury failed to reach a verdict. He was also fined by the state Fair Political Practices Committee for late filing of campaign finances and a series of sexual harassment charges were directed at the appointed interim city manager during his final term in office.
"I did make mistakes," McClair says now, "but also recognize that I did a lot of good things for the city."
His platform: McClair defines stability and building up city administration as the most important issues facing Seaside. He supports stronger representation for local developers, jobs and affordable housing, and a separate police and fire department.
What he''d bring: "Since I''ve been out of office, nothing has been accomplished," he says. "City management is in disarray, morale is down, nothing''s been dug up in terms of economic development. I have an excellent track record if that is what the voters want."
His money: $950, including $450 donated during the filing period that closed May 27. His largest contributors include Helen Plumnor, an employee at Round Table Pizza, and Andrew''s Printing, which donated $100 this last filing period.
Who''s for him: The Seaside Steering Committee endorsed McClair because "he has more experience as past mayor and council member. He would best serve the people of Seaside. He would work well with the mayor and council with his expertise in city, council, and state political affairs."