Squid Fry for Nov 29, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Governor’s Pick… Supervisor Jerry Smith died last weekend after battling cancer. During his career in public office – as mayor of Seaside and then as Monterey County supervisor – he frequently appeared in Squid’s column. Squid will miss Smith.
For several months, Smith had been too sick to attend board meetings. So instead of the usual five elected officials, the board often was a four-member panel. It’s gonna be strange to see someone else sitting in Smith’s District 4 seat – Squid wonders how long it will take Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to fill the post.
According to the governor’s appointment secretary John Cruz, anyone may fill out an online application (gov.ca.gov/), and the governor has until the June election to appoint a new county supe. Although the appointment process is confidential, Squid heard rumors that Cruz and Schwarzenegger already had someone in mind for the post: Marina Mayor Ila Mettee-McCutchon. But despite conducting telephone polls, Mettee-McCutchon seemed to be a rather reluctant candidate, and so, the rumors go, the real reason for Cruz’s visit to Monterey and Salinas last month wasn’t simply to encourage everyone to consider applying for an appointed post, it was specifically to get Mettee-McCutchon’s buy in (because should the governor appoint Mettee-McCutchon to fill Smith’s position, and then should Mettee-McCutchon not run for the seat in June, Schwarzenegger would look like an ass). And, as it turns out, following the meeting with Cruz, Mettee-McCutchon did announce her candidacy for the District 4 post, although Cruz maintained that was “absolutely not” why he was in town.
Before Mettee-McCutchon officially threw her hat into the ring, other prospective candidates’ names, including Smith’s wife Byrl Smith and Monterey County Planning Commissioner Nancy Isakson, swirled around political circles like jellies in the bay. Despite Mettee-McCutchon’s apparent interest in the job, Squid wouldn’t be surprised if both Smith and Isakson apply.
But if Schwarzenegger wants to appoint a winner, he should take Squid’s advice (and Squid bets California First Lady Maria Shriver’s got Squid’s back, err, beak, on this) and appoint Jane Parker, associate director of ACTION Monterey County, who also plans to run for the District 4 post in the June election. She narrowly lost to Smith in 2004. Voters like her. She’s smart and progressive and she’d do a good job. Parker, like Shriver, is a Democrat. The other three women, and Schwarzenegger, are Republicans. Oh, wait, Squid forgot: It’s a nonpartisan office. Not that that seems to matter, come election time in Monterey County.