Sex and the County: Politically Erect
GPU5, county races, health-care reform and the presidential election dominate 2008.
Thursday, January 3, 2008
The girl reporter always has high hope for New Year’s Eve – the parties, the gowns, the midnight kiss. But reality never lives up to the hype and, more often than not, she ends up ringing in the new year standing in line in the ladies room, hoping it’s not a precursor of the year ahead.
Fortunately, 2008 promises plenty of excitement.
First up in her red-leather pocket calendar: An event years in the making. Following closely on the (four-inch stiletto) heels of the wildly popular series, it looked like a sure-fire hit. But then, rumors of backstabbing and diva-like behavior surfaced. Money, no doubt, was at the root of the problems. For a while there, it seemed to be a dead project – until its stars realized that they were nothing without it, and now it’s back on track.
No, it’s not about Sex and the City: The Movie (although this is slated for a May release), it’s something even more important: General Plan Update 5: The Final Cut, which should be approved by Monterey County Supervisors by late this summer. If only one of the regulars on this show looked like Jason Lewis…
Also ahead in county politics: Three of the five supervisorial seats are up for grabs. In June, District 5 Supervisor Dave Potter will face retired Carmel Postmaster Don Ask; Marina Mayor Ila Mettee-McCutchon will square off against Jane Parker, associate director of ACTION Monterey County, for the District 4 seat, and Salinas City Councilman Sergio Sanchez may challenge District 1 Supervisor Fernando Armenta. (The girl reporter likes how Sanchez continues to play coy about whether he’s in the race. It’s kinda sexy.)
These three races could shift the makeup of the county board. Potter consistently votes for smart land-use planning, and he’s sometimes joined by Supervisor Lou Calcagno. If elected, Parker would vote with Potter, which could make for some progressive 3-2 votes. And should Sanchez oust Armenta, it may even be 4-1. Sanchez’s politics lean left, but he’s a bit of a wild card. One thing is for certain: Bottles of wine, expensive cigars and rounds of golf won’t buy Sanchez’s vote.
At the state level, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Year of Health-Care Reform” has come and gone with nary a reform. In late December 2007, the governor and the Assembly reached a deal to overhaul California health care, and the state Senate is expected to vote on the bill early this month. If it wins approval, it will go to voters in November.
But before that happens, on Feb. 5, California voters may decide to change the state’s term limits law, which would allow Central Coast Assemblyman John Laird, a Democrat, to run again. But if they don’t, a flood of candidates will vie for the 27th District seat. In Monterey, longtime political player Bill Monning remains the front runner, but Monterey-based chiropractor Stephen Barkalow says he plans to challenge Monning, as does Pacific Grove real estate loan officer Gary Smith. And in Santa Cruz County, Mayor Emily Reilly and Felton water activist Barbara Sprenger want the post. Of course, all of this may be moot, because all five say that if voters decide to extend term limits on Feb. 5, then they all will support Laird, who says he wants a fourth term in the Statehouse.
Also on Feb. 5, aka Super Duper Tuesday, the race for the nomination to run for the White House essentially will end, when California voters participate, with more than 20 others states, in a presidential primary. While some pundits criticize the front-loaded political calendar, it looks good – more time for martinis leading up to the more-important-than-ever presidential election in November.