Same Old ’Hue
Incumbent Salinas mayor seems a shoo-in for another term.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Two-term Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue looks like the man to beat in this fall’s election as he tells Alisal Rotary Club members about his battle against crime in the city.
“There is a shark in the water, and we can make progress if we choose to,” he says. “If we fail to grasp the size and magnitude, then we’re not going to get it done.” Donohue adds that his administration has assembled unprecedented state and federal crime-fighting resources for the city.
He turns the already friendly room – which includes Salinas Police Chief Louis Fetherolf and City Manager Artie Fields – into a love fest, with nary a critical question lobbed his way.
In addition to his innate political gifts, Donohue has also assembled a healthy amount of cash for his mayoral run: nearly $28,000.
Challengers Margaret Serna-Bonetti, a former Salinas Union High School District trustee, and Hartnell College board member Bill Freeman are raising issues – but no money so far, as of the latest campaign disclosure reports.
Serna-Bonetti makes a case for more intervention and prevention to deal with crime, arguing that Salinas’ reputation for blood and guts costs it jobs: “It’s not the OK Corral as they’d have you believe.”
Six weeks from Election Day, she has already stumbled politically, claiming Marina Mayor Bruce Delgado as an endorser.
But Delgado, who has endorsed Donohue, says he simply expressed his support for Serna-Bonetti, not knowing what she was running for. “I would not endorse anyone for mayor without some serious discussion,” he writes in an email.
Freeman sounds an idealistic note, saying he’ll use shoe leather, not cash, to win over voters. He wants to put more police officers on the streets and more money into youth programs: “We’re not doing enough to persuade young people not to join gangs.”
Donohue, a former Chamber of Commerce president and current president of ag company Royal Rose, is likely to sew up support from Salinas’ power structure. But discontent is brewing in the ranks of city workers who are angered by furloughs and layoffs.
A union spokesman says members are still evaluating the three mayoral contenders.