Jobs Vs. Shrubs
Byrl Smith faces off with incumbent Jane Parker on a platform of growth and jobs.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Byrl Smith is logging serious miles in her bid for county supervisor. Since January, she says, she’s been walking District 4 (Seaside, Marina, Del Rey Oaks and South Salinas) daily, and will continue doing so until the June 5 election.
She says the takeaway from all those doorstep conversations, confirmed by a March poll, is a need for work. At an April 14 candidates’ forum sponsored by Marina InMotion, Smith named her three most urgent action items: Jobs, jobs, jobs.
Smith’s opponent, Supervisor Jane Parker, also spoke for job creation, adding a few criteria: They should be well-paying, year-round and career-track. Parker’s tendency to hone in on detail is a contrast to Smith’s broad jobs platform, a key difference in their campaign styles.
“We’re running against no-jobs Jane,” says Smith’s campaign manager, Rick Taylor of L.A.-based Dakota Communications.
Smith derides Parker’s votes against a Monterey-Salinas Transit headquarters and Whispering Oaks business park on the former Fort Ord. After a citizen-led referendum campaign gathered 18,000 signatures, the board joined Parker 4-1 in voting the project down.
“If I had a choice of jobs and shrubs that I know will replace themselves, I would pick jobs,” Smith told the Weekly editorial board. Smith also adamantly supports the proposed Monterey Downs development on the former Fort Ord.
Parker, who’s undecided on Monterey Downs, demurs. “We need jobs and we need growth to create those jobs, but not at the expense of those things that make Monterey County a special place,” she said at the forum.
Smith’s still studying up on a number of issues voters asked about at the April 14 forum. Those include hydraulic fracturing, which Parker opposes; the county ordinance requiring public ownership of desal plants, which Parker supports; and the conflict-of-interest fallout from the Regional Desalination Project – Parker says ratepayers shouldn’t have to bear litigation costs.
Parker’s campaign team is timing a TV ad blitz to begin when ballots go in the mail next week. They’ll emphasize her efforts to improve transparency and accountability in county government through practices like regular performance reviews.
Visit www.mcweekly.com/election2012 for details on District 4 campaign financing.