Is there really an election in Kings County and California on Tuesday?

By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor
Is there really an election in Kings County and California on Tuesday?

Is there an election Tuesday? While there seems to have been a bit of rancor in the race for Kings County District Attorney where Keith Fagundes is trying to boot Greg Strickland from office, it’s been pretty much a hum-drum election season in Kings County. Even the mailers have been a bit stale this election season.

It’s been strangely quiet this election year. Even Joe Neves opponent for the District 1 Supervisor’s seat hasn’t had much to say. That’s because Neve’s opponent doesn’t exist. It’s hard to remember the last time the man from Stratford - who shows up for work every day and barbecue’s a mean piece of tri-tip at the drop of a briquette - faced a challenger in District 1.

The omnipresent election signs dot the agricultural landscape of Lemoore and Kings County. District Attorney hopeful Fagundes seems to have a stranglehold on just about every corner of the county. The guy’s signs are everywhere. I woke up from my mid-day nap yesterday and there was one of Fagundes signs nailed to my dog Kodi’s doghouse. It just didn’t seem right, maybe because it clashed with Kodi’s curtains and his rustic doggie spa.

In District 3, Doug Verboon, a likeable fellow who farms nuts and has managed to offend a few while a member of the Kings County Board of Supervisors, does in fact have a challenger in Holly Blair, an adjunct English instructor at West Hills College. Verboon is the favorite to win a second term on the board and he probably should.

The most difficult race to judge has to be in District 4 where there are five candidates vying to replace the popular Tony Barba who won his first election the same year as Herbert Hoover. Craig Pedersen has been a very visible presence in District 4 over the years. It was on his family’s property that West Hills College, Lemoore sits now after a generous gift from his family many years ago. The other candidates include former Hanford Mayor Sue Sorensen, Army veteran Justin Bond, retired teacher Dolores Gallegos, and business owner Alan Danielson.

My money is on Pedersen to prevail, but he will probably face a runoff.

Republican Ashley Swearingin will get my vote for Controller, not only because I’m partial to mayors (most mayors), but because she’s been effective and she isn’t one of those weak-kneed politicos who sticks his or her partisan finger in the air just to see which way the  political winds are blowing before having to make a controversial decision. She also supports high speed rail, she’s big on job creating, she understands big numbers and, well gosh darn-it, she just seems like an all-around decent person. It also doesn’t hurt that she is smart as a whip and is a very attractive candidate.

Now, will someone please tell me what the Controller does?

No doubt newcomer Amanda Renteria will face incumbent congressman David Valadao in the general election. I personally like Mr. Valadao because at times he’s bucked his party to do what he thinks is right for his district. Good for him. But my head goes with Renteria because I think she has the knowledge and the experience needed in Washington’s edgy environment where power is everything. I could easily see her in a leadership position in a few years, and that of course would prove valuable to this district.

I pretty much recognize that Renteria won’t win Kings County. Even if Pope Francis were to run as a Democrat in Kings County, he'd only get about 30 percent of the vote. Fortunately Renteria, while she will pick up plenty of votes here, will win big in the rest of the district, which leans Democratic.

Rudy Salas is my pick for another term as our state assemblyman. The guy is just everywhere. I took my car to a fundraiser car wash and there he was, polishing my hubcaps. Yesterday I saw him mowing my neighbor’s lawn, and no doubt tonight I’ll stop in at Farmer’s Fury for a glass of their fine Cabernet and he’ll be playing flamingo guitar.

I don’t think I’ve seen a harder working politician since Joe Neves actually had an opponent, and we all know how long that’s been.

Finally, I’ve always been a Governor Jerry Brown fan. I’ve met him many times – though I know he doesn’t remember it – and I’ve just liked the way this guy goes about his job. It’s like he was born to be governor and with a few breaks, he could have been president, or perhaps even Mayor of Lemoore. The man has a vision for California which includes twin Delta tunnels to help improve water flow to the southland and of course high speed rail, which for smart people is the natural next step in the evolution of transportation in the world. We should be the world’s leader in transportation efficiency. Instead, and Brown knows it, we are lagging far behind, and as a nation that considers itself exceptional, that’s a sad state of affairs.

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