Jim DeMartini is the obvious pick for District 5 supervisor, having gained the support of a vast and diverse array of area residents and groups, including most recently the Latino Community Roundtable. Those endorsements are a testament to his work since he took the reins of the 5th District eight years ago.
DeMartini has had a far greater presence on the West Side than many of his predecessors, and he has an ear to his constituents.
While the West Side has sometimes been a dumping ground for undesirable land uses — such as Ed Filbin’s infamous tire pile, which caught fire in 1999, and Modesto’s wastewater treatment plant and a potential medical waste dump — DeMartini has fought to ensure that area residents have a voice.
Regardless of whether one agrees with his opposition to the PCCP West Park industrial development proposed for the former Crows Landing naval airbase — and sometimes he can be unfairly harsh — he can always be counted on to vote his conscience.
His past support of agricultural mitigation measures, opposed by some who want less strings attached when developing on prime farmland, is another example of his willingness to do what he thinks is right, regardless of its popularity.
DeMartini’s efforts to create a health care task force on the West Side show how he is attuned to the issues that matter most in this region.
DeMartini’s opponent, Daniel Padilla, a water resources engineer from Ceres, has an obvious passion for the county where he grew up, but he lacks political experience and knowledge of issues that are pertinent to the West Side.
For instance, he recently told the Irrigator that the city of Patterson would benefit by being annexed into the Turlock Irrigation District because it would allow the West Side could tap into its water. Yet annexation advocates have stressed they do not want TID’s water and only want West Side representation on its board.
Padilla’s enthusiasm is welcome, but this region has a proven leader in DeMartini. We hope to see him re-elected Tuesday, June 5.