This Year's Election Landscape In Martinez

Martinez voters will have few chances to gain public office in November local elections.

Filing in local city, school and special district elections affecting the Martinez area begins July 16, but only a few will offer a chance for area voters to vote or run for office in the November elections. 

While some of the agencies seem small or obscure and are seldom in the news, all are responsible for setting taxes, fees and/or rates to carry out their purposes.

Anyone wanting to run in these elections must file candidate papers between July 16 and Aug. 10, with the City Clerk in the case of the council and other city offices, and with the County Elections Division for other races. In all cases, where an incumbent does not file for re-election by Aug. 10, filing is extended to other candidates for another five days. 

The marquee elections will be those for Martinez City Council, where the seats of incumbents Mark Ross and Janet Kennedy are up for consideration. Ross has indicated he will run again, while Kennedy has not made an announcement. Dylan Radke, a member of the Parks, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission, has indicated he will run. Should Kennedy seek re-election, or anyone else run, it would be a contested election. 

Also on the ballot are the positions of City Clerk, held by Gary Hernandez, and City Treasurer, held by Carolyn Robinson.

Other elections featuring board members who represent Martinez are being held by the Alhambra Unified School District, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, Mt. Diablo Health Care District, Central Contra Costa Sanitary District and Mt. View Sanitary District.

Representatives for Martinez are not up for re-election in other districts, including BART, East Bay Regional Park, Contra Costa Community College, Contra Costa County Board of Education and Contra Costa Water District. 

In the districts with elections, opponents to incumbents have not been announced. Most of the agencies are represented by five-member boards, with some running for four-year terms in one election and the others running in the election two years following. Regional, multi-county agencies normally have larger boards. 

Most of the agencies do not hold elections at all if the number of candidates does not exceed the number of seats available. 

These elections are scheduled for the Martinez area:

Martinez Unified School District
Incumbents John Fuller, Kathi McLaughlin and Denise Elsken are up for re-election. The district includes most of the city of Martinez and nearby unincorporated areas. 

Mt. Diablo Unified School District
The district primarily covering Concord and Pleasant Hill areas also includes a portion of southeastern Martinez. Incumbents Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh of Concord are up for re-election. No one from Martinez has ever served on the board. 

Mt. Diablo Health Care District
This is one that will provide plenty of election controversy. The Local Agency Formation Commission and numerous other agencies and citizens have called for closing down the district, which no longer operates a hospital or health care facility. 

Full-term incumbents Grace Ellis, Frank Menske and Nick Adler, and short-term incumbent James Kasper (to fill a mid-term appointment) are up for re-election.  Several people have indicated they will run for the seats with the aim of shutting down the district, a move opposed by the incumbents. 

Although Martinez is in the district, no one from Martinez has ever run for a board position. 

Mt. View Sanitary District
Three of the five directors are up for re-election, including Randall Williams, David Maggi and Elmer Schaal, all of the Martinez area. The small district was formed to handle sanitary services in unincorporated areas on the east border of Martinez. 

Central Contra Costa Sanitary District
Up for re-election are Barbara Hockett of Danville, Mario Menesini of Walnut Creek and James Nejedly of Walnut Creek. No one from Martinez has ever run for a seat on the board. 

Five districts with Martinez representation will not hold elections affecting the city. Representatives in local area divisions were re-elected to four-year terms two years ago and will be up for re-election in 2014.  They include: 

Contra Costa Community College Board -- Sheila Grilli of Martinez.
East Bay Regional Park District -- Ted Radke of Martinez
BART -- Joel Keller of Antioch
Contra Costa Water District -- John Burgh of Concord
County Board of Education Ellen Elster, representing a division ranging from Kensington to Pittsburg. 

Residents wishing to consider running for any of the offices must be citizens 18 years of age and live in the boundaries of the city or districts (or district electoral divisions if not elected at-large) they wish to represent. Further information can be obtained from the Martinez City Clerk's office (for city office) or the Contra Costa Elections Division (for all other offices.)

They can be reached at www.cityofmartinez.org or www.cocovote.us. All the districts also have websites with information on their boards, duties and purposes.   #

Sam McAdams June 22, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Dearest Janet: you were the wife of the president of the California Redevelopment Agency. I know you all hoped for it here in Martinez. You and yours helped give away alot of County money for that effort at the expense of Historic Martinez. But, I also see you are a person, and I also know that you understand historic preservation because in big in size or soul towns with solid, progressive contingencies, a Redevelopment Agency can be useful to historic perservation. I knew you knew this and at times, that sunlight shined through the cracks that revealed your humanity. You are not arrogant, either, and I appreciate that. I don't know that your new competition has that sort of emotional intelligence. Best to you no matter what. And, you should read the name on the post office cornerstone, and read who his father was, too. I appreciate your personal history, very much.


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