Community Opinions

COLUMN: Kollin Kosmicki announces bid for District 2 supervisor

Longtime local journalist launches campaign, says he's ready to lead.

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My name is Kollin Kosmicki and I’m running for county supervisor in District 2 because I’m driven to help move this community forward while fighting to protect its precious heritage.

For many years as a local journalist, I’ve acted as a watchdog of local politics and gained a deep understanding of county government. My journalism work has spurred dialogue, informed the public on important issues, shed light on corruption, highlighted critical government decisions, and provided a platform for positive stories about countless local people and organizations.

At this point, though, I feel a deep obligation to step off the sidelines and become more directly involved as a community leader. My primary goal as a supervisor in District 2 – if I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity – is to perform the job leaders are elected to do: Represent the voters.

This cornerstone of our political system almost always gets lost in all the opinions and disagreements and madness of politics: An elected official’s job, his or her mandate, is to understand the constituency and act in their best interests. That is how I plan to lead this great district after the 2020 election – by listening to the voters above all else.

That said, I’d like to share some of my expectations going forward in the campaign as we move toward the March 3 primary, because voters have a right to know who they’re electing and where he or she personally stands on important issues.

For starters, I’m releasing a comprehensive website – kollinforsupervisor.com – where local residents will find the following in the coming months:

• My perspectives on pressing Issues and Solutions.

• In my candidate Biography, learn about my life and career.

• A summary of my Core Values.

Periodic Columns explaining my perspective on specific topics.

Video segments on matters important to the district.

• Information on How to Donate to the campaign or volunteer.

As a precursor to kollinforsupervisor.com, here are just a few things about me:

I’m a so-called policy wonk who will roll up my sleeves addressing issues from Day 1. At the forefront of the county’s challenges: Housing, roads and a still lagging local economy.

With regard to housing, growth has become a significant concern throughout the county – and rightfully so since our current transportation system can’t handle additional traffic and rapid growth will lower overall quality of life here. County planning policies should reflect this, so I will support tightening controls so they promote slower growth of single-family housing.

At the same time, it’s unacceptable to turn our backs on the many local residents crammed into inhumane conditions locally because they can’t afford anything better, or the seniors who deserve to enjoy their golden years without the stress of shelter, or the farmworkers who provide food for our tables and have trouble finding a decent place to sleep for their own family.

That’s why I will support expanding requirements for affordable, multi-family, senior and farmworker housing for new developments along with largely eliminating the optional use of “in-lieu” fees – what amount to cheap payoffs from developers so they don’t have to build these units this community needs most.

With regard to the roads, expect me to continuously scrutinize the use of Measure G sales tax dollars. Thirty years is a long time and a lot of your money, so elected leaders must ensure it’s a priority to put programs in place allocating those dollars as efficiently as possible. Overall when it comes to roads, I want to make transportation projects the No. 1 priority with discretionary funds as well and look at establishing a more robust annual budget to address potholes.

Looking at the economy, San Benito County must lay out the welcome mat for big industry – such as manufacturers and technology companies – and make it clear to nearby regional interests in Silicon Valley and elsewhere that we provide less-expensive land and opportunities for physical growth that other areas simply can’t offer. From a policy perspective, I’d like to take a hard look at impact fees and establish a formal marketing program – through a local economic development nonprofit – to specifically promote San Benito County as a hotbed for manufacturing and industrial development.

Creating good jobs here at home will mean local residents can spend more time with families, commute less and enjoy more of our beautiful county.

It’s my adopted home, after all, and I’m proud to say I chose San Benito County over anywhere else in the world.

Before moving here, though, I grew up in the Milwaukee area in a relatively poor family and worked just about every job you could imagine supporting myself through college, graduating in 2002 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison – one of the top colleges in the Midwest – with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor certificate in environmental studies.

For the past 17 years, including 14 in San Benito County, I’ve been a respected journalist who always pursues utmost transparency for the public, holds public officials accountable and provides a platform for positive storytelling. Going forward, at least until the campaign is finished, I will suspend all coverage of county government activities and the 2020 election on the media website I run so there isn’t a potential conflict of interest. I will also closely examine whether other coverage adjustments are necessary through the campaign.

That respect for fairness is reflective of my core values, and here are some other examples:

I believe family comes first. I believe in giving back to the larger community. I believe in perpetual honesty, equal opportunity for all, making diversity a priority, fiscal responsibility, environmental stewardship, practical decision making, compromise over failure, and following through on commitments.

On the issue of fundraising and some other matters, voters will see alternative approaches reflecting my principles. Like any candidate, I sincerely appreciate financial support because realistically, it takes a certain amount of money to get the word out and have a chance at winning.

On the other hand, since I believe there’s a need for local campaign finance reform – to even the playing field and rid the system of powerful outside interests – my campaign will maintain a grassroots approach to fundraising. Therefore, I’ll accept donations of up to $250 and nothing over that cap from any individual or organization. I will not accept a dime from developers or others with an ulterior agenda because it’s important that voters don’t have a reason to perceive favoritism.

My vote, in other words, is not for sale.

As for another change of pace, don’t expect to see too many street signs promoting my campaign. I’m not a fan for a couple reasons. They’re eyesores, and partaking in a race to see who can put out the most signs is not a healthy way of choosing the most qualified candidates. Inherently, they don’t do much to inform voters and they target passive ones.

Instead, kollinforsupervisor.com will be the hub of my campaign, while voters can also find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. I can’t wait to have a conversation.

Residents can reach me on social media, at kollinforsupervisor@gmail.com or at (831) 207-9279.

 

 

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Kollin Kosmicki