Government / Politics

Klauer poised to address District 3 needs

Karson Klauer prepares to take office as a city council representative for Hollister's District 3.

When Karson Klauer, 26, started telling family members and friends that he planned to run for city council in Hollister, he said in the beginning everyone asked him, “Are you really going to do that?”

Klauer said once he confirmed his intent to run for office, all his friends and family were really supportive.

“They helped in getting the word out and passing out fliers,” he said.

On election night, Klauer started out with an early lead against his opponent Robert Scattini, a former councilman in District 2 who resigned from his seat when he moved out of the district. The latest election results as of Nov. 24 have Klauer at 61.6 percent of the votes to Scattini’s 38.1 percent. The election results are not official until the election has been certified, which is still pending according to elections officials.

Klauer said he watched for the early results at the Registrar’s office on Nov. 4, where elections chief Joe Paul Gonzalez invited members of the public to watch the ballot counting to get a better understanding of the election process.

“We stayed there for the first release and waited for a while,” Klauer said. “When no more ballots came in, we went home and watched it online.”

He said he doesn’t remember exactly when he realized that he had taken the seat.

“It might have been the next day, after the third release,” he said. “The numbers were staying pretty steady to the original percentage. I knew there were a lot of votes still out there, but I felt a little more comfortable about it.”

In his four months campaigning, Klauer said he started to learn more about the issues in Hollister and the issues that are important to the constituents in District 3.

“I’ve come to the realization that you have to be in it for the long haul,” he said.

The top concerns that come up in his district included speed limits on neighborhood streets, the need for a community center and comments about Measure J, a countywide ballot measure to limit oil extraction methods in the county that was approved by voters on election night.

Klauer, who serves on the board of directors of his homeowner’s association for Gibson Station 1 and on the board of directors for the San Benito County Association of Realtors, said his experience with those governing boards have helped prepare him for city office.

“As far as the skills I have, I really enjoy learning and researching things,” said the San José State University business management graduate who also played baseball at the school. “I enjoy understanding why things are the way they are.”

He said he thinks Hollister has been bouncing back after the recession and he’d like to help set the focus for the city’s recovery.

“It’s a great opportunity to set the city in a positive direction for the next decade or so,” he said. “Some of these decisions are really long-term things that we have to stick with – there are no quick short-term fixes.”

The hardest part for Klauer in the campaign was getting up the nerve to knock on the doors of his constituents.

“I was really hesitant about knocking on doors,” Klauer said. “I thought I was going to be bothering them, but I enjoyed being able to talk to a lot of people and be able to engage with people who had questions. It was really a growth experience for me.”

Klauer will be sworn into office in December and he said he plans to spend the first few months getting acclimated to how everything works on the city council.

“I have some short-term ideas that are maybe easier things, like getting some dog parks in the actual city,” he said, adding that he would also like to address impact fees for multifamily residential developments.

He said he finds a lot of couples or families looking for apartments or townhouses in Hollister, but there are not many options available.

“The impact fees are set up so it’s not viable for most builders to do multi-family,” he said. “I want to see what other communities are doing to incentivize (multi-family housing.)”

Klauer is a 2006 graduate of San Benito High School and attended Spring Grove Elementary School. He has lived in District 3 for two years and worked as a Realtor for three years.

“I was really appreciative of the response I got from the community when I was going around knocking on doors,” he said. “Some wonderful people told stories of interacting with my family in the past. It was a neat thing to be a part of it in the last couple of months.”

Melissa Anderson

Melissa (Flores) Anderson is the former city editor of the Weekend Pinnacle and Hollister Free Lance, where she covered education, county government and more. She currently works for the College of Applied Sciences and Arts at San Jose State University, where she manages the College blog, newsletter and website updates. She has a master's in print journalism from the University of Southern California, Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.