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Miss the recent election forums? Watch the videos here

Full-length video from the Oct. 6 and 13 "Use Your Voice" candidate forums are now available for viewing

Videos from the two recent "Use Your Voice" election forums hosted by BenitoLink and the San Benito County Farm Bureau are now available, courtesy of the Community Media Access Partnership (CMAP).

Click the video links after each race or Measure below to view just that portion of the forum or watch the full-length videos below to watch the Oct. 6 and 13 forums in their entirety. The video links are also available in the stories posted after each event.

The Oct. 6 forum featured the following races:

Congress, District 20 

Casey Lucius 
Jimmy Panetta 



Assembly, District 30

Anna Caballero
Karina Cervantez-Alejo 



San Benito Health Care Board

Ariel Hurtado
Gordon Machado



Gavilan College Trustees

Danielle Davenport 
Rachel Perez 



Watch the video of the entire forum below:



The Oct. 13 forum lineup was:


Hollister Mayor



Hollister City Council, District 4



San Benito High School Board



Hollister School District Board





U – San Benito High School Bond



V – Hollister School District Bond





W – City of Hollister sales tax extension



Watch the full video of the forum below:




Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Fear mongering again for Measure W, sure wish we had the Audacity of Hope but to many conservatives in town, where are the progressives? The speaker even mentioned that we can't operate on "hope" but our President believes in hope. Worse we heard from a Banker, please don't think this is a personal attack but it is a cautionary note about believing a banker. The banks were responsible for the economic meltdown, Wells Fargo was recently found to have acted with fraudulent behavior. Now we all know Will is not that kind of banker but I find that Measure W using a banker telling. The campaign uses fear but promised hope of change when change is the last thing on their agenda. Stay the course is their motto, conservative or even reactionary behavior, now that is scary. 



About 22 percent (more than one dollar of every five dollars) of the General Fund revenues comes from the transition sales tax that will be extended with Measure W.  If it fails then 22 percent of the city services from that fund will eventually be cut.  It's a simple choice, if you want to keep the service levels about where they are vote YES, otherwise they will be cut.

The cuts would include public safety (police, fire, school resource officers, code enforcement, etc.), public works (street repair), parks and recreation and administrative services (days and times open, maintenance, programs like Junior Giants, the library and many, many others).

None of those operations generate significant revenue of their own, they rely on the General Fund to finance almost all of their costs.  At today's service levels 22 percent of the fund rely on the transaction sales tax for funding.

State law requires that the city have a balanced budget, they cannot spend money that has no legal source.  Now, for a year, maybe two we could spend all our reserves and pray that the economy does not tank (again), but what then?

For many people their biggest asset is their home and the value of that home is directly connected to quality of life where it is located - and that is connected to public service levels if you live in a city. Public services are what cities do.

This is not a scare tactic, it's just the facts, and you, the public, deserve to know the facts - there is no free lunch.  If you want the level of service we have now or better you must pay for it or accept large cuts.

Personally, I want the higher level of service for myself and my family and for the city as a whole (it's also good for my home value); I'm voting YES on Measure W and I think you should too.

Marty Richman

Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

You might say Marty is suggesting we should make Hollister more like Salinas which also raised taxes permanently. More money for more police, more firemen, more crime and more homeless. That's what this tax does. 

What about lowering salaries 22% rather than cutting services? Sure a few people will leave but Hollister is not a training ground for other areas - it is where people come to stay employed till they age out. So cutting salaries would not result in many changes. Actually, one might suggest that it would make things more competitive. In business we call it lowering the river until you see the rocks. With a huge flow of cash it's hard to see the rocks like in a full river but when you lower the water level the rocks are visible. 

Hungry people who are employed will work harder - those who are fat and lazy, not so much. I know in public service there are no fat cats. Only dedicated hard working people like Mr. Hill who ripped off the police union, or Mr. Rodriguez that took someone's personal rights away. Lots of examples of public service gone bad. 

People who are dedicated to their service work because they love it, money just gets in the way. It's the Union Attorneys running the show - I bet the rank and file are truly dedicated and would take the pay cut. 

If you are going to vilify an entire department over individual criminal conduct 5 years ago, the least you can do is get the name right; it was Mr. Wood, not Mr.Hill..  You've been so busy here you probably missed this when it happened more recently in 2013.

SLOPD officer arrested by FBI

            Federal agents have arrested a San Luis Obispo narcotics officer for an alleged bribery scheme, according to a release by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

            Agents arrested officer Cory Pierce, 39, of Arroyo Grande without incident on the morning of Feb 5. He has been charged with one count of bribery in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, according to the release.

            The F.B.I. reported that Pierce allegedly took cash and drugs from two individuals and allegedly provided the “cooperating witnesses” narcotics for their own personal use, as well as fake drugs to sell to dealers.

            A spokesman for the SLOPD could not immediately be reached for comment, but according to the release, Pierce is a six-year veteran of the department and was recently assigned to the Sheriff’s Department’s narcotics team.

            If convicted of the bribery charge, Pierce could face a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. He is currently on administrative leave pending the completion of an internal investigation, separate from the criminal investigation..

Or this..

SLO police officer arrested on DUI charge, put on paid leave

Travis Morris, a San Luis Obispo police officer, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of driving under the influence and has been placed on paid administrative leave.


My reaction to those issues is, so what?  No reasonable person believes that individual, infrequent, criminal conduct reflects on an entire organization.  You're really not making any sense at all, human conduct is one of the most unpredictable things in nature.  Until you grow up I'm not going to respond to your rants - OBTW, I'm also banning you from reading any of my articles, don't let me catch you even peeking at them, I'll know...

Marty Richman


Who gets the sales tax money and how much?

Sales taxes are presented as a percentage, which means the amount per hundred.  If the rate is 7.5 percent then the total sales tax is 7.5 pennies per hundred or 7.5 cents per dollar for the items taxed.

Most dollars spent, that's housing and utilities, insurance, groceries, healthcare (prescription medication), auto insurance and education, among others are not taxed by a sales tax.  Some entertainment and personal care items are taxed, some are not.  Most other sales like restaurants, take-out food, clothing, alcohol and tobacco are taxed.

The state law is that the sales tax starts at 7.5 percent (7.5 cents in the dollar) and the state keeps or uses most of that for their programs and obligations.

4.1875% goes to the state General Fund

0.2500% goes to pay back money the state “borrowed” from the cities.

0.7500% goes to the local (city or county) General Fund

0.2500% goes to countywide Transportation Fund

0.5000% goes to the Public Safety Augmentation Fund.  This special fund is used to return part of Education Augmentation Fund payments back to counties and cities.  The money can only be spent on public safety, but it only returns an average of 19% of the Education Augmentation which means the cities still lose 81% on the deal.  The net result is about $178,000 a year to Hollister in COPS grants.

1.5625% goes to County Mental Health and Welfare Districts.

The city basically gets 75 cents of every $100 taxable sales plus the COPS grants.  Depending on the project it can also, eventually, get part of the countywide Transportation Fund for roads and such.  The unrestricted portion is 75 cents per $100 of the basic state tax.

Hollister has a local sales tax rate of 8.5% total because the voters approved a 1% transaction tax to add to the 7.5% state tax which means that for every $100 spent the city gets $1.75.  Most cities in California (rich, Carmel and Palo Alto, and poor, Salinas) have these transaction or district taxes to help pay for public services.  Measure W will extend that tax in Hollister for 20 years (we have had it for almost 10 years already).

Hollister’s sales tax rate is the lowest of any city of size in the area and after Measure W the rate will stay at 8.50%.

All the cities in San Mateo County are at least 9.00% and all the cities in Alameda County are at least 9.50%. San Francisco is 8.75%, Carmel, Marina, Monterey, Sand City, Seaside and Soledad are 8.625%, while Salinas and Del Rey Oaks are 9.125%.

 All the shopping cities in Santa Clara County are 8.75% except San Jose which is 9.00% as is Watsonville in Santa Cruz County and Santa Cruz which is 8.75%.

So Hollister will stay the same,  the lowest rate except for San Juan Bautista which is 8.250% without an expiration date.

Meanwhile vote Yes on Measure W, the City Council has used the vast majority of the money very well including paying off long existing expensive debt and saving you and I, the taxpayers, millions of dollars.

Marty Richman

Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Mary, once again nice job with the analysis. You add a lot of quality data to those who will take the time to read it. I'd not worry to much, Measure W will likely pass. The opposition is disorganized and the pro-campaign skilled (lots of attorneys, consultants and business people who are all well paid) and well funded, (lots of money from the unions who's members pocket the tax dollars). 

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest - Elie Wiesel


Tod there are no high powered attorneys working on Measure W just concerned citizens.  We will pay for some locals to canvas neighborhoods but the cost is very minimal.  When you say union members pocket tax dollars are you talking about their paycheck?  Are they supposed to work for free?  Sometimes I do not understand your comments.

Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Hi Carol, I know you don't see thru the same window I do but I do try to break thru that glass but belief is very hard to change. The fundamental issue is Hollister does not have a political process which is competitive.

Competition is fundamental to democracy working. Imagine if their was only one political party - what would happen?

In essence the way things work in Hollister their is only one political party and so all decisions go that way - it is not balanced. Multiple Council seats go unconntested, ballot measure go un-contested, Council votes 99% of the time unanimously. You don't find that really off? 

Tod I too have always wanted competition in our local races but what are we supposed to do when people don't run.  I have said a million times that we are too brutal on our elected officials.  I don't mean never question them but the insults and name calling would be too much for me.  I want to support, if possible, and work with my elected officials rather than just sit and complain.  In a nut shell I try and work with the candidate that is elected; maybe, just maybe, this thinking could spur more folks to run for local office.  Nothing is stopping folks from running.  I always welcome new faces.  I really enjoy Councilman Klauer.

Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Carol, now that we agree on the root cause of the problem maybe we can work to make it better. Also let's get back to the topic - you suggested the union people working for free, no one has requested that. Only that the dedicated public servants work at 22% less than they want in order so more money is available for roads, homeless, and other needed services. That way we don't need to tax the single mom's trying to buy diapers and also keep up service levels. 

Also, we could pay people to be on Council and Commissions and pay them well - then we might have more competition. 

Submitted by Tod DuBois (John Galt) on

Sorry about the typo. What is fascinating to me is if I wrote a check or fund raised say $10,000 I could have run a campaign and stopped Measure W. That is amazing to me. I learned from the Measure T campaign that the pro campaign spent 50 times as much and the opposition and the measure only passed by three points. Money is power in politics - that was an interesting lesson. 

The wild card is the young voters and the Bernie supporters. They are not happy that their future is less than their parents generation. The whole 400 block protest - will they support Measure W or use it as a protest vote to raise their political power. Could be interesting. 

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