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San Benito County supervisor-elect shares her priorities for next term

Her highest priorities are to address the failing infrastructure and to ensure retainment of qualified, committed, and engaged county employees.

Angela Curro won the District 4 seat on the San Benito Board of Supervisors in the June 7 election, besting challengers Elia Salinas and Tony Avila. Curro received 52.33% of the vote, while Salinas received 19.65% and Avilla received 28.02%. Because she received more than 50% of the votes cast, Curro won the election outright. 

Curro shared with BenitoLink her priorities as an incoming supervisor, how she will bring constituent concerns to the board, and how she plans to increase law enforcement in south San Benito County. She also shared her concerns about the Let Voters Decide How San Benito County Grows initiative—Measure Q on the Nov. 8 ballot—as well as commercial growth and county revenue.  

 

BenitoLink: What do you think the Board of Supervisors’ top priority should be? 

Curro: The highest priorities are to address the failing infrastructure (roads, traffic, essential services, including water, sewer, and broadband) and to ensure we retain qualified, committed, and engaged county employees. The only way we can achieve this is by supporting more local businesses and encouraging new industries/companies to come to San Benito County. We must increase our revenue sources without burdening our residents with more taxes. Due to Proposition 13 limitations, property taxes are not enough to achieve these improvements to our community and services.

Even before I am sworn into office this January, the voters must decide on Measure Q. This is the “stop growth” initiative which voters were told would stop residential growth. It does not stop residential growth. What it does do is change the county’s General Plan, by removing commercial thoroughfare and commercial regional nodes. 

What does this mean to the county? This means that the county will continue to rely on property taxes to solve our current issues, this will not work. Property taxes do not provide enough revenue to sustain or to improve our infrastructure and staffing issues. We need commercial growth! 

The reason for wanting more commercial development is because of the sales tax the businesses generate. We need the sales taxes (and other fees) that new businesses in the unincorporated areas of the county will generate. If you want the board to address any issues that are important to you, the county must increase revenue, we must do that without increasing taxes. That will not happen if Measure Q is passed this November. Voters need to know the truth about what Measure Q will do. If passed, the Board of Supervisors and county will be unable to fix our roads or improve staffing for services for the community. Don’t get fooled by any misinformation, VOTE NO on Measure Q! 

 

What do you bring to the board to help make that happen? 

I bring over 25 years of local government experience from multiple Bay Area counties, including almost 10 years with San Benito, and another 10-plus years of business management experience in the private sector. I have spent years building relationships with current and prior elected officials, including federal, state, counties, cities, schools, and special districts. When an issue comes up, I know how to do the research to find the real answers to the problems. Also, I’ve been working most recently with and learning from the multitude of nonprofit organizations in San Benito County. There is a wealth of resources and knowledge available on a variety of topics and I will bring these resources to the board to help make real change happen. 

 

There are residents in South County that still express concerns about limited law enforcement to handle speeding and crime, even since the introduction of the Responsibility Area Program by Sheriff Taylor. How will you take these issues to the full board during your term? 

Public safety is one of my highest priorities. We must solve our revenue problems to bring more deputies and staffing levels to what is necessary to secure our county, including South County. I will bring the history of prior budget and staffing cuts to the board and an understanding that the Sheriff’s Office is one of only a couple of county departments, which has not recovered from the 2012 cuts.

The board’s continuous challenge is generating new revenue sources. The real question is, how can we bring deputy staffing levels not only up to prior years but to the level we need now? It is all about being proactive, by working with our community to bring more local/commercial businesses, which will boost our tax base. Also, we need to continuously work with the state and federal government to ensure we are not missing out on any resources or grant assistance. 

The bottom line is I have a great relationship with our county sheriff, and I will work with him, his staff, and the community to ensure the board is fully aware of the issues, so we can bring the best and most needed services, not only to the county, but especially to the South County. 

 

What do you think are some other concerns of your constituents? 

During my campaign I worked with a local firm that helped me do outreach to get a real grasp of their concerns. This was done by conducting email and phone surveys, but it also included in-person meetings. We did not just focus on local topics in the survey. The topics and concerns that we discussed were extremely broad and this was done purposely. My goal was to find out what the overall concerns were at all levels, federal, state, and local, so I could better understand the needs of my constituents. Some issues the position of supervisor cannot address, but it is valuable information to have, especially when working with state and federal officials. 

The survey results are as follows: 

Graph provided by Angela Curro.

 

More detailed information is available on my website at https://www.angela4supervisor.com/voter-research.

 

How will you take these concerns to the full board? 

I will take these concerns and information to the full board to help educate and inform the board members of the real concerns of District 4. My goal is to build a working group of community members, who will help me communicate to the board the urgency of these issues and concerns, especially roads and safety. Advocating for District 4 will always be my highest priority. However, I must also listen to the issues and concerns of other board members and their districts. Communication and collaboration to address our local issues will be a continuous challenge and I will need the support of my constituents to help keep everyone informed. Together I know we can make positive change in San Benito County.

 

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Jenny Mendolla Arbizu

Jenny is a Hollister native who resides in her hometown with her husband and son. She is a San Benito High School graduate, and received her BA in Literature from UC Santa Cruz and MA in Education from San Jose State University. Jenny has written for the Hollister Freelance, San Benito and South Valley magazines. She enjoys bringing informative news to San Benito County and spotlighting local community members and businesses. On any given day, Jenny can be found enjoying the people and places in SBC: wine tasting in the Cienega Valley, performing with SBSC, singing with the Hollister VFW, or working out at Cold Storage CrossFit.