On 10/24/10 the Tribune endorsed candidate Hilda Zacarias for State Assembly. This is my response.
From what I have read and seen during the campaign, Ms. Zacarias is an honorable person, with good qualities who might make, under normal circumstances, a fine Assemblywoman. These are not normal circumstances. California faces its greatest financial crisis, probably since it became a state. The machinery of government is essentially in lockdown, unable or incapable of functioning. And while both Zacarias and Katcho are probably better choices as candidates than in most races around the state, I think Katcho’s experience not only as a successful businessman but as a very successful 4th District Supervisor gives him the edge over Zacarias.
In its editorial, the Tribune opined in part:
In the final analysis, though, we found Zacarias to be the better fit for the state Assembly. She is the more moderate of the two, and we believe she will be better able to balance the need for economic recovery while maintaining the environmental protections so vital to the Central Coast.
The Tribune continued:
Our decision did not come down to a checklist of issues, however, but rather to identifying the candidate who seems in a better position to build consensus. Achadjian was adept at this in his early years on the board, but as we’ve noted before, he’s recently taken a harder turn to the right.
But, as recently as 05/02/10 in endorsing Katcho in the republican primary the Tribune noted:
If Republicans want a smart, moderate, experienced candidate for Assembly on the November ballot, we believe San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Katcho Achadjian is the clear choice. If, on the other hand, they want a dogmatic, hard-line conservative to face off against Democrat Hilda Zacarias in November, they have two options: local financial planner Matt Kokkonen or Etta Waterfield, the former planning commissioner from Santa Maria.
I’m unsure whether the Tribune’s editorial board is implying that Katcho has taken this supposed hard right turn only in the last five months or over a greater period of time: they failed to elaborate–though it’s inconceivable how Katcho became a right wing ideologue in only five months. Over the last 12 years I have seen absolutely no evidence of a hard right wing ideologue. In fact, when it came time for Katcho to pursue a partisan office, I’m not convinced his choice to run as a republican was always a forgone conclusion. Of course, there are clear advantages in being a republican candidate in this community.
I, on the other hand am a life long democrat, who is crossing party lines in this race because I have seen and experienced Katcho the consensus builder over the last 12 years. I have seen and experienced the tireless public servant Katcho going far beyond the call of duty of his office to represent the people of District 4 based on his understanding of what they want and what is best for the community.
I believe the Tribune got it right in May, when they described Katcho as a smart, moderate, experienced candidate, who is not a dogmatic hard line conservative. Not only am I sending Katcho to Sacramento with my vote, I am sending him along with Jerry Brown, because I think they are both the better choices in their respective races. And, frankly I expect them to work together for California’s benefit, and believe they will do exactly that.
I do not agree with Katcho on all the issues; however, given his track record of exemplary leadership, incredible hard work as a public servant, overall experience and good common sense, I believe he is the better choice for State Assembly in this race, regardless of the Tribune’s endorsement . . .