By JIMMY DUTRA
We have seen politics hit an all-time low in our community. Behavior that has been more common at the national and state level has arrived in our local politics. It has moved from “what I can do for the people” into “how I can smear my opponent the most.” Instead of debating issues and pointing out facts and differences, some candidates have moved into spreading lies and misinformation in order to trick the voters.
I pride myself on being honest and value my integrity. As I have knocked on your doors for the last eight years since first being elected into office, we have spoken about the issues that most affect our community. As the District 4 city council member, we cleaned up the sloughs in our neighborhood and built a park in our district. Most recently on the city council I voted against a development that is intended to be constructed on toxic land. I put the health of our community first.
When Covid-19 was greatly impacting our city I fought hard as your mayor to obtain access to the vaccine. The vaccine was being utilized in the north part of our county while we were being disproportionately affected by this pandemic. This was not fair and I spoke up for all of us.
I have always been working hard for the people of our valley. As I have made decisions and created policy for our community, my actions and decisions at times were in conflict with the establishment. I will not be a rubber stamp for decisions coming out of our local government. Nor am I or would I be a puppet for special interest groups. I will absolutely work with everyone, but will not feel I have to owe my support or vote. I will award support when the decision is best for the community or organization as a whole.
This becomes problematic for these entities who are looking for a puppet. Thus, a target is placed on my back. Did I ever think three days before people began to vote in an election I would be blindsided by lies and untruths? Absolutely not. However, people do desperate things when they are faced with losing. After the June primary I was up by over 7%. As I continued knocking on doors after the primary I was connecting more and more with our community and our momentum was growing. I was feeling confident we were going to be the next voice to represent our valley.
Needless to say my opponent and his supporters conveniently pivoted the conversation away from discussing local issues, which they clearly would prefer not to discuss. They wanted to swim in a pool of misinformation and lies. All in order to distract the voters from having to talk about what is really facing our community.
It has been a week since we received that horrible and disgusting mailer from a dark money political consulting group out of Sacramento. This is the same group you received mailers in support of my opponent during the primary. Have we heard my opponent step up and say this is wrong? No we have not. I believe how we campaign is a reflection of the leader we would be.
Why does Sacramento and all this outside money want to get him elected? There is a reason they have been spending up to $100,000 against me. It is because I will not be a mouthpiece for their special interest buddies.
The voters have two very different choices. Someone who is owned by special interests or someone like me who owes no favors and can actually be a voice for all of us in the Pajaro Valley without reservation.
Democracy is so vulnerable right now. We need to protect it. This election our local democracy is on our ballot and it will be up to us to decide the future of our community.
Jimmy Dutra is a candidate for Fourth District Santa Cruz County Supervisor. His opinions are his own and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian.