Column 1: Election time

Martinez News-Gazette Columnist

ELECTION TIME has begun. And, some interesting entries have already made their intentions know to the electorate. Actually, one very interesting candidate, and veteran of past elections and skirmishes, will be facing a lot of ‘baggage’. Serious legal issues will be included.

Supervisor Federal Glover, the District 5 incumbent, has announced his intention to file for re-election to his County Supervisor seat in District 5, a district which includes Martinez and a stretch of the Carquinez Strait east to Pittsburg, Antioch and beyond. He has held the seat since 2000, been Chair of the Board three times, and served during a period of successful serious health issues.

Gus Kramer, longtime County Assessor, who is undergoing legal battles with Contra Costa County over alleged serious personal conflicts within his office, and facing legal action as a result, has been an elected official in positions over the past, including Martinez City Clerk for 10 years, has been County Assessor since being elected in 1994. His tenure in that position has been plagued with allegations of business irregularities aside from his departmental activities. He has been a frequent critic of the Board of Supervisors over the years. He is facing a court trial in January over the charges by female employees in his office after formal charges filed by the county Civil Grand Jur. He has sued the Board of Supervisors after he was censured, claiming that certain documents pertaining to the legal action were not turned over to him, and claims open meeting violations. That suit is still open.

Sean Trambley, a Martinez City Planning Commissioner, and a newcomer to the election process, has announced his intention to become a candidate for the District 5 position, also. He, too, resides in Martinez, and claims he fights for more housing, opposed the downtown proposed gun range, and hopes for ‘common sense cannabis policies.’. He is a member of the Contra Costa Young Democrats, and CEO of his communications firm, SMT Strategies.

A SURPRISE to almost everyone was the sudden and unexpected resignation of County Clerk-Recorder Joe Canciamilla, a veteran county politician who was first elected to a public office at age 17, as a member of the Pittsburg Board of Education. “I decided now is a good time to leave,” he stated in an email announcing his immediate resignation on October 30.

Allegations of serious violations of the state Fair Political Practices Commission regulations were announced recently and are being reviewed by the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office. The claims filed against him include spending more than $130,000 of his campaign funds for personal use on property in Hawaii, and an expensive vacation in Asia.

Canciamilla, 64, was raised in Pittsburg and has spent some five decades in politics and his family’s funeral business. Elected offices included eight years on the Pittsburg City Council, four years on the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, 1996 to 2006, at which time he was elected to the California State Assembly for two terms. He returned to Pittsburg to the family business, and to his law firm before being appointed to the county position.

We recall one of his campaigns for elected office which described him as “Hard Working Joe’, and featured a pair of work gloves on his campaign material. As we look back on his career in public and private life, the moniker certainly describes his life. He was energetic.

Regretfully, the well-known phrase, from another context, “lead us not into temptation”, has not been learned or followed by politicos or elected office holders who have not been able to resist tapping their sometimes flush campaign coffers for personal use. Tsk, tsk!!! Bad and a costly one, as well. For this, Hard Working Joe is paying a $150,000 fine, plus repaying the amount he used., we hear. Ouch!!

ALMOND RANCH (no Almond trees here) is getting closer to becoming part of the John Muir Land Trust, and 281 acres of lovely property right on Martinez’ doorstep south of Highway 4 and west of Alhambra Avenue, abutting Mount Wanda with views of miles of countryside.

All that is needed now, as the JMLT makes a final push for a successful transaction, is $225,000 to meet the deadline of $4,000,000 by December 31, 2019. We do not say ALL as an EASY dollar amount to raise. We say it as an encouragement to all of YOU who could kick in some $$$ to help the fund-raiser make that last If you need more $225,000. If you need more information, call Melanie Hogan, Director of Major Gifts, at 925-228-5028. She will be delighted to hear from you.

WITH SUCH wonderful efforts attempted by people who care about our communities and their environment, there are still the slobs among us who don’t care about nature, our environment or other people. Driven along Franklin Canyon Road lately? Makes one want to upchuck, or worse at the things which are dumped along side the highway….for someone else to pick up. How thoughtless and noncaring can people be? Go figure.

MEALS ON WHEELS latest newsletter has great news for the in-home citizens who have needed more than the one meal at noon they have been receiving, thanks to the generosity of hundred (thousands) of those of us who can contribute, according to Paul Kraintz, the ‘honcho’ and co-founder of the Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa. Such a wonderful service extension to the program which deals with people unable to get out and about, but who can have a meal provided by their fellow citizens who can get out and about and take care of themselves.

Want to help? Call Paul and help with money, or as a drive delivering meal on wheels. You will learn to enjoy the volunteer effort and feel part of a truly gratifying effort as you share the ‘giving’ with so many others in the community. Call them ate 925-313-6310. You will be glad you did. We have done it!

SOME CHANGES coming to Martinez. Stay tuned!!

CHEERS for the efforts of the Martinez Veterans Commission, City Staff and all of the participating veterans, youth groups, elected officials, and individuals who made this Veterans Day very special on a lovely day at the Ygnacio Plaza at City Hall. Truly a special event feting the men and women who have served in our armed forces over the history of our nation. May God continue to bless America!

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