The three-candidate race to succeed long-time District 5 Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini includes Ceres City Council member Michael Kline.
DeMartini is not seeking re-election after serving the district, which includes the West Side, on the board of supervisors.
Kline, fellow Ceres council member Channce Condit and attorney Tom Hallinan are running for the seat. The race will be decided in March if any candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote. Otherwise the top two finishers will go on to a November run-off.
Kline was elected to the Ceres council in 2011, and previously served four years on the city’s planning commission.
He told Mattos Newspapers that he has been involved not only in municipal government but a number of community endeavors as well, and now hopes to apply his experience at the county level.
“This was an open race, with no incumbent running,” said Kline, adding that he appreciates that the race is non-partisan. Kline said that, after several years spent helping Ceres as a council member, the county seat represented an opportunity to work on a broader level in county government.
One of his top priorities, Kline told Mattos Newspapers, is developing a regional transportation model to better serve area needs as a whole.
“With a regional (system) we can hit a broader spectrum of ridership,” he noted.
Kline said he will also advocate for more prosecution of lower-level misdemeanor criminal offenses.
“I think that we need to put a little pressure on the district attorney’s office to prosecute some of these crimes,” he said.
Homelessness and the surrounding issues are also a priority for the candidate.
If the county focuses on helping people who are on the verge of escaping homelessness but in need of assistance, he commented, then it can turn its efforts toward dependency and other issues.
“If you take care of certain problems you can spend more time on bigger problems,” Kline commented. “We can’t forget about those people and wash our hands of it.”
Kline said he believes his municipal experience in matters such as budget, labor negotiations and planning would be a valuable asset on the county board.
He has also served on a number of organizations, including the Stanislaus Council of Governments policy board, which Kline said only adds to his background.
“I have the experience,” he stated.