Stanislaus County Supervisor Jim DeMartini, who represented his constituents with a tireless work ethic and regular presence throughout District 5 communities, is wrapping up his 16-year tenure on the county’s governing board.
He did not seek re-election, and plans a move to the Reno area.
Channce Condit will be sworn in Jan. 4 as DeMartini’s successor.
DeMartini recently reflected on his years of service to the county and District 5, which includes the West Side.
“I tried to be an advocate for the West Side,” he told Mattos Newspapers.
DeMartini was widely known for being involved at a community level.
He rarely missed a Newman City Council meeting, for example, attempted to attend at least one board meeting a year of the many special districts within his supervisorial area and was a familiar figure at community events.
“It was important to me. I always said that if I got elected I would work hard. You can’t represent the district sitting in your office in Modesto. You have to be out in the district,” DeMartini told Mattos Newspapers. “I wanted to do the best job I could representing the area, and that meant getting out into the district and going to community events.”
While he also oversaw an 1,100-acre farming operation through most of his years on the board, DeMartini said, “I went into the county every day. The job on the board came first.”
Perhaps his proudest accomplishment, DeMartini said, was creation of the West Side Health Care Task Force. That group, which included Gustine as well as the Stanislaus County cities of Newman and Patterson, brought together city officials, school district representatives, health care providers and community leaders with the common goal of improving health care services on the West Side.
“That is the thing I am most proud of. We advocated for improved medical services....we had a lot of accomplishments,” DeMartini reflected.
Working to represent agricultural interests, protect ag lands, improve parks and maintaining fiscally responsible budgets were also priorities for DeMartini.
He is also proud, DeMartini said, of improved city-county relationships.
“You don’t have to agree, but you have to have a relationship where you can work together,” he commented.
The over-arching goal, he said, was simply working to improve the lives of those who call the district and county home.
Redevelopment of the former military air base near Crows Landing was perhaps the most frustrating chapter in his time on the board, the outgoing supervisor shared.
The initial plan, which DeMartini vocally opposed, never came to fruition.
“We wasted years and years on that project. It never went anywhere,” he said. “We could have had a business park and people employed there already.”
The transformation of the one-time military base into a job-generating business park is now moving forward, DeMartini noted, with a ground-breaking anticipated next spring.
DeMartini was also known for candidly voicing his opinions on issues.
“I would just tell you what I think. When I would vote on something I would say why. I wanted to be honest about it,” he commented. “You kind of knew where I was coming from.”
The supervisor rarely missed a Newman City Council meeting, to the point where he was given his own slot on the agenda to report to the council. The Dec. 8 meeting, held via Zoom as has been the case through most of the year, was his last.
“I have loved working with every city. I will really miss that,” DeMartini stated. “Newman is my favorite town in the district. It is just a really nice town.”
Council members and staff praised the outgoing supervisor.
“We are going to miss you and your dedication,” said newly-seated Mayor Casey Graham. “You showed up to every event we ever had, and always supported our community. Condit has big shoes to fill.”
City Manager Michael Holland also expressed his appreciation.
DeMartini, he said, “has to be the hardest working supervisor in the whole state.”