Tom Hallinan is a familiar figure in Stanislaus County’s municipal circles, with a long resume of providing legal counsel to local agencies, including Newman.
The attorney is now looking to take that experience to a seat on the county Board of Supervisors.
Hallinan is running against Channce Condit for the District 5 board seat, which represents the West Side and Ceres. The victor in the Nov. 3 election will succeed four-term incumbent Jim DeMartini, who did not seek re-election.
“Local government is my life’s work,” Hallinan told Mattos Newspapers. “My thing is not to go to events and be recognized as a supervisor. I actually like to do the work.”
While public safety, economic development and issues surrounding homelessness are key issues, Hallinan said, the coronavirus pandemic and county response to the crisis are of top priority.
“I think that when the new board comes on, they should do a top-to-bottom review of the COVID-19 response, and let’s try to do better based on that,” he commented. “Let’s look at what worked and what didn’t work.”
County government has a number of roles to play in the crisis, he noted. The economic role includes administering CARES Act funding in support of other agencies and businesses. Public health is also a sole function of the county, Hallinan said.
Strong outreach and guidance are essential, he remarked, and the county must provide leadership by example.
But even as the county works to support existing businesses faced with challenging times, he said, it must also be seeking out opportunities to bring in new economic development ventures - and the jobs they create.
“The West Side has brought in the bulk of the new businesses over the last few years, and we need to continue do to that,” Hallinan commented. “Crows Landing has to be a big part of it. I think it needs to go full speed ahead.”
In terms of addressing homelessness, Hallinan called for an expansion of resources such as the Host House in Patterson, as well as mental health and substance abuse programs.
However, Hallinan said, he also advocates a zero-tolerance approach for crimes related to homelessness. “It is not a victimless crime when it is your car being stolen or broken into,” he pointed out.
Hallinan said his familiarity with numerous cities and other agencies in Stanislaus County will enable him to strengthen city-county relationships if elected to the board.
“We need to band together. If we don’t, we will get picked off as individuals and that helps no one,” he commented. “I have seen improvement (in city-county relationships) the last few years, and I want to keep us on that path. It is very important that we work together.”
If elected, Hallinan said, he will resign as legal counsel for all Stanislaus County agencies he represents.
DeMartini, the incumbent supervisor, has regularly attended local City Council meetings and community events.
Hallinan said he will also be highly visible on the West Side if elected.
“I do that now,” he told Mattos Newspapers. “I would just be doing that in a different role.”
Given the challenging times, Hallinan said, he believes the experience he brings to the table would be an asset to the Board of Supervisors.
“I like to think I combine new ideas with the experience,” Hallinan stated.