District 22 voters have a tough choice to make when they go to the polls next week. Four candidates are running in the Democratic primary, and the winner is all but certain to replace Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, who is termed out.
Our choice in this tight race is Santa Clara City Council member and high school teacher Dominic Caserta, although we also are impressed with Paul Fong, a longtime professor and 15-year trustee of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District.
We gave the nod to Caserta due to the wealth of ideas he provided in a Voice questionnaire, which asked all four candidates to state their positions on a series of issues (see page 18). The other two candidates are county school board member Anna Song and Cupertino City Council member Kris Wang.
On some of the big questions, Caserta and Fong had virtually the same answers. For example, both support SB-840, the universal health care bill proposed by Assembly member Sheila Keuhl. But we liked that Caserta would go further, adding a series of community health care clinics to provide immunizations, preventive care and other services to ease the burden on doctors and emergency rooms.
This follows a pattern with these two candidates: Although we like Fong's blunt, no-nonsense style, we also like that Caserta seems to have thought the issues through more closely, often providing more specific or creative ideas.
On education, for example, Caserta and Fong are similar in most respects. Both of these educators agree passionately that the state's schools must be funded fully and without compromise. And both agree that Proposition 98, in Fong's words, "should be the floor, not the ceiling" of funding. But Caserta also wants to expand technical classes like auto shop, focusing on legitimate career paths for California's students that often are ignored.
Caserta, a former Republican, is running against the tide in this race, as Fong has been endorsed by Lieber and the Democratic establishment, including U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren and Mike Honda. Caserta has backing from several unions and the Mountain View Police Officers Association.
Although it is a close call, we believe Caserta is the best candidate in the District 22 race, and urge voters to support him on June 3.
Vote yes on Measure C
A reminder: Last week the Voice endorsed Measure C, which would renew and increase the parcel tax in the Mountain View Whisman School District. The new tax would take effect in 2009, and provide an additional $1.3 million to the district. Most property owners would see their current parcel tax increase by $52 a year — more than worth it, in our view, to assure the quality of Mountain View's elementary schools.