Counting Time

Counting Time

Primary voting by mail in Sacramento County is underway and ballots can be cast at Vote Center locations through June 7 when the polls close. Two candidates already know they’re winners. Others must wait for the final tabulation.

County Assessor Christina Wynn and Supervisor Phil Serna drew no opponents, so neither needed to campaign.

Serna hasn’t faced an election battle since his maiden run to succeed Roger Dickinson in 2010, and that race brought token opposition. We can ponder whether Serna will try to move up the political ladder, though history has not favored candidates from the county’s first district.

Wide Open Race

Wide Open Race

Voters can choose between two experienced lawmen for Sacramento County sheriff this year, with Jim Cooper and Jim Barnes running for the office vacated by Scott Jones.

Cooper and Barnes both claim deep connections to the sheriff’s department, but they have taken different paths to the June primary. The sheriff’s job is nonpartisan, but the campaign may evolve into a battle over political backgrounds and ideology.

Cooper is giving up his state Assembly seat to run for sheriff. Barnes is the current chief deputy in Sacramento. He has the endorsement of Jones, who is running for Congress.

The race has historical significance for Cooper. The former sheriff’s captain ran against Jones for the sheriff’s job in 2010 and lost by about 3,000 votes.

Smoked Out

Smoked Out

Snuff out those menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products. As of July, selling them is banned in Sacramento County.

The prohibition means flavored smokes are banned locally no matter what California voters decide in November, when a referendum could repeal a similar statewide ban. Flavored tobacco is often marketed to new and youthful customers as a less-harsh version of the original.

Too Little, Too Late

Too Little, Too Late

The Board of Supervisors recently redrew its district boundaries to reflect Sacramento County’s population changes over the last decade. New lines are in effect for this year’s elections, with three seats open. Filing begins Feb. 14 for the June primary.

Boundaries for Districts 1 and 2, represented by Phil Serna and Patrick Kennedy, had minor modifications. Half of Rancho Cordova was moved from Don Nottoli’s District 5 into Rich Desmond’s District 3. North Highlands was swapped out of District 3 and given to Sue Frost in District 4. Desmond picks up Gold River.

Sting Operations

Sting Operations

District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert didn’t spend all her time last year prosecuting fraudulent COVID-19 unemployment claims. Her office was busy on many fronts, including important work to reduce human trafficking.

Authorities chased sex buyers and sex exploiters in operation “Hot Spots,” a countywide sting with law enforcement partners and more than 30 community organizations called Sacramento Together Against Human Trafficking.

The efforts concentrated on areas long notorious for the sex trade, including Stockton Boulevard, Auburn Boulevard and Watt Avenue in North Highlands.

A Real Race?

A Real Race?

A sheriff’s election is often an exercise in maintaining the status quo. Many times, the retiring incumbent picks a favored replacement, and the endorsement is enough to win the race.

Once in office, the sheriff typically wins several re-elections and stays on the job until he chooses to depart on his own terms.

Scott Jones was elected sheriff in 2010, the handpicked replacement for John McGinness. Recently Jones posted on social media, “I have decided NOT to seek re-election as Sheriff of Sacramento County next year, and instead retire after what will be over 33 years with the Sheriff’s Office, including 12 years as Sheriff!”