In the News


Friday May 21, 2010
By Santa Cruz Sentinel

The Santa Cruz Sentinel,May 21, 2010

As We See It: Alejo, Bernosky in 28th Assembly


California is facing yet another budget showdown.

But the old politics -- Democrats spending money the state doesn't have; Republicans cutting necessary programs for the poor and needy -- has long since broken down.

In the 28th Assembly District -- which includes parts of the Pajaro Valley and Watsonville, as it sprawls through Southern Santa Clara, San Benito and Monterey counties -- we're hoping new faces will bring new energy and solutions. The seat is open because current Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, is running for state Senate.

Our choices are Watsonville Mayor Luis Alejo in the Democratic race and Robert Bernosky on the Republican side. Party registration in the district, however, points to the Democrat's choice being the overwhelming favorite in the November election.

Both candidates should have a clear understanding and appreciation of a primary issue in the heavily agricultural district: creating jobs.

Alejo brings a unique life story to a campaign in which he is vying against Salinas City Councilwoman and teacher Janet Barnes and Gilroy school board President Francisco Dominguez.

Alejo, who has garnered union support and raised more money than the other candidates, has worked hard both to rise from humble circumstances and to give back to the community. A law graduate of UC Davis, Alejo got his BA at UC Berkeley and a master's of education degree from Harvard University. In addition to serving on the Watsonville City Council, he currently works as a staff attorney with Monterey County Superior Court, where he helps people who are representing themselves in legal matters such as foreclosures.

Alejo says he'll push to get local projects paid for with federal stimulus money -- and work to ensure California companies get bidding preference.

He's also trying to organize a "summit" aimed at high-school dropouts who need to get back to school and who need job training.

Bernosky is a Hollister resident and chief financial officer for tech companies. He vows to shrink spending in Sacramento, work to get rid of unnecessary boards and agencies, no new taxes and to seek accountability in education his wife is a school administrator. His business background, he says, gives him a strong background in creating jobs. He thinks AB 32, the controversial air quality legislation, needs to be phased in for businesses so it doesn't lead to even more unemployment.

Bernosky is opposed by Allen Barker, also a businessman, whose conservative views are close to Bernosky's. His Tea Party membership, however, puts him in the same intransigent corner that has led to partisan gridlock in Sacramento.