Pecking Order

When Tom Urbanske retired last year, no one could have known the full impact of his decision. Local Democrats unsuccessfully tried to maintain control of his seat, but lost out to a better-funded and more popular Republican appointed Mayor, Joe Centeno. The now, County Supervisor Centeno�s departure not only created yet another power vacuum, but it also got the pecking order out of order. Not only was his prior Mayor position (yet another appointment) filled by a city council senior ranking Democrat, the Republican appointment chain-of-power was broken. While all this was happening, Centeno�s obviously appointed successor was unseated as Police Chief in a surprise defeat to yet another upcoming Republican star, John Sterling. Riding a way of public support, Chief Sterling announced his intentions to (leap-frog the pack) run for the departing Abel Maldonado�s (a previous mayor appointee) State Assembly seat. Foul, cried the local powers-to-be and came down hard and fast on Chief Sterling. He withdrew from the race the following day. Yet that wasn�t enough, Chief Sterling had crossed the line and must be made to pay. Now they want his job. There is a saying that goes �all politics are local.� I believe that means if you have the support of the local community, the local voters, you will always win. Chief Sterling is beloved by the citizens of Santa Maria and as shown by the turnout this week at the City Counsel meeting, has their support. If Chief Sterling is fired, it looks like the people will hire him again, maybe the next time as Mayor?


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