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The political action committee for one of the state’s most well-known taxpayer groups has endorsed Henrietta “Etta” Waterfield in her bid to become the next Assemblyperson in the 33rd district, arguing that she could best protect Proposition 13.

Protecting the proposition “is essential to keeping property taxes from consuming homeowners’ budgets,” said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

“Etta Waterfield has taken a firm stance to protect Proposition 13 and to oppose any attempts to raise taxes on hard working Californians,” he wrote in a news release.

Waterfield describes herself as a small business and economic growth expert. She served as coordinator of the Economic Development Commission for the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and spent six years on the Santa Maria Planning Commission.

Waterfield faces strong opposition in the GOP primary.

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Katcho Achadjian, Paso Robles City Councilman Fred Strong and San Luis Obispo financial analyst Matt Kokkonen all are in the race.

Santa Maria City Councilwoman Hilda Zacarias is the only Democrat running.

They all are seeking to replace Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee, the Assembly minority leader, who cannot run for re-election next year because of term limits. He is raising funds for a run at an as yet undesignated higher office, perhaps the state Senate, in 2012.

— Bob Cuddy

California List, which seeks to elect Democratic women to state government, has endorsed Hilda Zacarias for Assembly in the 33rd District, which encompasses San Luis Obispo County.

The organization joins such local elected officials as Atascadero Councilwoman Ellen Beraud, Morro Bay Councilman Noah Smukler, and former San Luis Obispo County Supervisors David Blakely, Evelyn Delany and Bud Laurent in endorsing Zacarias.

A Santa Maria city councilwoman, Zacarias is executive director of a nonprofit organization associated with 13 child care programs in Santa Barbara County. She also has worked as a tax accountant and business consultant.

“I feel honored to be endorsed by a group that encourages communities and individuals to step forward and develop our state’s next generation of leaders,” Zacarias said.

Founded in 2002, California List has more than 1,500 members. It has endorsed many candidates for the 2010 election, including Secretary of State Debra Bowen for re-election and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn for Lieutenant Governor.

Zacarias is the only Democrat in the race to succeed Sam Blakeslee in the Assembly.

Republicans include San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Katcho Achadjian, Paso Robles City Councilman Fred Strong, San Luis Obispo financial planner Matt Kokkonen, and former Santa Maria Planning Commissioner Etta Waterfield.

— Bob Cuddy

Sheriff’s candidate Joe Cortez has named his honorary campaign treasurer as he kicks his campaign into gear.

Cortez, a former Pismo Beach police chief, has named Carrol Pruett, a founder of Mid-State Bank and former board member of Rabobank, as his honorary campaign treasurer.

“Joe Cortez has been very impressive as the chief in Pismo Beach,” Pruett said in a news release. “He inherited an agency that was struggling and turned it into one of the top law enforcement agencies in the state.”

Cortez is running on a multifaceted platform that includes transparency and accountability in the Sheriff’s Department; accessibility; community-focused policing; local advisory groups; establishing a “cold case” squad for unsolved murders; and teamwork with other agencies, among other things.

Cortez has six opponents, including Ian Parkinson, a San Luis Obispo Police Department captain; former county supervisor and San Luis Obispo police Lt. Jerry Lenthall; retired CHP Sgt. Michael “Tex” Teixeira; sheriff’s Deputy Mark J. Adams; entertainment broker Kevin Faircourt; and sheriff’s Cmdr. Ben Hall.

— Bob Cuddy

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