Political Notebook

SLO County

Santa Maria City Councilwoman and Assembly candidate Hilda Zacarias has picked up the endorsement of the California Federation of Teachers.

Kenneth Burt, the union’s political director, stated in a news release that Zacarias would “protect the interests of working families while promoting California’s educational system.”

The union represents faculty and nonteaching employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education.

Zacarias welcomed the endorsement, adding, “It will take courage to make the hard choices necessary to balance the state budget, and the (union) knows that I will consider the needs of every Californian.”

Zacarias, a former accountant, educator and Cal Poly graduate, is executive director of the Santa Barbara Family Care Center.

She is the only announced Democratic candidate for the 33rd Assembly District, which stretches from San Miguel to Lompoc. Republicans running for the position are San Luis Obispo financial consultant Matt Kokkonen, Paso Robles City Councilman Fred Strong, San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Katcho Achadjian and former Santa Maria Planning Commissioner Etta Waterfield.

The seat is held by Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, who cannot run again because of term limits.

— Bob Cuddy

San Luis Obispo

Sheriff candidate Jerry Lenthall has picked up a joint endorsement from a former county sheriff and the mayor of San Luis Obispo.

Mayor Dave Romero and Ed Williams, who served as sheriff from 1986 to 1998, cited Lenthall’s “extensive experience and integrity.”

“I know Jerry as a caring and extremely helpful individual with extensive knowledge of police work and government operations,” Romero said.

Williams called Lenthall “by far the most qualified person running for the office. He is a seasoned law enforcement supervisor, and while a member of the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors … displayed an ability to deal with complex financial and management issues.”

Lenthall spent 30 years in law enforcement, retiring as a sergeant from the San Luis Obispo Police Department in 2003.

He served one term on the county Board of Supervisors before being defeated by Adam Hill in his 2008 bid for re-election.

Romero and Williams said the sheriff’s office has been “racked with excessive litigation costs and battered by scandals” and “Lenthall will bring veracity back to the office.”

“Jerry has the proven ability and integrity to lead the sheriff’s office in these difficult budget times and to restore pride in the office among its members and citizens of our county,” they wrote.

Lenthall has six declared opponents: retired Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Marilyn Morris of rural Arroyo Grande; retired CHP Sgt. Michael “Tex” Teixeira; sheriff’s Deputy Mark J. Adams; former Pismo Beach Police Chief Joe Cortez; entertainment broker Kevin Faircourt; sheriff’s Cmdr. Ben Hall; and Ian Parkinson, a San Luis Obispo Police Department captain.

— Bob Cuddy

SLO County

State Assembly candidate Etta Waterfield announced that another conservative lawmaker has endorsed her bid to replace Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee.

“We know the Democrats are going to continue pressuring the legislature to raise taxes,” said Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-San Juan Capistrano, “and that’s why we need proven conservatives like Etta Waterfield in the Assembly to stop higher taxes.”

Waterfield’s campaign described Harkey as “renowned for her expertise in financial matters,” noting her 30-year career in finance and banking before being elected.

She was picked to be the lead Republican on state-solvency strategies, according to an announcement by Waterfield, and has worked with Assembly budget staffers and members of the Department of Finance on fiscal issues.

Waterfield — a former Santa Maria Planning Commissioner — is one of four Republicans seeking the seat now held by Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, who cannot run again because of term limits.

San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Katcho Achadjian, Paso Robles City Councilman Fred Strong and San Luis Obispo financial planner Matt Kokkonen are also running in the June primary.

The winner of that race would face Santa Maria City Councilwoman Hilda Zacarias, who is the only announced Democrat seeking to represent the 33rd Assembly District, which stretches from San Miguel to Lompoc.

— Antonio A. Prado