STOCKTON — Steve Smith promises that if he is elected, not only will he get things done, he will get them done in a hurry.
As he runs for a seat on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors, Smith touts his accomplishments on the Stockton Unified school board — and his speediness — as proof of what he will do if he wins a supervisorial seat in the June primary or the November election.
Smith joined SUSD eight years ago, elected on the same June night that voters approved the recall of Trustee Dan Castillo. Once on the school board, Smith said, he learned that the district was considering opening a new school.
“I said, ‘Let's do this,’” Smith said. “They wanted to analyze it for a year.
“I said, ‘We don’t have a year. Let’s do this, let’s just analyze this, 30, 60, 90 days. If it’s good, let’s do it. If it’s not, scrap it and we’ll work on something else.’”
Today, SUSD has multiple specialty high school academies.
As for his supervisor campaign, Smith is running against incumbent Kathy Miller and fellow challenger Motecuzoma Sanchez to represent District 2, which includes much of Stockton and is the most populous supervisorial district, with more than 141,000 residents.
If a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote on June 5, that candidate will be elected. If no one gets a majority June 5, the top two finishers will meet again in the Nov. 6 general election.
Smith, 59, was born and raised in Stockton, attending Lincoln and St. Mary’s high schools. He went on to join the military, he said, serving for four years as a fireman with the 82nd Airborne Division.
He then returned to Stockton, working as a businessman most of his adulthood. Smith says it is important for voters to know that he has been self-employed or on 100 percent commission throughout his working life.
“On 100 percent commission, my job was to solve my clients’ or customers’ problems,” Smith said. “When I do that, that’s the only time I get paid. So I’m good at solving problems and getting it done right away, not waiting five years to analyze.”
He said things would be no different if he becomes a Supervisor, and weighed in on a variety of topics:
• Homelessness: “I know they’ve been working on a plan for the last five years. As a businessman, that’s too long to work on something and implement it right at election time.”
• Mentally ill homeless individuals: “A lot of them, they’re just not taking their medications,” Smith said. “We definitely need to help them take their medications. In a lot of cases those people can become part of society. … Getting them on their meds would help their thinking process, which would help them get off the streets.”
Smith also said incentives should be offered to attract businesses and bring more high-paying jobs to the county; said Swenson Park “needs to stay the way it is” to preserve the property values of neighborhood residents; and praised Sheriff Steve Moore for doing “a great job” when SUSD was opening its public-safety academy.
But he also said of Moore, “I respect him, but obviously there have been things written about him in the newspaper that may give a different view on Steve.”
Smith, who is terming out at SUSD, said his experience on the school board with what he considers slow-moving projects provided valuable experience that will serve him well as a Supervisor.
“I learned how to work with that,” Smith said, “and speed them up.”
Contact reporter Roger Phillips at (209) 546-8299 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @rphillipsblog.