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Paul Canepa and Elbert Holman discuss county issues at The Record

Paul Canepa, local businessman and Stockton councilman, and Elbert Holman, former vice mayor of Stockton and retired law enforcement officer, sat down with the Record on October 25 to discuss representation of North Stockton on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

The two lifelong Stockton residents who helped the city through bankruptcy together as city council members are now vying for the District 2 Board of Supervisors seat to replace outgoing supervisor Kathy Miller.

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Holman’s 10-year term on the city council ended in 2019 and followed a 34-year career with the San Joaquin sheriff and district attorney. His time as an investigator closing cases and garnering consensus shows his talent for talking to people, he said.

“I (can) bring people together on tough issues and come up with workable solutions,” said Holman, 73. “I plan to get involved in my district (via) Harding Way and Eight Mile Road…but I am a supervisor and need to know what the issues are throughout the county…I need ‘have a working knowledge of what I ‘I vote for.

Elbert Holman, who is running for San Joaquin County Supervisor, District 2, participates in a debate with opponent Paul Canepa at the Stockton Record office in downtown Stockton on Tuesday, October 25, 2022.

Canepa, 55, is completing his eighth year on city council and his 32nd in the family business, Canepa’s Car Wash. He began his political journey with two terms on the Lincoln Unified School Board and prides himself on being a humble listener. He said leading those who have no voice is important to him.

“I’m just a civil servant at heart,” Canepa said. “Good paying jobs, figuring out how to get more affordable housing, market priced housing, and more business being attracted to the valley will be my focus as county supervisor… (I know) how to get people involved in the community to make the best quality of life…every time I make a decision, whether easy or difficult…there is no hard feelings…(not) animosity.

The animosity has been on full display at the County Board of Supervisors lately with seemingly endless personal and political jabs through taxpayer-paid ethics investigations.

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“You don’t encourage those kinds of conversations on the dais, it’s just not the thing to do,” Holman said. “(I will only speak) on issues that I believe will bring about a conclusion or solution to the issue at hand. What you might think of me or what I might think of you will never come out of my mouth on this stage. .

If Canepa is elected, four of the five incumbent supervisors will be white and the board will be all-male, whoever is elected. Canepa said being from a house full of women with his wife and two daughters, all educators, he “gets it”.

Paul Canepa, who is running for San Joaquin County Supervisor, District 2, participates in a debate with opponent Elbert Holman at the Stockton Record office in downtown Stockton on Tuesday, October 25, 2022.

“Obviously there’s going to be more testosterone, but I’m proud to be able to work with a lot of different people,” Canepa said. “How can we surround ourselves with people to learn the other aspects of the issues that are in front of us, I think that’s the most important part, and be open…whether it’s diversity, the LGBTQ community…I’m looking for this stuff in our community and make sure we embrace everyone so everyone has an equal voice.


Both Holman and Canepa are against telling farmers to grow less water-intensive crops to deal with California’s water crisis, but offered substantive solutions to the parched county. Holman said he served on “every water board in San Joaquin County” during his time on the city council.

“Forty to 60 percent of the water (from spring runoff) that we have passes through our county and drains into the ocean,” Holman said. “We need to capture some of that, and we need to store it…we need to be at the table with our state and federal partners to start talking more about water storage. Nobody wants to talk about it. »

Groundwater recharge is high on Canepa’s list.

“The town of Stockton is fortunate to be able to extract from the delta everything it rejects from the sewage treatment facility, so we are well placed in the town,” Canepa said. “The most important part is sort of getting the water back into the ground.”

Money and sanity

Local experts have declared a mental health crisis in San Joaquin County, and county supervisors are tasked with spending nearly $150 in American Rescue Plan Act funds by the end of 2026.

Canepa has experience with COVID relief funds. Holman said mental health is a county jurisdiction and supervisors should do all they can in working with local, state and federal partners to get enough local health care workers through creative methods like offering to pay tuition to stay and work in San Joaquin County, much like the plan for the county’s behavioral health workforce pipeline.

“When Ronald Reagan shut down the mental health facilities and put most of these people out on the street, it’s very difficult to care for them because they don’t have the right staff to meet their needs,” he said. said Holman. “Because it’s one-time money, you have to think outside the box…they’re effective, but not necessarily mainstream.”

Stockton struggles to attract business and retain young talent. Canepa said bringing business to Stockton and keeping local talent there requires affordable housing available.

“If you have affordable housing, people will come back,” Canepa said. “We need to create more jobs than warehouse jobs…they’re doing it all around us…the next link is how county-wide are we doing this together?”

“A lot of companies don’t want to come here because we don’t have a well-educated workforce,” Canepa said. “Land is much cheaper in the Valley than in the Bay Area… (we need) to do

Record reporter Ben Irwin covers Stockton and San Joaquin county government. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @B1rwin.