The mission of the Salinas Valley Leadership Group is to identify, recruit and support candidates for non-partisan local office who desire to serve their communities, exhibit qualities of leadership and integrity, and who will support the vital interests of business in the conduct of local government.
Judge John Phillips
Candidate - Monterey County Supervisor District 2
John Phillips is a long time resident of Monterey County, having served as Deputy District Attorney, Assistant District Attorney, Superior Court Judge and most recently, as Founder and President of Rancho Cielo Youth Campus.
In addition to serving as the President of the Board of Rancho Cielo, John serves on the Board of the Community Foundation for Monterey County, and was formerly on the Board of Directors of the Gateway Center, member of the Mayor of Salinas Violence Prevention Task Force and the Community Alliance for Safety and Peace (CASP). He has been honored with the Salinas Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the year award, the Jefferson Award, Community Commitment to Peace Award from Partners for Peace, the Monterey County Bar Association Gibson Award, the Humanitarian Award from the American Culinary Federation and the Rotary International Paul Harris Fellowship Award.
John grew up in the Culver City area of Southern California. He served in the United States Army Reserve and graduated Cum Laude from Long Beach State College with a B.A. in Political Science. He attended Boalt Hall Law School at Berkeley, and after graduation from law school, practiced law as a civil litigator for a private law firm in Oakland.
Incumbent - Salinas City Mayor
After six years as the Director of Security, he became President of the California International Air Show in 2011. He has coordinated with Homeland Security, the FBI, and other agencies to ensure the safety of the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds and all in attendance at the events.
He sits on the board of the Central Coast Federal Credit Union and is the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee, responsible for reviewing and signing off on millions of dollars in loans.
He is a past president of the Women’s Crisis Center for Monterey County and has been a volunteer for the California Rodeo for over 30 years.
For many years he was a board member of the Bobby Sox as a coach and served as president of the organization. He is a member of the Italian Catholic Federation, the Salinas Elks Lodge and the Sons of Italy.
Incumbent - Salinas City Council District 3
Steve served as a Trustee for Hartnell Community College District between 2003 and 2007. He had one year as Chair and another as Vice Chair. He has been active in Rotary and the boards of Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity and the City of Salinas Police Commission. He is founder and past chair of the Central Coast Young Farmers and Ranchers. He served as State Chair for the Young Farmers and Ranchers and currently sits on the National Young Farmers and Ranchers Board.
Steve lives in South Salinas. When not working, Steve can be found running, traveling the planet or growing exotic fruits in his backyard.
Incumbent - Salinas City Council District 5
Kimbley Craig is a current re-election candidate for Salinas City Council District #5. Kimbley brings revitalized energy, successful management acumen and a combination of local knowledge and creative perspective to the city of Salinas. Her extensive record of community involvement, leadership experience, and business savvy are successful assets for City Council. District #5 encompasses Northridge Mall, Sherwood Shopping Center, Westridge Shopping Center, and the Salinas Auto Mall. With the city’s tax revenue deeply reliant upon the retail and automotive industry’s success, it’s important to recognize how critical these businesses are to the vitality of Salinas. Kimbley provides representation for local business support and development on the city’s council.
Candidate - King City City Council
• Commissioner on Domestic Violence County Council, Appointed by Supervisor Salinas to serve District 3
• Lifelong resident of South County
• Served as a member of Monterey County SART—Sexual Assault Response Team for Women’s
• Volunteer Domestic Violence Advocate for King City Police Department
• Member of 4Cities 4Peace since its inception in 2010
• Currently lead PARTS (Preventing Alcohol Related Trauma in South County) Coalition
• Provides Parenting education to parents mandated to by juvenile justice probation/courts, from
school districts from all four cities, and all four police departments
• Managed At-Risk-Youth referrals from all four cities High Schools, Juvenile Justice System, and
from each Police department
• Coordinated and lead STEPS—Safe Teens Empowerment Project of South County; developed
leadership students into peer-mentors in substance abuse training. Taught students and trained
them to share Gateway Drug Presentations at large in South County
• Member of Every 15 Minutes Program for King City High School
• Experienced City Council Member; served on Greenfield City Council for two terms as Mayor
• Former Business Owner, and President of Greenfield Chamber of Commerce for 5 years, running
• Currently South County Prevention Coordinator for Sun Street Centers
Candidate - King City City Council
It is Mike’s goal to be an effective leader that solves problems and improves the quality of life for all. Since early 2013 Mike has worked to help the South County Youth Soccer League (SCYSL), then 12 coaches and 160 kids, now close to 40 coaches and almost 1000 kids throughout South County.
He first helped the league by getting their field fees reduced allowing more teams to participate. He worked with Sen. Cannella’s office to present the coaches with certificates of appreciation and then coordinated with the Mayors of King City, Greenfield, Soledad, and Gonzales to recognize the coaches from their towns.
Mike believes that it is programs like these that make a real difference in a child’s life and are an important component of any long term gang prevention strategy. In 2010 he actively began to participate in the political process and has developed working relationships with elected officials and their representative’s in our area, as well as local media, business owners, and organizations. He earns his living working in the fields partnering with local farmers, ranchers, and vineyards to effectively manage their resources.
Candidate - Greenfield City Council
Leah was raised in Soledad where her family has lived for generations. Her father, Ken Jones and grandfather, Lewis Jones were painting contractors in South County and her mother, Karen Jones owned The Soledad Beauty Salon. Leah became her mothers partner over 20 years ago and after she retired, Leah moved the salon business to River Road, Salinas. Leah married Greenfield native, Joe Santibanez 21 years ago. They have two daughters, Kira and Kami, and have lived in Greenfield for 6 years.
Leah is running for Greenfield City Council because she wants to love the city that she lives in and wants Greenfield to be great again! She has a sincere concern for the well-being of Greenfield and its’ future and is passionate about serving the community.
Candidate - Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare District
Doctor Nelson is a retired Navy Captain who has been with the practice for 32 years. He and his wife, Rin, enjoy their children and grandchildren, who now are in the “too numerous to count” range. They do, however, have an accurate tally on their horses, dogs, and cats.
Candidate - Alisal Union School District (Recall Election)
Students need help with their homework, my mom has a friend who tutors in the Cesar Chavez Library and says there are children in third grade who can't read in English – or Spanish. If I can't be a teacher, maybe I can help another way.
I don't expect to make any large changes because sometimes when there's a sudden upset, things just get more confusing than they should be. So what I'm hoping to bring to this is just a measure of practicality, stability, just a buffer between the actual big thinkers.