The Stanislaus County League of Women Voters held a public forum at Turlock City Hall on Wednesday that featured Turlock City Council Candidates; Steven Nascimento, Sergio Alvarado, and Incumbents Amy Bublak and Mary Jackson.
Although the evening was also the first Presidential Debate in Denver for President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, the event was still attended by a decent amount of community members.
The candidates all thanked the League of Women Voters for hosting the event, as well as the community members for attending, especially with the Presidential Debate occurring at the same time.
“I appreciate all the people who are here,” stated Councilwoman Mary Jackson. “You all know how to record your VCRs.”
The format of the meeting was very similar to the previous Candidate Forum, held by the Turlock Chamber of Commerce in September at Covenant Village. Candidates were all given two minutes for their opening statements, followed by one minute to answer per question.
Topics during the hour-long forum included road repairs, infrastructure, Prop 30, outsourcing jobs, recreational options for youth in Turlock, revitalization of South Turlock, the proposed Surface Water Treatment Plant, and Downtown Turlock.
Candidate Sergio Alvarado emphasized the importance of adding road repairs to the General Fund budget, as currently there is no General Fund money set aside for such projects.
“We’re a world class city marred by bad roads,” stated Alvarado.
Councilwoman Amy Bublak stated that she would continue to look for opportunities to bring jobs to the community to help boost the economy, as well as prioritizing Public Safety.
While Steven Nascimento also stressed the importance of Public Safety, he also stated that roads are a big issue in Turlock. He stated that a potential parcel tax could alleviate some of the roadway problems that concern many Turlock residents
Jackson, who sits on the Stanislaus Council of Governments transportation committee, stated that she would love for the Council to go out into the community to find out if people would be willing to pay a ½ cent sales tax initiative that would be solely dedicated to roadway repairs.
The moderator for the evening, President Mary Giventer of the League of Women Voters, asked the candidates whether endorsements from specific labor groups would effect each candidates voting agenda, if elected to the City Council.
Bublak, who is currently endorsed by the Turlock Firefighters, stated that she has never done anything special for any donor or endorser.
“I’m not going to fight for one person, or one person’s desires,” she stated. “It’s not with me to do so.”
Nascimento, who is also endorsed by the Turlock Firefighters, stated that although his brother is a firefighter for the City, his decisions would not be impacted when it comes time to make negotiations with such groups.
“We won’t always agree,” stated Nascimento. “But we can always discuss.”
Jackson, who is currently endorsed by the Turlock Chamber of Commerce, also stated that her vote would never be bought or sold, and that she believes in an open and transparent Council.
Alvarado, who is currently not endorsed by any public groups or organizations, stated that should he be endorsed, he would treat everybody the same and do what’s right for the City.
All four candidates agreed that Turlock is in need of more recreational programs for youth, and stressed the importance of providing such programs to help keep children and teenagers out of trouble.
Nascimento stated that the Turlock Regional Sports Complex not only helps keep kids active, but also brings revenue into the City as many of the visiting teams will use hotels and services within Turlock during their stay.
“It’s an investment in our youth,” he stated. “And it brings in outside sales tax dollars.”
Alvarado also stated that he was a supporter of recreational opportunities for youth, as it gave them a chance to grow and “learn outside of the classroom environment.”
The full video and audio of the public forum will be available soon through the Stanislaus County League of Women Voters website. For more information, contact President Mary Giventer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The League of Women Voters will also be holding a Pros and Cons presentation on Tuesday, October 16th at 7pm at CSU Stanislaus in the Mary Stuart Rodgers Building, Room 130. This event is co- sponsored with the Turlock Branch of the American Association of University Women and the Politics and Public Administration Department at CSUS.