Donald Babadalir recently announced his intention to run for Turlock City Council in the November 2014 General Election as he was issued his nomination papers Friday morning.
Babadalir, a former banker, began his small business as a personal trainer in 2010. Aside from training, he also offers yoga workshops and nutritional advising.
He claims to have long been interested in serving the public and wanted to run for election years back, but the people around him urged him to follow individuals in office and gather a campaign first. During his time working as a banker, Babadalir heard from local business owners’ frustrations with local government which further pushed him to want to get involved.
Between 2002 and 2007 he hosted a television show on the local channel, KBSV, where he discussed an array of issues and informed individuals in both English and his native Assyrian language, talking to Turlock’s constituents. He also taught Assyrian Aramaic for several years at his local parish.
Babadalir explained that he began attending City Council meetings in 2004 when he was still a student of California State University, Stanislaus, but when his dad suffered a stroke in 2013 and he began working with his dad as a physical therapist, Babadalir could not always make the meetings in person. Instead, he explained, he continued to follow the issues and watch the videos of the meetings online.
He said he feels Turlock’s past government has done a “pretty decent job” but that there are new issues coming that need to be addressed. Namely: economic development, retail leakage, intellectual leakage, and behavioral health in the community.
According to Babadalir, who believes to have coined the term, intellectual leakage explains the inability Turlock has to retain many of its college students following graduation. And there, Babadalir explained, is where Turlock is losing out.
“Now, we’re losing out on that individual living here and the tax revenue obviously that’s received from that but, even more important than that is we lose out on that individual’s mind,” said Babadalir.
Babadalir saw many of his fellow CSU Stanislaus graduates choose to move to “greener pastures” but for himself wanted to stay and improve his community because he considers Turlock his home.
“City Council has done a pretty good job, our City Administrators have done a pretty good job and I’m very happy to have had the opportunities that I’ve had here,” said Babadalir. “But going forward if we keep things the way that they are and don’t focus on the new issues approaching us we will be heading the direction of Stockton and we don’t want that to happen. Turlock right now is a beautiful city.”
As of now, aside from the support of his family, Babadalir claims the support of other members of the younger generation. His campaign website can be found at donaldforturlock.com.
Joining Babadalir in the Turlock City Council race are current Councilmembers Forrest White and Bill DeHart, who are both up for reelection, as well as Sergio Alvarado, a U.S. Postal worker and former City Council candidate in 2012, and Matthew Jacob, a Turlock native who runs a small business and sits on the City of Turlock Mayor’s Economic Development Task Force. The Turlock City Clerk’s website, which was last updated July 31 at 3 p.m., shows that only White has filed his nomination papers and declared his candidacy for Turlock City Council.