Matthew Jacon, Turlock City Council Candidate Questionnaire/Profile
How long have you lived in Turlock and what is your occupation?
I am proud to be a lifelong resident of Turlock. My family and I own and operate Bianca’s Bridal Couture in Modesto. Additionally I have created multiple online start-ups to extend the transnational sales ability of our local brick-and-mortar operation.
Why are you running for Turlock City Council and when did you start planning your campaign?
This November marks a defining moment for our city. A new Mayor is guaranteed and two of four Council seats are up for grabs. This is our chance to make some real progress. I am running for City Council because Turlock deserves a public servant that is committed to addressing the needs of our community responsibly and without reservation. I have the time and energy to fully commit myself to this task and would be honored to serve my city in this capacity. I look forward to the opportunity to foster the positive vision I have to see Turlock’s flourishing future come to fruition. Campaign planning began early-April and it has been at full speed ever since.
What do you see as the primary duties of a councilmember?
I look to our elected leaders for just that, leadership. A member of Council is expected to establish the vision for the city. A majority vote then constitutes the “will of the Council” where city staff subsequently administers that policy. As a member of a collective decision-making body of five, it is each person’s job to advocate for issues that are most important to our community.
What are your main goals if elected to Turlock City Council?
There is an age-old adage that says “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” Unfortunately, that does not presently apply to the City of Turlock. The challenges we face in the foreseeable future are difficult, but never
impossible. I believe I offer fresh perspective and a capacity to innovate solutions creatively.
List 3 Top Priorities:
-PUBLIC SAFETY: Specifically, by providing adequate resources to both departments’ ability to attract and retain qualified personnel by reopening positions that were previously cut due to the global economic
-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Turlock is already a great place to do business. Our consumer base is nearly triple our population, as is made evident with the outstanding performance of our existing businesses (i.e. Turlock Costco outperforms Modesto and many Bay-Area Costco’s, Turlock Old Navy brings in more revenue per square foot than any other Old Navy in the nation, etc.). So we don’t necessarily have a “retailleakage” problem, clearly we attract business from our neighboring cities, yet what we do have is an attraction problem. This is something that I have worked on for over a year on the Economic Development Task Force and is something I will continue to implement when elected to
-QUALITY OF LIFE: Unfortunately, Turlock is facing a rising homeless population. There have even been reports that other cities, as far as the Bay-Area, are importing busses full of their homeless population to Turlock and surrounding Central Valley cities. As a member of Council, I’ll advocate for ordinances that protect the high quality of life we have come to expect in Turlock while further partnering with faith and non-faith based organizations that reach out to alleviate this ongoing issue.
Why do you believe you’re the most qualified candidate for Council?
My qualifications include educational and business management experience. Having attained my degree of Political Economy from UC Berkeley with additional studies at Stanford University and Peking University in Beijing, China, I am advisably equipped with a unique global perspective on local governance. I also feel fortunate to have achieved success in business early on, with my start-ups significantly expanding revenues for my families’ local business.
Key endorsements (up to 5):
Turlock Associated Police Officers
Dr. Raymond George
Dr. Daryl Bailie
Do you support Measure B, a half-cent sales tax increase to support fixing
Turlock roads? Why, or why not?
Yes, I support and will be voting “yes” on B. It is the best option we have right now to keep our roads from further deterioration.
With the majority of the General Fund already allocated to public safety, what would your plans include to continue a quality of life that Turlock is used to while addressing the ongoing issue of public safety staffing, compensation, pensions, and affordability? Please include your top 3 priorities within the area of public safety.
Take a look at Turlock’s near 500-page long budget report and you will realize that the issue of allocating General Fund dollars is inherently complex. I believe the most essential service a city can provide is Public Safety. Our Police and Fire Departments went through severe cuts over the past several years and now that our economy is growing again, we need to reverse those cuts in a feasible and responsible manor. With the recent prison realignment by the state, Turlock is unfortunately experiencing a consistent increase in crime rates. An underfunded and understaffed Police Department only perpetuates that trend. We are consistently over-working the few officers we have left which is an inefficient model as indicated by constant time-and-a-half overtime pay, not to mention the fatigue imposed on our officers and the subsequent danger that puts them in while on the job. I understand the constraints of the office I seek given that I am one of five votes, but using that vote in accord with the Public Safety union endorsements – which I am proud to have received from TAPO – will undoubtedly help make Turlock safe again.
What are your plans to address the concerns of the homeless population? How would you combat the increasing homelessness issues in Turlock?
This is a topic I am well versed in as my degree’s concentration at UC Berkeley was Domestic Poverty Alleviation Policy. Yet even after having spent several years specifically focusing on this very issue with some of the brightest minds in the world, I have come to learn that there is still no clear answer on how to reverse a cycle of poverty for an individual that does not voluntarily seek out assistance. For that particular subgroup, I am committed to finding local solutions by working alongside organizations such as the Turlock Gospel Mission – who will soon be opening a yearround facility. What I will maintain with absolute certainty is a zerotolerance policy for the criminal element that tends to blend with lower socioeconomic circumstances. Should anyone in our community dedicate their valuable time and hard working energy into ensuring security and building comfort for themselves and their loved ones, I believe they deserve a fair and equal opportunity to live a life focused on quality.
Most political candidates state that economic development and growth is a priority, but how exactly do you plan to grow Turlock’s economy and what are your thoughts on the job market here in Turlock?
Growth for the sake of growth is not a priority of mine; I don’t believe we need to be attractive to low-wage companies such as Amazon. Responsible development, specifically the kind that does not impede on our precious farmland, that offers competitive pay for skilled workers is what we ought to focus on. Previous Councils, dating well before 2010, had the foresight to make long-term investments in building our infrastructure through projects such as the Turlock Regional Industrial Park. By setting the vision of becoming an even more business-friendly city, we can attract developers to invest and expand the job market in Turlock.
Turlock, as well as the rest of California, is experience a major drought, what are your plans for the City of Turlock dealing with water management? What is your position on the sale of wastewater to the Del Puerto Water District? Do you believe the City should move forward with construction of the surface water treatment plant as per an long stalled agreement between the TID, the City of Turlock, and other cities?
Water is undoubtedly one of the most pressing issues facing our community. Turlock cannot afford to continue making decisions on water based on economic self-interests. Our groundwater levels are at record lows below surface and the only plausible way to combat that would be to redirect our wastewater to area recharge basins. I am committed to having an open conversation with TID until we are able to formulate an agreement that makes sense for everyone.
The City Council is currently discussing labor contracts with the City Manager and City attorney, the only two positions hired by and work for the Turlock City Council. If elected, how important will it be that these two key positions are approved by you?
I believe Roy and Phaedra have done commendable work in navigating us through one of the most trying economic periods. It is, however, concerning that long-term contracts are being negotiated just weeks before an election that has the potential to bring a new majority to Council.
With so much attention being brought up about government spending due to a proposed tax increase to fix Turlock roads, do you believe recreation is a service that should be funded and provided by government?
The importance of maintaining high quality arts and recreation in Turlock was made evident to me when speaking with a resident who recently moved his entire company from Southern California to Turlock just
because, “I would rather live here.” Consider the increase in tax revenues as a result of the relocation of his successful company and quickly realize that monies spent on improving the quality of life for Turlockers has both intrinsic and extrinsic value.
Transparency has always been an issue for elected officials, as they commonly state to represent their constituents. Seemingly more and more communication has been an issue with society’s move toward Facebook and social media as its main source for information. How do you plan to
communicate to, and more importantly with, the citizens of Turlock?
I actually decided to replace my original Facebook Fan Page “Matthew Jacob for Turlock City Council” and start a more long-term “Public Figure” Page simply as “Matthew Jacob” for this very reason. I will keep that profile going well beyond Election Day so that Turlock residents have a direct line to publically communicate with their Councilman. I also freely give out my cell phone number to every Turlocker I meet – and it’s not just a “campaign burner” cell phone, it’s the same cell phone number I have had for the past 10 years. My priority is to be as accessible as possible. When training my staff at Bianca’s Bridal Couture, the most important principle is outstanding customer service. In many ways, the residents are ‘customers’ to the City of Turlock – residents pay City Hall in taxes, City Hall provides residents with goods and services. When elected, I am committed to not only be as available as possible to the community but also ensure that city staff is continually encouraged to provide first rate customer service to every resident.
As a lifelong resident of Turlock and local business owner I will get back to the basics of investing your tax dollars responsibly in order to keep our neighborhoods safe, clean, and well maintained. My track record demonstrates and gives credence to being the candidate who possesses the capacity to innovate solutions through critical thinking while collaboratively working towards a stronger and more prosperous city for us all.
While serving on the City of Turlock Mayor’s Economic Development Task Force and as a Board Member of the Stanislaus County Equal Rights Commission, I supported projects that protected the character of our community and made economic sense. With your support, I am ready to bring new perspective and fresh energy to City Hall as I tackle tough challenges with even tougher solutions. Your thoughts and ideas are important, please feel free to contact me directly on my cell at (209) 602-8239 and visit my website www.MatthewForTurlock.com.
I would be honored to earn your vote.