Mike Brem, Mayor of Turlock Candidate Questionnaire/Profile
How long have you lived in Turlock and what is your occupation?
I have lived in Turlock since 1992. In March of this year I retired as President of SupHerb Farms. I continue to work for SupHerb Farms on a part-time basis.
Why are you running for Turlock Mayor and when did you start planning your campaign?
I decide to run for Mayor when our current Mayor, John Lazar, decided that he would not run for a third term. I have been planning my campaign since May.
What do you see as the primary duties of the Mayor?
The Major is one member of the City Council all of whom have an equal vote. The Mayor presides over City Council meetings and often is the face and the voice of the city. In addition, the Mayor makes recommendations to the City Council regarding commission vacancies.
What are you main goals if elected Mayor?
- Continue to maintain fiscal control. Turlock will be spending out of reserves for at least the next two years, so it is imperative to continue to watch spending closely.
- Successful implementation of Measure B. I expect Measure B to pass in November, so the responsibility of the City Council will be to make sure that the incremental funding is identified and spent to the best use for local roads. We will do this in a transparent fashion and is communicated throughout the community.
- Add police and fire protection as new revenues become available. Public safety is the highest priority of the City Council and we must find ways to fill police and fire vacancies as more revenue is identified.
Why do you believe you’re the most qualifiers candidate for Mayor? Why did you decide to run for Mayor or Council? And how do the positions differ from each other?
I have almost 40 years of business experience, including 25 years managing successful agricultural companies. In addition, I have been on the Planning Commission for 14 years and served as Chairman during the most recent General Plan update. I have also been involved in many community activities that including Measure D Oversight Committee, Turlock Convention and Visitors Bureau, Rotary Club of Turlock and off Center Thrift and Gift. I believe this combination of business, planning and community experience makes me the most qualified candidate.
I decided to run for Mayor because several years ago I decided that I would retire from business and spend more time working with the community. When Mayor Lazar decided that he would not run for a third term, I thought that being Mayor would be the best way to serve my community.
Mayor John Lazar, Councilmember Steven Nascimento, County Supervisor Vito Chiesa, The Modesto Bee and the Turlock Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee.
Do you support Measure B, a half-cent sales tax increase to support Turlock roads? Why, or why not?
I support Measure B. This is the best way to begin to fix our roads and have local control. As Mayor, I will work to make sure the incremental funds are identified and spent as they are intended, on local roads. There will be a Citizens Advisory Committee that will help ensure we are spending the funs as they are intended.
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.
As the economy improves we must use the new revenue to begin to offset the salary reductions experienced by all city employees, including fire and police. The fire and police departments have done a good job with reduced staff and we must find ways to begin fill vacancies as new revenue is identified. My Top 3 priorities are:
- Fill police vacancies
- Fill fire vacancies
- Continued emphasis on gang activity.
What are your plans to address the concerns of the homeless population? How would you combat the increasing homelessness issues in Turlock?
The City can best address homelessness by working with faith based efforts such as Turlock Gospel Mission. The city can help facilitate these activities as it is doing now. The emphasis must be on helping those that want help and demonstrate the desire to help themselves. For those that don’t want help, we need to be aggressive and make sure they do not detract from the City’s quality of life.
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 in Turlock?
I brought a major business to Turlock, so I know very well the needs of business. We are blessed to have the Turlock Regional Industrial Park that has been and will continue to be a magnet for new businesses that have good paying jobs. As mayor, I can be helpful as we attract new businesses by talking to company executives about my experience in Turlock and why they should locate here.
For the last year, I have served on the Mayor’s Economic Development Task Force and we are in the final stages of recommending several initiatives that will not only attract businesses but help existing businesses grow and prosper.
Turlock, as well as the rest of California, is experiencing a major drought, what are you plans for the City of Turlock dealing with water management? What is your position of the sale of wastewater to the Del Puerto Water District? Do you believe the City should move forward with construction of surface water treatment as per long stalled agreement between the TID, the City of Turlock, and other cities?
The treated waste water situation did not start with the drought. This project was envisioned several years ago and Turlock has invested money and time to make this a reality. Before the current drought, TID did not show interest in this project, so Turlock moved ahead. I do believe that Turlock and TID are discussing ways to keep treated waste water in the TID basin during years of severe drought and I hope these discussions will benefit all of us.
With regard to surface treated water, it is important to note that all of our water comes from wells located throughout the city. As water tables go down and we lose wells due to quality concerns, we must have other sources of water to supplement our current resource. I believe the City of Turlock and the other cities involved must come to a formal agreement with TID as soon as possible.
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?
It is the responsibility of the current City Council to negotiate the contacts for both positions. I look forward to working with City Manager and City Attorney and continue the good work they have been doing.
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 provided by government?
Well managed, effective recreation programs add to the quality of life for our community and I support them.
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 of information. How do you plan to communicate, and more importantly with, the citizens of Turlock?
As social media evolves there will be opportunities to communicate with more citizens. We will have to sort out the best, most effective ways to communicate. I plan to spend time around Turlock meeting people face to face to understand what their needs and concerns are.
Mike Brem biography:
I was born and raised in Gilroy, CA. I graduated from Cal Poly with a BS in Farm Management and immediately upon graduation started my working career at Gilroy Foods, one of the largest agricultural processors in the western United States. I spent the next 16 years in a variety of management positions, including Vice President of Raw Materials and ultimately President. In 1992, I lead the effort to start SupHerb Farms, a joint venture of McCormick &Co. and Daregal. After assessing several potential locations for the company, we decided that Turlock was the best location. My wife, Tina, and I and our two young sons moved Turlock in 1992.
Since we have been in Turlock, I have balanced my time between my family, SupHerb Farms and the community. I have been involved in many community activities, but the highlight has been serving on the Turlock Planning Commission for the last 14 years. In addition, I have been involved in numerous community activities: Rotary Club of Turlock (past President); Turlock Convention and Visitors Bureau (past President); Mayor’s Economic Development Task Force (Vice Chairperson); Measure D Oversight Committee; Off Center Thrift and Gift (Chairman of the Donations Committee) and I am a volunteer skier with the Society for Handicapped Children.
I serve on the Board of Directors of the following companies: Merced Property and Casualty Company (current Chairman); California Vegetable Specialties (Secretary); California League of Food Processors (Executive Committee) and Sierra Cascade Nursery.
Tina and I have been married for 37 years and we now have 4 wonderful grandchildren that are the light of our lives. For recreation, I run with my dog Basil most mornings, ride a road bike, golf and ski.