Sergio Alvarado, Turlock City Council Candidate Questionnaire/Profile
How long have you lived in Turlock and what is your occupation?
I have been a resident of Turlock since July of 2008, and I am currently employed by the US Postal Service
Why are you running for Turlock City Council and when did you start planning your campaign?
I am running for Turlock City Council because I will bring fiscal sensibility to the council. I started planning my campaign not long before I announced my candidacy.
What do you see as the primary duties of a councilmember?
I see the primary duties as a councilmember as participating in regularly scheduled council meetings, planning community forums to educate and gather thoughts and concerns from citizens who are otherwise unable to attend council meetings, and working with the other councilmembers and mayor to develop the best solutions while making the most sense.
What are your main goals if elected to Turlock City Council?
I would like to see the council continue the streak of having our rainy day fund well-maintained; I do not want to Turlock to be the next Vallejo or Stockton and declare bankruptcy while I am on the council. I’d like to start planning for social programs that I’m working on to bring our community closer together.
List 3 Top Priorities:
1. Public Safety
2. Adopt fiscally sound and sensible budgets
3. Make Turlock attractive to companies who wish to build/expand
Why do you believe you’re the most qualified candidate for Council?
If you’re looking for a candidate who doesn’t believe citizens should be asked to pay more for services they should already be getting for their tax dollars, then I’m your man. I have been active in issues in Turlock almost immediately upon moving here. I’m not the type of person who just voices their opinions about what I think is right or wrong, I’m the person who takes action and wants to make a difference, whether it be on the council dais or by serving on the Parks & Recreation Commission as I presently am. I will strive to make Turlock a better place for all citizens!
Key endorsements (up to 5):
No “key endorsements”, but various community members encouraging me to run for council!
Do you support Measure B, a half-cent sales tax increase to support fixing Turlock roads? Why, or why not?
I do not support Measure B. For many years Turlock has spent exactly $0 in their budget for fixing roads. This year’s allocation of $50,000 is simply a drop in the bucket. Also, by the City of Turlock’s own analysis, all the monies Measure B generates would be just putting a band-aid on the problem, as Turlock’s average road rating of 69 would actually DECREASE to a 66 after 20 years of the tax. Citizens should not be asked to pay extra for services they should already be getting with tax money that already goes to the city.
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.
Besides the staffing issues with our Police Department, we need to actively acknowledge the creeping pension obligations that will await us. Governor Jerry Brown continues his deception by saying that California has a surplus but the pending explosion of CalPERS pension payouts will put our state into fiscal chaos and drag us into a deeper recession that we have never seen.
What are your plans to address the concerns of the homeless population? How would you combat the increasing homelessness issues in Turlock?
I would like to see a partnership between the City and faith organizations to tackle the growing homeless population. There will never be a solution to completely get rid of the problem as we can only reach out to those who extend their hand to us.
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?
The most important thing you can have in place before you even think about expanding is the proper infrastructure (like water/sewer pipelines and roads) ready to meet the planned usage. However, I’m cautious about growing while taking farmland to do it. In my hometown of Dinuba, incentives were given such as free land, free water, and as a result lured Best Buy, Patterson Dental, Ruiz Foods, and Odwalla Juices to build their distribution and processing plants there. It was an investment that has paid for itself several times over. While Dinuba is 15 miles from Hwy 99, Turlock has a significant advantage as we sit right on Hwy 99. With the expansion of Monte Vista Crossings we are creating jobs at a great pace this year.
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?
As we will have to invest money into a solution, I am in favor of selling water back to the Del Puerto Water District when feasible, as well as getting the treatment plant started with an ideal partnership between TID and the cities of Turlock, Ceres, and Hughson, if not more additional cities.
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?
With the upcoming contract renewals for the City Manager and City Attorney, it would be unfair and unwise to approve a new contract for both positions right before the new council (and possibly new majority) is sworn in. I would like to see a month-to-month contract in the interim before the new council is sworn in.
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?
Having a recreation program at the city level is a great service to provide the community, as when I was a kid I participated in my city’s programs and enjoyed the benefits they provide. To answer the question, yes, to a limit. I envision a partnership with TUSD for a collaborative effort and a year-round schedule.
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 am always connected, so that’s not an issue for me. I will maintain a public Facebook page as well as an email address dedicated to Turlock citizens to always keep an open line of communication.
I have been a resident of the great City of Turlock for years now and very much enjoy the quality of life here. I come from a small city and am very happy to find those same qualities in Turlock!
We have many issues facing Turlock both right now and years down the road. As your city councilman, I will only vote to approve a budget that includes road maintenance in the General Fund. To do otherwise would be negligent and fiscally irresponsible. Too many years have gone by without City Council-budgeted road work, and the cost to fix them continues to increase.
I am also committed to maintaining Turlock's small town charm, a huge reason why people want to move and stay here, just as I found myself doing.
I appreciate all the support thus far and kindly ask for your vote. A vote for me is a vote for a better Turlock.
I am 35 years old and I have been a resident of Turlock for the last six years. I am originally from the small town of Dinuba, located in Tulare County southeast of Fresno. I may not be born and raised in Turlock, but I do know what coming from a small town is. I will work for both residents and small businesses.
When I first came to Turlock in the summer of 2008, I was impressed with how our downtown is set up. In the three other cities where I have lived, their downtowns don’t nearly have the charm of Turlock’s, and that is something that I would like to preserve, our small town feel. I love bragging to my friends back home about what a great place Turlock is, how except for a shopping mall, we have just about everything here, and that is something that I have never experienced until moving to Turlock.
Voters may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (209) 596-6062 after 6:30pm. I look forward to hearing from you!