The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus


Candidates discuss Measure B and Turlock’s Budget

The League of Women Voters of Stanislaus County hosted a candidate forum in Turlock City Hall Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Many hot-button issues were brought up as citizens of Turlock were able to address the five city council candidates and two mayoral candidates in a Q&A session.

Currently, there are five city council candidates: Sergio A. Alvarado, Donald Babadalir, Councilman Bill DeHart Jr., Matthew Jacob and Councilman Forrest J. White. The two candidates for Turlock city Mayor are Gary Soiseth and Mike Brem. Current Turlock Mayor, John Lazar, is not running for re-election.

Of the many topics brought up, most prominent were questions about the Measure B road tax and general Turlock budgeting issues revolving around public safety.

The general consensus around the topic of budgeting for safety was that Turlock City Council was looking to increase spending for public safety. Plans to increase the number of active police officers as well as encouraging the formation of neighborhood watch communities were discussed.

In order to raise the number of police officers the city of Turlock employs, city council candidate Donald Babadalir expressed that increased economic development would lead to better tax revenue.

When the topic of the Measure B road tax came up, the city council candidates had mixed responses.

Support for the measure was given by White and Jacob while DeHart and Babadalir said that the issue should be left to the voters.

The only candidate opposed to the measure was Alvarado, stating that he had concern involving the ethics behind the donations received by Citizens for Yes on Measure B. Alvarado worried about the seven-year span on Measure B and the long-term implications it held.

Mayoral candidate Gary Soiseth had reservations about Measure B as well.

While Soiseth doesn’t oppose the measure, he wants to have some type of assurance that the money earned from the tax increase will be used to support the repairs in the time frame proposed.

“I just want to have a guarantee, from the county, from the community that’s pushing Measure B, that we will honor that commitment to those people that will look on that list and see that my road’s going to be repaved [. . .] in year five,” Soiseth said.

Mike Brem, Soiseth’s opponent, fully supports Measure B.  He wants to get it started as soon as possible through a half-cent sales tax measure where revenue generated would be used to improve roads all across the city.

“I don’t think we can get a guarantee because there can be no guarantee because the county doesn’t have anything on the table right now,” Brem said.

“If we pass Measure B, we will have the leverage to make this work for Turlock in the long run.”

Both candidates agree that the city of Turlock should continue its growth to the south, keeping in mind that some of the best soil for groundwater recharge has yet to be covered.

Soiseth and Brem also expressed similar concerns about the potential rise in trains carrying volatile oil through Turlock.

The city of Turlock will hold elections for a new mayor and two new city council members on Nov. 4.

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Candidates discuss Measure B and Turlock’s Budget