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Jackson seeks second council term

Incumbent joins Nascimento, Alvarado in City Council race

POSTED June 29, 2012 9:21 p.m.

Incumbent Councilwoman Mary Jackson will seek reelection in the upcoming Nov. 6 election, she announced Friday.

The announcement ends months of speculation, as Jackson had previously been mum on her candidacy.

“I am running for reelection to the Turlock City Council because our city is at a crossroads,” Jackson wrote in a statement. “Our community has survived the national economic downturn and I am looking ahead for our economy to grow with an expansion of jobs, companies and retail stores in our region during the next four years.”

First elected in 2008 alongside Councilwoman Amy Bublak, the duo bested then-Vice Mayor Kurt Vander Weide when incumbent Beverley Hatcher did not seek reelection.

That campaign was fraught with controversy when an unknown party unleashed attack “robocalls” targeting Jackson, featuring individuals pretending to be Jackson. Jackson later filed a civil suit against the unnamed responsible parties and pursued action through the Fair Political Practices Commission, but no guilty party has yet been named.

Controversy followed Jackson into her first council meeting, when she was accused of voting on a downtown development despite a potential common law conflict of interest. The Stanislaus County Grand Jury later cleared Jackson of wrongdoing, saying it could find no evidence of a conflict of interest.

Jackson also allegedly leaked then-Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden’s confidential candidacy for Turlock City Manager, a post which he later attained. Fellow council members, led by then-councilman Ted Howze, called for a formal investigation into the leak, but the investigation was later called off.

During the past four years, Jackson also led a group which saw the return of the Turlock Farmers’ Market, and today serves as council’s representative to the Stanislaus Council of Governments. She has also been a staunch advocate of the arts in Turlock.

Jackson said she stands by her top three priorities from 2008: public safety, economic development, and smart growth, protecting farmland and not building homes west of Highway 99. She said her voting record reflects those priorities.

Jackson also said she remains committed to open, transparent, fiscally responsible government. She said she will continue to provide strong leadership, and to make tough decisions.

“One area I would like to work on in the future is providing consistency throughout all levels of city government. In the last four years, I have worked hard to make sure the rules and regulations are administered equally to everyone in our community. I believe we all must play by the same rules,” she said.

Jackson will join already-announced candidates Steven Nascimento, a current Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Facilities commissioner and the district director for State Sen. Anthony Cannella (R – Ceres), and Sergio Alvarado, a Turlock resident who works for the U.S. Postal Service in Livingston, in the campaign for the two seats currently held by Jackson and Bublak.

Nascimento, a Turlock native, said he would bring his experience in dealing with the complicated world of government to the post, along with planning expertise from a stint as a planner with the City of Modesto. He said he would work to maintain Turlock’s quality of life by supporting public safety, the arts, downtown businesses, and parks and recreation programs.

Alvarado, originally of Dinuba, said he is committed to a clean, grass-roots campaign. He said he hopes to maintain Turlock’s small-town feel and charm, and has previously spoken in support of placing “In God We Trust” in City Hall and retaining a prayer invocation before council meetings. Alvarado has opposed big-box stores, population growth, the hiring of Wasden, and new taxes to rebuild Turlock’s roads.

The fate of Bublak’s candidacy remains unknown; she did not return the Journal’s call for comment on Friday, and has yet to formally announce campaign plans.

Other interested candidates have until Aug. 10 to register with the Turlock City Clerk. Should an incumbent fail to apply for reelection, that deadline will be extended five days.

Candidates must collect signatures on nomination papers, and submit a $1,250 deposit for printing costs, if they desire a Statement of Qualifications be printed in the ballot pamphlet.

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