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Spycher to sit out council race

POSTED July 2, 2010 10:04 p.m.

The candidate pool for November’s Turlock City Council election grew smaller Friday, as Turlock Vice Mayor Kurt Spycher announced he would not seek reelection in the Nov. 2 race.

Spycher said he came to the decision “with mixed feelings” after much reflection.

“On one hand I believe I could play an effective role in helping to complete many projects that remain undone as well as address issues that are still unresolved,” Spycher wrote in a press release. “On the other hand, after much thought and prayer, I believe all the energy spent on city issues will be better spent enjoying time with my wife, my two teenage children, my friends, as well as getting more involved with my local church.”

Spycher, an almond and peach farmer, was elected to the City Council in November 2006. Over the last four years, Spycher has made public safety, smart growth, and business-friendly government his priorities.

As a City Council member, Spycher has also dealt with contentious budgets, the city’s approach to homelessness, and Redevelopment Agency projects such as the Joe Debely Stadium and Carnegie Arts Center renovations.

“Through all of these issues and countless more, I have worked hard to represent those who elected me and have been grateful for the chance to serve them,” Spycher wrote. “I am also thankful for the full support of my family and friends over these past four years.”

City staff will remember Spycher’s time on the council fondly, said City Manager Roy Wasden. Wasden lauded the outgoing councilmember for his commitment to the City of Turlock.

“Councilmember Spycher has been a hard working, dedicated councilmember,” Wasden said. “He reads, he asks great questions. For me as a city manager, I feel fortunate to have worked with Councilmember Spycher.”

With four months still remaining until the Nov. 2 election, Spycher’s Friday announcement caught many by surprise. Fellow incumbents Mayor John Lazar and Councilmember Ted Howze have yet to announce their intentions for the November race.

“It was unexpected,” Lazar said. “I appreciate his service to the City of Turlock and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Following Spycher’s announcement, a very real possibility exists that the two available city council seats will have no incumbent challengers.

Howze has been linked to a mayoral campaign, having opened an exploratory committee called “Friends of Ted Howze for Mayor 2010,” but says he has yet to make up his mind about November’s race.

As of now, only three candidates have formally announced their intention to run in November for two available City Council member seats: Timm LaVelle, a small business owner and former Turlock Unified School District trustee; Pat Noda, a Turlocker upset with the city’s finances, new bus hub, street system, and lack of a homeless shelter; and Jeremy Rocha, 22, a two-time City Council candidate and recent California State University, Stanislaus graduate who hopes to put his Political Science degree to the test on the council. Also expected on the ballot is Forrest White, a former Turlock Recreation manager who has publically discussed his candidacy but has yet to make a formal announcement.

No candidates have announced their intention to run for Turlock Mayor.

Candidates may not formally enter the race until July 12, and have until an extended Aug. 11 deadline to file the necessary paperwork.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail acantatore@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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