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Council seats wide open; Howze not running

POSTED July 30, 2010 10:39 p.m.

Turlock City Councilman Ted Howze announced Friday he will not seek any elected office in the Nov. 2 election.

“After nine years of service to Turlock between the planning commission and city council, it is my intention to take a break from public service in order to devote more time to family as my three children enter high school over the next four years,” Howze said. “It has been both an honor and privilege to serve the people of Turlock.”

Howze had previously been linked to a mayoral campaign, having opened an exploratory committee called “Friends of Ted Howze for Mayor 2010.”

Since his election to the council in 2006, Howze, a large animal veterinarian, has worked to reduce public safety response times and crime rates by upping the number of Turlock police officers and firefighters. He took a key role in city budget proceedings, working to cut expenditures in a down economy while avoiding public safety layoffs and retaining $15 million in general fund reserves.

Howze helped address complaints regarding the Turlock Building Department by founding the Development Collaborative Advisory Council, which allows developers to work with staff on building code interpretation and enforcement.

Howze also backed a number of Redevelopment Agency projects during his tenure, including a $6.6 million investment in infrastructure for the Westside Industrial Specific Plan industrial park and the $2.8 million installation of a synthetic turf field and all-weather track at Turlock High School’s Joe Debely Stadium.

He will be missed by City Manager Roy Wasden, who commended Howze for his energy and effort.

“Councilmember Howze has been tremendous to work with,” Wasden said. “He's dedicated, hardworking, and puts in hours and hours to find out what the issues are.”

In the final months of his term, Howze hopes to shepherd the city’s General Plan Update – a document governing Turlock’s growth through 2030 – toward completion, and revisit the City of Turlock’s ban on big box retailers like Super Targets and Wal-Mart Supercenters.

After leaving office, Howze plans to remain involved in youth activities including Turlock Youth Football, where he is a board member and a coach. He also plans to “remain active in conservative circles,” supporting fiscally conservative candidates.

“I intend to remain active in the community and challenge others to consider running for the council seat I will vacate this December so you can help guide Turlock’s future,” Howze said.

Howze was the last of three incumbent candidates to announce his intentions for the November election. Incumbent Councilmember Kurt Spycher announced July 2 he would not seek reelection this November, while incumbent Mayor John Lazar pulled papers for reelection on July 16.

With Howze and Spycher’s decisions, no incumbent candidates will challenge for the two Turlock City Councilmember seats on the Nov. 2 ballot. Four candidates have formally announced their intention to run for those seats: Forrest White, a former Turlock Recreation Manager and San Joaquin County Fair chief who wants council to become more transparent and less divisive; Timm LaVelle, a small business owner and former Turlock Unified School District Board member; 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.

Lazar is the only candidate for Turlock Mayor thus far.

Candidates have until Friday to file the necessary paperwork to run for Turlock Mayor. Those interested in a Turlock City Council seat have until an extended Aug. 11 deadline, due to Howze and Spycher’s decisions to not seek reelection.

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

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