Former Mayor Brad Bates is once again hoping to serve the residents of Turlock, as he announced his intention to join the November 2018 mayoral race.
Bates made his announcement during the public comment period of Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
“Over the past three years I’ve come to this City Council to speak on several significant community issues. The results were unacceptable, without exception. As a direct result, I’ve chosen to pursue an alternate path to seek the changes that I and others in the community seek. I’m announcing tonight that I will be a candidate for mayor in the next general election,” said Bates.
Campaign finance reform and perceived conflicts of interest on matters before the Council are two of the issues Bates has publicly addressed over the past few years.
In 2016, Bates advocated for campaign finance regulations and co-authored a proposal that would have put a limit on campaign contributions of $1,000 per donor for a candidate for City Council and $2,000 for a candidate for Mayor. The ordinance also included aggregation of contributions by an individual and entities owned or controlled by that individual or share the majority of members of their board of directors.
The City Council voted down Bates’ proposal and instead adopted a voluntary campaign contribution regulation with no enforcement mandated.
During a Council meeting in February 2016, Bates said that in his opinion, Mayor Gary Soiseth had a “reasonable possibility of conflict of interest” and faced “the appearance of impropriety” in the relationships between the major donors of Soiseth’s 2014 election campaign and the parties involved in the farmers market issue.
Soiseth did not abstain from the farmers market vote and the Council voted to adopt a new process for selecting a downtown market operator and awarded the contract to Peter Cipponeri of Golden State Farmers Market Association.
Bates told the Journal on Tuesday that the main reason he decided to run for mayor was to give the residents of Turlock a choice in the upcoming election.
“I truly believe that people should have a choice, the voters should have a choice. It appeared to me that it was possibly going to shape up as a campaign without opposition and that is not acceptable to me,” said Bates. “I am not happy with how things are going. The City of Turlock is basically off track and things are getting worse before they get better. And the thought of another potentially five years under the current leadership is just not something that is acceptable to me.”
Soiseth announced his intention to run for reelection in July.
Bates said he aims to “bring some things back to City Hall that this community was built on, ethics integrity, civility, fairness.”
While he called this run at city politics a “book end” in his career, Bates said he is committed and “this is not a frivolous undertaking.”
Bates served two terms as Mayor of Turlock, from 1982-1990. Before heading the Turlock City Council, Bates served many years on the city’s Planning Commission. He is retired from running his family’s insurance agency.
During his mayoral candidacy announcement, Bates encouraged the public to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.