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Candidates ready for election season with city briefing
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Incumbent Forrest Whie, Donald Babadalir, Sergio Alvarado, Mike Brem, and Incumbent Bill DeHart attend a briefing on key issues in the City of Turlock.

As election season heats up Turlock’s mayoral and city council candidates are becoming increasingly well versed in the nuances of Turlock’s city government and all of its moving parts.

On Wednesday evening Mayoral and City Council candidates gathered with the current City Council, Police and Fire Chiefs, as well as each City department head for a thorough run down on the multifaceted nature of local city government.

“The purpose is to provide information on the city to the candidates so that they are all briefed on key issues and information on the city departments all at the same time,” explained City Clerk Kellie Weaver.

Mayoral candidates Mike Brem and Gary Soiseth along with city council candidates Sergio Alvarado, Donald Babadalir, Matthew Jacob, and incumbents Bill DeHart and Forrest White received presentations from various city employees on the issues that fall under their purview and how that informs the overall function of Turlock city government. Candidates were also reminded of the collaborative nature of city government and the integral role the mayoral and council positions play in determining and furthering the direction of the city.

“What you’re running for and what you do really affects peoples’ lives,” explained City Manager Roy Wasden.

 “You’re becoming a member of a body and the decisions you make are made collectively,” added City Attorney Phaedra Norton.

The topics of economic development and quality of life were themes throughout the evening especially as Turlock is positioned for growth with the expansion of its Industrial Park and the southbound expansion of Monte Vista Crossings. According to Assistant to the City Manager for Economic Development and Community Housing Maryn Pitt, Turlock is unique in that although its population is only 70,000 it pulls from a base of 300,000 to its stores and restaurants many of whom hail from the surrounding community such as Newman, Gustine, and Snelling. However, with big growth comes big responsibility.

“You have no business attracting new business if you can’t maintain the ones you have,” explained Pitt.

Noting that “economic development is a team sport,” Pitt explained to candidates that it is just one cog in a wheel pushing Turlock forward toward a better overall quality of life for its residents.  With the aim of not only establishing new business in the community but fostering positive relationships so that businesses and community members want to stay, the candidates seem to be entering at a positive time for the community and according to Pitt “it’s kind of like the stars are lining up and everything we’ve been working towards is starting to come to fruition.”