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Candidates set for city elections
Election 2020 art

More candidates have come forward as the official filing periods come to an end for the open seats on the Turlock City Council and Turlock Treasurer position.

There are two open seats on the Turlock City Council, representing District 2 (southeast Turlock) and District 4 (northeast Turlock). Voters will have three candidates to choose from in the District 2 race — incumbent Gil Esquer and challengers Rebecka Monez and Ruben Wegner.

Esquer said he decided to seek a second term on the City Council because “there’s a few projects we’re in the middle of I’d hate to walk away from.” Those projects include the surface water project that Turlock is involved in building with the City of Ceres as the Stanislaus Regional Water Authority, repurposing the National Guard Armory facility on Flower Street as a community center and pushing the downtown rehabilitation further into the westside.

Monez is the owner of downtown shop and nonprofit Charity Thrift Store. On her campaign Instagram page, Monez says she is “NOT a politician. I’m a problem solver.”

Wegner served six years with the California National Guard and has been a volunteer firefighter with the Turlock Rural Fire Department since 2008. A former code enforcement officer for the City of Turlock, he currently works in fire prevention and emergency management with Stanislaus County.

Wegner said safety and security prompted his decision to run for the City Council seat.

“I would like to live in a town that is safe and secure, both physically and financially,” he said.

His priorities include fixing the lights down Lander Avenue and helping the city staff to restore revenue to the City of Turlock.

Current District 4 Councilmember Becky Arellano chose not to run for the seat she was appointed to in January 2019, stating that she needed to put her family first during these difficult times.

Hoping to fill the District 4 seat are Pam Franco and Robert Puffer.

Franco said as a local business owner she understands “the importance of solid planning, budgeting and follow through. With more than 30 years’ experience in the business and accounting fields, I can bring sound ideas to solve our concerns.”

Franco said if elected, her priorities would be:

  • Fulling funding and supporting Turlock’s police and fire departments;
  • Fixing roads;
  • Bringing transparency of government to the citizens;
  • Working with the Mayor, other Council members, City staff and citizens to make Turlock more business friendly;
  • Using tax dollars wisely.

After learning that Arellano would not be seeking the District 4 seat in the upcoming election, Puffer said he was motivated to run.

The owner of a small accounting firm, Puffer has attended all the City Council and Planning Commission meetings for the past several years. He said the number one priority for the City Council should be revenue generation. Puffer is a staunch supporter of the City of Turlock half cent sales tax measure.

Robert Puffer
Local CPA Robert Puffer is running to represent District 4 on the Turlock City Council.

“We have to pass that if we ever want a chance to get out of this. We need to get the revenue generation worked out, because if we don’t, then nothing can get done,” he said.

Puffer’s other priorities include working out how Turlock will maintain its roads after Measure L ends, putting together “the best public safety that Turlock can afford” and renovating Columbia Pool.

Two are seeking to serve the City of Turlock as Treasurer — incumbent Diana Lewis and challenger Matt Beekman.

Lewis has been Turlock’s Treasurer for the past 20 years. She was unable to be reached for comment by press time.

Challenging Lewis is former Hughson Mayor and Turlock native Beekman.

Beekman, a commercial beekeeper on his family’s fifth generation farm, is a veteran of public service. He served the City of Hughson first on its Planning Commission, then on the City Council and finally as Mayor through 2015. He moved back to Turlock three years ago and is now seeking a return to public service, this time as Treasurer.

“The whole time I’ve been watching Turlock struggle fiscally with a lot of the same issues I saw in Hughson. The central theme seems that they’re struggling to get information and keep up. The Treasurer can keep on top of that and get the City Council accurate, timely information,” said Beekman.

Beekman said that historically, Turlock’s Treasurer has only focused on the City’s investment policy. He would like to see the position expand to include working on solutions for assessment districts, bond debt and other fiscal issues.

Matt Beekman
Commercial beekeeper and former Hughson Mayor Matt Beekman is running for the City of Turlock Treasurer position.

Beekman said that the Treasurer should be engaged in the City’s budgetary process.

“Budgetary, fiscal issues need to be our number one priority and the Treasurer can really help with that,” said Beekman.

The 2020 Presidential General Election will be held Nov. 3.