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City Council candidate’s residency called into question
Rebecka Monez
Turlock City Council District 2 candidate Rebecka Monez

One candidate in the Turlock City Council District 2 race is defending her residency after an official complaint was filed with the City Clerk.

The Turlock City Clerk’s office received a letter of complaint on Oct. 25 alleging that City Council District 2 candidate Rebecka Monez does not in fact live in the district she is running in — a qualification since the City of Turlock transitioned into electoral district Council seats in 2014.

The complaint was filed by Timm LaVelle. In it he questions whether Monez actually lives at the Expedition Court address listed on her July 13, 2020 voter registration.

“Neighbors who live on the street do not know who she is and have not seen her there,” LaVelle claims in the complaint.

Along with the official complaint, registered voters in Turlock have been received phone messages that support her opponent, incumbent Council member Gil Esquer, and claim Monez does not live in District 2.

“Gil Esquer has fought for westside issues like our roads and saving Columbia Pool. Ms. Monez is an attorney sued by her clients because she took their money and didn’t do the work. She just rented an address here to get power but she lives in the county. Please help protect our community by sharing this text,” reads one message sent to a Turlock voter.

Monez said the complaint is “erroneous.”

“I have always been in compliance with the residency requirements of the Elections Code and Government Code Sections pertaining to candidates,” she said.

Monez claims the complaint was filed by LaVelle on the behalf of her opponent, as LaVelle served as Esquer’s campaign treasurer for the 2016 election.

“This erroneous complaint by his [Esquer] former treasurer is a clear indication that he fears the election results and will say or do anything to salvage his failing campaign,” said Monez.

Esquer denies that he or his campaign had anything to do with the complaint filed by LaVelle or any messages sent to voters about Monez’s residency.

“I had nothing to do with this,” Esquer told the Journal.

Esquer said that he has no idea who is texting voters about Monez’s residency and specifically told his campaign staff to stick to positive messages.

Per the City of Turlock’s request, Monez submitted a signed/scanned copy of the affidavit of residence and will be will be providing “a notarized version of the affidavit along with documentary proof of residency early next week.”

The District 2 race has been heating up between Monez and Esquer, with Monez at the top of campaign spending for all City Council candidates at over $20,900 compared to Esquer’s $5,700. The third candidate for the Turlock City Council District 2 seat, Ruben Wegner, has not reported any campaign contributions or spending with the City Clerk’s office.