When the Turlock City Council meets again on Feb. 12 there will be a full dais, following the appointment of Rebecca “Becky” Arellano Friday to the open District 4 seat.
Friday’s appointment, and immediate swearing-in of Arellano to the City Council, was the result of a two-day process to fill the District 4 seat left open when Amy Bublak was elected Mayor.
“I will do my best to make sure that I represent District 4 and my door is always open…I know these decisions aren’t easy and I’m ready to take on the challenge,” said Arellano, following her appointment on Friday.
The appointment marks a milestone for Turlock, as this is now the first Council with a majority of female members in the city’s history. In November, Turlock elected the city’s first female mayor in Bublak.
Eight residents of District 4 submitted applications to be considered for the appointment, but only six decided to move forward with the interview process that was held on Monday.
Along with Arellano, Myrna Wachs, Frederick Isaac, Donald Babadalir, Samuel Sharpe and Pamela Franco were interviewed during a special meeting of the Council on Monday. On Friday, the public had a chance to comment on the candidates and/or the appointment process.
During public comment, multiple residents spoke in favor of Wachs, her community involvement and commitment to fighting for equality for all.
Other community members supported Franco and one man spoke in favor of Sharpe. Two community members said they felt strongly that whoever is appointed to the Council should support the City’s current General Plan that prevents housing development west of Highway 99.
“Prior Councils have continued the urban growth boundary General Plan to be Highway 99 to the west for housing and then Washington for the industrial/commercial area, Taylor to the north, Waring to the east…and Merced County to the south,” said former Council member and current Turlock Unified School Board member Mary Jackson. “… [one candidate] spoke of development in all areas including north — no way, Jose.”
Following public comment, each Council member and the Mayor listed their individual top three picks — with the number one selection receiving three points, second selection getting two points and third choice receiving one point — to see where a consensus might start on the appointment.
Sharpe and Arellano both received eight points, followed by Wachs with four points, Franco with three points and Babadalir with one point.
Council member Andrew Nosrati and Nicole Larson said they chose Sharpe as their first choice due to his experience dealing with homeless issues in Modesto and around the county.
“For me, I thought Sam would be best for the seat because the priorities that we have as a city right now, homelessness is a big concern for the community. His active engagement in the process right now in Modesto’s effort and the knowledge that he’s gaining on a daily basis I think would be very valuable to us. He addresses some of the void in institutional knowledge that we have as a council that would really help make sure we’re moving in a direction that aligns with the county,” said Nosrati.
Vice Mayor Gil Esquer said he chose Arellano as his number one choice and Sharpe second because he felt Sharpe may not have the time available to devote to the Council, but Arellano’s prior government experience was the deciding factor for him.
“I like the fact that she had the experience working with county governments, state governments, I think we could use that experience as well,” said Esquer.
Bublak selected Franco as her number one choice, followed by Arellano and then Babadalir.
“Everyone of them was qualified,” said Bublak about the candidates.
Arellano is a partner in Arellano Management Services, a grape, walnut and almond brokering firm, and Arellano Communications Group, which handles government relations, marketing, political fundraising and public relations. She has an Associate’s degree from Modesto Junior College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science, Political Science, Anthropology, Sociology from Stanislaus State.
Previous positions she’s held include: public affairs manager for the Westlands Water District, legislative aide/field representative for U.S. Congressman George Radanovich, consultant for the Stanislaus County Office of Education and field representative/aide for Stanislaus County Supervisor Nick Blom.
The next regularly scheduled City Council meeting will be 6
p.m. Feb. 12 in the Yosemite Room at City Hall, 156 N. Broadway. Council
meeting times, agendas and links to video recordings of meetings can be found