Turlock City Council member Bill DeHart said he has a “real intense desire to continue to serve” the residents of Turlock and will be seeking a third term in November.
DeHart was elected to the Council in November 2010, and then beat out fellow incumbent Forrest White and challengers Sergio Alvarado and Donald Babadalir in the 2014 citywide election. This will be the first time residents of District 3 will elect their own representative.
“Serving the people of Turlock, it’s been very gratifying — addressing issues, answering questions, solving problems,” he said.
DeHart said while there’s “a lot of work in our work plan” left to do, there has been some key progress on projects that the City is just “now seeing come to fruition — the recycled water project, drinking water through SRWA [Stanislaus Regional Water Authority], roads projects.”
“Through SB1 and other initiatives, we finally have funding sources where we can fix our roads and improve transportation,” said DeHart.
He said it’s been frustrating to hear people’s complaints about Turlock’s roadways — and experience them himself — while waiting for funding to come through.
“Genuine and real dollars are now coming, it’s exciting get to make some real changes,” he said.
DeHart said that over his tenure on the Council, he’s seen a revitalization of Turlock’s downtown.
“Downtown vacancy rate is now down to 1 to 2 percent. We’ve created an atmosphere where people feel safe going downtown,” he said.
He also mentioned development on Countryside Drive and Monte Vista Avenue as “significant” changes to Turlock’s overall economy.
Although he’s excited to see recent transportation and development projects get underway, DeHart said he’s also aware of the City’s challenges.
When it comes to homelessness, DeHart said it’s a statewide issue and his role on the League of California Cities’ Community Services Policy Committee will bring ideas to the table in Turlock.
“I think we’ve got a funding issue. We need some support from the state and county to address these issues,” DeHart said about homelessness.
Another issue that DeHart has been working on is cannabis. He and Council member Gil Esquer are on an ad hoc committee seeking more information on whether it would be beneficial for the City of Turlock to change its policy currently banning cannabis sales and commercial grow operations.
“We’ve made some visitations around the area and so the funding of government through that source is something we’re looking at very intently. It’s all around us, just not in Turlock. We’ve kind of set our selves up as an island, that concerns me,” he said.
When it comes to the recent strife seen on the Council dais, DeHart said that “playing in the sandbox is never easy.”
“We can disagree but not be disagreeable… I think we’re human, too. We give each other the freedom to express those opposing views because that’s where we come up with that cohesive decision in setting policy. We’ve fallen from that, but I think we need to strive to be better,” he said.
DeHart said he is seeking input from community members and is available by email at email@example.com.
Recently returned Turlock native Andrew Nosrati is challenging DeHart for the District 3 seat.
Another candidate has announced his intentions of seeking the Turlock City Council District 1 seat.
Alex Kiehl joins Logan Sisco and former Council member White in seeking the District 1 seat in November.
Kiehl, a lifelong resident of Turlock, said he is running for a seat on the City Council on a public safety platform.
“It is imperative that our peace officers and firefighting personnel have the resources they need at all times to protect the community which we love so dearly. We must also make certain that they can earn a living wage here in Turlock. Our community cannot afford to continue seeing these brave and talented men and women seek employment elsewhere,” Kiehl said in a statement announcing his candidacy.
Kiehl said Turlock’s biggest challenges are the crime and homelessness rates.
He is also opposed to Turlock’s ban on cannabis.
“I believe that cannabis should be taxed and regulated by all municipalities in California. That being said, however, the ultimate decision should be made by the voters and not the City Council.”
Kiehl made a number of campaign promises. If elected, he will:
- Contribute 10 percent of his monthly stipend to various charities and nonprofits around Turlock;
- Not seek more than two terms of office on the City Council;
- Hold annual town hall meetings with constituents;
- Never vote in favor of placing a tax increase measure on the local ballot, unless funds are to only be used for public safety purposes.
Kiehl unsuccessfully ran against incumbent Diana Lewis in 2016 for the Turlock City Treasurer position.
He graduated from California State University, Stanislaus in 2012 with a degree in criminal justice. In 2014, he earned a paralegal certificate from the Center for Legal Studies, based in Golden, Colorado. From 2001 to 2016, he was employed as a bookkeeper and tax preparer at his family’s accounting practice in downtown Turlock. He served on the Stanislaus County Civil Grand Jury in 2012-13.
To contact Kiehl, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail him a letter to P.O. Box 1421 Main St., Turlock, CA 95380.
The candidate nomination period for the Nov. 6 election officially begins at 8 a.m. July 16 and ends at 5 p.m. Aug. 10. If an incumbent for one of the offices being voted upon does not file nomination papers by Aug. 10, the nomination period for that office will be extended to 5 p.m. Aug. 15. City Council candidates must be a registered voter in the district of which they reside and are seeking to represent at the time nomination papers are issued. Upon assuming office, candidates must be U.S. citizens and reside in the Council District from which he or she was elected. For more information regarding the nomination period or to schedule an appointment to pull nomination papers and other election-related materials, contact the Office of the Turlock City Clerk at 668-5540.