The races to represent Turlock in California’s state legislature feature four candidates that, less than a month from election day, still don’t have a lot of name recognition.
A pair of Democrats – Tim Robertson and Maria Alvarado-Gil – are seeking to replace Republican Andreas Borgeas in the District 4 senate race, while Republican Juan Alanis and Democrat Jessica Self are vying for the District 22 seat in the state Assembly.
In the District 4 primary, a crowded field of Republicans split the right-wing vote, about 60 percent of all ballots cast, allowing the two Democrats to finish 1 and 2 and advance to November’s general election.
Robertson, the executive director for the Modesto-based North Valley Labor Federation, finished on top with 22.1 percent of the vote, while Alvarado-Gil, a charter school administrator from Amador County, collected 18.7 percent, thus assuring a Democratic senator in a district that leans Republican.
District 4 is a massive district that runs from Inyo County in the south to Lake Tahoe in the north and jutting out to include Stanislaus County.
In the District 22 race, Alanis, a veteran of the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s office, placed first in the primary with 36.5 percent of the vote, while Self, an attorney, was second with 27.0 percent. While that seems like a sizeable margin, it’s worth noting that the district is more solidly in the blue column, with Democrats holding nearly an eight-point lead in voter registration – 40.4 percent to 32.7 percent, with 19.2 percent listing no party preference.
The candidates squared off last week at a forum sponsored by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and Opportunity Stanislaus.
Regarding the issue of homelessness, which 84 percent of Turlockers see as the most pressing issue facing the city, according to number provided by the city, Self said more focus needs to be placed on the homeless living in vehicles, many of whom are employed. Those homeless people are more likely to be moved into a stable housing situation.
Alanis said that restrictive laws and decriminalizing some offenses have taken away key tools with which law enforcement can deal with the homeless.