A group of community members calling themselves SAVE Turlock are seeking the recall of Turlock City Council member Andrew Nosrati, who has served only a year and half of his four-year term representing the residents of District 3 in northeast Turlock.
A Notice of Intention to Circulate Recall Petition is running in Saturday’s Turlock Journal, the first step in the process of getting a locally elected official recalled. The Notice of Intention lists grounds for the recall and includes the names and signatures of 30 registered voters in District 3.
“Turlock City Council Member (District 3 representative), Andrew Nosrati, has failed to represent the primary interests of his constituents on multiple key issues during the past 19+ months,” reads the notice.
The issues listed include:
— Nosrati “on record stating that regional rail transit should be prioritized over repairing and maintaining local Turlock roads”;
— The Councilman endorsing “controversial homeless mitigation projects while not addressing public concerns and questions as he promised to”;
— Voting to adopt Turlock Municipal Code section 2-12-104, known as the Civility Code, then “repeatedly violated it by verbally berating and criticizing civically engaged residents speaking during public comment periods at city council meetings”;
— Nosrati using his social media platforms to “condemn the activist behavior of members of the community, only to hypocritically engage in the exact same behavior 2 weeks later”;
— Attempting to reduce public participation in city government by “calling for city council meetings to not be streamed online and for the collective censure and boycotting of select news media he believes to be illegitimate”; and
— Nosrati using “his position as city council member to further his personal political agenda by engaging in activities with complete disregard to city permitting policy and public safety protocols.”
Nosrati said he was not surprised by the recall effort, as he has seen a group of individuals employ what he calls “theatrical politics” in the past several months whenever he takes positions that vary from theirs.
Fellow Council member Gil Esquer agreed with Nosrati about the motivation behind the recall.
“I think it is a witch hunt being organized by a group of people that don't like Andrew. I believe it may be more personal in nature,” said Esquer.
He called the grounds for recall “cartoon representations of nuanced discussions” in most cases and outright false in others.
Nosrati said that he has spoken out against spending more money on large arterial roadways and supported fixing neighborhood streets. He said in one particular City Council meeting he agreed that setting aside $300,000 of county transportation funds for regional transportation was a good idea, but did not put arterial projects ahead of local streets as a policy.
The Councilmember said he spent a lot of time researching strategies for homeless mitigation and talked with people with different viewpoints about homeless strategies.
“I just want to help people on the streets and make sure it’s not detrimental to business owners,” he said.
Nosrati said the claims that he wanted to prevent Council meetings from being livestreamed were false and in fact the opposite of what he’d like to see.
“I’ve suggested higher levels of accessibility by streaming on social media and enabling comments. I want everyone to know everything we’re doing. We need to do everything possible to gain higher levels of trust because it’s the only way we’re going to move out of this lack of trust,” he said.
Nosrati said that he ran to represent the best interests of Turlock and the games of politics need to stop.
“We’re in a time of crisis…We need solutions and collaborations. We need a strong community to come out of this and come out of it better,” he said.
Nosrati said he would like to talk with any resident of Turlock who has a question or concern about his representation. He can be reached at ANosrati@turlock.ca.us. He is also planning to schedule a virtual town hall meeting in the coming weeks to answer any questions and/or address any concerns.
The next steps in the recall effort will see the SAVE Turlock group seek to obtain the required number of signatures from registered voters in District 3 to submit to the Secretary of State. The number of signatures needed to move forward depends on the number of registered voters in District 3. If there are fewer than 10,000 registered voters, 25 percent are required to sign for the recall to proceed. If there are more than 10,000 but fewer than 50,000, then the signatures of 20 percent of registered voters is needed.
In the November 2018 election, there were 9,632 registered voters in District 3. Once the Notice of Intent is published in a public newspaper, the Stanislaus County Registrar of Voters will confirm the number of current registered voters in District 3, setting the number of signatures required.
SAVE Turlock will have either 90 days (fewer than 10,000 voters) or 120 days (between 10,000 and 50,000 voters) to obtain the required number of signatures and file it with the elections office.
If the required number of signatures are obtained, a recall election will be held no less than 88 or more than 125 days after the petition has been examined and a certificate of sufficiency made.
Those interested in the recall effort can contact SAVE Turlock at: saveTurlock@gmail.com.