The nomination period for open seats on the Turlock City Council is officially closed and come November residents of the city’s District 1 will have five candidates to choose from while those in District 3 will have two.
November will be the second by-district election for the City of Turlock and the first time residents living in Districts 1 and 3 will have a chance to vote for their respective representatives.
Incumbent Council member Bill DeHart will be seeking reelection to represent the residents of District 3. Challenging him is tech company product developer Andrew Nosrati.
Current District 1 representative Matthew Jacob will not be seeking reelection. There will be five candidates seeking to replace Jacob on the November ballot including former Council member Forrest White, current Parks, Arts and Recreation Commissioner Nicole Larson, charter school employee Logan Sisco — and newcomers Autumn Salazar and Jon Boulos.
This is Salazar’s first time seeking public office. The director of sponsored research services at a local university and mother of five said that the poor condition of the road in front of her house was the instigator to her decision to run for the city council.
After complaining to her family about the road condition and then hearing from her neighbors that they had the same concerns about Turlock’s infrastructure, she knew she had an opportunity to make a difference.
“I understand public policy. I understand budgets,” said Salazar.
After speaking to people she knows in government, Salazar decided running for city council was a way she could contribute to the community she calls home.
“I know I could get in there and make decisions. I’m strong at budgets. I’m strong at fiscal management. These are my skill sets,” she said.
Salazar is supportive of the city’s surface water treatment plant project to provide drinking water for Turlock residents and businesses.
“We need to be smart about our water usage and planning. I know what happened in areas of Merced when their groundwater collapsed and I don’t want that to happen here,” she said.
When it comes to transportation, Salazar said she would take a look at how the city’s current revenue sources — Measure L (countywide road tax) and state transportation funds — are being used.
“I’d look at why the priorities are set the way they were and if they still make sense,” she said.
Transparency and fiscal accountability are other key issues for District 1 residents, according to Salazar.
“You should be fully transparent about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it,” she said.
Salazar, whose husband is a volunteer firefighter, said that public safety is also a priority.
“It’s important to me to make sure fire and police are funded in a way to meet the needs,” she said.
When it comes to cannabis, and the city’s current ban on commercial sales and grows, Salazar said it’s a complex issue.
“It’s risky,” she said about Turlock considering opening up cannabis operations in the city limits.
Cannabis is illegal at the federal level, which means those businesses can’t put their money into federally-insured banks. Salazar said it’s hard to prevent money laundering in all-cash businesses. While Salazar recognizes that it is a potential source of tax revenue for the city, she said she wonders what it would cost if Turlock found itself in opposition to the federal government.
When asked her ideas on addressing homelessness in Turlock, Salazar said she would look to what has been successful in other communities and leverage resources that are already out there.
“We need to approach the problem holistically,” she said.
She also said city officials should be flexible, roll with change and admit when something isn’t working.
District 1 residents can contact Salazar at: email@example.com.
Jon Boulos was born and raised in Turlock and then left the area to go to college and then start his career. After working and living in larger cities like San Diego and Washington, D.C. he and his wife decided to return to Turlock to raise their family.
“There’s something about Turlock,” said Boulos. “What I missed the most was the community interest aspect.”
The accountant didn’t waste any time in getting involved in the community once he returned in 2015. He serves as the treasurer for the Turlock Community Theatre and joined the Rotary Club of Turlock. He also served on the Turlock Parks, Arts and Recreation Commission in 2017.
As he became more involved with city, he noted that something was missing from the city council — a young family perspective.
“As we get into periods of rapid growth, it’s important to have someone on the council with that perspective,” he said.
He said it would help ensure that Turlock continues to be a place that retains families or brings back those, life himself, who left for education or to start a career.
“It’s important to maintain that multigenerational aspect of Turlock,” said Boulos.
When asked what the top issue is in his district, Boulos said “process.”
“There is a lack of trust between people and the city government. People don’t feel heard. I want to restore that trust,” he said.
When it comes to water, Boulos said it’s important to have long-term planning but he understands the bigger burden the recent rate increases have been on some residents.
He supports the current ban on recreationally cannabis sales and operations.
“It’s a relatively new concept. There’s not enough conclusive data on the impacts of teenagers or young kids growing up in a community where it’s legal,” he said. “I’m not willing to let Turlock be part of that experiment.”
Boulos said public safety is “bar none, the most important thing city government will do.” He believes the city should look at the problems the police and fire departments have had with recruitment and retention efforts and find out why people left and why did they stay.
He sees the city’s road conditions as another aspect of
“To the extent roads are unsafe and demonstratively unsafe…that is priority one,” said Boulos.
He also thinks there is space for the community to identify and assist in situations where there are extreme road hazards that are not covered in assessment district funding or are lower on the city’s Measure L and state funding fix list. Boulos thinks a community effort to raise funds to fix neighborhood roads, with help from the city, could make an impact.
Boulos said he is very cognizant of Turlock’s homelessness problems and respects the dignity of each person.
“The City of Turlock should support the people who are doing great things to address homelessness. There are undeniable things that have to happen today like when illegal things happen…but it’s also important for us to identify why these things occur in the long term,” he said.
District 1 residents can contact Boulos at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Both Salazar and Boulos are not worried about running in a crowded city council race.
“More choices are better,” said Boulos. “It avoids the temptation of voting against someone. The great part of a crowded field is it gives people the opportunity to vote for who they really can get behind.”
District 1 roughly encompasses neighborhoods east of Golden State Boulevard and south of Tuolumne Road to the city limits. District 3 reaches neighborhoods north of Tuolumne Road and east of Crowell Road, approximately. To find your exact City Council district area, visit cityofturlock.org.
Learn more about the Turlock City Council candidates in the Journal’s special election section, which will be inserted in the Sept. 19 issue of the Journal.