Former Turlock City Council member Forrest White is hoping to return to City Hall, this time representing the residents of District 1.
White served as a citywide representative on the Turlock City Council from 2010 to 2014. He lost his bid for reelection in November 2014 to Matthew Jacob and Bill DeHart, coming in just 541 votes behind DeHart. In March, White declared his intention to run for the District 1 seat on the Turlock City Council in the upcoming November election. District 1 is currently represented by Council member Jacob, who has not announced if he will seek reelection.
White’s motivation for getting back into politics is a desire to see the Council get back to setting policy and away from micromanaging City departments, he said.
“The Council should set policy, hire good people and let them run the operation. What I’ve heard, what I can see, that’s not happening,” said White.
White said he is concerned with the recent draining of talent in all City departments.
“We were a city that was looked up to, thought of having top-quality staff who made good decisions…That’s no longer the case,” he said.
White also said he thinks Turlock needs more politicians willing to get into the community, explain the issues and bring back a consensus of the opinion from the voters.
“There isn’t enough of good retail politics — going out and talking to your constituency,” he said.
Along with changing the management culture at City Hall, White’s priorities, if elected, would also include tackling the City’s financial issues and addressing public safety concerns.
White is concerned with how close the City is coming to its minimum General Fund reserves and the police department’s inability to hire enough qualified officers and keep them for more than a couple of years.
“You have to come up with some decisions on what your priorities are and once you establish priorities, how you’re going to get there. What can the City afford and how do we best use our money?” he said.
In his first term, White said his goals for the City of Turlock were prioritizing business development, setting smart growth policies and making quality City services a priority to enhance the quality of life in Turlock.
“We experienced some growth and set the stage for the next three years,” he said.
White said he is also proud that he was part of a Council that made civility a priority and really worked together.
“We did things as a Council…no one tried to take credit for things individually. During that time, there was a lot of ‘we’ and not a lot of ‘I’ — this is what we need to get back to,” he said.
White, now retired, spent over 35 years working for the public, including five years as a Turlock City Recreation Supervisor, and the last 20 years as CEO of the San Joaquin County Fair. His primary duties as CEO consisted of budgeting, public relations, and governmental advocacy, which included working with legislators and statewide boards.