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Lazar runs unopposed in November election
mayor race pic1
Turlock Mayor John Lazar, pictured above at the Carnegie Arts Center groundbreaking in May, will serve four more years, as he was the only one to submit candidate papers by the Friday deadline for the November election. - photo by Journal file photo

There’s no need to hold an election: incumbent Turlock Mayor John Lazar will win a second term as Mayor unopposed.


The candidate filing period for the Nov. 2 Turlock Mayor election closed at 5 p.m. on Friday, with Lazar as the only candidate to file papers to run. The local realtor was the only candidate to even request papers to run for Turlock’s mayoral seat.


“I'm excited to have the opportunity to serve again for four years,” Lazar said. “I love Turlock, and I want to be a part of our government for another term and I think we can continue to do good things for our community as well as our region.”


Lazar’s second term as Mayor will run through 2014. He has held the title of Mayor since 2006, and before that served as a Turlock City Council member from 1992 through 2006.


Lazar’s first stint as mayor was largely spent facing fiscal challenges, as the City of Turlock was forced to cut costs in response to declining tax revenues from the nationwide economic collapse and the State of California’s hefty budget deficits. Lazar expects his second term will be accompanied by more prosperous times.


“I've got to believe brighter times are ahead,” Lazar said. “We've always rebounded and survived.”


Lazar laid out three priorities for his second term: bringing more businesses and jobs to Turlock, improving the city’s streets and roads, and continuing to work on improving public safety.


He already sees positive movement in attracting new businesses, with several major corporations currently interested in expanding to Turlock’s nascent Westside Industrial Specific Plan industrial park. For public safety, he’s seen successes in working with Police Chief Gary Hampton on a strategic plan to reduce crime and the Mayor’s Gang Task Force, an effort he hopes to take up again.


Improving city streets could be the most challenging of Lazar’s goals for his second term, though he remains dedicated to pursuing whatever limited state and federal funding might be available for the task. If those funds aren’t sufficient, Lazar floated the idea of establishing a citywide assessment district, where landowners would pay an annual fee to help maintain and improve roadways.


Lazar also hopes to hold a teambuilding session with the new Turlock City Council, following the Nov. 2 election, to improve cooperation and communication between council members.


City Manager Roy Wasden admitted he was a bit surprised that Lazar will run unopposed, given a wealth of rumors circulating about potential mayoral candidates. But Wasden said he’s pleased with the stability Lazar’s return will bring to the council.

 “I can't say enough good things about all of our council members,” Wasden said. “… I think it'll be great to work with John for four more years.” City Council race still open to applicants

While the mayoral race is closed to candidates, the deadline to apply for two vacant Turlock City Council seats was extended to Wednesday as incumbent Councilmen Ted Howze and Kurt Spycher did not file for reelection.


Howze announced his intention to not seek any elected office on July 30, voicing a desire to spend more time with his high school-age children, while Spycher revealed he would not seek reelection on July 2, in order to devote more time to his family and church.


Four candidates have announced their intention to run for the two available seats thus far: Forrest White, a former Turlock Recreation Manager and San Joaquin County Fair chief who wants the council to become more transparent and less divisive; Timm LaVelle, an small business owner and former Turlock Unified School District Trustee; Pat Noda, a Turlocker upset with the city’s finances, new bus hub, street system, and lack of a homeless shelter; and Jeremy Rocha, 22, a two-time City Council candidate and recent California State University, Stanislaus graduate who hopes to put his Political Science degree to the test on the council.


Of those four, only Noda and White had filed the paperwork to run as of 5 p.m. Friday.


Regardless of whom the two new Turlock City Council members may be, Lazar believes the City of Turlock will be well prepared to address whatever may come.


“I think we've been blessed with good leadership on our council over the years, and I'm hopeful we have a good crop of candidates to elicit interest from our voters and meet the challenges of the future,” Lazar said.

 For more information on running for Turlock City Council, contact City Clerk Rhonda Greenlee at 688-5540.To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.