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Turlock City Council race sees last-minute filings
Seven to vie for two open seats
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At the last minute, seven Turlock City Council candidates – including three whose candidacy was previously unannounced – came out of the woodwork to file by the extended deadline to run in the Nov. 2 election. Stanislaus County Deputy District Attorney Shawn Barlow put papers in early this week, while William W. DeHart Jr., the director of marketing at Covenant Village retirement home, and David “DJ” Fransen, owner of, filed late on Wednesday.DeHart and Barlow are newcomers to Turlock politics, while Fransen will make his third run for elected office this fall. He previously launched an unsuccessful campaign for Turlock Mayor in 2006, and a failed bid for a Turlock City Council seat in 2006.Fransen won’t be alone among repeat contenders:  Jeremy Rocha, 22, ran for Turlock City Council in 2006 and 2008, and will be making a third attempt at the council again this year. Rocha graduated from California State University, Stanislaus in spring with a Political Science degree, and will be listed on the ballot as an “agribusinessman,” as he recently launched a small farming endeavor known as Rocha Central Valley Farms.Those four will be joined by the three candidates who filed papers to run by the initial, Aug. 6 deadline.Forrest White, a former Turlock Recreation Manager and San Joaquin County Fair chief who wants the council to become more transparent and less divisive and Pat Noda, a Turlock businessman  upset with the city’s finances, new bus hub, street system, and lack of a homeless shelter, were the first two candidates to file.Timm LaVelle, a former Turlock Unified School District Trustee and a small business owner, also filed by the initial deadline. His filing was not previously reported, as LaVelle did not submit papers until late on Aug. 6.The initial deadline was extended to Wednesday as neither Incumbent Kurt Spycher nor Incumbent Ted Howze filed to run. Spycher cited a desire to spend more time with his family and church, while Howze voiced his wish to spend more time with his high school age children.The mayor’s seat is also due for reelection in November, but Mayor John Lazar will run unopposed. Lazar will remain mayor through 2014. Hughson The City of Hughson will also see its City Council shaken up this November, with the mayor’s seat and two council seats up for grabs.Incumbent Mayor Ramon Bawanan will continue to hold his position, however, as he was the only mayoral candidate to file nomination papers. On the council side of things, four candidates filed papers to run: George Carr, a telecommunication technical analyst; Miguel Oseguera, a planning commissioner and firefighter; Billy Gonzales, a sales person; and Matthew Beekman, a business owner and the only incumbent to file.Incumbent Thom Crowder will not seek reelection, and is currently a target of an Aug. 24 recall election; Oseguera and Carr are up for Crowder’s seat in the recall. Theoretically, both could end up on the council following the November election, or one could win a seat and then be ousted in November, having only served for two months.Gonzales is also participating in the recall election, running for the seat of Ben Manley, who resigned. Should Gonzales win Manley’s seat, he would likely drop out of the November election.To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.