I hadn’t given it a lot of thought, but I wasn’t really a fan of district elections. I figured that in a city of 70,000 people, the best approach is to have the best candidates the community has to offer come forward and let the voters make their choice.
I changed my mind 180 degrees when Gil Esquer announced his candidacy in District 2, the Westside. Gil would not likely run in a City wide election competing with every other candidate running “at large.” But given the opportunity to represent the residents where he has lived his entire life and campaign among neighbors he has known for years, he came forward.
I’ve known of Gil over the years as a solid, sensible and contributing member of the community. I know that he has had the same group of close friends for decades; his good friend Margaret Souza was the assistant finance director when I was Mayor. Part of how we judge people is by the company they surround themselves with. Gil will be an engaged and representative voice for the Westside.
On the other hand, I was surprised when I heard that Amy Bublak had sold her house and filed to run against Steven Nascimento literally on the same day the escrow closed. I asked Amy if it was that important to her to be on the Council that she would actually move their residence to engage in a costly and possibly contentious campaign against a well liked fellow Councilmember who has lived in his District for years. Amy really didn’t have a concise answer, other than the perfunctory “giving back to the community” comments.
In looking at the list of maximum $1,000 contributors on Amy’s financial contribution reports it is clear that there are individuals for whom it is very important to them and their business interests to have Amy on the Council and not Steven. For the record, I cannot vote for, but I do support Gil Esquer, Steven Nascimento and the value to Turlock of having representatives elected by District.
— Brad Bates, Turlock Mayor 1982-1990