After watching and then attending the first two Turlock City Council meetings in January, as a former and current elected official, I can already see the politicking going on with the two City Council members who are up for re-election this November. There was only one compassionate conservative on the dais that night.
Let me first explain what we all witnessed during the meeting on Jan. 23. The City Council was voting on whether or not to extend the six-month lease for the Navigation Center (Homeless Day Center) on the same property of the United Samaritan Foundation's office and warehouse. The Navigation Center sits to the west. Personally, I have been inside the center during the day, four times when the room was filled with people doing various activities. Cori Mai, one of the Navigation Center's employees, spoke at the meeting in support of continuing the Navigation Center for the already planned and paid for six months. Mai and her staff have found housing for seven people and explained there are usually 30 people inside every day. Let's go back to seven people who are now living inside a home or apartment in the first six months. Let that sink in.
The staff report presented contained misinformation and very misleading numbers about the success of the program; the City Manager went inside once, when everyone was at a meeting. The three voting to close the Center: Mayor Bublak, Pam Franco, and Rebecka Monez have NEVER visited in six months it was open, and two of them (Bublak and Franco) are retired. The trio appeared to have already made up their minds, despite the pleas of community members, Navigation Center staff and clients, and fellow Councilmembers Cassie Abram and Kevin Bixel.
Bixel offered up a brilliant idea — dedicate a Turlock Police Officer to patrol the downtown business corridor. I spoke with a former City Councilmember who worked hard to get Measure A passed which was supposed to pay for a downtown police officer. This is the same Council which took almost a year to get the PBID self-taxing plan passed for the downtown business owners.
Last Friday, Bublak went on a video rampage about a nursing home on Colorado which will house the mentally ill. She blames the County, imagine that, our County Supervisor is trying to "fix" the situation, while she rants and spreads misinformation. Twenty people with mental health issues have already been housed there in the past. She is upset it is a block from Dutcher Middle School. Let me remind her, Franco and Monez you had no problem putting a cannabis dispensary less than 600 feet from Osborn Elementary School and another cannabis dispensary approximately 800 feet from Cunningham Elementary School. You can't have it both ways.
It is apparent to me, not only is it an election year, but one that is going to mimic national elections where candidates or elected officials cannot handle or speak the truth. If you want to do something positive, reopen the Navigation Center and dedicate a Turlock Police officer to the downtown business corridor. But you can’t take credit for that on a campaign flyer? Bring back the compassionate conservatives Turlock voters used to elect!
— Mary Jackson, Turlock