Three city council races will be decided on November 8

Chances are a candidate for Ceres City Council is knocking on your door soon – or has – given that ballots have been mailed out and Election Day is just 20 minutes away. days.

The three races for Ceres City Council attracted a total of seven candidates.

In Ceres City Council District 1, incumbent Councilor James Casey and Todd Underwood are in competition. The District 2 council race is between Paula Redfern and Rosalinda Vierra while the District 4 council race has three candidates in Daniel Martinez, John Osgood and David Carreon.

District 1

Underwood, 43, takes on incumbent Casey who is seeking re-election. Casey was elected in a special election to fill the District 1 seat in September 2021.

Raised in Ceres and a veteran of the military, Underwood said his candidacy stemmed not from dissatisfaction with the way Ceres was governed, but rather from a desire to get involved in government. However, he fears that Ceres will become like other cities with lesser living conditions.

“I’m an ex-military so why sit on your ass and complain when we’re Americans, we were given the right to stand up, so that’s one of the reasons I’m running,” said Underwood. “If you want to get into politics, you have to start somewhere.”

Underwood is currently a telecommunications installer working in the Bay Area.

“What better place to learn how to enter politics than Ceres. It’s a great city…and a great place to raise a family and most of us would like it to remain a great place.

Casey has lived in Ceres since 1974 and has owned and operated Casey Moving Systems in Ceres since 1995. A veteran of the Army from 1968 to 1971, Casey was elected to the Ceres City Council on August 31, 2021 to fill the position left vacant by the resignation by Chance Condition.

Casey said his priorities are public safety, transportation, recreation, eradicating the plague, sensible development that serves all walks of life, and providing business opportunities for residents.

District 2

Rosalinda Vierra said she wanted Ceres to remain “a great little town”.

“We all want a safe community and an economically strong community,” she said. “I am running for City Council for these reasons; to serve my community, represent my neighborhood and bring a fresh new perspective to the board. I believe that my experience as a mother, community servant, owner and small business owner – along with my education and specialized training – allows me to bring a positive mindset, an open mind and a fresh perspective. with new ideas to the Ceres City Council.

Vierra is a member of the Measure H Citizens’ Oversight Committee and the Stanislaus County Economic Development Action Committee. Vierra left Modesto for Ceres in 2002 after starting work for Bronco Winery. She has owned Party Helpers, a small business in Ceres since 2012

Vierra said she wants Ceres to have enough police and code enforcement officers. She would also like to see CPD re-establish its street crime unit and explore the possibility of Ceres having a community health and assistance program (CHAT) like in Modesto “so that our officers can focus on higher priority crimes and traffic-related issues, while trained specialists and clinicians help with mental health calls.

Paula Redfern, who spent 9 1/2 years as a security officer at Ceres High School, Community Services Officer with Ceres Police and Code Enforcement Officer in Ceres, Hughson, Waterford, Merced County and now Modesto , said she was running because she cares “about what’s happening to our city.”

Redfern wants to see enforcement of the code strengthened in Ceres, saying it’s an important issue for all residents of Ceres. She also wants to see more development on the western side of Ceres.

“We don’t even have bike lanes on Service Road and Morgan Road for all the kids who go to Central Valley Secondary School. Bike lanes would help.

Redfern has resided on Ceres her entire life, except for the three years when she moved in her twenties.

District 4

Daniel Martinez, a member of the Ceres planning commission, wants to replace appointed councilman Mike Kline in District 4.

Martinez, 34, has been a member of the commission since his appointment last year. He previously ran for City Council in 2020, a race that went to Couper Condit. Martinez earned associate degrees in Communications, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Language and Rational, all from Modesto Junior College. He works as a quality auditor for SunOpta Aseptic in Modesto.

The race attracted two newcomers to local politics.

Osgood had been nominated to an empty council seat in November, but on the night he was due to be sworn in, the council overturned the nomination amid a storm of protest over controversial remarks he made on his podcast, Forgotten. Liberty Radio. Wendy Byrd of the NAACP publicly accused Osgood of practicing “hate, bigotry, misogyny, and racist terminology that makes specific ethnic and gender groups feel belittled”.

Osgood did not respond to the Courier’s request for general statements and information.

David Carreon, 38, a permanent resident of Ceres, said he was seeking the Ceres Town Council seat “because I feel there are issues in District 4 that have been overlooked or neglected for a some time now and I don’t think we’ve had a strong advocate for our part of town.

Carren said ‘roads are potholes and need repaving, there are stretches of residential areas that don’t have sidewalks near Central Valley High and Blaker Kinser. I see children walking dangerously close to traffic on the dirty side of Hackett daily. My priorities would be to address these infrastructure issues with a focus that seems to have been lacking for years now.

He also advocates the renovation of the Ceres water tower and “let’s see if we can get it designated as a state monument”.

“At the end of the day, it all comes down to trying to make Ceres a better place to live, to work, to raise our families.”

Carreon has worked in warehouse distribution for 12 years and also runs a small t-shirt printing business in his spare time. He is the father of two boys aged 2 and 5.

CUSD races

Three of the four open Ceres Unified School District seats had single candidates with no contestants and will therefore be nominated instead of appearing on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Realtor Cynthia Ruiz was the only candidate for the Zone Trustee 2 seat now held by Mike Welsh.

Outgoing CUSD board member Lourdes Perez was also unopposed in her re-election bid for Trusteeship Zone 5.

Trucking company owner David McConnell, 62, faced no challenge as he automatically takes the Trustee Area 6 seat. Incumbent Betty Davis steps down from the seat.

“My priorities would be to make sure we provide the best education and the safest environment for students,” McConnell said. “I’ve been through good and bad times in the business world and I think I have knowledge I can bring to the table. I would be happy to work with the members of the Board of Trustees to continue to provide all of our CUSD employees with honest and transparent goals to make our school district one of the best in Stanislaus County.

McConnell has resided in Ceres for over 30 years and has raised children who have come through the Ceres school system. He is the co-founder and past president of the Ceres Unified School District Foundation.

In admin area 3, Valli Wigt has a challenger in Mariah Jaquez who is an administrative assistant and a student.

“I would like to continue with the social-emotional programs that have been started, building on student attendance and parental engagement, academic skills and higher graduation rates,” Wigt said.

She also wants the district to continue construction of the Ric Campero Performing Arts building, the new pool at Central Valley High School, and “hopefully the start of a new football stadium in Central Valley.”

Wigt said it was her honor to represent Ceres students and she attends many events at the school site.

“I am proud of our district and all that has been accomplished during my time serving,” said Wigt, who retired after 34 years teaching K-6 students in Ceres Unified School District and Oakdale Union Elementary School District.

“In retirement, I taught in the after-school program for CUSD,” Wigt said. “I have taught a variety of courses including combined courses for several years. I was a mentor teacher for new teachers, master teacher for student teachers, teacher in charge, Curriculum Council member, CUTA representative , Ag in the Classroom Ambassador, Music Chaperone, was part of the Ceres High Boosters and School to Career Coordinator I have organized school career days for 20 years, interacting with many professional organizations.

The Courier could not reach Mariah Jaquez.

Mariah Jaquez did not have her contact listed as a candidate.