The Hollister City Council election season may only be a couple weeks old, but in at least one district, the gloves are off and one candidate said he is the victim of some low blows.
The District 2 City Council race took an unlikely turn this week when lobbyist and former mayor Victor Gomez shared a nursing disciplinary record about council candidate Rolan Resendiz after Resendiz had criticized incumbent Mickie Solorio Luna for being too cozy with developers.
Resendiz has said he decided to seek his first elected office after Luna and her colleagues voted to remove a referendum on the sale of the 400 block of San Benito Street from the November ballot. Luna had initiated the request after an Attorney General’s opinion that the city’s decision was not subject to referendum.
Gomez said he supports Luna, whom he has called an inspiration for his political career. Luna distanced herself, saying that Gomez is not an adviser to or member of her re-election campaign committee.
Luna is seeking re-election to a second four-year term to the westside district. Resendiz said that following a Facebook Live post where he criticized Luna, Gomez countered by going public with a report of Resendiz’s 2016 domestic violence arrest that was mentioned in a vocational nursing license investigation. The charge was dismissed.
Gomez shared Facebook posts on Aug. 27 that had been posted to a page that eventually took the allegations down. Gomez said he did not recall the name of the Facebook page to which he originally posted the allegations, but said they were removed quickly.
Gomez told the Free Lance he did not share the information because of Resendiz’s Facebook Live posting and that he does not follow Resendiz on the site. In an interview, Resendiz said the Gomez post was accurate, and said he had anticipated the arrest would be made public during his campaign.
Resendiz confirmed he had been arrested “some time in 2016,” due to a domestic dispute. He said he and his partner were still together and that they had discussed the possibility of the arrest being made public when Resendiz chose to run for the District 2 seat. The charges against Resendiz were dropped following the arrest.
A document given to the Free Lance by Gomez, which appears on the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs website, shows a $100 fine issued by the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians against Resendiz for failing to report a mailing address change.
The document states that the board had requested information on Resendiz’s 2016 arrest, but the letters were deemed undeliverable. The document said the arrest happened, “on our about May 19, 2016.” The arrest was made for “inflict[ing] corporal injury on a spouse/cohabitant” and “willful cruelty to a child,” according to the document, which also states the charges were dropped.
Resendiz’s is still a registered phlebotomist.
Rosendiz accused Luna and Gomez of attacking him personally to further a pro-developer agenda and Luna’s campaign.
“I’m obviously an active member of the community,” said Gomez, but denied being involved with any one campaign. Gomez’s wife, Anietra Gomez, is running unopposed for city treasurer.
Resendiz said he has only criticized Luna on the basis of her time in office and political views, but added that she and Gomez are attacking him personally.
Luna said Gomez is not affiliated with her campaign and added, “With my service the last four years, I do not need a campaign advisor.”
Gomez previously served as mayor of Hollister when the position was appointed by fellow council members. Gomez was elected to two four-year terms on the council, in 2008 and 2012, and served as mayor from 2009-2011.
Gomez said he does not have any motivation for releasing information on Resendiz’s arrest except, “I’m super concerned with anybody with any kind of domestic arrest or record.”
Gomez’s 31-year-old sister Elizabeth was stabbed to death in Hollister in 2007 in what he said was an act of domestic violence.
Luna said she knew Resendiz “from way back when,” but does not currently speak with him.
Resendiz “should concentrate really on whatever his campaign is doing,” she added.
Gomez is not listed as having endorsed Luna on her campaign site. Luna’s campaign site states, “If you believe in transparency and fiscal accountability in local government, then I ask for your vote. I hope I can count on your support.”
Resendiz told the Free Lance that he is hoping to lead an honest and transparent campaign.