Council upset may tilt balance

In a major upset in the Hollister city elections on Tuesday, Nov. 6, newcomer Rolan Resendiz, a likely ally of Mayor Ignacio Velazquez, unseated one-term District 2 Councilmember Mickie Solorio Luna.

The campaign was contentious, with personal attacks on Resendiz raised by Luna’s supporters. Despite endorsements from prominent political figures in the community, Luna, a staunch member of the pro-development council majority, lost to Resendiz’s grassroots campaign.

Resendiz received nearly 66 percent of the vote with 788 votes, and Luna received 34 percent of the vote with 427 votes.

“I’ve never done anything like this and I didn’t know what the results would be, but I had a very good feeling,” Resendiz said.

Luna was the only Hollister incumbent running for re-election, despite two other council seats being up for grabs. With the appointment of Carol Lenoir to the vacated District 1 seat in October, the council will be full of new faces, aside from the mayor, who won his re-election campaign.

The election could tilt the council balance, with victorious Marty Richman holding a swing vote between pro-development and slow-growth factions.

Velazquez has been a vocal supporter of Resendiz, who is also in favor of slowing growth in the city. Resendiz ran on the platform of creating a plan for growth and may be a new vote in favor of the mayor’s views now that he will be on the council.

Resendiz said his overturning of an incumbent makes it clear Hollister residents want a change. “The numbers don’t lie,” said Resendiz. “People made their voices heard.”

In District 3, Honor Spencer won with 45.6 percent, or 807 votes, ahead of Elia Salinas with 571 votes and 32.3 percent and Raul Escareno with 390 votes and 22 percent.

The new District 4 councilmember will be Marty Richman, who received 1,114 votes and 60.6 percent against candidate Salvador Mora, who received 724 votes and 39.4 percent.

Resendiz said he believes the new council members, along with two newly elected county supervisors, mark the start of a new era in Hollister politics. He believes the people have spoken and are done with what he called “dirty politics.” He said the current council divided the community and that it is the job of the new members to bring residents back together.

“I’m very optimistic that with the whole new council, people are done with the negative politics,” said Resendiz.

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