Council moves for election to fill vacant District 3 seat

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Honor Spencer

UPDATED May 4:

The Hollister City Council will look to hold an election in November to fill its now-vacant District 3 seat following the resignation of Honor Spencer.

The council agreed on May 3 to look into an election, rather than appoint a resident to the seat. City Clerk Christine Black said she will reach out to San Benito County officials to see if Hollister can consolidate its election with the county, which would save costs, and bring back a resolution for approval at the next council meeting.

In a letter to Black dated April 1, Spencer wrote that her resignation would take effect at the end of the council’s meeting on April 19.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this letter of resignation,” she wrote. “I have enjoyed my time as a Council Member for District 3 and working with you and the staff. I will cherish our friendship.”

Spencer was elected to her first term on the council in 2018.

At the April 19 meeting, Spencer said she is moving away from Hollister.

“My life has taken a different path, one that I’m looking forward to,” she said. “For the two years I’ve been on here, it’s been great, and I’m going to miss you all.”

District 3, representing about 8,500 residents, covers central Hollister, bordered by San Benito Street to the west, Veterans Memorial Park to the east, and South Street/Hillcrest Road and Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital to the north and south, respectively.

According to a report by Black, a special election, if it is unable to be consolidated with the county, could cost between $25,000-$35,000.

The person who is elected to the seat will fill the remainder of Spencer’s term, which ends in December 2022.

The council members on May 3 were in agreement that an election should be held.

“I’m more of a believer that the voters decide, not the council,” Mayor Ignacio Velazquez said.

Councilmember Rolan Resendiz agreed.

“The people of District 3 deserve the right to choose that person,” he said. “Let’s leave it up to the voters.”

Hollister resident Elia Salinas pointed to the city’s Municipal Code, which gives the council the authority to appoint in the event of a vacancy. The council has appointed members to the seat in the recent past, she noted.

“It is in the best interest of the community for it to not be a cost to the city,” she said. “I would think you guys would want to save money and follow your own rules.”

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