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A resident of San Juan Bautista for 12 years, John Hopper joined
the City Council following a special election in March 1996, then
ran for a regular four-year term and served as mayor once.
A resident of San Juan Bautista for 12 years, John Hopper currently serves as the city’s vice-mayor. He joined the City Council following a special election in March 1996 to fill an unexpired term, won, then ran for a regular four-year term and served as mayor once.

Hopper, 44, said he’s “silly enough to do it again” because he believes there is still a possibility that the community is in a fragile state, subject to outside forces that want to develop the area.

“The 1-percent growth ordinance should not be undermined,” Hopper said. “The downtown area and other historic treasures of the city need to be closely guarded. Property owners feel just because it’s their property they can do what they want, and I understand that. But the historic integrity of this city should be protected and as a government stand by our planning codes to preserve those types of projects that distract from it.”

The No. 1 challenge a councilman faces, Hopper said, is overcoming the perception people have of elected officials when they cast their vote.

“Politically, it may be an unpopular decision and you should be a naysayer, but as an official we have an administrable duty to make legally defensible decisions that our personal opinions or general public opinion should not influence the decision made,” he said. “You have a duty, despite political ramifications.”

Hopper said some of his opponents have a tendency to make knee-jerk reactions based on misinformation.

“I don’t think that belongs in government,” he said “We need to make well-informed decisions and not based on popularity and not what someone is telling us, but what is viable and good for the community – explore the whole issue.”

When Hopper first moved to the Mission City, it was suddenly hit with a lot of issues.

“The was city about to go bankrupt and they were seriously considering letting county take care of the government,” he said.

When the city disbanded the fire department and fired city staff, “I volunteered a lot to help out,” he said.

Hopper also served with the San Juan Bautista Chamber of Commerce from 1991-95 and was elected president twice.

“My son and I worked on a lot of community events together,” he said.

Prior to Hopper’s election to the Council he was the city’s planning commissioner. He believes that gives him a unique insight of the need to protect the city’s history and manage growth slowly in the remaining areas of the town and its sphere of influence.

Hopper said a major development was taking place when he arrived, which he was concerned about along with other projects and decided to get involved to help preserve the historic community.

“I sort of got a name as someone who would show up at the meetings and complain about the problems,” he said.

Hopper’s background gives him a lifetime teaching credential with an education in law enforcement and spent most of his life as a police officer, but is now in the private sector as a life safety security consultant.

“The city is in much better shape than it was six years ago,” he said. “Some opponents say grant money is not real money, but the money is real.”

He said many projects are on the table to improve city services, which is why he is seeking reelection.

“I would like to see the water project through to the end,” he said.

When the new water lines and sewer lines are replaced it will help to improve fire services, which is greatly needed, Hopper said.

“We need to figure out how to start setting aside money to provide better resources for the fire department,” he said.

Hopper is on record opposing the widening of Highway 156, but the biggest challenge for him is trying to make improvements to the city with no money.

“People have heard a lot of talk about what the city needs, but it takes commitment to continue the talk,” he said. “With limited resources and a limited budget, nothing happens here overnight.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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