Local ballots in the Nov. 3 general election include two county supervisors’ seats, Hollister Mayor and two City Council seats, two seats on the San Juan Bautista City Council, Monterey County Board of Education Trustee Area 5, San Benito County Board of Education District 1, Cabrillo Community College Trustee Area 7, South Monterey County Joint Union High School District and Hollister School District Trustee Areas 2 and 4.
Election officials have already mailed out ballots to registered voters in San Benito County, and installed drop boxes for residents to submit their ballots at their convenience before Nov. 3. For more information about the 2020 election, visit the San Benito County Registrar of Voters’ website.
To read previously published profiles of County Supervisor District 2 candidates: Kollin Kosmicki and Wayne Norton. For profiles of Hollister Mayor candidates: Salvador Mora and Ignacio Velazquez (incumbent).
Keep an eye out over the next several days for profiles of more local candidates who will appear in races on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
Fernandez: Councilmembers should work together
District 1 candidate decries tension on dais
By Juan Reyes, Reporter
Jose Fernandez is in a two man race for a chance to take over the Hollister City Council seat for District 1.
But Fernandez said he believes him and his opponent are very similar because they’re both just two regular guys with the same attitude.
“I’m not looking to do this to become a politician,” Fernandez said. “If I win, that’ll be great. I will do the best that I can for the city and for its citizens.”
Fernandez, 56, was born and raised in Salinas but he’s lived in Hollister for the past 18 years, making it his home for nearly two decades.
“I want it to be the best that it can be,” he said.
Fernandez worked in retail as a store manager for 25 years. The past four years he’s worked for Staples Energy, a weatherization assistance program for low income homes, as director of the Salinas office.
A family friend asked Fernandez if he ever thought about running for a seat on the city council. But he said he always worked out of town and had to raise three of his five daughters, which left him with no time to do anything else.
“A lot of times I didn’t know what was happening in town, whether it was good things or bad, I was just trying to get to work and trying to get home to be with my kids,” he said.
Fernandez’s youngest daughter is 17 years old and he said now he’s got plenty of time to see what’s going on within the city, including all the ruckus among the city council.
Fernandez served a year on the Parks and Recreation Commission. Prior to that, he said he noticed that the city council became very chaotic and there hasn’t been any unity among the councilmembers.
He mentioned that there are times where they end up fighting over an idea that they disagree on rather than try to resolve the issue.
“I think you get elected and you’re supposed to do the best that you can for your city,” he said. “You make plans and you find solutions as a team.”
Fernandez said he wants to see job growth but it has to be more than just new fast food joints, which provide at the most two to three full time positions. He wants to see companies that provide positions where people can live where they work.
“At some point you will be able to afford to buy a house,” he said.
Fernandez mentioned he’d like to work on any issues concerning Highway 25 and 156, including commute times and heavy traffic. He mentioned that development in town has been great but there’s a problem with not having enough low income housing.
“Hollister is a great place to live if you have enough money to afford it,” he said. “It’s something that I think we are not paying a lot of attention to.”
Fernandez talked about the Strada Verde project (Measure N on the Nov. 3 ballot) and he’s listened to both sides. He said they have to gather all the information and make the best decision.
“I’m not a big politician but if that project does everything it says it’s going to, it’s going to be a great thing if it passes,” he said.
Still, he said he’s looked at the negatives and it concerns him, which is why he’s been jumping back and forth on his decision. Fernandez said one of his ideas would be to look at different cities the size of Hollister to see what they’re doing that’s working.
“What are they doing that brings in more jobs and more housing, better traffic control?” he said. “There’s no crime in borrowing someone’s idea if it’s a good idea.”
Perez: More street repairs in District 1
City council candidate brings maintenance experience to the table
By Juan Reyes, Reporter
Rick Perez has been fed up with the way his neighborhood in District 1 has been neglected, watching the sidewalks shift and roads fall apart as the years go by.
The 56-year old Hollister resident, who lives with a disabled veteran and has two neighbors who are in wheelchairs, says it’s a struggle just to get around the block.
“They have trouble walking and it becomes a great obstacle,” he said.
Perez, who has an extensive background in building maintenance, thinks he has the insight to help with infrastructure repairs and other issues within Hollister if elected as City Councilmember for District 1.
Perez has a 20-year-old son and he has been a proud owner of his handyman service business for more than a decade. He said the reason he moved to Hollister after he became a single dad was to be around family, and he wanted to join a community that he believes is built by its residents.
“It’s still a small town USA,” he said. “People wave, neighbors know each other and it’s just a great community.”
Perez said the first and foremost thing that needs to change is the atmosphere of the city council, citing a clear need for peace and civility.
“I hope to bring some peace along with communication and respect for each other,” he said.
Perez pointed out that Hollister Parks & Recreation supervisor Tina Garza has done an excellent job and he wants to be able to continue her relationship with the city council.
“Our kids are our future and [Parks & Recreation] is a really big deal to me,” he said.
If elected, Perez said some issues he’d like to address are housing development projects and high traffic that flows in and out of town. But he said part of the solution is not just widening the roads such as the Highway 25 expansion project.
Perez said he’d like to see people spend less time on the freeways and more time closer to home, which means bringing in more business and industry—including entertainment and tourism.
“If we can bring that into town that’ll cut down on traffic,” he said. “I think the biggest part of that equation is if we can bring business and jobs to this city we’d be able to spend more time with our families.”
Perez mentioned there’s a growing homeless population, especially around the parks within District 1. He said some efforts have been put in place to help resolve the issue but it takes more than simply telling them to leave.
“It’s not just about kicking them out of our parks, it’s about finding a plan to get them on their feet,” Perez said about the homeless population.
Perez mentioned this plan should also include providing services and resources for the homeless.
“There’s some issues we need to address to help them stay off the streets,” he said.
And speaking of streets, Perez said the roads and sidewalks in District 1 are in desperate need of repair. Perez’s idea is to come up with a program that would have the city split the costs of the repairs with the residents instead of having them pay for it entirely.
He also suggested that they should allow a contractor to do the job instead of taking up time from city employees. “It would probably be a lot cheaper,” he said.
The city recently repaved the streets in his neighborhood; however, he claims the job didn’t turn out so well.
“That’s just from my porch,” he said. “From someone else’s porch, they have different issues. I want to be there to hear their concerns and to get them answers, even if the answers aren’t what they want to hear. At least they get an answer.”