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.”