Friday, Aug. 10, 2012
Lineup taking shape for November election
By Corey Pride / firstname.lastname@example.org
The filing period ends today and it appears that a handful of candidates will be seeking office in November.
According to the Merced County Registrar of Voters, as of late Thursday Mayor Mike Villalta and Councilman Joe Sousa filed for the mayoral race. Sousa will not run to retain his council seat despite pulling papers for that spot a few days ago.
Three people have filed to run for the Los Banos City Council, Planning Commissioners Arkady Faktorovich and Deborah Lewis and incumbent Elizabeth Stonegrove. In addition, the Rev. Steve Hammond pulled papers to vie for one of the two available council spots.
For the Los Banos Unified School District, the terms of Trustees Colleen Menefee (District 4), Jack Vasquez (District 6) and Henry Smith (who is planning not to run, leaving District 2 vacant) will expire this year. Menefee filed two weeks ago and businessman Thomas Higby filed to run for the District 2 spot three weeks ago. No one has filed or pulled papers for the District 6 seat.
Elections department workers said if no one files for the District 6 spot today the deadline will be extended until Wednesday, after which time the school board will have to appoint someone to the seat.
This is the first time voters will choose school board members by district. In December, the board of trustees voted 4-3 to discontinue at-large voting. District officials were worried about encountering lawsuits from special interest groups outside of Los Banos that may claim they were not complying with the 2002 Voters Rights Act.
The act requires school districts to establish voting areas that fairly reflect the population makeup.
Los Banos is 64.9 percent Hispanic. Within the new districting boundaries, Hispanics make up between 40 percent and 67 percent of the population in each district. Trustees also represent between 5,500 and 5,800 people each. Election Day is Nov. 6.