Friday, Aug. 10, 2012
Candidates list almost set
Two mayoral candidates, four council contenders...so far
By Corey Pride
The filing period to run for local office ended on Friday for most of the political races.
According to the Merced County Registrar of Voters Mayor Mike Villalta will square off against Councilman Joe Sousa in the mayoral race. Sousa will not try to retain his council seat.
Because Sousa did not file to be re-elected as a councilmember, that race remains open through Wednesday for additional candidates to sign up.
So far, four people will vie for two spots on the Los Banos City Council. Incumbent Elizabeth Stonegrove will compete against Planning Commissioners Arkady Faktorovich and Deborah Lewis and the Rev. Steve Hammond.
For the Los Banos Unified School District, the terms of Trustees Colleen Menefee (District 4), Jack Vasquez (District 6) and Henry Smith (who left District 2 vacant by not filing for reelection) will expire this year.
Menefee will compete against attorney Dominic J. Falasco in District 4.
District 2 and District 6 are also settled. In District 2 businessman Thomas Higby will run against retired teacher Tommy Jones. Incumbent Vasquez will go up against Carole Duffy for the District 6 slot.
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.
The candidates list will be updated in Friday's Enterprise.