Mayor Villalta unopposed so far in seeking third term

cpride@losbanosenterprise.comJuly 25, 2014 

Mayor Mike Villalta made it official last week that he’s running for re-election.

Villalta filed papers July 18 and will appear on the ballot in November asking voters for a third term in office. No one has yet pulled papers to run against him.

Councilmen Tom Faria and Scott Silveira had also pulled papers last week seeking re-election. Retired teacher and former teacher’s union representative Anthony Parreira has filed to run for trustee in District 5 in the Los Banos Unfied School District race.

The filing period for local candidates planning to run for office ends Aug. 8.

According to the Merced County Registrar of Voters, seven people holding local office will have to file for re-election to vie for their seats.

The terms of Los Banos Unified School District Board Trustees Dennis Areias, District 1; Andree Soares, District 3; Chase Hurley, District 5; and John Mueller, District 7, will expire this year.

None of the incumbents in the school board race had filed as of Thursday.

By-district elections began in 2012 for the school district, and are under consideration for the City Council.

The City Council is expected next week to place a measure on the ballot to switch from at-large to by-district elections. The city has come under fire in recent weeks from the Community Advocacy Coalition, which believes that the current at-large voting method is a violation of the 2001 California Voting Rights Act based on its inability to produce Hispanic elected officials in a city where Hispanics are 68 percent of the population. Los Banos has until the end of the filing period to submit the measure.

The City Council has narrowed its options to draft Plan 3 after hearing comments on four districting maps offered for public consideration for the switch. As a general-law city, the issue must be put before voters.

The board is expected to finalize its decision at a special council meeting Wednesday.

If voters approve, by-district elections will go into effect in 2016.

Election Day is Nov. 4.

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