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Candidates begin line-up for Nov. 3
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With the candidate nomination period deadline looming into view on Aug. 7, three persons have expressed an interest in two open council seats.

Planning Commissioner Mike Kline and incumbent Ceres City Council members Ken Lane and Chris Vierra have picked up nomination papers for the upcoming Nov. 3 election. Lane and Vierra are official candidates but Kline intends to return his nomination papers before the nomination period closes at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 7.

Lane and Vierra were both elected to the Ceres City Council in 2005.

Kline, 51, ran unsuccessfully in a three-man City Council race in 2007, losing the election by 149 votes behind Rob Phipps.

"I figure I came close last time and I just figured I'd give it another shot," said Kline.

When Phipps died before taking office, Kline's supporters called for him to be appointed to fill the empty council seat but the council took applicants from interested citizens and chose chose Bret Durosette instead. Kline said he has no hard feelings over being passed up.

Kline said he can offer "a different opinion" about the budget crisis.

"I disagree with some of the things that they've done that could have helped somewhat," said Kline. "I think some of the projects they're trying to get done can be put on hold."

He said the council should have held off on giving employee raises prior to the economic downturn that were intended to bring the city's compensation package up to what neighboring cities were offering.

Kline also ran for Ceres School Board in 1999 and 2001. The 1976 graduate of Ceres High School is a salesman for Tony's Fine Foods.

"I've learned a lot since I've been on the Planning Commission. I'm enjoying the Planning Commission."

Lane said the typically limited candidacies of opposition speaks to the quality of the work of the current council.

" I would hope the community has confidence in us," said Lane. "The council has been fiscally responsible. We've had to make crisis decisions. We've had to make tough decisions and it's not a fun area to be sitting in. This council has a very good handle on it."

Lane said the City Council may have to trim another $2.4 million in expenses if the state of California seeks out the coffers of local governments as a way of helping erase a multi-billion-dollar deficit. He noted that the council has made some unpopular decisions and may have to make more.

On the positive side, Lane said the council has opened a new Community Center, pushed for the construction of the new Whitmore/Highway 99 interchange, built a new fire station and worked with the Ceres Unified School District for the sharing of facilities.

Lane has won the endorsement of three members of the Ceres Planning Commission: Ruthanne Williams, Bob Kachel and Gary del Nero.

Vierra, 43, said the city has accomplished "a lot in the six years I've been on the council." He said he's proud of the construction of the Community Center and the Ceres River Bluff Regional Park, as well as the new Whimore interchange. The vice mayor said he looks forward to coming up with a redevelopment plan for downtown and renovations to Costa Fields ball complex. He said his civil engineering background allows him to dig deeper into "non glamorous things like water and sewer infrastructure ... that normal council members wouldn't."

"We're making very difficult decisions and think we're fiscally prudent with taxpayers money," said Vierra. "This is a very action oriented council that wants to make a difference for the community. We want to make Ceres the best place it can be."

Vierra has the endorsements of Kachel, Williams and Laurie Smith.

City candidates file with at Ceres City Hall.

School Board candidates surface

A recent controversial decision made by the Ceres Unified School District Board of Trustees could stir up plenty of candidates for four open seats. The board has taken a beating in the court of public opinion for naming Ceres' third junior high school after Cesar Chavez over recommendations from residents to name it after a local person as tradition has dictated.

The terms of Teresa Guerrero, Edgar Romo, Betty Davis and Mike Welsh expire this year.

Welsh is running in Trustee Area 2 and is the lone candidate to file thus far.

No candidates have come forth yet for the Trustee Area 3 seat held by Guerrero.

In Trustee Area 5, Romo is being challenged by Lourdes Perez, an employee of the Ceres Partnership for Healthy Children.

On July 22 Brian Kline has filed as a candidate for the at-large district held by Davis. She had yet to file as of press deadline.

Brian Kline said he's running to "help the youth, the students, get back to more of a tradition that Ceres is used to, you know, take pride in school. I think our schools have really turned into something that the youth don't look forward to attending."

The 26-year-old 2001 Ceres High School graduate works for a Turlock tractor supply shop. He also umpires and coaches the Ceres Coyotes and volunteers for youth swim teams.

Until 2013, the district will retain two at-large seats which are now occupied by Davis and Eric Ingwerson.

CUSD candidates file with the Stanislaus County Elections Office at 1021 I Street, Room 101, Modesto.

Hughson races

Four director seats in the Hughson Fire Protection District are also up: Gus Villarreal and Raymond Camagna, who each serve four-year terms, and Jeffrey Serpa, who is in a two-year seat. The fourth seat is vacant. Camagna filed his candidacy on July 22.

Hughson area voters will be deciding who to send to the Hughson Unified School District Board of Trustees. The terms of Randy Heckman, Cindy Cunningham-Gipp and Rick Applegate all expire this year. Cunningham-Gipp has filed.

Keyes races

Keyes has elections in November. The seats of three incumbents on the Keyes Union School District Board are up for election. They are Remona Rayburn, Tony Aguilar, and Marianne Pietrzyk. Candidates who have entered the race are Jimmy Emmons Sr., Sophia Munoz-Jimenez, Remona Rayburn, Jeff Reed and Christopher Reynolds

Three seats on the Keyes Community Services District are also up for grabs now filled by Davey Landers, Harinder Grewal and Henry Benavides. The two-year seat of Casey Chadwick is also up for grabs. Chadwick and Grewal have filed to run for the full term seat.

Keyes Municipal Advisory Council members Harinder Grewal and Karen Poppen are each seeking re-election without opposition so far.

Other races

Westport Fire Protection District has an election for new board members. The terms of Martin Avila and Edward Amador are up for grabs.

Turlock Irrigation District has three open seats. Incumbent Director Charlie Fernandes in Division 2 (Ceres area) has filed for re-election without opposition so far. The term of Michael Berryhill in Division 3 (South Modesto and west Ceres) is also up. He's yet to file for re-election but two others have: Joe Alamo and Keith Silva. The term of Division 5 board member Randy Fiorini, who represents the Turlock and Merced County areas, has filed for re-election. Running him against him is Pamela Sweeten.

Ceres voters will be voting for a trustee to serve on the Stanislaus County Board of Education Division 5 seat. Luis L. Molina, the incumbent board member who lives in Patterson, has filed for re-election.