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Council is wide open
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Four seats on the Ceres City Council are up for grabs in the Nov. 8 election which has the potential to shake up the make-up of the existing council.

The filing period for the mayor's seat and three City Council seats - as well as Ceres School Board seats - begins on July 18 and ends Aug. 12.

Open are:

• The mayor's seat, occupied by Chris Vierra who is serving the unexpired four-year term of Anthony Cannella who resigned to become a state senator;

• An unfilled council seat which was abandoned by Vierra to become mayor. The council chose not to fill the seat through a special election because of cost.

• Two council seats currently filled by Bret Durossette and Guillermo Ochoa.

• Three seats on the Ceres School District board of trustees.

"I don't have to run - I'm loving it," said Ken Lane, the only member of the council who is not running.

"I think all the incumbents will run and I hope they get re-elected because they know what's going on in the city. But I think you'll see a lot more interest in the seat where there's no incumbent in."

CUSD voters will be deciding on seats presently occupied by Faye Lane and Jim Kinard, who both represent specific trustee areas, and Eric Ingwerson who represents the district at large.

"This will be the last time voters will be filling an at-large seat," said Scott Siegel, superintendent of the Ceres Unified School District. "We will be creating new trustee areas for the 2013 election."

Only registered voters living within the respective trustee areas may run for the seats occupied by Lane and Kinard. A map of those areas is located on the CUSD website,

The School Board decided in early 2009 to phase out the at-large seats after the San Francisco-based Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights sent letters to school districts encouraging them to voluntarily end their practice of at-large elections or risk being sued. CUSD avoided litigation by reaching a compromise with the Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights. The nonprofit advocacy group had filed a lawsuit on behalf of Latino voters, charging that the district's at-large method of election was racially polarizing and violated the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA).

By the November 2013 election, CUSD will establish seven single-member trustee areas.

Those wanting to run for local office might want to attend a special free Candidate Workshop sponsored by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, and the two major political parties. The event is set for Saturday, July 9 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Nick W. Blom Salida Regional Library. It is a free workshop to provide citizens interested in running for local elective office an understanding of what to expect and how to proceed. This session will include "nuts and bolts" advice for candidates and campaign volunteers by seasoned political and community leaders.

The program includes:

• Presentations on the decision to run and how to recruit and use volunteers and will cover common mistakes made by candidates and ways get out the vote on Election Day.

• A panel discussion with Supervisor Bill O'Brien and Turlock School Trustee Bob Weaver will discuss the impact of running and holding public office on the family, a business and the candidate.

• Talk on campaign finance reporting responsibilities by CPA Bill Young.

• How to use social media and the internet in the election process.

A list of all offices in Stanislaus County which are open in November are detailed on the county elections division website at

Pre-registration to the candidate workshop is not required but is strongly suggested. Please e-mail Meagan Lopez at on or before July 6.