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Campaigns end on Tuesday
Ceres elects councilmen Tuesday
council mugs

Tuesday is Election Day, bringing to a close the campaign season for a number of local races.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Ceres Christian Terrace, 1859 Richard Way, in Ceres. Winners will take office on Friday, Dec. 4.

Voters in Ceres will be deciding which two of the four candidates for Ceres City Council will serve for the next four years. The city electorate will also be deciding if Measure D should be approved to set up districts for the purpose of electing future City Council members; and Measure E, which would double the tax on those renting rooms at Ceres motels from five percent to 10 percent.

Bret Durossette and Mike Kline, both currently serving on the Ceres City Council, are running for re-election. Two other candidates, Don Cool and Gene Yeakley would like to take a seat on the five-member council.

Candidates with campaign funds were required to submit a disclosure form to the state Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

Cool reported receiving $660 in campaign funds in the Sept. 20 to Oct. 17 reporting period. Donors included himself, and $100 donations from Jim Bergamaschi, Suki Mann, Don Epps, Shane Parson and Inderjit Toor. Cool also received $60 in donations that were not itemized.

He said he has spent about $1,000 on campaign signs and a newspaper ad.

Mike Kline reported $5,650 in contributions. His campaign money included a $1,200 donation to himself, $2,040 from Stewart Kline, $200 from Jim DeMartini, $250 donations from Kimi Goblirsch and Paul Caruso, and $100 donations from Don and Coni Goudeau, E.R. Vine & Sons, Pallios Enterprises, Shane Parson, the Cannella for Senate 2014 campaign, David Yonan and PG&E. Kline also received a $500 in-kind donation for use of the River Oaks Golf Course and $500 worth of in-kind donations from Rancho San Miguel Market.

Kline's campaign expenditures included $225 in signs, $536 in postal cards and door hangers and $968 in direct mailers. He also spent $500 to have a statement printed in the Voter Guide.

Mayor Chris Vierra is running unopposed for his term but he reported receiving $1,500 from the Cannella for Senate 2014 Committee and $250 from PG&E.

Durossette reported receiving $700 for the reporting period, which raised his calendar year total to $7,450. Donors included Mo-Cal Office Systems, and Jay Casey, which gave $250 apiece, and West Mark business owner Scott Vincent who gave Durossette $200. Durossette reported giving $500 to the Yes on Measure E Committee and $100 to the Ceres High School Athletic Boosters. He spent $1,113 on printing and $1,552 on a campaign mailer produced by ABS Direct.

Yeakley did not file an FPPC report because he did not have a campaign committee nor received any donations, said Acting City Clerk Lori Frontella.

Harry Herbert is the lone candidate in his re-election bid as city treasurer.

There is also no contesting of incumbents for the Ceres Unified School District Board of Trustees. Jim Kinard is a declared candidate for Trustee Area 1, Faye Lane in Trustee Area 4 and Teresa Guerrero in Trustee Area 7.

City officials cannot legally campaign for passage of Measures D and E but have been able to educate voters about them. City Manager Toby Wells said the city website has two flyers seeking to educate voters about Measures D and E. City officials have also spoken to civic groups in an effort to get out the message.

Ceres voters will be deciding on Measure D, the proposal to set up council district elections. Passage would do away with the current at-large method of electing members of the Ceres City Council, replacing it with four council districts that have been carved to balance population. Starting in 2016, council candidates could only run within the district they reside. The office of mayor would continue to be elected on at at-large basis since there is only one mayor.

The measure was ordered out of concern of being the target of a legal challenge by minority advocacy groups. Experts say the California Voters Rights Act may be flawed but has opened the door for minorities to successfully sue cities, school districts and special districts to abandon at-large districts, claiming that minorities have a tougher time getting elected in them.

Only one of the four new proposed council districts contains a majority of minority voters. That district is currently occupied by Councilmember Linda Ryno.

Voters in Ceres will also be deciding on Measure E, which would increase the Transient Occupancy Tax paid at both of Ceres' motels. The Ceres Chamber of Commerce is also helping to promote its passage.

In Measure E, the city wants to increase the five percent TOT from five to 10 percent. The tax is collected by the Howard Johnson Inn and Microtel Inn every time someone rents a room and passed onto the city. Residents would not pay the tax unless they stay at the motels.

Three candidates are running for two seats on the Keyes Community Services District Board. Incumbent board member Mike Bernal is a candidate as is Antonio "Tony" Aguilar and retired city of Ceres worker Davie Landers.

The Riverdale Park Tract Community Services District in south Modesto west of Carpenter Road has attracted seven candidates for five open seats. Candidates for the full term are incumbents Kelland Murphy and Diana M. Culwell-Caro and Rudo Caro and challenger massage therapist Timi Horn. Two short-term seats have attracted candidates in retired welder George Bixler, janitor Duane Shugart and Rita Hodges.

Four candidates are running for three seats on the Hughson Fire Protection District. They are Fire Captain Justin Vincent, and incumbent board members Miguel Oseguera, Jeff Serpa and David S. Absher.

Voting in Hughson takes place at Samaritan Village, 7700 Fox Road.

Two seats are open on the board of directors for the Turlock Irrigation District, which supplies electricity to Ceres and irrigation water to Ceres area farms. Charles Fernandes sits in the Division 2 seat and is not up for re-election this year. However, Michael Frantz, the incumbent in Division 1 which covers Hughson, is being challenged by retired educator Tracy Sunde of Turlock. Incumbent director Rob Santos is unopposed.