Bret Silveira, a former coach and longtime resident of Ceres, and former Ceres Planning Commissioner Brandy Meyer have both announced their candidacies for the District 3 seat on the Ceres City Council seat which is expiring at the end of this year.
The incumbent occupying that seat, Bret Durossette, has pulled papers to run for mayor on the Nov. 3 ballot. The current mayor of Ceres, Chris Vierra said he is not seeking re-election. Javier Lopez has signaled his interest in running for mayor.
It’s too early to say who will be candidates for city office after the filing deadline but it appears that there is healthy interest in all three positions. Eric Angel Gonzalez and Couper Condit have pulled papers to run for Mike Kline’s Council District 4 seat. Kline, the incumbent, is expected to also file.
Candidates for office must to get fill out nomination papers and returned to the Ceres city clerk by August 7. However, if an incumbent in any given race fails to file for re-election, the nomination period will be extended until Wednesday, Aug. 12. Since Durossette is not seeking re-election to council, District 3 papers will be due on Aug. 12.
District 3 covers northeast Ceres, including areas east of Moffet Road as well as all of Eastgate.
District 4 includes a block around Smyrna Park southward to Highway 99 and leaping across the freeway. The zigzagging district lines include some areas of southwest Ceres, including Marazzi Lane, Sungate Drive, Bavil Drive, Hardy Court, Bing Lane and Daisy Tree.
“I’ve thought about local political stuff for a long time, probably 15-20 years,” said Silveria. “Several years ago I thought about a campaign for the school board and it just wasn’t good timing. Just with (Councilman) Bret Durossette running for mayor and I live in that district I thought that it was a good time.”
Silveria, 56, was appointed to a four-year term on the Ceres Planning Commission in January. A deputy with the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department for 29 years, he has served as the deputy director of the Stanislaus County Police Activities League for the past 14 years. Bret also coached varsity, JV and freshman football at Ceres High School from 1984 to 2004 and was a JV baseball coach from 1986 to 1988. As a “hobby,” Silveria has officiated high school and college sports for 36 years.
He came to Ceres in the fourth grade after his mother Ivy Laffoon remarried and moved here.
Silveria said he has the endorsement of Durossette, Mayor Chris Vierra, Councilman Mike Kline, the Ceres Police Officers Association and Supervisor Vito Chiesa.
“My experience in law enforcement is making sure our relationship between our city government and our public safety team is solid – and that may or may not be the case now; I’m not sure. But I want to do what I can to make sure there is a good solid healthy relationship.”
He said youth services and enrichment programs are a priority once he’s on the council.
“I think we definitely need safe places for our kids to go, fun enriching programs, with good leadership, that’s something that’s very important to me,” said Silveria.
He said he’s enjoyed his time on the Planning Commission and likes getting all of the facts before deciding how to vote.
Silveria said he doesn’t expect criticism for seeking council while not serving out the remainder of his commission term, saying he’d still be serving the city “in a bigger way.”
The situation with COVID-19 restrictions means most candidates – Silveria being one of them – will have to go door-to-door campaigning with a mask on. He said those who don’t want to talk for health reasons can be left with campaign literature.
“It’s not going to discourage me from trying,” said Silveria. “I’m looking forward to it. The further we go into it, the more excited about it I am, honestly.”
Meyer, a member of the Soroptimist International of Ceres, the Ceres Beautification Committee and member of the Tuolumne River Regional Park Citizens Advisory Committee, ran for council in 2003.
“I want to help and give back to the community,” said Meyer, who raised five children in Ceres beginning in 1994. “Now three out of our eight grandchildren are here in Ceres as well.”
Meyer said she has always had a passion for community service and volunteering.
“Now that our children are grown – our youngest is in her senior year of college – it’s the right time. I started thinking about this back in August of last year and when talking with our family, husband, friends I’ve had 100 percent support.”
She said she would be a supporter of recreation and financial participation in the Tuolumne River Regional Park joint powers authority.
“I believe, very much, keeping our parks and our rivers clean, maintained and available for the public,” said Meyer, who bristled when the council decided years ago to withhold $18,000 in annual funding from the park.
Meyer, who owns Meyer CPR & First Aid on Fourth Street, has a long record of community involvement. She served as a member of the Ceres Planning Commission, Ceres Chamber of Commerce board, the Ceres Unified School District Stakeholder Committee, Ceres Street Faire Committee, Ceres Centennial Committee, Ceres Water Tower Committee, Measure H Committee and Ceres High School Booster’s Club. She also was a youth director at Harvest Presbyterian Church and volunteer for Campus Life and Stand Together. Brandy also was previously a scout leader, Ceres Youth Baseball coach and Ceres Youth Soccer coach.
Ceres City Council candidates must be a registered voter residing within their respective council districts. Prospective candidates should consult a map of council districts to determine which district they live in before pondering a jump into city politics. Candidates must obtain and fill out nomination papers with the signatures of between 20 and 30 signatures of registered voters living within their district. Candidates are advised to get more than 20 signatures in case a “nominator” turns out to not be a registered voter. The city clerk handles nomination papers for city offices.
Durossette was appointed to the City Council in 2008 after the death of Rob Phipps. He has been employed as a Ceres High School teacher for 25 years and coaching for 29 years.
This will be the second time in the history of Ceres that voters will be electing councilmembers on the basis of districts rather than the entire city limits. That means only persons living in Council Districts 3 and 4 may run and vote for City Council on Nov. 6; the remainder must wait for their district seat to come open for a run. Only the office of mayor continues to be elected on an at-large basis. The office of vice-mayor is typically appointed among the councilmembers on a one- to two-year rotation.