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Condits gather at swearing-in
Linda Ryno becomes Ceres vice mayor
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Channce Condit and Linda Ryno took the oath of office Dec. 6 which was missing the traditional line of "So help me God." - photo by Jeff Benziger

The Condit family offered a strong show of support during the Thursday evening ceremony to swear in newly elected Councilman Channce Condit and Councilwoman Linda Ryno.

Former Congressman Gary Condit and wife Carolyn, grandparents of the new councilman, made a rare appearance, taking time to greet many in the audience at the Ceres Community Center. Condit began his political career when elected to the council in 1972 and quickly climbed the political ladder to Board of Supervisors, state Assembly and Congress. Also attending were Channce’s parents, Chad and Helen Condit, his grandfather Rev. Adrian Condit, aunt Cadee Condit, great uncle Burl Condit, great aunt Dovie Condit Wilson, brothers Couper Condit and Gary M. Condit, and wife Lauren.

Condit, 29, was on the Nov. 6 unopposed for the District 1 seat vacated by Ken Lane who served for 13 years. Ryno was re-elected to a second term in the newly created District 2 seat. During the meeting Mayor Chris Vierra rotated the title of vice mayor from Mike Kline to Ryno. Traditionally the role is rotated annually based on seniority but a special circumstance led to Kline serving longer.

Rev. Condit said it was a special honor for him to offer benediction over his great-grandson’s swearing-in ceremony.

“God has been good to me throughout all the years and he’s allowed me to live this long to be able to see one of my great-grandsons induced into the City Council of Ceres,” said Adrian Condit. “And that’s an honor to me, and Channce, I’m very proud of you.”

He added that he expects a “lot out of him too.” The Ceres pastor said he was going to mostly pray for Channce “because he’s entering a field – he might be a little bit like Daniel; he may be going into a lion’s den, I don’t know but sometimes it probably feels like that to you guys.” His prayer called for wisdom, truth and honesty.

In giving Ken Lane a send-off, City Manager Toby Wells said the city would be presenting him a “yearbook of sorts” detailing some of Lane’s moments on the council the past 13 years which was being signed by the four other councilmembers and employees. Lane was also presented with a ceremonial “key to the city.”

Lane congratulated the council and Condit and expressed his wish that the large turnout for the special event would continue at every meeting.

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Ken Lane bids farewell to the Ceres City Council. - photo by Jeff Benziger

“Channce, I’m very proud of you – I’ve supported you all along and I know you’ll do well,” Lane told Condit.

Channce Condit attended Carroll Fowler and Virginia Parks elementary schools and Modesto Christian School before his parents took him to Arizona after Rep. Condit lost his congressional re-election bid to Dennis Cardoza in 2002. He graduated from St. Mary’s Catholic High School in Phoenix in 2008. While attending Paradise Valley Community College he met his future wife Lauren in a drama production. After his return to Ceres, Channce earned his associate degree from Merced Junior College and in June graduated from Stanislaus State University with a degree in history. In addition to some modeling, Condit worked as a background extra in the movie “Contagion” filmed in 2011 in San Francisco.

Ryno thanked those who re-elected her and said she is honored by the election results. She thanked her family and husband Sam Ryno who knocked on the doors of 2,263 houses which equated to 42.04 miles on her Fitbit.

“If two old people can do it I mean that was pretty impressive,” joked Ryno.

She also thanked grandchildren Maverick and London who helped her pass out literature.

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New Ceres City Councilman Channce Condit (center) poses for a photo with his grandparents, former Congressman Gary Condit and Carolyn Condit. - photo by Jeff Benziger

Condit thanked his supporters as well.

“I ran a campaign I’d always intended on running, opposed or unopposed, to show the voters how hard I plan to work for them in making the city the best it can be,” said Condit. “It is an honor to receive each and every vote as a choice and to show the constituents I was not going to take them for granted.”

He thanked his wife, friends and family, telling them “I share this achievement with you all.”

Condit also thanked Lane for “his guidance and encouragement” before giving a short speech:

“I want to live in Ceres,” said Condit. “I want to raise a family here. I have for as long as I can remember. I love Ceres and I want it to be a place people want to live, not a place people have to live. We must not yield to the mentality that Ceres will be what Ceres is – a poor bedroom community that is squashed between Turlock and Modesto with little hope of becoming anything else. Ceres can be the kind of place that all those that work for the city want to live in our city, a place where families with a quality of life that we can be proud of. When people think of Ceres I want them to think of our safe neighborhoods, our robust downtown, great parks and quality housing. Together we can accomplish great things for Ceres and it’s truly an honor to take the oath of office tonight and join the Ceres City Council and representing District 1.”

City Clerk Diane Nayares-Perez read the official results of the city election. Condit received 2,502 votes, or 95.35 percent; while in District 2 Ryno received 1,739 or 79.3 percent; and Melvin “Gene” Yeakley 434 votes. Measure W, which would allow the city to apply a business license tax of up to 15 percent on gross receipts of cannabis related business should developer agreements be struck down, passed by 7,354 votes (66.32 percent) to 3,735 votes (33.68 percent). Measure X, which would have allowed the city to appoint a city treasurer rather than hold an election, failed when 6,952 votes (64.53 percent) were cast against it and 3,821 voters (35.47 percent) were in favor of it. Since incumbent Harry Herbert said he’s not interested in running again and nobody else has shown interest in the past, it’s possible the job may go vacant and receive an appointment anyway.

Public officials attending the event included Modesto City Councilmembers Doug Ridenour and Jenny Kenoyer and county Supervisor Jim DeMartini.

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Jim Bergamaschi (right) greeted former Rep. Gary Condit who made a rare public appearance at the Ceres Community Center on Thursday. - photo by Jeff Benziger