Action taken last week by the Ceres City Council formally ordered the Nov. 3 municipal election for the office of mayor and two council seats.
On Nov. 3 Ceres voters will be asked to elect a mayor, two councilmembers, a county supervisor, a District 10 congressman and a president – and decide on a number of statewide propositions.
Mayor Chris Vierra is not seeking re-election, leaving the door open for potential candidacies from within the council and citizens at large. Signaling interest in the office is Councilman Bret Durossette. The rest of the council likely won’t be running. Vice Mayor Linda Ryno has ruled out a run, Councilman Mike Kline said he’ll seek re-election and Councilman Channce Condit is running for county supervisor.
Two Ceres City Council seats are also up for grabs in November. Kline’s District 4 seat and Durossette’s District 3 seat are expiring at the end of the year. Kline has said he will seek re-election. Since Durossette is running for mayor, his council may draw some interest from those living in his district, which covers northeast Ceres, including areas east of Moffet Road as well as Eastgate.
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.
Kline represents Council District 4, which 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.
The council candidacy filing period will open July 13 and ends on August 7. If an incumbent does not file for re-election, the nomination period will be extended in that race until Wednesday, Aug. 12. Candidates must be a registered voter residing anywhere within either of the two council districts. Prospective candidates should consult a map of a diced-up city to determine what council 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.
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.
Supervisorial District 5 voters will decide on who takes over Jim DeMartini’s seat when he steps down at the end of the year. Candidates are Ceres City Councilman Channce Condit and Ceres City Attorney Tom Hallinan.
After former state Senator Anthony Cannella announced that he wouldn’t run for the District 5 supervisor seat, Hallinan, 58, jumped into the race. Hallinan has served terms on the Yosemite Community College District board of trustees and was a candidate for the state Board of Equalization in 2018. In 2017 the Ceres resident was elected chairman of the California Law Revision Commission, a state agency responsible for studying problem areas in California law and recommending reforms to the governor and Legislature. Hallinan was appointed to the commission in 2015 by Gov. Jerry Brown. He received his Juris Doctorate degree from the Lincoln Law School in Sacramento and is now a partner with Churchwell White LLP. Hallinan has served as city/special district attorney for a dozen of local governmental agencies over the past 22 years. Hallinan said if elected he will resign from the law firm of Chuchwell White which provides legal services to the cities of Ceres, Patterson and Newman.
Hallinan has been endorsed by former Ceres Mayor and state Assemblyman Sal Cannella, Sheriff Jeff Dirkse, and Ceres Mayor Chris Vierra and the mayors of Patterson and Newman.
Hallinan said he’s familiar with issues facing Ceres and the county. He said his goals include reducing homelessness, protecting water rights, bringing the county and its nine cities together and fighting the state in onerous demands on local governments.
Late in the race was Condit, who was sworn in as a freshman councilman in November 2018 and, if elected, would be leaving office midway through a four-year term. Condit said he expected Cannella to run and had “no intention of running for the Board of Supervisors” but changed his mind when the former legislators backed down. “I felt that we needed a strong voice for District 5 and I believe I can provide it,” said Condit.
Condit said he has been an advocate for direct earmarks for public safety and led the effort to establish a beautification committee for the City of Ceres.
“I will always represent the people of District 5, not the county bureaucracy or special interest groups,” said Condit in a prepared statement. “Local government is meant to be closest to the people. I will hold weekly constituent office hours for the residents and make constituent service the cornerstone of my public service.”
Condit’s endorsements include former Ceres mayors Jim Delhart, Louie Arrollo, Eric Ingwerson and Barbara Hinton; as well as former Supervisor Paul Caruso, Assemblyman Heath Flora and Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak.
District 2 Supervisor Vito Chiesa of Hughson, who represents Hughson, Keyes, Turlock and La Grange, is unopposed for re-election.
Congressman Josh Harder, D-Turlock, will be defending his seat in the 10th Congressional District against Republican Ted Howze of Turlock.
Harder, who defeated Republican Rep. Jeff Denham in November 2018, will fight to keep his seat for a second term.