Vast changes are coming to the Ceres City Council following Tuesday’s election which will result in three new faces and a new vacancy to be filled. Linda Ryno, currently serving as the vice mayor, will be the only council holdover going into the new year.
Javier Lopez pulled off a stunning defeat of a Ceres City Council veteran of 13 years on Election Day to become mayor. In unofficial results, the political newcomer received 5,187 votes (53.93 percent) to Councilman Bret Durossette’s 4,431 votes (46.07 percent).
Durossette was reeling from his loss on Wednesday and said he didn’t see it coming.
“We got a lot of stuff done,” said Durossette, a 27-year teacher at Ceres High School, of his time on the council. “It’s going to be interesting to see what the future holds for Ceres. I probably cared about the town more than anybody else for such a long time. I truly believe that. There’s a lot of people who care about Ceres, don’t get me wrong, but this isn’t the same Ceres we used to know. ”
“We spent about $40,000 on this campaign and he spent maybe a thousand,” said Durossette. “I had all the endorsements; he had no endorsements but nobody cared about that. The city’s going to get what they get but there’s still some great councilmembers.”
Attempts to reach Lopez were unsuccessful as of Wednesday.
Councilman Channce Condit will be vacating his four-year seat midway through his term following his election to the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. Condit defeated Tom Hallinan, the Ceres city attorney, in an outcome of 11,522 votes (60.93 percent) to 7,389 votes (39.07 percent). The vacancy will have to be filled by City Council appointment or by special election.
In Ceres City Council District 3, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s deputy and Planning Commissioner Bret Silveira came out on top in a pack of four candidates. The unofficial tally showed Silveira received 1,181 votes (39.3 percent), to Juan Pablo Vazquez’s 798 votes (26.56 percent), Mohinder Singh Kanda, 551 votes (18.34 percent) and Brandy Meyer’s 475 votes (15.81 percent).
Silveira will take Durossette’s District 3 seat.
Replacing incumbent City Councilman Mike Kline in District 4 will be former Planning Commissioner Couper Condit. Condit received 774 votes (40.74 percent) while Kline lagged behind with 464 votes, or 24.42 percent. Candidate Daniel Martinez collected 350 votes (18.42 percent) for third place while Eric A. Gonzalez received 312 votes (16.42 percent).
Kayla Martinez won the city treasurer race over Sopheap Dong-Carreon. Martinez won 5,395 votes (59.09 percent), while Dong-Carreon came in second place with 3,735 votes (40.91 percent). Martinez will replace Harry Herbert.
Lopez, 36, said his involvement as a coach for the freshman football at Central Valley High School for the past three years prompted him to run for mayor. He said he wants to “bridge the gap” between city government and the people.
Lopez is employed as a fire suppression technician serving maintenance fire systems throughout the Bay Area.
“If there’s a way that I could possibly get people to be more involved in the community is one of my biggest goals,” said Lopez. “There is a sense of community that I believe that we can grow closer especially during these times of COVID. There’s a lot of people struggling out there right now.”
He said while he lacks governmental experience Lopez thinks he brings a wealth of leadership because of his occupational and coaching experiences.
“My goal has always been to push people to become better than what they are,” said Lopez.
Silveira, 56, is a former coach and longtime resident of Ceres. He 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.
Couper Condit, 24, is employed as the district director for state Assemblyman Heath Flora, who was re-elected over Democrat Paul Akinjo in a 57.4 percent to 42.6 percent outcome.