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Vierra taking on Lopez for mayor’s seat
Vierra a candidate
Ceres City Councilwoman Rosalinda Vierra announced Tuesday that she will be a candidate against Javier Lopez in her quest to become mayor. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/ Courier file photo

Javier Lopez has competition for the mayor’s seat this November – and it’s coming from Councilwoman Rosalinda Vierra.

The surprise announcement came Tuesday, weeks after mayoral candidate Troy Arrollo dropped out of the race.

In a message to the community, Vierra wrote: “As a dedicated public servant and community leader, I am committed to bringing real change to our city. Our city is struggling to address many pressing issues. It's time for a new approach.”

She added: “It's clear that we need a leader who will put the needs of our community above partisan politics, egos and personal agendas.”

Vierra told the Courier there is a growing dissatisfaction with the leadership of the mayor.

“A lot of it is being able to work as a group and not as much as a dictatorship and I think we are lacking some of that cohesiveness that’s needed to work as a team,” she said. “Him and I do and see things differently and our way of achieving … is different.”

She expressed frustration how the mayor scheduled a special meeting to approve the budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year at 9 a.m. Tuesday when some of the council found it difficult to get time away from work commitments. She called his timing of not holding an evening meeting was “inconsiderate” of the council and the working public.

 “He said, ‘yeah, I’ll get it changed,’ and then he was like, ‘no, never mind.’”

Mayor Lopez was contacted for comment but did not returned the call.

Vierra said she is committed to tackle Ceres’ challenges, including outdated infrastructure, homelessness, limited housing options, public safety concerns, and a sluggish local economy. She said her educational and professional experience have equipped her with the “skills to analyze complex problems, develop effective solutions, and build strong relationships with stakeholders.”

Vierra was elected to the District 2 Ceres City Council seat in 2022 and is employed as a program specialist at Modesto Junior College. She also runs a small business called Ceres Party Helpers. She earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees from the University of Phoenix.

Lopez was elected mayor in 2020 in an 8,753-to-6,924 vote margin over then Vice Mayor Bret Durossette.

Vierra acknowledged that she’s at a disadvantage in fundraising, noting that Lopez has been raising money since announcing in October.

“The $15,000 he has creates a financial advantage, absolutely,” Vierra noted. “However he was able to run the last campaign with I believe less than $2,000 initially against Bret and he was still able to win. A lot of it I’m going to rely on is just the record and the service and commitment that I’ve made towards Ceres for the last two years. I think I’ve got a very good record when it comes to what I’ve done for the community.”

Besides the mayor’s race, the Nov. 5 Ceres ballot includes the race for District 3 City Council seat occupied by Bret Silveira. Ceres Planning Commissioner Cerina Otero is planning to run against Silveira. The District 4 Council seat occupied by Daniel Martinez is also up for grabs. Thus far no opponents have emerged for Martinez who was.

The candidate nomination period opens Monday, July 15 and closes Friday, August 9. If an eligible incumbent does not file by the deadline of 5 p.m. on Friday, August 9, a five-day extension of the nomination period occurs to permit any qualified voter, except incumbents, to file nomination papers by Wednesday, August 14. Prior to qualifying as a candidate, the city clerk will verify the residency of each potential candidate through their nomination paperwork