Local Politics

Election 2018: Hollister City Council District 4

Salvador Joseph Mora and Marty Richman run for soon-to-be-vacant seat.
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Salvador Mora.jpg
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Two candidates are running for District 4 of the Hollister City Council. The two-year-term position will be vacated by council member Jim Gillio, who is seeking a seat on the Board of Supervisors.

 

Salvador Joseph Mora moved to Hollister in February 2012 after his wife, who grew up in town, convinced him to relocate. He said it was the best decision for his family because Mora and his wife feel their children are growing up in a safe community.

Before working as a mortgage loan officer for Direct Mortgage Funding in Los Gatos, Mora had a 16-year career in law enforcement with Santa Clara County Probation in Juvenile Corrections. He also has experience being a special education teacher’s aide at Fremont Unified School District as well as coaching various sports from youth to junior college level.

He said his experience helped him develop the leadership skills needed to be an effective councilman. Those skills include communication, decision-making, and respect for opposing views.

BENITOLINK: Why are you running for City Council?  

MORA: I’m running for City Council to make sure the wants and needs of the community are being met. The current leadership seems fractured and divided and not making decisions that are in the best interest of the community. We need leaders that are willing to work together and put egos aside and do the right thing. We need leaders who make decisions on what’s best for the city instead of what’s best for businesses of their family or friends. Hollister is a great town to raise a family. I want to make sure that doesn’t change. I also want to help attract businesses that the citizens of Hollister want to shop and spend at, so we stop losing sales tax revenue to cities like Gilroy, Morgan Hill and San Jose.

What issues are most important to the district?

We have many commuters in District 4, so Highways 25 and 156 are a big concern to the constituents in the district.  We need to make sure that our leaders at the state level as well as Caltrans understand our need for improving those highways and come up with a sensible solution to help ease the commute. I was a commuter for many years so I understand the frustrations that the constituents are going thru and also want to see improved highways.  Another issue that’s important for the district is housing development. It seems like a lot of the new developments have been occurring in District 4. The new City Council may not be able to do anything about the housing development projects that have already been approved, but we can do something about managing any future housing developments. We need smart and regulated growth. If we do not have the adequate infrastructure in place to handle the increase in population, we will do more harm than good.

Are there issues you feel are important to your district that the public may not know about?

Public safety is also a concern for the district. I’ve read on social media about the countless residents within the district who have had their vehicles broken into. Just recently a neighbor on my street had their car window smashed and the culprits made off with valuables. Although it wouldn't stop all crimes, a police presence in our district could possibly help reduce the number of incidents that occur. Unfortunately, without the adequate staffing levels, this is not possible.  As the population increases, so should the size of our public safety staffing levels to help ensure that our community is being provided the adequate services it deserves and needs.

What obstacles and challenges does the district face?

Traffic congestion and school overcrowding are two of the biggest concerns that many people in the district talk about.  The new development in the district as well as the Santana Ranch development have impacted the elementary school.  I'm not sure if previous city leaders took into account how the new developments would impact schools but it doesn't seem like it.  Classrooms have 30 plus students in them which impacts the students and teachers.  How much attention are the students receiving?  Traffic congestion has gotten worse and will continue with added developments.    

How do you plan to address them?

Our elected officials at the city and county level need to think about how growth affects our education system.  We need to work together to come up with solutions that improve our current situation, not worsen it.  A new school is supposed to be built in 2020, but I feel that our leaders failed us in terms of planning.  I'd make sure that we have a good plan in place to improve our infrastructure.  The lack of a solid infrastructure plan is where I believe we are doing a disservice to our community.  I will work hard on making sure we do not repeat the same mistakes and focus on ways to improve our infrastructure which would also include ways to improve the traffic congestion issue in District 4.

How do you intend to communicate and stay in touch with the constituents you’d represent?

If elected, I plan to have open communication with my constituents. I plan on staying in touch with the constituents via social media, email and by phone. One thing I've been thinking about doing if elected is to create a monthly or quarterly District 4 newsletter to help keep the constituents informed of events going on not only in the district, but also all across the city.  

Would you consider writing opinion articles for BenitoLink from your position as an elected representative?

Yes.

What is the role of local government?

I feel the role of local government is to ensure that the community is provided adequate city services. City services range from public parks, maintaining roads, city utilities and law enforcement to name a few. Local government must ensure that the wants and needs of the community are being met.

 

Marty Richman has lived in Hollister for 22 years. He retired from the U.S Army in 1983 where he served more than 20 years of active duty. He was an engineer and manager in the computer electronics and energetic materials industries.

Richman was a columnist and member of the editorial board for the Hollister Free Lance and has researched and written hundreds of articles about politics and public policy.

He ran for Mayor of Hollister in 2012, but was “trounced.” In 2018, he is following the advice he gave readers, encouraging them to run for public office as a service to the community.

BENITOLINK: Why are you running for City Council?

RICHMAN: Because I love Hollister and I want it to remain a wonderful place to live as it grows and deals with the changing world. We have to take on today’s challenges and be prepared for those of tomorrow.

What issues are most important to the district?

Mostly the same as the rest of the city: traffic congestion, trying to grow without changing the fundamental character of the city, the scarcity of good local jobs that force long commutes, the lack of a post-secondary education facility, the high cost of public services, adequate recreational facilities, upgrading animal control capabilities, and so forth.

Are there issues you feel are important to your district that the public may not know about?

The two that worry me most are out of sight and therefore out of mind. The first is emergency services, especially our ability to deal with a major earthquake. The county has only a limited capability and we may be on our own for a few days if it is a regional problem. We must be prepared. The second is the ultimate fate of the San Benito Healthcare District that serves the community.  

What obstacles and challenges does the district face?

One is always the same for small, semi-rural communities, limited resources and limited leverage with the state and federal governments. The second is the local impacts of developments that were approved long ago, especially to our transportation network and the look and feel of the community.

How do you plan to address them?

Loudly!  We have to pressure our state representatives to make sure we get a fair share of program money such as SB-1 Transportation Funding. If the distribution formulas keep favoring the big cities our traffic problems will only get worse. Locally, we have set development standards that maintain the things that make this a great place to live.

How do you intend to communicate and stay in touch with the constituents you’d represent?

Any way I can; meetings, social media, news releases, written articles, speeches and listening sessions.

Would you consider writing opinion articles for BenitoLink from your position as an elected representative?

Of course. Why would I quit now?

What is the role of local government?

Government exists to serve the public’s needs. It’s as simple as that. The Declaration of Independence said it in 1776 and it remains true today: To secure the rights of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

 

Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School graduate with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily.

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