Government / Politics

Election 2020: Hollister City Council District 1

Jose Fernandez and Rick Perez compete for the seat of outgoing councilmember Carol Lenoir.

Watch candidates for Hollister City Council District 1 answer questions from the BenitoLink 2020 Virtual Election Forum.

One-term Hollister City Councilwoman Carol Lenoir has decided not to run for a second term for City Council District 1. Two candidates have stepped up to fill her seat: Jose Fernandez and Rick Perez. 

Jose Fernandez has lived in Hollister for 11 years. He is married and has four daughters, two sons and five grandchildren. He said family is everything to him and that is why he wants to contribute to the community and its future.

Fernandez previously served on the Hollister Parks and Recreation Commission, and currently works for Staples Energy in Salinas. He is a movie buff and enjoys binge-watching Netflix with his wife.

Jose Fernandez. Photo courtesy of Jose Fernandez.
Jose Fernandez. Photo courtesy of Jose Fernandez.

BENITOLINK:  Why are you running for City Council?

FERNANDEZ: I would like to be a part of making Hollister a great place to live and raise a family. I would like to see our City Council working together as a team to achieve the goals they set. The community is exhausted with the current behavior of the City Council. I don’t think you always have to agree, but there are ways to have your point of view heard and leave it at that. The constant smearing of colleagues needs to go away.

What issues are most important to your district? 

Having clean, safe neighborhoods, and affordable housing for our residents so we can live and work here. I also believe we need to invest in our parks and safer routes to school for our children. A second high school is also desperately needed.

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

I think the community knows the issues very well. The most critical one is the widening of Highway 25. Funding has been secured with Measure G, but there doesn’t seem to be any urgency in moving the project forward.

What obstacles and challenges does the city or your district face? 

Having a working plan for well-planned growth, being able to bring in jobs and affordable housing so people don’t have to work in other areas.

How do you plan to address those issues?

By working with the City Council and the city manager to come up with a plan for growth that includes all its citizens. By making sure that we all work as a team to create and meet the goals that are set. I also believe that a regional collaboration is needed on the topic of housing and transportation.

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

I plan to use the technologies available to us to make contact and listen to the concerns and issues people have. Social media is great, but there are many people who don’t use it for community purposes, so I think when we make progress on tackling COVID-19, I will meet with residents in community coffees and community forums.

What is the role of city government?

The role of local government is to provide those day-to-day quality-of-life needs that we pay for through our taxes. Some examples are well-maintained parks, good quality roads, adequate police and fire services and good water and sewer. 

 

Rick Perez has lived in San Benito County for 20 years. He is the youngest of six children. He owns a handyman service and is a single parent to a 20-year-old son and two dogs. His interests include his relationship with God and being an active member of his church. He loves camping and watercrafting with family and friends.

Rick Perez. Photo courtesy of Rick Perez.
Rick Perez. Photo courtesy of Rick Perez.

BENITOLINK:  Why are you running for City Council?

PEREZ: To serve the community I live in.

What issues are most important to your district?

Commuter traffic, slowing growth; road repair; extra-curricular activities for teens, such as employment; entertainment and sports, which help develop character.

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

Conditions of our streets, sidewalks and alleys. Also, how to get our parks so they are enjoyable to the entire community.

What obstacles and challenges does the city or your district face?

Discussing the issues in respectful ways with other council members and the public to come up with better decisions for the community.

How do you plan to address those issues?

By bringing the concept of unity to the table. I believe in our community. We will all bring different ideas and solutions on how to address the issues before us. As council members we need to do a better job of working together, finding common ground, researching the facts and building from there to agree on solutions that are for the betterment of our city.

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

I will always make myself available to address their questions and concerns by phone, email, social media and in person.

There have been issues with the cannery over paying more money to the city to clean up its wastewater ponds. What would you do to work with the cannery on this issue going forward?

It is not right that the city has to pay or receive fines for their waste product. I believe that the cannery is responsible for the cost of their waste products from the processing of their product. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted local businesses, including those in the downtown area. If elected, what would you do to help downtown businesses thrive going forward?

I would seek to get input from the downtown business association and business owners. We need to work together to attract customers.

What is the role of city government?

To serve the people of the city, to address their questions and issues, and to research the best decisions for those issues and concerns.

 

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John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a BenitoLink reporter and an author. He has many years experience as a freelance photojournalist, copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer who has worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and underwent graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John has worked as a script doctor and his own script, God's Club, was released as a motion picture in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime that are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]