Government / Politics

Five residents run to fill Hollister District 3 council seat

The winner of the special election will complete Honor Spencer’s term, which ends in December 2022.
Scott McPhail is CEO of the Marz Trading Company, a hemp retail company. Photo courtesy of Scott McPhail.
Scott McPhail is CEO of the Marz Trading Company, a hemp retail company. Photo courtesy of Scott McPhail.
Matthew Rojas moved to Hollister a year ago and wants to have a say in how it's run. Photo courtesy of Matthew Rojas.
Matthew Rojas moved to Hollister a year ago and wants to have a say in how it's run. Photo courtesy of Matthew Rojas.
Silas Quintero's family has lived in Hollister for five generations. He said he is running for the District 3 seat in order to give back to his community. Photo courtesy of Silas Quintero.
Silas Quintero's family has lived in Hollister for five generations. He said he is running for the District 3 seat in order to give back to his community. Photo courtesy of Silas Quintero.
Dolores Morales said she is responsible for a $30-million budget in the Santa Clara Probation Department. Photo courtesy of Dolores Morales.
Dolores Morales said she is responsible for a $30-million budget in the Santa Clara Probation Department. Photo courtesy of Dolores Morales.
Lauretta Avina said she had witnessed the rampant, poorly planned growth that was approved and brought on by past council members, including Honor Spencer. Photo courtesy of Lauretta Avina.

Editor’s note: This article was last  updated on Aug. 17 to include comments by Dolores Morales. This article was previously updated to include comments by Lauretta Avina and Silas Quintero.

 

After the city of Hollister extended the deadline for residents to submit applications for the District 3 City Council seat left vacant when Honor Spencer resigned and moved out of state, five applications were submitted. The District 3 election will take place Nov. 2 and the term will end in December 2022.

The applicants determined to be qualified candidates are: Scott McPhail, Dolores Morales, Silas Quintero, Mathew Rojas and Lauretta Avina.

Each candidate filled out a 501 Intention Statement and/or 700 Statement of Economic Interests with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) that lists their employer, income, loans, investments and business positions.

According to his FPPC filing, Scott McPhail is CEO of the Marz Trading Company, a hemp retail company with a retail market value of $100,001-$1 million. He listed his income between $10,001 and $100,000. McPhail told BenitoLink he is a fourth-generation Hollister resident.

The current Hollister city council is a swamp of back door dealing carpetbaggers, so I’m here to kick ass and take names!” he told BenitoLink as his reason for running. 

Mathew Rojas is a recruiting manager for Amazon Web Services, with an income over $100,000. He also listed his husband’s source of income from the non-profit Hope Services, of between $10,001 and $100,000. He told BenitoLink they have lived in Hollister for a year. He said they moved from San Jose and were anxious to get involved in the city and government.

“We wanted to make sure that decisions are being made on behalf of all residents represented here versus select demographics,” he said. “My husband [Anthony Rojas] is the arts and culture commissioner for the city of Hollister, and I decided to throw my hat in the ring when I saw the current council member step down.”

Rojas also said he is looking to continue smart growth in the city.

“I think housing developments need to slow and a focus on affordable housing needs to be at the forefront in order to keep housing fair and available for all types of Hollister residents,” he said. “Infrastructure needs to be a top priority. We need smart and safe roads and thoroughfares to take on the new population growth that is happening and will continue to happen.”

Quintero listed iRepair, an electronics repair shop, as his place of business, with a fair market value between $100,001 and $1,000,000. He also listed a second source of employment as business manager at Employbridge LLC, with a salary up to $100,000. 

Quintero’s family has lived in Hollister for five generations. He said he is running for office to “give back to the community I was raised in and have a positive impact on the decisions being made in my local district, as well as our entire community.” 

Morales’ FPPC filing is incomplete, but she did respond to BenitoLink after the story was published. 

Morales has lived in Hollister for five years. She works in Santa Clara County as a program manager in the probation department. She said she is responsible for $30 million dollars for juvenile services, the division’s five-year strategic plan, internal and external communication to stakeholders and staff. She also said she has over 26 years of experience in grant writing, contracts, mediation, creating and implementing evidence-based programs, and evaluation. 

“I have seen the challenges and opportunities we face as a rapidly growing community,” she told BenitoLink by email. “My education, work experience, and community leadership positions have provided a broad range of skill sets that would benefit the city of Hollister and the intricacies of government. I want to bring my decades of professional experience working in local government, finances, and governmental relations to bring Hollister closer to achieving the needs of our residents and city.”

Lauretta Avina, a guidance tech at San Benito High School, listed her spouse’s employment at PG&E as her income of between $10,001 and $100,000. Avina said she is running for the District 3 seat because over the 32 years living in Hollister she has “witnessed the rampant, poorly planned growth that was approved and brought on by past council members, including Honor Spencer.”

“These council members did not listen to the voices of the people but of the few pro-growth individuals, developers and special interests who fell back on the statement of ‘the state mandates us.’ We, the citizens of Hollister, have a voice that must be heard in Sacramento and I want to be that voice for the people,” she told BenitoLink by email.

She said she is tired of the same mentality of build, build, build.

“It has to stop, at the very least pause until our infrastructure catches up,” she said. “Our high school is bursting at the seams, our roads are a mess. I feel like a complete hostage in my own town as I can’t even on a spur of the moment decision, go visit my mother in Gilroy because depending on the time of day, I will sit in traffic for hours.”

 

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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, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]