Government / Politics

SJB Councilman Dan De Vries won’t seek reelection

He previously held seats on San Juan and San Benito County Planning Commissions.

San Juan Bautista City Councilman Dan De Vries told BenitoLink he will not seek reelection this November. Following the death of his mother, De Vries said he will need to focus on helping his father. 

“I just want to be more reflective,” he said. “My dad has needs that I’m attending to that require a lot of time and energy, so it just felt like the right thing to do.”

De Vries served 14 years as a San Juan Bautista planning commissioner and 12 more at the county level before he was elected to the San Juan City Council in 2016 to serve a four-year term. 

De Vries said he felt he had accomplished several things while serving on the City Council. Those include leading the city in drafting its cannabis ordinance and regulations, which were adopted in June 2018 and November 2019, respectively. He also said he was proud to push for the citywide plastic ban that San Juan Bautista adopted in March, and starting the process of reestablishing the urban growth boundary (UGB). He currently serves on the UGB ad hoc committee. 

“I hope that I’m able in some capacity to continue to work on that even after January 1,” De Vries said. 

Lastly, he said he was proud of how the city handled the transformation of Third Street to a one-lane thoroughfare allowing local businesses to expand their operations outdoors. 

“From all appearances and reports from merchants, those parklets have become wildly successful,” De Vries said. “There is a waiting list to sit on them and it’s just a beautiful experience. I’m very happy we were able to reconfigure Third Street in a way that makes a lot of sense for everybody.”

Asked if he had any regrets or unfinished business as a council member, De Vries said he didn’t and wished to see the process of reestablishing the UGB through to completion. Along with that, he said the city must work on open space and agricultural easements to protect lands from development. 

“The urban growth boundary, in my opinion, is the most critically important thing that this community faces if it wants to maintain its identity,” De Vries said. “If it wants to maintain what polls have shown is the number one reason why people love San Juan, it’s because it’s small.”

With five months left in his term, De Vries said he will continue to work to get things done in his city. He also said that residents who intend step up and serve on the council need to do it for the right reasons. 

“Do it because that’s where your heart is,” he said. “Do it because you care about your community. Do it because you want to make a difference for your community. You want it to be a better place to live, a better place where you and your family to live.” 

With over 26 years sitting at the dais, De Vries said he isn’t closing the door on returning in some capacity later on. 

“I hope it’s not over. I hope this isn’t the ending of anything.”

 

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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. A San Benito High School alumnus 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.