Election roster lengthens

Luann Mansean

UPDATE: James Pace, Director of Land Development for Pembrook Development and father of two children attending GUSD schools, filed candidacy papers with the Santa Clara County Registrar’s Office Aug. 9. Check back soon for more details.

Luann Mansean, the 34-year-old victim in the July 12 pit bull attack at Starbucks, filed initial paperwork to run for City Council on Aug. 8, but is uncertain if she will be able to raise the money to run a successful campaign.

Mansean is just one of a few other last-minute bids for local office. With just a few hours left until Friday afternoon’s filing deadline passes, three Gilroyans filed  candidacy paperwork for local office this week, including two City Council hopefuls (including Mansean) and one Gilroy Unified School District board hopeful.

And as deadlines always seem to go, who knows how many more soon-to-be candidates are scrambling to get their paperwork together in the 11th hour for the Nov. 6 election.

Mansean filed paperwork this week, but quickly became uncertain of whether or not she could come up with the money to run.

“With all my medical bills from the pit bull attack, I just don’t know if I can afford to run this time around, as much as I would love it,” she said.

Mansean said she believes local politicians should “be real” with their constituents, and she would bring a citizen’s perspective to City Hall.

Earlier this week, 37-year-old Rebeca Armendariz, community activist and long-time Gilroy resident, announced that it’s “time to take the plunge” to run for City Council, after she filed initial financial paperwork on Aug. 3.

Armendariz stands for “democratic values,” such as preserving Gilroy’s open space, and supporting the school district.

“I’ve not been too satisfied with the direction that the Council is going,” Armendariz said. “For years I’ve gone down to their meetings to complain, and now I’ve got to be proactive, now I have to be on the other side.”

What put Armendariz over the edge was Council’s decision to not support the Gilroy Unified School District’s sales tax measure proposal, which they denounced during a meeting on June 25.

“The community deserves more and families of children in our schools deserve more,” she said. “I think the school district is doing the best they can with the money they have right now.”

If Armendariz and Mansean do end up running for office, that makes six hopefuls for three empty Council seats, adding to the roster that previously held incumbents Perry Woodward and Cat Tucker, as well as former Councilman Paul Kloecker and Terri Aulman, planning commission chair.

The mayoral lineup remains the same as it has for several months, with current Councilmen Peter Arellano and Dion Bracco racing for the seat along with Don Gage, water district board member.

Gilroy School Board elections: Three incumbents, no newcomers

The number of incumbents now throwing their hats into the ring has tripled since the Dispatch first reported last month on the upcoming elections for the Gilroy Unified School District Board of Education.

Four seats occupied by trustees Rhoda Bress, Mark Good, Fred Tovar and Pat Midtgaard will open up in November. Three of those seats are four-year terms; the other is a two-year term occupied by trustee Midtgaard, who was appointed to her seat in December 2011 following the resignation of Francisco Dominguez.

As Dominguez’s term would have lasted until 2014, his seat will turn into an elected seat in the November election.

While Midtgaard was initially the sole incumbent who expressed the serious likelihood of running again in order to stick it out for another two years and maintain “continuity” on the board, trustees Good and Tovar have since joined the race.

As for non-incumbents, no one has officially stepped up to the plate. Seven of the eight former hopefuls who interviewed in December 2011 to replace former trustee Dominguez have confirmed they will not be joining the race in November.

The deadline for incumbents to file papers with the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters is today. The deadline for non-incumbents to file for candidacy has been extended to next Wednesday, since GUSD trustee and former Board President Rhoda Bress has confirmed she will not be running again.

Bress, 61, will follow through on a promise made eight years ago, when she told voters “I would be serving for eight years only – and the time has come for me to move on and to pass the torch to someone else.”

Shortly after Good and Midtgaard filed papers July 26 and July 30, trustee Fred Tovar – who previously might have been forced to call it quits in order to help take care of his mother as she struggles with health issues – decided he wasn’t ready to walk away from a job he considers a “passion.” Tovar filed papers July 31.

After witnessing during his four-year tenure the district experience across-the-board growth in the projected Academic Performing Index (API), “that’s a huge indication of how we’ve been working together – not just as a board, but as a district,” said Tovar. I don’t want to see us digress from that.”

While GUSD’s seven-member board can butt heads with different opinions and ideas, Tovar said the current group works well together and never loses sight of their main goal: “To make sure that our kids are being educated well, and hopefully bringing in and keeping good teachers,” he said.

He also welcomes new blood and the fresh ideas that come with it, although Tovar is unaware of any community members who are seriously interested in making that commitment. He thinks a “young, energetic, up-and-coming person” could be a nice addition to the board.

“I know it’s a tough time,” he said, referring to the bleak economic climate and the monumental impact it’s had on GUSD’s financial outlook. “But with a strong board like ours, whoever decides to run – we’re gonna teach them well and take care of them.”

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