Incumbent Hollister Mayor Ignacio Velazquez pointed to his 30 years in business as a reason why his background makes him a good fit for a fourth, two-year term.
“There’s a lot of experiences as a business owner to really help you run government,” Velazquez said in an interview with San Benito Live. “Government should be run the same way as a business.”
He said areas like planning for the future, promoting the city and working with employees transcend into government leadership, though he acknowledged some things are different in politics.
“If you don’t put the two together, you end up making mistakes like we’ve seen in the past,” he said. “So my business background helps me put a better plan together.”
“I want to make sure that we’re controlling the budget, that we’re planning for the future,” he said. “The first term was really getting control of the budget. We were really in bad financial situation when I first came on board. We cleaned up a lot of that mess. Now it’s getting to the point where, how do we plan for the future, allocate the money, so we can do the projects that we need to do and sustain it long term?”
He said before he leaves the role, he wants to see a budget in place that properly allocates dollars for roads, parks and other “quality of life” issues.
“It’s very important to set that in a way that it can’t be changed, so we don’t keep falling back to the same problems,” he said.
He said growth, traffic and infrastructure are at the heart of the debate in the race.
“And for the past several years I’ve been telling everybody, warning everybody, we need to slow down the growth until we put together a better plan and understand what we want to become as a community,” he said. “We can’t just keep making the mistakes that were made 20 years ago and expect a different result. We have to understand what we want to become. At least I don’t want to see us become a big suburb of San Jose. I think it’s a huge mistake to go down that path.”
He said first the city needs to attract business and build better infrastructure.
“And then we can talk about some growth in a moderate or better plan rather than just build it and we’ll worry about it later,” he said. “That’s not working, and I’m completely against what’s been happening over the last three or four years.”
His goals are to control growth, and he hopes to have a council that works with him since all four seats are open on the dais.
He wants to make developments pay their own way so the city can provide better facilities such as roads.
“I’d like to see a ballpark built here, a sports park, the new Tel Center (library) that will help educate our community for those high-paying jobs. It’s very important. We can’t just keep ignoring these issues.”
Occupation: Business owner
Political experience: 6 years as Hollister mayor