It’s still relatively early in the nomination period, but three people have declared interest in running for mayor this November.
Gordon Machado and Keith Snow both pulled papers to throw their hats in the ring for the mayor’s seat against incumbent Mayor Ignacio Velazquez, who said he is running for reelection.
The nomination period for candidates to declare candidacy for the Nov. 6 ballot ends Aug. 15.
Velazquez, a local business owner of American Electrical Services, is seeking his fourth two-year term as Hollister mayor. Snow has been a consistent challenger to Velazquez since the first citywide mayor’s race in 2012.
Machado, also a local business owner of Rustic Turtle Embroidery Works, is a former councilman who’s active in the nonprofit community. He spent 12 years on the Hollister council, 17 years on the local hospital board, and eight years on the county planning commission.
Machado said he’s pulled papers and turned in most of his paperwork, but must complete a required biography form yet.
“Every election it comes up. People say, ‘You’ve got to run. You’ve got to run.’ This time it seemed to be a little bit different,” Machado said.
Machado mentioned dissension over the 400 block of San Benito Street downtown, but also what he described as general disharmony on the council, as reasons propelling him to a run. Machado is among supporters of developing the vacant lot on the 400 block of San Benito Street with mixed uses and a Philanthropic Center for local nonprofits.
Velazquez, who owns The Vault property next to the lot also neighboring the Briggs Building, has been the most outspoken opponent of developing the block and led petition efforts—ultimately turned away by the attorney general’s office—to request a public vote on the matter.
Velazquez and Machado also take a differing viewpoint on the rate of growth. Velazquez has supported halting housing growth until local roads can be fixed, while Machado downplayed critics of the city’s growth pace.
“This is a race about growth and slowing down the growth,” Velazquez said. “Developers are putting their people in place.”
Machado said the city’s growth rate in recent years has not been above average as perceived by some.
“I think there’s a lot of misconception,” Machado said.
Velazquez, though said he is trying to “set a new direction” for the city with his attitude on housing and fixing roads.
“This is a battle of growth,” he reiterated.
Machado also said he wants to work on reinvigorating the Economic Development Corporation of San Benito County to boost local business.
Velazquez reflected on the past six years and said the first two years went well, but that the past few years have been “disappointing” due to a lack of planning for the future.
“We’ve lost focus and we’re spending money like in the past,” he said.
Snow could not be reached immediately for comment.
Making up the council, the mayor is elected by all city voters, while the four other council members come from respective districts.
In the council races so far since the nomination period started early this week, those pulling papers to run in District 2 include incumbent Mickie Luna and Rolan Resendiz. In District 3, Raul Escanero, Kenneth Johnson and Honor Spencer have pulled papers. In District 4, Marty Richman and Leila Sadeghian have pulled papers. None of the council candidates have finished the qualification process.
Additionally, with District 1 Councilman Ray Friend deciding to resign soon, the council will appoint a replacement for him because he decided to do so too late in the process to get it on the ballot.