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March 30, 2023

With pending water issues, new San Juan council ready to dive in

The front runners for three open San Juan Bautista City Council seats will have to dive right in and get wet — almost literally — with water issues if officially elected.
Cesar Flores, Leslie Jordan and Mary Edge are in line to take on the three open seats, barring a long-shot comeback from Harold Gomes, who came in fourth place, with about 40 percent of vote counts remaining.
With more than half of the ballots counted, Flores had gained 26.9 percent of the vote. Jordan had 24.3 percent. Edge had 21.6 percent, and Gomes had 18 percent. Edge is ahead 215-179 votes.
“I think it went well,” said Flores, a community volunteer and actor who’s been part of El Teatro Campesino for decades.
Flores said he’s really good the council now has women, which it lacked recently, and more diversity in general.
“Different points of view are always good,” he said.
Flores said “brighter days” are coming to San Juan and that he wants to focus on bringing in revenue through civic events, “to bring in more business and more money into the coffers.”
Fixing the town’s poor water quality is going to be the primary challenge, he said, and Flores also liked the idea of having Jordan on board since she’s she works in the water industry.
Jordan, a water resource specialist for MCSI Water Systems, said the city must work “one step at a time” to fix the problem. One of the big issues with the water has been continually high nitrate levels, which can be dangerous to drink at certain levels, and especially for certain populations.
Jordan felt good that a new treatment plant is in the works and expressed confidence in City Manage Michaele LaForge.
“I feel absolutely confident that we’ll make a great team and keep pushing forward,” she said. “Just keep on the same path that she’s already started. She’s done great things for the community.”
Jordan said for such a small town (of about 1,900 residents), the city has some “big issues.”
Aside from water, she wants to make sure infrastructure is in place for new developments. That will also help attract new businesses, she said.
“I’m thrilled that the community put their faith in me,” Jordan said.
Edge was more reluctant to talk given she remains in third of three available spots with votes yet to count, though she acknowledged the trend was in her favor.
“I haven’t been told officially,” she said. “I’m just kind of waiting.”