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Council Candidates Offer Insights
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Four candidates vying for a single Riverbank City Council seat in the March 8 special election had an opportunity to meet the public in council chambers on Feb. 10 in a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

Addressing a moderate-sized audience, John Mitchell, Allison Nobert, Jeanine Tucker and Juan "Carlos" Verduzco made opening statements, presented some personal information, answered written questions from the audience offered to them by moderator Marie Bairey and finally summarized their platform.

They are competing for a seat left vacant by Danny Fielder when he resigned for personal reasons last June. The city plans to run their presentations on local public television several times prior to the election.

Following is brief information regarding each candidate.

John Mitchell

A resident of Riverbank for 50 years, Mitchell is retired from law enforcement. He attended Riverbank High School and holds an associate degree in criminal law from Modesto Junior College and bachelor's degree in sociology from California State University Stanislaus.

Mitchell has served on the local school board for 15 years, owned a family business, Mitchell Apts., for 35 years and said he is experienced in holding political office.

"I have worked continually for the people of this community, look at all sides before making a decision, and will research it if I don't know the answer to a question," he said.

Mitchell stressed the need for better communication between council and the community and the importance of prioritizing problems and solving them one by one.

Allison Nobert

Nobert is an attorney who settled here three years ago and lists among her qualifications "working professional, mother, wife, homeowner and concerned citizen." In her job, she gives legal opinions, trains investigators, supervises their caseload and works on trial budgets to prioritize needs and eliminate waste. She has been recognized as an excellent negotiator, won a Law School Merit Scholarship and was on the Dean's List at both University of California Davis and Golden Gate University School of Law.

Nobert mentioned among top local problems an unemployment rate approaching that of the Great Depression and a redevelopment agency that is running into debt. She said she is used to making tough decisions and severe cuts where they are needed and will put the community of Riverbank first rather than business as usual for a small group.

Jeanine Tucker

Tucker is a court operations manger for the Stanislaus County Superior Court who has lived in town for the past five-and-a-half years and been married for 17 years. She holds a bachelor's degree in political science and a law degree, both from the University of Santa Clara. She also studied Spanish for 10 years for the equivalent of a B.A. in Spanish Literature.

In her work she oversees the daily operations of several court divisions and has participated in salary negotiations for both labor and management. She is active in community service, primarily the Lions Club for 15 years, and was commended by the Lions Club International.

Among priority issues for the council, Tucker mentioned the upgrading of the wastewater plant, public safety and the provision of jobs, adding she has attended council meetings for the past two years and researched the critical issues facing Riverbank.

Juan "Carlos" Verduzco

Verduzco, born in Riverbank and a resident for 23 years, returned to town after nine years of service with the U.S. Army. Educated at Riverbank High, Modesto Junior College and currently attending the University of Phoenix, he is bilingual in English and Spanish, a member of the city's budget advisory committee and has taken several team-building courses.

The city's top needs, he said, are bringing back employment, ensuring public safety and "restoring pride in the city." He also suggested the city could draw new businesses by deferring some development fees.

Polling places for the March 8 special election will be at Christ the King Episcopal Church, 6443 Estelle Ave., Riverbank Community Center, 3600 Santa Fe and at Crossroads Elementary School, 5800 Saxon Way. Hours for the election are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to Stanislaus County Clerk-Recorder and Registrar of Voters Lee Lundrigan. The ballots will be tallied at the Registrar of Voters office, 1021 I St., Suite 101, Modesto with the canvass of the votes beginning at 8 p.m. on March 8. The procedures are open to the public.