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Mayors Race Candidates Face The Crowd
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Repeated claims that the City Council bought the Del Rio Theater without proper prior inspection, a reminder two mayors quit the post within three months, even reference to a councilmember filing a restraining order against a citizen for harassment indicated Riverbank continues its lively local politics.

But a recent meeting for candidates competing for mayor also brought out a lot of positive information as candidates described their background and qualifications and explained what they planned to do once elected to council.

Five candidates running for the office, namely Mark Ensley, Larry King, Virginia Madueno, Richard O'Brien and Dave White faced an audience of well over a hundred people crowded into the Community Center at an Oct. 5 meeting organized by the League of Women Voters. The sixth candidate, Paul Gutierrez, did not attend.

White and Madueno are well known in town. White has served on the council off and on for a total of 17 years and as vice mayor currently chairs the council in the absence of a mayor. Madueno was appointed and served three years as council member before seeking election to the post of mayor and losing to Chris Crifasi.

Ensley is known in school district circles having served on the high school district board for four years and also chaired it for two years. Larry King and Richard O'Brien are comparative newcomers to local politics.

In opening statements, Ensley, 52, said he has lived in Riverbank for 32 years, is married to Judy and has three children. He worked as the shop superintendent for Weldway of Oakdale, has served on both the elementary school board and unified school board and is now president of the Riverbank Language Academy board.

"I have the experience, training and temperament to lead and am deeply committed to serving the community," he said.

King, 51, owns a hearing aid company in Oakdale, holds a degree in behavioral science from Modesto Junior College and is married to Donna with two children.

King says in campaign literature his priorities are encouraging better communication with citizens and more participation by them in governing the city, developing ways in which they can give feedback on city issues and balancing the budget through innovative ideas such as use of alternate energy and a city-wide recycling program.

Among issues of concern, he lists development of the former Army ammunition plant, relocation of Highway 108 and attracting new business to the newly renovated downtown.

Madueno, 43, noted she is a lifelong resident, the mother of three children and the owner of a public relations company called Imagen Inc. She has a bachelor's degree in communications from Stanislaus State University.

She will provide new and effective leadership, strive for more open government and use her business experience to bring in jobs that pay enough to raise a family, both in the existing business community and at the industrial park that the former army depot will become.

O'Brien, 58, is a retired Navy commander and ship designer who is now in business and manager of O'Brien's Market in Modesto. He is married with two children and a brother of Bill O'Brien, former Riverbank mayor and now a Stanislaus County supervisor.

Holding an MA in business administration, O'Brien promises he will ensure public safety, protect tax dollars, increase job opportunities and listen to citizen concerns.

White, 70, stressed he has served on the council for 17 years of the past 25 years he has lived in Riverbank, being the city's first elected mayor. He has been married 50 years and has three children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Schooled at home, he has three years of college education at Life College in Los Angeles.

City of Riverbank programs that he has helped to implement include the downtown restoration project, skate board park, Crossroads development, city swimming pool rebuilding and restoration of summer and seniors lunch programs. He is now concentrating on getting a new youth center built.