Four candidates to vie for Mayoral seat
by PI Staff
Aug 21, 2014 | 1713 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Four local candidates—current Mayor Luis Molina, and challengers Ralph Arredondo, Dominic Farinha and Sheree Lustgarten—have decided to run for Mayor of Patterson. Voters will choose who will lead the city when they vote in the Nov. 4 Gubernatorial Election. The Patterson Irrigator asked the candidates a few questions as a way of introduction and will present more questions and answers on in depth issues in the coming weeks.

Luis Molina Mayor Luis Molina, 49, is currently completing his second term as Mayor of Patterson. Molina works for Stanislaus County, Behavior Health & Recovery Services, Prevention Services, and Behavioral Health Community Consultant/Community Ally. He has worked two years in his current department, but has been in Stanislaus County since March 17, 2004. His wife is Graciela L. Molina

Why do you want to run again?

There are many reasons, too many to mention. These are a few: I have been asked by many members of our community to consider running for another term. My wife encourages me to serve, just as she has when we moved to Patterson about 12 years ago.  As we became familiar with the community I began to see opportunities to help others support the quality of their lives.  I felt compelled to get involved with others, to engage and connect with neighbors and friends, bringing people together and solving problems. That aspect continues today, however I have supported youth leaders and other community leaders, who have built capacity to act on their own behalf. Running for Mayor is one way to serve our community.

 What do you feel you have accomplished?

I believe I have been able to demonstrate leadership through professionalism, respect and civility, regardless what others say and do. I have been able to build relationships with agencies, civic organizations, the schools, churches, business owners and individuals to work together to bring additional resources/partnerships to benefit our community. I have been able to speak directly to some of the principals of many companies to articulate why choosing Patterson, a great business location, is a sound decision. I have done my best to bridge the gap between neighbors regardless of generation, language, and culture and “old & new” Patterson residents. I am an ambassador, advocate and champion for the city of Patterson. Just ask others in our county and community.

Ralph Arredondo

Mayoral challenger Ralph Arredondo has worked for Stanislaus County as a Family Services Specialist III with the Alliance WorkNet for the past 18 years. He is age 66 and married to Louisa Arredondo and has three adult children; 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Along with his mother, Zora Arredondo, there are five generations of Arredondos.

Why did you decide to run for mayor?

I decided to run for mayor because I feel that Patterson is in desperate need for some changes (new blood if you will).

What do you want to accomplish? 

I would like to see our civic leaders work together for the betterment of our community.  I have been a resident of Patterson for a good 60 years and I have seen many changes, some good some bad, and I do not like the direction the city leaders are leading us in for our future.  I really would like to see the Mayor lead the City Council in a more unified and positive manner to achieve the ultimate goal of what’s best for Patterson and it’s citizens.

Dominic Farinha

Dominic Farinha, 42, is a student and manager and current member of Patterson City Council.

Why do you want to run for mayor?  

There are a variety of reasons why I want to lead as Mayor of Patterson. My first motivation to serve is that Patterson is my hometown and that is where my passionate focus is as a policymaker. Secondly, I am exercising the same constitutional right as an engaged citizen to run for Mayor as I have done for city councilmember twice. A third motivation stems from the desire to effectively illustrate that leadership is a demonstrated ability and not a stated claim. 

 What do you want to accomplish?

There are a variety of goals that I would like to accomplish as Mayor of Patterson and the first matter that will require experienced attention is overseeing the city manager transition process and leading the charge in a professional executive search, if need be.

 Secondly, the next wave of development to occur in Patterson will be residential growth and the City must have a leader with a relevant background and a strong and determined vision to ensure that new neighborhoods will be appropriately built and not be a burden to the City or its residents.

 Third, to restore the practice of building back the City’s financial reserves through practical decision-making, improved internal fiscal analysis and appropriate municipal expenditures. 

Sheree Lustgarten

Sheree Lustgarten, 52, is a married mother of five who is in event planning/management and is a current member of the Patterson City Council

Why do you want to run for mayor?

After careful consideration, I decided to run for mayor because I have a number of major priorities for our community which I believe can be given more prominent attention if I am serving as Mayor.  For example, we need to remain vigilant in terms of providing our residents with a safe and secure community. I strongly believe we need to be doing more to invest in our roads and other infrastructure.  I also think we need to make downtown revitalization and attracting new retail and entertainment options among of our highest priorities. These are just some of the issues I intend to focus on if given the honor of serving as Patterson Mayor.

What do you feel you want to accomplish?

I would like to get us on a path to a rejuvenated downtown core, with a vibrant atmosphere, new shopping and entertainment options.   I want to make sure that we have the funds necessary to improve our roads and modernize our access to the I-5 freeway.   I want to actively encourage involvement in the city’s decision-making by all of our residents.   And I want to improve communications among the City Council members and ensure that all five members of the Council have every opportunity to engage our residents and participate in community events and activities.
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