Fresno Bee voter guide

Welcome to our guide for Election 2016 races. Compare candidates' views side by side, then create your own ballot, which you can print or email.

Candidates: Don't see yourself here? Missed our invitations to participate? Contact dbeeman@fresnobee.com to be added.

Important note: Candidates' responses have not been edited except for clarity, language and libel. Candidates provide their own photographs and video. Candidates for non-partisan offices are listed as No Party Preference, regardless of party registration.

Kerman City Council {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

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  • Michelle Arvance
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    April Blankinship
    (N)

  • Kanwaldeep 'Raj' Dhaliwal
    (N)

  • Candidate picture

    Kevin W. Nehring
    (N)

  • Espiridion 'Espi' Sandoval
    (N)

  • Jagrup 'Jack' Sidhu
    (N)

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Biographical Information

In your opinion, what are the city's top three challenges? How would you address each of these issues?

The drought has affected communities throughout the Valley, especially those that depend on agriculture. What steps, if any, should the city take to diversify its economy? What steps would you propose?

Gangs have committed crimes and taken lives in communities throughout the Valley. What strategies would you propose the city undertake to keep kids away from gangs, and to help those in gangs give up the gang life?

Why are you the best candidate to serve on the city council? (Text or YouTube video.)

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Age 42
Residence Kerman, CA
Family Husband: Steven Blankinship Son: Corbyn Blankinship
Occupation Realtor, Writer
Public service experience Food Ministries, Children's Ministries, Community Food Outreach
Facebook/Social media Vote4AprilB
Sustainable good paying jobs, city clean up, and the condition of city buildings: Police Department, Animal Shelter & Senior Center 1. Sustainable Jobs: As a city council member I would like the opportunity to be a part of a team, partnered with city departments that work towards bringing companies to Kerman that support employment for all levels of qualified individuals so we have less people commuting to surrounding areas for work and shopping. 2. Citywide Clean Up: I would like to see alleyways and ponding basins maintained. We have several alleyways that have pot holes, garbage and weeds growing wild. In the future I think it would be a great goal to see how we can work on getting them paved, cleaned up and maintain that standard. Not only does it look better but it's safer and helps keep property values higher when our community looks its best! 3. Our current police department, senior center and animal shelter are all in desperate need of upgrades, repairs and even some new construction. We currently have the opportunity to vote on Measure M which is a very small tax that could really make a huge difference by helping the city with funds to take care of these things. The truth of the matter is that it all has to be done. The question is are we going to make history and support our police, and seniors or are we going to pass the burden to the next generation? I would like to see us pave the future with progress, not burden them with today’s concerns.
The drought has most definitely had a serious impact on the valley and Ag related jobs. Being a small town located in the middle of so much of this rich agriculture, a lack of water certainly hurts citizen’s pocket books. The city has some amazing resources and Kerman is already blessed with some organizations that help with food outreach and assistance. I would however love to see the city initiate a page on the city website to be a place where local employers could post job openings. A central go-to dedicated to Kerman residents to make that information more accessible than say your old fashioned job search from business to business! I would also be encouraged to see (and help with) the city host a job fair once a year after harvest season at the community center. A place where local residents can meet business owners and managers and apply for open positions. In addition to that, learn about the companies and what they require for employment.
Gangs in the valley are a serious concern for the entire community. Ultimately the prevention begins at the most innocent tender childhood ages of development. That being said, I believe placing a heavy priority on the parks and recreation programs, while working alongside the many local activities groups is key. We have several local sports groups such as Kerman Soccer, Cal-Ripken Baseball, Swim lessons, Start Smart Sports etc. that are available to our youth at very reasonable prices. Sports help to not only keep kids physically healthy but gives children a sense of community, positive belonging and acceptance all while teaching them to be part of a team and work together for a common goal. It takes a village to raise children and when they have the opportunity to thrive in team settings we are destined for a healthier outcome than the gang life. It is imperative we support these groups and maintain our parks and facilities to support the next generation along with a strong local law enforcement.
Campaigning is ultimately a job interview conducted by 15,000 of my closest neighbors. I am applying for a position where by being elected I am able to serve my community and really have an impact on Kerman’s quality of life. I am deeply determined to dedicate my talents, experience and education to our city in hopes of securing its future for the generations that come after me. My desire is to see each individual leg of our cities scope continue to thrive together as a whole. I greatly respect and admire the current council and look forward to working with them in tackling the cities issues. What I most admire is the councils in depth and thorough approach in each decision that is brought before them. I want to help maintain that standard of business because I believe it is the very approach that helps us stay within our budgets and yet move forward as we adjust to the future and its demands. I believe that my background as a 911 dispatcher, grant writer, realtor and business owner has all helped me to gain the necessary well rounded skills needed to serve the community in a professional manor. For 5 years I worked in law enforcement as a dispatcher and helped write grants before moving on to owning my own business and eventually becoming a realtor. I will use these things to help make educated decisions, seek out the answers needed to do so and respect the other council members for their individual contributions as we each set forth in taking on such a humble commitment.
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Age 50
Residence Kerman, Ca
Family Lora Nehring
Education Studied Architecture at Fresno City College, and later Land Surveying, Land Planning, and Geomatics Engineering at California State University Fresno.
Occupation Professional Land Surveyor
Public service experience City of Kerman Council Member (June 2016 - Present) | City of Kerman Planning Commissioner, Vice Chair (Dec. 2012 - May 2016) | Member of the Oversight Board for the Successor Agency to the Kerman Redevelopment Agency (Feb. 2012 - Present) | City of Kerman Planning Commissioner (Apr. 2008 - Jan. 2012) | California Land Surveyors Association, San Joaquin Valley Chapter President (2007-2014) | Member of the Board of Directors for the California Land Surveyors Association (Aug. 2010 - Present) | Vice President / Co-Chair of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Neighborhood Watch Association (Aug. 2010 - Present) | Member of the Fresno County Sheriff Citizen Advisory Committee (Sep. 2009 - Present)
Facebook/Social media www.facebook.com/kn4kerman/ twitter.com/kn4kman
The three issues that I see as Kerman’s challenges are 1) an aging and underdesigned infrastructure, 2) growth management, and 3) a City Resident / City Government disconnect.

The first two issues of growth management and an aging infrastructure, are somewhat interconnected. The infrastructure (roads, sewer & water systems, etc) is, in some areas, many decades old, and not designed for Kerman’s potential growth. (It should be said that the infrastructure was not poorly designed, only that the City has outgrown areas of it.) The continued growth of Kerman, and the maintenance and potential replacement of the infrastructure needs to be managed properly. Growth is a good thing, but not if it's at the expense of another aspect of the community.

The third issue is a disconnect between the City residents and the City government, both perceived and actual. I want to open the City to the residents by inviting and involving the schools, the youth, and the families living within the City to take a larger part in the local government by creating committees for their input, and by making the City Officials more accessible.
Kerman should never forget it’s agricultural roots, but in an effort to diversify and grow, it should embrace its ability to be a bedroom community to Fresno, and a commercial and industrial center for much of the West Side of Fresno and Madera Counties. Residential construction and home sales are increasing, but in order to sustain that growth, commercial development must also increase. With recent the opening of multiple National-level merchants, Kerman is now on a national stage with the potential for additional commercial growth, and the consequent residential and industrial growth that will follow as well. Kerman should continue to entertain that commercial growth in order to diversify its tax base, and provide jobs for its citizens.
Unfortunately, gangs will never be eradicated from society, but actions can be taken to ensure their lack of success in Kerman. Anything that the City can do to strengthen the Family will do wonders to slow gang involvement. First and foremost, children need to be taught the dangers and downfalls of gangs in the home. The City needs to do what it can to provide support for those families with information, and through Youth and Teen programs with the schools, Police, and Parks & Recreation Department.

A strong Neighborhood Watch organization on a very local level can empower people and neighborhoods, bring communities together, and allow the Police Department and its Officers to be proactive, instead of reactive. All of which is unattractive to gang activity.
I’ve taken an active part in the growth of Kerman since I moved here. I was appointed to the Kerman Planning Commission in 2008 and then appointed to be Vice Chair in 2012. Also in 2012 I was appointed to the Kerman RDA Successor Agency by the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. Also of note, in 2009, I was appointed to the Fresno County Sheriff Citizen Advisory Committee by Sheriff Margaret Mims, and in 2010, I became the Vice President and Co-Chair of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Neighborhood Watch Association. Most recently, in May, 2016, I was appointed by the Kerman City Council to fill an unexpected vacancy on the Council. My current experience with these various City and County agencies and organizations make me uniquely qualified to help serve on the Kerman City Council. My expertise and experience on the Planning Commission and RDA Successor Agency as well as my years as a Professional Land Surveyor and Planner, gives me the technical understanding necessary to keep Kerman going in the right direction. I enjoy working with the City of Kerman. I know I've helped make a difference since I've been working with them. I know I can also make a difference on the City Council. I have no political aspirations past the City of Kerman. My only goal - my plan - is to help - hands on - with the continued managed growth of the City of Kerman, for Kerman to continue to be the community I want to raise my kids in, and for Kerman be the best City it can be for years to come.
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