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.

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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.

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

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    Holly Andrade Blair
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    David Brown
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  • Raymond Etchegoin
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  • Beverly Halliman
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    Edward 'Eddie' Neal
    (N)

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    Jody 'Joe' Simonson
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    Angela Valenzuela
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Social Media

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.)

Age 35
Residence Lemoore, CA
Family I’ve been married to my husband, Paul Blair, for fourteen years, and we have five children: Wesley, Christian, Ava, Seanpeter and Mia. We also have a family dog, Shelley, and a new kitten, Azul. Both pets are rescue animals.
Education B.A. and M.A. in English from Fresno State, A.A. from West Hills College, Coalinga and High School diploma from Avenal High School.
Occupation I am a 4th grade teacher at M.I.Q. school and an Adjunct English Instructor at West Hills College, Lemoore.
Public service experience President of the Lemoore American Legion Auxiliary (Unit 100), Secretary of the Lemoore Lions Club and member of the Lemoore Kiwanis Club. I also volunteer weekly at St. Peter’s Church in Lemoore and have served as the bulletin editor there for several years. Immediate-Past Chair of the Meadow Lane Elementary School Site Council Committee; member of the Lemoore Elementary School District Parent Advisory Council.
Facebook/Social media FB, IG and SC: @hollyandradeblair; twitter: @hollyablair
1) Jobs: It’s time to look toward our future and create jobs for the next generation. My priority is to work with vocational programs and apprenticeships to bring next-generation jobs to Lemoore. We need new, energetic leaders with a clear vision for the future, and with technological savvy, to pursue those type of business opportunities for Lemoore. I would look to pursue retail and industrial economic development.

2) Water: With the continued drought, our aquifers are being depleted faster than ever. Water mitigation is a problem, leaving our water full of chemicals in concentrated amounts. We need qualified individuals analyzing our water, increased infrastructure rehabilitation and development, and a long-term plan for the treatment of sewage. We need to look at cost-saving measures too,so that we can ease the burden of ever-increasing water rates on the citizens of Lemoore.

3) LNAS: We need to maintain a strong relationship with the Naval Air Station. With the addition of the F-35C Joint Fighter aircraft, more families will continue to move into the Lemoore area. It is important that we properly prepare and that we work with the base in attracting navy personnel to shop and enjoy recreational activity in the city. I also want to work with Veterans organizations in the area, to offer additional job training opportunities wherever possible.
The decision to eliminate the planning department was a terrible mistake by our city council. I disagree with those on our council who decided to dissolve the planning department and cut ties with the Kings County Economic Development Corporation. We need both, industrial development and retail development, to ensure Lemoore’s economy grows. I will work with city planning and economic development teams; not turn them away. So, right away I would like to work on rebuilding those ties which we have recently broken.

I’d like to encourage more entrepreneurship by hosting workshops that go through the steps of setting up a business in town, explaining what resources are available in the city and answering any questions that come up. We can’t just sit and wait for businesses to come to us. We need to be actively involved in attracting and retaining new business owners.

I also strongly feel that we need to update our city's website. It may seem like a small thing, but when someone unfamiliar with the area looks up Lemoore, we need to ensure that any information that can help a business owner decide to start a business here, is easily accessible on our city website. It's time to look toward the future and use technology to attract a newer, more diverse economy.
Gang activity continues to worry many in our community. Beyond policing activity, my goal if elected, is to go after some of the root causes of gang activity. Firstly, I suggest the city offer more vocational training opportunities and host job fairs throughout the year that encourage our youth to look for work instead of joining gangs. I would like to work with youth programs within the city, such as the Lemoore Leos Club and the Police Activity League, along with the city’s programs in the Parks and Recreation department to promote service programs and after school sports or art programs to ensure our youth have something productive they can do when not in school.
I routinely volunteer in service activities throughout our community; serving in Lemoore Lions Club and Lemoore Kiwanis. I hope to create a public platform for service organizations, underscoring the importance of community service. I also serve veterans through American Legion Auxiliary and if elected, I will make veterans outreach and improvements to our city’s Veterans Memorial Building a top priority. I am a mother and an educator, with deep roots within our community. I am a fourth-generation Kings County resident and I feel a deep connection to our community. I was raised here, and I am raising my family here. I am young, energetic, and deeply passionate about the issues that face our community. I have a sincere heart to serve our community in any way possible.
Age 58
Residence Lemoore, California
Family My wife Dianne Brown and I have been married for 25 years and we both are retired from the Air Force. We have 6 children and 12 grandchildren.
Education Studied at Hawthorne College, NH: Airport Management. Community College of Air Force: Applied Sciences. And other coursework in Facility/Utility Management, Utility Water and Sewer Maintenance, Aviation Maintenance Management, Aircraft Maintenance, Construction Planning and Estimating, Contracting Oversight.
Occupation Real Property Accountable Officer
Public service experience Lemoore Planning Commissioner, Lemoore Downtown Architectural Design Review Committee.
Facebook/Social media Dave Brown for Lemoore City Council
1.Transparent Communication: Improve communication between city council/government and the people and businesses of Lemoore including West Hills College and NAS Lemoore. We can start by truly listening and use this information when making decisions. 2.Utility Infrastructure: Restoring the integrity of Lemoore’s utility infrastructure, water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer including our roads that will support our current and future needs as a city. We need to create a Strategic Infrastructure Utility Plan that will provide a road map to tackle our short and long-term public utility issues and use this to supplement a realistic master plan that will road map the future of our city. 3.Attracting industrial and retail development: We must attract industry and retail development smartly. We must do it in a way that will promote our city and not hurt businesses already established, including West Hills College and NAS Lemoore. I suggest that we create a Lemoore planning department with a certified, experienced city planner that has vast experience in grant writing and community development. This person will be a city employee and work directly for our city and the people of Lemoore. This employee will be dedicated only to our city and have Lemoore’s best interest and growth in mind. Grant writing experience will help us as apply for state and federal dollars to help fund repairs to our infrastructure and much more.
The drought affects us all in the Valley. We all know that Agriculture is a major employer in Lemoore. Olam and Leprino Foods are two major industries that rely on Agriculture/Dairy to survive in our city. Our San Joaquin Valley is the food basket of the world. Instead of diversifying our economy away from Agriculture we need to get the water we are dumping into the ocean to support the delta smelt (which is not native to California) and send it to the Valley and our existing water reservoirs. I propose that every town government in the Valley come together and start discussing smart ways to press our State and Federal Government to do what is right and redirect the water and build more dams.
Lemoore has taken a proactive approach with this in the schools and after school programs. I believe the people of Lemoore have been effective with working on keeping kids away from gangs and helping those give up the gang life. I fully support our Schools, Parks and Recreation Departments, Police Action League, Lemoore Service Clubs and faith based organizations as they are paramount in keeping our children out of gangs. If elected I will strive to further enhance open communications with these organizations to understand how our city can further support this cause.
My diverse background in leadership, budgeting, contract oversight and city utility infrastructure makes me the best candidate. My objective is simple and that is to do my best to make Lemoore prosper while making Lemoore a fiscally responsible city. I have no ambitions to use this position as a stepping stone for other positions. Bottom line is that I want to take what I have learned in life, listen to the people of Lemoore and use this to make our city grow smartly while creating a strong city infrastructure that will support the smart business growth needed to create jobs and revenue while preserving the business we currently have including West Hills College and NAS Lemoore. I am the current chair of the Lemoore Volunteers in Policing, a former Lemoore Planning Commissioner and former member of the Lemoore Downtown Architectural Design Review Committee. I truly believe transparency and city government go hand in hand. Without it, trust is lost. Transparency allows the public to develop a more accurate picture of what is happening with our city. This allows the people to hold our elected officials accountable and answers concerns pertaining to the management of our city. Since people are affected by decisions made by our Council, they “the people” have the right to know how the decisions were made.
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Age 50
Residence Lemoore, Ca
Family Spouse: Myeisha Neal Married with Children
Education Certificates from West Hills College and Fresno City College
Occupation Rancher and Minister Following (Following in his father's footsteps)
Public service experience Executive Board Member of Kings County Community Action; Personnel Committee Member of Kings County Community Action; Kings County Representative of the South San Joaquin Division of the California League of Cities; Community Services Policy Committee member of the California League of Cities, Lemoore Kiwanis Club, Former Coach of the Lemoore and Hanford Boxing Programs, American Cancer Society Volunteer
Facebook/Social media https://www.facebook.com/EdwardNeal01
Lemoore's top three challenges are our infrastructure, sewer and water treatment, and job creation. I would our address our infrastructure by working with Cal-Trans to improve freeway and highway ramps for business development. Our sewer and water treatment facilities need modernized equipment, which is very costly. In this effort, I would continue to address the city with current state grants that aid in sewer and water issues. I see jobs being created by working with Lemoore's economic developer to furnish warehouse and distribution centers that will not require much water usage within the city.
The city should get more involved with the California State Water Commission. The commission is well-informed of the resources that our city could utilize to diversify our economy during the drought.
In my experience as a coach, mentoring programs are the best strategy. I have advocated for mentoring programs throughout the city of Lemoore. Our Community Service Department has great resources including the Police Athletic League. Upon running for office, I have campaigned for a Boys and Girls Club in our city for the past four years. After the election, I will begin privately raising funds towards the opening costs.
My voting record speaks volumes. I see myself as the voice of the community. I am a God-fearing man, I love my wife and children, and I have a heart to do what is right. I love the people of Lemoore, and I serve the people with good ethics, honesty, and integrity. We the People of Lemoore Stand Together as One! I am proud to be from Lemoore.
Age 60
Residence Lemoore, California
Family Lenore (wife) Sean (son) Kyle (son) Trevor (son) Janet Simonson (mother)
Education Christian High School, El Cajon, CA Grossmont College, San Diego, CA West Hills College, Lemoore, CA
Occupation Construction Estimator Carvalho Construction, Hanford, CA
Public service experience Laton Youth Boosters (1992-1995); Lemoore High School Football Boosters (2002-2003); Lemoore High School Golf Boosters (2002-2003); Community Services Director of Lemoore Rotary Club (2010-2015). I worked for the City of Lemoore for 23 years. I started as a Maintenance Worker 3 (City Carpenter), promoted to Lead Worker, promoted to Superintendent of Parks & Buildings, and eventually promoted to Parks & Recreation Director in November 2007.
Facebook/Social media https://www.facebook.com/JoeForLemoore/
1. Sustainable revenue. There is very little that sets this community apart from any other city with the exception of NAS Lemoore, not only in the valley but anywhere a retailer might be thinking of expanding. To entice a big box store or similar tax producer to invest in Lemoore we must be willing to reduce impact fees and permit fees, especially on the west side where impact fees are overpriced, and be willing to delay reaping the immediate rewards of the sales tax. “Short term sacrifice –Long term gain”. (See Selma Auto Mall as an example) 2. The maintenance of the City. The City of Lemoore could beautify half of the city immediately by quality oversight of the Lighting and Landscape (LLMD) and Facilities Districts. Half of the City’s LLMDs or Public Facilities Maintenance Districts are surrounded by block walls. Citizens pay these fees through their property taxes and the city is in charge of the oversight. In one case the city took the money from one impound account (Zone 12 College Park) and misappropriated these funds to another district. This is just one example. I would create a score card that is assigned to a city employee who weekly would check to make sure that the job is getting done or the sub contractor would not get paid. Trust but Verify. 3. Continued growth of recreational opportunities, available to not only the youth but also to young adults. Idle bodies and minds are the devil’s work shop, and type 2 diabetes and childhood obesity are big issues.
Valley real-estate is inexpensive and the workforce is plentiful. The service and distribution industry will continue to grow as companies like Amazon and others dominate retail in this country. There will be opportunities for these and renewable energy companies but again we will be competing with many other cities seeking the same jobs. To set the City of Lemoore apart we need to lower permit fees, lower impact fees and streamline the approval process. Again SHORT TERM SACRIFICE – LONG TERM GAIN.
This goes back to my point about growth of recreational opportunities. I have worked with youth for the past 25 years. I have coached and officiated sports that many of the kids considered troubled kids have participated in. The truth is, if you provide a plethora of recreational and educational opportunities and show them acceptance and respect they respond well. This cannot just be lip service, it takes money. Service groups in Lemoore have been wonderful contributors but these groups should not have to bear as big a burden as they do. More funds need to be allocated from the general fund to meet this high priority.
I am the most qualified because of my experience. I am the only City of Lemoore employee that I am aware of that started as a general association service employee and promoted through five City Managers to a Department Head level position. After working at the City of Lemoore for 23 years, starting at the bottom and working my way up to mid-management and serving for the last ten years as a member of the executive team, I have a unique understanding of the inner-workings of City Government. I worked for 6 City managers in 23 years and I was promoted by all but one of them. My ability to manage budgets, cut costs when necessary and make the hard decisions with a track record of doing so is what sets me apart from the others candidates. I have a body of work I can stand on. I uncovered wrong doing several times in City processes while I was an employee and will continue being a watchdog for the citizens as their council representative. I would appreciate your vote on November 8th. Please contact me at simonsonforlcc@gmail.com with any questions and concerns you may have.
Age 47
Residence Lemoore, CA
Family Joaquin, Spouse, Lindsey, daughter 15 and Karli, daughter 10
Education Lemoore High School West Hills College
Occupation Secretary to the County Administrative Officer
Public service experience 15 years, - approximately 10 years with Kings County Administration and 5 years for the Kings County Sheriff's Office
Facebook/Social media facebook/angelavalenzuela3232
1. Retail Leakage - Would like to take a second look at the loss of our Planning Department. We outsourced this function and I would like to see progress made and cost effectiveness versus a fully operational Planning Department with qualified, innovative personnel. We need growth in business and housing to accommodate the growing needs of our citizens and NAS Lemoore. We need results.

2. Water and air standards set by the state - State and feds have imposed restrictions and mandated standards that are unattainable. We have made great progress in 20 years but the traffic and drought have contributed to the loss of business in California. How does that affect Lemoore? Businesses are moving out of state, why would they set up shop in Lemoore with all the red tape imposed by the state? I believe we have done our part, it is continued progress, however we should not be penalized further.

3. Prop 64 - I believe unfortunately that Prop 64 will pass in November which will have a great impact on public safety. We had a honey oil explosion in recent years that caused major damage and injuries. We will have accidental exposures to children, rising hospital bills and more homelessness like in other states that have legalized marijuana. I understand some residents have obtained medical marijuana cards and I don't dispute their claims of helping with symptoms but it is not a cure and the fact is it still illegal under federal law.
I would like to work with other cities and counties within the San Joaquin Valley as well as the state and feds to begin ground water storage projects. That being said, I don’t believe the drought is our only obstacle. In recent years, smelt fish have been made a priority over people; their livelihoods and agriculture. Water rights have been sold off. Wells have run dry. Our valley was once known as the food basket of the world, if you drive down the highways, you will see thousands of acres that are no longer farmed. We need effective communication and action by all parties, no red tape, no stalling on environmental impacts, lets effectively work together to achieve water storage.
The City has already put in place a Police Activities League program for our youth that has been effective. I believe Big Brothers and Sisters would provide guidance and bring tangible role models to our youth. I would like to see more marketing at the school level for our Recreational Department. Flyers are sent out to schools and a program is sent to every household via mail. If we have staff visit schools to give a short presentation, kids will come home to their parents to tell them what they are interested in. Granted, not all families are able to afford the programs offered. We need to look at grants and continue fundraising/partnerships with service clubs and corporations for scholarships to the program. The more involved a child is, the more confidence they have, the less chance they will be involved in any gang activity. For those that are already involved in gangs, the Big Brother/Sister program will be a mentoring program, building up character and often giving positive alternatives.
I am the best candidate to serve on the council because as a public servant for the County of Kings, I listen to people and resolve problems on a daily basis. I have approximately 10 years of budgeting, policy and procedures, legislative research for Board of Supervisors action and I understand local government. I look forward to problem solving with staff and making decisions that are fully researched for the betterment of our residents. I have no agenda, no vendetta, just a love for our city and its people. I look forward to serving the people of Lemoore.