It's time to start putting names with races as in the names of people who are likely candidates for some of the dozens of council and board seats to be filled in the fall election.
There are no high- profile contests for the Legislature or Congress and no contentious propositions. The Nov. 5 election is all local, but I hope voters will realize how important it is. There are already some interesting races taking shape. I'm hearing from and about people who plan to run recognizing that some may very well change their minds before the filing period closes in mid-August.
Modesto City Council
Joe Muratore told me and has told many people that he will not seek a second term representing District 4 (La Loma area and east Modesto), but there is a confirmed candidate: Bill Zoslocki, the prominent homebuilder who came in third in a four-way race for mayor in 2011. Zoslocki filed the notice of intent to run, which signals that he's taking this seriously.
David Geer also has decided not to seek a second term, and there already is a candidate for District 2 (south Modesto). Tony Lopez Madrigal graduated from Hughson High School, later went to the University of California at Santa Cruz and recently completed two terms on the Santa Cruz City Council. He has now moved back to Stanislaus County.
It appears that the race in District 5 (north-central Modesto) will be a rematch. Stephanie Burnside will be running for a full four-year term, and Jenny Kenoyer told me she plans to run again for that seat.
The other three council positions and the mayor's seat aren't up again until 2015.
Modesto Irrigation District
More change is coming to the MID because none of three directors whose terms are up this year Paul Warda, Tom Van Groningen and Glen Wild plans to run again. We have the distinct possibility that there will be 100 percent turnover of top MID leadership in a two-year period, given that the other board members, Larry Byrd and Nick Blom, were just elected in 2011 and that General Manager Allen Short left in December.
Two men have told me they plan to run for District 4 (northwest Modesto), the seat currently held by Warda. They are farmer Jake Wenger and MID retiree Ted Donham, who ran against Warda four years ago. Both have been attending MID board meetings.
Businessman John Mensinger said he is considering running for the District 2 (central Modesto) seat that Wild will be leaving. Another possibility for District 2 is Mike Serpa, who held the seat from 2005-09 and then lost the 2009 election to Wild. I sent Serpa an email, asking whether he would run again and received this response: "You have gone out of your way to be factual and fair in your columns that have referenced me (well maybe or perhaps just maybe not). Will give it some thought and get back to you." I had not heard back from Serpa by Friday evening, although I alerted him to my deadline.
I have not heard about any likely candidates for District 3 (northwest Modesto), the position held by Van Groningen.
Modesto City Schools board
Five of the seven positions are up this fall, a quirk resulting from the resignation of Cathy Flores Hallinan last year, less than a year into a four-year term. Stacie Morales, the former Empire district trustee appointed to Hallinan's seat, told me she's still considering whether to run to fill out the remaining two years of that term.
Incumbent Nancy Cline also told me she's undecided as whether to run for what would be her fourth term.
The other incumbent board members Cindy Marks, Sue Zwahlen and Ruben Villalobos all indicated to me in informal conversations, that they will run again.
The only challenger I have heard about so far for the Modesto school board is Charles Grom, a lieutenant in the Stanislaus County Sheriff's department.
Fifteen people applied for Hallinan's seat, but citizens seem much more willing to seek appointment than to actually run for office, so I don't expect there will be anywhere near that many candidates for the school board.
If you are planning to run for office in November, I invite you to let me know. Or if you know of someone who is running, please get in touch.
Meanwhile, I encourage people who are considering running for office this year or in the future to attend the March 13 candidate workshop described on this page. It's free and likely will offer some helpful advice from people who know the ropes.
Sly is editor of the Opinions pages. Contact her at (209) 578-2317 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @judysly.