These young Modesto city council candidates far from apathetic

jsly@modbee.comJune 21, 2013 

Correction: Dave Geer is not running for another term on the Modesto City Council, District 2. Incorrect information appeared in this column on 16.

We can't dismiss all young people as apathetic about local government. Some are interested.

Consider this: Five of the 10 Modestans who are in the running for City Council in November are under 40. Three of them are 26 or under. Heck, the latest potential candidate is only 20.

I gave this young man, Ryan Schambers, a call on Friday, just to get a sense of why someone his age wants to be on the council. He was surprisingly articulate about it, telling me he has always been interested in politics, international, national and local. He's also interested in solving problems. And he's been following issues as a Bee reader.

Schambers went to the council recently with one of his concerns — the risks associated with basketball hoops sitting on sidewalks, forcing the young players into the street and disrupting pedestrians. As Schambers learned at the Safety and Communities Committee meeting, Modesto has an ordinance against this, although — I will add — it seems to another one of those that no one has time to enforce.

A graduate of Enochs High, Schambers is a junior at California State University, Stanislaus, majoring in business administration with an emphasis in accounting. He's running for Council District 4, the La Loma-east Modesto area now represented by Joe Muratore, who isn't seeking re-election. Muratore, by the way, is the current "kid" on the council at age 34.

Also running in District 4: Juan Melgoza, age 31, and three men I've mentioned in previous columns: Bill Zoslocki, 59; Robert Stanford, 47; and Rickey McGill, 63.

The other young people — or, depending on your perspective, youngsters — running for the council are in District 2, south Modesto: Juan M. Telles, 23; Jonathan M. Rodriguez, 26, and Tony Lopez Madrigal, 39. They are running to succeed Dave Geer, who is not running for a second term. There are two candidates so far in District 5 — incumbent Stephanie Burnside, 41; and Jenny Kenoyer, 78.


• • • It isn't yet clear whether the Modesto council will put a sales tax measure on the Nov. 5 ballot, but voters in Waterford will have a tax matter to consider, and it is, by coincide, Measure W. The city proposes to replace two old lighting and landscaping districts with a single citywide Community Facilities District with assessments of $60 per year for homes and $120 for commercial units. Because it's a tax increase, it will need two-thirds approval.


• • • Nancy Cline tells me she still hasn't made a final decision on whether to seek a fourth term on the Modesto City Schools board. She says she'll make that decision by the end of this month.

The official filing period opens July 15 and runs through Aug. 9 — unless an incumbent isn't running, in which case it is extended five days. I think it's respectful of incumbents to announce their intentions before the filing period, to give would-be candidates time to consider whether to file.


• • • Those who plan to run or might run for office this year or next are invited to a free candidate workshop July 13, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the Modesto Chamber of Commerce office. Sign up through the chamber office, (209) 577-5757, or email

Sly is editor of the Opinions pages. Contact her at or (209) 578-2317 or on Twitter @judysly.


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