John Lazar to seek third term as Turlock mayor

jholland@modbee.comMarch 19, 2014 

— John Lazar plans to seek a third term as mayor, a post that has not changed hands often in recent decades.

He is the first declared candidate in the November election, which also will decide two seats on the Turlock City Council.

Lazar, 49, first was elected mayor in 2006, when Curt Andre decided not to extend his 16-year tenure. Brad Bates served for the eight years before Andre, giving Turlock only three mayors in the past 32 years – half as many as Modesto. An earlier Turlock mayor, Enoch Christoffersen, served for 22 years.

Lazar also served three terms as city councilman, starting in 1992.

“We’ve always been a closely knit city, and we support our leaders,” he said. “We’ve always had good government.”

Lazar, a real estate broker, noted several accomplishments in his current four-year term, including construction of the Blue Diamond Growers almond processing plant and the announcement of a milk powder plant by Hilmar Cheese Company.

“My intention is really to continue the efforts we’ve made on economic recovery and job development here,” he said.

Lazar also cited two downtown revival projects – the greatly enlarged Carnegie Arts Center and the new Turlock Public Safety Center. He said the city is making progress toward a Tuolumne River treatment plant that would reduce reliance on wells, and it soon could provide treated wastewater for irrigation.

Lazar said he would support a half-percent sales tax increase for road construction and repairs if the spending plan benefits Turlock. Voters throughout Stanislaus County could vote on the proposal in November.

That ballot will include the council seats held by Bill DeHart and Forrest White. Also, voters could decide whether to shift to district elections for the council, starting in 2016.

The district proposal has been the subject of a series of meetings this week. The last will be at 11 a.m. today in Covenant Village’s Berg Hall, 2125 N. Olive Ave.

Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at jholland@modbee.com or (209) 578-2385.

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