Modesto City Councilman Dave Geer was not going to endorse any of the candidates seeking to replace him in the Nov. 5 election, but he’s decided to support Jon Rodriguez.
Geer, 71, is not running for re-election for his District 2 seat.
He said he changed his mind about backing a candidate as he got to know Rodriguez better and constituents started raising concerns about candidate Tony Madrigal’s record as a Santa Cruz councilman from 2004-12.
Madrigal, who grew up in Turlock and Denair, attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, before serving on the council there. He moved to Modesto in December.
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According to the Santa Cruz Sentinel newspaper, his tenure on the council was marked by having to issue a public apology after making lewd comments about a woman during a police ride-along, a reckless-driving conviction for texting and using his laptop while driving on Highway 1, and missing nearly a quarter of all council meetings during a two-year stretch.
“I just have concerns about past history when it comes to any public figure,” Geer said. “Learning from mistakes only goes so far.”
Madrigal, who has said he won’t repeat his mistakes if elected, said he respects Geer but is focused on the campaign and the issues before the voters, such as neighborhood safety, crime and jobs. He added that he thought Geer might endorse him. “I’m honored that he considered endorsing me,” Madrigal said.
Geer has a different recollection. He said Madrigal asked him several times for his endorsement, but Geer said he replied that he had not made a decision. “I never told Tony I’d endorse him,” Geer said.
Geer said he likes Rodriguez’s priorities and that he and his family have lived in Modesto for decades and are business owners.
Rodriguez said Geer has “done a terrific job representing District 2, and I’m honored to have his endorsement.”
Rodriguez, Madrigal and Juan Telles are running for the City Council’s District 2 seat. The district is made up of downtown, south and west Modesto.
Madrigal, 40, works as a substitute teacher and as an interpreter, translating English into Spanish at public forums and other events when not all of the attendees speak English. He’s a former field representative for the California United Homecare Workers and has a bachelor’s degree in economics from UC Santa Cruz.
Rodriguez, 26, farms 110 acres of almonds with his grandfather, is a graduate of Modesto Junior College and was raised in District 2.
Telles, 23, is a longtime District 2 resident, Modesto High graduate, community organizer and volunteer, and seasonal worker at a winery.