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1 down, but 3 still on ballot for Waterford City Council

WATERFORD -- Two active candidates remain for the two City Council seats up for election, but it's not a done deal.

Josh Whitfield has ended his campaign, but his name still appears on the Nov. 4 ballot. The other candidates -- appointed incumbent Jose Aldaco and Michael Van Winkle -- will win that day only if enough voters choose them.

Whitfield, who served with the Army in Iraq, said he withdrew for health reasons. He said he would not take office if he happened to finish first or second.

If the council is left with a vacancy, it could fill the seat via appointment or a special election. That possibility would be moot if Aldaco and Van Winkle win on Election Day.

One of the open seats was created by Councilman Charlie Goeken's decision to run for mayor. He is unopposed.

The two active council candidates have similar goals, including a new government center, increased parkland along the Tuolumne River, and street improvement.

Aldaco, 34, was appointed to a vacant seat in January 2007. He is director of educational services for the Waterford Unified School District.

He said that in a full four-year term, he would work on getting the government center built on E Street and linking parkland along the river.

Aldaco supports Measure S, which would fund road projects in Stanislaus County, including Waterford, with a half-cent sales tax increase.

"I feel that now that there's a vision for Waterford, there's an opportunity to continue that vision," he said.

Van Winkle, 48, is an electrician and serves on the government center review committee. He said the project would revitalize downtown and improve the police presence.

Van Winkle said the city should upgrade its "gateway" along Highway 132 to attract visitors. He also supports the road tax measure and the use of an enterprise zone to boost businesses.

"It's got a lot of potential," Van Winkle said of Waterford. "It needs a little bit more of a tax base so we can get some of these projects done."

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

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