Patterson candidates face plenty of issues

The city of Patterson is looking to elect a mayor and two council members on Nov. 4 in a contest with plenty of issues.

The city of about 21,000 residents has experienced five years of rapid growth and then massive foreclosures when the housing market collapsed. It sits immediately northwest of the proposed 4,800-acre PCCP West Park LLC business and industrial park with its inland port and rail link to the Port of Oakland, which promises to send up to six trains a day through the middle of Patterson.

Long a farming community, the city is grappling with how to provide enough water for new development as well as the surrounding farms, and enough shopping opportunities to keep residents happy and sales tax revenues in town.

The election pits Mayor Becky Campo against challenger Luis Molina, and two council members, Dominic Farinha and Annette Smith, against two challengers, Jeff Realini and Victor Slonksnis.

Campo, 45, is a 12-year veteran of the City Council and was elected mayor in 2006. She also served on the Patterson Planning Commission for three years. She is a native of Mexico and graduated from Tracy High School and San Joaquin Delta College with an associate degree in business administration. She owns Patterson Financial.

Molina, 44, was elected to the Stanislaus County Board of Education in 2005 and was appointed to the Patterson Planning Commission that year as well. He chaired the Citizens Oversight Committee for Measure E, the Yosemite Community College District bond measure, from 2005 to 2007. Molina, who was born in Fremont, has a bachelor's degree in liberal studies from California State University, Hayward, and works as a Stanislaus County school readiness coordinator.

The council candidates:

Farinha, 38, is a native of Patterson, and has served on the City Council for two years. He serves on the Westside Health Care Task Force, as an alternate to the General Plan Advisory Committee and as a member of the Patterson Centennial Committee. A city planner for Alameda County, Farinha formerly owned Farinha's Floral and Gifts. He has a master's degree in city and regional planning from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and a bachelor's degree in natural resource management from Humboldt State University.

Realini, 41, was born in San Francisco, and has a bachelor's degree in aviation operations from San Jose State University. He has served on the Patterson Beautification Committee and is a financial analyst for Robert Half International, working at San Joaquin County General Hospital. He has been active in Patterson Little League.

Slonksnis, 45, ran unsuccessfully for mayor two years ago. He declined to fill out a questionnaire or be interviewed by The Bee. He listed himself as a businessman when he ran for mayor two years ago and said he had a background in law enforcement in Santa Clara County.

Smith, 44, was appointed to the City Council in 2006 and had served on the Patterson Planning Commission for two years. She attended California State University, Stanislaus, and operates Annette Smith Publishing. Smith has served on the General Plan Advisory Committee, the Stanislaus Council of Governments, the executive board of the Patterson Volunteer Fire Department and the Crows Landing Steering Committee.

Bee staff writer Tim Moran can be reached at tmoran@modbee.com or 578-2349.