Our mayor, Tommy Jones, has to explain loans he received as a citizen from developer Greg Hostetler of Ranchwood Realty. Both Hostetler and Jones admitted to the loans at the March 19 council meeting, but only after a small group of concerned citizens discovered the public documents at the Merced County recorder's office. The mayor never revealed the loans on any paperwork filed when he ran for mayor. Because of the close personal ties and business dealings, the mayor should have, at a minimum, recused himself from any vote that involved projects for Hostetler or Ranchwood Realty. Not only has the mayor refused to recuse himself, he has voted to approve essentially every project presented to the city by Ranchwood Realty.
The mayor says he has always tried to do the right thing. I think he missed an opportunity to do the right thing by revealing these loans before he ran for public office. Now he has another opportunity by recusing himself from any further votes involving Ranchwood or Hostetler. It may be too late, however, and irreparable damage may have been done to our city. This may be leading to a resignation of the mayor, or his recall.
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