Nearly 30,000 voters are eligible today to help decide the future of Tracy in what seems like a watershed election for the City Council and mayor.
In the mayor’s race, voters will choose between 15-year Councilman Brent Ives and slow-growth activist Celeste Garamendi. The winner will take over in December from retiring Mayor Dan Bilbrey.
On the City Council, eight-year councilwomen Evelyn Tolbert and Suzanne Tucker are trying to hold their seats against planning commissioners Ed Gable and Pete Mitracos, former police Capt. Mike Maciel, activist Clif Schofield, and Garamendi allies Roger Adhikari and Carole Dominguez. Two-year Councilwoman Irene Sundberg does not face reelection this year.
If Ives becomes mayor, he will join Sundberg and the two newly elected council members in appointing someone to fill his empty council spot until 2008.
The biggest decision facing the future council will be whether to approve deals that are being negotiated with AKT Development and the Surland Cos., both of which could set the course for growth in Tracy for 30 years.
AKT is understood to be offering 15 acres as well as more than $20 million to the city, which could be used to build more youth sports fields on city-owned land on West Schulte Road. In exchange, the company will win the right to build 4,700 homes at Tracy Hills west of the airport on Interstate 580.
Surland is understood to be offering at least $20 million and 20 acres of land for a water park on land northwest of the airport in exchange for the right to build 4,700 homes there and at the downtown Bow Tie area.
Colliers International agent Buz Miller, who represents Bow Tie owner Union Pacific, said Surland had fallen out of a contract to buy the Bow Tie land, but Surland boss Les Serpa contradicted Miller’s claim. Union Pacific could not be contacted.
The developers would likely build 500 homes per year out of the 600 allowed under the Measure A slow-growth law beginning after 2012.
Ives and Tucker voted in favor of negotiating the deals earlier this year for less than half the amount of money now being offered.
Garamendi, Adhikari and Dominguez said they would join Sundberg in voting against the deals, though they say they are committed to finding other ways to pay for a swimming pool and more sports fields.
Tolbert voted for the Surland deal and against the AKT deal.
Mitracos, Gable and Maciel lean toward the deals, but they won’t commit to a position until they’ve seen the final proposal.
Schofield said he opposes the Surland deal and wants the AKT deal scaled back from 300 to 225 homes per year.
••HOW TO VOTE••
• Check the back of your sample ballot, visit www.sjcrov.org/ballotinfo.html or call the registrar of voters at 468-2890 to find your polling place.
• If you’re a first-time voter who registered to vote by mail, you may be asked to show identification.
• A polling official will hand you a voter access card. Insert the card into the upper-right slot of the screen. Cast your votes using the touch-screen. Review your votes on the summary screen and press “print ballot.” Review the printout and press “cast ballot” to confirm your votes. Remove your voter access card and return it to an official.
n Save a paper copy of your vote and check it for accuracy before leaving the polling place.
••KEY TRACY VOTES••
• Mayor (two-year term): Slow-growth activist Celeste Garamendi; 15-year Councilman Brent Ives.
• Council (two vacancies, four-year terms): Eight-year Councilwoman Evelyn Tolbert; Eight-year Councilwoman Suzanne Tucker; Planning Commissioner Ed Gable; Planning Commissioner Pete Mitracos; former police Capt. Mike Maciel, term limits activist Clif Schofield, slow-growth activist Roger Adhikari; slow-growth activist Carole Dominguez.
• Congressman: 14-year Rep. Richard Pombo (R); wind engineer Jerry McNerney (D).
• State Assembly representative: Political aide Cathleen Galgiani (D); or businessman Gerry Machado (R).