Mike Maciel told a gathering of backers Tuesday that he learned to solve problems in 25 years in the Tracy Police Department and that he’s running for the City Council to bring jobs to Tracy to further reduce crime.
In a banquet room of the Java Makers restaurant, more than a dozen people showed up to have coffee and pastries while lending Maciel their support.
It was far larger base than he had in his first run for the council in 2006, he told them, when he and his wife, Marjorie Maciel, plotted strategy from their kitchen counter.
That experience in 2006, when he finished third to councilwomen Evelyn Tolbert and Suzanne Tucker out of a field of eight, prepared him for this year’s campaign, he said.
But that’s small stuff compared with his 2½ decades in the police department, he told his audience. The department was where he learned the "inner workings" of city government, dealt with the city’s budget and learned how to fix some of the city’s crime problems.
"I felt those were invaluable traits to bring to city government," he said.
Crime is something Maciel hopes to address as a councilman, and other candidates have already said they’ll make it an issue, as well.
Maciel said Tracy’s crime rate was lowered while he was on the force.
"Our challenge now is to stay ahead of the issue," he said.
He added that bringing new jobs to town and finally constructing youth sports fields will also be priorities.
"I think ‘embarrassment’ is not too strong a word" for the city’s failure to build sports fields on Schulte Road, he explained. That proposal was voted down 3-2 due to safety concerns because the fields would have been close to industry and atop high-pressure natural gas pipelines.
Maciel also supports a deal with developer Les Serpa to give Serpa the rights to build 3,850 homes in exchange for a public water park in southwest Tracy.
Maciel will face declared candidates Larry Hite, a home inspector, and community activist Larry Gamino, both of whom are on the city’s Transportation Advisory Committee.
Councilman Steve Abercrombie, appointed after Councilman Brent Ives won the mayor’s post in 2006, said he will run to retain his seat.
Incumbent Council-woman Irene Sundberg said she will announce her intentions next month.
Maciel was certainly referring to Abercrombie and Sundberg, and not to Tucker, who attended his campaign kickoff, when he said that this year, he can look voters in the eye and say, "I can do a better job than the incumbents in there now."