Election 2010 mayoral candidate profile: Luis Molina
Oct 14, 2010 | 4846 views | 6 6 comments | 67 67 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Luis Molina
Luis Molina

Luis Molina

Candidate for Mayor


or molina4mayor2010@live.com

1. What is your stance on the West Park proposal?

Whether or not West Park is viable, we can only mitigate its impact on Patterson by having a seat at the table when decisions are made.

We obviously need to preserve our historic downtown and forestall rail and vehicle traffic overwhelming our town.

The best way to do that is to work with the county, developers and the community to ensure that Patterson is protected rather than pursuing litigation that we cannot afford in an era of limited government resources.

I am the president of the Stanislaus County Board of Education and the only elected Latino official to serve at the county level in Stanislaus County. The County Board of Education works with 26 different school districts. We have to build strong relationships, communicate well and provide leadership to support the education goals of 106,000 students.

Those same qualities are needed in Patterson’s mayor so that hiring lawyers is the last resort, not the first option. In 2008-2009, the mayor and council spent $362,452 on litigation, $222,452 more than was budgeted. We can’t afford to continue with that style of leadership.

2. What are your thoughts on the current state of City Hall? On the lack of staff?

With the recent resignations of the city manager, the assistant city manager, the city attorney, the community services director and the finance director, a message has been sent. You might argue the merits of an individual case but when Patterson’s leadership team is decimated by resignations, we have a problem.

Within our form of city government -- the weak mayor form of mayor–council government -- the mayor and council have to be able to work cooperatively with the city manager and their team.

My experience as the president of the Stanislaus County Board of Education for the last four years is what is needed in Patterson. The County Board of Education has executive and budget authority, but we work with County Superintendent of Schools Tom Changnon as partners in successfully overseeing a $40 million a year budget and 900 employees.

3. Where do stand on the future growth of the city? How big would you like to see Patterson grow in the next 20 years? 40 years?

Patterson is a great place to live and work. We will start growing again as the recession ends.

That’s why a general plan is important. As someone who served on Patterson’s planning commission for four years, the general plan won’t be an exact blueprint of future needs but it should be a road map balancing the needs of the community, agriculture and business.

To achieve a useful general plan I would propose that we work hard to make sure that everybody is heard and the plan reflects a community consensus about Patterson’s future.

We need leadership that is committed to being open and transparent so that the general plan can grow organically and be an expression of the values of Patterson citizens.

4. What are your ideas about spurring the local economy?

Patterson needs a mayor that can be the focal point for bringing a diversified base of business to Patterson. Put simply, we need more jobs.

We can learn from cities like Pleasanton and model our outreach to companies on successful efforts.

We also need to work on developing a workforce that is attractive to business. We need a long-term plan to create a “college-going culture” among our youth that will provide them with the skills needed for tomorrow’s workforce. The expansion of Modesto Junior College is an example of the ways in which we can work with education to create a better tomorrow in Patterson.

5. How would you go about bringing in a diversified base of businesses (something other than distribution centers?)

Patterson is a geographically desirable location for distribution centers, but we need to work to bring in companies and retail that diversify our economic profile.

Currently, the largest employer within the city limits is the school district. We need to balance the presence of distribution centers and superstores like Walmart with a concerted effort to bring businesses to Patterson that offer a variety of jobs with good pay.

6. What are your opinions on the city’s current budgeting? What would you change?

The budgeting process as laid out in the city’s annual budget is detailed and workable. However, it requires that the mayor and council work with the city staff throughout the budget process to understand the challenges. That requires respect and hard work on both sides.

At the County Board of Education, we put together an annual budget that is almost four times the size of the City of Patterson. We have been able to do that every year because of a great executive team and a board that understands its role, not as a micro-manager, but as the final authority in a shared process.

7. How do you feel about the city’s use of reserves?

To balance the 2009-2010 budget, the mayor and council took $925,274 from reserves. While the city’s reserves are ample at $8.9 million, this isn’t the way budgets should be balanced, especially when there are so many questionable expenditures. There were $362,452 in litigation costs in 2008-2009 and hiring general plan consultants cost $1.2 million dollars. Having to use our reserves to pay for consultants and lawyers just isn’t responsible.

8. Where do the city’s water issues fall with you in terms of importance? How would you work to remedy those issues?

Water is and will be a crucial issue in the Central Valley. We need to work with the water districts, especially in drawing a general plan, so that we realize today what our future limitations for growth will be.

9. Do you approve of the way the current council has been running things, and if not, what would you change?

We need leadership that fosters teamwork among council members and an end to the string of 3-2 votes that is the legacy of this mayor and council. That requires strong leadership that works to build respect and teamwork among all the members of the council.

I have been successful in doing that at county level, which is why Tom Changnon, county superintendent of schools, endorses me: “As President of the board, Luis’ leadership style is appreciated by his colleagues. He is able to make difficult decisions while keeping individual concerns in mind. Luis models civility and integrity. It is a pleasure working with him.”

Those are the skills and qualities I would bring to being mayor of Patterson.

10. What qualities or experience should be looked for in hiring a new city manager?

We need competence, communication skills and a proven history of executive leadership in our next city manager. They have an enormous task ahead of them in re-building the city staff.

11. Do you favor a two- or four-year term for the mayor? Why?

I would favor a four-year term for the mayor. The two-year term was instituted in 1982 as a way of limiting the power of the mayor. If our city government is working correctly, as a weak-mayor form of mayor-council government, then a four-year term is preferable.

12. What is the most pressing issue facing the city? Why?

I am running for mayor on a platform that has three priorities: jobs, public safety and expanding services for our youth. They are intertwined.

We can’t help to build a diversified economy in Patterson with good jobs and wages unless we first provide public safety and an educated work force through expanded services for youth.

13. What are your goals for the city’s downtown, and how will you go about achieving those goals?

Downtown Patterson is a special place that deserves our best efforts as a city to preserve and enhance.

I am concerned that Walmart, while providing a needed retail outlet, will also negatively impact small businesses in the downtown. We can’t expect to add 158,000 square feet of retail without there being a negative effect on businesses and stores that are here now.

I would like to maximize the use of redevelopment funds to help small businesses in the downtown by working with them to create a business plan.

I would like Patterson’s future development to make sure that we are a walkable and bike-able city so that we move toward a more sustainable future.

14. How important will keeping agriculture a priority in the community be for you? Should there be the same, more, or less consideration given in the future for agriculture?

When growth comes again, preserving our prime agricultural land will have a higher and higher priority.

15. How would you go about mitigating the impacts to agriculture?

We need to explore the ways other communities have balanced the interests of agriculture, development and the environment.

For instance, the City of Chico in 1982 created a Green Line that preserved prime agricultural land from future development. The Green Line brought together growers, developers and environmentalists to build a coalition of support that has shaped a consensus for a generation about balancing the needs of agriculture, development and the environment.

I am a leader that can bring people together to listen and learn. We can balance the interests of diverse communities, not through confrontation, but through consensus building.

16. What is your opinion of how the council has been operating as a whole?

Elections are about the future. The past is the string of 3-2 votes we’ve seen from this council. I want to be a mayor who brings people together and works with a council and city staff that is focused on serving Patterson, not their own agendas.

17. In your opinion, has the council been guilty of micro-managing?

If the recent resignations of the city manager, the assistant city manager, the city attorney, the community services director and the finance director are an indicator, we are headed in the wrong direction.

We need a mayor and council that can work with the city staff with a shared sense of purpose and a respect for one another.

18. In what ways would you go about enhancing teamwork among the council members?

I want to be a mayor that provides strong leadership, not as a bully, but as someone who fosters communication, is always willing to listen and is clear about my own priorities.

19. Do you think the community currently trusts the city’s leaders?

There will be a definitive answer on Nov. 2.

20. How would you go about maintaining or building that trust further?

If I am honored to be elected as mayor, I will institute regular neighborhood meetings so that we work at bringing people together, gathering their good ideas and encouraging more people to have a voice.

One thing I have learned as I have walked all the precincts of Patterson meeting with voters is that they are concerned about our future as a city. It is time for a new direction.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
October 17, 2010
This is amazing! George or the person penning under George, The outing of who i am, or blog under holds no weight in the facts or in this Election. In case anyone hasn't noticed im not running for office!

The truth is that Sara Kobiach, AKA Annette Smith maliciously copied photos from my Facebook account (cyber-stalking) and created a blog "Social Network ettiquete" in the Patterson Times where she Insinuated that i was involved in illegal activities. So if anyone had a shot of slander, and cooking up a story on a legal document it was me!

I chose not to formulate a complaint to a judge of "hurt feelings" then proceed with cooking up a story on a court document of meeting a Fred Ross from colorado and provide the address of a person who has been dead for decades! But then again i guess being an "accomplished attorney" gives one that swagger! Classic! That should be an interesting case to watch, that is if George decides to pursue it!?

This is a very SAD and Joke of an attempt to take people away from the issues and the fact that the corruption at City Hall has involved the Slate and those attached to them from developers to landowners and unfortunately some of our hired staff who used their power to push an agenda!

Patterson Deserves Better!

Vote for Molina Cuellar and Leonard! FOR THE BETTERMENT OF PATTERSON and its residents, not the developers, attorneys and those who want a payday from this election!

October 16, 2010
You guys are getting pretty desperate. The people of Patterson aren't buying your snake oil....if this really is Logan you've got some explaining to do, if not, Logan should sue this person leaving comments in his name (and then claim he's from Colorado).

The tweets come from Sacramento, I lived there since March of 2009. Even the real Logan knows that as he subpoenaed my twitter account.

You can call me anytime, you've got my number:)

October 16, 2010
Ptownweenie speaks of "young cuellar" as if it were someone else. Ptownweenie IS Sergio and I have the IP number to prove it. And, Luis Molina tweets as Fred Ross and I have proof of that too. These birds not only hide behind phony names but they come unglued when they are exposed.
October 15, 2010
Note to: “georgelogan”

I started the IrriTator website over two years ago because I was fed up with special interests, who, for a few hundred bucks, would consistently purchase extreme power over policy decisions affecting Patterson and the Westside.

When I graduated from PHS in 1995, my mother sent me to Sacramento State with one book, the autobiography of Cesar Chavez. It was in this book that I learned that Chavez didn’t become a great leader overnight, he cut his teeth under the tutelage of Fred Ross, Sr. Fifteen years later, I continue to learn more about a man who fought for those without a voice or a seat at the table.

I want to be clear, other than Serg’s few comments where he is listed as the author, I’m the sole individual who has penned each and every comment under the screen-name “fred ross”. I understand that some of my comments aren’t going to win me any dinner invitations with some of my elected friends, however, I felt the need for alternative voice for the Westside was far more important.

Everyone in town already knows that I’m Fred Ross, that’s why its sort of comical when hacks try to skew reality by trying to include Molina into all this. Luis is good man, from a good family. He actually stays away from the dirty politics that often surface on these blogs. I’m amazed and impressed by his genuine desire to work with the entire community, even those who try to knock him down everyday.

On the other hand, we have Annette Smith. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to document her history of comments on John Ramos’ blog the “Patterson Times.” Within those entries, you’ll find Smith, under the screen name “sarakobiotch”, pushing for Wal*Mart before it was even presented to the council, you’ll find her salivating at the possibility of Indian casinos and promoting DR Horton homes in Diablo Grande. This comes from a candidate who preaches fiscal responsibility, yet hasn’t held a full-time job since she ran her small business into the ground. I really miss Kudos, but if your looking for a candidate who has foolishly blogged on local sites, she’s the one.

To address your misleading comment:

1. The judge actually ruled that I have no standing because I am not some Fred Ross in Colorado that King George was allegedly suing....simply a joke.

2. All Logan won with denial of my motion is the right to continue his sham suit against some made up person.

3. At the end of the day, George Logan is gone and brighter days are ahead for Patterson.

If anyone is interested in really talking about this lawsuit or the blog, (not that they’re really that important with the upcoming election), please feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email at pattersonirritator@yahoo.com. The Times They Are A Changin.

Arsenio Mataka
October 15, 2010
Well if it isn't the ghost of botched law suits past! I remember reading the complaint of the Joke of a lawsuit that stated georgie meeting a fred ross from colorado that i believe was proven to be Dead since the 1930's?

Very timely move george to try and connect Mr. Molina to the Irritator..If this is true, i also beleive that our other Mayoral Candidate has a blogging past that shows lashing out at the young cuellar, similar to her rants at savemart against the health initiative folks, her lashing out at the public in support of our city manager at the council hearing that pushed out Cleve Morris, and her most recent blown top exhibit after the Candidates forum!

Thanks for your numerous misleadings of the council on brown act violations, the numerous lost law suits that did nothing but cost us tax payer dollars, for doing nothing to inform our planning commission on the ramos building move that ended in the city paying Ramos 27,000 in legal fees..hmmm imagine that one! but most importantly thank you for resigning!

Ptownmessenger out!
October 15, 2010
George Logan just won the SLAPP action filed against him by the fellows over at the Irritator. In making his ruling, the judge noted evidence that Luis Molina also used the "Fred Ross" name. So, the team at the Irritator is Luis, Sergio and Arsenio. Check out their Fred Ross twitter to see their true stripes.

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