Local elections are set in Dos Palos and Firebaugh, and it will also bring to a close 40 years of public service for Firebaugh council member Dr. Marcia Sablan.
Sablan arrived in Firebaugh in 1981 to open a medical clinic with her husband. In 1982, she was appointed to the city council, and 40 years and many elections later, she is retiring.
The experience as a council member has been most gratifying in terms of both personal growth and the growth of the town.
“I have learned not only how government works, but also how to work with people,” she explained. “The main task is to build consensus to get things done for the entire town.”
Sablan said that one big improvement over the years is bringing government services to Firebaugh.
“Our supervisors, Brian Pacheco and before him, Phil Larsen, both worked hard to bring services to town so our citizens don’t have to make the long drives.”
Since the 1980s, Sablan said that police, fire, and ambulance services have also improved.
Job availability is better, but more has to be done, according to Sablan.
“Jobs with good value need to still be addressed,” she explained. “When Tomatek opened, it brought that second income to many families which made it possible for more home ownership. That is the spinoff that Tomatek brought to the community. But we still need affordable homes for young families.”
So Sablan will head off into retirement and hopefully watch Firebaugh continue to grow.
“I am looking forward to watching some of these young people step up and lead the city. And hopefully they will have the same great experience that I have had,” she said.
For Dos Palos, the contests for city council and school board are cut-and-dried. No one signed up to run against the incumbents. That means that city council members Debbie Orlando and Thomas Pigg will not be challenged for their seats.
As for the Dos Palos/Oro Loma Joint Unified School District, this was to be the first election since the school district switched over to “area” election. But again, there were no challengers. Incumbents Jeremy O’Banion (Area 2), Moy Meraz (Area 5) and Gordon Bonds (Area 7) will run unopposed.
In Firebaugh, there will be a contest for the two seats up for the city council. While Sablan decided not to run again, incumbent Felipe Perez is seeking another term.
Challenging for the two seats are Silvia Renteria, an administrative assistant, Ryan Gonzalez, a student, and Linda Espinoza.
As for the Firebaugh School Board, incumbent Eliseo Gamino will be challenged for his seat by former school board member Oscar Sablan. In Area 2 there will be two first time candidates, Gustavo Alvarez, a maintenance lead, and retired teacher Deanne Crockett. In Area 4, incumbent Fernando Campa is running unopposed.