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Wednesday, 08 June 2016 06:40

Series of Campaign Finance Meetings Begin

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Turlock High School plays host to city council special meetings regarding campaign finance. Turlock High School plays host to city council special meetings regarding campaign finance. Eric Escalante/TurlockCityNews.com
Discussion surrounding campaign finance will have a forum today as the first of four special meetings regarding the topic will be held this evening.

Campaign finance concern extendeds back to February 2014, where a public hearing for campaign contributions was held with the 2014 City Council, then composed of Councilmembers Forest White, Amy Bublak, Bill DeHart Jr., Steven Nascimento, and Mayor John Lazar. The request would have amended the municipal code and added a chapter to it on campaign contributions.

Multiple individuals spoke against it, and the opposition from City Council ranged from giving the public a short notice to engage in the dialogue, that it would imply of unethical practices, and wanting to know the ramifications of a $2,000 contribution limit.

In April 2014, Council discussion regarding campaign contributions resulted in the ordinance being taken off the agenda, however, Councilmembers Steven Nascimento and Amy Bublak agreed to proceed with staff placing campaign contribution forms online.

Discussion regarding campaign finance and campaign contributions returned during the lengthy Turlock City Council meetings regarding the farmers’ market earlier this year.

City Attorney Phaedra Norton addressed issues of campaign finance at a March 15 special meeting regarding the farmers’ market. She utilized materials from the Institute of Local Governments, California Attorney General, California Supreme Court, and California Fair Political Practices Commission that further the claim that campaign contributions on the local level do not serve as a basis for disqualification and that transparency requires disclosure.

In the Turlock Municipal Code, it notes that a member of the Council is disqualified from voting due to a conflict of interest pursuant to State law. The member declares the conflict and abstains from the Council discussion and decision regarding the matter.

FPPC candidate campaign statements and reports are available on the City of Turlock website at this
link.

Four special City Council meetings will be held in each Council District this week and the next.

Two special meetings will be held this week in District 1 and District 2. To find an area’s District and Councilmember, Turlockers can visit this link.

Today, the first of four special City Council meetings will take place at Turlock High School in the Performing Arts Center located at 1600 Canal Drive beginning at 6 p.m. The District 2 special meeting will be taking place on June 9 at the Cunningham Elementary School Cafeteria located 324 West Linwood Avenue beginning at 6 p.m.

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