For District 2, Esquer was selected due to firefighters believing he had a solid plan of what he would like to see in Turlock. Turlock Firefighters PAC President Paul Arai acknowledged that while Esquer was inexperienced, he was willing to “listen.”
While both Council Candidates, Gil Esquer and Jaime Franco, were notably inexperienced, Arai acknowledged that firefighters selected Esquer based on how he may perform as a Councilmember and how well he would be able to communicate.
Esquer was contacted for comment on his firefighters endorsement, however, the message was not returned.
In District 4, Bublak was selected over the grassroots Council Candidate Donald Babadalir and Incumbent Councilman Steven Nascimento.
The dilemma posed for firefighters in the District 4 contest was that both Nascimento and Bublak were endorsed by the firefighters in their prior elections. However, the consistency and communication from Bublak while she has been on City Council was part of what set her apart from Nascimento.
“The main thing that separated the candidates was their experience and how they present themselves as a Councilmember,” said Arai.
Arai referenced that Bublak’s experience in public safety as an officer and an EMT made communication with her easier; She was better able to understand the needs and perspectives of public safety having been part of it herself.
“Even as EMT on the medical side of it, she understands what our needs are,” said Arai.
Bublak has spent close to 30 years with fire personnel as an EMT for AMR and as a police officer, and believes that this “team effort” makes her “uniquely qualified to understand the needs and issues of our firefighters.”
“My experience also positions me well to help our firefighters and how best to help them serve and protect our citizens,” stated Bublak.
“Her history of standing up for what she believes in and her core values to us, that’s big,” stated Arai. “You know who she is as a person, and you know pretty much how she’s going to vote because she votes according to her core values.”
Core Values and Sound Policy-setting Needed in Turlock, Firefighters Work to Unite Turlock
Ethics, integrity, and sound policy-setting have been top priorities this election cycle. These core values have made the difference and separated Candidates, such as the case of Nascimento losing his previous endorsement while Bublak continues to be supported whether she always agrees with the City firefighters’ union or not.
Councilman Steven Nascimento was endorsed by Turlock firefighters in 2012, and even has a brother serving as a firefighter with the Turlock Fire Department. However, since then, he has been entangled with controversies as a lone dissenting vote or minority vote surrounding accountable policy-setting and processes requiring documentation with facts.
Some of the major headline news involved Nascimento’s push for campaign finance reform since 2014 and eventual violation of campaign finance policy set in 2016, disregard for documentation during the investigation of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce’s Convention and Visitors Bureau contract results - leading to an audit led by Bublak’s questioning of stats and data that uncovered unallowable expenditures, disregard for documentation during the farmers’ market process that uncovered issues with the non-profit and tax exempt status of the Turlock Certified Farmers’ Market, and not disclosing a potential conflict of interest due to a $2,000 donation by John Ferrari - husband of Jeani Ferrari - a TCFM founding member.
Bublak and Esquer are not running together and are very different candidates, however, the Turlock firefighters have endorsed the two Council Candidates with the intention of them both working well together if elected.
Turlock has been divided over a few issues the last year but the firefighters are working toward unity.
The Turlock firefighters are hosting a “meet and greet” for both Bublak and Esquer in their respective districts, District 2 and District 4. Esquer is expected to attend Bublak’s meet and greet at Donnelly Park on Oct. 17, at 3 p.m, and Bublak is expected to attend Esquer’s meet and greet at Columbia Park on Oct. 16, at 3 p.m.
“Our biggest thing is that we promote solidarity. We want the candidate to understand and the public to understand that, regardless of our issues [and] how we personally feel, we are going to choose candidates based on what they’re going to do for the city,” said Arai.