Nomination deadlines closed at 5p.m. Wednesday for Dixon City Council candidates to file for the November 6, 2012 election.
Mayoral candidates include incumbent Jack Batchelor, current councilmember Michael Ceremello, and former councilmember Steve Alexander. The City Council candidates are Jerry Castanon Sr., Yaqinah Abdurrahman, former vice mayor and councilmember Ted Hickman, Ian Arnold, and Steve Bird.
This election is sure to bring voters to the polls. With a Mayoral race and 2 open seats for City Council, hot political topics including possible changes in Dixon’s water providers, Measure N, and continued budget crisis, these 8 candidates should prepare for tough questions during their campaigning.
The Patch caught up with most of the candidates to offer readers a first look at who they are. (Jerry Castanon and Yaqinah Abdurrhman did not immediately respond when we reached out).
Incumbent Jack Batchelor is the running for reelection as Mayor. He has been a Dixon community member since 1981 and has served as the President of the Dixon Chamber of Commerce and was the President of the Sutter Davis Hospital Foundation Board. Politically, Batchelor has held many elected positions. He served 12 years as a member of the Dixon Unified School District Board of Trustees, and was elected to Dixon City Council in 2006 and has served as Mayor since 2008.
If reelected Mayor, Batchelor says, “My goals will be serve the residents of Dixon in an honest and forthright manner. I will continue to work to bring new businesses to town that will provide jobs for our residents. I will continue to ensure that our city remains fiscally sound and that our neighborhoods remain safe. A specific issue will be working to resolve the issues regarding waste water as outlined in our current cease and desist order which expires in 2014.”
Michael Ceremello, current Councilmember, is running for Mayor. Community member since 1991, he has been very involved in Dixon politics, writing for the Independent Voice newspaper for 16 years that he feels, “provides information to the community available nowhere else.” Ceremello has volunteered for the Boys & Girls Club, Toys for Tots, spearheaded the return of “safe & sane” fireworks fundraising for Dixon.
When asked, if elected what goals do you have for Mayor of Dixon, Ceremello told us: “ I intend to bring a new style of governance to Dixon, one responsive to all members of the community and one less burdensome to our citizens. Freedom as opposed to rules designed to fetter individuals and businesses to someone else's concept of propriety. I also believe the first goal during my tenure as mayor will be to address the projects ignored for 20 years in this town, including drainage issues. In this down economy, businesses must be encouraged and taxed less, either directly or through city fees.”
As for issues Ceremello would specifically like to address if elected, he says: “We are one of the few cities in the State which has a nearly balanced budget and it has been achieved with few layoffs. There is still a marked schism, or two factions, on this council. The current sitting mayor has not provided the leadership or even suggestions to resolve long-standing problems. I am not talking about "pie in the sky" big ideas incapable of implementation, but common sense solutions.”
Steve Alexander is running for Mayor; he is currently working as a Transportation Planner for the State of California, and is the Sr. Vice Commander, Dixon Veterans of Foreign Wars. Alexanders long list of community involvement includes being a former elected City Councilmen 2004-08, Dixon Lambtown Logistics Chair, Dixon Taxpayers Association Member, Dixon Chamber of Commerse Member, Dixon Downtown Association Member, Dixon American Legion Member; he has also served on DHS Citizens Measure J Oversight Committee, the DHS School Sober Grad Night Committee, the DHS Site Council and the DUSD Safe Schools and Community Task Force.
"Dixon has four critical issues that concern me; fiscal responsibility, skyrocketing utility bills, the need for a voice of reason, and transparency with your city business," says Alexander, "My philosophy is: We must be prudent with your property taxes while still providing necessary and improved Police and Fire services. No increases in utility bills unless fully discussed in public and when absolutely necessary to keep the utility solvent. I will not sit idle during these turbulent financial times and allow unfair and self serving spending as this council is doing."
He continues, "If you elect me, I will also focus on fixing the traffic issues around the high school, always advocate against frivolous spending of your taxpayer money, and I will continue to fight for your voice in the decision making process. I stood by you in the past on some controversial issues and I will stand by you in the future!"
Steve Bird, running for City Council, has a 24 year history of upholding the law in Dixon, as he is currently a Police Captain with Dixon Police Department. Although this is his first election run, he is currently a Dixon Rotarian and a board member and coach for the Dixon Rugby Football Club.
Bird states, "The community is facing many challenges at this time. One primary goal I would strive for in the next four years, should I be elected, would be attaining a balanced budget and limit spending to within the cities means. This should be a primary goal for all elected officials. How and on what the budget funds are spent will be the challenge. Another goal would be to find closure to our current water issue, both with delivery and treatment. The current council has elected to pursue a serious study on whether or not the City can run its own water service. After these studies are performed I would seek a resolution which is cost effective and operationally sound, and one that can provide the best service at a reasonable price for our residents.
"As for specific issues to address, Bird says "making the community more business friendly in order to simulate the local economy, hopefully also providing for some higher level of local jobs would be one issue to be addressed. Maintaining top level public services related to public safety, community development, maintaining our parks, sports venues and infrastructure would also be a top priority to me. Most importantly, my desire to create a climate within our City Council Chambers that is one of council members that can be more united and more decisive on the tough issues in a reasonable and timely manner in order to get city business DONE, yet a group of public leaders that is truly willing to listen to the residents, the business owners, the public servants and the youth of our community in such a way that all can have a voice in the future of the wonderful town. "
Ted Hickman is running for City Council; he currently works as a Realtor and Property/Ranch Manager in Dixon. Hickman has been an active Dixon community member since the mid-1960’s. Currently an active member of the American Legion post 208, and Chairman of Dixon Toys for Tots, his involvement has made impacts as President and Co-Founder of the Dixon Little League, a referee for soccer and softball, Red Cross, Boy Scouts, 4-H, Dixon May Fair, and other non-profits. Hickman has served 3 election terms on the Dixon City Council, 2 of those were as Vice-Mayor.
He states his goal as a councilmember is to, “ work for the collective good of the community and assure an open responsive government that is dedicated to the idea that local government exists to ‘protect and serve.’”
Ian Arnold is also running for City Council. He tells us, "For ten years (1982-1992), I served honorably in the United States Air Force in Texas, the Middle East, Europe, and West Africa. After my military career, I worked for the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services and Contra Costa County," and he is now a Field Representative with SEIU Local 1021.
He has lived in Dixon since 2003 with his wife and three kids, and has volunteered for Dixon Little League and youth soccer programs. Since moving to Dixon, he has been actively involved in the community, assisting with youth soccer and tells us, "I was, by my own admission, probably the worst third base coach in the history of Dixon Little League." He has also volunteered at the May Fair and Lambtown.
In 2011 Arnold was appointed to the Dixon Public Library Commission and is currently a board member of the Oversight Board of the Successor Agency of the City of Dixon. He tells us, "as a grandfather, father, husband and community member who pays close attention and cares about the city and the well-being of our students, I've been very active at the School Board as well as Library Board meetings and frequently attend City Council meetings." He also, "worked closely with the Library Board to rein in unnecessary expenses, open the library up to disabled patrons in our community and change the Library's political culture."
“I'm a proponent of open government and quality growth,” says Arnold, “We need to do everything possible to ensure the work of the public is conducted in the open and that the public has full access to the information City Council uses in making decisions. We need to attract clean industry to Dixon and ensure that businesses relocating here provide jobs that allow employees to buy or build homes in the area, while maintaining our uniqueness.”
Arnold finishes with, "My Vision: As your Councilmember I will set aside ideology, make decisions based on the best and most current information possible, and focus on quality growth and a sustainable local economy. I will work tirelessly to preserve the unique character of Dixon, while encouraging economic growth.
Check back for candidate information updates and continued election coverage.