HOLTVILLE — For the first time in eight years, members of the Holtville City Council face a challenger.
The three Holtville council incumbents, Mayor James Predmore, Virginia “Ginger” Ward and appointee Mike Pacheco, will face political newcomer Murray Anderson, the Holtville High girls’ varsity basketball coach, in the November general election.
No election will be needed in Holtville for the school district board, as incumbents Matthew Michael Hester and Jared Adam Garewal run unopposed. The race will not appear on the November ballot.
The filing period closed at 5 p.m. Aug. 7 for all municipal, school board and special district elections in Imperial County, with the exception of a few races that were extended to Aug. 12 due to incumbents not filing.
Election Day is Nov. 3, but vote-by-mail ballots can be sent in starting Oct. 5.
Predmore and Ward have been on the council since 2012 and Pacheco was appointed to the council in 2019 to replace David Bradshaw, who resigned.
“I enjoy serving the community … I’ve done it for eight years now and continue to look forward to serving the community some more,” Predmore said Aug. 10 when contacted.
Ward and Pacheco could not immediately be reached for comment.
This will be Anderson’s first foray in politics. The Holtville schools’ product moved out of the city and out of the county for some years but returned to Holtville full-time a few years ago.
“I know I’m the challenger going up against three incumbents, but I think a new perspective is needed, on not just Holtville but all boards every so often. I think councils and boards become complacent if there is no challenge,” Anderson said Aug. 10. “Being Holtville raised and educated, I want to give back and pay it forward in the town where I grew up.
“I grew up here and my parents were all about civic pride, so when I moved back here, I knew I wanted to run for a seat on the council. I live here, I coach here, and I want to be part of the decision makers shaping our beautiful town for years to come,” Anderson added.
When asked what some of the big issues facing the city were this time around, Predmore said he wants to see more housing brought in to help raise the town’s population and entice some “fast-food restaurants to Holtville,” he said.
Said Anderson: “I’m not opposed to residential growth, especially considering how quickly the new homes on the northeast end of town sold. I’m not opposed to commercial growth as long as it’s done strategically. And when things get back to ‘normal,’ I’d love to see the city and schools collaborate on more events in town like bringing back the Holtville rib cookoff.”
Meanwhile, like Holtville, other normally staid elections are seeing a new infusion of life. In recent years, the Imperial City Council has seen more participation.
Incumbent council members Robert Amparano and Mayor Darrell Pechtl, who hold the only seats available, will be pitted against Imperial Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Susan Paradis and citizen Katie Burnworth.
Two seats are available on the Imperial Unified School District board and incumbents David Ross and Victor Manuel Lopez have qualified for re-election. Teacher and parent Liliana Cordova Duran also qualified to challenge.
For political junkies, it will be an active election season in Calexico and El Centro.
Eleven people have filed for four seats on the Calexico City Council, including the four incumbents. There are also elections for the Calexico Unified School District Board of Trustees and Calexico’s Heffernan Memorial Healthcare District board.
On the Calexico council, incumbent council members Bill Hodge, Lewis Pacheco, Morris Reisen and Camilo Garcia have all filed for re-election.
Going up against the four council members will be challengers Michael Christopher Mayne, a former city planning commissioner; former police officer and current Calexico Wellness Center board member Javier Moreno; current Heffernan Memorial Healthcare District Trustee Gloria Romo; former council member and mayor Joong Kim; resident Michael Anthony Jeffers; Raul Ureña, a founding member of the Imperial Valley Equity and Justice Coalition; and former Calexico police officer and current private investigator Jason Jung.
Three full four-year terms are available and one short-term, two-year seat is available. Incumbent Garcia, who now occupies the two-year seat, has filed for a four-year seat. He was appointed to the council in late June to replace disgraced council member David Romero. Reisen, who was appointed to a four-year seat in 2018, has filed for the two-year seat. In the short-term race, he will be joined by Ureña and Jeffers.
The rest of the candidates mentioned are seeking four-year seats.
With two seats up for election, Calexico Unified School District Board of Trustees incumbents Michael Castillo and Enrique “Kiki” Alvarado will defend their seats against business owner Margarita Magallanes.
The race to fill three seats on the Heffernan Memorial Healthcare District Board of Trustees extended to Aug. 12, as incumbent Gloria Romo is running for Calexico City Council. Incumbents Rodolfo Valdez and Hector Martinez have both filed for re-election and they will be challenged by Raul Ureña, who also filed for the City Council.
It was not available if anyone else filed for the extended Heffernan seat as of this newspaper’s deadline the morning of Aug. 12.
Meanwhile, in El Centro, three seats are up for election on the City Council, with incumbents Edgard Garcia, Efrain Silva and Jason Jackson all returning to defend their places on the dais. They will be challenged by Martha Cardenas-Singh, Alyssa Ibarra-Gonzales, Silvia Marroquin, and Sonia Carter.
In El Centro, both the high school and elementary school boards will see much action.
There are four seats open for election on the Central Union High School District board, three full-term seats and one two-year seat. Because an incumbent has not yet returned paperwork, the filing period on a four-year seat was extended to Aug. 12.
So far, in the full-term race, incumbents Jacinto Cruz Jimenez and Diahna Garcia-Ruiz have filed for re-election and challengers Maria Laura Peinado and Eric Leonard Rodriguez have qualified. Incumbent and board President Ryan D. Childers did not file for re-election.
Childers is in a run-off election Nov. 3 against J.B. Hamby for the Division 2 seat on the Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors. Also, IID Division 4 Director Erik Ortega is in a run-off with Calexico resident Javier Gonzalez.
The race is closed for the short-term Central Union High district seat, which is held by appointed incumbent Steven Martin Walker. Walker has filed for the election and so has Carlos Ramirez Hernandez.
The El Centro Elementary School District board has three seats available and all three trustees have filed to defend: Michael Ray Minnix, Patricia Lou Dunnam, and Charles R. “Chuck” Fisher. They will be challenged by school psychologist Frances Armenta Terrazas and elementary teacher Andrew Arevalo.
There were several other city council, school board and special district races up for election Nov. 3. The above races are those that will be covered by the Calexico Chronicle/Holtville Tribune/Imperial Valley Weekly. A complete list of qualified races was posted by the county elections department Aug. 10. Those running for city council seats in Brawley, Calipatria, and Westmorland should be posted directly on those city’s websites.