The citizens of Tracy changed the makeup of the City Council in the Tuesday general election.
Deputy district attorney Dan Arriola led all candidates, earning the support of 22.31 percent of Tracy residents who cast a ballot — 4,605 votes in all. Mayor Pro Tem Veronica Vargas was returned to office with 4,004 votes — 19.4 percent.
“I’m really excited. I’m really optimistic about the outcome and I’m really looking forward to what we’re going to be able to do as a community moving forward,” Arriola said Wednesday. “I just want to say thank you for the opportunity and privilege to take a seat on the City Council. Having grown up here, it really is a privilege to serve and help lead our community.”
Arriola said that while his first priority is public safety, he is excited to get to work on economic development, including looking at business incubators, as well as homelessness and affordable housing.
“I took a position of no on M myself,” he said. “However, I am committed to seeing affordable housing done in our community.”
Arriola said although he was attacked personally during the campaign, he wants to be part of the process to heal any schisms on the City Council.
“We have to return to civility,” he said. “There’s been concerns related to the types of campaigns that were run and there’s been a lot of anger and hurt in our community. So I think it’s important that we realize that today is a new day, that we have a new council and that we need to really begin the healing process and be able to forgive and move forward.”
Emergency room nurse Dotty Nygard came in third with 3,836 votes, 18.59 percent, while incumbent Councilwoman Juana Dement got 3,411 votes, 16.53 percent. Educator Catalina Olvera and computer engineer Amer Hammudi rounded out the field of candidates with 12.54 percent and 10.63 percent of the vote respectively.
Vargas sent an email Thursday evening in response to requests for reaction about her re-election or priorities in the coming term.
"This was a very hard fought campaign. I am thankful to the residents that voted for me. There is still many votes that need to be counted so, like everyone else, we are waiting to see the outcome," she wrote.
Mayor Robert Rickman was returned to office for his final two-year term, getting 6,503 votes — 54.39 percent of the ballots cast in the mayoral race. Councilwoman Nancy Young, who challenged Rickman, got 3,030 votes — 45.61 percent.
Rickman also did not respond to requests for an interview.
Mountain House CSD
The two incumbents on the Mountain House Community Services District governing board handily won re-election Tuesday.
Director Manuel Moreno got 40.83 percent of the vote and Director Brian Lucid earned 34.73 percent. Challenger Victor Liew got 24.43 percent of the ballots cast.
Moreno said Wednesday how grateful he was for the community’s support.
“I’d definitely like to thank everybody who did support me, voted for me, put lawn signs out, attended my events,” he said. “It was nice to get out and meet more people in the community. I’m looking forward to strengthening and continuing to grow those relationships over the next four years.”
In an email Wednesday, Lucid wrote that his first priority is to see Mountain House built out to the master plan, but he also wants to see more accountability from the CSD.
“Accountability in: protecting our investments, monitoring services, controlling spending. And supporting our volunteers in town,” Lucid wrote. “I love my town and I’m honored to be chosen by my neighbors to continue serving. I want to retain their trust in me to do what’s right for Mountain House.”
Moreno said he’s excited for the next four years and will work with developers and the community to evolve Mountain House into more than “just a commuter town.”
“The other one that I’d really like to see us move forward with is starting the process to get Mountain House incorporated,” he said. “I think it’s time. I really think we’re poised to take control of our destiny and run with it. I think we have community support; we really have a great board.”