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6 Candidates Seeking 2 Seats On Santa Maria City Council

Six candidates will battle this fall for a pair of four-year terms on the Santa Maria City Council, according to Chief Deputy City Clerk Rhonda Garietz.

The filing period for the race to help lead Santa Barbara County’s largest city ended Wednesday after being extended five days when an incumbent did not submit paperwork for another term.

Councilman Bob Orach announced in July that he would not seek re-election after serving for 30 years.

With Orach out of the race, Councilwoman Terri Zuniga is the lone incumbent in the race.

Joining her on the ballot will be candidates Michael Cordero, Hector Sanchez, Michael Moats, John P. Childers Jr. and Ed Hernandez.

Cordero served four years on the City Council before making an unsuccessful bid for for mayor in 2012. He placed second in the field of four candidates that year. 

The retired lieutenant worked for the Santa Maria Police Department for more than three decades. He was born and raised in Santa Barbara.

Moats, a board-certified dermatologist who owns Moats Laser and Skin Care, has been in private practice in Santa Maria since 1978.

He previously served on the Santa Maria Planning Commission, and ran for City Council before dropping out in 2013 due to business commitments.

Moats has been active in service clubs including Kiwanis Club of Santa Maria and Santa Maria Breakfast Rotary Club. He also serves on the board of directors for Community Bank of Santa Maria.

Sanchez, who grew up in Santa Maria and left for college and a career, returned to help operate the family’s business, Sanchez Immigration and Taxes.

He spent more than 20 years in the software industry, and returned to Santa Maria four years ago. He is active in One Community Action group and has been endorsed by the Santa Maria Valley Democratic Club.

Childers, a plumber and business owner, has served on the city’s Board of Appeals. The panel considers appeals of decisions made by the city building official, and makes recommendations regarding Uniform Building Code provisions.

Another candidate, Ed Hernandez, returned his paperwork but had not qualified for the ballot as of Wednesday afternoon, Garietz said. Hernandez reportedly owns Mission City Fumigation.

Two other people picked up paperwork, but ultimately did not return it to be considered for council. They are retired police officer Felix Esparza and Donna Maribel Olivera Gonzalez. 

The race for mayor closed Friday since incumbent Alice Patino filed for another term.

She will be challenged by Will Smith, a former Santa Maria-Bonita School District board member whose four years were filled with contention.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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