Official election results from the 2020 election show there has been a shift in the Delano City Council, as the five-person council has a majority of members who lean progressive.
Three new council members — Veronica Vasquez, Salvador Solorio-Ruiz and Joe Alindajao — filled the seats. The three council members who lean more progressive include Vasquez, Solorio-Ruiz, and Mayor Bryan Osorio.
Delano residents express both uncertainty and excitement towards the shift.
“There is no government anywhere that God has not placed in power,” said community member Mario Reyes said. “So those who refuse to obey the law of the land are refusing to obey God, and punishment will follow.”
He continues to express his concerns on the shift of the council. “Life confirmation to move on and don’t dwell on choices you can’t control. Make the best out of any situation because at day end, it’s your family who you come home to, not to the five on that panel.”
Some residents believe the way the city council members lean shouldn’t impact their duty to do what’s in the best interest of the Delano community.
“The position of a city Council member is not to promote an ideology upon people,” said Delano pastor David Vivas. “I would expect a City Council member to work to resolve ongoing problems or issues in our community. I would expect city council members to respect the United States Constitution and exercise patriotism since they vow to do so when they are sworn into office.”
Vivas said the issues that need to be addressed in the community include drug dealing, gang violence and shootings.
“I believe it would be good to implement some type of a neighborhood watch so that suspicious activities can be reported through social media or an online app,” said Vivas.
Some community members say the new shift on the board could benefit the city of Delano in many ways.
“With the progressive shift, the city council will see issues with a fresh perspective and new mindset to work for the people,” said resident Paola Garcia.
Lupe Martinez is a community organizer and says he’s been working and waiting for this shift for a long time.
“I believe that it is now to get young folks with big hearts who want to do the right things for our communities, is Now,” Martinez said.
Martinez said he hopes to see a change in water contamination as well as lack of low income housing and programs for youth to prevent children from getting into violence.
“I do not recall when the community has had three progressive young council members,” Martinez said. “The opportunity to do good things for the residents can now take place.”
For the Nov. 3 election, Vasquez finished with the highest number of votes in Delano City Council history with 4,432 votes, followed by incumbent Joe Alindajao, who received 4,067 votes. The third seat was filled by newcomer Salvador Solorio who received 3,207 votes.
Hector Jimenez has worked on a few of the Council Members campaign and says he did expect the shift. He believes that having a shift to a more progressive council is good, and he said it’s time for the young people to lead.
“There has been a long state of complacency in the city,” Jimenez said. “A lot of nothingness that has come out of the city council, and so I feel like this election was a response to that.”
Jimenez said he hopes the council focuses on revisiting the mask mandate to help combat Covid-19, and prioritizing water, rent control, and gang violence. He would also like the council to focus on opportunities for the immigrant community.
“It would be amazing if the city works with local non-profits or local law firms to do something about the immigration problem,” Jimenez said. “An immigration clinic would be amazing — you know just to give the undocumented community in Delano the voice and extend the olive branch and say, ‘y’all belong here, y’all are amazing.”
City Council members were sworn in on Monday.