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November 30, 2013

Merced’s new councilmen to be sworn in

Monday will be the first day on the job for the Merced City Council’s 3 newest members.

Monday will be the first day on the job for the Merced City Council’s newest members.

The winners of November’s municipal elections will be sworn in Monday during the regular council meeting, according to city officials.

Councilmen-elect Michael Belluomini and Kevin Blake will take the oath, along with re-elected Mayor Stan Thurston and Councilman Josh Pedrozo. Thurston will serve a three-year term and each of the councilmen will serve five-year terms.

The terms have been increased by an extra year this time around because voters approved Measure J, which moves municipal elections to even-numbered years with statewide elections. Once the elections line up, the terms will return to their usual two- and four-year lengths for mayoral and council seats, respectively.

Belluomini and Blake will replace Councilwoman Mary-Michal Rawling and Councilman Bill Blake, Kevin Blake’s father, who did not run for re-election.

Belluomini, who had the third most votes, ran on a platform that touted his more than 30 years in city and school planning. The 63-year-old said Merced should prepare its raw land for development. This would allow the city to court developers, he said.

He received the third-highest amount of campaign dollars at $11,987, and said he was proud that only one donation exceeded $500.

Blake, 33, ran his campaign with a focus on ways Merced could effectively tackle homelessness, crime, gangs and drug abuse. He said that if the city can improve on dealing with those issues, development will come.

Blake raised the second-highest amount, with $15,679 through the final campaign statement deadline of Oct. 19.

Pedrozo, 30, ran for re-election while pushing what he saw as a successful first four years. He pointed to increasing development in town and avoiding any city employee layoffs over the past two years. The son of Merced County Supervisor John Pedrozo, he raised more campaign money than all of his competitors, bringing in $26,053 through Oct. 19.

Thurston, 69, also ran on his record, defeating Councilman Noah Lor by a small margin. He touted the new businesses and jobs that came up under his tenure, as well as his efforts toward an inclusive and transparent government.

The mayor’s campaign contributions totaled $23,632 through the final filing period.

City Council meetings are streamed live on the Internet, and a link can be found at The live broadcast of the meeting is also on Comcast Channel 96.

The meeting is 7 p.m. Monday on the second floor of the Merced Civic Center, 678 W. 18th St.

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