Small-business owner and longtime community booster Necola Adams became Merced’s third contender for mayor this week, telling supporters that she is the best hope to shake up city governance and bring needed attention to south Merced.
Adams, who caters through The Cookie Lady’s Bakery & Cafe, formally kicked off her campaign Wednesday with a rally at the Boys & Girls Club of Merced County.
The location, she said, reflected her focus on young people. “I’m really about our youth,” she said. “They are our future, and if we don’t do anything, we’re going to lose another generation.”
Adams, 52, joins Councilman Mike Murphy and Mayor Pro-Tem Josh Pedrozo as a candidate for the November election to succeed Mayor Stan Thurston, who has termed out after five years in office.
I’m really about our youth. They are our future, and if we don’t do anything, we’re going to lose another generation.
Necola Adams, a mayoral candidate
Adams noted that because she grew up in south Merced, she would help bring attention to a part of town that is often neglected.
If elected, Adams said she would consider rebranding the area with a new name: SoMA District, short for South of Main Street Area.
“South Merced,” she said, has become synonymous with “ghetto” and “crime.” Such negative perceptions are unfair, she said, noting that the region is home to the Merced County Fairgrounds, the state Department of Motor Vehicles Office and Costco, among other economic drivers and government sites. That side of town can’t be forgotten as the city continues to grow toward UC Merced, she said.
“You’ve got a lot of great families living in south Merced,” she said.
Adams said she is approaching the level of contributions that require her to file with the city clerk. Candidates with a committee must submit itemized lists of contributions if they meet or exceed $2,000. The level is $1,000 for independent candidates, according to the Fair Political Practices Commission.
$4,370The amount raised by candidate Josh Pedrozo in 2015
$20,530The amount raised by candidate Mike Murphy in 2015
Murphy, who kicked off his campaign in December, reported collecting $20,530 last year, according to documents filed Monday. That amount dwarfs the total collected by Pedrozo, who garnered $4,370 last year and began his campaign in August.
Murphy, who practices law in Merced, received $2,349 from the Citizens for the Betterment of Merced County PAC, a cross-section of people involved in farming, manufacturing, and medical and legal fields. Another $2,000 came from Inmack Foods Inc., which operates fast-food restaurants in the area.
The Merced Police Officers Association has donated $2,000 to Murphy, as well. Thirty-one other individuals and businesses made contributions from $100 to $587.
Murphy has spent $1,752 on campaign materials, meetings and supplies.
Pedrozo, a Merced High School teacher, received his largest contribution of $1,000 from Forebay Farms LLC. Thomas C. Williams Inc., an engineering firm, gave him $750. Six others contributed from $100 to $500, as well as non-monetary donations.
He has spent $1,141 on travel expenses and fundraising events.
*This version corrects Adams’ age.