Alex Terrazas braved a blizzard on his way out of Truckee traveling to Los Banos for his city manager interview earlier this year.
He arrived a day before his interview and parked downtown.
“I kind of fell in love with it,” Terrazas said. “To be honest, there are cities that would die for a downtown like this.”
Among Terrazas’ preliminary plans for Los Banos as its city manager is to provide a focus on downtown.
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Terrazas started work in Los Banos on July 1. Being new to the city, Terrazas said he is on a “listening tour,” holding meetings with staff members, community leaders and anyone who wants to speak with him about the city.
In addition to a renewed focus on enhancing downtown, Terrazas said economic development also will be key.
“I want to get a handle on economic development and retail attraction,” Terrazas said. “It seems like a real opportunity there.”
Terrazas, 53, will be moving to town soon with his wife, Denise, and 14-year-old daughter, Isabella.
Terrazas was hired on June 1 on a unanimous City Council vote. He is under contract for five years with a base annual salary of $170,000.
Terrazas graduated from California State University, Sacramento, in the 1980s with a double major in government and government journalism. He also received a master’s degree in government.
While working on his master’s, he worked as a legislative intern under former Democratic Congressman Vic Fazio. During that time, he was a staff assistant working on constituent cases and federal casework.
Terrazas left that position to work for the California League of Cities for several years. He said he used to pull information on topics and sample ordinances and worked on the statewide organization of city managers.
Terrazas left the state organization for Mountain View as an analyst in the city manager’s office. It was there that he started gaining experience in city government.
After seven years in Mountain View, Terrazas was hired as the assistant town manager for Truckee. In addition to the new responsibilities, Terrazas also enjoyed snowboarding in the mountain town.
In Truckee, Terrazas touched almost every facet of government, according to Truckee Town Manager Tony Lashbrook.
“He was able to work up and down in the employee ranks,” Lashbrook told the Enterprise. “He made sure things operated smoothly.”
Among Terrazas’ projects in Truckee, he helped organize the town’s departments when it received a new town hall. He also was instrumental in the town’s setups of garbage, cable TV and recycling programs. Terrazas was the town’s public information officer during times of crisis, and he lobbied for the town in the legislative arena.
Lashbrook also said Terrazas doesn’t seek the limelight. “He likes to understand what his bosses’ desires are, and makes it happen,” Lashbrook said.
That was apparent when Terrazas made a brief speech to about 30 people who met him at an open house before Wednesday’s City Council meeting.
“I’m excited,” Terrazas said. “I’m looking forward to working with the council, community, staff.”
During the meeting, council members welcomed Terrazas and were optimistic about him leading the city’s staff.
“I’m really kind of a generalist,” Terrazas said. “I’ve done a lot of different things. The department head team in Los Banos is really strong. ... There’s power in that and I want to tap into that.”
Vikaas Shanker: 209-826-3831, ext. 6562