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Council candidate: John Carlisle

John CarlisleResidence: North MercedFamily: Married, one child, two grandchildrenYears Lived in Merced: 36 yearsParty Registration: Declined to state a party on his registrationBiggest Funders: $1,000 from Merced-Mariposa Central Labor Council; $1,000 from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2703Past Experience With Public Office: NoneEndorsements: Merced Police Officers Association, Merced Police Sergents Union, State Coalition Of Probation Organizations, Merced Firefighters Association

Of the five City Council candidates, Carlisle seems most interested in shaking up the status quo. He’s said more than once that real estate interests hold too much power in Merced. As an elected official without a real estate background, Carlisle says he would represent “the entire city without having my economic interests involved.”

He also mentioned during a Sun-Star editorial board meeting that the City Council should take a stronger hand in steering city policy, instead of bowing to the influence of city staff and City Manager Jim Marshall.

A former probation officer who served for 13 years on the Multi-Agency Narcotics Task Force, he now teaches criminal justice at Merced College. Carlisle says his law enforcement background would bring a different perspective to the council — one that’s “based on reality” — to help the city tackle its gang and drug crisis, both on enforcement and prevention.

“I think I’m the only one that has the background and knowledge to look at that problem in a way that might actually help,” said Carlisle. “When somebody is simply talking about how a bunch of jobs will take care of the problem, they’re being naive at best. It would help, but it’s not a solution to the problem.”

On the controversial Wal-Mart distribution center project, Carlisle says he wants the city to take a close look at how the project could affect Merced’s air quality and traffic. He also wants to make sure the wages that Wal-Mart would pay would be enough to buy a house. “We have to look at the quality of jobs, not just jump at the chance to get jobs for jobs’ sake,” said Carlisle.