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Council candidate: Carl Pollard

Carl Pollard (Incumbent)Residence: South MercedFamily: Never married, no childrenNumber of Years Lived in Merced: Born and raisedParty Registration: RepublicanBiggest Funders: $300 from Mike and Lori Gallo, $100 from Los Banos Mayor Tommy Jones, $100 from Livingston City Councilman Rodrigo EspinozaPast Experience With Public Office: Eight years on the Planning Commission; appointed to fill vacant City Council seat in November 2005Endorsements: None so far

If anyone is running with something to prove, it’s Carl Pollard. Pollard, a passionate and unapologetic advocate for South Merced, has run and lost a half-dozen dozen campaigns for City Council. But in November 2005, he got his big break when the council appointed him to fill the seat left vacant when Ellie Wooten became mayor. The controversy surrounding his appointment divided the city and prompted charges of racism from Pollard’s supporters. Two weeks later, he was pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy and cited for drug and vehicle violations. Pollard denied the drug allegation, and no charges were ever filed, but the incident had residents calling for Pollard’s resignation.

Since then he says he’s kept his focus squarely on the people, working to fix neighborhood complaints that residents bring to him. But his background on the Planning Commission has also made him advocate for getting citizens involved in the planning process. He’s asked city staff to host a public meeting to explain a new annexation, and among the proudest accomplishment of his two years in office was urging the city to finish the South Merced Specific Plan - the document that outlines the area’s development. “I pushed to get it done, because the city wasn’t looking at it before I was screaming and yelling about it. That whole area was going to be left behind.”

He also pushed to repaint a crosswalk in front of a Head Start site on 11th and G streets and worked to get street lights installed on the frontage road near The Grove apartments.

“I’m the people’s councilman,” said Pollard. “It means I go out there and get things done for the community. I want to be a voice for people that don’t feel they have a voice, and I will lead that charge always.”

But that doesn’t mean he’s only interested in South Merced. Pollard recently led the effort to get the fountain in Bob Hart Square named after longtime downtown advocate Susie Rossi.

He says his time on the council has been educational.

“People think they can get on the council and change things and get this done and that done, but I can tell them from firsthand experience that it doesn’t work that way,” said Pollard. “I’ve found that you have to work with people, even if you don’t get along with them.”