Candidate profile: Los Banos City Council District 1

Brian Ring
Brian Ring

Two residents who are new to the political process are running for the Los Banos City Council District 1 seat: Brian Ring and Daronica Santos.

Santos and Ring sat down with the Merced Sun-Star and Los Banos Enterprise to discuss their candidacies, including questions about themselves, their platforms and thoughts on issues facing the City Council.

Brian Ring

Q: Who are you?

A: Ring, 36, grew up in Fresno but has lived in Los Banos for six years. He started spraying homes and businesses for pests six months ago as a technician for Terminix.

Ring is engaged and has an 11-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter from a previous marriage.

Before working at Terminix, Ring worked as an ATM auditor for Garda, a private security agency, for more than seven years. In both jobs, Ring said he met many different people by traveling.

“The perk of the job is you’re not in the office all day,” Ring said. “You meet and learn how to deal with different personalities, how to talk to people.”

Ring went to Fresno City College, majoring in liberal studies and teaching. While he never finished his degree, Ring earned a real estate license and a EMT paramedic license.

Q: Why did you decide to run?

A: “I want to make a difference,” Ring said, noting that the opportunity presented itself when the City Council reorganized into districts.

Ring said he doesn’t “fit the mold” of the traditional candidate for City Council, and that’s an asset.

“In order for government to be effective, you have to have a little youth as well as experience,” he said. “I bring a voice to the younger generation, but on the same token I still talk to people in the retirement community (through my job).”

Q: What are your main goals for the City Council?

A: Ring wants to bring more entertainment and activities to the community. He wants to help create more jobs in Los Banos by encouraging, and even incentivizing, big names to places like the planned industrial park on Interstate 5. He also wants to staff more police officers and firefighters to boost emergency response.

Q: What is the first thing you would like to accomplish if you’re elected?

A: “The city has done a great job with Aqua Entertainment Center,” Ring said. “I’d like to add more like that. And I’d like to get more jobs locally.”

Ring said he would talk with other council members and city staff in his first days to get as educated as possible to make informed decisions.

Q: How do you think City Council can and should address future growth?

A: Ring said the city needs steady residential growth, not a boom.

“If we can maintain growth at a steady pace, then economic growth will come with it,” he said. “I think we need to work together with the school district to address growth.”

Q: What big or long-term projects are you most concerned with?

A: “We need to absolutely have a bigger medical facilities,” Ring said, noting that he knows people who have become ill but head out of town.

Ring said he recognized other projects are also facing the city, including moving the airport and the stagnant Highway 152 bypass project.

Daronica Santos

Q: Who are you?

A: Santos, a 30-year-old pharmacy technician for Dos Palos Pioneer Drug, moved from the Bay Area to Los Banos about 20 years ago with her family.

Santos, who also goes by the name Daronica Johnson-Santos, has been married for 10 years and has several siblings living in town. She has been working as a pharmacy technician in Dos Palos for about a year and a half.

Santos graduated from Los Banos High School in 2004. She said many people she has talked to on the campaign trail have recognized her from when she worked at KFC and Walgreens in the city.

“Helping people is my experience,” Santos said. “I really got to know people.”

She has been taking classes at Merced College and will join the residential nursing program at the college.

Q: Why did you decide to run?

A: “I feel like it’s my time to do more,” Santos said. “I definitely care about the city, and I can be there to listen to people and to help. My heart is in it.”

Santos said she wants to set a good example for not just her family, but kids around Los Banos.

Q: What are your main goals for the City Council?

A: Santos wants to bring more jobs to the city. She also wants to bring more activities for kids to deter them from gangs and other negative influences.

Q: What is the first thing you would like to accomplish if you’re elected?

A: “I would definitely say it’s building relationships,” Santos said. “Right now there is too much finger-pointing.”

Santos said she wants to be a council member who is known for being there to listen to ideas and opinions.

Q: How do you think City Council can and should address future growth?

A: Santos said the city should welcome businesses with open arms.

“We’re a prime spot coming down from the hill,” Santos said. “I think we should embrace it. ... It’s going to happen and we can’t stop that.”

Santos said she would work with City Manager Alex Terrazas to formulate creative plans to address the city’s growth.

Q: What big or long-term projects are you most concerned with?

A: “I’m for the bypass,” Santos said, referencing the stagnant Highway 152 project. “I’ve seen how bad it gets on the main street.”

Santos said some residents she has met while campaigning said the bypass might take away from the businesses in the area, but it was a good project that would have long-term benefits.

Vikaas Shanker: 209-826-3831, ext. 6562