Ben Barrientos, a longtime Livermore resident and retired educator, is vying for a seat on the City Council to represent District 2 -- the Northeast portion of the city, which includes the Springtown neighborhood.
"My wife Ann and I have lived here for 20+ years, and rarely does anyone get elected from this side of 'the tracks.' Now that the district has been created, I want to be the first representative from an area of town that has too often been ignored," Barrientos wrote on his campaign website.
During his career in education, Barrientos taught kindergarten through middle school and served as a middle school dean, assistant principal and principal. He's previously coached youth soccer and he currently coaches wrestling at Oakland High School, according to his campaign website. An active member of the Livermore Lions Club, Barrientos leads the organization as its president.
He was also formerly a member of the Berryessa Union School District Board of Trustees.
"My past service as a school board member inspired me to become a Livermore City Council candidate this year in order to help fix our poorly functioning administration. Then, my disappointment with the downtown redevelopment convinced me that I had to do something besides sit and watch," Barrientos said.
Barrientos is set to face-off against travel agent and community organizer Mel Chiong for the District 2 seat. District 1, which includes the Northwest quarter of the city, is also up for grabs in the Nov. 8 general election. The two council terms that are expiring this fall are currently held by Councilmember Trish Munro and Vice Mayor Gina Bonanno, which were both at-large seats that are transitioning to district elections for the first time this year.
Barrientos said in a statement to Livermore Vine that he supports relocating the contentious Eden Housing development planned for downtown at the southeast corner of Railroad Avenue and L Street, "so a beautiful central park can be enjoyed by all."
He also highlighted public safety and environmental issues as topics of importance.
"As your representative on City Council, I will bring more incentives for energy and water conservation and protect open space, like the Garaventa Hills. A police substation north of 580 would provide quicker response times," he said.
Other issues Barrientos cites as priorities on his campaign website include, allocating existing sales tax funds toward better and more frequent road repair as well as encouraging opportunities to expand and lengthen North Livermore trail systems for hiking, biking and equestrian use, among other matters.
"From a philosophical standpoint, I can say it’s easy to think about what it might be like to be a public servant, but actually serving brings a whole new perspective," Barrientos said.
"One needs to expect a wide variety of triumphs and disappointments, being steadfast in principles, celebrating when things work out as planned, and being humble and accepting when a goal does not gain support with the rest of the members. I can confidently say that I have the temperament to carry out the public’s wishes as a trusted representative. Frankly, we have seen some pretty uncivil (to put it mildly) behavior from politicians lately and it does not sit well with me. As your City Council Member, you will find that I am not 'that guy,'" he added.
To learn more about Barrientos and his campaign, visit BenBarrientos.com