A Few Letters, Sun-Star & and Mike McGuire Articles about Livingston Politics (and a few other things Worthy of Note) 2017


History3Note from TheGardeningSnail. Some of the links to Merced Sun Star Articles may have “expired”: which means, you might have to request a copy from the Merced Sun Star Archives. However, those of you with access to online newspaper data bases should be able to locate a copy that way as well. Might take you a few clicks, but already having a Title and a Date Published should help out a bit.

For those links that have expired: Sometimes doing a Copy/Paste of a title into your favorite Search Engine works too. If that doesn’t work, doing a Copy/Paste of part of the paragraph in italics and dropping that whole thing into your favorite Search Engine and doing a “Search” may also work.

If you want to research even further back, there are additional pages which can give you an idea about what happened, (or has not happened) to things like Water Rate Increases, or Development Projects that have been batted back and forth for several years. The links below will take you to Headlines and snippets from the following years

  • From 2008-2009

    • City Council Members – Daniel Varela, Frank Vierra, Rodrigo Espinoza, Margarita Aguilar, Martha Nateras

    • Significant Events:

      • Water Rate Increases, Foster Farms sues twice about Water Rates, The Recall Movement Begins:

      • Recall Supporters allege that new water rates are Illegal, Unwarranted, and Unnecessary.

  • From 2010-2011

    • One Foster Farms lawsuit is dropped and another goes to the State Appeals Court

    • Recall of two City  Council Members. Recall Supporter Teresa Land elected to City Council. Recall Supporter Rodrigo Espinoza elected as Mayor, Recall Supporter Warren Urnberg appointed as Temporary Council Member.

    • Water Rates rolled back to 1995 levels. Council abandons the Appeal

    • 2010 General Election.

    • City Council: Rodrigo Espinoza (Mayor), Maragarita Aguilar (Mayor Pro-Temp) Frank Vierra, Teresa Land, Gurpal Samra.

    • New City Attorney and City Manager

    • “Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee is established to “work with the consultants” on new water rates.

      • Richie King, Vice President at Foster Farms: one of the members appointed.

      • Margarita Aguilar and Gurpal Samra: Council Liaisons.

    • California Department of Public Health warns Livingston about the consequences of failing Maximum Contaminant Levels

  • From 2012-2013

From 2014…..The Year of the Drought Declaration, the destruction of the Court Theater, and discussions about Water Rate Increases taking place during an Election Year.

And, in addition to the above, the City of Livingston is sued because of the elevated levels of Arsenic in Well #13.


  • Rodrigo Espinoza (Mayor),

  • Gurpal Samra (Mayor Pro-Temp),

  • David Mendoza (Brother of Mario Mendoza: Planning Commissioner and Treasurer of the Recall Committee)

  • Arturo Saciaros,

  • Jim Soria.


From 2015, the year in which

FROM 2016


  • Rodrigo Espinoza (Mayor),

  • Gurpal Samra (Mayor Pro-Temp),

  • Alex McCabe

  • Arturo Saciaros,

  • Jim Soria.


  • The search for a New City Manager Drags on

  • There are multiple emergency repairs and upgrades to City Wells.

  • An Ordinance allowing cultivation of Medical Marijuana is adopted.

  • A New Contract Public Works director is hired, but only lasts about 2 months

  • The City becomes involved in the “Parking Lot Dispute” – eventually buying the parking lot next to Fiesta Mkt. in an effort to resolve the problem.

  • There is a proposal to change the terms of one council member to two years: for the 2016 Election Year.

  • The City is sued for records of Foster Farms Water Usage

  • Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza Is Elected to the Position of District 1 County Supervisor

  • A Livingston Officer is convicted of assaulting a man in handcuffs.

  • The City Adopts an updated Housing Element which clearly indicates the City would not have enough water for the estimated growth in Residential Housing over the next 8 years.

  • The Draft Urban Water Management Plan is released

  • Parallel Parking Returns to Livingston, In November, as part of the Downtown Improvement Project

  • After the 2016 General Election, one of the Councilmen Elect resigns before even taking office: meaning once again, a replacement will be needed.



McCabe will continue on Livingston council after winning appointment – January 19, 2017 – The Merced Sun Star – Brianna Calix – The Livingston City Council appointed Alex McCabe to fill a vacant seat this week after a winning candidate declined to serve as a council member. Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to appoint McCabe, who had placed fourth in the November election. McCabe, who was appointed to fill in a council vacancy in 2015, told the Sun-Star on Thursday he’s proud to serve the city of Livingston for another two years…Originally from the foothill town of Ahwahnee, McCabe is director of government affairs for Medihol, a medicinal cannabis company….In February, the City Council will assign committee responsibilities, make planning commission appointments and vote on a new city logo, Samra said.

Livingston to pay $600,000 to man in police assault claim, attorney says – January 20, 2017 – The Merced Sun Star – Thaddeus Miller – The city of Livingston will pay $600,000 to a man who said he was assaulted by a police officer during a child-custody exchange in 2012, an attorney representing the city said Monday.—Dwight Larks will receive the money as part of a settlement, said Dale L. Allen Jr., a San Francisco-based attorney who represented the city of Livingston.—Larks, a real estate agent, said he was assaulted by Livingston police Officer Tyson Perry on May 21, 2012, as the police sergeant supervised a custody exchange between Larks and the mother of Larks’ 15-year-old daughter.—According to records of the incident, Perry handcuffed Larks before throwing him to the ground and shoving his face into the concrete porch at Larks’ home. A Merced County jury decided June 24 that Perry had acted outside the law in doing so.

Livingston begins work on a resolution to become Merced County’s first sanctuary city – February 08, 2017 – The Merced Sun Star – Thaddeus Miller – The town appears to be on its way to becoming Merced County’s first sanctuary city, a symbolic self-designation meant to ease the minds of undocumented immigrants worried over ongoing changes to immigration policy under the Trump administration….The City Council heard a presentation on sanctuary cities during the meeting followed by the public input of concerned residents. None of the public speakers or elected officials spoke against a move to designate Livingston a sanctuary city.

Livingston police add three, back at full staffing, chief says – February 08, 2017 – The Merced Sun Star – Thaddeus Miller – Livingston added three new officers this week, rounding out the police department out 20 officers, according to Chief Ruben Chavez.—T.J. Griffin, Eddie Jimenez and Joe Thornburg took the oath Tuesday, making them sworn officers and bringing the department up to full staffing, Chavez said.

Livingston leaders plan to pick new city seal later this month – March 10, 2017 – The Merced Sun Star – Thaddeus Miller – Livingston’s leaders expect to adopt a new city seal at their next meeting later this month, an attempt to rebrand the city and appeal to tourists.—The council decided Tuesday to hold off on its final decision until the March 21 meeting, according to Councilman Gurpal Samra. The city will pick from at least 311 options, according to city records.—The council decided in September 2015 to part ways with the old city motto “The Last Stop,” a reference to a long-ago traffic signal that once stopped motorists on Highway 99. The motto change also will usher in a new seal, which will carry the new slogan “The Sweet Potato Capital.”

Former city manager ‘back in the saddle’ pending Livingston vote – May 15, 2017 – The Merced Sun Star – Thaddeus Miller – A former city manager in Livingston could fill the role again, he confirmed Monday.—Jose Ramirez, who left the city in 2015 after more than three years, could be hired during the city council meeting Tuesday.—The contract still needs approval during the regular meeting of City Council, Ramirez stressed. The council meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 1416 C St., Livingston.

Livingston becomes Merced County’s first ‘sanctuary city’ – May 17, 2017 – The Merced Sun Star – Thaddeus Miller – A heated meeting ended Tuesday night at City Hall in Livingston with a divided council formally declaring the city a ‘sanctuary’ for undocumented immigrants, prompting cheering and hugging in the audience.—The Livingston City Council voted 3-2, becoming the first city in Merced County to choose a side in an ongoing national debate.—Mayor Jim Soria and Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra cast the no votes. Council members Juan Aguilar, Alex McCabe and Arturo Sicairos voted in favor of the resolution.

North Valley community worried about impact from bills aimed to toughen up immigration enforcement – June 30, 2017- ABC30 – Nathalie Granda – —LIVINGSTON, Calif. (KFSN) –Two bills are moving forward after the House passed legislation targeting funding for sanctuary cities, and strengthening immigration enforcement.—“We are a nation of laws and we will no longer look the other way,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said.—The bills hit close to home for Livingston, more than 40-percent of the city’s population is from another country and they recently declared themselves a sanctuary city. Some city leaders said regardless of legal status criminals will be handled as so.