Misty Villarreal steps in as Lindsay councilmember

Lindsay’s City Hall clock tower in Lindsay, Ca.(Rigo Moran)

Lindsay City Council appoints Misty Villarreal to fill the vacant council seat left by former Mayor Ramona Caudillo in a 3-1-0 vote

LINDSAY – After listening to five eager applicants who wanted to step up to the plate and take over the remainder of former Mayor Ramona Caudillo’s time on the council, Lindsay City Council appointed Misty Villarreal to take on the role.

On June 25, the council voted 3-1-0 to appoint Villarreal to fill the vacant council seat left open by former Councilmember Caudillo. Councilmember Hipolito Cerros abstained from the vote. The decision was made after multiple applicants came to be interviewed by the council and stated why they wanted to fill the vacancy at the meeting.

“The role of the city council for me is to bring the community together and be transparent with our community members,” Villarreal said during the council meeting. “I feel that it’s my job as a leader to take what the city is asking … and try and hear out community members to make (Lindsay a place to be proud of.)”

During the interview process for the seat, all of the applicants were asked what they believed the most important issue in Lindsay is. During the meeting, Villarreal said she believes the most pressing issue in the town is having available facilities and programs for the local kids to take part in.

“I’m a teacher, so I see learners every day in the community… They don’t have much to do. Statistics show that kids (who) are involved in things in their community, they are less likely to go the wrong direction,” Villarreal said.

Villarreal also noted she did not mention water as the most pressing issue for the community because the topic of water was already mentioned by another candidate. She continued to say that she deeply values the community and is very involved in the Lindsay community.

One of the other questions asked during the interview process was how do the applicants handle complicated and controversial issues. Villarreal noted that she believes it is most important to hear both sides of every issue.

“I always feel that everybody should have a voice and as a team collaborate and come together and find a solution,” Villarreal said.

Councilmember Yolanda Flores also asked Villarreal if she would be able to attend city council meetings, as well as other mandatory community meetings held during working hours, since it is required of the role; and Villarreal assured the councilmember that she has a career which will allow her to attend the meetings without issue.

There was some minor disagreement on who should fill the position, however. Councilmember Cerros, who attended the meeting online, voted to have Esteban Solis fill the seat. Cerros said he appreciated Solis’ desire to revitalize the downtown and considered him as a top candidate. Cerros made a motion to elect Solis to fill the seat; however, the motion died after not receiving a second.

After Cerro’s motion failed, Mayor Pro Tem Ramilro Serna motioned to make Villarreal the new council member, which was seconded by Roseana Sanchez.

The need to fill the council seat comes following the resignation of former council member Ramona Caudillo’s, who officially stepped down as Lindsay’s mayor and as a council member in June.

“It is with great sadness that I am having to resign on June 7th 2024,” Caudillo wrote in her letter of resignation. “I reported this change on May 28, 2024, at our Regular City Council meeting, so it would be put on the minutes record as well. I will no longer be living in the city limits and therefore must relinquish my position as mayor and councilwoman.”

With the approval from council, Villarreal will fill Caudillo’s seat until the term ends, which is this year. After that, she can opt to run for a permanent position on council in the November 2024 election.

On that note, Councilmember Cerros also mentioned at the meeting he will not be re-running for council and encouraged applicants to run when his seat is up for election.

“If not selected today, please register to run this November,” Cerros said. “There will be some seats opening up, and I know (regardless of) whoever is selected today and whoever is elected this November, the direction of our city is bright.”

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