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Outgoing Somerton councilman happy to have brought differing views to council
SOMERTON — Others might have thought he was too much of a contrarian, but Arturo Magana says he was just trying to bring a different point of view to the Somerton City Council as he staked out positions opposite those of other council members.
For example, he was a vocal critic of the city's recycling and animal control programs, saying neither was cost-effective as he campaigned earlier this year for mayor against incumbent Martin Porchas — who happened to be a proponent of both programs.
The other council members likewise were in favor of the programs.
“I didn't agree,” said Magana. “I continue to disagree and that's only natural. It's impossible that seven people (on the council) are always going to think the same way.”
Magana chose to run against Porchas for mayor in the city's March primary election rather than seek re-election to his council seat.
“I wasn't completely sure I was going to win. I took a chance. I would have had a better chance winning if I ran for another council term, but I was ready to accept the results.”
As it happened, Magana lost his mayoral bid, and he has wrapped up what he said would be his last term of public office in Somerton. He said he needed to dedicate more time to his job as manager of the Somerton office of the nonprofit social service organization Chicanos Por La Causa, as well as to his family and some personal projects.
“I won't be returning. Twelve years are enough to give to the community from the council,” said Magana, who besides being a council member served a prior term as mayor.
Although he might have taken the minority position on some issues, Magana feels satisfied in having helped “to change the dynamic of the council,” he said.
“Before being a council member, when I was part of the (Somerton) Parks and Recreation Commission, I would go to the meetings and I saw there was never any discussion, that one person did the talking and the others followed. I believe I helped change that dynamic.”
The council seat Magana otherwise would have defended was won by Carlos Gonzalez, a Somerton elementary school teacher making his first run at office.
He, Porchas and newly re-elected Councilmen Gerardo Anaya and Miguel Villalpando were sworn into office recently in a ceremony presided by Somerton Municipal Judge Manuel Figueroa. All of their terms will be four years.