News Column

Steve Alvarado is Town's First Hispanic Mayor

Dec.7, 2012

Ryan McCarthy

Steve Alvarado had to tell his 9-year-old daughter that being mayor didn't mean he would take over a puppet show his predecessor in Live Oak directs -- but that might be the only downside for Alvarado and his election as mayor.

The 33-year-old native of Live Oak is believed to be the first Hispanic-American to hold the mayor's post.

"He loves the community," said Mayor Gary Baland, who steps down as mayor after two years.

Baland directs the Spread the Light Puppet Ministry, and Baylee Alvarado, 9, believed that work came with her father's new post.

Council members voted unanimously Wednesday for Alvarado as mayor, with his wife Joanna, daughter Baylee and son Esteban in attendance.

"He'll make a wonderful mayor," said Councilwoman Diane Hodges, who went to high school with Alvarado's mother. Hodges suggested Alvarado run for the City Council in 2010. Alvarado did and won a seat.

David Anderson, who teaches government, history and economics at Live Oak High School, taught Alvarado when the new mayor was a high school student.

"He'll be a good role model," Anderson said. "He's a good man."

Live Oak's ethnic makeup mirrors the high school's -- about 60 percent Hispanic-Americans, the teacher said.

Alvarado said Thursday that attracting more businesses to Live Oak and making Highway 99 safer are among key issues facing the community.

"We've just got to be patient," Alvarado said of bringing business. "It takes time."

"I truly believe it will happen," the new mayor said.

One of the lessons he's learned as a councilman is the pace of how things happen in the public sector.

"I actually expected to do things more quickly," he said.

Lakhvir Ghag, who won a council seat in the Nov. 6 election, was also sworn into office Wednesday.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2012 the Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, Calif.)

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