To those char­ac­ter­iz­ing Man­teca coun­cil mem­bers as ‘good old boys’

Manteca Bulletin - - Opinion -

Ed­i­tor, Man­teca Bul­letin. Dear Lori Romo (au­thor of Tues­day’s let­ter head­lined “Ben Cantu seems like the real deal”) and Lori and cit­i­zens of Man­teca:

This let­ter is to any and all cit­i­zens of Man­teca that re­fer to the mem­bers of the Man­teca City Coun­cil as “good old boys” and com­plain about what they have not ac­com­plished and think they, them­selves can do a bet­ter job.

Please al­low me to ed­u­cate what this in­volves. First of all to get elected, one needs to col­lect do­na­tions or fork out a lot of one’s own money to cover ex­penses of run­ning for of­fice. For my hus­band this meant about $30,000, of which about $8,000 came from our re­tire­ment funds. For the Mayor’s po­si­tion it means a lot more fund­ing and a lot more work. It’s not cheap to run for of­fice with cam­paign man­ager, yard signs, let­ters, postage, rental of venue’s, food to serve at events, fees to at­tend events and bas­kets to do­nate, le­gal post­ing fees, news­pa­per ads, etc.

Then there is get­ting out there and pound­ing the pave­ment walk­ing precincts: Rich and I walked 70% of the precincts in Man­teca and had 10 helpers who each walked 1-3 precincts each. They were a huge help. It takes a lot of time and per­se­ver­ance. This is step one. Ben Cantu, in all of his nu­mer­ous prior at­tempts at elec­tion, has never even both­ered to try rais­ing funds or do­ing the leg work needed for vic­tory.

One must con­sider that the coun­cil is a part time po­si­tion and one’s fam­ily can­not live off the stipend which they re­ceive from serv­ing. That means that most of the peo­ple on the coun­cil ac­tu­ally have full time jobs to sup­port their fam­i­lies. Steve, Mike, Gary, and Deb­bie all have full time po­si­tions, and Rich is re­tired, but still works part time do­ing in­come taxes. Even be­ing part time, the coun­cil is not just the Coun­cil meet­ings. It in­volves at­tend­ing most city events, ex­tra meet­ings, rep­re­sent­ing the City on var­i­ous com­mit­tees, be­ing pre­pared for meet­ings which means read­ing home­work, ask­ing ques­tions, re­search­ing in­for­ma­tion, and deal­ing with the pub­lic a lot. It takes a lot of time to pre­pare. It’s a lot of work while hold­ing full time jobs and bal­anc­ing fam­ily needs.

Rich is a vet­eran, hav­ing served in Naval Air for 12 years, was a for­mer re­serve level 1 po­lice­man in the city of Con­cord for 13 years (means he vol­un­teered ev­ery Fri­day evening and events to pa­trol and pro­tect the cit­i­zens), He served on 2 com­mis­sions in Con­cord. In Man­teca, he vol­un­teers with SAFE (Se­niors As­sist­ing Fire Depart­ment), CERT (Com­mu­nity Emer­gency Re­sponse Team), and Rapid Re­sponse Team, get­ting called out at all hours to di­rect traf­fic and as­sist emer­gency scenes. He be­longs to Sun­rise Ki­wa­nis, vol­un­teer­ing with their pro­grams and fund rais­ers. He is a mem­ber of the Cham­ber of Com­merce and

the Amer­i­can Le­gion. He brought a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge to the coun­cil. There are other or­ga­ni­za­tions which we are ac­tive in as well. The ma­jor­ity of the things he does is to pro­tect and serve the cit­i­zens as well as help­ing the City to be ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient. Most of the mem­bers of the coun­cil vol­un­teer in a sim­i­lar way.

Steve and his lovely wife Veron­ica are just as ac­tive, and prob­a­bly more so. He works full time, be­longs to many or­ga­ni­za­tions, and at­tends and sup­ports al­most ev­ery fundraiser and func­tion in Man­teca. He does an ex­cel­lent job for the City and de­serves our sup­port. They both do all these ac­tiv­i­ties while help­ing to car­ing for their daugh­ter and sup­port­ing her med­i­cal needs for the past sev­eral years. They are hard­work­ing and very civil minded and he does a fan­tas­tic job as Mayor. His ded­i­ca­tion and love of the City is end­less. We are for­tu­nate to have him as our Mayor. I sup­port Steve.

Mr. Ben Cantu is a nice man, but stuck in the an­cient past. You rarely see him at City Coun­cil meet­ings, bud­get ses­sions, lo­cal events or fundrais­ers. He claims to have so­lu­tions to all the prob­lems, but has no real con­cept of how to pay for said so­lu­tions. He has no idea about man­ag­ing a multi-mil­lion bud­get. He has yet to learn that one needs to live within one’s means and that you can­not spend money which one doesn’t have. He doesn’t seem to un­der­stand the City needs to work within a sharply de­fined bud­get. He prom­ises to hire more po­lice­men, but doesn’t say how he plans on pay­ing their salar­ies, med­i­cal cov­er­age, or re­tire­ment. He has ad­vo­cated elim­i­nat­ing the beau­ti­ful mu­nic­i­pal golf course. He ap­par­ently has no idea that the City coun­cil can­not make changes with­out the fund­ing to pay for those changes and most cer­tainly the mayor can­not do any­thing with­out a coun­cil ma­jor­ity vote. Some of the changes that need to be done oc­curred when Ben worked for the City and his work put the prob­lems in place. Re­al­ity is one can­not wave a magic wand and have ev­ery­thing com­pleted. The only way to pay for promised im­prove­ments is to raise taxes, and few peo­ple want that. Mak­ing a prom­ise or a wish doesn’t make it come true. Fund­ing to do the job does, and bal­anc­ing the bud­get is a step in achiev­ing the goal. Steven, Rich, Gary, Mike have past ex­pe­ri­ence deal­ing with bud­gets and stick­ing to them. Ben doesn’t. Ex­pe­ri­ence is im­por­tant.

If Lori at­tends the coun­cil meet­ings she would no­tice the cur­rent mem­bers are work­ing on fix­ing the down­town and work­ing on re­pair­ing the roads. They need to do it within the funds that they have. They also have lim­i­ta­tions within which they can work. The cur­rent coun­cil is a nice bal­ance and cross sec­tion of our com­mu­nity, and I feel that they are do­ing an out­stand­ing job. Our City work­ers are hard­work­ing and do a fan­tas­tic job keep­ing our City run­ning and in such great shape. Our Po­lice, Fire­fight­ers, Parks Depart­ment, and other city of­fices bent over back­wards dur­ing the re­cent re­ces­sion and did more, worked harder, and longer, with less. They de­serve our ap­pre­ci­a­tion and “Thanks for keep­ing our City run­ning.”

It’s a lot of hard work to run for City Coun­cil and it’s a lot of hard work to do the ac­tual job. Some cit­i­zens will agree with what you are do­ing and some do not. The one’s that dis­agree with you will let you know what they think, de­mand­ing that you fix their par­tic­u­lar prob­lem. Peo­ple, the city coun­cil can­not de­mand that a cer­tain store or restau­rant build in our town just be­cause you think it would be nice. Pri­vate com­pa­nies make their own de­ci­sions and de­mand­ing the city coun­cil do some­thing about it falls out­side their jobs. The job takes a lot of time away from their work and fam­i­lies and the com­plaints wear away on one’s de­sire to serve. We are lucky to have a ded­i­cated City Coun­cil will­ing to make the sac­ri­fices and hope most of the cit­i­zens in the Man­teca Com­mu­nity ac­knowl­edge that by vot­ing the de­serv­ing in­cum­bents back into of­fice. Linda Sil­ver­man Man­teca

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