Cantu backer: Mayor election not about char­ac­ter or per­son­al­ity; it’s about is­sues

Manteca Bulletin - - Opinion - David Cush­man Man­teca

Ed­i­tor, Man­teca Bul­letin, In 2016, I ran for City Coun­cil be­cause I be­lieved that our city govern­ment needed fresh ideas and a new per­spec­tive in deal­ing with the is­sues fac­ing Man­teca. Specif­i­cally, the lack of af­ford­able hous­ing for Man­teca’s work­force, our de­te­ri­o­rat­ing Down­town and the ab­sence of a real so­lu­tion to re­vi­tal­ize it, and the need for a com­mu­nity-wide so­lu­tion to deal with our home­less pop­u­la­tion.

While I was un­suc­cess­ful that year, the is­sues that I men­tioned con­tinue to per­sist, with­out clear so­lu­tions for solv­ing these prob­lems any­where in sight. These aren’t new prob­lems; they have been fes­ter­ing and build­ing over the last sev­eral decades. These are is­sues that could have been avoided had there been a dif­fer­ent mind­set among the Coun­cil in the 1990s and the fol­low­ing decade. We are now in 2018, and in need of a leader who not only rec­og­nizes these is­sues as se­ri­ous prob­lems, but has so­lu­tions to do some­thing about them. That leader is Ben Cantu.

Ben has lived in Man­teca his whole life, and spent nearly four decades work­ing as a City Plan­ner. Over the decades, Ben has at­tended hun­dreds of Coun­cil and Plan­ning Com­mis­sion meet­ings, and has many years of ac­tual govern­ment bud­get­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. His ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with the City up close gives him unique in­sight into how to ap­proach the prob­lems fac­ing Man­teca. Also, my fam­ily and I have known Ben and his won­der­ful wife Mary for many years, and can tes­tify to his per­sonal gen­eros­ity and com­mit­ment to help­ing oth­ers.

Ul­ti­mately, my sup­port of Ben comes down to the is­sues. Many fam­i­lies and young peo­ple like me, even those who work full-time, are priced out of the hous­ing mar­ket be­cause of un­bal­anced growth. Ben be­lieves in smart hous­ing growth that pro­vides ad­e­quate hous­ing sup­ply for these types of in­di­vid­u­als, to be tied in with an in­creased num­ber of po­lice and fire to meet com­mu­nity needs. Ben has a multi-part plan to re­store Down­town, which in­cludes re­lo­cat­ing City Hall and fo­cus­ing more of our City’s pre­cious re­sources on small busi­nesses and long­time busi­ness own­ers who are strug­gling. Fi­nally, Ben re­al­izes that our city govern­ment it­self is in need of crit­i­cal re­form, which in­cludes a plan for term lim­its for the Coun­cil as well as a mod­ern way of elect­ing the Coun­cil and Mayor.

One of the most com­mon things that I heard from reg­u­lar folks when I was run­ning for Coun­cil was that they didn’t feel like they had a voice in their govern­ment. They didn’t feel like the Coun­cil was tak­ing their con­cerns se­ri­ously. It’s an un­for­tu­nate fact that many of our res­i­dents feel this way. Many don’t bother to at­tend Coun­cil meet­ings be­cause they feel that the de­ci­sions have al­ready been made, and that their voice has lit­tle im­pact on what ac­tu­ally hap­pens. One thing that I like about Ben is his open­ness and will­ing­ness to com­mu­ni­cate with peo­ple on what’s go­ing on in our city. He is free to talk to any­one on just about any is­sue, even if you dis­agree with him.

As a side note, I must also say that I know most of the Coun­cil mem­bers on a per­sonal ba­sis, as well as the Mayor. I don’t doubt or dis­par­age their char­ac­ter, or that of their fam­i­lies. I re­spect them as in­di­vid­u­als, and ap­plaud them for step­ping up to serve our city. For me, this election is not about and has never been about per­son­al­ity or char­ac­ter. It’s sim­ply about the is­sues that Man­teca is fac­ing, and which per­son is the best one to con­front them. That per­son, with­out ques­tion, is Ben Cantu.

For every­one who be­lieves our city can do bet­ter and who wants to see things change, your choice for Mayor in 2018 is abun­dantly clear. Ben Cantu is the can­di­date with the knowl­edge, ex­pe­ri­ence, and so­lu­tions to de­liver on all the much-needed changes that res­i­dents have been de­mand­ing for many years. Let’s unite be­hind the per­son who will bring about a new era at City Hall. Let’s sup­port Ben Cantu for Mayor.

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