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Sandoval says Travel Plaza not the culprit in Harlan problems

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POSTED January 21, 2010 2:58 a.m.
LATHROP – Ruben Sandoval has nothing but praise for the business family that owns Joe’s Travel Plaza and the adjacent 81-room, three-story Best Western Inn & Suites Hotel on North Harlan Road.

The Camino Real Mobile Estates resident calls the Dhoot family as “socially responsible” business owners.

A case in point, Sandoval said, happened last spring when he tried to launch a community garden.

“I hand-delivered approximately 100 requests for donations from businesses in the city, and the Dhoot family business was the only one that offered to donate funds without being asked,” said the University of the Pacific graduate and a University of Phoenix doctoral candidate.

“In fact, a member of the Dhoot family took time to walk over and ask how they could help. This is what I call social responsibility,” Sandoval said.

While the financial offer “is still on the table,” Sandoval has not accepted it yet.

“I asked them (Dhoot family) to hold on. I am waiting to see when the residents take it upon themselves to step up and volunteer without being asked or influenced,” he explained.

Other local businesses though have stepped forward to provide in-kind help to the project. These include employees at the Lathrop Holiday Inn Express hotel and Joe’s Travel Plaza who “offered to help labor wise with the garden,” Sandoval said.

His comments about the Dhoots, he said, was to set the record straight that the family’s Joe’s Travel Plaza is not the culprit in the Camino Real owners ongoing problems with the traffic on Harlan Road. With Sandoval as their spokesman, about 20 to 30 mobile home residents complained to city officials that the heavy truck traffic along their homes have created structural problems to their residences. They claim that the jarring motions caused by the 24-7 traffic have been causing some of the homes to “sink” on their foundations resulting in drainage problems.

While Sandoval admitted that the heavy traffic is causing the problems, and that some people have taken a “negative view” of Joe’s Travel Plaza “where most of the large trucks go to, the truck stop is not the bad guy,” he said.

“The root causes (of the residents’ problems) are the condition of Harlan Road and the sandy soil in Lathrop. Sandy soil shifts and will not stay compacted. Therefore, road repair and upkeep should be one of the top concerns when creating budgets here in Lathrop,” he said.

Joe’s Travel Plaza features gas pumps for trucks and regular cars plus a convenience store which also houses a Subway and TCBY restaurant. Next door on a five-acre property on the corner of Thomsen Street and Harlan Road is the Best Western Hotel, fronted by a giant water fall that is easily visible from the freeway, which is also owned by Dalwinder Dhoot and his family.
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