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Manteca still has to move forward morning of Nov. 3

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POSTED July 27, 2010 3:20 a.m.
It is easy to get caught up in the notion that the upcoming Manteca municipal election on Nov. 2 is about the candidates.

Mention any of the names - Willie Weatherford, Carlon Perry, Ben Cantu, Debby Moorhead, Samuel Anderson, Richard Behling, Vince Hernandez, or John Harris - and many will offer snap assessments based on the candidates’ personality and stances, perceived and otherwise.

Along with that comes predictable labels for incumbents and challengers alike that range from the unflattering to those that paint candidates with one broad brush.

In reality the election is about the people who support specific candidates and the hopes they invest in them.

Typical are those who support Hernandez and serve on his committee. What they want to see for Manteca probably differs little, if at all, from what supporters of other council hopefuls want to see for the city. The difference is in how to accomplish those general goals and just what role city government should assume.

Peel away their reasons for supporting Hernandez and you will recognize common ground even with those who portray themselves as diametrically opposed to Hernandez. The same is true of detractors and supporters of each and every other candidate.

Jim Rachels sees a great need for Manteca to position itself so that when the economic recovery comes the community gets an ample cut of new jobs created by expanding or relocating companies. It is doubtful that backers of other candidates don’t see job generation as essential.

Frank and Janet Fiore emphasize the importance of promoting a strong community fabric and being able to know their leaders are hard working and can be trusted to do the right thing. It is doubtful that supporters of any of the other seven candidates stray far, if at all, from that notion. Of course, from their different perspective their candidate is the one that they can trust or count on to keep the community strong.

Darryl Quaresma speaks of the need for  “no-nonsense” leadership. Chest pounding and rhetoric tossed about like verbal grenades are counterproductive as most will agree. Of course, some don’t display restraint when they are on the losing end and don’t see what they are doing per se as being counterproductive but that hardly means they embrace such behavior. It’s just that political posturing is in the eye of the beholder.

Tony Dhaliwal wants a Manteca to continue to be the type of city that he purposely sought out as a place he wanted to raise his family. It’s doubtful you’re going to find any supporters of other candidates wanting to turn Manteca into a no man’s land.

Art Nunes talks how Hernandez’s “job speaks for itself.” It is the same sentiment that supporters of others will say about their candidate. You’re not going to find very many people supporting someone they don’t believe in.

Jackie Johnston likes how Manteca openly supports and fosters activities for senior citizens, something she knows first-hand is often lacking in much bigger cities. She sees Hernandez as being extremely supportive of senior programs operated by the city. But then again, it is highly unlikely any other candidate is going to advocate the city board up the Manteca Senior Center.

Ruth Bricker, a retired Department of Corrections parole supervisor and spouse of Manteca Police Chief Dave Bricker, puts support of law enforcement and the embracing of ventures to reduce future crime at the top of her list. Again, there is no one running who will want to be referred to as “anti public safety.”

The real differences come in how to go about obtaining various goals that people want to see the City of Manteca strive to secure.

How does one define support of law enforcement? Does it mean through increased manpower? What if manpower is increased at the expense of crippling other programs such as the Manteca Senior Center? Does it mean supporting pay increases unconditionally or does it mean a course of action that keeps wages in line as much as possible with economic realities? And what about cutting pay as a way to increase manpower? Would that ultimately backfire on the quality of officers on the street down the road when the economy picks up?

There is going to be plenty of name calling, finger pointing, cries of foul, distortion of records and/or positions, mudslinging, and innuendoes made about the objectives of challengers and incumbents alike in the coming months.

Like it or not, that is part of the American political landscape.

At the end of the day, most Manteca residents pretty much want the same thing - safe streets that don’t have gigantic potholes, quick and professional emergency medical and fire responses, toilets that flush without polluting the river, clean and reliable drinking water, economic growth, orderly neighborhoods, and various degrees of other amenities ranging from parks and a library to recreational opportunities.

It is how we get there and what balances we strike that is the basis of the big debate every election cycle.

That is why everyone should keep in mind that Manteca still has to move forward in some form or another come the morning after Nov. 2.

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