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Lathrop is for lawyers and liberal payouts

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POSTED April 14, 2009 4:49 a.m.
The City of Lathrop should be cautioned against ever opening a casino.
The way they’re running things they’d have looser slots than any casino in Reno.
A city employee files a sexual harassment claim. Why litigate? Just hit up the tax payers -  ka-ching! - for $500,000 to cover their losses after settling a claim in world-record time that hadn’t even had a chance to turn into a lawsuit.
 The mayor doesn’t like the harsh words of a public critic. No problem. Call in the rent-a-cop casino security to anger the critic who then files a lawsuit to secure a - ka-ching! - $40,000 pay day.
The head of the rent-a-cops is out for a long-time collecting big bucks. The firm Lathrop contracts with – the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s office – tries to send them replacement candidates – but the casino bosses wanted one that fits their needs and not that of law enforcement.  Ka-ching! Fork out a couple hundred thousand more in a payout.
An employee is given the door without following due process to create a big pay day – for the lawyers and the employee. Ka-ching! A liberal pay out of around $1 million in taxpayer dollars.
It certainly isn’t the way to run a profitable casino nor is it any way to run a city.
While one out of every five homeowners in Lathrop is busy trying to save their house from foreclosure, the City Council is burning through their money with as much finesse as General Sherman marched through the South.
The big shot bosses have basically blown the equivalent of $125 for every man, woman and child in Lathrop over the past five years on bad decisions that are the direct result of immaturity, council members who can’t keep their sexual thoughts to themselves, and using cops as wise guys to take care of political enemies.
Even those on the council who can claim they were in the majority, you’ve got to wonder if they know how to play the game considering the cards Lathrop wasn’t holding in the Matt Browne case.
But then again, it is so much easier to pass the taxpayers’ bucks and simply burden lawyers with the decision. Lawyers, by the way, who are paid by the hour without any incentive for a quick resolution.
Justice, one might contend, is a slow process. The same can be said of taxpayer torture.
The  bosses in Lathrop will respond to the latest bleeding of the money and goodwill of its citizens by doing what they do best – blaming someone. It doesn’t matter who it is – the press, the council opposition, aliens, Georgianna Reichelt, Richard Nixon, Big League Dreams, Manteca, or fluoride. It is always someone else that is giving Lathrop a bad name, not its elected leaders.
Abbott & Costello couldn’t top Lathrop when it comes to comedy routines. Lathrop is downright brilliant. How many other cities would allow a $70 million high school campus that they’ve been wishing and hoping to get for the better part of 40 years to proceed and forget minor details like working sewer, and street access. Whoops, sorry. Not their fault. It was the big bad developer. It was the school district. It was the press. It was the bogey man.
Everybody makes up things about Lathrop like the ridiculous claim that they are allowing thousands of homes to be built in a major flood plain. It’s a lie. Just because the level of the river is higher than most roof tops doesn’t mean anyone is in danger from levees that had more boils on them during the last major flooding than you could plug with all the taxpayer-financed shrimp cocktail consumed at pre-council meeting celebrations.
Yes, the entire world is picking on Lathrop– the Army Corps of Engineers, the press, citizens who disagree with them. It’s  just bad karma, not bad decisions.
Maybe this time around instead of just playing the blame game, Lathrop should get more creative. Post the infamous Matt Browne video on You Tube and tell the world that you filmed the guy going into a bathroom because you were worried about his safety.
Hire a public relations firm to replace the casino spokesman you had on contract but had to let go when it dawned on the bosses they might just want to cut back a bit on their expenses as property taxes come crashing down around them.
A good PR firm could play off the proven Virginia is for Lovers campaign.
They could throw a big unveiling bash of the new slogan and distribute bumper stickers with the message on it at a shrimp cocktail gala staffed with rent-a-cop security to celebrate another brilliant move.
The slogan? Lathrop is for lawyers.
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