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‘Captain Jack’ lauded for service to Manteca

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‘Captain Jack’ lauded for service to Manteca

Jack Snyder tests out the recliner presented to him at the roast Friday night.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED January 10, 2009 12:25 a.m.
It was billed as a roast.
But in the end, no one wanted to have a laugh at the expense of a man that many who gathered credited with leaving positive marks on Manteca that will last for generations. Those “marks” include the 52-acre Woodward Park, the Manteca Senior Center, the Highway 120 Bypass, and assorted community improvements including the big role he played in establishing the Manteca Boys & Girls Club.
More than 100 people gathered Friday evening at Prestige Senior Living to honor Jack Snyder.
Snyder — who just ended 26 years of service on the City Council — was lauded for non-stop community service since he first arrived in Manteca from Ohio due to a job transfer.
“This man is connected with all the right people in town — the people who care about it,” said City Clerk Joann Tilton who has known Snyder since she was 5 years old.
Former Manteca City Manager David Jinkens — who now holds the same position in South Lake Tahoe — recalled how Snyder was the idea man who also pushed things through to completion who was behind a number of things that Mantecans take for granted today.
“Mr. Snyder came into my office one day and announced we’re going to build a new senior center and he wanted it done in the next year or so,” Jinkens recalled.
Jinkens noted a lot of people get into elected office for various reasons — greed, ego, power, prestige, public service, vendettas, or a combination of such reasons.
“With Jack, it was always about service,” Jinkens said.
Developer Mike Atherton called Snyder a “great mentor.”
“I learned a lot from Captain Jack,” Atherton said. “He taught me you need to give in order to receive if you’re going to develop in a community.”
It was Snyder who came up with the idea for a 50-acre community park.
When Atherton and his partners were first approached, Atherton said he thought Snyder was talking about 10 acres.
But when he said 50 acres, Atherton hesitated but then thought they’d make money off the sale of the land. Snyder, though, had other ideas.
“I’m thinking about the park being a gift to the city,” Atherton recalled Snyder saying.
Atherton said he started to understand how that would impact his plans to develop when Snyder asked, “would you rather have a plan with a 50-acre community park or 300-acres of watermelons?”
When Snyder asked how it was going to be developed, Atherton said through park development fees on new homes.
Despite giving the city 52 acres worth hundreds of thousand of dollars at the time, Atherton not only paid park fees on each home built near by but once led the charge to increase them so the city could afford to do the improvements.
Atherton did, though, manage to get a zinger in during the roast hosted by the Manteca Kiwanis.
Atherton noted Snyder picked up the nickname “Captain Jack” after he took over leadership of the Manteca Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police.
“With Captain Jack in charge people with out-of-date (vehicle) registration were getting five years to life,” Atherton cracked.
Atherton added you’d come out of Safeway and see your car being towed for late registration.
“You can’t get mad,” Atherton said. “You yell at a guy whose 89 years old and he might have a heart attack.”
Atherton’s parody on the SHARP unit got the biggest laughs but it underscored how Snyder would always call on people to step up and help with community endeavors such as SHARP.
“Jack is always asking people to volunteer,” said Mayor Willie Weatherford who served as the master of ceremonies.

Longest serving councilman in Manteca history
Snyder, 82, is the longest serving councilman in Manteca history essentially serving almost a third of the time that Manteca has been an incorporated city. The city has roughly tripled its population since the first time he was elected.
While Snyder’s quarter of a century service interrupted by a12-year gap from 1990 to 2002 saw a lot of major decisions, Woodward Park stands out as the one project that he essentially was both the architect of the concept and the promoter who made it happen.
Snyder served 19 years on the council the first time around prior to his defeat in 1990 by Frank Warren.
Snyder was on the council when a brutal recall campaign removed Mayor Trena Kelley and then council members Bobby Davis and Rick Wentworth. Snyder ended up being the second directly elected Manteca mayor. Warren replaced him in 1990.
His first tenure on the council occurred during several other dark episodes at City Hall including city’s inability to keep up with growth that drove Manteca to the cusp of bankruptcy and depleted reserves down to $1,000. He was part of the City Council that put in place the Northern San Joaquin Valley’s first growth cap policy. It is a move credited with putting Manteca on a path to a solid fiscal footing.
Snyder played a pivotal role twice in securing funding for the Highway 120 Bypass. Once when citizens and the council succeeded in getting the route relocated out of downtown on Yosemite Avenue to its present location and a second time when a barrier was put in place after 34 people died in less than three years of the new highway that was originally built with a travel lane in each direction with an alternating passing lane.
Snyder was appointed to the council in December 2002 to fill the remaining two years of Weatherford’s council seat after he was elected as mayor. He was re-elected in 2004 to his current term ending tonight.
Major projects that have taken place during his second tour on the City Council included laying the ground work for the city to snag the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley lifestyle mall anchored by Bass Pro Shops, the Stadium Retail Center anchored by Costco, and the Big League Dreams sports complex.
Snyder is a retired Libbey-Owens-Ford industrial relations manager.
Snyder is currently the captain for SHARP, a director of the Give Every Child a Chance board that provides free tutoring services and a member of the Manteca Boys & Girls Club Board.
He was one of the key people who got the Boys & Girls Club started 30 years ago and has served on the board and as president. He also is credited with launching the telethon 29 years ago. The event has not only turned into a Manteca tradition but is the club’s largest source of funding to provide services to 1,500 youth in Manteca-Lathrop.
He has served as president of the Manteca Historical Society, United Way campaign chairman, East Union Cemetery Board chairman, Community Prayer Breakfast Committee chairman, the Doctors Hospital of Manteca advisory board, district chairman for the Boys Scouts, East Union High Athletics Boosters Club president, held every post and county office in the American Legion and is a former member of the Manteca Morning Rotary Club. He is currently a member of the Manteca Noon Kiwanis.
Snyder and his family moved to Manteca in June of 1962 from Toledo, Ohio, to help open the LOF plant in Lathrop.
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