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Lathrop buries hatchet with mayoral transition

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Lathrop buries hatchet with mayoral transition

Sonny Dhaliwal takes the oath of office Monday as Lathrop’s mayor.

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED December 5, 2012 1:31 a.m.

LATHROP – There wasn’t much pomp and circumstance involved in Sonny Dhaliwal’s ascension to the Lathrop Mayor’s seat Monday night.

He only shifted one position on the dais and was the third person to take the oath of office behind incumbent Martha Salcedo and returning Councilman Steve Dresser.

But for the hundreds in the crowd that packed the Lathrop City Council chambers to see Dhaliwal take the gavel and swear to uphold the constitutions of both California and the United States, it represented a new era – the turning of a page that was at times arduous and hostile.

Not even the man he unseated, however, had any ill words on his way out the door.

Prior to symbolically embracing Dhaliwal with a handshake and a few cordial words, outgoing Mayor Joseph “Chaka” Santos called the entire Dhaliwal family up to the lectern and asked them all to support their father as he embarks on this political journey.

“Whatever differences he and I had, that was in the past and it’s now time to work cohesively – it’s time for a new regime,” Santos said after speaking to Dhaliwal’s family. “God Bless you all. It’s time for me to go.

“This is his reign – his parade. I’m going to go get an umbrella.”

The standing room-only crowd erupted in applause after former Lathrop mayor and current Lathrop Manteca Fire Board member Gloryanna Rhodes swore Dhaliwal in. Rhodes, Dhaliwal said, came to his home and asked him if he’d be interested in being a part of the Lathrop Planning Commission – effectively giving him his start in local politics – and he owed her a great deal of gratitude for her continued support throughout the years.

Dignitaries from Stockton, Manteca and Tracy were in attendance to watch Dhaliwal take the next step in his political career. San Joaquin County Supervisors Steve Bestolarides and Carlos Villapudua extended their hands to a man that has long maintained a presence at the regional level.

Now the work begins.

“Steve, get your team ready,” Dhaliwal said to City Manager Steve Salvatore. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.

“And those that I’m serving with on the council, I know that we’re not always going to agree on everything. We might disagree on how we’re going to accomplish the mission, but let us not disagree with what the mission actually is – making Lathrop the best possible place to live for our residents.”

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