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EX-RIPON MAYOR ‘FRAMED’

Curt Pernice’s business is showcasing art

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EX-RIPON MAYOR ‘FRAMED’

Former Ripon mayor and councilman and Manteca businessman Curt Pernice shows one of the framed displays that he creates at his shop on N. Main Street in Manteca.

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED February 15, 2013 1:00 a.m.

You either love him or you don’t.

When it comes to former Ripon mayor, councilman and pastor and current Manteca businessman Curt Pernice, his personality – anchored by an unwavering dedication to what he believes in and accented by an unwillingness to compromise his values in any situation regardless of politics – can be hard for some to take.

But that doesn’t the stop the man that delivers sodas for his employees and beams when somebody mentions his beloved San Francisco Giants from carrying on the same way that he always has.

Over the last several years Pernice has transformed a simple framing business into a firm that has become the industry standard in designing and creating custom pieces that showcase autographed items and memorabilia. He ships his wares all over the country.

He also has a nationally-recognized skate park that bears his name, but don’t expect him to brag about it – it still makes him uncomfortable and he has lobbied several times to get the name changed because he doesn’t like the recognition or the spotlight.

His work with the youth of the community – built primarily through the skateboard ministry that he created while working as a youth pastor – has made him highly regarded and recognized around town, and is something that he looks back on fondly.



The Bulletin caught up with Pernice in between delivery trips to the Bay Area to see what makes him tick:

What is it about working with the youth that drew you into that kind of service?

“I’ve always been interested in working with young people – whether it’s in a church setting or at juvenile hall. I had an internship working at a youth program in San Francisco in the 70s, and when I went to college in Canada, we had dorms that were exclusively for high school kids and I worked as the resident assistant. The rules were strict but it gave me a chance to really get to know them, but then I got married and ended up going back to working construction – I had worked with my step-father doing drywall since I was 12.”



What’s the hardest thing about leading a life of service as a pastor?

“I was really immersed in it for a while – it’s a different type of living. The hardest part was, as a full-time church planner was that it’s hard to live off of what you make. My wife and I had opened a small picture framing business and it’s hard to find time to function in the real world when you’re working full-time as a business owner and helping run a church. It’s difficult to find the time do all of those things.”



How did the skateboard ministry start?

“That was such a great time. It was purely an act of God. We didn’t sit down and say, ‘We need to find a way to reach out to students.’ At the time a lot of people at the church (Ripon Grace Bretheren) had left, and a bunch of kids on skateboards just showed up one day and said that they heard we had a pool table and wanted to know if they could play. And we got to know a few one of them. One guy – Jeremy Camp – knew some professionals and brought them in for a little demonstration and they left their ramps. And Ripon Grace, being such a good group of people, decided to get insurance and put a fence around it and let the kids skate there. And we were able to build a connection with those kids – they knew that certain nights when they came down there was going to be Bible study. And other times they knew that we would gather them up for 10 minutes and talk about God – Jesus Christ – and share our faith with them. It was a great time.”



What is something that most people don’t know about you?

“They don’t know that Pernice isn’t my real last name – it was acquired. It’s actually ‘Muscarella’ – I had to think about how to spell that. I knew my real dad until I was about 6 or 7, and then I just assumed the name of my step-father after that after my mother got married. I was never legally adopted. And in California if you use a name for a long time it becomes yours.”



Baseball or football?

“Baseball. It’s a thinking man’s game. I virtually got kicked out college because I was going to too many Giants games. I tell people that the order of importance for me is God, family, friends and the Giants. And the friends and Giants might actually be interchangeable.”



When you were on the Ripon City Council for the second time things sometimes got pretty heated. Were there periods of frustration in there?

“It wasn’t the same from 1992 to 2000 as it was from 2004 to 2008. There was a guy on the council back then that would disagree with me, and when I would see him at the Blu-Lite he would tell me so, smile, and then pour me a cup of coffee. It’s too bad that things changed over the course of those four years I wasn’t there. People came to the community and left and offered different voices, and that ended up letting the community down on a lot of issues. That ended up letting a few dictate the entire community instead of the community dictating. And of all of the issue that I remember being big issues, when you got outside of the chambers and started talking to people, those issues weren’t so big to them – they had other issues they wanted discuss. It got rough there for a while though.”



Describe a perfect day.

“It would be a Saturday where I had absolute nothing to do. I’d go somewhere with my wife – anywhere. I almost had that day last weekend. I had some things to do Saturday morning, but then we went to San Francisco and just walked. To me that is the perfect day.”



You’ve actively lobbied to get the name of the Curt Pernice Skate Park changed. Why?

“There was a lot of pressure from the kids to put in a street park, and people thought that I was only adamantly supporting it because my name was on the park. That wasn’t the case. I believed in it, and we voted yes on it four times before three people ended up voting to defeat it. It meant a lot to me because there was a kid – 14-year-old Justin Henry – that would sit along the vert park at the church and ask me ‘When are we going to get a street course?’ He ended up dying of Leukemia before that became a possibility. He was a great kid.”



Favorite flavor of ice cream?


“I’m not a dessert guy, but if I had to I’d go with mint chocolate chip. I had some last night in fact. But if somebody put some cheesecake down in front of me it would be gone. That’s for sure.”

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