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Bestolarides lauds Lathrop, Manteca effort

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Curtis Kimbro, left, passes the gavel to Gary Driskall.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED April 15, 2013 1:40 a.m.

LATHROP – It didn’t take San Joaquin County Supervisor Steve Bestolarides very long to find a shining-example of a public-private partnership.

As the keynote speaker of the Lathrop District Chamber of Commerce’s annual installation dinner Friday night at Chez Shari, Bestolarides – whose district encompasses the western half of Manteca and all of Lathrop – cited the announcement earlier in the day by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson regarding the investment group trying to prevent the Kings from moving to Seattle as what can happen when municipalities partner with private enterprise.

And it’s not just public-private partnerships that are making things happen in Northern California.

After years of bickering and infighting and back-and-forth litigation, Bestolarides announced that Lathrop and Manteca had officially ended all of the legal wrangling that centered around development on each of the town’s adjacent edges and whether adequate sewer capacity could be obtained out – a step in the right direction as the entire county rounds a corner and development starts to rebound.

Rising to meet the challenges together, he said, is how they’ll be defeated.

“We have challenges that we’re facing in San Joaquin County right now,” Bestolarides said. “But if you look at cities like Lathrop and Manteca that are working together during difficult times to end old litigation and legal issues and move things forward, you see it can be done.

How to solve other issues, however, isn’t quite as cut and dry.

Since 2011 the county has been working to comply with Assembly Bill 109 – commonly referred to as “realignment” – that gives non-violent and non-sexual convicts the chance to serve out the remaining few years of their sentences in a county jail to relieve overcrowding.

In order to make room, those who would normally serve sentences of less than a year are placed on supervised release – presenting new challenges and the installation of a system that had never before been considered.

But Bestolarides has high hopes.

“It’s a chance to look at how we can change our system,” he said – adding that 23 percent of those incarcerated have mental health issues and more than 50 percent have substance abuse problems. “We need to make this investment in changing the criminal justice system as we’ve known it for the past thirty years.”

Some in the Lathrop community have already resigned to make a change.

With awards being given to volunteers and non-profit organizations and others who make a difference on a day-to-day basis, none got the response that Mossdale Elementary School Principal Susan Sanders did – talking about the sort of role the community as a whole plays in the education of the youth.

“If you ask any Lathrop principal they’ll tell you that it takes a village to raise a child,” she said. “And Lathrop is an awesome village to raise children and educate them in and I’m proud to be a principal in this community.”

Also honored were California Natural Products and River Islands at Lathrop for the Most Progressive Business award; Holiday Inn Express as the Most Supportive Business; The Boys and Girls Club of Manteca/Lathrop and the Lathrop Junior Spartans as the Organizations of the Year; Anna Candelaria as the Volunteer of the Year; Tanya Nieves as the Board Member of the Year; Gurpreet Atwal as the Youth of the Year and Angela Johal of Papa John’s as Entrepreneur of the Year.

The 2013 Board of Directors will consist of Kenneth Cook, Gary Driskill, Jaime Hernandez, Liisa Stark, Diane Rocha, Max Vargas, Harry Yu, Ed Wanket, Andy Kotecha and Fernando Andrade.

Sponsoring the awards and installation dinner at Chez Shari were San Joaquin Worknet,  San Joaquin Building Trades, River Islands at Lathrop, Wells Fargo, CBC Steel Buildings, Anthony’s Auto Body, Benham Accounting, City of Lathrop, Mossdale School, Boys & Girls Club of Manteca/Lathrop, Doctors Hospital of Manteca, Swiss American Sausage, Gordon Trucking, Lathrop Junior Spartans, Papa John’s Pizza, and Holiday Inn Express.

To contact Jason Campbell, email or call (209) 249-3544.

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