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Punjabis big donors in Manteca campaigns

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POSTED September 30, 2013 11:26 p.m.

Today’s bonus answer for those playing Jeopardy is in the category of Manteca politics: Developers, farmers, and Punjabi Americans.

Name the three biggest collective sources of Manteca City Council campaign funds in recent years.

It probably doesn’t surprise anyone developers are on the list or that farmers are. After all, they are the two groups arguably impacted the most by the biggest decisions the city makes regarding private property which is land use.

But Punjabi Americans probably surprise more than a few people.

Not only does the American Punjabi Association make significant contributions to mayor and council campaigns but so do individual member of Manteca’s American Punjabi community.

Punjabis have made a Herculean effort to immerse themselves in the American Dream as well as the politics that make it happen. They represent a sizeable portion of Manteca’s small business community. They embrace the idea of individual initiative and participatory democracy. They are eager to share their traditions and to assimilate which has made them one of the most consistent participants in Manteca’s Fourth of July Parade and the Christmas Twilight Parade.

The American Punjabi Association contributed $1,000 apiece to the successful re-election campaigns in 2012 of both council members Steve DeBrum and Debby Moorhead as well as did individuals members of their community. They were also on hand last week for DeBrum’s gathering at Chez Shari for his announcement of his plan to run for mayor in 2014.

Willie Weatherford isn’t seeking re-election. So far, it is a two-man race for mayor with DeBrum and Ben Cantu filing the necessary fundraising letters with the appropriate state agency.

Not only will there be a name mayor when the election dust settles in just over 13 months but there will be at least one new council member as John Harris has indicated he won’t seek re-election.

The other council seat being contested is currently held by Vince Hernandez who hasn’t formally made an announcement but it is widely believed he will be seeking a fourth term. The only seats not up for election are held by Moorhead and DeBrum. Should DeBrum become mayor the council would have to either appoint a replacement for his spot on the council or conduct a special election.

Among other names being floated as a possible council hopeful is Richard Silverman.

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