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Chaka’s lucky he growled instead of pointing his finger

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POSTED December 3, 2009 2:08 a.m.
Call the latest mini-drama to come from the Temple of Doom at 390 Towne Centre Drive in Lathrop “The Mayoral Candidate That Growled.”

Announced mayoral candidate J. Chaka Santos is seeking to replace Kristy Sayles – everyone’s favorite political punching bag in Lathrop – and is being investigated by police for growling at a Lathrop City Council meeting.

Santos, an ex-Marine, said it was humiliating to have a cop knock on his door at home to grill him about growling. It could have been worse. The powers that be could have taken a page from their Matt Browne playbook and hired a private investigator armed with a camcorder to follow Santos into the bathroom at City Hall in an effort to catch him practicing his growling in the mirror.

Of course, you won’t read about “The Mayoral Candidate That Growled” in the Lathrop City Council’s official publication dubbed “The Lathrop Gold Rush.”

It is a fun-loving newspaper that fits right in with the hijinx in Lathrop given the fact it is bought lock, stock and barrel by the elected Lathrop City Council  members using the scarce tax dollars of Lathrop’s citizens who are dealing with unemployment rates in excess of 12 percent and massive foreclosures.

For a mere $1,200 a month in tax dollars invested per issue the Lathrop power structure gets feel good stories about the city while glossing over trivia stuff like the city’s systematic once over of employee Matt Browne that ended up costing well over a million dollars once they couldn’t find any administrative law judge to bless their version of the Salem Witch Hunt.

Readers of the “Gold Rush” – the official publication of the California version of the mythical Duchy of Grand Fenwick of Leonard Wimberley’s “The Mouse That Roared” penned in 1955 – wouldn’t be able to read about such things as the First Husband of Lathrop going mano-mano with a city planning commissioner who just had major heart surgery while arguing about how to hang art at City Hall.

But enough about the City of Lathrop subsidizing an official mouthpiece with tax dollars while they lay off loyal municipal employees with pregnant wives.

It is important to focus energy on the issue du jour as Lathrop grapples with a huge budget deficit, a foreclosure-rocked economy and assorted other trivial matters. The issue that matters, of course, is whether Lathrop needs an anti-growling ordinance with numerous subsections to avoid sneering, catcalls, as well as ill speech toward the ruling politburo.

Now the mayor wannabe’s sneering was directed as a citizen he obviously disagrees with which shows he has the perfect temperament to carry on the torch of Lathrop politics.

However, the powers that be that have been known to dispatch police to remove people speaking ill of them during city hall meetings probably will want to outlaw anything that doesn’t comply with traditional foot kissing. Perhaps they could call it an ordinance regulating public conduct at council meetings or “The Stepford Citizen” rules of conduct for short.

All kidding aside, Lathrop needs to get a captain and first officers who don’t act like the crew on the Titanic who read all of their own press hype about the city’s ship of state being invincible.

If you don’t think competing with Barnum and Bailey on the first and third Tuesdays of the month doesn’t stunt good government and severely handicap efforts to strengthen the local economy just ask people who survived Manteca’s Cheech and Chong Era.

It was a time in Manteca when the side shows dominated the main event as money and time was squandered on personal attacks and self-puffery that helped undermine efforts to expand municipal services as well as scare off new investment which would have meant new jobs for the taxpayers (known to the self-important types on elected council as “serfs”).

In Manteca they ran the gauntlet from routinely spending 40 to 90 minutes a meeting trying to approve council minutes of previous meetings to the council majority spending $20,000 to hire a law firm to investigate whether the other two members were leaking city documents.

It reached a zenith during the endless argument over whether to build Big League Dreams that was better known as the 100 Year War. (Actually it was on the agenda virtually every meeting for just five years, it just seemed like 100 years considering many meetings went on for seven hours-plus.) That was when the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office along with Manteca Police were called in to investigate an “implied” death threat by finger pointing.

Chaka is lucky he didn’t point his finger while growling. It’s probably a capital offense in Lathrop.
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