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FPPC report sparks Lathrop exchange

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POSTED July 8, 2014 1:25 a.m.

LATHROP – It might not yet be election season, but the political fuse has already been lit in Lathrop. 

During the public comment portion of Monday’s Lathrop City Council meeting past council candidate and local activist Rosalinda Valencia publicly called for Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal’s job in a tense lectern exchange that included an intervention by the City Attorney and a round rejection of her ideas by a large portion of the audience. 

Clutching a folio of public documents that she received under a Freedom of Information Act request with the City of Lathrop, Valencia told Dhaliwal that she was “once again asking him to step down” after recent revelations that campaign filings and donations were not properly handled by his campaign were made public by the California Fair Political Practices Commission. 

While Valencia finished with her statements, several inaudible comments were made from people in the audience, and the noises grew louder when she spoke to counter them.

“A lot of you don’t understand – the truth will come out, just like it did with Kristy Sayles,” Valencia said referencing the past-Mayor and eliciting even more of a response. “I don’t like to see my city be made a fool of. The truth will come out.”

Nobody else elected to speak during public comment. 

Whether Valencia’s charged comments will be a flash-in-the-pan or the start of a campaign season in a community that elects its mayor every two years will likely be determined in the coming weeks when council hopefuls can first pull the necessary paperwork to throw their hat into the political arena. 

Dhaliwal, who said that he won’t let the FPPC decision sway him on whether he’ll seek another term, said Monday that he wanted to address Valencia’s concerns but decided against it. He issued an explanation to a local Punjabi newspaper about what transpired – stating in a story with The Bulletin that “mistakes were made” during a very stressful campaign cycle in which he relied on the generosity of others while tending to ailing members of his family – which Valencia clutched as she made her points. 

For the transgressions – six violations were cited against Dhaliwal’s campaign – a $21,000 fine has been levied against his political campaign fund. That will count against future fundraising. 

Valencia was scolded by City Attorney Salvador Navarrete who reminded her that the block of time was reserved only for people who wish to speak to the council as a whole and about matters that the council can vote on, and therefore her barrage really had no place in the meeting. She rebuffed him when she revisited the microphone later in the meeting, quipping “I’m just going to nod and smile” and continued with what she was going to say – prompting more of a response from the audience. 

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lathrop2014: 1 month, 2 weeks ago

After the fine of $21000 to the Mayor he has no right to stick to the chair of Mayor.Law enforcement agencies should investigate properly about his eleven years political career.We failed to understand if the city had 65 million dollar in cash then why the measure C was imposed on the Lathrop Residents.Why the city official tell lie to the residents.Matter need a proper investigation and also there should be a proper investigation about the luxury living standard of the city officials.Now the Mayor says that he had done this mistake for the first time.But who knows unless there is a proper investigation for the last eleven years.He should immediately step down from this post to maitain the dignity and respect of this chair

ldavis95161: 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I agree with the gentlemen on our Mayor. I was there last night. First of all no one was surprise that these type of comments were made. Word was spread all over town that there was going to be a Mayor bashing because of his trouble with the FPPC. I saw a note passed to the reporter indicating use of the Paper to stir the pot. Stop using the Citizens Forum as a platform to run for office. It was used in the last election and the people spoke overwhelmingly. People are tired of the negatives that drive our politics even in Washington. We have grown so much as a City and have done some things here in Lathrop of Historical significance under Sonny and this Council’s watch and to have someone come out of the wood works like this is appalling. This is why the audience booed and booed again. Sonny has been honest and upfront with FPPC when he cooperated fully that mistakes were made as his plate was full caring for his Elderly Parents at the time who have since passed on. Kristy Sayles is no longer Mayor and to continue to kick her while she was down is even more appalling especially after she went thru domestic violence.

Quit throwing out your political platform and confusing the people with innuendos of more to come. Everything is public records. Honesty is a learned skill. We need more Mayors with the honesty of Sonny. Confront him Man to Man and ask him how much of his own money has He spent in his travels representing us as a City Councilman and Mayor? Ask him about Tesla Motors, Generation Center for our Young folks and other Businesses coming to Lathrop. Ask him how does Sacramento and Washington feels about our little town and the progress we’re making as a City? Also go on the City’s website and see the long lists of accomplishments this Mayor and the Council has done in the last few months. Lathrop is proud of what they have down.

Also a word to Manteca Bulletin. I have no problem with you reporting the news. Just stop being used as a political ball for folks personal agenda. Rev. L Davis Juvenile Hall Chaplain and Citizen of Lathrop.

JimHilson: 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Can't you find something better to do with your time than bash the people who won election to our city council? Have you ever tried to fill out all of the confusing forms? Most people have to have them done by a CPA because it is way too easy to make a mistake.
The Mayor admitted the mistakes were made and has agreed to pay up without further challenge to the claims. That equates to not wasting money by either side to try to defend the issues.
The Mayor has turned things around for Lathrop and has done a lot of good for the city. His performance is way better than his predecessor.
If you want to champion a cause, how about something positive for the community like the block that has the skateboard park in Historic Lathrop being turned into a Senior Center. How about something to make our city look better? You won't be getting much support for bashing elected officials.

rvalencia: 1 month, 3 weeks ago

There's a lot more info. To come. And none of it is politcally morivated. Just a search for the truth.

Please wait ...