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Anti-truck stop effort stymied by invalid signatures
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Roughly 40 percent of the signatures submitted by a group that wants the Lathrop City Council to overturn its decision to allow a Pilot/Flying J Truck Stop to be built on Roth Road at Interstate 5 were invalid.
According to documents received upon request by the City of Lathrop on Tuesday, the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters only approved 684 of the 1,124 signatures that were submitted for evaluation. Because there were 8,217 registered voters in the community, organizers needed to collect 10 percent of those signatures in order to force the council to either reevaluate the petition or put it up for election amongst those same registered voters, and since they haven’t met that threshold with the petition, and it is not being considered valid and no action will be taken as a result of it.
A letter confirming the final results from the registrar was mailed to petition organizer Harry Randhawa on Tuesday informing him of the findings by Lathrop City Clerk Teresa Vargas who received the initial petition.
According to that group, the truck stop, which will be built on a piece of land that will have to be annexed into Lathrop’s northern city limits, will bring crime, pollution, and other undesirable elements to the community and affect the quality of life of Lathrop residents living nearby.
When pressed about how the truck stock will affect residents any more than Lathrop’s existing truck stop already does – located on Harlan Road just around the corner from an Elementary School and down the street from another with houses located much closer than the Pilot/Flying J would be to any development – Randhawa said that it’s the size of the undertaking that will bring the bigger issues, and used Flying J examples in Lodi and Ripon to illustrate his point.
But Lathrop Police Chief James Hood gave a presentation to the council that examined the calls for service at all of those locations, and informed the council that he doesn’t see an issue where based on the available data that his officers wouldn’t be able to handle the calls for service and take proactive steps to eradicate issues before they start.
On Monday at the Lathrop City Council meeting two residents reminded the council that the company stated that would build at that location regardless of whether Lathrop signs on and annexes the property in the city – already being prepared to negotiate with San Joaquin County and cutting what could amount to be as much as $2 million annually in sales tax revenue from the city’s coffers.
The only option that the group of residents and business interests now has is to attempt to get the initiative on the November ballot in San Joaquin County – a deadline that has already passed. If that is in fact the case, other options will have to be pursued. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email jcampbell@mantecabulletin.com or call 209.249.3544.