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Dozen seeking planning spots; Try $6.06 billion
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The hottest seat in Manteca: Landing a spot on the Manteca Planning Commission.
A record dozen people have applied for two positions that will be filled by the Manteca City Council when they meet tonight at 7 o’clock at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.
Typically the city receives three applicants at most for every open position. The positions are for terms that are expiring for Eric Hayes and Gary Singh.
Both were council candidates in the Nov. 8 election in which Singh was the highest vote getter and Hayes came in fifth in a field of five.
Hayes has reapplied for appointment to the commission. Jeff Zellner — the current Planning Commission alternate who came within 200 votes of being elected to the council — is applying for a regular commission term. David Cushman, another council candidate, has also applied.
Other applicants are Marcus Earl Davenport Jr., a retired Stockton Police officer; Michel DiGaetano, a real estate professional with PMZ Real Estate; Gabriel Galletia, a solid waste employee and a real estate agent with EXIT Realty; Ron Laffranchi, real estate sales with Fairway Real Estate and Property Management; Jason Laughlin, an associate trainer with Panera Bread; J. Peter Maderos Jr., a communications sales person with Vonage Business; Bobby Shaw, former planning commission member and retired roofing contractor; Parminder Singh Sahi, a cell director for Western Digital; and David Mendoza, a civil engineer with San Joaquin County.
All 12 applicants are male. Two happen to be under 25 and active in politics. Cushman, besides just having run for council, is also president of the Manteca Tea Party. McLaughlin walked precincts in Manteca for Assemblyman Elect Heath Flora, Both Cushman and McLaughlin are Manteca High graduates and are currently employed in the restaurant industry.
The Manteca Planning Commission in recent years has become much more high profile as two council members have been elected from its ranks during the past two years — Mike Morowit and Singh.

Correction: River Islands
is $6.06 billion plus
project not $6.06 trillion
 “A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.”
That quote widely attributed to the late Republican Senator Everett Dirksen who represented Illinois in the 1950s and 1960s summed up nicely how some viewed Congressional spending at the time — fast and loose with no comprehension of value.
Guilty as charged with being loose with numbers involving money based on Monday’s Around the Town column.
River Islands at Lathrop — assuming all 11,000 housing units are sold at today’s average price of $550,000 — will represent a $6.06 billion investment when all is said and done. A nice misread of a calculator not once but twice prompted $6.06 trillion to be used. Common sense would have told you that was wrong no matter how many times you have to double check on high tech calculators that view comas as a cardinal sin. (Where are mechanical adding machines that weighed 60 pounds and went through rolls of paper when you need them?)
The $6.06 billion economic impact from just housing is impressive enough. A household income of $82,800 that is required to buy a house in that price range with $75,000 down really made the point.
River Islands is major economic player unto itself that will not only bolster Lathrop but will have a significant ripple effect in nearby Manteca and Tracy as well.
It is an island in the middle of the South County that — if all things in terms of dollars remained constant for the next 20 years — would ultimately be home to 40,000 people that live in households with a median income of roughly $82,800. That will help drive a lot of retail, healthcare, and professional service jobs.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email