Ben Cantu wants to be Manteca’s mayor.
He also wants to see incumbent councilman Vince Hernandez defeated.
That was the premise for his ad that appeared in Saturday’s Bulletin urging people to vote for a new city council” followed by boxes checked with himself for mayor as well as Rich Silverman and Mike Morowit for council.
Some people — including Silverman and Morowit — thought the ad implied that the two council hopefuls had endorsed Cantu for mayor or were part of a united slate running for office on Nov. 4.
“I am not endorsing anyone, period,” Silverman said Sunday.
Silverman sent out mass emails after his supporters started questioning why he was making an endorsement and agreeing with other statements Cantu made in his ad regarding police staffing and what Cantu termed “give-aways” to developers.
Morowit said he was also pressed by supporters to the point of wanting to know exactly who he was backing for mayor.
Morowit didn’t want to dodge the persistent questions and came out over the weekend to indicate he is backing Steve DeBrum.
“I like Ben,” Morowit said. “I just that I think DeBrum is better suited to be mayor. He works with people like the seniors and (community groups) all the time and not just when he’s running for office. He’s sincere in what he does.”
Since the ad came out, Morowit has gone as far as to place a DeBrum for mayor sign in his front yard.
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The liquor store owner who won’t sell alcohol to the homeless
Manteca Police Chief Nick Obligacion made a reference last week to “at least one liquor store owner” who has opted not to sell alcohol to the homeless.
It turns out that liquor store owner is Manteca council candidate Mike Morowit.
“It doesn’t make sense to call the police about problems if you can reduce or eliminate them by not selling them alcohol, “ Morowit said of merchants that often ask law enforcement for help with loitering homeless that will sleep on the side of stores, drink in front of them, and harass customers for money.
“It’s worth not making a buck beer sale,” Morowit said.
The owner of Minor Mart Liquor in Lincoln Center anchored by Hafer’s Home Furnishings on West Yosemite Avenue said the decision was good for his business and those of neighboring businesses. He noted customers of a nearby hair salon had complained about being approached by the homeless. An inordinate number were hanging around the nearby 7-Eleven. They also were chasing women away from his store.
“A lot of people are uncomfortable about being (panhandled) but especially women,” he noted.
Since he instituted his policy of not selling beer to the homeless, the number of transients in the area has dropped.
He started his policy late last spring when he noticed an uptick in the homeless. He started by informing offenders who’d buy a beer and then drink it in front of the store or nearby in a public place that he would no longer sell to them. Then they started asking fellow homeless to buy for them. Morowit and his staff caught onto that and informed the proxy buyers they won’t sell to them either.
Word got around and the homeless community stays pretty much away from the store because they won’t sell them beer.
While the ban hasn’t’ been foolproof, it has significantly reduced the homeless in the area.
Morowit noted that it also is keeping him from running afoul with the Alcoholic Beverage Control board that outlaws the consumption of alcohol on the premises of a liquor store as well as the parking lot.
While a work scheduling conflict preventing him from attending Thursday’s candidates’ forum at Chez Shari’s conducted by the Manteca TEA Party, Morowit said he’s against a homeless shelter in Manteca for single men.
His rationale is simple. If Manteca makes it inviting for homeless by providing shelter, he figures many would flee Stockton and move to Manteca for the same reason others do to secure a safer place to live.