Ben Cantu is running for mayor in the Manteca municipal election on Nov. 6.
Cantu made his formal announcement Friday. If no one else runs, it will be a repeat of the 2014 election when Steve DeBrum defeated Cantu by a vote of 5,494 to 3,110 or a 62.08 percent to 37.4 percent margin.
It will be Cantu’s third campaign for mayor.
“For too long our leaders have neglected our downtown businesses, vital infrastructure, and community needs in pursuit of unchecked economic expansion,” Cantu said. “We are building resorts and hiring consultants, while roads decay, small businesses are struggling, and working families can’t afford to stay here. We are in danger of losing the qualities that make Manteca ‘The Family City,’ and that is why I’m running for mayor.”
Cantu made it clear he is not against the proposed Great Wolf resort deal per se although he has reservations about the size of incentives being offered in the form of a 25-year split of room tax the resort would generate.
His biggest concern centers on how the city continually cobbles together deals to bring economic development and boost city revenues saying Manteca residents will benefit from the extra municipal revenue by being able to finance extra services and/or amenities only to see that money pooled “for the next big deal.”
Cantu said if elected, he would make it a top priority to make sure the money that the city gleans from the Great Wolf deal — pegged at $1.7 million in the first full year of operation alone — would be spent to improve the quality of life of Manteca residents now instead of squirreling it away for a rainy day or another economic development deal.
Cantu said he understands the deals that brought Bass Pro Shops and Costco was key to helping support existing municipal services but feels the council appears more wrapped up in continuing to make deals than harnessing them to further enhance city amenities.
“My top priorities will be economic development for downtown and small businesses, maintaining and fixing our roads and infrastructure, and creating a workable solution to our ballooning homeless issue,” Cantu said. “I served the city long enough to know what needs to be changed, and how to make those changes happen. I continue to believe that our city’s brightest days are ahead of us, and I ask you to join me in making Manteca a better place for all.”
“A vote for me is a vote for better public service.,” he added.
This will mark the retired city planner’s fifth campaign to secure a spot on the council either as one of four members or as the mayor. He has run for mayor twice as well as twice for council.
The campaign will formally begin with a kick-off celebration on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 6:30 p.m. with the public invited. It will take place at Chez Shari, located at the Manteca golf course clubhouse at 305 Union Road. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres and soft drinks will be provided. Cantu said he looks forward to meeting folks in the community and sharing his positive vision for Manteca.
Cantu and his wife Mary have lived in Manteca for more than 50 years. He is a volunteer with the Manteca Kiwanis, a board member of Valley CAPS, and a member of the Knights of Columbus. He is the founder of BC Planning, a local business devoted to land use planning and design.
For more information on Cantu visit, www.Cantu4Mayor.com. Follow the campaign on Facebook, at “Ben Cantu for Mayor,” and on Twitter @bcantu1951.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com