Steve DeBrum — looking toward Manteca’s second 100 years — believes the city is now in a position to capitalize on growth trends and municipal investments to grow municipal services.
DeBrum on Tuesday evening shared his vision for the next four years as he announced his plans to seek a second term as Manteca’s mayor during a gathering at Chez Shari at the Manteca Golf Course Clubhouse. He is the first to formally announce for the November 2018 election. There are also two council seats up for grabs that are currently held by Mike Morowit and Richard Silverman.
Noting he realizes he is just one of four council members, DeBrum said he plans on launching a comprehensive Manteca Strategy for Performance and Excellence. The initiative is aimed and developing a multiple year plan to increase police staffing and beef up other municipal services. Now that Manteca has bounced back from the recession and growth in the business park sector is picking up, DeBrum said the city needs to look beyond year-to-year budgeting.
The strategy may entail a savings plan component to work toward providing sought after initiatives as well as collaborative efforts with other agencies such as the Manteca Unified School District.
The timing for such an endeavor may be ideal given Manteca is now seeing 2.7 million square feet of additional business park buildings either under construction, in the permit process or being submitted to the city for review. That’s a third more than all of the existing business park space in Spreckels Park that helped trigger a surge in the growth of the Manteca economy as well as strengthening the city’s ability to provide services.
On DeBrum’s watch as mayor, Crothall Laundry has opened generating 285 new full-time jobs; Amazon Prime is getting ready to open a distribution center that will bring 100 new jobs; 5.11 Tactical later this year will relocate 217 jobs to a 404,657-square-foot distribution center off of Airport Way as well as generate new jobs; and two firms — SunnyValley Meats and BF Funsten — have expanded or are in the process of doing so to protect 458 full-time jobs and retain major sales tax revenue for the city.
DeBrum — in his role as chair of the San Joaquin Council of Governments and his networking with regional local officials — was able to spearhead a drive behind-the-scenes to get Caltrans on target to improve the 120 Bypass/Highway 99 interchange by 2021. Before the effort started, improving the interchange that is a major point of congestion and has helped turn the 120 Bypass into the deadliest stretch of freeway in the Northern San Joaquin Valley wasn’t even on the 20-year radar as a potential state project.
He noted Manteca has been moving toward two major transportation initiatives in working with the Altamont Corridor Express — bringing passenger train service to downtown Manteca and to relocate the existing Lathrop-Manteca ACE station closer to the McKinley Avenue interchange the city is now pursuing.
DeBrum and the rest of the council in the past four years have laid the ground work for a number of major road projects expected to break ground in the next few years — the McKinley/120 Bypass interchange, improving the Union Road/120 Bypass interchange, improving main Street from Atherton Drive to Center Street, and upgrading Yosemite Avenue from Main Street to Cottage Avenue.
Next month the city will launch an economic development partnership with the private sector to work on retaining jobs and drawing new ones to Manteca.
DeBrum was first elected to the City Council in 2003. After 11 years on the council he was elected mayor in 2014. He is currently the longest serving council member.
If he is re-elected, he will become only the third mayor to serve more than one four-year term since the city went to direct election of mayors in 1980. The others were Willie Weatherford, who was the city’s longest serving mayor with 12 years under his belt from 2002 to 2014 and Jack Snyder who was mayor from 1982-1990. Other directly elected mayors were Trena Kelly, Frank Warren, Bill Perry, and Carlon Perry.
DeBrum was born in Hanford and graduated from Hanford High School in 1965. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from California State Polytechnic College, San Luis Obispo in 1970. Drawing on his strong passion for the growth and preservation of agriculture, DeBrum went to work for Foremost Foods Company in their laboratory and later in the Field Department. In 1979, Steve was hired as the Dairy Manager for Knudsen Agricultural Management Company.
In 1984, DeBrumn began service from his home base in Manteca as the Area Field Representative for a number of dairy farmers, an agricultural marketing cooperative now known as the Dairy Farmers of America. He now serves as DFA’s Northern California manager which covers the Northern California and Northern Nevada area.
DeBrum is active in a number of organizations including the Sunrise Kiwanis that stages the annual Manteca Pumpkin Fair. He is a past president of the Manteca Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, and is also a past President of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce and former board member for the Manteca Boys and Girls Club.
As an active member of Manteca’s St. Anthony’s Parish, DeBrum has served in the role of Grand Knight with the St. Anthony’s Knights of Columbus.
DeBrum and his wife Veronica have been married for 49 years. They have two grown children and five grandchildren.