Sonny Dhaliwal’s name will be the first listed on the ballot for Lathrop’s mayor’s post after he won the California Secretary of State’s lottery that gave him top billing.
The two-term Lathrop mayor – who started his career on the planning commission before getting elected to the council – will appear ahead of Steve Macias on the ballot on Nov. 8 after getting selected first in a random lottery that assigned the way that the names appear on the ballot.
But a political newcomer will get top billing in the run for one of two full-term council positions.
Ruben Sandoval was drawn first for one of the two available full-term council seats that are available, and will be followed on the ballot by incumbent Martha Salcedo – who will be seeking her third term – and appointed councilman Mark Elliott, who is walking away from the remaining two years on former Councilman Omar Ornelas’ term to run for a four-year term.
Rounding out the list for the full terms will be Brent Maynor, who ran for council four years ago and put in an application to be appointed to the remainder of the first half of Ornelas’ vacated term, and Minnie Lee Jordan-Diallo.
Councilman Steve Dresser will be the lone candidate for the remaining two years of Orenlas’ term – who walked away from the position after just serving one year of his second full term to pursue career options in the Sacramento area. Because he’s the only one vying for the position, his election for another two years is guaranteed.
One name that won’t appear on the ballot will be that of Balwant Singh Sandhu, who only submitted 19 valid signatures when he declared his candidacy for mayor to challenge Dhaliwal once again. He last ran for the mayor’s post when he challenged Dhalwial in 2012, and tried to play the role of spoiler in 2014 when he reported Dhaliwal for a campaign finance violation that ended up leading to a $21,000 fine against his campaign.
But the campaign between Dhaliwal and Macias, who came onto the political scene as the organizer of a coalition of residents and business owners who are against the construction of a Pilot/Flying J Truck Stop on Roth Road, could also end up becoming contentious.
Some of those who were involved in speaking to the council the night that they approved the proposal by the nation’s largest truck stop company led a charge for a petition that ultimately failed, but still garnered hundreds of signatures from residents who wanted the council to reconsider their decision or put the item on the ballot for residents to decide. The group has the backing of a Bay Area-based political action committee, who submitted full-color fliers expressing their platform, and hired a political consultant to lead the petition campaign.