LATHROP – The competition for the two seats up for grabs on the Lathrop City Council is getting tight.
With just two days left until candidates need to have their filing papers submitted, five people are confirmed to have at least taken the first step towards candidacy.
As of Tuesday afternoon, both incumbents – Omar Ornelas and Paul Akinjo – have pulled the necessary paperwork to reclaim their seats, and will be facing competition from past council hopefuls Brent Maynor and Debbie Rock. Former councilman Christopher Mateo, who opted for a run at the California Assembly over a reelection bid for the council in 2012, is also in the race.
Connie Lum-Perez, who indicated in a story that ran in The Bulletin that she was going to enter the political arena herself this year with a run for the council, hasn’t yet pulled the required papers to qualify for the ballot.
It’s not uncommon for 11th hour entrants to complete everything just before the filing deadline.
And the race for mayor isn’t any less crowded.
Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal announced last week that he would seek a second term, and will be squaring off with community activist Rosalinda Valencia – who has publicly called for him to resign from his position within the last month. Omar Khweiss, who ran unsuccessfully for council during the last cycle, has also demonstrated his desire to take on Dhaliwal after pulling papers late last week.
All candidates will have until the end of the day on Friday, Aug. 8, to submit their completed forms with signatures from 20 registered Lathrop voters in order to qualify for the ballot. A total of 30 signatures can be gathered. The city charges no filing fee for local races.
Regardless of the outcome of the election, 2014 will mark the first time in two election cycles that the City of Lathrop will have a fully-elected contingent serving on the city council. Both Ornelas and Akinjo were appointed to serve out the remainder of terms vacated by people who either opted out or moved into other positions – Akinjo accounting for the remaining two years of Dhaliwal’s 2010 council run and Ornelas the full four-year term forfeited by Lathrop-Manteca Fire District Chief Gene Neely.