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Dhaliwal leads pack in campaign contributions
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Councilman Sonny Dhaliwal is caught in a pensive moment during a recent Lathrop City Council meeting. He leads the seven mayor and council candidates in campaign contributions, according to the latest mandated report on monitory donations. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin
LATHROP – If the Lathrop council race were strictly based on fund-raising, incumbent council member Sonny Dhaliwal would be the winner hands down.

Between July 1 and Sept. 30, the councilman who is seeking a second term of office received a total of $18,278.60 in contributions from 30 individuals and companies, with 17 of those coming from people in the trucking industry. The truckers’ individual donations ranged from $50 to $1,600 with six of them contributing more than $1,000 given as either a one-time contribution or cumulatively during the campaign statement report period. Also known as California Form 460, it tracks down every penny that each candidate receives from supporters and must be filled out and filed by each election candidate with the city clerk.

According to his campaign statement filed, the Sonny Dhaliwal for City Council 2010 committee had a total of $10,434.95 in expenditures during the three-month period covered, and an ending balance in his campaign cache of $9,769.13.

The biggest single donation came from Diamond Transportation, Inc. of Stockton which gave $1,600. The same company made another contribution for $1,500 during the same statement period, for a total donation of $3,100.

Other contributors include artist Surinder S.Dhanoa ($101), San Joaquin County Board of supervisor Steve Bestolarides and his wife Doreen ($150), bank employee Amarjit Dhaliwal who is the candidate’s sister-in-law, Statewide Petroleum Inc. of Manteca ($500), ice cream vendors Govinder S. Atwal and Baljeet Kaur ($100), and Stockton dentist Rujul G. Parikh ($100). Other out-of-town donors are from Woodland, Calif., Union City, Fremont and Sacramento.

Nobody else among the three mayoral candidates and the three other council contenders come close to Dhaliwal’s roster of contributors. Council candidates Rosalinda Valencia, Brent Maynor and Omar Ornelas each submitted only one page of the form with no report of any monetary contributions to their campaign. All three have said they are financing their candidacies out of their own pockets.

Fifth council candidate Gene Neely bowed out of the race recently after he was named chief of the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District. Prior to that, he was interim fire chief.

Two of the mayoral candidates listed loans that they personally made to their campaign. Former councilman Steve Dresser who is making a first-time bid to be the city’s top elected official listed a loan of $1,847.16 and monetary contributions of $198 for a total of $2,045 to his Hope for Lathrop With Steve Dresser Mayor 2010 Committee. He has an ending cash balance of $319.40 after a total expenditure of $1,725.76 for campaign signs and literature and other related expenses.

J. “Chaka” Santos listed $7,500 in monetary contributions and expenses at $2,760.04 resulting in an ending cash balance of $4,379.36 in his Committee to Elect J. “Chaka” Santos campaign cache.

Mayor Kristy Sayles is the only candidate whose statement is reflecting a negative figure. She listed her current cash statement and balance at $521.81, and her outstanding debts at $18,650.98. The money owed is from her campaign two years ago with unpaid bills of $18,200.98 to Strategic Research in Stockton and $450 to The Rush Publications.

The two members of the City Council who are half-way through their four-year terms are Vice Mayor Martha Salcedo and Council member Christopher Mateo.