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Dhaliwal racks up political endorsements
Lathrop Councilman Sonny Dhaliwal has several large campaign signs, like this one on the east side of Seventh Street along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks, all over the city, thanks to his large cache of contributions from supporters. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO
LATHROP – Several Lathrop mayor and council candidates have either received or lined up powerful endorsements to their candidacies.

But while some, like mayoral candidate Steve Dresser, are awaiting confirmations, incumbent councilman Sonny Dhaliwal who is running for re-election has racked up more than a handful of powerful endorsements.

All five members of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors are endorsing his second run for office. So are the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District union, the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 1021 which is the union representing some city employees, three former Lathrop mayors – Bennie Gatto, Mac Freeman who is currently a planning commissioner, and Gloryanna Rhodes – all of the city’s five planning commissioners, the Latino Times newspaper out of Stockton, “and a lot of citizens,” Dhaliwal said.

The councilman is humbled at this show of confidence in him. “That’s an honor. These people are putting their trust in me and that means a lot to me,” said the political science major from a university in India and a former Lathrop planning commissioner.

As for his unanimous endorsement from all five county supervisors, Dhaliwal said, “I went and asked them and they said, ‘no problem; we’re happy to endorse you.’ I have a track record – I’m not running against anybody,” said the father of three and an employee of Santa Clara County who works in the transportation department.

Dhaliwal’s term is ending in December and his seat is one of two vacancies on the council. The other open seat was vacated by former councilman Robert K. Oliver in March when he announced his retirement.

Dhaliwal’s challengers are political neophyte Brent Maynor who is a “homemaker” and a student of DeVry University, chocolateer Rosalinda Valencia, and 19-year-old San Joaquin Delta College student and lifelong Lathrop resident Omar Ornelas.

Challenging mayor Sayles in the November elections are businessman J. “Chaka’ Santos and former councilman and city planning commissioner Steve Dresser.