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Hernandez vows to keep our Manteca pride
Vince Hernandez, third from left, with part of his re-election committee that includes, from left, Jackie Johnston, Ruth Bricker, Hernandez, Tony Dhaliwal, Janet Fiore, and Frank Fiore. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Vince Hernandez – who was voted into office eight years ago in the midst of infighting on the Manteca City Council by employing the theme “Heal Our City” – is emphasizing “Keep Our Manteca Pride” as his core message of his re-election bid.

It isn’t the only difference between his 2002 campaign and the one he’s now embarking on. This time around, instead of accepting large donations along with small ones, his committee is limiting donations to $10 each.

Hernandez is one of four declared candidates so far for the two open seats on the City Council in the Nov. 2 election. The others are fellow incumbent John Harris as well as challengers Samuel Anderson and Richard Behling. The final date to file nomination papers with the required signatures of registered voters is Aug. 6.

Hernandez sees the campaign’s three main issues - in descending order - as the economy, public safety, and downtown.

The two-term councilman said it is imperative that Manteca position itself so that when the recovery comes it can take full advantage of opportunities.

“We need to have incubator space available for businesses to move into quickly instead of having to wait six months or a year or more for it to be built,” Hernandez said.

There are several business parks that can handle small and some medium-sized business concerns. But when it comes to landing larger employers such as Ford Motor Co. that last decade brought to Manteca jobs that were then commanding average salaries that where already in the ballpark of today’s Manteca household income of $66,000, there isn’t much space of consequence available.

That is why Hernandez said he will continue to support two major employment center projects that are making their way through the approval process - CenterPoint as well as Austin Road Business Park. CenterPoint consists of 4 million square feet of distribution center space to take advantage of direct rail access as well as being adjacent to the Union Pacific intermodal facility on Roth Road that is now in the process of being quadrupled in size.

The 1,080-acre Austin Road Business Park in southeast Manteca includes 8 million square feet of industrial and business park space as well as 3.5 million square feet of general commercial.

Hernandez said public safety - especially law enforcement - needs increased funding as soon as the city is in the position to do so. He emphasized the city’s efforts to push back gangs needs to pick up tempo which may require innovative ways including Police Chief Dave Bricker’s efforts to enlist federal dollars to put in place a gang intervention program that would put in mentors on the street to actively help those who want to break away from the influence of gangs.

As far as downtown is concerned, Hernandez believes the city needs to put appropriate zoning in place to “make things happen” after listening to what downtown merchants and property owners deem is the best course of action.

He cautioned against going to more “mixed commercial” - or at least being extremely careful on how it is pursued - based on past history downtown where some residents above stores have created major problems via drinking, drug use and other such issues that the city had to invest a lot of manpower to curtail.

Hernandez believes Manteca’s greatest assets include civic minded citizens as well as its plethora of groups serving youth from the Boys & Girls Club and Give Every Child a chance to various sports organizations plus service organizations and churches.

He credits the strong community involvement - such as Crossroads Grace Community Church that planted over 300 tress along the Tidewater Bikeway as well as  their stepping up to help with landscape maintenance - as helping make Manteca a better place.

He also lists Manteca’s location as a big advantage. And it’s not just as being at the heart of the country’s second largest 100-mile market with 17 million consumers that lured Bass Pro Shops here. He’s referencing Manteca’s central location to Modesto, Stockton, and Tracy that has brought employers such as J&M Equipment even in the middle of The Great Recession.

Also a strong point for Manteca, according to Hernandez, is how future domestic water supplies and wastewater treatment facilities have been put in place along with other infrastructure.

Hernandez works as the coordinator for psychological services at the San Joaquin County Office of Education. He has served since 2007 as president of the Central Catholic High School Athletic Boosters. has served as a director for Give Every Child a Chance since 2003, served four years as a board member for St. Anthony of Padua School, just completed a term as a Manteca Little League board member, has been a team manager for Manteca Futbol Club for the past two years, is a past grand knight for the Knights of Columbus, and has coached various youth sports teams in Manteca.