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Lathrop mayor still owes $28K from last campaign
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LATHROP – Mayor Kristy Sayles is still $28,000 in debt from her 2008 race.

Sayles faces two challengers in her bid to secure a third term in the Nov. 2 election.

Seeking to wrest the city’s top elected post from the incumbent mayor are two well-known figures in the area: Steve Dresser who retired from the former Pacific Bell telephone company and is currently working as technology coordinator with the Escalon Unified School District, and J. “Chaka” Santos, a Lathrop businessman.

In her candidate’s papers filed with the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters, Sayles describes herself as a business owner/mayor. She is the owner of a child development business called Early Start Child Development which she runs and operates out of her home in Lathrop.

According to the California Form 460 Campaign Disclosure Statement she filed with the city, the mayor still has outstanding debts of $18,650.98 from the previous elections and an unpaid loan of $9,347.07 from her business for a total of $27,998.05. Her standing debt of $18,200.98 is from Strategic Research of Stockton. She owes the remaining $450 to The Rush Publications, the monthly Lathrop newspaper which receives a monthly subsidy of $1,200 from the city, owned by Lathrop-Manteca Fire District board of director Frank Cavaco. The money owed to Strategic Research is for campaign literature and mailings, campaign consultant services, phone banks, and postage expenses incurred during the 2008 election campaign. The outstanding debt owed to The Rush is for campaign print ads that ran in the publication.

The semi-annual disclosure statement, which covers the period from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2010, also shows that Sayles’s campaign received a loan from her child development business totaling $9,347.07 with none of that amount paid to date. The loans were made to her campaign in September 2007, October 2008 and May 2009.

The same disclosure papers show that she has not made any loans for her campaign to date and that she has a beginning balance of $521.81.

Challenger Dresser is no stranger to Lathrop residents, having served as council member before in addition to his stint as a Planning Commissioner. He is also active in the community on various civic programs and projects such as the Lathrop Morning Rotary, the annual Lathrop Relay for Life which he chaired this year, the newly formed Friends of the Lathrop Library, among other things. He and wife Joyce are also volunteers at the Lathrop Senior Center.

Santos, who is a businessman as well as an entrepreneur, is known in Lathrop for the many philanthropic causes he supports particularly youth sports. The annual National Night Out parties he hosts at his home every year has also made him a name in the community for the barbecue and  other food offerings he and his wife, Roseanne, provides to their many guests that include dignitaries from the city and the Sheriff’s Department.

A fourth mayoral candidate, Gary L. Charles, pulled candidate’s papers but he never officially filed.

Also up for grabs in the Nov. 2 elections are two vacant council seats. One of the two vacancies is the seat occupied by incumbent Sonny Dhaliwal whose term is ending in December. He is seeking re-election. The other vacant seat belonged to former council member Robert K. Oliver who opted to retire in March and move to Southern California to be near his family. His term was also set to end in December.

The four other candidates vying for a council seat are Rosalinda Valencia and political newcomers Omar Ornelas, Gene Neely and Brent Maynor. Neely was recently promoted to acting fire chief of the Lathrop-Manteca Fire District after chief Fred Manding announced his retirement. Ornelas works at a bail bonds office in Modesto while attending San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton as a full-time student. Maynor, who is also an online student with DeVry University, describes himself in candidate’s papers he filed with the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters as a homemaker/student.

Valencia, who is an active volunteer in the community, is a chocolateer working at Ghirardelli Chocolate in Lathrop.