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Valencia targets jobs, safety, wasteful spending
Rosalinda Valencia
LATHROP – Rosalinda Valencia, a wife and the mother of four young children, said she decided to run for city council because she wants to help the city solve what she considers are the “main problems facing Lathrop” today.

These issues are safety, jobs, wasteful spending, and accountability.
“The city needs to negotiate better contracts with police services as well as fire services,” she said on the issue of safety.

As for the need for jobs or lack thereof in the city, Valencia said, “Lathrop leaders need to take a business-friendly approach to bring head-of-household jobs to the citizens of Lathrop.”

On the subject of accountability, Valencia would like the council to “find out where so much money is being wasted and then hold those responsible accountable via lay-offs or pay cuts” to make sure wasteful spending does not happen again.

She points out to the drainage repairs done earlier this year in front of the Senior Center at Valverde Park as an example of wasteful spending. She maintains that the repairs done at this site were “done twice” because it was not done correctly the first time.

After she presented this issue before a recent city council meeting, Public Works Director Steve Salvatore explained that the contractor hired to do the job was asked to correct a part of the repairs that were done, which they eventually did to the city’s satisfaction.

Valencia, who is one of four candidates including incumbent Sonny Dhaliwal who are vying for two seats on the council other than the mayor’s post which is also vacant, also believes that for the city to “get back on its fiscal feet, it (should), No. 1, take an independent audit of each and every department to see where funds are being wasted and where funds can be saved.”

She added, “We need to cut the fat and end some perks that some have (become) accustomed to for too long.”

Citing the lawsuit that was filed by Mayor Kristy Sayles’ husband against the city, among other defendants, earlier this year, as well as other suits that have named Lathrop as a defendant, Valencia said, “We need to find out why Lathrop has allowed so many to sue our city so easily with frivolous lawsuits. We need to end the game of ‘you need cash, sue the city.’”

She also decries the city’s “unfriendly business practices because the city has, for some unknown reason, allowed neighboring cities to cash in where Lathrop failed.”

Valencia has time and again mentioned before the city council that Lathrop lost out on the Winco grocery store, which was snagged by Tracy, and the Bass Pro Shops as examples of the two major businesses that approached Lathrop first before moving on to the more friendly business skies of the neighboring towns such as Manteca where Bass Pro Shops eventually located. Council members have remained mum about the truth behind Valencia’s allegations, though.

In connection with lawsuits against the city and wasteful spending, Valencia brought up the wrongful termination case involving the city’s chief building official Matt Browne which, after more than two years of hearings before an administrative job, ended in Browne’s favor. Valencia was one of several residents who consistently went before the council questioning the fiscal drain the case was doing to the city.

“In order for the city to prevent another Matt Browne case, it must remain professional and let their personal feelings come into play. The city leaders must look at the facts of the case objectively and then take the advice of the judge to heart. The city must know when to say, enough is enough,” said Valencia who is vice president of Lathrop School’s Parent Teacher Club and works as a chocolateer at the Ghirardelli Chocolate in Lathrop.