Tom Patti’s run for the Board of Supervisors is being driven by a desire to provide his 6-year-old daughter Presley with a better future.
More precisely it is for all the youth in San Joaquin County who he believes should be able to pursue the American Dream without having to move elsewhere.
“I’ve known parents that tell their kids to get a good education and move away from here (San Joaquin County) to get a job,” Patti said. “This was a great place for us to grow up . . . it is still a good place to raise families.”
It is that sentiment that made Patti frame three of the biggest issues that he wants to address if elected to the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors to represent Manteca north of Yosemite Avenue, Lathrop and parts of Stockton: Economic development, public safety, and working with schools and the community to strengthen education opportunities.
“Some might say what does the county have to do with education,” Patti noted. “There are opportunities to develop mentorships and work to establish more trade schools.”
Patti also wants to work toward getting the California State University system to expand offerings in the greater Stockton area.
While stressing he isn’t de-emphasizing college, he noted there are growing opportunities in the economy for jobs that require trade school training such as plumbing and electrical work that lead to solid paychecks that can raise a family.
Patti noted improved economic opportunity and providing young people with the skills needed to obtain them is a long-term solution to crime and reducing the need for social services.
He concedes there are a lot of pressing issues facing the county.
“But there isn’t anything that isn’t reversible,” he noted.
Patti missed the opportunity to be Governor Brown’s appointee to the District 3 seat due in a large part to his answers to the only two questions posed to all hopefuls: His positions on the Twin Tunnels and the high speed rail project.
“My standard measure of whether a project is beneficial is if it isn’t detrimental to others,” Patti said.
From that aspect, Patti said the Twin Tunnels would benefit Southern California at the expense of San Joaquin County residents without even generating any net increase in available water.
He believes the right strategy for California involves additional storage, collecting rainwater in urban areas, more effective use of treated waste water, and desalination plants.
As for the high speed rail, he believes the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco travel isn’t where the biggest impact can be made in terms of enhancing the quality of life by reducing commute congestion and improving air quality.
He pointed to the 60,000 plus commuters that cross the Altamont Pass each day to go to work and then return home.
He favors a blended system that takes high speed and harnesses existing systems such as BART to service heavily traveled daily commute corridors as opposed to the much lighter commuting between the north and south state.
Patti said a supervisor should seek ways to improve how services are provided by going to the experts — department heads and rank and file county workers — to seek innovations for improved efficiency and lower costs.
As an example, he said things such as either having some court operations at the county jail or using video conferencing that some jurisdictions use for specific court proceedings can reduce costs and free up law enforcement officers for patrol and other duties.
But, he emphasized, the people that know best whether such strategies will be effective are the people hired to protect the county and its citizens.
“They are the experts,” Patti said.
Rethinking how things are done to find ways to improve county services is a high priority for Patti.
“San Joaquin Country doesn’t have a revenue issue,” he said. “We have a spending issue.”
Finding ways to streamline various department operations Patti believes is the most effective ways to cut costs whether it involves employing new technology or looking at opportunities to rethink the administrative hierarchy when retirements or resignations present themselves.
Patti also believes a regional approach involving many issues such as transportation is critical as the fate of San Joaquin County is intertwined with the rest of the Northern San Joaquin Valley as well as counties west of the Altamont Pass.
He points out that the successful Altamont Corridor Express was the result of a multi-county partnership.
The single father and local business owner is part of a family that traces its roots back four generation in San Joaquin County. He has lived in the county for over 30 years. He has resided in locales as varied as New York and Southern California and believes the best place to raise a family is San Joaquin County.
The Stockton resident attended local schools and Delta College.
Patti serves on the board of the Stockton Builders Exchange that is currently developing a statewide job information network.
He belongs on a number of non-profits boards such as the Stockton Crime Stoppers, Child Abuse Prevention Council, March of Dimes, and the Delta College Foundation. He has had a hand in raising more than $500,000 annually for the non-profits. He was appointed by the Board of Supervisors to serve on the Equal Employment Opportunity Advisory Committee and is currently the chair.
He is a member of the San Joaquin Farm Bureau, Rotary International and the Stockton Sister City Association.
Patti stressed his objective as a supervisor would be to “better the quality of life for all members of our community.”