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Ben Cantu wanted to be Manteca city manager
MCC hall

Ben Cantu last year wanted to “work for” Steve DeBrum who he is running against for mayor of Manteca in the Nov. 6 election.

If that sounds a bit convoluted, it isn’t.

Cantu approached DeBrum to let him know he’d be interested in being hired as city manager in the aftermath of the Elena Reyes debacle that ended with her getting a fat severance check after just a few months on the job. Cantu also put out feelers to the four council members about being hired as city manager.

And since the city manager is one of only two municipal employees that answer directly to the council as a whole when a majority casts a vote — the other is the city attorney — Cantu was essentially telling DeBrum and his council colleagues  that he wanted to work for them.

Cantu never formerly applied for the city manager’s job.

Cantu said he did not receive any response from DeBrum.

It wasn’t the first time that Cantu approached elected Manteca leaders about serving as city manager. He made it known after Steve Pinkerton departed the job and before Karen McLaughlin was elevated from acting city manager status to city manager.

Cantu has never lacked confidence that he can run the City of Manteca to “get things done.”

In all of his bids for elected office in Manteca — this is his third run for mayor including in 2014 when he was defeated by DeBrum plus he has run for council twice — Cantu has shared the most specific plans of what he would do if he were elected than any other candidate during his various campaigns.

Cantu served for 35 years as a city planner during which time he worked with three city managers — Richard Jones, David Jinkens, and Bob Adams. Of the three, he said Adams was the best.

Since his retirement Manteca is on its fourth city manager — Tim Ogden — who followed Pinkerton, McLaughlin, and Reyes.

DeBrum makes push

for more AEDs in city

Manteca Mayor Steve DeBrum made a push Tuesday for the placement of more Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at municipal locations.

At Tuesday’s council meeting DeBrum shared information provided by Ron Cruz how a veteran at the oat Community Center/Manteca Veterans Center suffered a heart attack earlier this year.

The man recovered thanks in part to the Manteca Fire Department being on scene within five minutes.

DeBrum noted there are AEDs throughout the Civic Center complex including the council chambers.

He also said he’d like to see city staff take an inventory of places in municipal buildings that don’t have an AED unit accessible but lack them.

AED units typically run between $1,000 and $2,400 apiece.

City Manager Tim Ogden said the issue would be addressed.


Singh wants stepped

up work on Louise

Councilman Gary Singh — relaying concerns of constituents — on Tuesday asked the public works staff to see if they could find a way to make the 50-day closure of Louise Avenue between Cottage Avenue and the Highway 99 overcrossing more pliable.

The closure is needed to allow TruMark Homes in install city-required infrastructure for the 490-home age-restricted neighborhood they are building. The work includes the city’s first roundabout on a major arterial.

Singh noted the closure of Louise Avenue will be particularly problematic once school opens Aug. 8.


Police captain, lead

records clerk retiring

The City Council on Tuesday honored Police Captain Tony Souza and Lead Police Records Clerk Nina O’Brien. Both are retiring after 27 years on the job.

Souza said it was a “pleasure serving the community” adding Manteca has — and is — very supportive of its police officers.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email