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Every Monday through Oct. 29, the Manteca Bulletin is posing a question for the candidates in the Manteca municipal election on Nov. 6 election running for mayor and the two council seats. This week’s question: “Why are you are running and whatever point
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David Breitenbucher

It is hard to put into words how much Manteca means to me. Manteca is the only home I have known and generations of Breitenbuchers before me have also called Manteca home. This city has given so much to me and my family. I am blessed that I had such a wonderful city to grow up in and then raise a family.

After 30 years on the Manteca Fire Department and coaching Manteca sports since I was in college, I sometimes feel like I know everyone in town. This process of running for city council has introduced me to so many new friends. Win or lose, I will treasure the relationships made these last six months and am thankful my Manteca has grown just a little bit more.

At a young age, my parents instilled in me the value of service to my neighbor and community. It is so easy to serve our city, because Manteca residents give of themselves every day. I have had the honor to serve on the Agape Village and Give Every Child a Chance Boards, and am amazed at the overflowing compassion of Mantecans.

Making the decision to run for office was not an easy one. After 12 years on the parks and recreation board and currently as chairman, I had many people encouraging me to look at the open city council seat. After a lot of prayer and soul-searching consideration, I realized I had something to contribute to Manteca city government. I am excited about the opportunity to serve Manteca in this capacity. While our city is great, it could be better.

As our city grows, we need to ensure we maintain what makes Manteca special. Preserving our quality of life and keeping families safe will be my number one priority. While we have many needs, we do not have unlimited resources. It is important we are frugal with our tax dollars and fulfill our obligations to the taxpayers before embarking on additional projects. Thankfully, new business is flourishing in Manteca which will allow us to make infrastructure improvements, including to many roads that are long overdue.

Many of our needs are not concrete and steel, they strike at the soul of our city. Our homeless population continues to grow. The needs of our homeless are diverse and many are beyond just having a home. We need to be proactive and partner with churches, non-profits and mental health services to assist them. We also need to be mindful that their rights do not exceed other Manteca residents or local businesses who have the right to shop and dine without being accosted.

As a longtime swim coach, one of my passions is a community Athletic / Aquatics Facility. This facility would be of great use to community members in all walks of life. We could build this facility, without burdening the taxpayers by partnering with Manteca Unified to create a mutually beneficial facility that would serve Manteca residents and students alike.

To fund projects like the Athletic Facility, we need to continue to grow our tax base without burdening Manteca residents. We have so much to offer bay area businesses and we owe it to our families who commute hours a day to bring good paying jobs locally.

I want to thank the Manteca Bulletin for giving us this forum to discuss important issues at length.  Politics nowadays seems to be about clever sound bites. I am thankful here in Manteca we can have thoughtful discussions about our city and its issues. I also want to thank my fellow candidates. When I decided to run I looked at politics nationally and saw how uncivilized they were. This group of candidates have been respectful and kept this election clean. It will be a pleasure to serve with any one of them and work in collaboration to solve Manteca’s problems.

Like you, I love this City. There would be no greater honor than to have the opportunity to serve you as your councilmember. 

Ben Cantu

Manteca’s best days are ahead of us.

I was three years old when my family and I moved to Manteca. My father had started a sugar beet harvesting business, and my mother was a seamstress. My parents had migrated to California from Texas in search of a better life for their family. My parents, my brother, and I lived in a small house on the end of Yolo Street, and I attended and graduated from Lincoln Elementary, Manteca High School, and finally Delta College with degrees in architecture and architectural construction.

I was on my way to attend college in San Luis Obispo, when I received a call from the City of Manteca that would change the course of my life. It was a call asking if I would be interested in joining the city’s newly formed Planning Department. I accepted the job, and it was one of the best decisions of my life.

I had the privilege of serving Manteca as a City Planner for more than 34 years. I helped play a role in designing the modern Manteca we see today. When I retired from the City in 2006, I opened a small business in Manteca designing buildings for area businesses and offices.

I’m a small business owner; I have never been a politician. I believe in the greatness of our city because I have witnessed it myself, from growing up here to being blessed to have a career in our city. You will not find more generous people than those who live in Manteca. Where our city is located provides for enormous economic potential for the future. Our local business owners are the economic heart of our community.

However, our bright future is far from certain. With a Downtown that is sadly in decline, public safety services that must be rebuilt, roads in disrepair, and the price of housing out of reach for our local working families, our city must re-focus on the priorities that truly matter.

I’m running for Mayor because our city deserves leadership that understands the issues our residents face on a daily basis, and because we need leadership that is not so beholden to the special interests that they cannot address the issues. As Mayor, I will be laser-focused on improving the quality of life for the residents of our community, and making sure that we make City Hall more accountable and accessible to everyday citizens. I will be a Mayor for the people of Manteca, and will always put your interests and concerns above all else.

My plan to improve the lives of you and your family include the following points: adding more police officers to help keep our neighborhoods safe and deter crime, investing in local small businesses and revitalizing our cherished Downtown, finally fixing and maintaining our streets and roadways, working with the community and nonprofits to tackle homelessness, and pushing for term limits for the Mayor and City Council.

We must realize that we cannot keep electing the same individuals to office, who talk about our problems every four years but make no progress on solving them. It’s time to admit that new leadership and a new focus is what our City needs in order to fully realize our economic potential and finally deliver on the needs of our residents and the community.

I am asking for your vote and support for Mayor of Manteca on November 6th. My heart is for Manteca and for the wonderful people of our city. My one and only promise to you is that I will never stop fighting for you and for all of the people of Manteca, and I will always put your interests first as Mayor. Together, let’s bring positive change to Manteca and let’s take our city into the future!

Twitter @bcantu1951

Steve DeBrum

During my time as your Mayor and on the Manteca City Council, I have always worked hard to preserve our unique family city atmosphere and quality of life.  Growth and change are inevitable and lead to a healthier, more vibrant city when done with proper planning and foresight.  I have attempted to earn and maintain your trust by being honest, open and available to the residents of Manteca in every decision and vote I have made.

As your Mayor, Manteca has moved forward on a number of new retail, manufacturing and warehousing developments such as Center Point and the recent openings of 5.11 Tactical and Penske and other major projects in the city such as Medline, Scannell and Amazon. We’ve created more job opportunities but still must continue to bring more head of household jobs to our community to reduce the number of our residents who must commute over the Altamont each day to provide for their families. 

The Council recently approved the proposed building of Fire Station 5 which will serve the residents of South Manteca and will be the first station west of the railroad tracks and is scheduled to open in 2020. Your Council has also taken steps to protect Manteca residents by adding police officers.  This process is only the beginning and with judiciousness, hard work and planning we will continue to add more officers so every Manteca resident feels safe. We’ve also worked to improve our roads and streets by adding more lanes, repaving worn and cracked pavement and are upgrading main thoroughfares.  However, the challenges we face to repair all the streets on an annual basis is an up-hill battle. Efforts to bolster the general fund budget must be at the top of list to mitigate and support fixing roads and streets. Finally, under the list of accomplishments is the signing of Great Wolf Lodge, a project that will bring tourist dollars and tax revenue to our community so we can enhance city services. 

We’ve come a long way, yet there is much left to accomplish. I believe that for Manteca to reach its full potential, we need to bring more high-paying jobs to our community so that our residents don’t have to commute over the Altamont Pass – precious time that could be spent with family and friends.  Over the past decade, we have seen new business parks and companies choosing to locate in Manteca like Bass Pro, Costco, Big League Dreams (BLD), 5.11 Tactical, Amazon, Medline and Penske just to name a few. Our city can and should do more to cut fees and reduce bureaucracy that inhibits job growth and discourages companies from moving to our city.  Our city is centrally located with easy access to Interstate 5, Highway 99 and the 120 connector.  We need to take full advantage of our numerous assets and be even more aggressive in marketing our city to the business community.  I am proud to have the support of many in the business community and of organized labor including the Carpenters Local 152, the Teamsters Union, Sheet Metal Workers, Operating Engineers and the Central Labor Council because they understand my commitment to job creation in Manteca.  We have made great progress and are on track to bring those head-of-household jobs that are community needs but we need to stay focused on making Manteca a job-creating hub to improve the quality of life for all residents.

We are working tirelessly to establish a fiber optics network within the City of Manteca. Doing so will take us to a new level creating head of household jobs with potential Silicon Valley companies, companies that will look at the San Joaquin Valley and Manteca as potential job centers for their workforce.

While our city is moving forward, we still have challenges that must be addressed.  The most visible issue confronting our community is our homeless problem. I believe that the truly needy deserve our generosity and a helping hand to assist them in getting out of that situation.  However, we have far too many homeless who have chosen that lifestyle, and aggressively panhandle, loiter, drink and use drugs and destroy the family atmosphere of our parks and public places. While we have community resource officers working to assist the homeless by returning them to their families or establishing support for their medical needs or alcohol or substance abuse issues, we are still working with those individuals who are considered the criminal element. Stiffer penalties must be imposed on those individuals who do not obey our laws. Again, I want to help those who have fallen on hard times and who are trying to get back on their feet.  However, we need to address this issue with the collaboration and cooperation of community groups, charitable organizations and churches and not by creating a bigger government bureaucracy.  Manteca residents are giving and caring people.  If we work together, we can continue to improve our quality of life.

I am running for re-election as your Mayor because our city is so special.  I have dedicated myself to community service and involvement ever since I moved to Manteca. I believe that the decisions I and my fellow Councilmembers have made over the past fifteen years have put our community on the right track and moving in a positive and sustainable direction that will improve the lives of Manteca residents.  It has been my privilege to represent the residents of the city I love and the place I call home.  I believe our city needs trusted leadership with a proven track record of accomplishment and vision for the future.  I would be honored to once again serve as your Mayor and humbly request your support, so we can continue to move Manteca forward together.  

Mike Morowit

I often think about what my life was like when I first moved to Manteca-and for that matter, what Manteca was like.  I moved here and started my business, Miner Mart, back in 1995.  I can still remember driving down the highway and realizing that there was not much in this town other than Wal Mart, a few shops downtown, and some housing development projects in the making.  Being born and raised in the Bay Area, the move to Manteca was quite a transition.  Nonetheless, I saw great potential in my newly purchased business; more importantly, I recognized Manteca’s promising potential.

Over the years, I have witnessed the construction of hundreds of new homes.  I have also seen new chain restaurants spring up, and other major businesses like Costco establish roots in our city.  I think that in comparison to nearby cities like Stockton and Modesto that Manteca still lacks a variety of restaurants for residents to frequent.  There is no doubt that Manteca is both growing and changing, but I would like to see our city continue to expand in a way that directly benefits our families.

As a City Councilman and former Planning Commissioner, I participated in the approval process for many of the newer businesses and homes that you see as you drive down the roads today.  This includes the construction of Fire Station Number 4 on Lathrop Road which brought greater service levels to the northern part of Manteca and now Fire Station Number 5 which will soon break ground south of the 120 Bypass.  We have also hired 5 new police officers this year to keep our streets safe and a new Community Resource Officer to help address our homelessness issue.  To date, we have helped over 200 people get off our streets and into housing or get re-integrated with their families.  I am proud to have the endorsement of Manteca Police Officers and Firefighters because keeping Manteca safe is the Council’s top priority.

After working directly with the public for decades, I understand how to build strong and meaningful relationships with individuals from diverse backgrounds.  I firmly believe that this personal attribute has helped improve the level of communication between constituents and City Hall.  I want to hear your needs and understand your issues.  I want to know what I can do to help address your concerns.  I am involved in our local community, and I drive down our city streets every day.  I maintain a vigilant eye and am always looking for ways to improve Manteca.  I have never been afraid to speak up on behalf of those who may not have their voices heard at City Hall.  I vow to look for more than just answers; I want to find long-term solutions for our community.

I also understand that one of the keys to creating a prosperous future for this city is finding ways to create good, higher-paying jobs.  Manteca needs jobs that offer a more sustainable income for individuals and families who must balance their budgets.  I would like to see minimum wage jobs being filled by youth and by people who are not sole wage-earners for their family.  It is my hope that job availability will increase by fostering local businesses and reducing bureaucratic red tape to streamline approval processes involving existing properties.  Because of my work to attract new business to Manteca, I am proud to have the support of the San Joaquin Central Labor Council, the Teamsters, the Carpenters Union, the Sheet Metal Workers and many other organizations who understand the importance of earning a fair wage for one’s efforts.

As your Councilman, I take my responsibility as a “fiscal watchdog” seriously.  The city must balance its budget just like working families do.  I have worked hard to ensure that your tax dollars are being used wisely and efficiently.  While I don’t always think that you can run a city just like a business, I try to look for opportunities to save money and to avoid raising taxes while protecting the interest of the local people.  I am proud of the fact that Manteca was just named the 21st most fiscally sound communities in the country.

Although efforts for controlled and sustainable development and growth are high on my list of priorities, I would like to emphasize that I vow to ensure Manteca remains a safe place to live.  A place where our local fire and police departments have the resources necessary to do their job well and protect our community.  I want Manteca to be a place where our children can walk in our neighborhoods and play in the local parks freely.

Moreover, I would like to address the “Manteca Waterslide” glory days.  I think that many residents might agree that the Manteca Waterslides is a place that we all remember fondly.  My goal is to restore Manteca as a destination for entertainment, and I believe we have done that with the Great Wolf Resort that will be breaking ground shortly.  Not only will it bring new visitors to our community, but it will also bring in new revenue that can be used for the services Manteca residents need and deserve.

My wife Georgette and I have been together for over ten years and between us we have four adult children and two grandchildren.  Manteca has not only been a great city in which to own a business but an even better place to raise our family in as well!  I will continue to be available to the residents, whether it be by email, phone calls or just stopping by my store. I believe that residents need to be heard when making decisions that affect our city.

Manteca is often referred to as the “Family City”.  I will continue to do everything that I possibly can to make sure that our community maintains its special quality of life.  A place that is vibrant, prosperous and safe – a place to call home.

Jose Nuno

I come from humble beginnings, my journey thus far has been intentional as I was inspired to serve my community through elected office at a young age. I decided to run now on my own terms, no one asked me to run, as I see the needs of our community and I feel prepared to meet the challenge. 

When I married my wife in 2006, we made Manteca our home, we have a 6 year boy and 4 year old daughter. My retired parents now live in Manteca as well. Additionally, my sister with her husband and son live in Manteca as well. The people, by far, make Manteca a great city. It is important to me, and should be to you as well, that the elected officials are representative of the community. 

I bring expertise in a variety of community needs, but my specialty is in housing.  Currently, I work for a non-profit housing agency where we build workforce apartments and single family homes and provide housing counseling to families to give them the tools to make the best decision regarding their housing needs. I know firsthand the struggles persons go through to find housing that meets their budget and is truly affordable to their wages. Also, I realize that it is a luxury for persons to live and work in Manteca due to the high cost of housing.

My leadership style is very much collaborative, I enjoy having conversations with people of diverse perspectives to find the best solutions. In my everyday work I am part of regional efforts and I uniquely bring that experience. Just as important is my experience with budgets, audits, and accountability including overseeing over $150 million in assets. I am fiscally conservative but know when it matters to invest on things that benefit our community.

My Vision

I would work to bring various types of housing options for families and individuals that includes apartments, condos and single family homes with a specific focus on workforce housing. 

I’m being supported by various groups of people because they see that my expertise in housing is important to have on the city council and are supportive of my vision to build various housing types for various income levels. 

As a Planning Commissioner, I have promoted and challenged applicants to build sustainable walkable neighborhoods and commercial projects for our community. I plan to be able to do this and more by helping create policies that address the specific need for affordable workforce housing. 

Just as important is bringing the necessary economic development for jobs, restaurants and entertainment options, which the community is asking for. I know Manteca has the potential and with the right people at the policy table we can attain it. 

I hope this helps give insight into and helps solidify your decision.  I would be honored to have your vote.

Facebook: /mantecafornuno

Chris Silva

Why am I running and what is my vision the paper wants to know? In 2016 I found myself complaining about so many issues in our city that bothered me. Questions and concerns of what is going on around here seemed to be a daily thing. Here is a list of a few but not all the things I was baffled by. Why are we creating traffic congestion with planter boxes and Islands on Main Street? Why are we only replacing/backfilling retired police officers on our streets instead of rehiring those we lost in the 2008 layoffs? How many homes will be built before the city focuses on the residents and streets we already have? Are the City workers that took a near 28% cut in 2008 to help the city during a recession ever going to be thanked and compensated for their sacrifice? Why are we so weak at the negotiating table? When will city hall understand it is their job to “vote” on policy and procedure and not implement it? These are just a few of the questions I would rattle off on a common basis. That’s when I decided to dig into the idea of running for change instead of complaining about it. 

 After announcing two years ago that I was interested in running I realized quickly that I was not the only one overwhelmed with frustration. It seems so many residents share the same concerns. Here are some quotes from newspaper articles, social media posts and emails I have read. “That same careful leadership and experience gave us roads that we can’t drive on, homelessness not being addressed, and downtown that is falling apart. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have that same careful leadership and experience for another 4 years”. (Rachael Wood) “ Hi Chris... I believe our community is in much need of individuals who listen to the people. We are quite unhappy with the direction the community has taken over the last decade. Seems the current Mayor and council are concerned only with development disregarding the impact would take on safety of our community, overly impacted schools, etc”.(Jacki Rodrigues). These are just a couple statements I’ve read from some residents I do not know. 

That’s when it dawned on me that for far too long current council and past council groom their hand selected candidates. Frustrations grew stronger watching three of six local candidates running for office use the same campaign manager, four of six use the same residential developers to collect funding and push their campaign, several candidates obtained current council members on their 2018 committee, and joint fundraising events among multiple candidates had become common practice. To me this is not giving the residents the best individual representation we all deserve. City Council in my opinion should get along and be very cordial with each other but there should never be a buddy system created among each other or with candidates. I am 100% against current council members endorsing and joining candidates’ committees. 

I would love to promise the residents I will fix all the issues that bother so many of us, but the truth is that may never happen. What I can promise everyone is I will represent the residents in the best way I possibly can. I will hold those accountable for their actions or lack thereof. I will question weak negotiating, improper spending and the fact that the current residents must be put first. I will address the numbers in our police force and move towards a 1 to 1,000 ratio or better. I will vote to invest funds to revitalize downtown and recommend the cleanup and safety of it. I will not be persuaded by any donor in my vote. I will call out “any” person that’s not holding integrity to its highest form. I will stay true to the person I am and will change politics and not let politics change me.  I am for the people by the people and the moment that changes I will no longer be in city hall. 

These last two years have been very educational in the campaign trail. I truly couldn’t have done it without so many of you Manteca residents in my corner. I would like to thank many people that checked on me daily, weekly, monthly. First, I would like to thank God our creator for giving me the ability to step up to the challenge and guide me to do the right thing in each situation. My wife, kids and entire family for the support and sacrifice they have made is greatly appreciated. All the calls, texts, messages, emails and visits from the friends I’ve created over the years have been amazing. To Marty Harris and Raymond Quaresma, I cannot thank you enough for all the love and support you have given me over the last year. Both of you reassured me how important it is to keep God, family and integrity a top priority when representing a community. Two lifelong friends Chuck Meseke and Liz James you have been some of my biggest supporters during the campaign and I can’t’ thank you enough for answering the phone at 2 a.m. and working with me to make things right. So many of you that I didn’t know until this campaign started have been a huge reason for the success of this campaign, Sabrina Debarros, Diane Binford, Brenda Franklin, Rosemary, Bob Roberts, and so many others. The financial contributions to my campaign will not go unappreciated as our campaign raised the least amount of money of all the candidates. What makes it so great is we didn’t need $20,000, $30,000 or $40,000 to be successful, now that’s showing fiscal responsibility. If I didn’t mention you it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate you I truly do. Win or lose I hope I inspired others to stand up for what’s right, to not be afraid of big money running you into the ground and never let anything stop you from doing what you feel is best for the community. Thank you, Manteca, for showing so much love!