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Five circulating nomination papers for Lathrop council
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Two of the three incumbents in November’s race for the Lathrop City Council have expressed an interest in remaining on the governing body.

Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal, who is finishing his fourth term on the council as the longest-serving mayor in the city’s history, has taken out the nomination paperwork to run for an unprecedented fifth term – helping guide the city through the financial minefield of the 2008 financial crisis as a member of the city council before being elected in 2012 in a contentious race.

So far, he has no opposition – a markedly different scenario than he faced early on in his career at the helm of the city where he faced a number of early challengers in consecutive races.

Dhaliwal was issued papers last week and has until August 7 at 5 p.m. to return them completed to city clerk Teresa Vargas in order to qualify for the ballot.

Joining Dhaliwal in attempting to continue working on behalf of the community will be Jennifer Torres-O’Callaghan – a former Lathrop Planning Commissioner that sought a 2-year unexpired term in 2018. Torres-O’Callaghan took out paperwork last week as well and qualified for the ballot the next day. Unlike her previous election, she will be seeking a full four-year term on the council.

Martha Salcedo, who was appointed to the council the year after Dhaliwal was, has not yet taken nomination paperwork seeking another term, and will have until the Aug. 7 deadline to take out the paperwork and return in order to qualify for the ballot.

Minnie Lee Diallo, who has run for council several times over the last several years and currently serves on the Parks and Recreation Commission, has also taken out paperwork seeing a four-year term on the Lathrop City Council. Diallo was instrumental in organizing a virtual Black Lives Matter protest video that united various elements of the community to send a message of unity and hope, and partnered with a group of women from River Islands to hold a physical demonstration in the new development that featured a crowd of hundreds of people that marched from Michael Vega Part to the River Islands Technology Academy peacefully and with the assistance of Lathrop Police Services. No issues were reported from the event, and local leaders were present to speak to the public about the need for unity in a community that has always prided itself on its multiculturalism.

This will mark the first election in a number of years that only the mayor’s seat and the two full-term council seats will be up for election. A number of issues ranging from resignations to announcements that the candidate would not seek the position they had qualified for even if they won to candidates that won and passed away shortly thereafter have created a situation over the last several election where four-fifths of the council was actually up for reelection at any given time – election rules require that those that are appointed to serve the first half of an open seat run for the ensuing two years during the next available election.

Also throwing their hat into the ring for the 2020 general election will be political newcomers Rajkanwal Singh Nagra and Christopher Lee Sandoval. Neither of the two candidates have held elected or appointed positions in Lathrop’s government in the past, and their nomination paperwork which details their credentials will not be available for public viewing until after the nomination period has closed.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.