There is only one Lei Ann Larson in Manteca.
There is more than one Michelle Flores in Manteca, although one spells Michelle with just one “L” and not two.
In fact, there are five or six Michelle Flores if you count different spellings of the first name.
Why it matters is simple.
Manteca has 27 days to go in the most contentious mayoral race in at least 20 years and people are distancing themselves from candidates they don’t like.
That put Michele Flores
— the one who has one “L” in her name — in a bizarre situation.
Some believe she has endorsed Larson which is not the case.
The confusion can be tracked back to June and July when another Michelle Flores — one with two “L”s in her first name — toyed briefly with the idea of running against Dave Breitenbucher for the District 3 council seat.
She never filed papers but her candidacy was alluded to by Mantecans4Change whose website as of Tuesday was blocked.
There apparently are — and have been — multiple Michelle Flores that spell their first names with two “L”s in Manteca.
A Google search reveals a Michelle Flores that is a supervisor at a Manteca chain store.
She apparently is not among the Michelle Flores that the website Check People list as being Manteca residents.
That site lists four Michelle Flores — Michelle Jasmin Flores, Michelle Sharon Flores, Michelle Warden Flores, and Michelle Sue Flores.
Among those is the Michelle Flores who is a neighbor of Larson’s that she was trying to get to run for the council.
Larson called her the ideal candidate for the race — a young woman who served in the military who is a Latina living in the council district with Manteca’s largest concentration of Hispanics — District 3.
Larson wasn’t too pleased with the letter published in the Bulletin Tuesday from Michele Flores — who is the one with a singular “L” in her first name — that in no uncertain terms distanced herself from Larson when “her name” popped up on the Mantecans4Change website as a potential candidate.
Although it was spelled slightly different, over the years numerous people have misspelled her first name.
It goes without saying Larson believed the letter was aimed at her.
Michele Flores’ was high profile for decades in the Manteca community as a businesswoman, Manteca Chamber of Commerce president, service club member, yoga instructor and more. That was mostly before Larson moved here.
Michele Flores, who wrote the letter has been in Manteca since 1954. Larson has been a resident for the past eight years.
Although Michele Flores clearly has a solid reputation that might catch people’s attention that are long-time residents when it comes to endorsements and possibly influence their votes, it clearly wasn’t on Larsons’ mind either to use people or to trade on Michele’s solid community work.
And while Larson may believe she was maligned by the letter, it is clear that there was confusion given Internet chatter back in June-July when Michelle Flores’ name was floated ad a candidate and more than a few people thought it was Michele Flores who spells her first name with a single “L”.
Michele Flores in her letter talked about the importance of integrity being part of the DNA of elected leaders.
As for Larson, it is clear the attempt to get her neighbor Michelle Flores to run for council in District 3 was not shenanigans. That Flores is also against the homeless navigation center being built near her neighborhood.
It should be noted Michele Flores — the one with a single “L” — is also a resident of District 3.
And to murky the waters a bit more, a Google search of Michelle Flores via Facebook shows two more Michelle Flores with Manteca ties. One is an East Union High graduate who now lives in South San Francisco and the other is a Manteca High graduate who graduated from Manteca High, originally was from Lathrop and now lives in Stockton.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email email@example.com