It appears that Sonny Dhaliwal will be the mayor of Lathrop for at least the next two years.
While he had two challengers that took out the nomination paperwork – potentially setting the table for the first three-way mayoral race in the city in a decade – neither of them returned the packets before the 5 p.m. deadline on Friday which all but guarantees that Dhaliwal will be elected in November.
A challenger may still mount a write-in campaign, but in more than three decades of elections in Lathrop a write-in candidate has never gathered more votes than somebody who appeared on the actual ballot.
“It’s an honor that people are giving me an opportunity to serve a city that we all love,” Dhaliwal said, noting that he is going to wait until after the election before he celebrates. “Lathrop is a city that is moving in the right direction – we are the sixth best city in the state in terms of financial security according to the state auditor, and River Islands was voted one of the 20 most desired communities in the entire nation.
“People are moving into the community, the home prices are still going up even during the pandemic, and our city is financially sound. We do have our challenges, but the city is moving in the right direction.”
Dhaliwal ran unopposed in 2018 – becoming the city’s first mayor to serve four consecutive terms. He has been involved in Lathrop’s political scene for almost two decades and was part of the council that helped steer Lathrop through the financial crisis of 2008 and the lean years that followed.
Having that experience, Dhaliwal said, is something that he thinks will come in handy as the city waits for the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to come into sharper focus. He acknowledged that closed businesses will undoubtedly mean less revenue for the city but reaffirmed the council’s position to advocate for businesses and to ensure that they are still standing when the dust on the pandemic finally settles.
“We had some of the same challenges in 2008 that we’re facing today and with the times to come, and in 2008 we made decisions that helped save the city financially and we will do the same today,” Dhaliwal said. “We are trying to help businesses as much as we can – keeping the businesses and the city financially sustainable is our No. 1 priority.”
While Dhaliwal’s election is all but assured in November, it will be the first time in more than a decade that Martha Salcedo will not be on the Lathrop City Council.
According to Lathrop city clerk Teresa Vargas, the filing period for the two available city council seats will be extended through Wednesday at 6 p.m. because Salcedo had not taken out paperwork before the Friday deadline. Fellow incumbent Jennifer Torres-O’Callaghan has already qualified for the ballot – as has Minnie Lee Diallo and Rajkanwal Singh Nagra – but Salcedo will not be eligible to complete the process during the extension period.
Two other candidates, Christopher Lee Sandoval and Sarbjit Sroya, have been issued paperwork but have yet to return it to Vargas. If they don’t return it by Wednesday at 6 p.m., completed, the field will be narrowed to three for the two available seats and the paperwork that is on file for the race will be available for public viewing.
Additional information can be found in the City Clerk’s election tab on the City of Lathrop’s website at www.ci.lathrop.ca.us.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.