Rick Arucan, as Sierra High principal, in May of 2000 not only signed Gary Singh’s high school diploma but also handed it to him before hundreds of witnesses in ceremonies that took place at the University of the Pacific.
Now, 22 years later, Arucan is one of nearly a dozen of his former teachers and educators that have endorsed Singh for Manteca’s mayor in the Nov. 8 election.
That, however, isn’t the story with Election Day 14 days away.
Some of the backers of one of his opponents — Lei Ann Larson — are circulating stories that not only did Singh not graduate from Sierra High but he also did not attend and graduate from the University of the Pacific.
Such chatter on social media pages would barely raise an eyebrow in the current campaign if it weren’t for the fact it came on the heels of an email sent to Singh from Larson giving him an ultimatum that was copied to the rest of the council on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 7:21 a.m.
The email’s subject line was “questions regarding your education”.
The email states, “Recently I received an email from a University of the Pacific alumni, stating, ‘Gary Singh does not act in a manner consistent with someone who attended the University of the Pacific...I also attended UOP and studied business. I was in my last year as an undergrad during the 2000-2001 school year and in graduate business studies during the 2001-2002 school year. All of the business classes are inside of Weber Hall. I don't remember seeing Singh there. It is hard to believe that we did not cross paths even once given that we would have been in the same building for two years. The only information regarding his degree that I can find online is from Gary Singh himself."
“The email further goes on to state that you did not graduate from Sierra High School and did not graduate from the University of the Pacific.”
At the end of her email Larson stated:
“Gary, these issues raised by this individual involve serious issues of fraud and is something that is often prosecuted. I wanted to give you an opportunity to address these allegations head on.
“Do you have documents to prove that you:
“1) Graduated from Sierra High School;
*2) Received the merit based scholarships;
*3) Graduated from the University of the Pacific and the degree issued to you.
“If I do not hear from you by Sunday at 5 p.m., I will accept your nonresponse as your admission that in fact you did not graduate from Sierra High School nor did you receive a degree from the University of the Pacific and the information published in the newspaper regarding your education is fraudulent. Obviously, if found true this would be very embarrassing.
“Thank you for your transparency on these issues.
“Lei Ann Larson”
After Singh opted not to respond, statements that Singh did not graduate from either Sierra High where he was a member of the California Scholarship Federation or the University of the Pacific where he graduates cum laude with a bachelor of science in business administration and a minor in biochemistry started popping up on the Internet.
The two smoking guns that have been offered include where Singh listed on a professional real estate site shortly after getting his license almost two decades ago that he had a GED. Singh admitted it was his error as he didn’t at the time know that there was a difference between the two.
The other one is the fact one of his detractors came across a Sierra High yearbook with Singh’s photo pasted onto it as part of the Class of 2000 head shots after it was printed.
What happened was he was left out of the photos. The error wasn’t caught until after the yearbooks were printed. As a result, his photo was pasted in all copies of the yearbook before they were distributed. Singh appears elsewhere in the yearbook including the far right in the fifth row of the large class photo as well as on the CSF page.
Manteca Unified does not allow students that have not met all of the requirements to earn a high school diploma participate in graduation ceremonies, walk across the stage, shake hands with administrators and school board members, and receive their diploma.
Singh has been endorsed by a number of his former teachers and those who were on the Sierra High faculty at the time including San Joaquin County Board of Education member Vern Gebhardt, Lathrop High Principal Greg Leland, among others.
Latest video from Larson
Calls for peace in Manteca
Lei Ann Larson posted a video on her Facebook campaign page Tuesday calling on her opponents — “Mayor Ben Cantu, Gary Singh for Manteca Mayor and other council members to call for peace in this community . . .”
The four minute and 59 second video references an Internet posting of an aerial view “taken by a drone flying over Frank Aquila’s home” that was marked with his address and markings similar to what the military would use to identify targets to be hit.
She said it occurred after Aquila appeared at last week’s council meeting where he repeated claims that Singh had engaged in unethical behavior as a council member and as a member of the San Joaquin Council of Governments representing Manteca.
Attorneys representing both entities looked into the allegations and determined there was nothing to them. Even so, Aquila repeated them at the council, meeting noting they had the appearance of a conflict.
It was at that meeting that Larson supporters threatened Singh supporters in the council chambers including an exchange caught on a smartphone video saying they hoped a woman would get cancer and die.
At one point based on previous postings Larson attributed to Singh supporters, threats were made that they would be contacting the Stockton’s branch of the Hell’s Angels after comments attributed to Aquila were made on the internet. They attributed a posting to Aquila of someone posing as a Hell’s Angel. Aquila denies that is the case.
Other remarks posted included anonymous deaths threats that prompted Aquila — who Larson characterized as a “whistle blower” – to file a police report out of concern for his family.
Larson in her video names the names of various people that she said participated in the exchange.
She also noted some had referenced Aquila as a “pig”, a slur directed at him because he is a retired law enforcement officer.
Larson ended her video asking viewers if they had contact information for any of the individuals she mentioned in her video that she said made threats against Aquila to email her and that she would forward the information on to “the appropriate authorities.”
Larson plans marathon meet
& greet weekend sessions
Lei Ann Larson is racking another first for Manteca politics
She is planning a pair of marathon 12-hour meet and greets at her home at 925 South Main Street.
They are scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 29, and Sunday, Oct. 30, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
She also inviting for attending to see the location of the city’s proposed homeless navigation center that is planned on the back portion of the 8 acre parcel directly across from her home.
She added she will also share her seven point agenda for Manteca.
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