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Singh, Halford gain election to Manteca City Council
First time ever grad from each local high school is on council
Charlie Halford

Manteca City Council incumbent Gary Singh secured a second-term leading the five candidates seeking two council seats with 11,349 votes or 31.63 percent of those that had been counted as of Monday.

Singh is now the second highest vote getter in Manteca municipal history eclipsing Steve DeBrum who previously held that spot with 10,988 votes in the 2018 mayoral race against Ben Cantu.

Cantu, who won election in 2018, is the leading vote getter of all times with 12,042 votes.

Retired Manteca Police Chief Charlie Halford has secured the second spot with 9,466 votes (26.38%). His margin of 3,575 votes over 12-year incumbent Debby Moorhead is now too steep for her to overcome.

The make-up of the next council that will serve for a two-year period starting in early December when Singh and Halford take the oath of office includes the following highlights:

*There will be no woman on the council with the defeat of Moorhead. Manteca has only elected five women to serve on the council or as mayor in its 102-year history.

*For the first time ever there is a graduate from East Union High on the City Council with the election of Halford.

*Also for the first time ever, there are graduates from all three high schools within the city limits serving on the council. Mayor Ben Cantu and Dave Breitenbucher are Manteca High graduates, Singh is a Sierra High graduate and Halford and East Union High graduate.

*There is one person each in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s for the first time in at least 40 years. Usually the council has been composed of a majority of people who are 50 and over. The youngest is Singh at 37 and the oldest is Cantu at 73. Jose Nuño is in his 40s, David Breitenbucher is in his 50s, and Charlie Halford in his 60s.

*Singh as the youngest member is the one with the most council experience which is four years. Nuño, Cantu and Breitenbucher each have two years while Halford is the newbie.

*This is the first time ever three former City of Manteca employees will constitute the majority of the council. Halford is a retired police chief, Breitenbucher a retired fire captain, and Cantu a retired city planner.

*Geographically speaking, the council members reside in a much broader area than councils in the past decade or so including three years ago when the majority lived within blocks of each other near Woodward Park south of the 120 Bypass. On the new council, Nuño lives in North Manteca north of Lathrop Road, Singh in South Manteca south of the 120 Bypass, while the remaining three live in Central Manteca between the 120 Bypass and Lathrop Road.

*As an odd fact Breitenbucher now resides in the same house that Cantu did growing up in Manteca.

Moorhead was ithird in the latest council tally on Monday with 5,891 votes (16.42%). Registered nurse Fred Cunha was fourth with 5,356 votes (14.93%). David Martin had 3,749 votes (10.45%).


School bond lead widens;

city sales tax trails by 512

The $260 million Manteca Unified school bond continued to pad its approval margin while the City of Manteca’s one cent sales tax “no” margin has increased to 512 votes.

That is based on the latest update on Monday. The San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters was able to verify signatures and address on another 29,356 mail-in ballots that were tabulated Monday.

There are now 87,532 ballots left that need to be verified and counted. Given the mail-in ballots are from throughout the county there is no way to determine how many votes remain to be counted that could impact the school bond or sale tax measure

It could be more than a week before a final count is completed. The next update on the county is tonight at 9 o’clock.

Measure Z as of Monday at 9 p.m. was trailing by 512 votes compared to 352 votes on Friday. It was down by 332 votes on Thursday and 208 votes on Wednesday. The tax proposal had been leading by 171 votes on Election Night.

The count now stands at 11,318 (51.16 percent) against and 10,806 (48.84 percent) in favor. The measure needs 50 percent plus one vote to pass.

The ballots left to count could also change the numbers tallied to date for the $260 million Manteca Unified School bond. Measure A as of Monday at 9 p.m. was passing with 19,434 (57.47 percent) in favor and 14,380 (42.53 percent) against. The approval margin widened 0.25 percent since Thursday.

Measure A requires 55 percent support to pass.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email