By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Smartphone doesn’t ‘understand’ Mayor Cantu

Councilwoman Debby Moorhead’s smartphone turned Mayor Ben Cantu into a second banana as the straight man for what was a tech sparked comic moment that triggered laughter and smiles throughout Tuesday’s packed Manteca City Council meeting.

Cantu was making a point that the city had to make sure the impacts growth such as the 1,301-home Griffin Park project generally south of Woodward Avenue and west of South Main Street take into account existing residents.

Moments after Cantu said “we (the city) need to take into consideration of others” Moorhead’s city issued i-Pad that was lying nearby on the dais responded to the mayor comments through the voice assistant Siri program saying “I can’t understand that.” 

Mayor Cantu helps score

another win for Manteca

homeless effort in Sacramento

Mayor Ben Cantu was one of three Manteca civic leaders that appeared before the California State Senate Government Affairs Committee on Wednesday where AB 1732 authored by Assemblyman Heath Flora was unanimously approved.

Also appearing was Miles Larson of  Love INC and Ron Lafranchi who serves on the HOPE Ministries governing board that operates three shelters in Manteca for families and single moms with children.

AB 1732 would allow the sale of the surplus redevelopment agency Qualex property on Industrial Park Drive to Inner City Action for $1 to establish a homeless resource center.

Flora’s district representatives  Jason Laughlin said State Senators were well aware of the fact the proposed sale would be for the purpose of the non-profit to  operate a robust homeless resource center and not as a homeless drop in shelter or a soup kitchen. If the property is ever used for a purpose other than as a homeless resource center it would be taken back, auctioned off, and the proceeds split between local taxing agencies. 

The bill now goes to the State Senate Housing and Development Committee before heading to the full senate for a vote. After that the Assembly, which previously passed the bill on a unanimous vote, must take it up again. 

If they approve it AB 1732 then goes to Gov. Gavin Newsom for final approval.

The Qualex building was bought with $4 million in RDA funds for the expressed intent of converting it into a new police station. The city spent another $1.5 million in RDA funds before deciding state laws requiring even stronger earthquake standards for public safety and staffing requirements for new law enforcement facilities with holding cells needed correction officer staffing was too costly.

When redevelopment agencies were disbanded by Sacramento during the Great Recession as a way to avoid state staffing cuts in order to maintain school support spending, RDA properties not tied to a viable project that were more than a concept at the time the plug was pulled were required under state law to be auctioned.

After being approached by Moorhead who brought the idea before the council to seek a legislative remedy, Flora agreed to do what he could to get the request moving forward during the current legislative session. The Ripon Assemblyman was able to get the bill moving before an April 26 deadline.

During a 25-day “homeless tent revival” Inner City Action operated through Feb. 17 in the parking lot of the Qualex building they had 366 unsheltered individuals pass through their gates and into the temporary homeless resource center compound. Of those, 243 were male and 123 female. They had 308 homeless individuals take showers and 73 receive haircuts. Each day they served 30 to 50 breakfasts, 50 to 77 lunches, and 40 to 60 dinners.

The services being available on a consistent routine basis is considered critical to building relationships and trust to eventually get the homeless to commit to programs needed to get off the street.

Those showers, meals, haircuts, and the fact there was a place for the homeless to go allowed Inner City Action during those 25 days get 23 people off the street and into rehab programs and/or shelter including three children.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email