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They’re already blowing smoke in Manteca Unified school race
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Mike Morowit owns Miner Mart Liquors.

Morowit never has sold — and said he never will — vaping products such as Juul devices. Morowit on Thursday said he made that decision years ago because he felt the devices were specifically aimed at children.

Why it matters has everything to do with the fact the former Manteca City Councilman is one of four candidates seeking the Area 7 seat on the Manteca Unified School District board in the Nov. 3 election.

There have been social media postings indignant that he owns a store that sells vaping products that many believe are marketed to children. The assertion is incorrect.

How this became an issue is not a coincidence. The Manteca Unified School District board Tuesday voted to join the lawsuit that San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar is pursuing against manufactures, distributors, and sellers of electronic cigarettes and vaping products. The suit against Juul was spurred by the belief the products are being marketed toward youth.

 “I’m against anything that remotely solicits children to use tobacco or vape product,” Morowit said. “It’s no different than alcohol. Marketing should not in any way involves targeting anyone under the age 21.”

Morowit made it clear that he supports the MUSD board in their litigation.

Morowit also may have made himself a target for some by the fact not only did his two daughters attend parochial schools through the eighth grade but he was also asked by Father Morris to serve on the St. Anthony’s School board. He was on the Catholic school board for three years at the same time former Manteca Councilman Vince Hernandez also served.

In past Manteca Unified elections, opponents have slammed candidates who have sent, or who had students that were currently attending, non-public schools while they were running for the school board. Morwoit’s granddaughter Sophia for whom he is a legal guardian is currently a Manteca Unified first grader taking remote learning classes.

It shows the acceptance level of the church given St. Anthony’s is a Catholic School and Morowit is Jewish.

Morowit said he was a K-12 public school student and is supportive of public education. It was a decision made as a couple to send their daughters to parochial schools through the 8th grade as his first wife wanted to make sure they had a religious foundation. Lauren went all eight years at St. Anthony while Elizabeth attended St. Anthony’s, Manteca Christian and then completed 8th grade at Big Valley Christian.

Elizabeth graduated from Sierra High in 2006 with Lauren following in 2010 as valedictorian of the Class of 2010.

Area 7 has four people vying for the seat. They are incumbent Bob Wallace, Marisella Guerrero who identified herself as a college professor, and Christina Campoy-Laughlin who is listing herself as a parent/wife on the ballot.

Wallace, Guerrero, and Morowit all reside within several blocks of each other in southwest Manteca. Campoy-Laughlin lives in Lathrop.

The Area 7 seat on the Manteca Unified School includes Manteca west of Airport Way (along with most of the Chadwick Estates neighborhood in the southeast corner of Lathrop Road and Airport Way) as well as Lathrop east of Interstate 5 and south of Lathrop Road and most of the Mossdale Crossing segment of Lathrop west of interstate 5.

Only registered voters within the Area 7 boundaries will vote for who will serve in the seat for the next four years.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email