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Mayor hopeful accepts $5,000 from truck stop
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The candidate that is challenging Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal for his seat and has come out as a staunch opponent of the Pilot/Flying J Truck Stop has received $5,000 in campaign contributions from the owner of Lathrop’s only existing truck stop.
Stephen Macias, who emerged on the political scene when he organized a group of concerned residents to speak to the council in opposition to the project that could be a huge tax boom for the community, received a $5,000 donation from Joe’s Travel Plaza owner Dalwinder S. Dhoot – the largest single contribution to Lathrop’s mayoral race to date.
Macias himself, according to his form, has donated $925 to his campaign from his consulting businesses.
Other donations not in excess of the Fair Political Practices Commission limit – which requires the Form 497, which was filed by both Macias and Dhaliwal – are due by the end of this week.
But Macias isn’t the only candidate for mayor that has received money from local trucking interests.
Dhaliwal, who reported income of $20,501 from various local and regional companies, has received $11,400 from businesses dealing specifically with trucking or fuel – nearly double what Macias has reported so far to the city.
The current mayor has also received a $2,500 donation from a Bay Area development group ENGEO that has ties to the 4,800 home River Islands development.
Dhaliwal has retained the services of political consultant Don Parsons for this election – which, if elected, would be his third term as mayor. He was a councilmember when he defeated well-known local businessman Joseph “Chaka” Santos in 2012, and defeated Rosalinda Valencia in 2014 for his second term – one that was mired by an FPPC fine of $21,000 stemming from irregular campaign finance handling in the 2012 election. The complaint was filed by an opponent in the 2012 race that opted out of challenging Dhaliwal for a second time in 2014. Dhaliwal said that inexperience was to blame for the mistake in depositing the necessary funds in the correct accounts, and he immediately hired a professional to prevent the mistake from happening again.
Macias, who claims he had no dealings with the well-financed group that attempted to circulate a petition to force the city council to reconsider the truck stop, identified himself as the head of a grassroots organization of local residents who fear that crime, pollution and traffic would be a unwanted byproduct of the truck stop – even in its rural location on Roth Road away from residences and schools.
That group, which hired Stockton political consultant Stephen Reid to assist with the petition and an attorney to represent them in their push to gather signatures to force the matter back to a vote of the people or the council outright repeal their decision, named Dhaliwal by name in their petition and circulated a color flier – with a Bay Area-based political action committee’s name listed – highlighting many of the same points that Macias raised to the council.
Both candidates will have to file their 460 forms – which will list all contributions and expenditures up to this point in the election – by Sept. 29.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.