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Ransom leery of Tea Party after dis-invite; opts to avoid forum
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The last chance to hear all four candidates for the Manteca City Council election in one place istonight from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Manteca Patriots Tea Party meeting at Chez Shari at the Manteca Golf Course, 305 N. Union Road.

And while the four council candidates welcomed the chance to participate in the open forum that the Manteca Patriots Tea Party invites everyone to attend, one candidate who wants to represent parts of Manteca as well as Tracy on the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors declined the invite. Rhodesia Ransom’s reason: when they invited her to a similar forum before the June primary for the non-partisan county supervisor’s job and then discovered she was a registered Democrat she was uninvited via e-mail because she wasn’t a Republican.

Ransom said it also doesn’t help that members of the Manteca Patriots Tea Party have actively campaigned for her opponent, Bob Elliott, who will be in attendance tonight along with three Weston Ranch candidates for the Manteca Unified School District board and State Assembly candidate Kristen Olsen.

Patriots member David Marks said he was disappointed that Ransom wouldn’t attend noting that candidates have to be willing “to walk into the lion’s den” in reference to those who may not support them when campaign for and serving in office.

Besides, Marks noted, it wasn’t the Manteca Patriots Tea Party per se that prompted the back pedaling on the invitation in May. The forum before the primary was being conducted jointly with the Manteca Republican Women who have strict rules that Democrats cannot speak at their gatherings. When the Manteca Patriots Tea Party found that out, they decided to go ahead with the forum while complying with the Manteca Republican Women’s requirements.

Marks and other leaders of the group have pointed out in the past that their membership consists of Republican, Democrats, as well as independents and that anyone is welcome to attend their meetings to participate in discussions of various issues. They are point out they stand independent of the national Tea Party organization.

“I have no problem participating in a non-partisan forum with Mr. Elliott; in fact, both The League of Women Voters and I have tried to contact him for a forum, but neither of us has received a response,” Ransom said.

The format for tonight doesn’t allow for a public question and answer session but does give those attending the opportunity to question candidates a one-on-one basis after the program ends.

The first 20 minutes will be dedicated to discussing Measure D - the San Joaquin County term limit measure - plus all of the propositions on the statewide ballot. After that each candidate will be given five minutes to speak.

That includes council hopefuls Ben Cantu, Steve DeBrum, Debby Moorhead, and Sheila Raya along with school board candidates Sam Fants, Sharla Moore, and Alison Ordner.