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Sandhu out of Lathrop mayor race
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 The man that ended up costing Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal’s mayoral campaign $21,000 in 2014 will not get the chance to unseat him this year.
While Balwant Singh Sandhu, who last ran for mayor of Lathrop in 2012, submitted his paperwork in time to make the November ballot, a check of the 30 registered voters he submitted as nominators returned only 19 valid signatures – one shy of the amount required.
Initially he contested the result of the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters, citing that one of the signers that came back as living out of state was actually a Lathrop resident. But after that person was unable to verify the information in person, Sandhu asked to have his name withdrawn from consideration and declined any further appeal to get his name on the ballot.
Sandhu and Dhaliwal have some history.
A complaint lodged by the Fair Political Practices Commission – the California organization that monitors campaign finance and compliance – found that a number of checks issued to Dhwaliwal during his 2010 council campaign weren’t properly handled or deposited into the right account. The money, which was outstanding for some time, was ultimately returned to his campaign account, and he cited a lack of experience on the part of the campaign treasurer as why the oversight took place in the first place. Ultimately the campaign paid the $21,000 fine and hired a professional to handle its finances moving forward.
But the politics didn’t stop there. Dhwaliwal was also the party of a Bay Area police report that alleged he and other men met with a political rival who claimed to officers that he was roughed up. Nothing ever came of the report, and Dhaliwal denied any wrongdoing – saying the complaint was politically motivated as an attempt to derail his push for reelection.
Even with Sandhu out of the race, there’s no indication that the battle between Dhaliwal, who is seeking his third term as mayor, and political newcomer Steve Macias will be a calm one. Macias made himself known to the council when he organized a group of residents who were against the addition of a Pilot/Flying J to the Roth Road industrial area – citing concern about increased pollution, crime and congestion in the area.
While there hasn’t been any literature targeting a candidate, a Bay Area-based Political Action Committee has distributed color fliers urging people in Lathrop to stand united against the mega-truck stop – a move that some in the community view as a preventing competition between the newcomer and the city’s existing truck stop. And a group, organized by a different person, attempted to submit a petition that would force the city to reconsider its decision, naming Dhaliwal independent of the Lathrop City Council, of which he is just one voting member.
That petition ultimately failed when nearly 30 percent of its signatures were invalidated.