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Tiff between volunteers highlighted at meeting
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LATHROP – Georgianna Reichelt doesn’t make any qualms about the fact she has deep roots in Lathrop.

It was San Joaquin County Supervisor Carmen Perino – a longtime local political player in the region – that tapped her as a representative, she said, for the community back before it was officially a city.

But in making her point at the Lathrop City Council meeting Monday night, the longtime community activist made comments those two well-known local volunteers – Tosh Ishihara and Bennie Gatto – found to be more than inflammatory.

Reichelt took a personal shot at Gatto – saying that she rarely saw him around before the city itself was incorporated – just before throwing Ishihara under the bus by claiming that he goes around town taking credit for starting the senior brown bag program in Lathrop.

Gatto was visibly displeased with her comments, and Ishihara stepped up to the microphone to set the record straight regarding what has become a personal spat, he says, between Reichelt and those who call the volunteer shots for outreach efforts like the brown bag program.

He noted that he did not start the program even though he has taken on a much bigger role since director Lottie Bishop has been ill – paying money out of his own pocket every week to make the necessary deliveries to keep the program going in the community.

There is also a pastry and day-old bread program that serves the seniors – where local supermarkets give the baked goods they would otherwise throw away to the program so that it can be distributed. Reichelt slammed Ishihara for claiming he started this program as well.

“I know that she’s upset with me and Mr. Gatto and it’s because she was taken off of the volunteer list. This is nothing more than a personal vendetta and it has to stop,” Ishihara said. “My purpose is to help the community. I’m tired of this personal vendetta. If she wanted to talk to me she could have come up to me before the meeting instead of getting up there and airing dirty laundry and trying to pull my name down.”

Ishihara left the council chambers briefly following the exchange and eventually returned but made no further comments.

The rules during the citizen’s forum portion of the meeting clearly outline that personal attacks are not permitted.