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Valencia vows to take on Gary Singh as populist push comes to Manteca
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Rosalinda Valencia for Manteca City Council?
As if the 2018 election cycle couldn’t get any weirder, apparently Valencia – who ran unsuccessfully against Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal in 2014 – is now gunning for Manteca City Councilman Gary Singh’s seat after he apparently upset her because, from what I could gather, he didn’t hire a veteran that was looking for work.
Hey – entire campaigns have been born out of much less than that.
While I’m a little bit confused about the back-and-forth of Valencia over the last two election cycles – she supposedly moved to Manteca but there were rumblings about her running again for the Lathrop City Council, and she threw her full support behind Dhaliwal’s 2016 challenger and was there at his election night party – I wouldn’t consider anything out of the realm of possibility at this point.
And part of me would love to see her thrown into the Manteca political landscape – wild accusations and insinuations coming at every turn – and shake up what has, to this point, been a very “gentlemanly” affair on the Civic Center dais.
With Joe DeAngelis no longer calling out the council over every little thing on the agenda and Richard Hanson passing away, there really hasn’t been anybody around lately to spice things up and make them interesting.
It’s worth pointing out that Singh isn’t up for election this go-around and he hasn’t indicated one way or the other whether a second term is even on his radar, but he does make for an interesting target for somebody who never shies away from controversy.
And, shockingly, Valencia isn’t the only one who is taking issue with the person who has been one of the most accessible members of the Manteca City Council in recent memory.
Almost every single time I see somebody on a Neighborhood Watch-type group on Facebook post about an issue in Manteca, without a doubt Singh’s name will end up getting tagged in the comments – pulling him into the discussion whether he wants to be there or not. And while some of the things that get pushed into his lap are outright lunacy, he has always dealt with the matters with tact and class, giving everybody a chance to feel like they’re being heard.
But let us all be honest here – not everybody’s ideas are always good ones. And it appears that some of those with the far-flung ideas and the radical stances are upset that Singh hasn’t been able to implement what it is that has been pitched to him, so now he’s being lumped into the same categories as the other members of the council, none of whom have a strong following in the cesspool of political discourse on the world’s largest social networking site.
Isn’t populism wonderful?
As ironic as it is that the one person who gave everybody a chance to be heard is now being turned on – even when he isn’t up for reelection – I think it speaks to the larger political climate that we’re going to see play out before our very eyes in just over a month when people take to the ballot boxes for the June primaries.
A lot of these points would be depressing if they weren’t so darned entertaining, so I’m just going to enjoy my popcorn and sit back with everybody else as we watch civility and logic get thrown to the wolves and replaced with something else entirely.
Did you honestly expect anything different?
Oh – you’re a pragmatist?
Without a doubt, this election cycle will have its share of litmus test issues, and I think that it’s a safe bet that growth, the homeless and affordable housing are all things that people in Manteca will be talking about as the election draws nearer.
And based on the discourse that I have observed up to this point, I don’t see a scenario where any of those three items will get the attention that they deserve.
Allow me to explain.
With Bay Area housing prices rivaling any other metropolitan area in the United States – including New York – it’s easy to see why housing prices in the Central Valley are on the rise again.
More people from the Bay Area are being priced out of their homes as rents rise, or are taking the smart road, cashing out while they still have the opportunity, and buying a much larger, much nicer home in the valley and adding a sizable chunk of change to the savings account and braving the commute over the Altamont.
It’s not quite gentrification, but some of the same negative effects are being felt by Central Valley locals who all of a sudden can’t afford to buy a home in the communities they have been living in for years because people from outside of the area have come in with their money and drastically altered the market. So it’s not far off either. But if you actually suggest that “affordable housing” is something that the council can address, you’ll get the standard NIMBY lines about how it will drive down property values from the exact same people who are driving up the property values.
We truly are, in a sense, through the looking glass on a lot of these issues.
The same people who slam the city council for not bringing them a boutique grocery store like Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods (which will likely never, ever happen in Manteca) are also dead-set against the growth that would allow the city to become attractive to companies like the ones they’re asking for.
I won’t even get started on the homeless issue, as local sentiment ranges from shipping them off to an island somewhere far, far away from here to building them a state-of-the-art facility so that nobody ever has to go hungry or sleep in the cold ever again. It’s kind of hard to gauge a large group of people on that one. It will be an issue, and it should be an issue, but how it plays within the masses is anybody’s guess.
If you’re a pragmatist that believes that logic and common sense are ways to solve these problems and issues and you’re running for local office – good luck.
Because your platform likely includes a plan to implement the changes that are necessary to better the community, and not full of the fiery rhetoric that people just want repeated back to them, you’re probably swimming upstream.
So, while you political hopefuls try and figure all of this out, I’m going to seek out Alice to try and make sense of which side is heads and which is tails.
Because a fictional literary character is just as likely to explain all of this to me as anybody else.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.