Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
In 2016, I ran for City Council because I believed that our city government needed fresh ideas and a new perspective in dealing with the issues facing Manteca. Specifically, the lack of affordable housing for Manteca’s workforce, our deteriorating Downtown and the absence of a real solution to revitalize it, and the need for a community-wide solution to deal with our homeless population.
While I was unsuccessful that year, the issues that I mentioned continue to persist, without clear solutions for solving these problems anywhere in sight. These aren’t new problems; they have been festering and building over the last several decades. These are issues that could have been avoided had there been a different mindset among the Council in the 1990s and the following decade. We are now in 2018, and in need of a leader who not only recognizes these issues as serious problems, but has solutions to do something about them. That leader is Ben Cantu.
Ben has lived in Manteca his whole life, and spent nearly four decades working as a City Planner. Over the decades, Ben has attended hundreds of Council and Planning Commission meetings, and has many years of actual government budgeting experience. His experience working with the City up close gives him unique insight into how to approach the problems facing Manteca. Also, my family and I have known Ben and his wonderful wife Mary for many years, and can testify to his personal generosity and commitment to helping others.
Ultimately, my support of Ben comes down to the issues. Many families and young people like me, even those who work full-time, are priced out of the housing market because of unbalanced growth. Ben believes in smart housing growth that provides adequate housing supply for these types of individuals, to be tied in with an increased number of police and fire to meet community needs. Ben has a multi-part plan to restore Downtown, which includes relocating City Hall and focusing more of our City’s precious resources on small businesses and longtime business owners who are struggling. Finally, Ben realizes that our city government itself is in need of critical reform, which includes a plan for term limits for the Council as well as a modern way of electing the Council and Mayor.
One of the most common things that I heard from regular folks when I was running for Council was that they didn’t feel like they had a voice in their government. They didn’t feel like the Council was taking their concerns seriously. It’s an unfortunate fact that many of our residents feel this way. Many don’t bother to attend Council meetings because they feel that the decisions have already been made, and that their voice has little impact on what actually happens. One thing that I like about Ben is his openness and willingness to communicate with people on what’s going on in our city. He is free to talk to anyone on just about any issue, even if you disagree with him.
As a side note, I must also say that I know most of the Council members on a personal basis, as well as the Mayor. I don’t doubt or disparage their character, or that of their families. I respect them as individuals, and applaud them for stepping up to serve our city. For me, this election is not about and has never been about personality or character. It’s simply about the issues that Manteca is facing, and which person is the best one to confront them. That person, without question, is Ben Cantu.
For everyone who believes our city can do better and who wants to see things change, your choice for Mayor in 2018 is abundantly clear. Ben Cantu is the candidate with the knowledge, experience, and solutions to deliver on all the much-needed changes that residents have been demanding for many years. Let’s unite behind the person who will bring about a new era at City Hall. Let’s support Ben Cantu for Mayor.