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Developers money steers election
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

The real candidacy numbers (dollars) are in, and they are telling. 

A couple of weeks ago the Editor kindly explained why I continue to run for city council and mayor even after several losses; but I think it is important to also understand the root of the losses. 

While new development is important to the City’s revenue stream, I also understand the developers’ concern that change will affect their profitability and influence at city hall. However, the quality of life in Manteca and its municipal finances will not improve until the 40-year “chokeholds” over city hall decisions and municipal funds are finally broken.

In this 2016 election (of which I did not win) what is most telling is the top three candidates received contributions totaling over $42,000 from developers, building industry and special interests, and, in one case, the candidate shares office space with developers. In the 2014 two-candidate mayoral race (of which I did not win) the winner collected over $57,000 in contributions of which 59 percent (over $33,500) came from developers, out-of-town business associates, special interests, and non-Manteca milk and dairy industries. Historically, these wise investments have succeeded in hampering the standards and quality of life in Manteca for decades.

Since my first run for office in 2008 I have not sought nor accepted funds from developers or the building industry, except for minor contributions from a family friend that happens to be a developer; and I did not seek endorsements from special interests or organizations, because my candidacy affiliation is with the entire community, the residents. In each of my election attempts my campaign funds were from myself, my family, friends and the community; 

In my opinion, it is a sad state of affairs and simply wrong when a small town campaign reaches $57,000 in contributions and the lion share of those contributions is associated with special interests and the status quo developers that have no interest in a “better community.” (And to be clear, a bunch of new homes does not make a “community.”)

While my pointed comments may appear as sour grapes by a “loser”, to those most affected, they are a reflection on how the “status quo” continues to dictate the standard of quality in our community. 

Benjamin Cantu