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Phil Waterford et al prove its a wonderful life
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Bah humbug might be the attitude on Wall Street but not on Main Street.

If you doubt that, just wander down to Manteca Ford this Christmas Eve.

Phil Waterford is again opening his dealership for a Christmas breakfast for struggling families in Manteca.

The community is helping him play Santa by coming up with 500 unwrapped toys as presents for kids under 12 who will be in attendance. Waterford has nothing to gain business-wise from the gesture. It is doubtful a family that is having difficulty putting food on the table let alone worry about Christmas gifts will be in a position to buy even a used car off his lot any time soon.

But it is not what drives Waterford to do what he does for the community not just at Christmas but year-round.

The same goes for countless others from churches and organizations to individuals and businesses.

Not to dismiss outreach efforts from other segments of the community but we need to take note of what businesses and farmers do not just at the holidays but every day of the year in Manteca, Ripon, and Lathrop.

For every corporation that has tightened up on on giving while their firm stockpiles record cash, there are dozens of dairy farmers like Ed Machado. They’re being squeezed big time but that doesn’t stop them from donating hundreds upon hundreds of dollars at a time to groups such as the Boys & Girls Club of Lathrop-Manteca and the Second Harvest Food Bank.

For every CEO that will jet off to Europe for the holidays, there are hundreds of Jeff Liotards across this country who not only open their business to host free community holiday meals for the less fortunate but volunteer their time and donate money as well.

And for every mega-corporation that slashes hours and cuts work forces in a bid to keep profit margins high, there are countless privately owned firms that will cut as deep as they can into their margins before they hand out pink slips.

The Mr. Potters may rule Wall Street but the George Baileys are the face of Main Street.

What sets them apart is more than relative levels of wealth.

Mr. Potter sees the world primarily in dollars. Slashing 20,000 people here and there to sustain a set margin is just business to them.

George Bailey sees the world primarily in people. Having to lay off just one hard worker is a personal catastrophe for him.

Perhaps it is because George Bailey knows the people who make his business work and realizes they are part of the reason he can succeed. He knows the people who are his customers and he sees the damages a weak economy inflicts and what it does to families. George Bailey feels responsible to his employees, his customers, and his community.

Mr. Potter, on the other hand, puts lining his own pockets first and foremost. What his actions do to others is none of his concern. George Bailey’s personal ethics transforms lives.

Mr. Potter believes the masses get what they deserve - Potter’s Field.

George Bailey believes people should have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream and live in places like Bailey Park.

When all is said and done, what matters to the George Baileys is people.

Mr. Potter values gold.

If you doubt that where do you think the head of Bank of America will be this Christmas Eve?

This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at or 209-249-3519.