Manteca’s Willie Weatherford Era comes to an end in two years and nine months.
Weatherford has made it clear he isn’t seeking a fourth term.
And while there is another council election for two seats this November before voters elect Weatherford’s replacement, some names of possible contenders have popped up.
Among them are Councilman Steve DeBrum and former Manteca planner Ben Cantu.
Cantu made it clear the day after losing the election in 2010 to Weatherford that he’d take another run at it in 2014. At the same time, he indicated he intended to run this November for one of the two council seats currently held by DeBrum and council member Debby Moorhead.
That would make November 2012 a warm-up battle of sorts for the 2014 mayoral race. DeBrum has made no secret of his desire to run for mayor. He mulled a run during the past two mayoral elections but decided against it out of concern running against a sitting mayor that he works with on the council would be as too divisive. The same was true of the dean of the council – John Harris – who will have 20 years under his belt when his term ends in 2014. Harris had mulled runs for the mayor’s post but also didn’t want to put his ambitions ahead of what he felt was the common good. He was worried about a return to the political theater on the council in the 1990s that soiled Manteca’s reputation..
Moorhead also ran against Weatherford for mayor in 2010 and lost. Moorhead made it clear Thursday that she is seeking re-election as a council member but will not be running for mayor again. That means two of the candidates for the two council seats this November – DeBrum, and Cantu – both have their eyes on the middle chair on the dais in the council chambers.
Other names tossed about as potential council candidates this November run the gamut from Thomas Reeves and Bruce Lowensbury to David Jinkens. While some of the name dropping may be wishful thinking on the part of various sources as the potential candidate may not even seriously be considering running, it does give an indication of the forces at work.
Jinkens cut his teeth in the discipline of city management. He is arguably the architecture of the foundation to the “Decade of the Manteca Miracle” that took place from 1998 to 2008 after his departure as city manager. The 10-year stretch saw unprecedented growth in Manteca’s retail, employment sector, infrastructure, and housing market.
Lowensbury has taken a fairly high profile role in questioning financial and policy actions of the council. And he’s doing it not in an adversarial type of way, but to encourage as much transparency as possible so people can be more educated about the functions of government which – at the local level – are often hackled by decisions in Sacramento and Washington.
Reeves has extensive involvement in community activities including the Visitors Bureau. Many of those activities have been directed at enhancing the quality of life and stimulating economic activity.
While filing doesn’t open until mid-summer for the November 2012 council election, now is when candidates start putting out serious feelers to test the water. As for the 2014 mayor’s race, it is safe to say those who crank up their efforts sooner stand a better chance at winning in November 2014.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 209-249-3519.