School Board Fundraising Beginning to Pick up in San Joaquin Races

September 18, 2020 at 9:13 pm

Almost a dozen candidates running for boards of education in San Joaquin County received substantial donations this week, many of them over $1,000. For some candidates, these were the first significant contributions they had received.

Incumbent Lodi Unified Trustee Ron Freitas, who represents Area 6, received a big boost with $5,000 from the San Joaquin County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association on Thursday. He has already been endorsed by the association, as well as the Stockton and Lodi Police Officers’ Associations.

The Stockton Police Officers’ Association also donated $5,000 to Freitas on August 4. As a deputy San Joaquin district attorney for over 30 years until 2018, Freitas would have worked closely with the three law enforcement agencies. He is still currently involved as co-chair of the California District Attorney’s Association Gang Violence Suppression Committee.

Freitas’ opponent, Christopher Pack, has not yet disclosed any donations over $1,000. A third candidate, Luke Joseph Price, filed to run but did not qualify.

In Stockton Unified, Area 3 candidate Valentino Silva received a $1,000 donation from the Central Valley Stonewall Democratic Club on September 14. He has not yet been endorsed by the club, but has received the backing of the San Joaquin County Democratic Party and the Young Democrats of San Joaquin. Silva’s campaign also got a decent boost last week with a $1,500 donation from the Truman Club of San Joaquin.

Silva is running for the seat of current board president Kathy Garcia. There are four other candidates in the race: Lavichia Jones, Alicia Rico, Frank Silva, and Dia Silva. He is the only one to have received any contributions over $1,000 this election cycle.

In Area 1, Viola Shackelford received $1,000 from relative Jonnie Shackelford. On September 11, the San Joaquin Building and Construction Trades Council donated $500 to her opponent, incumbent Cecilia Mendez.

Fundraising in this race has been slower compared to other Stockton Unified races. Silva has picked up a couple of large contributions so far, and current Area 4 trustee Lange Luntao has raised $4,000 since late August from individual donors.

Also in Stockton, Lincoln Unified School Area candidate Sandra Chan received $1,000 from Dominic Tu, a Palm Springs-based executive at Lucky Brand. Chan, having also obtained $1,500 from the Truman Club of San Joaquin, is currently leading the fundraising race with opponent Deeann Moore Antonini, who has not yet disclosed any contributions.

In Manteca Unified Area 7, Manteca Trailer and Motorhome LLC donated $1,000 to Mike Morowit, a former city councilmember. He is the only of the candidates to have disclosed any large donations (those over $1,000) so far. Incumbent Bob Wallace, Christina Campoy-Laughlin, and Marisella Guerrero are also running.

Finally, Casey Goodall, who is running for the Delta College Board of Trustees Area 6, received $5,000 from the Delta College Teachers’ Association on Wednesday. Goodall was endorsed by the union on September 2. Incumbent Teresa Brown, who is seeking reelection, has so far raised only $500, from a single donation by the San Joaquin Building and Construction Trades Council.

The council has been fairly active in contributions to local races in the past week, mostly in the $250-$500 range. It has already donated to Mendez in Stockton Unified and Brown. On September 11, the organization also contributed $250 to Melanie Greene (Manteca Unified, Area 3), $250 to Morowit, $250 to Van Ha To-Cowell (Delta College, Area 2), $500 to Stephan Castellanos (Delta College, Area 5), and $250 to Freitas.