Sam Fant presents a ticklish problem.
On the one hand, he appears to have leadership. He says he got on the Manteca Unified school board because the district was neglecting his Weston Ranch district. He claims he improved funding and educational outcomes to that district, a claim I have not confirmed.
Fant is the Fair Board member who seized the opportunity to lure the X Fest to Stockton, thereby enriching both the fairgrounds and the city of Stockton with a major new music festival.
And Fant is Black. Given the way society criminalizes young black men, one wants to cut an up-and-coming Black leader as much slack as is ethical.
On the other hand, I sat in with the Editorial Board when Fant made his recent appearance, and rarely have I heard a local candidate talk more and say less. The man is a real B.S artist.
And then there are his legal troubles. Fant claims the entire District Attorney’s Office is prejudiced against him. He claims the D.A. is prosecuting him at the behest of Stockton plutocrats. So I asked him straight to to name them and identify their agenda. It was an offer to help him.
Fant hemmed and hawed, but would not ID the wealthy and powerful puppeteers who are driving the D.A. to persecute him.
So I believe the prosecutor who said in this legal filing that the D.A. suspected Fant conspired to perpetrate voter fraud, but didn’t have the evidence until it emerged in the preliminary hearing of his alleged co-conspirators.
That is not to say Fant is guilty; a jury can judge his case. It is to say I believe the District Attorney filed charges against Fant because she believes Fant to be guilty.
Fant has charged that Assistant District Attorney Scott Fichtner acted unethically in a previous case involving Fant. So at best the D,.A., to avoid the appearance of impropriety, should recuse Fichtner, though that in no way is to believe Fant’s allegations about him.
But the Fichtner is not prosecuting Fant. Another prosecutor is. Fant’s call for the entire D.A.’s Office to bow out seems unjustified.
“There is simply no credible evidence of a conflict between this Office and Defendant that he did not manufacture out of whole cloth,” the filing says.
Predictably, Ralph Lee White, a former councilman who supports anyone who says they’re for the disadvantaged, supports Fant. As does the NAACP. But voters should not do as they have done and fight for social justice by ignoring the very real concerns about Fant. A person accused of cheating the political system should not be elected to anything until his name is cleared.