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White Recalls 19 Years Of City Council Service
Veteran Riverbank City Council member Dave White will step down Monday, Dec. 13 after seemingly eons of service to the community.

Like Sandra Benitez, who also did not run for reelection and will yield her position to a council newcomer as well, White is rich in experience on the dais and full of memories of causes won and lost, achievements and failures in the volatile world of small town politics.

White, at 72, claims 19 years of service off and on the council and said he was the city's first elected mayor, recalling Charles Neal was one of his opponents for that post.

"Nineteen years. That's a lifetime," he said. "I love Riverbank. It's been good for me and for my family."

White doesn't recall the exact years he came and went on the council. But he remembers the recall movement against himself and another councilman over the failed Riverbrook community. His opponents didn't like his support of the proposed land development involving a golf course and numerous sewer hookups for residences on the north side of the river. They said it would consume most of the permits and overload the sewer system.

White said he resigned a week before the recall election. His opponents point out his name was still on the ballot and drew a heavy no vote.

"However, I was reelected two years later," he said. "The developer had a plan to expand the sewer farm and accommodate the hookups. It would have been nice to have a golf course."

As to achievements, White said he was proud of the way "the city has come together," handled the Crossroads development, built the skateboard park, raised money to rebuild the swimming pool and achieved many other things.

"My chief disappointment," he added, "is getting sick and having to leave office this way. The sickness almost killed me. I was hovering at death's door for two days. St. Peter wouldn't let me in."

He fell ill in June with a perforated ulcer, underwent surgery and spent several months in the hospital. He has been on medical leave from the council since June except for a brief appearance at a November meeting. Like Benitez, who missed some council time this year suffering from hives, he chose not to run for reelection.

"At least, I'm alive." he remarked. "If I can regain my strength, who knows if I won't be back?"

His advice to newcomers to the council is "to listen to people. The people are your bosses. You've got about 20,000 bosses. Keep your nose clean and make a decision however the people wrangle about it.

"I'm almost ready to retire. It's done. But it's the wrong way to do it. I love the action and the challenge on the council and taking care of people's problems. You learn a lot. It's an educational process. What development is going on. What the citizens have to put up with. It was a worthwhile experience. I try not to worry. There's something funny in every situation. Don't take life too seriously."

White follows his own advice. He is well known for his sense of humor, often lightening up a tense confrontation by teasing his colleagues.

White was first elected to the council in November of 1984, according to the City Clerk's Department, became mayor in 1988 and was recalled in July of 1991. He was reelected to Council in 1996, and elected again in 2000 and in 2006.

White has been a Riverbank resident for about 25 years. Once a barber, he developed a business supplying beauty products to a score of beauty parlors located in California and Nevada. He recently sold the business.

A member of the Assembly of God church, he also has been involved for years in collecting food, coats and other items of clothing and personally delivering them by truck to orphanages in northern Mexico.

Look for a story on the council service of Sandra Benitez in the Dec. 15 edition of The Riverbank News.