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Sweeping homeless plan

Manteca police chief advocating 8-point city strategy

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Sweeping homeless plan

A police crackdown has stopped the homeless from pitching tents and/or pushing shopping carts at Library Park as shown in this photo taken several years ago.

Photo contributed/

POSTED August 2, 2014 12:21 a.m.

A sweeping eight-point plan to deal with Manteca’s growing homeless problem is being proposed by Police Chief Nick Obligacion.

It involves the adoption of municipal laws as well as making some physical changes to parks.

Included are:

• Instituting a homeless encampment ban.

• Possibly banning animals at Library and Wilson parks.

• Establishing clothing requirements for parks.

• Banning public urination.

• Prohibiting scavenging in recycling and waste containers for the purpose of recycling.

• Temporary closure of the Library Park restroom.

• Changes in available seating at Library and Wilson parks.

• At the same time, the chief wants to seek out outreach groups willing to assist in providing homeless temporary or permanent housing.

The chief’s plan is in response to a request from Councilman Steve DeBrum to have him  address growing community concerns regarding the homeless and quality of life issues in an around city parks with the primary emphasis on Library Park and nearby Wilson Park located behind the post office.

Manteca Police about a month ago started taking a zero-tolerance approach to all quality of life issues that are enforceable with existing municipal code rules at both Library and Wilson parks.

Obligacion emphasized that “the police department understands being ‘homeless’ itself is not a violation of the law, but law violations have been strictly enforced.”

The police chief noted the city has experienced an upswing in its homeless population in and around Library Park as well as the rest of downtown.

“This transient-homeless population has created an atmosphere that is not in alignment with the intentions of the city parks’ use,” Obligacion noted in a report to the council.

Among the problems Obligacion has tied to the homeless include littering, tossing discarded clothing on the ground, and leaving excess food throughout the park.

Park and Recreation crews have confirmed a jump in litter at the two downtown parks as well as an increase in the strong smell of urine in certain areas just outside of both parks.

The chief so noted they have received complaints about the homeless in and around the parks that includes prostitution, the use of illegal drugs, and bathing in the public restrooms.

Obligaion says he will bring proposed changes to the municipal code to the council for adoption if they concur Tuesday with his plan. At the same time he will be seeking outreach assistance for the homeless.

He noted the plan would result in an initial increase in patrol time of officers dedicated to the two parks.

The council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St.

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