View Mobile Site

Manteca must stop businesses from harming neighborhoods

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED May 2, 2011 10:58 p.m.
There’s a business down the street from your home.

They stack trash in the front. They let the weeds grow a foot high. They allow vehicles to park the wrong way as well as block the sidewalk.  They are extremely noisy at midnight. And it is like Grand Central station around the clock.

It is a situation you wouldn’t tolerate. Nor would you cut city officials any slack. You’d either want the business cleaned up or shut down.

Such places do exist in Manteca. But instead of being located in business districts they are in residential neighborhoods. The business is rental housing.

While we think of our neighborhoods as a place of homes, that isn’t the case for those who are landlords. It is where they have their business.

And while there are plenty of responsible landlords there are a number who aren’t. They are content to milk their business for all its worth and quite frankly could care less about how it impacts nearby residents whether they are responsible homeowners or responsible renters.

In the worst-case scenarios those “businesses” sometimes harbor drug houses which accounts for a wide variety of traffic around the clock.

It is a cancer that is pervasive. Indifferent landlords often turn the property over when it becomes vacant to more of the same. Then the cancer spreads. First the good renters leave. Responsible landlords find it harder and harder to find renters that pass an acceptable standard in terms of background checks. Soon they are forced to lower their standards. The deterioration of the neighborhood is starting to pick up steam. Homeowners move out when they get the chance. Before you know it, there are homeowners left behind who can’t afford to move and there are also renters who maybe can’t afford to live elsewhere so they have no choice but to subject their families to crime and blight. At the same time the demand for city services skyrocket especially from law enforcement.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The Manteca City Council tonight is expected to put the final blessing on a plan to expand the Manteca Redevelopment Agency to include more blighted neighborhoods as defined by economic malaise triggered by the foreclosure crisis.

What better way to achieve the goals of fighting blight and stimulating the economy than preventing neighborhoods from slipping backwards both as a quality place to live and their market value.

How this can be done is pretty simple and straightforward. Manteca already has blight rules in place plus an administrative procedure that cuts years off the legal process and has easier thresholds to reach. For example, a drug house can be nailed much easier and shut down through the property maintenance rules and the administrative process. You don’t have to necessarily get a conviction. It also has the added caveat of actually getting rid of the problem instead of having someone simply prosecuted, convicted and turned back into the neighborhood.

If you make it tough for them to live and operate in any neighborhood in Manteca, they will have no other choice but to ply their trade in another community. There is also the possibility they become less brazen and more responsible in terms of how they impact a neighborhood. It may not be the ultimate solution but having a drug house in your neighborhood where people aren’t coming and going at all hours, driving like maniacs down your street, or maintaining their property like they were in the running for the Slob of the Century Award is definitely better than what is out there right now.

What Manteca needs is manpower. And the way they can get that manpower is through the RDA.

A blight fighting team that targets only RDA areas since it involves RDA funding would be apropos and most assuredly legal. The city could easily pay for two certified police officers to work as RDA cops, hire two more code enforcement officers, and provide funding for the administrative law process as a starter. Such a tab might run $400,000 or so a year in RDA funding.

Preventing blight and economic backsliding is much more cost effective than dealing with the end results.

Most Popular Articles

There are no articles at this time.
Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...