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Critical of city taking funds from other uses to fight gangs

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POSTED June 23, 2012 12:57 a.m.

Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

In past weeks many familiar issues - shootings, gang activity, landscape districts, streetlights, sidewalks, staffing, playgrounds, parks, street paving - have been highlighted a number of times in the newspaper.  All with the same bottom-line.

One, apparently it is finally “time to take on (the) gangs”.  Hello, they never went away, the gangs, gang recruitment, gang shootings, gang signs, have been a problem in this community for decades.  Its presence was simply allowed to surface again when funding for public safety dried up.  The new approach of Robbing-Peter-To-Pay-Paul to addressing the problem is so reminiscent of the old approach.  The Council intends to fund the needed police response by using one-time expenditures from fiscal sources intended for other community needs and shifting funds from other municipal areas (thus further reducing service levels.), which does not work in the short term or the long-term. 

While the gang activity in this community is a priority and needs to be suppressed accordingly, the larger menacing problem is city hall’s failure to address the overall fiscal problem.  The Council and administration continue to approach funding and budgeting the same old ineffective way of spending unabated in good times, cutting to the bone in a bad economy, and shifting funds to make ends meet. 

Our community leadership is only tasked in three areas — public safely, public health, and the general welfare — of the community.  In that respect, robbing from one area to pay for the other is not sound management.  May I suggest, if there is (has been) a lack of funds to manage all three task areas at the same time, perhaps there is a need to step back and ask “why.”  Simply repeating the same old approach is not working, and blaming the economy is getting old.

Benjamin Cantu

Manteca

June 22, 2012

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