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Give Manteca USD classified workers an ‘A’ for smart contract move

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POSTED June 23, 2009 1:46 a.m.

Manteca Unified School District’s classified employees are one savvy group.


When they reopened their contract earlier this year they agreed to take a 5 percent pay cut. In exchange they district agreed to no more job cuts for two years.


This all happened before the real bottom started falling out of the state’s budget and a $24 billion deficit developed that made the budget mess of last year seem like child’s play.


Now with Armageddon in state education funding right around the corner, the classified employees are sitting pretty in terms of job security compared to teachers.


Perhaps the ones who benefit most from the deal their union leaders made are bus drivers. The state, as you may know, is yanking a large chunk of its support for busing. The district  can’t simply pass on the loss in funding by cutting bus service much  further as they are now under contract obligation to preserve classified jobs – at least of those reemployed.


Toss in the fact Manteca Unified purchased the smaller buses that are handicapped-friendly for state-mandated special education transportation – such services had been provided by contract up until now – and bus drivers have job security for at least the next two school years.

A blatant gift of public money?


It wasn’t too many moons ago that Tracy’s leaders were openly criticizing Manteca for enticing sales tax revenue generators such as Costco and The Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley through deals to share future sales tax for a set number of years. It was sales tax that the city didn’t have. And now with the economic maladies it looks like a smart move. It has helped generate income to the city they wouldn’t have had – especially through Costco, which brought money back into town that had been going to Modesto and Tracy, and Bass Pro Shop that has been bringing in money from as far as 100 miles away.


Now Tracy is using $500 a pop in city money to entice people to buy new cars at Tracy dealerships. The proviso is the gift certificates must be used at Tracy businesses.


Even so, that certainly qualifies as a “gift of public money” since Tracy is taking money they were already collecting to run the city and their redevelopment agency as opposed to Manteca that was sharing sales tax revenue it wouldn’t have had a chance of getting.


Costco shoppers - if there wasn’t one in Manteca – would be spending their money in Tracy and Modesto while Bass Pro dollars are almost exclusively not coming from Manteca.

Turf war coming to an end?


There’s new turf coming to Atherton Drive.


The shoddy landscaping along Atherton Drive across from the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley – blamed on a contractor hired by the city for letting it die and becoming weed heaven – will be replaced this week and next with new sod.


Equally frustrating has been the stretch of Union Road between Woodward Avenue and the Highway 120 Bypass that hasn’t created a good impression for Manteca either considering Bass Pro Shops is now the No. 1 Manteca draw luring a million visitors over three months.


This one was a little out of the city’s control. PG&E has finished relocating their lines. When Verizon completes the work they have to do, the contrator will go ahead and remove the power poles down the center of Union Road, install median islands and landscaping, and then complete paving and striping.


That will end the un-even pavement and it will allow the traffic signals at the Highway 120 Bypass and Union Road off ramps to be activated.
Hopefully, the landscaping won’t suffer the same fate as that along Atherton Drive.

Park vandals may be costing you services
of one firefighter or one police officer


If you think the cost of government is too high, then keep an eye peeled for vandals who are damaging city property which belongs to all of us.
Two separate incidents – one at Woodward Park and the other at the golf course – in the last few weeks incurred $1,860 in damages. It cost each and every resident 28 cents. If that level of damage continued over the course of the year it would be the equivalent of taking $14.56 out of your pocket per person for everyone in your family. It is enough to cover the cost of a rookie firefighter or police officer for a year.


Vandals destroyed five trees in Woodward Park as well as four ball washers, seven tee signs, 17 irrigation sprinkler heads, and a green at the golf course.


If you see vandalism in progress call the police.


The culprits – or if they are under 18 – their families can be held financially responsible by the courts.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, e-mail dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com
 

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