View Mobile Site

Moorhead: Jobs + sales tax = more police officers

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED October 16, 2012 1:51 a.m.

Debby Moorhead believes Manteca is attractive for both employment centers and retail with 1.3 million consumers within a 30-minute drive and another 17 million within a 100-mile radius.

That said, Moorhead believes Manteca must aggressively pursue jobs and retail.

“The main focus for the next four years needs to be to get more jobs to come to Manteca and to bring more businesses,” Moorhead said. “We need to be proactive.”

That is the only way Moorhead, who is seeking re-election to the City Council on Nov. 6, said Manteca can significantly reduce its 12.8 percent unemployment rate and generate sufficient taxes to expand police, fire, and other municipal services.

“You can’t sit back and wait hoping it will occur,” Moorhead noted.

Moorhead said that Great Wolf Resort - should the numbers work for the city - plus the entertainment zone would be a significant source of jobs especially for the toughest age group in the hunt for employment - young adults.

Moorhead during her first term has helped put in place plans for two major employment centers - Austin Road Business Park and  CenterPoint- in a bid to build on the job generation success of the Spreckels Park Business Park.

That said, Moorhead believes the council needs to be responsive to needs and concerns of existing residents.

She cited two examples - the three-way stop on Powers Avenue at Hutchings Street by Lincoln Park and the Union Ranch East landscape maintenance district.

The need for stop signs as expressed by neighborhood residents wasn’t getting much attention at City Hall. So Moorhead took it upon herself to spend three hours observing the intersection. She was shocked at the dangerous situations she saw. Moorhead then got Public Works Director Mark Houghton to return with the intersection with her for another three hour stint. After seeing a handful of near misses of kids trying to walk from school and vehicles speeding down Powers Avenue, Houghton directed his staff to work on a solution.

As for the landscape maintenance district, she said she heard the concerns of residents who were upset they were being assessed fees for maintenance of a park that hadn’t even been built. She was one of two that initially voted against the district’s formation and forced the issue of partial refunds to homeowners.

She said some people assume that council members go into meetings with their minds made up. She said that isn’t the case and that she goes one step further to make sure that she has an open mind on city issues.

“I don’t talk to any other councilmember asking them for their position on an item before the council meetings,” Moorhead said. “I want to make up my own mind after hearing input from residents .. . .I believe you have to ask questions and you’ve to get the answers.”

Restoring public safety positions and expanding the number of officers and firefighters beyond pre-recession numbers is the top spending priority for Moorhead over the next four years. Moorhead stressed the city needs money to do that and the best way for that to happen is for elected leaders to work hard at generating more opportunities for sales tax collection by bringing regional retailers here that can draw consumer dollars from neighboring communities as well as keep more Manteca spending local.

And she stressed one of the best ways to do that is to make it easier for locally grown businesses to survive and thrive. She noted Manteca quickly lost Best Buy in a corporate restructuring but it has a solid sales tax generator and job provider in the form of Center Appliance that - with more than 40 years as a Manteca business  - just opened a new showroom and warehouse on Crestwood Avenue.

Critical to building a strong sales base - and a cultural center as well - is having the city do what it can to help make downtown a drawing card for city and area residents. Moorhead said it involves property owners and businesses stepping up as well in the central district and deciding on a plan that  they can partner with the city to pursue.

Moorhead pointed to communities such as Livermore and Los Gatos as examples of what Manteca can work toward.

Moorhead also had high praise of municipal staff she said did what was needed to weather the Great Recession and keep services intact as much as possible while making sure the city didn’t slide into financial trouble as has happened in a number of other California cities.

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...