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Barking up wrong tree over dog park delay

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POSTED January 14, 2009 1:46 a.m.

Those slamming two of the current council members —  Mayor Willie Weatherford and John Harris — for the lack of a dog park in Manteca are barking up the wrong tree.

They are conveniently leaving out one big detail: The entire council back then went along with the idea of the dog park and put it ahead of others only after the Manteca Dog Owners Group (DOGS) made the commitment to raise $60,000 toward its construction. The deal was simple. When the group raised the money, the city would build the park.

Every step of the way it was the clear understanding that the DOGS folks would raise the money.

It didn’t happen so the dog park didn’t happen.

Now that Weatherford has said that it has been too long to get a simple dog park located in Manteca, he’s drawing flack. The Parks and Recreation folks are re-examining the dog park to see if it can be done without private dollars.

If Weatherford can be criticized for anything, it’s not telling the staff out of the gate to cool it with the big dollar items such as a shade structure. The preferred site at Woodard Park has ample shade thanks to stately sycamore trees that are on target to match the ones you’ll find at Library Park.

It needs fencing — which isn’t cheap — benches, poop scoop stations, and water fountains for dogs and their human counterparts. The nice thing about the location is part of the fencing is already in — the perimeter to the adjoining storm retention basin. And for those whose eyes may pop out when they see the final cost — it should be well over $100,000 if not more — the fencing needs to be low maintenance or reduce ongoing costs, which means concrete mow strips.

One last thing. There was no money last time for the dog park. This time around, the question of staff was to find money from accounts restricted to park use. This is not a repeat of the directions given by the council over six years ago.

Bye, bye $3,500 vote tote board


Speaking of old-time Manteca politics, the infamous voter tote board is no longer.

The $3,500-plus vote system was put in the City Council Chambers at the direction of former Mayor Carlon Perry to visually record votes. It had a series of green, red and white lights for yes, no and abstain on a wall-mounted display containing members of the council.

It was used just twice — that’s $1,750 a vote for any of those self-proclaimed conservative budget waste cutters out there.

The rationale behind it at the time was a fear that other council members — namely Dave Macedo who had just recently been elected— was being unduly influenced by then council members Weatherford and Harris who didn’t always agree with the mayor. The theory was that Macedo voted the way he heard those seated before him vote.

Strange, but this voting pattern didn’t change. Could it be that in most cases he simply didn’t agree with the then mayor?

For that, Manteca taxpayers had to cough up $3,500 that could have gone toward a dog park.

You’ve got to love politics in this town.

Commit a felony get free yoga classes


How would you like to have free aerobic and yoga classes, music room, outdoor running tracks, and basketball gyms, open-air courtyards and workout rooms when you’re hospitalized at no charge?

All you have to do is commit enough felonies and you too can enjoy what most other people would have to pay for in California.

They are among recommendations by the federally court-appointed receiver who is telling the state they need to spend more than $8 billion on seven new hospitals for prisoners.

He also said the state should have extensive landscaping on the perimeters of the hospital room lock-ups to make sure prisoners can’t see fencing or electronic surveillance systems.

It gets better. The document states that the hospitals should have “a unique blend of hospital, community college, and residential” aesthetics.

And you wonder why government — especially at the state and federal levels — costs so much.

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