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Putrid salmon shouldn’t be official color of Manteca

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POSTED March 22, 2013 1:21 a.m.

Bill Goodwin dislikes graffiti.

Nor is he a big fan of the color putrid salmon.

That explains why he challenged the status quo. And in doing so, he may make Manteca look just a little bit better.

Goodwin questioning why the city is literally painting Manteca a putrid salmon started when a member of society’s underbelly - vandals who fancy themselves artists and their gang cousins who mark what they perceive to be their territory as if they were dogs - defaced a sound wall at Del Webb at Woodbridge.

It goes without saying so-called tagger art wouldn’t be appreciated with folks who would argue males who deliberately show underwear and crack are being indecent and not making a fashion statement. Nor is it highly unlikely that any gang members reside at Del Webb.

But people who maliciously vandalize property that doesn’t belong to them could care less about who they offend. After all, the world is about them.

Manteca’s graffiti removal effort is the envy of other jurisdictions. For the past 20 plus years Manteca has had a solid track record of staying on top of graffiti. It rarely lingers more than a week.

Volunteers make it work. It started with a citizen by the name of Mike Barkley. Back in the 1980s after commuting home from the Bay Area, he would load up his VW pick-up with paint and conduct a one-man war on graffiti. Barkley didn’t want to see a repeat of neighborhood decay that he dealt with living in Oakland. So he took matters into his own hands. That eventually led to the volunteer corps known as Seniors Helping Area Residents and Police taking over graffiti removal.

City laws require property owners to remove graffiti within a set amount of time or the city does it. As for sound walls and such, the city takes the initiative.

Since the city can’t match every color out there, they went with a neutral color. Actually that color is the byproduct of used paint being recycled.

Not many people are wild about the color match on sound  walls but they’d certainly agree it is better than looking at the graffiti.

Goodwin on Tuesday challenged the City Council to come up with a way to provide a group of graffiti busters he’s organized in Del Webb with paint matching the city sound walls and other equipment so they can do the abatement themselves.

And - as he correctly pointed out - those in landscape maintenance districts such as Del Webb are charged for the cost of graffiti removal and clean-up. As such, the city should spring for paint that matches - or comes closer to - the sound wall material in landscape maintenance districts.

But the best part of Goodwin’s initiative isn’t reminding the city that they’re collecting money from him and his neighbors for graffiti removal on sound  walls and therefore should at least try to match the color. It’s the fact that Goodwin and his neighbors are willing to do the work themselves if the city supplies the materials. In their case, they already have specifically been charged a fee to cover.

Manteca was starting to work with neighborhoods to establish similar efforts right before the Great Rescission hit. The theory was simple. People living in neighborhoods are the best judges of what is important to their neighborhoods. By developing forums and encouraging neighbors to band together, they could tap into city resources along with their own initiative to improve their neighborhoods.

Similar efforts in San Jose helped reduce everything from neighborhood litter and graffiti to crime. It also makes what city money was spent more effective as it went for things those living in neighborhoods deemed were the most important. In other words, residents and not bureaucrats are the best judge of a neighborhood’s needs.

Manteca’s leadership needs to find ways to empower residents to turn the tide against conditions and elements that threaten their neighborhood’s quality of life.

Give Goodwin and his graffiti volunteers the tools they need to join the battle against those who are waging a war on our community through spray cans.

Just make sure the paint isn’t putrid salmon.



This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209-249-3519.

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