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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

THE UGLY: Who needs "Welcome to Manteca" signs when you have a former gas station within two blocks of downtown turned into a dump?

DENNIS WYATT/The Bulletin


POSTED January 15, 2009 1:25 a.m.

The Good
Ugly parking & dumping ground is now a lush park & storm basin

It wasn’t too long ago that a large segment of city property along Moffat Boulevard near Garfield Avenue was one of the biggest eyesores in the central district.

There were always commercial trucks parked there as drivers used it as a rent-free spot to park when going home after taking a haul. The area also saw its share of overnight campers and illegal dumping.

That was three years ago.

Today, the area serves as a storm retention basin for the new sidewalk, curbs, and gutters put in along Moffat ending the no-man’s land look on the connector between Spreckels Park plus the Woodward Park neighborhoods along with downtown.

It is planted in grass with about two dozen trees and is the only landscaping of consequence along the Moffat leg of the Tidewater.

Councilman Vince Hernandez deserves credit for getting the city to “do it right.” Originally, the public works department suggested just leaving the storm retention basin in dirt and putting a cyclone fence around it. Hernandez essentially asked why take something that was ugly to begin with and make it even more ugly? The initial response he got was because it was cheaper to maintain and that it would only need to have weeds removed twice a year.

There is no doubt that what is there now is 100 times better than dirt and cyclone fencing or trucks and garbage.

THE BAD
Lathrop gets a partial free ride at expense of Manteca taxpayers

The animal shelter at Wetmore Street is amazing in terms of the staff’s ability to provide good care given the cramped quarters.  There is no doubt what is needed is more space.

Until that happens, it seems the city is putting Manteca dogs — and taxpayers  —  at risk to give Lathrop a partial free ride. Lathrop pays for the right to use 17 percent of the animal shelter space but is actually occupying 26 percent of the kennel space. That means Manteca taxpayers are picking up part of the bill for Lathrop, which adds salt to the wounds as Manteca is facing $11.3 million in budget cuts for next year. Equally bad is the fact that Lathrop animals using more space than they are allotted means less time for Manteca dogs to get adopted or claimed. Lathrop’s excess is essentially shortening the lifespan of Manteca strays plus burdening Manteca taxpayers.

THE UGLY
Why is mini-dump being allowed on Moffat Boulevard at Garfield?

Manteca has dumped well over $5 million into various components of upgrading downtown. They’ve put $1.5 million into Moffat corridor improvements. Spreckels Park reflects a $200 million plus private sector investment. The city is getting ready to open the 10-acre Spreckels Recreation Park complete with BMX course and soccer field.

So why, you ask, do they tolerate someone creating a mini-dump in the middle of all of that?

The shuttered gas station at Moffat and Garfield is a habitual problem for trash and debris.

Here’s a novel thought: Why not use some of those laws on the books and put the code enforcement effort to good use? Oh, that’s right. The city only responds to complaints. Well, shouldn’t the city be complaining to its code enforcement division then? The city, after all, is trying to put together a business park with a private sector investor right next door to the trash site. Someone at 1001 W. Center Street needs to protect the municipal investment along Moffat Boulevard.

It is an attractive nuisance. At the very lest the property owner should he made to fence the site off.

Do you have an “attaboy” you want to share about something that is nice in Manteca? How about something that is wrong in Manteca you’d like to see fixed up? Or perhaps there is something that is a bit ugly you’d like to see cleaned up? If you do, let us know and we’ll pass on the compliments or find out what the scoop is on a problem. Send inquiries to the Manteca Bulletin, 531 E. Yosemite Ave., Calif. 95336, e-mail dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com (put “Good, Bad, Ugly” in subject line) or leave a phone message at 249-3532.

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