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Manteca slowly turning into Stockton

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POSTED November 3, 2013 11:59 p.m.

Editor’s note: An exception was made to the Bulletin’s policy against printing letters without a signature appearing in print given the nature of the content.

Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

This year has proven to be the most expensive Halloween of my life. Five Halloween costumes for the family, decorations, and candy for trick or treaters plus  the expense of repairing the damage done to my vehicle by some disgruntled individual that gouged two lovely scratches down the side of my wife’s van. Perhaps it was someone angry that I had left the house to briefly take my own kids out for trick or treating, thereby denying them that one extra piece of candy? Or maybe it was just a random act of vandalism? I’ll never know.

 What I do know is that I’ve lived in Manteca for 18 months now and I’ve personally witnessed more criminal activity than the previous 40 years of my life. I’ve worked here for more than a decade Two years ago my family finally decided to move closer to my work. My wife and I shopped neighborhoods, and settled on a house south of the 120 Bypass in a nice looking neighborhood of newer homes.

And that started my Manteca experience. On the very day I moved in to my new home, we witnessed a drug deal, in broad daylight, in the park across the street. I spent the next couple of months calling in the activity to Manteca Police, who always make a great effort to respond, but most often the dealers are gone by the time they arrive. I’ve gone over and confronted the dealers myself, much to the dismay of my wife, but nothing seems to end the cycle of cars stopping to smoke drugs, and cars parked to sell them on our street.

That first summer, I watched as a young man did donuts with his car in the neighborhood park. When I approached him about it, he was hostile and ready for a physical confrontation, which was avoided thanks to his mother coming out of the house and talking him down and apologizing.

A few months later, a drunken man attempted to pound his way in through my front door, prompting another call to the Manteca Police, and panic among my wife and children.

Even today, as I write this letter, I had to go outside and ask a car full of people parked on the street in full view smoking marijuana to leave and go smoke somewhere else.

If we, as a community, don’t take control of our neighborhoods, and tell the individuals ruining our streets and parks that we won’t stand for it, Manteca will slowly become a smaller version of Stockton. The honest, good people will leave, businesses will close, and with them take any hope of restoring the city to its small town family friendly status. I have to admit that I’ve started eyeing property in other cities, and with the recent upturn in the housing market, we could sell our home and make a healthy profit. But I don’t want to move. I’m not ready to give up just yet. I am hoping that if enough people in my neighborhood get tired of the car loads of dealers and users using our neighborhood parks as their market place, maybe things will change. Make them go somewhere else, away from our children, homes, and schools.

When I was a kid, Manteca was a friendly small town with waterslides. Now what defines Manteca?

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