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Library Park is Tenderloin Park?

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POSTED November 14, 2013 1:19 a.m.

Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

After reading Glenn Kahl’s Around Town’ column “Too much exposure at city park” in Wednesday’s paper, I wanted to recount a recent experience of my own.

Last week, my wife and I were having lunch at Mei-Mei Chinese restaurant, which by the way serves very good Chinese food at quite reasonable prices, when a homeless man from Library Park walked in. We were the only diners in the place at that time, and he came right up to our table. He told us that his wife who was over in the park, was celebrating her birthday, and asked us to buy them some food or give him our lunch that we had been enjoying up until that point. When we declined, he approached the young woman at the counter and asked her for food. She went back to the kitchen and came out with a container of food for the man. He took the free food and then asked her for soy sauce and fortune cookies. What Chinese meal would be complete without them.

When we left the restaurant and walked around the corner to our car , it was clear that all of the homeless folks were enjoying the warm autumn afternoon and having a wonderful time over in the park. One man with his shirt off walked past us into the alley where I was turning to get back to Yosemite. He stopped to talk to another guy who was entering one of the buildings in the alley with two young women who looked like hookers, and it was obvious that some sort of deal was in the works.

Perhaps it’s time for the City to just throw in the towel and rename Library Park Tenderloin Park. Paint over the baseball and family friendly murals with new ones, depicting hookers and Johns, and junkies making drug deals and shooting up, so that the homeless will feel more comfortable in their park. Library Park and the downtown area are not that big compared to San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. You could almost throw a rock in any direction and encompass the whole area, yet this section of town seems to be a natural magnet for the homeless, drug users, hookers and other folks who all have the ‘right’ to be there, even if they scare off normal citizens and have a negative effect on downtown businesses and their patrons. Manteca’s downtown area is more like the sleazier parts of downtown Oakland, than it is the downtowns of Livermore, Dublin, Pleasanton, or even downtown Hayward which is looking pretty good lately. What do those cities’ governing bodies know that our city fathers obviously do not?

 I think that Dennis Wyatt’s idea of creating a space for the homeless to hang out over in the corporate yard area has many virtues, and should be seriously explored by the Mayor and the City Council. As for the drug dealing, prostitution, and other criminal activities going on downtown, it seems to me that the property owners bear a great deal of responsibility and should be held accountable by City authorities. Something needs to be done about this on-going problem.

Stephen Breacain
Manteca
Nov. 13, 2013

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