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Put teeth into laws against turning Manteca into a dump

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POSTED February 27, 2018 12:59 a.m.

Let’s be honest.
Is the fact Manteca is nothing more than a dumping ground for some people the fault of the City of Manteca?
The latest example is the dumping of furniture and a dryer along the Tidewater Bikeway on Moffat Boulevard just down the street from the Manteca Transit Center where Mayor Steve DeBrum will deliver his State of the City address on Wednesday. We are sure the city will retrieve the items, but that’s not the point.
Yes, the city has raised their pickup fees for large items. And, yes, the city might want to explore expanding its “free” one-time-a-year program where a residential customer can get use of a free 2 cubic yard bin for everyday garbage. Perhaps finding ways to coordinate curbside pickups for collection companies that take things such as old appliances, BBQs, and other items might be one way to reduce the trashing of Manteca.
What should not be acceptable is for people to simply stack trash at curbside or in their driveway such as mattresses, furniture, and household items hoping someone will haul them off by placing a sign “free” on it.
More often than not items get hauled away by the homeless who end up discarding it a few days later to junk up another neighborhood.
No one likes more laws especially when common sense, courtesy, and sense of community should prevail.
But let’s face it — some people just don’t care.
Maybe the city needs a rule where placing junk at curbside for “free” or for a period of more than 24 hours is prohibited. Such a rule would not impact legitimate curbside placement for legitimate concerns that collect such items for free as they can be placed out the night or day before.
Anyone caught breaking such a city law could be subject to a $200 fine plus the cost of the city retrieving such items. Citizens could be encouraged to arm themselves with smartphones with time and date stamps to send the offending item into the city via online reporting with the street location. Then, if it is still there 24 hours later, they can follow it up with another time and date stamped photo.
Employing the same legal principle as the host ordinance for illegal fireworks whoever is occupying the property — owner or renter based on city utility bills — is sent the fine that, if not paid within a year, the city could turn it over to a collection agency.
It is unreasonable to expect the city to deploy manpower to stop people from trashing neighborhoods in such a manner. But it is reasonable to put in place a system that allows law-abiding residents to take steps to stop the trashing of their neighborhoods.
That coupled with coordinating recycling efforts with private firms should reduce the tendency of some to treat Manteca as if it is one big dumping ground.
As for those who dump on public property, it’s time to up the ante. The city should impose the highest possible fine for those caught littering — $2,000 under California law — and give half of it as a reward to anyone who provides information to secure a conviction of the responsible parties.
Again, the last thing anyone wants is more laws especially those that are tough to enforce.
But steps can be taken to put the pressure on those who have no shame.

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