It’s a legitimate question from a reader: Why does Manteca allow panhandling at freeway off-ramps?
The short answer is they don’t.
Panhandling at controlled intersections is prohibited in Manteca. That covers all of the off ramps as they go through traffic signals. Banning panhandling is legal at such locations as it passes muster with safety and health issues based on court decisions.
And Manteca Police do respond to complaints about the panhandlers.
When that was explained to one reader she sent the Bulletin a cell phone photo of one of signs the City of Modesto posted at Highway 99 off-ramps that clearly states panhandling is banned at that location.
The reader contends once the signs went up, the panhandling dropped significantly whether it was due to panhandlers and potential benefactors being alerted to it being illegal activity at such intersections by the signs, stepped up enforcement or a combination of both.
Stockton has similar signs.
Then came the next question; If it’s illegal in Manteca why doesn’t the city post post similar signs?
The answer was a year or so ago city officials thought such signs would give visitors the wrong impression of Manteca.
And yes, that brought an obvious third question: “They don’t get the wrong impression from seeing actual panhandling?”
When it was suggested she point this out to the City Council at an upcoming meeting she simply replied that she’d wait for November to make her frustration known. There are two council seats open on Nov. 8. Vince Hernandez has indicated he is not seeking another term while Debby Moorhead is running for re-election.
There are three declared challengers so far: Jeff Zellner, Gary Singh and David Cushman.
Given the general mood of many people it’s highly likely that the homeless issued could be the major issue of the upcoming election as far as voters are concerned.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org