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Forced layoffs of cops as more cons getting out?
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It was ironic that while 45 law enforcement officers from various agencies were tied up near downtown Manteca with two Bank of America bank robbery suspects holed up in a duplex the Manteca City Council was meeting behind closed doors trying to figure a way to avoid laying off 15 Manteca Police officers.

The only way the city can avoid such an eventuality is to be able to use federal stimulus money meant to hire four new officers to retain four instead plus secure salary concessions from the Manteca Police Officers Association.

Nobody likes what is going on but both sides understand the economic realties including the state taking more than $1 million from Manteca in property taxes to avoid bureaucratic cutbacks in Sacramento. Making matters worse is a vote by the California Legislature to release criminals early from prison. It is an interesting mix: Fewer cops and more criminals on the streets.

And if anyone believes the future ex-cons are going to secure jobs to support themselves remember Manteca’s unemployment rate is 14 percent and the county as a whole is soaring past 17 percent.

The good news is the police officers are still talking and the council will meet again next week to try and find a solution. Officers, more than anyone else, know the importance of having an adequate presence on the city streets especially when backup is needed.

PG&E & Stop the Power Grab redefine ‘local’
Out of the three executive directors PG&E has managed to put in place in the front they fund that’s dubbed “Stop the Power Grab” to fight South San Joaquin irrigation District from exercising their constitutional authority to enter the retail power business to lower rates, only one has even been a district resident.

The ruse put up by PG&E has over the years bragged about being compromised of local citizens. The first executive director was Kurt Vander Weide who was serving as a Turlock City Council member at the time. Vander Weide lost re-election after siding with Wal-Mart in its battle to run shotgun over the community in that Stanislaus County city to build a Super Wal-Mart.

Then there was Debbie Moorhead who is executive director of the Manteca Chamber of Commerce and is now on the Manteca City Council.

She cut all ties with the group and the chamber has indicated it will not take a position opposing SSJID this time as they did back in 2006.

The latest is Stockton resident Brian Regnart who has spent the past three years working for elected state officials in Sacramento.

In the coalition blog that Regnart authors he noted “despite a huge show of community opposition to its plan to forcibly seize PG&E’s electrical system by eminent domain, SSJID voted this morning (Thursday) to move ahead.”

There were six speakers against the move at the SSJID public hearing and 13 for the move plus one who said he was ambivalent. Although you can’t judge support by the amount of applause, speakers who urged the SSJID to go forward and cited numerous sore points residents and farmers have about service, price, and attitude got applause while PG&E didn’t. For the record, the only SSJID service area residents who spoke against the move were PG&E workers while those in favor did not count one SSJID employee among their ranks

There was at least one written letter in opposition from a Los Angeles law firm hired by PG&E to fight SSJID.