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Indivisible Manteca makes its concerns known to council
TOWN waste ART.jpg

It is clear there is a new posse in town.

And it could change the face of Manteca politics.

The Manteca Democratic Club along with Indivisible Manteca — a group that played a pivotal role not only in the election of Congressman Josh Harder but Manteca Mayor Ben Cantu as well — has been a steady presence at City Council meetings for the past several months.

On Tuesday a representative of the two groups brought up two issues — one local and one regional in nature — that it is safe to say are concerns for more than a few Manteca residents. A third issue the speaker made clear was coming just from her at the current time, could easily garner a lot of community support. In all three cases the council could take action to move the proverbial dial.

The one that might strike the biggest chord was a request for the City Council to adopt a city ordinance that is in line with a measure Berkeley adopted last month requiring all takeout food and drink containers — cups, straws, cartons, and forks — to be compostable.

 A number of other cities including the state have banned non-recyclable takeout containers zeroing in on polystyrene foam and plastics but have not gone as far as Berkeley in requiring takeout containers to be compostable. But as it was pointed out Tuesday, Manteca’s new recycling rules means containers that once were recyclable are now being landfilled.

Her pitch was simple. The city should pass an ordinance requiring all takeout containers for food to be compostable. 

Given the results of a Solid Waste Division audit of brown carts done three years ago by a consultant who was stunned that close to 40 percent of what they found in the garbage was takeout food, it is clear Manteca likely has a higher than normal average market for takeout dining that could be a function of long commutes.

Regardless it makes sense given the speaker noted “plastic” does not compost when buried in landfills. That doesn’t mention polystyrene foam that is almost in the same boat when it comes to taking ions to decompose.

Considering Manteca is toying with a solution to ultimately take household garbage and combine it with fiber based products such as paper and create compost in lieu of landfilling both, the council moving to put in place an ordinance that would go into effect say next year would set the stage for such a solution to be more effective.

The two items that the Manteca Democratic Club and Indivisible Manteca were concerned about includes Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s 11 square-mile Site 300 test facility along Corral Hollow to the southwest of Manteca and more to the south of Tracy.

They would like to see the Manteca City Council adopt a resolution supporting the City of Tracy in its effort to have the site cleaned up. Experiments conducted there included the detonation of depleted uranium using explosives containing perchlorate that is a salt that gets in water and travels significant distances. The site has also had other hazardous chemicals used there that can pose a threat to water quality as well as air quality.

The other item was the potential designation of Union Road as a truck route from the 120 Bypass to French Camp Road. The two group’s position is simple: No way.

It is not now designated as a truck route. It it may, though,  be on the radar as a possible truck route as part of a citywide study that is going on that is a precursor to possible adoption of formal truck routes.

It would seem illogical to make the corridor a truck route given the distribution centers in place and that are proposed in Manteca for the most part are along Airport Way. That said even if it is made clear Union Road is not a truck route it would not prevent trucks from making local deliveries to use the street.

The bottom line is they don’t want to see Union Road established as a truck route.

There have been active organized groups in the past to essentially lobby the council to take specific positions but in all three cases they dealt basically with growth.

The first was the Concerned Citizens for Planned Growth that qualified a 2 percent growth cap for the ballot in the 1980s that ultimately failed. As a result of the groups’ effort the council at the time put in place the current 3.9 percent growth rate.

Then there was the Manteca Rural Committee in the 1990s under the leadership of Georgianna Reichelt that fought urbanization along what were once rural segments of Lathrop Road and Louise Avenue west of the railroad tracks on Louise Avenue and west of Union on Lathrop Road.

The Manteca Rural Committee’s biggest triumph was the California Supreme Court ruling unanimously in their favor that the City of Manteca had to require an environmental impact report to be done before the Chadwick Square development on the southeast corner of Airport Way and Lathrop Road could proceed.

More recently a group of rural South Manteca residents was formed to battle a proposed cross levee as well as the envisioned Raymus Expressway.


Cant says not to worry

about urbanization of

rural east Manteca

for 30 or so years

Speaking of growth, Mayor Ben Cantu dismissed concerns of at least one rural East Manteca resident who resides in what could be the next frontier for Manteca growth about his proposal to expand the city’s urbanization of farmland. He noted no one should worry about it now given that he believes it won’t happen “for 30 to 50 years.”

That answer didn’t exactly please Karen Pearsall who believes the establishing of a greenbelt or a firm urban boundary adopted by voters would provide long-range protection for agriculture, protect the lifestyle of people in the area, and give the city set boundaries in which to plan for growth.

Ironically in 2008, Frederic Clark — who was an assistant public works director at the time before eventually becoming the community development director before retiring — told a gathering of rural South Manteca residents in 2008 that growth to justify establishing Raymus Expressway (called the McKinley Expressway at the time) was a good 20 to 30 years away and not to worry. That was during a meeting in the McFall Room to discuss the city’s long range traffic circulation plan. Less than 10 years later it has become a major issue with land for a possible alignment set aside in neighborhoods now being built.

Cantu used his State of the City address as an opportunity to push his vision for East Manteca saying the city needs to plan for “loop-style road” around as much of Manteca as possible like many Texas cities have so that traffic can be moved quicker.

Cantu wants the city to place such a road somewhere east of Austin Road which is East Manteca.

To contact Dennis Wyatt, email