Mike sent me a text just after 3 p.m. on Monday.
Why that matters given I have no idea who “Mike” is has more to do with what I was doing at the time.
I was at the Manteca Transit Center — one of four voting centers set up in Manteca — marking my ballot as I was voting in person.
Given I was a actually voting and I’m not under 40 which means I don’t have the tendency to stop everything I am doing to answer a text the moment I get it, I did not know the context of the text or the name attached to it until I was checking my texts when I got back into my car.
Only then did I realize “Mike” was a rideshare driver urging me to vote Yes on Proposition 22. The text noted, as required by law, that it was paid for the Yes on 22 Committee. It also included a convenient link to take me to their website for further campaign messages.
This means the Yes on 22 folks were not simply violating the law against campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place but they were actually campaigning inside the proverbial voting booth.
Ironically as I walked up to the transit center a young man was chatting with a woman while holding a Trump-Pence sign just two or so feet on the legal side of a sign stating no campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place.
Something tells me it is even a more egregious violation of the law even if the Yes on 22 folks argued they had no idea their campaign text message would be received inside a polling place than if the Trump-Pence supporter had been two feet inside the 100-foot radius.
I get that short of jamming all wireless signals within a polling place or confiscating devices and returning then when a voter is exiting there is no way those trying to secure the sanctuary of a polling place to be free from the non-stop bombardment of social media political campaigning can do so.
But what the Yes on 22 folks did was exactly what the prohibition within 100 feet was designed to prevent.
Uber and Lyft like to brag about this disruptive technology and how the break the law and ask forgiveness later. Rest assured blanket robo-texting is simply more of the same given the laws apply to others and not Uber and Lyft in their drive to amass billions.
In person voting is going smooth
Before the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters gets slammed for perceived sins for not being able to have an unofficial tally of the bring results instantaneously let alone within days after the polls close tonight at 8 p.m., kudos are in order.
The four voting centers that opened Saturday in Manteca have been smoothly operating with people voting in person as well as dropping off mail-in ballots.
The spacious transit center was perfect for a voting center. Touchless temperatures were taken at one door, you were directed to a volunteer with an electronic device that quickly scanned your ballot number and sent on your way to the voting booth. Then you exited another dolor on the opposite side of the transit center’s community room.
As an added bonus, if you voted in person you got to keep the pen thanks to COVID-19 protocols. Disinfecting ink pens after each use would be cumbersome if not ineffective.
Speaking of COVID-19, the Transit Center Monday — as well as today — is a prime example of the civic gathering place that it can be at the heart of Manteca.
Voting was taking place inside the community room, free COVID-19 drive-thru testing outside in a turnout, and people were waiting to catch buses.
Graffiti vandals gaining ground
One thing that Manteca sorely misses due to the pandemic is the Seniors Helping Area Residents & Police (SHARP) volunteers.
They do a lot of things to enhance the quality of life in Manteca including graffiti abatement.
And because COVID-19 restrictions keep them from volunteering, graffiti in some places such as sidewalks and underpasses have lingered for months.
Now that graffiti is not being promptly removed from commercial buildings such as in the downtown district it seems to be spurring a proliferation of defacing marks on Manteca.
It is now marring the most visible, and arguably stunning civic building in Manteca — the Transit Center.
Kudos for Charlie Halford
Charlie Halford — one of five candidates for two seats on the Manteca City Council in today’s election — was passing by one of the city’s prime campaign sign locations at Spreckles Avenue and Moffat Boulevard when he noticed most of the signs missing.
After stopping and looking around he found his sign and that of Gary Singh behind one of the entrance features and put them back up.
He then emailed all of the candidates to let them know their signs were missing.
Halford knows a thing or two about good sign locations in Manteca.
After securing the approval of property owners Halford has led efforts over the years to place signs for Boys & Girls Club events, the community Thanksgiving dinner, the Great Valley Bookfest and more.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org