Seeing homeless people under Modesto’s 9th Street Bridge has always been normal.
The sprawling concrete structure, which crosses the Tuolumne River, has always been a de facto shelter of sorts for those down on their luck, and it has developed a reputation as a place you don’t ever seek out.
So when Stanislaus County teamed up with the City of Modesto to erect a makeshift tent city beneath the grey behemoth, it made sense – it was a logical location for a place where the less fortunate, who had all been gathering in Modesto’s parks, could go and find relatively safe shelter in a controlled and supervised environment.
And perhaps this is exactly what Manteca needs to consider doing.
Now, this idea isn’t going to be a popular one. There are plenty of people who think that a baseball bat, torches, and some pitchforks is all that is needed to eradicate the problem. There are people that will never see those who find themselves without shelter for whatever reason as human beings let alone human beings that could actually benefit from a little bit of compassion.
Those aren’t the people we need to convince of anything.
But maybe with a little bit of explanation, even those folks could be brought around to at least consider it.
The recent news that Manteca’s homeless population in the downtown area have resorted to establishing makeshift overnight encampments in city-owned parking lots isn’t necessarily a surprising one given the fact that the city’s hands are essentially tied as to what they can do to police the issue, but it does present an interesting development – if concrete parking lots work, then the door is open to a host of scenarios that are all better than having parks serve as the overnight hot spots.
I’m not quite sure how the recent push that Manteca signed onto regarding a potential Supreme Court decision regarding the law that allows for public camping will turn out – it’s entirely possible that the Supreme Court reverses the ruling the gives places like Manteca the authority to simply arrest those who refuse to comply with the city’s desired laws.
Regardless of what happens on that front, however, the city needs to be thinking of other avenues to address a growing problem that doesn’t show any sign of slowing down anytime soon and looking to imitate Modesto and its tent city isn’t a bad way to start.
Yes, such a plan will bring with it a whole host of issues and concerns. Yes, it will transform wherever the makeshift shelters are erected into a part of town that most people will seek to avoid. And yes, it will probably attract people from outside of town looking to take advantage of the facilities.
Even with all of that on the table I still believe that there’s something that Manteca could learn from its neighbors to the south even if the idea is the modern political third rail that would likely ignite a firestorm of controversy as people become less and less patient with those they feel are simply taking advantage of lax laws and generous residents.
If what we’re doing now isn’t working the way it should, what’s the harm in trying something different that has been proven to work in the community in which it was deployed?
Does a Lancer
really lead the way?
The first week of the Valley Oak League season is in the bag, and there were some surprises last week.
Manteca, according to those I talked to that were at the game, let one slip away from them against Central Catholic, while Sierra advanced to 5-0 on the year with a very real chance of catching the Raiders at just the right time to improve to 6-0 for, I believe, the first time in school history.
Does our resident swimmer have the ability to emerge this week unscathed after he finished a perfect 5-0 last week?
Let us find out:
Wohle (5-0) – The only one standing with an unblemished record, Mr. Mai Tai thinks he has got what it takes to stay unbeaten. We will see. This week Wohle is taking Sierra over Central Catholic, East Union Over Kimball, Ripon over Riverbank, Cal over Arizona State and the Colts over the Raiders. Oh – and he wants his linguisa already.
Campbell (4-1) – Losing out on only the Manteca game last week (they should have had it, I’m told) means that I’m starting the year in second place. And, I’m unlikely to make any massive leaps forward as I’m going with Wohle’s full slate here – I think my alma mater will advance to 6-0, East Union will roll Kimball, a depleted Ripon will crush Riverbank, Cal will improve to 5-0, and the Raiders will show why their last season in Oakland will be a travesty for fans with yet another loss. I’m not going to advance with this line, but I stand by my choices.
Condit (3-2) – The Buffalo twins both lost two games last week, but it looks like only one of them will be the cellar dweller when the final whistle blows this weekend. Taking a stand apart from his brother in green, Condit is choosing Central Catholic over Sierra (of course he is), Kimball over East Union, Riverbank over Ripon, Arizona State over Cal and the Colts over the Raiders. He’s either going to look like a genius or something else entirely. We’ll have to wait and see.
Teicheira (3-2) – Our soon-to-be linguisa chef was a bit more predictable and traditional in his selections, and that could pay off for him in the long run. Teicheira is agreeing with Condit on the Central and Kimball wins, but is going with Ripon, Cal, and the Raiders to round out his picks. I firmly believe that Teicheira will have a better showing this year, and perhaps this is the week he evens things out?
Until next week.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.