Did a homeless woman give birth in Library Park on Sept. 8 in the middle of the heat wave?
And then was mother and child airlifted to a hospital somewhere by Life Flight helicopter due to being in a life threatening situation?
Manteca Police and Manteca Fire representatives — whose agencies would be contacted by Life Flight personnel before landing in Manteca even if they weren’t involved in summoning the air ambulance that costs in excess of $15,000 every time it responds to a medical emergency — have no knowledge of such a birth.
Some homeless, who said they would have heard about it on the street, say it didn’t happen.
Lei Ann Larson, however still stands by her assertion that it did.
Larson — who is running against incumbent Ben Cantu and Councilman Gary Singh for the mayoral post in the Nov. 8 election — stressed that the birth was confirmed by “trusted reliable sources in law enforcement.”
The issue of a homeless woman giving birth at Library Park was raised by Larson to illustrate her latest criticism of Interim City Manager Toni Lundgren, the elected city leadership, and others employed by the city centering on her contention Manteca officials are treating the homeless inhumanely.
In past several weeks, Larson — who has been pushing for voters to be allowed to decide on her proposal to ban homeless navigation centers in Manteca — has been criticizing the city for treatment of the homeless when the emergency shelter closed for several weeks. That was after Inner City Action gave notice and before His Way Recovery reopened the tent at 555 Industrial Park Drive.
The city contracts with nonprofits to run the emergency shelter at a cost of $777,616 a yar.
In an email to Lundgren copied to City Council members at the Bulletin, Larson asserted the city left the homeless to sleep on the streets during the heat wave due to insurance issues involving using the emergency shelter tent for overnight sleeping at 555 Industrial Park Drive and “made no effort to keep them safe from extreme heat.”
In the same email she also said a homeless woman was forced to give birth a Library Park on Sept. 8 “and her baby was life-flighted because of the city’s leadership failure all the while you and other city officials slept well, in your nicely outrageous air conditioned homes and comfy bed. This is outrageous.”
In a subsequent email she slammed Lundgren and council members for what she believes is a disregard for the plight of the homeless. She specifically brought up the Manteca Chamber of Commerce installation dinner in June at The Emory in Lincoln Center on West Yosemite Avenue.
Larson wrote, “this isn't the first time on your and this council's watch that you have abandoned the homeless. In fact, at the installation dinner of the Chamber of Commerce you and the City Council (minus Mr. Breitenbucher) dined at a $600 a table event, as a man laid in the heat under a shopping cart at the entrance of the facility. Not one single leader of this city stopped to assist this man . . . )”
Lundgren responded that she had no idea what Larson was talking about in regards to the chamber dinner.
Those that helped stage the chamber event recalled a homeless man “sitting outside” before the dinner started, noting “it was just like you see the homeless doing elsewhere in the city.”
They added the man left on his own accord after a period of time.
The city makes a $10,000 annual contribution to the chamber based on the organization’s efforts to promote economic development, assist local businesses, and promoting Manteca as a tourist destination.
The sponsorship — just like with all Presidential Circle members — includes a table at the installation and awards dinner.
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