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Another downtown investment, council micromanaging city staff, & limiting access of new Northgate restrooms
Some $450,000 is being spent to make interior improvements to the former Kragan Auto Parts Store at East Yosemite and Sherman avenues for a new tenant.

More than a few people have noticed that some of those resorting to wearing gloves in public due to the COVID-19 pandemic don’t have much consideration when it comes to the health of others.

They have reported a huge surge in gloves being discarded in parking lots as well as along sidewalks in front of stores even though there are often waste cans nearby.

It’s ironic that they are so worried about coming into contact with the virus yet they show little concern that if they did that others cleaning up their illegal littering would have to come into contact with their discarded gloves.

In another interesting item from the pandemic front, a Manteca resident shopping for her mother at the Livermore Walmart was told she could not bring re-useable shopping bags into the store out of concern they could be carrying COVID-19.  That meant she had to buy their one use bags prompting her to wonder if a store is going to ban re-useable bags “out of an abundance of caution” whether it was ethical for them to charge for single use bags they are forcing customers to buy.


More news about

‘dead and dying’

downtown Manteca

Those that believe downtown Manteca is on a 50-year downwards slide may not want to get distracted by a permit the city is currently processing to make $450,000 worth of improvements for a tenant to occupy the 4,790-square-foot former Kragan Auto Parts store at 411 East Yosemite Avenue directly across from Manteca High.

It is the latest instance of people putting up money to make a serious go at doing business in downtown.

If you count all of the investment made in the 100 to 400 blocks of East Yosemite Avenue by landlords and tenants during the past 12 years, it is in excess of $2 million.

That includes the transformation of the northeast corner of Yosemite and Lincoln into the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory as well as the Iron Horse Deli, upgrades on the northwest corner, the transformation of a former bakery into the Spin Cycle laundry, the transformation of the building once housing a Goodwill Store into the bustling La Super Altena Market, and the remake of the El Rey/Kelly Brothers Brewing Co. into a stylish and elegant events center that is still a work in progress.

Of course, there are those that seem to believe thriving businesses such as the aforementioned are somehow not good enough for downtown.



as elected officials

for City of Manteca

Manteca Councilman Dave Breitenbucher at Tuesday’s council meeting made it clear he wasn’t a big fan of  council members getting into the weeds of writing public policy as opposed to having staff do so either after the council majority directs them to do if staff submits changes for council consideration.

Breitenbucher was less than thrilled that Mayor Ben Cantu — a former 30-year planning department employee for the city — drafted language to modify the building code. Cantu disliked what he saw as the city not being business friendly when contractors installing emergency generators during the initial wave of PG&E invoked power outages last year had to get two permits to complete the job. He developed specific language to change the building code to avoid that from happening.

Cantu was hoping to get council to agree with him and then have municipal staff and lawyers basically verify his work that he said was correct given he had extensive knowledge of community development.

Breitenbucher, who worked for city as a firefighter before retiring as captain, said what Cantu was doing by using his “expertise” was no different than him using his “expertise” to rewrite the fire code.

Breitenbucher believes that elected officials cross the line when they get that deep into the nuts and bolts of how the city is operated.

Retired police chief Willie Weatherford — a former city employee who went on to serve 12 years as mayor — refrained from going beyond policy level issues when it came to the police department preferring to follow the established legal model for general law cities for the city manager to run day to day operations.

Cantu doesn’t believe he is interfering in such a manner though his openly arguing with community development staff members that essentially he had a better working knowledge of their tasks prompted former Community Development Director Greg Showerman to jump ship in September and go to work for the City of Modesto.


A couple people not

happy with plans for

Northgate restrooms

The fact city plans for a new restroom building planned for Northgate Park calls for them to be accessed from inside the gates securing the softball complex did not sit well with at least two Manteca residents.

In an email Arlie Rhodes noted, “I live near Northgate Park. I use the park frequently, and at times have even stopped for an ‘emergency’ bathroom break. Therefore, I am wondering if the renovations will accommodate a restroom (access) for the public outside of the gated area.”

A second email from another resident stated, “I have just read (the) article regarding the upgrading of Northgate Park.  This is a good project, but there is one glaring item that stands out.  The article states that the new bathroom will only be accessible from inside the baseball park.  This would indicate that when the park is not in use, and is locked, there will be no accessible bathroom facility at the park.  Since the city has ‘clients’ that get permits to use the picnic area, and for sports groups using the park, there will be no available bathroom.  When baseball is not being played, the new bathroom would seemingly go unused.”

The city in recent years has had issues with the homeless using park restrooms at places like Lincoln Park, Library Park, and Northgate Park after hours when they were locked.

It got so bad that more than three years ago the city hired an armed security service to secure the Lincoln Park restrooms as well as check on city parks after part-time workers were quitting due to safety and harassment issues.

As it stands now, those using the softball complex have to exit the gated area to use the existing restrooms.

Having two entrances would be problematic when it comes to securing the ballfields where admission is often charged.

On the flip side, when you rent the picnic shelter at Lincoln Park the restrooms are usually unlocked for obvious reasons. Unless there are games being played or the city will unlock the gated area when the picnic shelter is rented that isn’t going to happen under current plans for Northgate Park.

It is another example of how “homeless proofing” areas in Manteca reduces the level of service.

Given Woodward, Northgate, and Lincoln parks are community parks with heavy ongoing use (you can toss Library Park in as well) you’d think restrooms would be available during park hours for the general public.

The city is clearly stuck between a rock and a hard place.



A few thoughts from

a reader about common

courtesy during pandemic

Although we usually don’t run unsigned letters, the following submission from a Manteca reader raises valid points and does so in an even keeled manner.

“I completed a walk  (Thursday) afternoon and I was attired in a full cloth mask that a former employee of the school district made for me.   I am very thankful. I would never had been able to make it myself.

“I witnessed a carnival like celebration, a parade of vehicles that proceeded east on Northgate then left on Doxey Drive horns honking. Most people on the street cognizant of the 6 foot distance socializing but not all.  I can say that very few were wearing face coverings, children gathering next to each other and I would bet that that were not all siblings.

“I understand the students missing their teachers and classmates and the same with teachers expressing their love and compassion for their students. Is the McParland School personnel aware of the fact that they have support colleagues going into an environment of great risk and exposure every day and that exposure if one becomes sick can spread through a community like wild fire?  The difference the front lines can’t see the flames.  

“My primary care physician emailed (Thursday) stating that there will be an expected surge of the pandemic around April 15 and please be careful, avoid going out and maintain safe distances of 6 feet, wear protective coverings (homemade mask, bandana), wash hands frequently please stay safe and hopefully about May 3 some of the restrictions may be lifted. 

“I would hope that in the future the different school sites and their staff would be more considerate to all citizens not just the ones with school age children.  At least have your street audience wear face coverings if you’re going to parade about in brigade of vehicles.    My taxes help pay and support the community and I do support our education system.  These are stressful times that require more thought and consideration before acting on spontaneous feel good emotions.  We are all in this together.”


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email