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Water leaks, burned out street lights & frustration
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A well-lit neighborhood is a deterrent to crime.
That’s what the City of Manteca will tell you.
The city also will tell you water must not be wasted. In fact, you have 24 hours to fix known water leaks under Manteca municipal rules — but apparently that is only if you are a resident.
Those two reasons are why Dave Kirby is getting frustrated.
He’s been trying to get the City of Manteca to address issues involving street lights and water leaks in his neighborhood for a few weeks.
The first involves street light No. 942 on Parajo Avenue south of Cypress on the west side of the street.
Kirby said he’s tried four times to get the street light replaced but to no avail. On his initial call, a public works staff member said the light was a homeowners’ association issue but Kirby said there was no “P” under the streetlight number to signify that it was.
He also called about what he said was a “major water leak” connected with a city street tree on Northgate Drive just west of Parajo. More precisely it is the fourth tree on the south side of the road. The water comes on at night. The bubbler or a line is broken as Kirby has snapped photos of water streaming from the base of the tree and running down the gutter to a storm drain. So much not just for the city edict that broken pipes and such be repaired within 24 hours but also the rules about water not running into the gutter for over five minutes.
As of Thursday, Kirby said neither issue had been addressed.
And while the city can’ t be everywhere and there is an on-line reporting form citizens can use that staff says gets more immediate attention, Kirby’s frustration as a citizen hopefully will prompt some out-of-the-box thinking by Manteca City Council members.
Manteca Police officers — when they have time — will not street lights that are out as they patrol. And citizens do have the ability to report street lights that are out by noting the number and filling out an on-line reporting form.
But given that PG&E charges the city a flat rate per street light and they don’t serve their purpose when they are out, maybe the council might want to take the bull by the horns. Back in 2009 that figure per street light was $3.50 a month. The city’s decision to start switching to induction bulbs five years ago has probably lowered the cost of electricity or at least kept it from increasing the cost much per street light.
If Neighborhood Watch Groups were thriving as they once were when long-retired community service officer Rex Osborn was in charge of them, it would be easy to communicate to them to have neighbors walk the neighborhood in the evening every two weeks or so ad report light numbers that are out.
The city could also enlist volunteers to check on lights.
It is true that the city can’t do it all but it also true that an organized effort to help the city is better than a hit and miss approach especially of it is true that if street lights are working it helps deter crime and increase safety.

Sidewalk safety
is all cracked up
A couple of weeks ago an unsigned typed letter came to the Bulletin that started “some thoughts from a lifelong resident.”
They expressed frustrations with council decisions over the years that can’t be undone. They did, however, zero on a couple of quality of life issues.
One of them was sidewalks.
The writer noted, “the west sidewalk of Union Road from Raley’s to Pheasant Hollow has so many cracks, raised areas, patched portions that it is unsafe to walk on.”
I forgot about the letter until Sunday when a woman walking her dog on the sidewalk along Woodward Avenue between Pillsbury Road and Adora Drive stopped me while I was jogging and expressed her frustration about a severe rise in the sidewalk that has been there for years wanting to know when then city was going to do something. She said was walking with a friend who tripped on it months ago.
Someone obviously had complained about it as a city worker earlier this year spray painted it orange so it would stand out apparently until the city could get around to grinding it down. The rains have essentially washed the marking away.
It begs the question — how high of a priority is it to keep city sidewalks as safe as reasonable and can volunteers being enlisted to help?

What people hate
about Manteca
and what they love
In an interesting contrast last Wednesday there were two instances that speak to the growing frustration of Manteca residents with issues that they say the Manteca City Council seems impotent to deal with such as the homeless plus why people like living here.
The first was a retired couple who related how they had taken their grandkid to Del Taco at Yosemite and Spreckels avenues a few months back. A homeless individual walked across from Homeless Park — known by some as Spreckels Historical Plaza — relived himself against the wall of the fast food place and then walked back. They said they weren’t 100 percent that was what happened until they left and noticed the tell take puddle at the base of the wall.
Just 10 minutes later while jogging down Powers Avenue south of North Street, a passing motorist pulled over. He had noticed an older couple in a driveway being helped by a middle-aged man appeared to be struggling to load a washer and dryer into the back of a pickup.
The driver — a stranger to the three — asked if they needed help. The older gentleman replied that they didn’t but he approached the offer. The motorist then left leaving the gentleman with a big smile on his face.
That’s why you’ve got to love Manteca.