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Barnhart made meetings irrespective of his recent major heart surgery
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Editor Manteca Bulletin,
I attended the Oct. 2 General Plan Advisory Commission meeting, which was the first actual committee workshop.  At that time I was 16 days postop after a quadruple heart bypass.  This was only 11 days after being released from Cardiac ICU at St Josephs in Stockton.  I knew I had a responsibility to the citizens of Manteca and an obligation to Council Member Mike Morowit to make this important meeting.  As to the first meeting Ben Cantu (who wrote a letter to the editor saying he missed two GPAC meetings due to medical conditions) attended on Aug. 2, it was simply to explain the structure of the process we would be following, there was no discussion about the General plan nor of the individual Elements.  I agree there might often be medical conditions that would preclude a member attending a GPAC meeting; having said that, we must all understand that if we are going to correct past history regarding the General Plan, we have to be present to do that.
The original plan before the Council called for 15 members on the GPAC committee, there was no provision for alternates.  My recollection is that, after the 15 selections were made by Council members, Cantu insisted that alternates also be appointed. So far, as documented in the GPAC meeting minutes, of the total members attending the meetings, the alternates have averaged a 50 percent absentee rate.
Ben, since you were not there, your “observations” that “…each meeting and workshop currently occurring is exactly (almost word for word) like each general plan update process from previous years.” can be nothing other than an assumption based on your past experience, or based on erroneous information.  The positive thing is that the current meetings are nothing like you describe prior update processes to be.  Further, your statements in the paper that you have been involved with and prepared the previous three General Plan documents, are contradictory and worrisome in my view, when applied to your comments at the December 4th meeting when you said that all the previous General Plans had been done wrong.
I respect your years and experience with the City of Manteca, but we need to respect the past experience and backgrounds all the members bring to this process.  I retired over 11 years ago from the County of Kern as the IT Manager and in that time much has changed.  A city is much like a county but only a smaller version.  County and city governments are constantly evolving, especially with internal automation and external influences like the housing blowout.  Governing priorities have to react to those changes especially as the expectations of the citizens have evolved and changed as well.  Eleven years ago I could explain in detail how a Planning Department operated, how the Auditor or Treasurer/Tax Collector functioned, how the Sheriff, D.A. and Courts interacted together, etc., but that has all changed.  Over those eleven years I’m sure that the major automated systems I brought into those departments have been outgrown and superseded with systems even more complex.  If I was to return there today, everything would be different.  The point is simply that City government must evolve to address the real life situation, and the expectations of its citizens as they exist today, not at the time we retired.

Bill Barnhart
Primary GPAC Member