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Can city do anything about aggressive solicitors?
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

This letter is a combination comment, question, and an open letter to the Mayor and the City Council.

My wife answered the door yesterday afternoon to find a young man and woman, supposedly selling carpet cleaning services. She asked the man if he was from Manteca, and he told her that he was from San Jose and asked why she wanted to know. She told him that she liked to do business with local merchants, to which he responded "Alright, then I'm from Manteca!" My wife told him that she wasn't interested, and the man began haranguing her, telling her that she was "weird", and yelling at her as he and the young woman crossed the street heading for one of my neighbors who was out working in his yard.

I heard the yelling and went outside to see what was going on. The pair was still in the street yelling at my wife and laughing. I said to my wife loud enough for the two solicitors to hear, "I'm calling the police", which I proceeded to do. The dispatcher was very helpful, asked for a description, and said that she would send a patrol car out to look for the solicitors. My wife had been watching the two whom, when I mentioned calling the police, immediately split up, got on their phones, and headed off in different directions. It looked like they had been coached as to what to do in this situation. I don't know what happened after that.

Several months ago, I was out front working in my yard when a young man with a back pack approached, giving me a sales pitch for some "miracle" cleaning product, and I told him I wasn't interested. He proceeded to spray whatever it was all over the side of my truck and began wiping it off with a filthy rag. When I told him to stop, he began spraying the wheel and tire, and I told him to stop again, and that I wasn't interested in the product. After calling me a few choice names he headed off to bother someone else.

These are only two examples of annoying, rude, and aggressive solicitors from out of town that I've had the displeasure of dealing with over the years. They don't seem to wear any identification or have any flyers or literature that legitimate solicitors usually do, and I would never allow these people inside my home. I often wonder if they are casing the neighborhood.

Is there a City ordinance that controls the activity of these solicitors? Does the Police Department have the authority to stop and question these individuals? If not, there should be some controls put on these persons who come onto our property and try to get into our homes, whether their intentions are innocent or not.

I know that my neighbors have had similar experiences, and assume that many other people in town have as well. I would like to know what you think, and what our City officials have to say on this issue.

Stephen Breacain


March 21, 2012