Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
A few years ago, a neighbor began piling trash in his driveway, covering it with a plastic tarp. The pile grew and grew, and more trash and junk started appearing beside his house in the front yard, and between the house and the fence. Another neighbor and I offered to get a dumpster and dispose of this garbage for him, but the homeowner wasn't interested.
After several winter storms, the tarp had blown off, and the trash was spread around and blowing into my neighbor's yard. We spoke to the homeowner again, but he still wasn't a bit concerned about the problem that he had created. I called the city, the code enforcement division responded, and the problem was solved in a matter of days. Thank you code enforcement division.
This summer, we were experiencing more mosquitoes than usual. The same neighbor had let his pool go green and the entire neighborhood was suffering as a result. I called the county, and the mosquito abatement people began treating and monitoring this homeowner's pool for him, at the taxpayers' expense.
I've lived in my neighborhood for over 20 years, and this year for the first time, my neighbors and I are noticing rats in our yards. I imagine that they're coming from someone’s trash pile or backyard shed. Who knows?
Everyone can probably tell a similar story. Some people just don't care what sort of problems, nuisances, or eyesores they inflict upon their neighbors, whether it's a boat or old car on the front lawn, garbage totes and junk in their front yard, or boats and trailers parked in the street. Perhaps they think that because it's their property, they'll do whatever they please. That's why every city needs codes and the people to enforce them.
Additionally, every homeowner knows or should know that you can't add on to your home, erect structures on your property with uninspected wiring and plumbing, or build whatever kind of fence you want wherever you want it, without first checking with the city and perhaps getting a permit. If you choose to ignore the process and the city responds by telling you to remove or change the structure that doesn't meet code requirements, and your defense is "Well everyone else is doing it!", good luck with that. Try that same excuse on the cop who pulls you over for speeding, or the IRS agent who busts you for under reporting your income and see where it gets you.
Personally, I think that the City of Manteca is too lenient about the enforcement of code violations, but I am glad that it has these rules on the books, and that the code enforcement division is there to make sure that the codes are not ignored. Without them, Manteca would resemble some filthy Third World village, or maybe Oakland.
Sept. 1, 2012