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Conditions havent changed in 50 years
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin, I grew up in the Powers Tract area of the community, so I can identify with the overgrown weeds and unpaved alleys of the subdivision.  Unfortunately, that was almost fifty years ago, and conditions have not changed.  As you point out, the alleys are still overgrown with weeds and unpaved with potholes.  And, the residents (those that venture into the alley) still remove the weeds and occasionally fill the potholes.

I do agree that pride in the condition of our properties and our neighborhoods should be a responsibility of the residents to a certain degree, such as trimming vegetation, repairing fencing, picking up litter, etc.  However, I do not agree that the residents should be responsible for the improvement and the maintenance of municipal infrastructure and improvements, such as, paving or graveling the alleys, or the trimming of full-grown “street” trees.  Some years ago, city hall created, hired, and equipped a department with the specific purpose of maintaining the city’s street trees.

I believe that the residents should be asking the question, why in 50 years are the alleys still unpaved and overgrown with weeds? When past municipal budgets were flush with money why were the needed improvements not done? And, when the municipal budget has tanked, why is it the responsibility of the residents to weed and fill potholes?  

I think the answer is simply that such things are not a priority to the mayor and council, or perhaps the style of municipal budget management is to purposely keep service levels at near starvation for the existing community, while greater revenue is funneled to new private development enterprises.  I do not believe that it is the responsibility of the residents of this community to do the job of our government; rather, the residents should declare the desired level of service and our government should respond accordingly and not whine while doing so.
Benjamin Cantu
May 18, 2010

Editor’s note: The alleys - except for one that had crushed granite placed on it - were all paved in Powers Tract nearly two years ago.