Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
On budgets and rights: We found your reporting of Tuesday’s City Council meeting to miss some important points. Rather than reporting on the controversial bulk of the meeting where citizens of Manteca, including ourselves, spent hours challenging the Council on whether they were respecting our Constitutional rights, you focused on what everyone thought was a relatively trivial vote that passed 5-0 with just a few minutes of discussion on delaying the budget approval for one meeting.
Last year, the Council didn’t pass a budget until more than half way through the fiscal year and has a continuing resolution in place now to keep operating. Thankfully, the Council was actually OK with a citizen asking them for a delay of one meeting to review what has changed since the workshop where Bruce had participated. At $27 million, perhaps a few citizens should take a look. And from your follow-on article today about potential layoffs, it appears that at what was billed as a “Public Hearing” on the budget, none of the Council or staff were apparently prepared to discuss what was in it or aware of the implications of delay. We certainly were not.
On fighting for our rights: Why isn’t it news that many of us do not believe that the Council has met the burden the California Constitution set on them to impose Landscape Maintenance Districts (LMDs) on us, specifically with respect to the requirement that they separate out special vs. general benefit? Does Union Ranch East really get 80% of the benefit of maintaining the Tidewater Bike Path segment in our development? That nonsense is just so they can pass the costs on to us. A look at the LMDs around Manteca shows that many are based on a developer being able to vote in an assessment district for their project irrespective of the special benefit actually received by the future residents.
Yes, we think the Council has violated both the spirit and the letter of the law of Proposition 218 and Article XIIID that it added to the California Constitution. How about some reporting based on what really concerned the citizens that turned out and spoke up at a Council meeting? How about some investigative reporting on LMDs as an issue that should concern the rest of the city, both those in LMDs and those who just care that the government respect our rights and follow the law too?
July 19, 2012