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Create public safety manager & preserve water tower as icon
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

I see from recent news articles that the city council is attempting to repackage the “Government Outreach” program with the “Click It Away” process.  Unfortunately, with the city layoffs, who is left to respond to the calls, or to the “clicks?”  I have to wonder, does the Council really think that a new coat of paint on the same old level of service is a solution or, worse yet, an improvement? I would like to see the city council make a progressive, innovative change that does not simply perpetuate the same old process of budgeting, management, and service, or follow another agency’s attempt to do the same.  Here are a few things that would really make a fiscal and visible difference to the community.

As a cost savings, merge management of the fire and police departments under a single Public Safety Manager.  With both current chiefs (Waters and Bricker) retiring soon, now is the time to reduce the number of managers at city hall, similar to reducing the number of line staff.  Without question, both men have performed impeccably, served their community flawlessly, and will leave an irreplaceable legacy.  Consider merging management of Human Resources and Finance, and Public Works and Community Development as well as cost-saving measures.  

Suspend construction of the transit station until there is a “real” need in the community for such a major fiscal commitment.  I do not believe that a transit system with buses that are ninety-five percent vacant, ninety-eight percent of the time, or trains that may or may not come, is fiscally sustainable.  I have been told by city hall that the city’s transit system is not costing “us” anything because federal funding pays all costs.  Really, I thought we (the residents) are the city, state, and federal funding.  

In addition, do not demolish the city’s elevated water tank; instead, transform it into a highly visible community icon that visually declares Manteca as the Pumpkin Capital.  The cost of demolishing the structure far exceeds the cost of painting the water tank itself to depict a large pumpkin; a net savings is realized.

Benjamin Cantu
Sept. 18, 2011