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Get rid of vacant buildings
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
The city tells us panhandling is out of control in Manteca. The city tells us that the homeless occupy empty buildings in Manteca.
In the past I have proposed that the city condemn old buildings and remove them. The city refuses to do this, and that is why panhandlers congregate in Manteca. The city tells us that we have a panhandling problem but is unwilling to fix the problem. As soon as this council decides to remove these old buildings, it probably will reduce the panhandlers in this city.
I crossed over the two rivers going south on Highway 99 Monday and saw a lot of tents erected near the river. This suggests that the homeless are increasing in numbers. The fact is, this city and others will not be able to remove all panhandlers but, I believe the city can make it hard to set up temporary residence in Manteca.
Like it or not, I believe the city has to take a serious look at making panhandling illegal in the city. People complain about panhandling and still hand out money to them. This doesn’t discourage this practice in Manteca or any other city. I to have been supportive from time to time, but I am selective to certain needs, especially where kids are involved. I can’t pass up a family’s needs if children are in need of food.
I can find fault with the council only in failing to act on ridding the city of potential habitat for panhandlers. I feel the council has a never ending problem in derelicts, panhandlers and the homeless. Believe me when I tell you, this is one of the most difficult tasks the council can address. The best the council can hope for is reducing the numbers in Manteca. Again people expect the council to rid the city of these people, but they don’t offer solutions. I personally don’t make impossible demands from the council. This is a subject that I feel the council and the Police Department has relentlessly worked to improve in Manteca.

Fleener Richards