Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
A few years ago when the water feature in Library Park was still working, our daughter, son-in-law and grandsons came to visit. It was a hot day and my wife took them to the park to play in the water. The crowd of regulars in the park that day was loud, apparently drunk, and obnoxious. My wife and daughter brought along some lunch, and as they ate a young boy from the group of adults came over, begging for food because he hadn’t eaten that day. After feeding the kid, my wife and daughter decided to leave vowing never to return because of the drunks and tweekers.
On another occasion, my wife and I were eating lunch at a Chinese restaurant just around the corner from the park. Halfway through our meal, a homeless man came in and went from table to table begging for food and money. He said it was his wife’s birthday and he wanted to surprise her with a good meal. The restaurant owner didn’t try to prevent him from bothering the patrons, but instead ended up giving him food just to get him to leave, and perhaps to ensure that her windows weren’t broken out that night.
You pointed out in an article last week that the homeless have trashed and vandalized the Spreckels Park site so thoroughly that it will be fenced off indefinitely. The electric vehicle charging stations at the new Transit Center have been destroyed by vandals for the copper wiring, as have so many other facilities and buildings in town, occupied or not. The Sycamore Arms apartments downtown burned several months ago, probably due to a fire started by homeless persons, as have other abandoned structures in town during the last decade. Unoccupied commercial buildings along Industrial Park Drive have been stripped of anything the homeless found valuable and are probably so damaged that it will be more cost effective to tear them down than to repair them.
Orchard Supply finally removed all of their sample sheds and outbuildings because the homeless were sleeping, shooting up, and having sex in them, besides using them as toilets. The Home Depot keeps their outbuildings locked now, and the bathrooms at Library Park are unavailable to the general public for the same reasons. Downtown businesses are vandalized if the merchants complain to the police about the behavior of the local homeless. City residents have their property stolen out of their yards, and Caltrans no sooner clears out a homeless encampment than the homeless return and resume trashing the area again. I could go on and on, and I’m sure that you and other residents of our city could contribute even more examples of the type of behavior by the homeless that adversely affects the daily lives of the rest of us.
Aside from theft, vandalism, harassment and extortion of local merchants, it seems to me that the rest of the behaviors by the homeless that I’ve described are perfectly ‘constitutional’ if that is how one chooses to look at it. And sure, all cities have problems with the homeless, but I don’t believe that all cities ‘handle’ the problem in the same way that our city does, constitution or not. In your column about the fencing off of Spreckels Park, you said, and I’ll paraphrase, ‘Score one more for the homeless, and one less for the residents of the city’. I hope that the Bulletin will continue to ‘keep score’ as a way to shed more light on this problem which seems to be getting worse day by day.
We know what city isn’t
doing about homeless
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
The Tuesday, May 3, edition of the bulletin features a front page headline and a detailed article of what the Manteca Police Department is NOT doing about the criminal activities of the all too visible homeless population degrading this city.
Anyone can see the ugly results of this inaction. How about an article dealing with solutions?