Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I had not visited the library for some time. My visit this last Saturday had me profoundly disturbed. There was not a single family or child in the park instead I observed a large gathering of dirty, unkempt persons with carts and mounds of stuff gathered at the rear of the park.
Within the Manteca Library as I was talking with the lady at the information desk an unkempt, loud woman rushed in and demanded a place to deposit her broken sewing machine and where was a book on using her sewing machine. The lady on staff tried to help her. I could not believe the behavior I was witnessing. When the loud dirty woman stomped off I asked the lady at the desk if this was common, and she said “yes”.
The library had a number of unkempt dirty people sprawled about, not one of them with a book or for that matter any type of reading material to be seen. The loud woman was yelling at the back of the library. Frankly I became uncomfortable with the atmosphere and left. Is Manteca a family city, a safe place to live?
I read in the paper that the VFW is being vandalized. I go to a meeting on wells in our city parks and hear about low landscaping and fences are needed to protect the wells. I see homeless people begging on most streets and squatting in every park. Stolen shopping carts discarded on residential streets. My park no longer rings with the sounds of children playing. Parents no longer let the kids go to the parks alone.
So......is nothing being done? I expect some will say that these people are harmless they have the right to be in the park, the library. They are wrong!
Frankly I have seen this in the third world countries I lived in as a teenager. I never expected to see it here!
They are driving the rest of us out of the parks and the libraries. Parks are to be played in, not lived in. Libraries are for reading and research not as a flop house or space for the homeless to lounge in. I disagree with the concept that these people have the right to turn a park into living space, or a library into a lounge.
So what is the city council going to do? What laws are going to be applied? A safe , family city ,really?
Manteca is not being unfriendly to the homeless, when it will not let them take over the parks, libraries, streets and make it inhospitable for the rest of us. I understand that some homeless will not use the shelters set up for them, that does not mean they should be allowed to use public property for a purpose of their choosing. A park is not a shelter nor is a library a living room nor is it a street a dump or a place to beg for money.
Can the police not do something? Are they so understaffed that this type of thing cannot be addressed? Are there no city ordinances that address this problem? Steve we have known each other for a very long time I do not write this letter lightly. I am truly distressed, and disturbed.
Please do something!