Editor, Manteca Bulletin, Jason Campbell’s column titled “Lathrop Road is about to ruffle a few feathers” on page A3 of the June 23, 2017 issue of the Manteca Bulletin not only appears to have been based on a lot of hearsay and personal opinion of the author but also was very insulting to a large group of folks who have chosen to make Manteca their last home.
We have always found the Manteca community to be a very friendly place to live, most Mantecans seem to go out of their way to provide outstanding service and show patriotism far beyond that found elsewhere. And then Mr. Campbell comes along and writes this derogatory article. I’m not sure what ticks me off the most, the fact that he is so biased, uninformed and willing to use the newspaper as his bully pulpit, or that this position he has taken appears to be not only his but also that of the Manteca Bulletin since there was no disclaimer on his article that it was solely his opinion and not that of the newspaper.
How dare he blame us living here in Del Webb by inference and innuendo as the cause for the rise in housing prices and that it is some kind of sin to work for 30 to 40 years making mortgage payments all that time and then to sell our homes for a profit. However, not having done his homework, he doesn’t seem to know that the majority of folks moving here into the Del Webb are simply moving from another valley town, often even Manteca, Modesto, Ripon or Stockton, and very, very few of us can afford “international trips”.
Who helped this town and many of its businesses through the rough times and helped to keep many from going bankrupt during the great recession? It was us living here in Del Webb Woodbridge who continued to buy homes and spend money on the local economy. We here in Del Webb pay more in property taxes and spend more on the local economy than any other group of citizens in Manteca. Even today, well after the recession is over, we purchase our homes at $40 to $60 per square foot higher than any comparable homes in Manteca which means we end up paying, as a group, substantially more property taxes than anywhere else in the city. We eat out several times a week, we buy cars here, we get our car repairs done instead of doing them ourselves, we contract with locals to get home improvements/landscaping done, we guy our gas here, we buy our groceries here, we simply spend a lot of money on the local economy.
We here in Del Webb do a lot for the local community to pay back for the friendliness we have received. We volunteer at the food bank, we volunteer at the hospitals, we volunteer tutoring at the schools, we put flags up downtown on holidays, and we raise a lot of funds for charitable causes locally. Where else is there a Women’s club that has raised tens of thousands of dollars and donated it for school supplies and tens of thousands of more dollars and donated it to students in the form of scholarships. Where else is there a car club that has raised over $57,000 for Second Harvest Food Bank and not sought recognition for it? Where else do you have a group making hundreds of cancer pillows for the local cancer patients and making hundreds of dog and cat sleeping blankets for the local animal control? Where else do you have a crew made up almost entirely of senior helpers from Del Webb putting up four war memorial murals downtown? We have more than paid our dues to Manteca to be able to express our thoughts on how the community should grow.
Mr. Campbell, please show me where in all the discussion and planning process by Caltrans and the City of Manteca for the Lathrop Road/Highway 99 Interchange, that it was ever once mentioned that the revised interchange was to be built so that large through freight trucks could take a short cut bypassing Highway 120. The City of Manteca has never made any such intentions known and in fact, a few months ago at a City Council meeting, the Mayor specifically asked City staff if there has been or is there currently any projects the City is involved with that would involve making Lathrop Road an STAA truck route. The response from the top levels of City staff was absolutely no. Dennis Wyatt was at that meeting, I’m quite sure he can corroborate the question was asked and answered. The interchange at Lathrop Road and Highway 99 was always all about the barely usable two lane overpass not coming anywhere near to meeting the needs of the daily automobile traffic going to and from work. There is nothing about that new interchange that engenders a necessity for large truck traffic and it was never argued as such. The new interchange at Pelandale in Modesto is far larger and amenable to truck traffic but yet large trucks are not allowed on it. As far as CenterPoint goes, it was sold to us as a means to reduce, not increase, truck trips from the UPS location by using CenterPoint facilities, rather than facilities in Stockton, to break down contents of cargo containers and reship them elsewhere.
And lastly Mr. Campbell, please explain to us how wanting a traffic signal at Madison Grove means we are keeping high paying jobs from coming to Manteca. The one or two high paying jobs per each warehouse along the Airport Way corridor are not going to be impacted nor is the decision by large companies to relocate here. Not only is there a STAA designated truck route already provided for each warehouse location throughout Manteca and Lathrop, but these companies all use contract trucks and drivers and those are the ones who are illegally using our surface streets for their own benefit on our tax dime. The companies that use them could care less about which truck routes they use.
Mr. Campbell, how dare you say this is something we have to accept just because YOU think it is best for the community?
Editor’s note: All columns and letters reflect the views of the writer and not the Manteca Bulletin.