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Manteca missed opportunity when sugar mill closed
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

There have been hours of discussion on the water tower from pros and cons alike, but from both sides it seems the real issue is how the city spends our money. Every time there is a changing of the guard on the City Council or Planning Commission, more and more newcomers are transplants to Manteca, with no real historical ties or the same attachments some of us have.

We lost the old tower at Manteca High because of earthquake safety. We lost the Scout Hut for the same reason. The old train station could have been rebuilt. However, Yosemite School was deemed unsafe by current earthquake standards, and it is back in business. Lindbergh School was to be torn down for the same reason, but it is still standing and still in business.

At one time we had a siren that went off at noon and 9 p.m. What happened to it? We had a fog horn on the rural fire house that went off at 5 p.m. and was used as a fire alert. What happened to it? This city missed a huge opportunity when the old sugar mill was torn down. That was a 100-year-old building, ideal for use as an incubator for small shops, coffee house or other cottage businesses. It would have been cool. Such a romantic monument gone.

On North Main and Maple Street there are the flower boxes that tie up traffic daily. An arch over Main would be awesome. I am not in the city government at all. I just live and work here. I love this little town. We are losing it. I also know that politicians have to make tough choices sometimes and are in the cross hairs every time they make a decision. So the choices they make should not be made just because they can. Someplace on that stove top, we the people need to be a part of that pot of beans.

It looks like a pattern here, when the current powers in charge don’t want something, or some big time developer wants something, whatever is in the way is now not up to current earthquake standards. So, when exactly was a building in Manteca torn down because of earthquake damage from a major earthquake. Try never.

As the powers change, so do the desires of the newly elected officials. Well, there is hope for the tower and to make everyone happy. Here’s the deal. Rent the water tower to the cell phone company instead of tearing it down for nothing. Have the cell phone company paint it, maybe like a pumpkin, watermelon, or a cantaloupe. Anything would be better than that big marshmallow. The money saved and earned long term could go to maybe hiring a few more police and fireman. We need those more than we need a cell phone tower. Beside, once that property is taken over, the city looses it. Forever.

The cost to demolish that tower is more costly in what the city will lose in appeal than what it will make in dollars. Three more questions here: Who exactly wants the tower to come down? Just how much was the city quoted on demolishing it, and why should we have to pay for it, when someone else wants it? and How much was the city told the city would get from a replacement tower built like an oil rig? Anything less than $25,000 per month is not acceptable.

Contracts can be changed, cancelled or renegotiated. Besides, after every election, most politicians never keep their promises anyway. So why not a simple contract? Help us out here by looking at other options. Only time will tell if this issue becomes this sitting council’s Waterloo.

Gary Duran


May 9, 2012