Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Our neighborhood alleys are dirty and dangerous and represent a health hazard to its residents that have breathing issues such as asthma and bronchitis. They cause increased expense to the residents in keeping their homes and cars clean due to dust. Decaying neighborhood alleys are magnets for undesirable people who have a tendency to promote crime. They decrease property values and keep away families that would like to purchase a home in a moderate price range.
A.) Recent “straw man” arguments against improving the alleys
1.) Need to improve downtown business alleys first.
Rebuttal: We need to improve both the downtown and neighborhood alleys since they are in such terrible and dangerous shape before we spend money as was recently done re-surfacing perfectly good streets in the Sierra High School area and Woodward Park. Priorities need to be established that are fair to all citizens.
2.) Neighborhood alleys are “non-functional”.
Rebuttal: The majority of neighborhood alleys, but not all, are not being used by the City Services because the City of Manteca chose not to use them, not because the citizens wanted garbage pic up discontinued. The City of Manteca cannot have it both ways, unilaterally discontinue using the neighborhood alleys for City Services and then say we are not going to maintain the neighborhood alleys because they are not being used for City Services. Why do some neighborhood alleys have garbage pickup and some do not?
3.) Deed back the alleys to the property owners:
Rebuttal: It was noted by Councilman Vince Hernandez that “squatters” who without City approval started using the alleys were approached by the City that since they were using the property they should pay increased property taxes the Citizens did not want to accept that proposition of paying higher property taxes.
4) Deed back the alleys and there is nothing wrong with having a telephone pole in your back yard.
Rebuttal: Ask each member of the council and public works department if they would accept a telephone pole in their back yard? Truthful answer would be no.
B.) Budget problems:
People with alleys have paid property taxes for over 30 years without any type of maintenance done on the alleys. A modest maintenance program during this time would have not allowed this problem to occur. The City paved some alleys in 2008 with the promise to annually do the other alleys. This was a broken promise.
The city has:
u$8 millon in the financial reserve
u$3.2 million for emergencies
$4 million in for economic revitalization fund
Total: $12.2 million
The City is proposing to give Great Wolf $32 million (from part of the room tax guests will pay.) It has placed water and sewer lines in the Woodward area south of the bypass for “future growth”. This may never occur by the looks of the almond trees and crops being planted on the land in the area. Why not take care of citizens that have been paying taxes for over 30 years without any basic maintenance?
C.) Why is the City of Manteca not maintaining the neighborhood alleys that they own?
The City of Manteca spends money each year sending out notices threatening citizens that if they do not clean and weed the City owned alleys the City will put a lien on the citizens’ property. We believe that this is wrong and we will not stand for it any longer.
The City of Manteca sends out highly paid firemen with large fire trucks to inspect the alleys and cite private citizens to clean and weed City of Manteca alleys. Why not spend this money just using City of Manteca crews to keep the alleys clean instead of threatening citizens?
D.) Citizens for Paving Manteca Neighborhood Alleys propose:
1.) City of Manteca develop a plan and budget to pave the neighbor alleys
2).) The city immediately pave all of the neighborhood alleys to alleviate the problem or develop a yearly plan to pave the neighborhood alleys.
3.) If the neighborhood alleys are not paved, then it is our opinion that the City of Manteca should immediately develop and plan and budget for:
a.) cleaning the alleys
b.) maintaining the alleys so they stay free of weeds
c.) keep the dust down from the dirt alleys that are a health hazard to the people with breathing difficulties, cause increase expense for house cleaning and that attract homeless people that endanger the citizens in the area.
4.) We will not accept a “cheap” substitute to doing the job the “right way”. We want the same quality of work that has been done in the Woodward Park area of town or for Big League Dreams or the Bass Pro project. Millions of dollars have been spent in these areas of town.