Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I thought Friday’s column regarding the gang shooting and the homeless people in downtown was interesting, but missed identifying two important factors.
First, I was saddened to hear of the shooting incident involving Jeff Zellner and his family and in particular his daughter. I can’t imagine the level of distress the incident had on the family. It is truly fortunate that no one was injured.
With respect to the gang related shooting, it is important to note that during the recent economic recession city hall laid off 12 police officers, including Manteca’s gang unit. Consequently the police department’s gang unit (while doing a great job) is still rebuilding its efforts. I personally believe the gang unit and undercover efforts need more personnel, and funding that is not prone to the effects of a cyclical economic market. The gang elements in this community do not go on vacation during an economic recession, why then should public safety efforts be suspended.
As I have for years, I must point out that the lay off and the rebuilding taking place in the police department is not a rare occurrence. The truth is that Manteca city hall has gone through the very process of layoffs and re-staffing in the departments during each of the previous economic down turns that have occurred every 8 to 10 years.
As for the homeless situation, until city hall can devise an effective method of managing the homeless the situation at Studio 150 will continue to occur throughout this community at vacant lots, behind stores, in abandoned buildings, and yes, the nooks and crannies located in downtown. Here again we have an unfortunate situation but a very common problem that needs a viable solution, or at least better management. I do not believe using Manteca police to patrol for homeless and forcing them from one location to another is a wise use of public safety resources.