Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I hope that the mayor and city council will reconsider their decision to waive the collection of bonus bucks development fees, or even to lower those fees to a flat rate. Their action effectively shifts the burden from the developers to the rest of us who would otherwise benefit from that income to the city. $6.9 million might not be enough to build a new library, but it could certainly pay for a few more police officers and firemen, fill some pot holes, and lay a lot of purple pipe among other things.
I don’t understand why the mayor and council members suddenly feel that the developers must be given this financial incentive to draw them to build in Manteca of all places, which it seems has always been a prime location for them. I admit to having a dim view of developers anyway. In my opinion, they’ll build anywhere to make a buck. Mountain House is a perfect example. The wind whipping over the Altamont fills their swimming pools with dirt, and small children almost need to be tied down to play outside in the afternoon. Now the developers are licking their chops to build in the floodplain of southern Manteca, an area that was under water for weeks when the levees failed, and levees always fail, not so many years ago. Just ask the residents of Weston Ranch whom, it seems, have to evacuate every time the river rises to critical levels. In fact, Sacramento and the Delta have a higher risk of flooding than any other levee system in the country, but that doesn’t worry the developers. They don’t live here.
If giving carte blanche to the developers, and growth and continuous building are the only way to raise money for local governments, then Manteca is doomed to suffer the same fate as Stockton and so many other cities. Just drive north on Interstate 5 or Highway 99, and look out your windows at the miles and miles of ugly, decaying, sprawling neighborhoods and subdivisions of that ungovernable, crime ridden, bankrupt city, rated recently as the worst place to live in the United States. All over the country, people have figured out that constantly building and building and moving outward creates more problems than it solves, and have realized that rebuilding city centers and concentrating on infill rather than expansion is the key to the future.
I agree with your recent call for a new growth cap, and will vote for any candidate with a view for Manteca’s future that isn’t based on thinking from the 1950s.