Nobody wants to be Chicken Little when it comes to predicting a natural disaster.
And for the last two months, people in South Manteca have waited patiently to see whether Mother Nature cooperates and the aging levees that protect hundreds of homes withstand the insane amount of water flowing between them.
One of those people that I talk to quite regularly, Tony Coit, made a comment to me that seemed on the surface like it was a panicked plea and a call to action because doom is closing in and there isn’t anything anybody can do to stop it.
I don’t think that was the case.
Coit, who basically said that things were going to get worse before they got better, was simply giving an honest answer to a situation that nobody – water managers, farmers, homeowners or even environmentalists – expected that we would find ourselves in this year.
If you offered somebody a $1,000 bet at this time last year that ski runs at Squaw Valley would have 20-feet of snow on them come June 1, and people would be celebrating their Fourth of July weekend by bombing down the world class hill, they would take that without so much as a second thought.
It simply wasn’t going to happen.
But here we are, with a record snowpack in the mountains that feed the lakes and the rivers of Northern California, facing a situation where there is so much water flowing out to the San Francisco Bay that the levees that protect development are saturated completely through.
One longtime Manteca resident told me that they’ve never seen seepage – the huge inland ponds of water that creep up from the massive amount of water moving beneath the levee – this extensive in year that it didn’t flood. That’s something to take into account when people who are facing a loss of their homes, or even a loss of their livelihood – seepage in fields means that farmers aren’t able to use them as effectively, if at all – make comments about things getting worse before they get better.
Does that mean a flood is imminent? Not likely. The Army Corps of Engineers did enough emergency repair work to get the levees to hold the last time the water got high, and with water managers having a better handle on the amount of water flowing into the reservoirs – some of those storm surges caught people completely off-guard – they’re better able to prepare and make room.
It’s strange to think about the fact that in California we’re talking about a flood when the temperature has already creeped up to nearly 100 degrees, but then again it’s that heat that brought about the possibility to begin with – all of that snow has to go into reservoirs like Don Pedro that have already been full at least once this year.
It’s unlikely that a flood will happen this year. But the river will rise again, and the thought that it’s not possible is a shortsighted one.
Fingers are crossed.
Comedy in Manteca?
Thursday we ran a story about how Chris Teicheira – whose words you used to read in this very spot – is looking to open a comedy club right here in Manteca.
And to be completely honest, I’m a little bit surprised that somebody didn’t come up with the idea before he did.
While comedy in the Central Valley is nothing new – promoters in Modesto and Stockton have been making money by pushing shows with funny comics for years – there hasn’t been a dedicated location to where true comics could hone their craft anywhere in the entertainment-starved area.
And if Teicheira and his crew of young and up-and-coming comics have proven anything, it’s that there are plenty of homegrown people right here in the 209 that are capable of holding their own with just about anybody when it comes to getting a laugh.
Last weekend one member of the Deaf Puppy crew – the ragtag bunch of comics that have turned Teicheira’s South Manteca home into a joke factory and developed a reputation for their strength throughout Northern California – won the prestigious San Jose Improv Comedy Competition.
Just for reference, Hasan Minhaj of The Daily Show fame came in second place there a few years ago, and last week emceed the White House Correspondents Dinner. It’s elite company, and Saul Trujillo brought the award home to the 209 and a burgeoning crew that lauded his accomplishment proudly on Facebook.
With Anthony Krayenhagen (Anthony K) opening for nationally touring headliners throughout the West now, and other members of the Deaf Puppy crew like Jason Sohm and Taylor Evans establishing themselves inside of established comedy clubs, the strength of the group is something cannot be ignored and creates the perfect welcoming crew for a place right here in Manteca that will attract comedians from San Francisco, Sacramento, and even points further away – possibly even becoming a one-night stopover for nationally touring acts as they move between the two metropolitan areas.
The location he’s looking at – inside of the Promenade Shops at Orchard Valley – also couldn’t be better. You can drive there, eat dinner at a nice restaurant, and then catch a show without ever actually having to get onto the freeway.
It’s an amazing idea, and in the 18 hours since the story hit the press, has already garnered an outpouring of support from people in Manteca that want to see it happen, and are willing to help any way that they can to make the dream come true.
Bravo Mr. Teicheira. You’ve created a buzz about something in a town that you care deeply for. May the fanfare and the support never wane until you’re greeting people at the door on opening night in slip-on dress shoes and a blazer, drink in your hand.
Some people will believe anything
It’s gotten to the point that I’m seriously debating using Facebook only as a communication tool and as a way to post funny pictures and anecdotes and stories about my family because the craziness has gotten out of control.
For some reason there are still people that are trying to convince others – some by going so far as creating a blog and calling it a newspaper – that Ashley Drain didn’t deserve to be prosecuted and that it was all part of a witch hunt to bring her down to silence her.
And this is coming from the same people that believe that former Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva is getting the same treatment – the same way they’ll undoubtedly feel when Sam Fant goes to trial later this year.
Apparently there’s nothing that some people can do to lose the support of their base, which is understandable, but at some point one has to ask whether it’s more probable that they did the things that they’re accused of (or in Drain’s case, convicted of) or the well-oiled conspiracy that would take hundreds of people to operate worked so efficiently that achieved its goal.
It’s disheartening to see that level of willful ignorance, and sometimes you just have to turn around and walk away because you’ll never be able to convince somebody that has already convinced themselves.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.