Last week the Lathrop City Council voted unanimously to move forward with a proposal that widens Lathrop Road to four lanes from the Westerly grade separation all the way to I-5.
Instead of waiting for a full council to debate the hot-button issue of acquiring real property for public use – taking a piece of Adriana Lopez’ front yard without her permission – and end up wading through that contentious battle, the council opted to build around her until something could be worked out.
But the phone calls to my desk are already starting to flow in from Manteca people who are worried that this crisis is soon coming to their backyard.
And, in a sense, it is.
The City of Manteca made its intentions known when they built the new Lathrop Road interchange and allowed business entities like CenterPoint – which draw from throughout the region – to be constructed with the city limits.
Once the residents of Del Webb learn about how much this is going to increase traffic at certain times of the day, they’re going to be before the Manteca City Council asking the same questions that were asked in Lathrop – a matter complicated by the fact that those residents have become a political force of their own since moving in.
If the City of Manteca doesn’t get out ahead of this one by figuring out what do with the intersection of Madison Grove Drive and Lathrop Road – where one resident told me he says a prayer daily for motorists who pull out into speeding traffic laced with tractor-trailers – the full wrath of Del Webb residents, which was averted earlier this year when the city pulled the apartment proposal from the Planning Commission, will be the focus on everything that the City of Manteca does from here on out.
The Northern San Joaquin Valley is growing in leaps and bounds, and at this point, there are only so many arterial roadways that can serve as viable alternatives between major highways and interstates to accommodate the traffic that massive development is bringing with it.
Will this be another showdown when Manteca residents who live along Lathrop Road have finally had enough?
This whole thing is shaping up to be the long-term planning equivalent of “Winter is Coming” and I can almost guarantee that those that feel like they’re being wronged – and there will be those people – will stop at nothing to achieve what they feel is the only appropriate end.
If you forgot your popcorn, I’ve got plenty.
The new NIMBY
On two separate occasions this week I had conversations with people that centered the above-mentioned topic – Lathrop Road and what’s going to happen with it.
And In both of those conversations, words were said that sent chills down my spine.
“I moved here from the Bay Area to get away from congestion and now….”
I hardly know where to begin.
I guess, congratulations for moving away from the Bay Area and pocketing enough money to buy a house in cash and spend the rest of your days taking international trips paid for by the employees of tech firms that are ruining the areas in which they are located.
Also, congratulations for helping to drive the prices of homes in an area where people tend to spend their entire lives – all but ensuring that the children and grandchildren of those longtime residents are forced to look elsewhere or rent indefinitely since home ownership is downright impossible for them.
I could go on-and-on about this one, but I just want to take the time to point out that’s its disingenuous for one group who is responsible for the plight of others to complain about how a public works project that could bring the high-paying jobs that make home ownership a real possibility for those who were priced out. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, and you certainly can’t expect the long-term plans of a city to be derailed simply because it means that it takes longer to get out of your neighborhood.
Does that sound too harsh? I hope it doesn’t. There’s no easy way to discuss these matters without insulting somebody, and the nuance that these situations spring from are lost on the others so – there’s really no way to win.
I guess I’ll just stop talking now.
Happy Father’s Day
My son’s school had a Father’s Day BBQ today where I was provided a lunch of hot dogs and beans and chips.
They gave each of us a “World’s Greatest Dad” certificate and a framed photo of us, and I can’t be thankful enough for the staff who put the entire event together. It was beyond wonderful.
But the most wonderful thing was watching as he noticed me entering the room, and smiling back as he crawled over, propped himself up on his knees (he’s doing this now) and held his arms up because he wanted to walk around with dad.
I’m truthfully choking back tears write now as I type this.
There’s just something magical about having your son in your arms as you do just about anything – from walking back and forth through the living room to making laps around the house – and you very quickly forget all of the less-than-pleasant things that have been dragging you down for the past few weeks.
In that moment, his innocence – that smiling face loudly announcing that “Da Da” is here – melts me every single time.
They say that you learn what is truly important when you have a child, and I now can say that I believe that is 100 percent true. It’s the textbook definition of unconditional love, and while he may have been celebrating me this past weekend, I’m celebrating him for the changes that he has brought out in me and the radical shift in outlook the first time he wrapped his finger around mine.
There’s nothing better.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email email@example.com or call 209.249.3544.