People are a funny bunch sometimes.
Out of a healthy split of necessity and boredom, I monitor local chatter on social media quite a bit – using it as a tool to find out what people in the community are talking about, and sometimes find things out before traditional channels would ever be able to provide information.
Twitter is great for this sometimes. Facebook, when used correctly, can be even better.
With that said, I was shocked to see – well, nothing shocks me on social media anymore so we should call it, puzzled – that when the vote for the Great Wolf Lodge exclusive negotiation agreement was coming up, a growing number of people were suddenly saying that they didn’t want it in their community.
Now I know that logic is sometimes lost within the herd mentality, but I couldn’t understand some of the rationale against something that will bring jobs, tax dollars, prestige and other businesses to cater to the clientele that can afford such a place.
“We don’t need the traffic” was one of the common refrains.
“We can only use the park two days a year,” was another.
“It certainly isn’t the Manteca Waterslides like they told us it would be,” was thrown around in there.
Comment after comment, I scratched my head and wondered where the entitlement came from – why people somehow felt like a business didn’t have the right to limit access to their property, and why simply locating within one’s community should afford those that live there some sort of golden ticket.
More than anything, I was blown away at the inconsistency of it all – comments from the same people that complain about there not being enough police in the community, but yet when an opportunity to create some revenue that could potentially pay for those additions, they turn their nose up with the typical NIMBY rhetoric that in some respects holds growing communities back at times.
And the illogical would be comical if it didn’t have the penchant for making its way into the discourse at the level where decisions are made.
The complaints about traffic was especially interesting since the park is basically a draw for the Bay Area, and wouldn’t adversely impact surface streets at all at first – save for the vehicles that may drive into town to eat, or shop, or otherwise help fund an economy that isn’t their own.
Isn’t that exactly what the Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau has been trying to promote for decades?
I hope that the powers that be that have the ability to make these decisions are also wise enough to see through some of these comments and make decisions that they know will benefit the community long-term and help drive the economic growth that cities like Manteca so desperately need to fund essential services.
Because if we left the decision up to the commenters, we’d all still be hitching up our teams to pull us down to the store.
A rock and a hard spot – the city’s homeless conundrum
When Norman Moore appeared before Superior Court Judge Gus C. Barrera II last week, everybody thought he would have taken the plea deal that the city offered in his illegal camping case.
Everybody including the judge.
But since Moore, who is being represented by a county provided attorney, wants to take the matter to court, the city now is in the unfortunate position of having to prosecute a 70-year-old homeless man who was only trying to sleep for the night.
Welcome to the city’s new conundrum.
What makes the case so interesting is the fact that Moore, who was twice warned by the police to move before he was cited – appears so steadfast in being able to prove that the city’s ordinance is wrong that he’s willing to risk his own personal liberty to do so.
The offer, which was for the court-imposed fine, community service and summary probation, won’t be on the table when he steps before a jury of his peers, and the opportunity exists that he could be sentenced to the county jail if he’s found guilty.
So, what is the city to do?
On one hand, there’s definitely an optics problem here that makes it appear like the big bad government is going after a helpless citizen.
On the other, he was caught camping on private property after the owner complained, and he avoided warnings to vacate the premises.
In that sense, the city’s hands, at this point, appear to be tied – with vagrancy becoming such a big problem in town, there’s no way that they can simply let this one go because it sends the wrong message to the people who are actually causing problems.
So, early next year, we’ll have to wait and see what happens in this one, and if the city can somehow work out a deal between now and then that would avoid the unseemly appearance that they’re picking on senior citizens who don’t have a whole lot of other options.
Nobody thought that he was ever going to take the matter this far.
And for that reason alone, it’s worth paying attention to.
Tales from the Courtroom
In other court-related news, I had the pleasure of watching somebody almost get tackled by four deputies who had about had it with his sovereign citizen antics when facing the judge on a host of charges including evading and resisting arrest.
Apparently, judges don’t like it when you talk to them like their authority doesn’t matter.
In all I had to sit through two hours of arraignments just to find out that the person I was there to see wasn’t there, but those 10 minutes of listening to somebody try and dress down the person who could put them behind bars (the DA actually asked that his “custody status” be changed) made it all worth it.
And to Judge Barrera – you showed great judicial restraint sir.
I don’t know that I would have been nearly as kind.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.