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Welcome to California, the land of paperwork
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If you’ve spent any time on Facebook in the last year, you’ve undoubtedly come across the “news” article that talks about how there is a mass exodus of people from California to other parts of the country.
And if this “news” story is to be believed, the reason that this exodus exists is because the taxes and the regulations that the good folks of the People’s Democratic Republic place on businesses and “we the people” are stifling to the point of creating breadlines.
Considering that California is growing every year – and will continue to do so – pretty much nixes this idea of there being any sort of an exodus, or at least one that would make a difference when it comes to affecting what the “news” story is trying to convey as the issue facing so many people.
But there is a modicum of truth to the sentiment.
This week, when I had a few minutes – which are coming fewer and father between for me these days – I sat down and combed through the Manteca Unified School District board packet for the second time to see if there was anything that I missed. At 600 pages, it’s easy to gloss over something, and I wanted to take a closer look at some of the issues that the district is facing – especially now that the framework has been set for MUSD to challenge the City of Manteca on nearly development project that comes before the city council for the foreseeable future.
And when looking for details about the Nile Garden water project – which is long overdue, and definitely needed – I was shocked at how in-depth and intricate the steps are for the district simply to get a waterline extended to their school, even when they’re’ the ones that are footing the bill.
If the environmental regulations weren’t enough to discourage anybody, additional steps like archeological workups and Native American assessments would likely be – more hurdles and more hoops that take time, energy and money simply to check off a box on an application.
As somebody that has covered government for some time now, I understand the intricacies of what needs to be done to ensure that liability is minimized, but I also must admit that when people complain about excessive regulation, their concerns are not completely unfounded.
At the end of the day, Nile Garden is finally getting it owns permanent water supply which is great for the students there that for years had to rely on bottled water after the existing well on the site was discovered to be out of compliance with, you guessed it, regulations (of course abundant arsenic is a bad thing).
When I saw what the district had to jump through to make that a reality, however – not even considering what the City of Manteca had to do to sink a new well that will serve the growth in that area – I was completely blown away.
Welcome to California.

Messer makes a
much-needed move
One of the things that I discovered when combing back through that packet was a letter that Manteca Unified Superintendent wrote to the Stockton Kids Club informing them that their Memorandum of Understanding was being nullified because it wasn’t in the best interest of students.
This seems simple enough. Periodically, agreements that are in place simply don’t work out for either party for any one of a number of reasons, and options are exercised to walk away.
But what’s different about this divorce is not the reason the district gave as why they opted to pull out – and essentially cut off access to the after-school programs that the Stockton Kids Club was providing in Weston Ranch – but the reasons that weren’t spoken.
It’s no secret that the Stockton Kids Club has been thrust into controversy since its former executive director – former Stockton mayor Anthony Silva – was arrested for embezzling what could end up being millions of dollars from the organization’s coffers.
The amount has been hard to nail down, and has varied from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars depending on who you talk to – a fact that the conspiracy theorists in San Joaquin County are clinging to in order to substantiate their claim that is a witch hunt by the District Attorney’s office or an attempt to silence Silva, as if he were savior to the City of Stockton.
It’s not out of the realm of possibility, however, that some of that money could have come from Manteca Unified – either directly, or indirectly but supplementing other funds that were allegedly steered away for personal use.
And even if that wasn’t the case, keeping a business relationship with an organization that apparently didn’t keep tabs on where their money was spent was something that Manteca Unified simply couldn’t afford to do anymore, especially given the hyper-political climate that we find ourselves in today.
It’s unfortunate that students that benefitted from the afterschool program, which we can all agree is needed, will no longer have a place to go. It’s equally unfortunate that the community of Weston Ranch will likely no longer be able to utilize the swimming pool that was administrated by the Stockton Kids Club during the hot summer months.
But if what has alleged is true, then those people who are upset have only person to blame for that – and it isn’t Jason Messer.

Beast Mode for
the final insult
There’s no mistaking how good the Oakland Raiders were last season.
And now that they have one of the most powerful running backs in recent NFL history on their roster, they could very well end up being world-beaters in the near future.
Just in time for the team that their rabid fan base supports to pull up stakes and head to Las Vegas for shiny new digs, a smaller market and a fickle home crowd that nobody is sure can support a major sports franchise.
I’ve heard people say that ending their run in Oakland – their second iteration in the community – would be perfect if they left their fans with a Lombardi trophy before abandoning them.
But I like to think of it as a nail through the heart of those who have faithfully followed them and made the Davis family rich even when the product they put out on the field has been subpar – which is most of the time they’ve been back in Oakland, after leaving the first time.
Enjoy Las Vegas guys. There’s no better city for a sports franchise that fleeces people than Sin City.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.