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Year later, homeless problem still exists
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Thanks to the news regarding the recent lawsuit being brought against the City of Manteca, the homeless issue is once again the hot button of conversation in town.
While I am compassionate and empathetic towards the plight of all homeless people, I feel that too often those that take a hard line stance on this subject – are often pigeon holed as uncaring humans. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Many just ask for a bit of accountability on the part of the homeless. It would seem incumbent upon those down on their luck, to do whatever they can to curry favor with those in the community not suffering their plight. It is Thanksgiving weekend, and I’m certain many within Manteca will attempt to reach out to the less fortunate. God bless those in doing so. I wrote this column last year almost to the day – and here we still are. I know this column will rub many wrong, but.
In attempting to write a column in regards to the homeless ordinances that have been passed – and its subsequent backlash, I realized that even written with kid’s gloves – made of angels’ wings and butterfly kisses – someone is going to be unhappy with it. So I’m just going to take the gloves off, and say some of the things nobody apparently wants to hear.
Manteca went viral this week. Millions of people from around the world became aware of our recent homeless ordinances. A website for a documentary film company stood high atop their lofty perch, to announce to their legion of followers: “The Travesty of Manteca”. Nothing screams fair and balanced objectivity like a company looking to huckster their future film, by profiteering on the issue of a town they don’t live in – nor care about. Their minions stepped right into line, “That Police Chief is a Nazi!” “They are just doing it for the money!”.. “Draconian!” because nothing screams credible opinion of Manteca, like a 22-year-old texting on his iPhone, while driving his parent’s Audi to junior college in Saugerties, N.Y. (also one that apparently just learned the word ‘draconian’, this current generation of conspiracy theorists love to show off a new word when learned...yet I digress) This demographic is this film company’s meal ticket – with misinformation and hyperbole – being the utensils by which they serve up their propaganda. I don’t want to give them any more time than I already have. I could personally care less what a group of Internet interlopers has to say. The people speaking out on such sites, tend to speak in broad generalities, especially when citing homeless statistics, in hopes of proving their point but the Manteca issue is a very specific one, and the opinions of people without their boots on the ground, are as meaningless – as they are useless
What of Compassion.What of God? I’ve seen many people choosing to invoke the name of God or Jesus when arguing this issue. I had a friend recently use the “What Would Jesus Do?” adage. The truth is, I don’t know what he would do. We should all act with compassion towards the homeless — as most do — and just as I’m certain Jesus would have, (or whoever your compassionate God may be) but too many use this angle as their only arguing point on the “homeless” issue we are dealing with. And when attempting to provide real world solutions and answers, it often stymies people from presenting their real thoughts – for fear of being labeled un-Christian. It is just as easy to use scripture to defend the pro-ordinance side of the issue.
“The Sluggard’s craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work” (Proverbs 21:25).
“and he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and Gold I have none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk” (Acts 3: 5-6 KJV)
“I don’t recall Jesus assembling a crew of carpenters to erect shelters for the homeless, or asking the Caesar for funds to do so, nor ask the Pharises to use their temples...He did feed his sheep with food and gospel – and encouraged his disciples to do the same – something that all Mantecans can still do” Mark Souza II (Lifelong Mantecan)
“Why don’t we just put them in a building not being used? “The care and protection which the government owes to the people do not embrace the grant of public buildings to decorate thriving and prosperous cities and villages, nor should such buildings be erected upon any principle of fair distribution among localities. The government is not an almoner of gifts among the people, but an instrumentality by which the people’s affairs should be conducted on business principles, regulated by the public needs” (President Grover Cleveland).
For those that don’t speak Grover Cleveland, he is in essence saying that the government is not in the business of being responsible for hand outs; housing, food, shelter nor should it be. The government is set up to encourage people to be self reliant and when the masses’ ability to conduct business and prosper is impeded. It is the public’s interests that must be protected — not those impeding it— and in this towns instance, an immediate action in response to the debilitating homeless, crime, drug problem, was very much warranted.
I spoke with a local electrician this week. He had recently been on a call, to give an estimate to damage done by “homeless” people, to a building owned by a friend. The “homeless” had been squatting in a building currently not being used. The damage done to the electrical neared $200,000 – for what probably amounted to a couple hundred dollars in copper wire and parts. This is nothing new but the story continued. Apparently the police were able to corral and detain several of the squatters. The building owner arrived and unbelievably made them an offer, “Come by tomorrow morning, and I’ll give you each $10 an hour to clean up the mess.” The building was littered with feces, drug paraphernalia, and trash from wall to wall. Guess how many took this Good Samaritan up on his offer? Not a one! So much for helping yourself.
Town Thoughts...“As Manteca has made its transition from small town to large city, collecting individuals along the way. It appears nobody had the foresight to take measures, ensuring we’d be able to help and aid the inevitable homeless – yet also preserve and protect the functionality of Manteca as a City...the problem reached overwhelming proportion, and immediate action had to be taken...agree or disagree with the city’s ordinance – they took a stance – and made a decision. For those that have issue with this ordinance, may I make a suggestion: You are all entitled to invite a homeless person to reside in your home, garage, or trailer for the time being. I see nothing the Manteca Police can do to prevent this. The people unhappy with this ordinance, far outnumber the homeless in Manteca. Problem solved, You are welcome.”— Lloyd Barbasol
This will sound crass to some, but isn’t there a certain expectation that the homeless will keep up a level of self respect, reliance, and policing within their own community? Isn’t that the unfortunate trade off? If you are forced through circumstance to live on the streets – then keep those streets clean right?! Do you think defecating in public parks and urinating in doorways, is a good way of ingratiating yourself to the people you are looking to for help?! If you are forced to scavenge through repositories for food or to obtain objects of trade value – wouldn’t leaving the area as it looked when you started, be a beneficial action to assure a continued resource?! The City would not have been forced to enact this ordinance had the homeless in the area not turned our parks and streets into a disgusting mess. I’ve never been homeless, and won’t pretend to understand the vagaries it can lead a person to but I would assume a level of self policing within the homeless community would make sense, right? Take the steps to insure your current circumstance, isn’t worsened by those around you. And it leads us right back to the true problem – the drug addict criminals. I find it hard to believe that the mess of Manteca was caused by decent humans – ones forced into an indecent circumstance. A person down on their luck, and forced to live on the streets. Our streets have been systematically destroyed by meth addicts and the prevailing meth culture they breed. It is heartbreaking, that people who truly need and deserve help; the mentally ill, veterans, women and children affected by homelessness, have been paralleled by a group of indigent meth addicted criminals — that choose to be a scourge on our community. Drastic times, call for drastic measures and it is time to take our town back!
It is time to come to terms with the fact, that we are dealing with a meth problem, parading as a homeless issues. I am in no way saying that all Manteca’s homeless are on meth. I am saying that an overwhelming majority are and save your BS rhetoric that drug addicts are “sick people” that deserve help – cause deserve left these parts long ago. They made a choice and sadly a large portion of them are our former schoolmates and co-workers. People who have lost the ability to discern between morality and depravity – much less right and wrong. People that no longer care about the well being of themselves or others. We can no longer enable and entitle a group of drug addicts to feel comfortable in Manteca.
I’ve spent the better part of my life, listening to people run down this town and community. Our cute little moniker of “Mantweeka,” is as disgusting, as it is pervasive and should be stopped. It cultivates an atmosphere of acceptance. Using this word, or allowing others to use it, simply enables the downtrodden existence it perpetuates. I don’t want my nieces or nephews – or any kid in this town – to reach a point where they believe “Mantweeka” is an acceptable term. There is none – and will never be pride in using that term for your hometown. So cut it out!.You start by changing the culture of the problem. It’s time for the bleeding hearts of the left and hard liners on the right, the old and new, and the young and old of Manteca to come together. Step off your soap boxes – and use a bar of what came inside of it – to clean up this city once and for all. This is your town – have pride in it – or nobody else will.
 The MRPS holiday boutique...Friday Dec. 4 - 6 the annual event will take place. They are looking for vendors to get a space the fee is $125 for a 10-by-10 space. The MRPS hall is located at 133 North Grant Street For more details or to get a registration form call Teresa 209-679-0316.
 “It’s not Where ya do, it’s What ya do”