Manteca, California wants to leave no doubt — the homeless are not welcome.
Two ordinances adopted by the city and set to take effect on December 4th — just in time for Christmas — aim at making life so difficult that the homeless will leave. Between the two, it will make it virtually impossible for them to sleep anywhere in the city.
Manteca can tear down any type of shelter, anywhere in the city.
The first one outlaws any type of shelter that might see these people through the night, whether on public property or private. According to the Manteca Bulletin:
The ordinance defines transient shelter paraphernalia as tarps, canvas, cardboard, corrugated tin or other materials, cots, beds, mattresses, hammocks, non-city designated cooking facilities, and sanitary facilities for storage or disposal of human waste such as portable potty units.
The second ordinance makes it illegal to urinate or defecate on public or private property. That might seem reasonable if it were not accompanied by the city closing the only public restrooms where the homeless could relieve themselves in private.
Police Chief Nick Obligacion leaves no doubt where he stands. He told News 10:
The goal is actually to correct the wrong. So, if the correction is them leaving Manteca, then that’s their choice.
Choice? Really? What choice are these people left with?
Although the city council vote was unanimous, not all of the residents of the town are on board with the move. Leonard Smith, who is on the Planning Commission, and retired Sharon Herrera, who used to work with this population, argued to delay the laws until a solution for the homeless is found.
Their pleas fell on deaf ears. Police Chief Obligacion is not only a strong supporter of the ordinances, he is also opposed to homeless shelters in Manteca.
“Where are they going to go?”
Business owner Frank Azziz is among those who think that the homeless should be helped, not ostracized. He also expressed his opinion to local News 10:
They need a place to sleep too. So you got to worry about them too. Where are they going to go? What are they going to do?
Good questions, and compassionate ones. Manteca’s “correction” to the problem is simply an act of irresponsibility. They have washed their hands of the homeless and shifted that responsibility onto others — primarily financially strapped Stockton, which is nearby.
At least Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva has been seeking real solutions for the city’s estimated 5,000 homeless. He started by spending the night in a cardboard box in one of their encampments so he could understand the challenges. Then, he partnered with other organizations to enact some relief for this segment of the city’s population.
Big kudos to Stockton — and a Merry Christmas!
Manteca, you get a big, black, ugly lump of coal to match the dark, shriveled souls of your “public servants.”