McDon­ald’s is their kind of place

Manteca Bulletin - - Front Page - Ed­i­tor

Re­mem­ber the home­less that plopped down next to the en­trance to the East Yosemite Av­enue McDon­ald’s par­tially block­ing the side­walk while pan­han­dling, cook­ing food, en­joy­ing a few beers and some­times sleep­ing?

It is where the four home­less that sued the city say­ing Man­teca was vi­o­lat­ing their civil rights hung out for months with relative im­mu­nity while the city ham­mered out a set­tle­ment with lawyers to avoid a fed­eral suit for pro­ceed­ing to trial.

The set­tle­ment led to the city hir­ing com­mu­nity re­source of­fi­cers to as­sist the home­less and wip­ing out pre­vi­ous ci­ta­tions

is­sued to the four. Man­teca also paid the four plain­tiffs and their at­tor­neys $47,000 while the city in­curred $30,000 in le­gal costs.

At any rate, the home­less were back at the McDon­ald’s drive­way Mon­day morn­ing. Peo­ple re­ported their num­bers had swelled to four by 8 p.m. and that they were openly drink­ing from beer cans on a pub­lic side­walk that is a citable of­fense for any­one.

But there is a catch. Un­less a po­lice of­fi­cer sees them do­ing so and con­firms it is al­co­hol in the beer cans, there isn’t much they can do. Just be­ing seen hold­ing a beer can and drink­ing from it doesn’t pass le­gal muster un­less it can be con­firmed al­co­hol was in­deed in the can. But there’s noth­ing Man­teca Po­lice can do at all if they aren’t alerted by the pub­lic to such sit­u­a­tions — whether the peo­ple in­volved are home­less or not — un­less po­lice dis­patch gets a call at the non-emer­gency number at (209) 456-8101.

And just for the record, Man­teca Po­lice did re­spond to a call that a home­less man was sleep­ing in front of the Su­per Buf­fet at 9 a.m. Mon­day at Yosemite and Northwoods av­enues. They rousted him and in­formed him he was in vi­o­la­tion of the city law and had him pack up his things and move on.

The depart­ment does re­spond to such calls re­gard­ing qual­ity of life law vi­o­la­tions when they aren’t tied up on higher pri­or­ity calls. But un­less they know about it, they can’t re­spond.

As a re­minder, the law­suit con­tended:

▶The city was tar­get­ing the home­less by lock­ing re­strooms at Li­brary Park and turn­ing off the elec­tric­ity at the gazebo at Li­brary Park so the home­less couldn’t charge their smart­phones.

▶The City Coun­cil demon­strated they were tar­get­ing the home­less be­cause they sent a let­ter to Assem­bly mem­ber Kansen Chu ex­press­ing their con­cern with pro­posed leg­is­la­tion that would pre­vent cities from adopt­ing or­di­nances pro­hibit­ing peo­ple from sleep­ing or rest­ing in a legally parked mo­tor ve­hi­cle and pe­nal­iz­ing peo­ple when they did.

▶There is in­suf­fi­cient shel­ter space for home­less in Man­teca and that the three shel­ters that ex­ist do not ac­cept sin­gle home­less men.

▶The city vi­o­lated the 8th and 14th Amend­ments by mak­ing be­ing home­less a crime. Car wash ranks thinned by one Man­teca has one less car wash.

The in­de­pen­dent gas sta­tion mid­way be­tween Com­merce Av­enue and Spreck­els Av­enue next to the Jack in the Box on East Yosemite Av­enue has con­verted its car wash into an ex­press lube and auto care fa­cil­ity.

That has dropped the number of car washes in Man­teca down to 14. That may not last long as the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion in Jan­uary ap­proved plans to build an ARCO com­plete with a 2,500-square-foot fast food restau­rant as well as a car wash on the south­east corner of Lathrop Road at Crest­wood Av­enue just west of the High­way 99/Lathrop Road in­ter­change.

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