McDonald’s is their kind of place
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.