Monday, October 26, 2009

Manteca Animal Control Has Gone to the Dogs

The Manteca Municipal Code (MMC) must be too hard for the Manteca Police Department to understand, especially the two departments charged with enforcing its provisions. Leaving criminal and other state law to sworn police officers, Animal Control and Code Enforcement are to ensure that local, civil laws (the Municipal Code) are being observed.

Unless one knew differently, one must conclude that MMC 17.07.030 is worded, "Whatever the lawbreaker says, write down as gospel truth." See for yourself, below. On the citation written against Theresa Brassey, please take special note of the Remark: "Two houses on property" and immediately below that the accounting: "3 dogs - 2 dogs."

There are indeed TWO addresses on Assessors Parcel Number 222-11-003, but one of them (812 Fishback Street) is for the unregistered mobile home illegally remaining on the property from the early 1980's. This structure is used by the operators of TLC Catering as a commissary - taking deliveries of perishable dairy products directly from a Crystal Dairy truck and deliveries of perishable bread products directly from an Oroweat truck, and serves as storage for other supplies, as well. All this means that racks and refrigerated appliances occupy most or all of the floor space.
The mobile home is definitely NOT a residential home. No one lives in it. It is an illegal accessory structure used for an illegal, nonresidential use. But, in a most disingeneous argument, Theresa insisted to the Animal Control officer that the structure is a house that deserves a three-dog allocation (whispered after the officer departs: "to guard our business assets!")

previous post describes the visit of Animal Control with Brassey and her reaction to the front lawn "investigation." The resulting action was that three $5.00 dog tags had to be picked up for the three junk yard dogs.
The official Manteca Municipal Code, Section 17.07.030, reads this way:
The Keeping of Animals. In any district on a lot with a principal permitted use, no more than six small animals may be kept, provided none are kept for commercial use. Not more than three of such animals may be dogs or cats over ten weeks of age and not more than two may be pot belly pigs. [emphasis added.]

This whole sorry episode - this farce - illustrates the depths of conniving my neighbors go to and the inconceivable incompetence with which Manteca's code enforcement operates. Everything that goes on next door, aided and abetted by the City of Manteca, grows out of Allen's & Brassey's fundamental lie that this nonresidential use of property (TLC Catering and Commissary) was somehow magically legalized twenty-two years ago. Worse, Manteca's hired civil servants can't figure out their asses from their elbows, recognize the numerous ongoing code violations on the property, and perform the jobs they are paid public funds to do.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Brief Diagnostic (But Wishing It Was An Autopsy)

Hmmm, the ice machine out of commission for nine days? It must have been something serious.

1. Sometime in the spring of 2007, the machine ran 24/7 for some unknown reason. I was assured of a "fix" to alleviate that. (Hah! That was the beginning of my education - never to believe anything they say.)

2. Then in April 2008 the lies about a timer to limit machine operation started up: neighbors to code enforcement; ice machine repairman to code enforcement; neighbors to city council; and, still lying, neighbors to defense attorney. I do not believe the claimed timer exists.

3. I returned from a vacation in June 2008 to a week of silence. The silence was blissful. Unfortunately, the unknown (to me) system failure was repaired on Saturday, June 28th.

4. In July '09, a power supply problem caused a short and popped a circuit breaker. Fortunately, the legally constructed building the machine is located next to didn't burn down. (Unfortunately, the machine and the illegal clap-trap shed housing the machine also didn't burn down.) A power cord was replaced and food in a refrigerator on the blown circuit was thrown out. I'm guessing a new, separate circuit was installed for the ice machine - something not done at the beginning - which is explicitly required in the Scotsman service manual and in the National Electric Code that Manteca follows. The initial installer did not pull a Manteca electrical permit and performed a noncompliant job (real-speak meaning: substandard and shoddy), which imperiled everyone close to the machine.

Additionally, the service manual calls for an indoor installation, so why was it installed outdoors? Likely because of the tightwad, scofflaw owners and the same substandard and/or unlicensed contractor. (Perhaps AAA Emergency Refrigeration, the current servicer?)

I requested the icemaker installation information in discovery for the noise nuisance lawsuit (Demand for Production, set #1, item #27), but opposing counsel was unresponsive, citing what is supposed to be a precedent (that's another story.)

Here is the Plaintiff's Demand...

27. Copy of the records for purchase and installation of Scotsman ice machine.

... and the Defendants' Answer.


Objection is made to this request on the grounds that it seeks information that invades defendants' right of privacy and is not relevant to any issue in this case or calculated to lead to discovery of admissible evidence. [Britt v. Superior Court (1978) 20Cal.3d.844; Article I, Section I, California Constitution.] Further objection is made to this request on the grounds that it is meant to harass defendants; therefore it is burdensome, oppressive and not relevant to any issue in this case.

The esteemed Mr. McFadden merely copied and pasted this answer to virtually every document demanded. I wonder how much he charged Farmer's Homeowner's policyholders for that brilliant legal defense? (Did you ever see the movie, Rainmaker, where the defendant insurance company denied every policyholder's first claim submission as a matter of corporate procedural policy?) He did, however, provide the Certified Reconstruction of the Homeowner's Insurance Policy (Demand for Production, set #1, item #10), which excludes coverage of business uses and certain other things. (So it does cover any illegal business uses?) I still haven't figured out what Farmer's Group Insurance planet this lawyer is from.

If there is anything in this universe that is relevant to the trial of a noise nuisance - with a key element being an improperly sited, indoor-rated Scotsman commercial icemaker operating outdoors, with the unpermitted and uninspected electrical, plumbing, and carpentry installation work performed by incompetent workers - {...inhale...} most certainly the items with the highest-order relevance would be the records of purchase and installation of the offending machine. (Duh.)

5. What caused the latest, nine-day outage?

Who knows? Who cares? Certainly not me. As far as I'm concerned, the more outages the better. The machine is probably older than Lynda. A permanent outage would be best...

{waving raised hand wildly} Please, sir,... please,... let me do the autopsy! Pass me the cutting torch!

The Un-Dead Rise Once More

Peace succumbed once more. She was only nine days old.

born: Monday, October 12, 2009 (Columbus Day)
died violently: Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On Wednesday afternoon, the peace murderer, Bill Crystal of AAA Emergency Refrigeration (209) 988-2773, retrieved the dead Scotsman from Hell and breathed a new half-life into its brainless shell. The resuscitated god-machine found its mechanical voice, roaring to the world all evening and all night long, while the three harpies played loud music and performed their dancing incantations around it. The Devil's scene from the Burns' poem, Tam O'Shanter, below, comes to mind.

Peace vanished, exterminated by the Bacchanalian orgy.

At 12:30 a.m., one devout worshipper, with her charms and prancing presence, stimulated the metal monster to engorged capacity - to the brink of overflowing. A brief expectant pause ensued, with its storage organ fully distended, until...

Beginning at 3:00 a.m., another consort worshipfully bowed and scraped before the reverberating Giver of Ice, manipulating it twelve times within as many minutes to crashing, disgorging climaxes, and trundled away with twelve buckets of its petrified bodily fluids to be insinuated into the Mother of All Kitchens. A few more buckets of potent strippings were teased from the occult relic before the witching hour was up.

At 4:20, the third harpie, the high priestess, revved up her monstrous MFPU (a more appropriate acronym can never be invented); with fire in its belly and ice in its veins, she wheeled the unwieldy contraption, smelling of diesel and rancid grease, onto the street to "pee" for a couple minutes; then drove away in order to spread the drippings of the Scotsman's liquefying seed throughout the neighboring municipality.

- - - - -
C.S. Lewis wrote in his foreword to Screwtape Proposes a Toast, "... I never wrote with less enjoyment... [T]hough it was easy to twist one's mind into the diabolical attitude, it was not fun, or not for long. The strain produced a sort of spiritual cramp. The world into which I had to project myself while I spoke through Screwtape [ed., or about TLC Catering] was all dust, grit, thirst and itch. Every trace of beauty, freshness and geniality had to be excluded. It almost smothered me before I was done."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Columbus Day 2009 Celebration

Yup! That's my new holiday of choice. Monday, October 12th marks the day when delicious, delectible silence was (re)discovered on my property.

The noisy natives next door - actually they are Bay Area fugitives - ceased operating their
commercial Scotsman icemaker on that day. Whether they did so voluntarily or involuntarily is still unknown. (Truthfully, I could not care less about the circumstances unless, like Dr. Seuss' Grinch, their hearts grew three sizes overnight.)

(Sorry for the poor likeness, Rufus.)

Regardless of the reason, the last seven nights have been completely free of the ON/OFF cycles of compressors and fan motors next to my bedroom. It took a couple of 3:00 a.m. Ice Bucket Brigades to exhaust the ice supply in the machine's storage bin, but that too has finally ceased.

Their "Plan B" for ice acquisition is going to have to suffice until this nuisance lawsuit comes to trial and the other aspects of their illegal land use has to cease.

The laws, ordinances, and paper trail they should have followed for the last two plus decades is unassailable. After twenty-two years of cavalier disregard for law and common courtesy, the end game plays have begun. The paper trail they left behind is sketchy, faded, and shredded; the stories they spun out of thin air are evaporating; their bullying and intimidating tactics are soon to be arrested.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Politics and Paperwork

Setting up a candidacy for local elections (or simply a political committee) is virtually the same process as setting up a small business. One must sign up a committee, set up a separate bank account and register with California's Secretary of State, who issues a Candidate Number to the registrant. Then a whole accounting system and reporting schedule - with forms, deadlines, amendments and penalties - must be adhered to with the Fair Political Practices Commission in Sacramento.

However, this administration and control barrier to entry is made somewhat easier to overcome with the assistance of an Elections Officer in each jurisdiction. That officer is the City Clerk in the City of Manteca. For two years I have heard nothing but good spoken of her abilities, and my own limited observations bear that out.

The process appears burdensome and likely serves to scare off multitudes of qualified individuals, who would otherwise decide to run for local elected offices. Yet, it is another necessary evil because money - sometimes BIG money - mostly other people's money - is almost always involved. Human history proves that where unaudited rivers of cash flow, people with character flaws are attracted and become tainted with the "filthiness of the lucre" (ref. 1 Samuel 8:1-3, et seq.).

Also, sometimes the system is "gamed" by those who abuse the FPPC late reporting options. They count on quick news cycles and very short public attention spans to gloss over their indiscretions, and thereby achieve their underhanded results. (A political committee called "Mantecans For Safer Streets" comes to mind as one such slap-dash entity flaunting the spirit of the law in the 2008 election cycle.)

This campaign experience could, after all, turn into a chance to practice real life forensic accounting and stir up a few hornets nests along the way. Election could turn into a chance to...

Ah, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Icemaker's Vacation; Ice Bin Steals The Show

Monday was just a beautiful day all around - despite the twin noise events of the 3:00 a.m. Ice Bucket Brigade and the 6:15 a.m. icemaker start up. The day's weather was fantastic, tropical. A big Pacific storm was rolling onshore that evening and the afternoon's cloud cover convinced me at lunchtime to put a plastic bucket over the security camera out back.


The best part of Monday's lunch was NO ICEMAKER.

The best part of Monday evening was NO ICEMAKER.

The best part of Monday night/Tuesday morning was NO ICEMAKER.


The best part of Tuesday's lunch was NO ICEMAKER.

The best part of Tuesday evening was NO ICEMAKER.

The best part of Tuesday night/Wednesday morning was NO ICEMAKER.


{May it be so ever. God be praised.}

There is one wrinkle, however. The icemaker and the roof-mounted condenser were merely giving the ICE BIN its moment in the spotlight.

Remember the property of ice called regelation? The ice from the weekend, still in the very large bin, tended to regelate or clump together in big chunks. Tuesday morning's Ice Bucket Brigade was bad enough - loud enough - with Corky fighting to chip the ice into pieces and get it into the plastic buckets.

But the monumental Ice Follies took place Wednesday morning! Like Vulcan wielding his smithy hammer on his anvil, this Ice Queen had her big metal scoop singing its CLANGING song as she hammered and chipped away at the diminishing chunk of increasingly (two-days) regelated ice in the bin. The power, the ferocity, rang out in every strike of cast aluminum on frozen water! But it was not monotone; the sound effects changed with the chosen striking surface of the scoop, and the meter of the song advanced and declined with each striking angle and each bucket filled. The performance easily stole away any opportunity for inattention - let alone drifting off to sleep. The artist played the instrument magnificently!

Together, this frigid goddess and her sheet steel ice god, rule the frozen wasteland to the south.

{Standing - wide awake - ovation}

Monday, October 12, 2009

Geat Fun With A Security Camera

For such twisted souls who have NO PROBLEM broadcasting their activities to the world via airwaves, they are decidedly spooked if there is any possibility someone might SEE them performing those activities.

In other words, the light waves have to stop at the fence, but their sound waves BEGIN at their fence and pollute their neighbor's property.


Huh? You call attention to yourself so constantly - and in such an insufferable manner - yet everyone is supposed to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to your juvenile, bullying antics? (You gotta believe me, looking at them is dangerous... for several practical reasons.)

What was their response when I put up a security camera to watch my fenceline?


(By the way, this picture is not from the security cam, but from a digital camera pointing the same direction.)

It just happens that the icemaker enclosure is in the side of the field of view. Nighttime lights in the enclosure will still show up.

The resulting barricade is a fantastic piece of construction! The ratty silver tarps are a marvel. The unpainted plywood matches perfectly the earlier construction surrounding the icemaker. Whereas the unpermitted enclosure was done by an unlicensed handyman, the plywood seen here just behind the first empty cardboard box was stylishly nailed up by the femme fatales themselves. The cardboard boxes and other assorted jetsam add just the right amount of flair to the ensemble. It is worthy of every accolade heaped upon it!

Such a display of talent! Long live Redneck Trailer Trash Noveau Architecture !! And it took them only four days, from Tuesday afternoon to Saturday evening, to plan this intricate fabrication.

I wait with bated breath to see what their fevered minds conceive next.


p.s. - my bathtub holds quite a bit of water. ;-)

Yard Radio Follow Up

Walkers circle this high school block constantly, day and night. When the mood strikes, I will occasionally make the circuit.

Out for a stroll the other night and heading for home around 8:00 p.m., I came to my neighbors' driveway and was there arrested by the most odd anomaly in the evening soundscape - their yard radio was NOT playing from or into the center of their (illegal) business yard. Instead, the only sound waves generated by their single-speaker outdoor system were confined to the uninhabited corner of their lot just across the fence from my house, as detailed in this earlier post.

Ah, silly me, to earlier think that they had added the speaker to their system just for my benefit.

The reality is that they moved their ONLY speaker as close as possible to my house - just for my benefit.

These women (and I use the term reluctantly) are hell-bent to ensure that a CONSTANT stream of their noise pours across the fence. During the infrequent stretches when the icemaker is not thrumming along, they fill the noise vacuum (aka, silence) with the vacuous auditories of light rock.

Because the icemaker is an unreliable indicator of their presence, I just listen for the radio...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Don't Fight City Hall... Become City Hall

The lackadasical, slap-dash arbitrariness that is the hallmark of the City of Manteca comes about, no doubt, from the behind-the-scenes political chicanery in this town. Politicians selling themselves and/or their votes to the so-called "influencial" causes disjointed policies, supercilious law-making, and uneven enforcement of the laws they themselves adopted.
In a press release over the weekend, I compared the City of Manteca to the computer game, SimCity, where "the player as Mayor" runs his/her city in any old arbitrary manner as he/she deems fit. Sadly, that particular analogy didn't make it into yesterday's Manteca Bulletin announcement of my intention to run for Manteca City Council in the November 2010 election.

My personal task for the four-year term is to avoid the pits, traps, bombs, and flaming arrows of power brokers and entrenched special interests, both outside and inside city covernment. My altruistic task is to help the innumerable common citizens retake control of their city from the "the Mayor as player," other purchased politicians, and their SimCity supporters who wield the money and influence to their own enrichment at public expense.

A little enforcement of current zoning laws would be nice, too.