Monday, November 30, 2009

Mealy-Mouthing in Lexington and Manteca

Dennis Duross holds the Lexington, KY, city council and administration in as high regard as I do the Manteca, CA, city council and administration. On his blog, Pigs in the Parlor, he reports on the November 24th Lexington planning commission meeting in which the item of rental licensing and housing code enforcement is briefly discussed and happily deep-sixed by a quorum (after taking a couple passes at the proper rules of order.)

Here is Lexington's administration's squirrely assessment of their code enforcement limitations. Note their craven excuses and the simpering, insouciant, quibbling that citizens aren't following the laws the council adopted for them. After avowing that pro-active enforcement is impossible, they proceed to impeach their own fall back "Plan B."

"Selective Enforcement:
Because our inspections are carried out by a limited number of inspectors and without charge, there’s no way for enforcement efforts to grow as problems grow."

"Voluntary Compliance:
... our safety [ed. or zoning] laws may as well not exist at all. In other words, our laws can be subverted by the very people that those laws intend to hold accountable..."

Duh! Does any of this sound familiar? These self-condemning words are almost verbatim those that have issued from spokesmouths and meetings in the City of Manteca. As the Lexington observer put it, "Who writes this crap in the first place? Do we or do we not have a Law Department in this city? Ditto Planning?"

A paraphrase befitting Manteca would read, "Do we, or do we not, have a competent City Attorney? Ditto a potent Director of Community Development with cease and desist powers for unpermitted land uses? And what of those *&&#077$ in code enforcement?!"

I believe, sadly, that incompetence and impotence inundate Manteca's police, code enforcement, community development, and legal departments.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Neighbors' Magic Rock

How come they get a magic rock?!  And I don't get a magic rock?!

This magic rock is letting my neighbors know when I'm thinking about them, or if I'm up to something nefarious.

You can see the truth of that from the date captions under each picture. When I am being good and behaving myself (ignoring their illegal operation), the magic rock points away from my house. But when I am being evil, or sending bad thoughts their way, or some such (like making a complaint), then the rock turns toward my house and BLARES 100.1 "Mega 100 Soft Rock" at me. (No wonder their business is failing, they probably play the same s**t on their roach coach.)

Oh, the horror of it all! Nasty, nasty rock, to rat me out! How did these glorious embodiments of T.L.C. get a hold on such an arcane specimen of occult magic?

I guess I should try to concentrate my mental energies and see if I can get it to spin all the way around... or to balance precariously on only one corner... perhaps do a little break dancing... or take a kamikaze swan dive off its perch. It'll be like the Mexican Jumping Beans I used to play with when I was much, much younger.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Second Lap Around The Dog Track

What rankles me is the total disregard of the "rule of law" by those who are supposed to uphold the law. It is as if these city employees make up whatever they want as they go along. Hence my objection to Animal Control's inaction and my appeal to the chief law and code enforcement officer of the city.

City of Manteca

Dave Bricker, Chief of Police
1001 W Center Street
Manteca, CA 95336

November 18, 2009

Re: Animal Control – review of action

Dear Mr. Bricker,

I am confused… but I know you have - or can get - the answer to this question.

Here is the language of MMC 17.07.030 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…” [emphasis added.] Please note the absence of any reference to multiple homes on a single lot.

Attached is Animal Control courtesy notice # MACS002668N, which I believe is not in compliance with the subsection cited above. See the notation "Two Houses on Property" and beneath that an apparent allocation of three dogs to one house and two dogs to the other. It appears that P. Miller in Animal Control interprets the subsection to allow five dogs on a single R-1 lot.

Please let me know whether the MMC subsection is correct (3 dogs allowed) or the Animal Control citation is correct (5 dogs allowed).

Sincerely yours,

I stated the case as simply as I could. Here's to hoping it is simple enough.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Deceitful Pattern Continues

Lynda Allen's myopic worldview is practically a religious expression subscribed to by Theresa Brassey and Corky Greene, and all the other hangers-on who drift through their tight orbit. The tenet goes something like this:

"I do what I want... and it's none of your damn business!"

This bedrock belief underlies every action they take. Even though they make their TLC Catering business my business, they refuse to mitigate any of this incessant noise from illegally operating their commissary and roach coach from their property:
They have turned their property into a compound to close off any view of their doings.
They quickly open and close the driveway gate only by pre-arrangement.
They have chased newspaper and TV reporters from their property.
They lie to code enforcement officers (who are only too happy to believe the lies.)
They lie to animal control officers (who are only too happy to believe the lies.)
They lie to the city council (who are only too happy to believe the lies.)
Their lies were well-received by the polymorphous city attorney.

Most recently, the defendants' brilliant counsel avoided (evaded?) giving up a material witness's whereabouts, and when a process server (an officer of the court) tried to find the witness, these legally-deficient women attempted to evade service by telling the officer to get off their property and not come back.

Hello?! Isn't being uncooperative during litigation a bad thing? A rational defendant would want a material witness to substantiate their defense, so they are either not rational or have no defense...

... or both {smilie}

Of course, judges deal continually with such putzes, so these indiscretions are not likely to provoke any sanctions. What are a few more rounds of game-playing after perfecting their technique for twenty-two years? These women have had much more than their share of "due process" - that term is more correctly called "undue process."

Oh, by the way, we got the witness served with a subpoena. {BIG smilie}

T, L, and C are now on the hook... carefully, we reel them in.

Newly Released! Neighbors From Hell (the book)

Neighbors From Hell is now available from CreateSpace! It is only $18.00 list price. CreateSpace is an Amazon company.

In this previous post I was anticipating the release of Bob Borzotta's new book. It's not that I need confirmation my neighbors are of this sort, only that they possess in common the antisocial characteristics of that social underclass that believes they are insulated and protected from people's reactions to their outrageous behaviors.

One copy I will personally autograph to Manteca's chief of police to be read by him, then made required reading by all officers in Code Enforcement and Animal Control departments. The only way for Manteca to be "The Family City" is to impress the minimal rules of civil behavior - known as the Manteca Municipal Code - on the small-minded residents who ignore them. Right now, the municipal codes are enforced so selectively, so sloppily - or not at all - that local bullies and anarchists terrorize blocks, cul-de-sacs, and neighborhoods. And the downtown clowns wonder how crime gets a foothold in our fair city?

Perhaps I'll autograph another copy of Neighbors From Hell to my neighbors from hell - the owners and enablers of TLC Catering - and make it required reading for them in the imminent court order.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Self-Education Continues

Here is my letter to the editor of the Manteca Bulletin just now:

Re: McKinley Expressway Workshop, 11/5/09.

The workshop last night at the library was attended by many dozens of homeowners and landowners who are faced with the prospect of having a 106-foot-wide ribbon of asphalt benefit, brush, bisect, or bury their homes and farms. These property owners reside south of Manteca’s city limits but still within Manteca’s General Plan “sphere of influence.” This planning sphere is where city officials determine where arterial roads are routed and determine where other major infrastructure, such as water delivery, sewer collection, and electrical service are placed.

The meeting was a primal example of self-governance. Say that again? Ok, this meeting was where “the rubber met the road” when it came to individual owners hearing and speaking the hard truth necessary to making personal decisions (the democratic principle of an active, participating voice) and city planners making the tough choices that impact the fewest current residents and benefit the greatest numbers of CURRENT and FUTURE residents (elected and employed representatives carrying out the will of the governed.)

The City’s Assistant Director of Public Works, Frederic Clark, masterfully – and compassionately – set out the goal of this first workshop, which was to give the residents a look at some POSSIBLE routes proposed by city staff and to solicit comments or alternative suggested routes. As Mr. Clark spoke for the first fifteen minutes, the groundswell of immediate emotional response was palpable; one could see, smell, touch, taste, and hear the instinctive surge of human reaction to a perceived threat to each person’s safety, security, rights, possessions, and relationships. Rapid fire questions were posed, first by this person, next by that couple, and fielded by Mr. Clark and Mr. Mark Meissner, the City’s Planning Manager.

Most impressive, however, was the polite, civil, self-restrained hour that followed. There were no rants, tantrums, or protests from this group of mostly older, stable, and mature landowners. These good folks surrounded the large maps on tables, and the superimposed lines were traced and sometimes redrawn. They just needed the earlier time to process the information they were given. The infrastructure planning horizon is of necessity a long one – 5, 10, 15 years out. No one was going to be evicted from their family home anytime soon, if at all. Rural lifestyle maintenance may require moving in the future. The new route just needed to be settled within the next few months in order to provide planning certainty if/when southward development occurs.

Owners with large acreage in crops, orchards and vineyards generally seemed to welcome the idea of a roadway and future development. After all, the accruing wealth would keep them comfortable in retirement - and their families beyond that. Most others on smaller parcels were justifiably concerned about the potential loss of their homes or their rural lifestyle. Some from both groups already accepted the idea of change; others from both groups were still struggling with it. Raw emotions were still evident.

Toward the end of the meeting, a neatly groomed woman of well-advanced age revealed her fear in her quiet, shyly asked question, “How much time will we be given to leave?” It was asked in a one-on-one situation. How can one answer such a question? Not with babble about “sphere of influence,” annexation, development agreements, negotiations within eminent domain actions, and other such high-falutin’ gibberish. This is your grandmother – and mine.

The meeting wound down and property owners departed, leaving city staff and a handful of others. These few, likely with development interests, have been party to this kind of process before. Their emotions were in check; their input more akin to the planners’, their practiced hands more sure with the markers on the maps - not good versus evil - just more experienced.

Is there a perfect one-to-one correspondence between an individual’s expressed desire and the group’s (government’s) eventual chosen outcome? Of course not. An awful lot of contentious name-calling and mud-slinging could be erased if the strident voices in our city (or any city) attended meetings like this and took life lessons from the true stalwarts of the community.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Faded Youth

I pedaled my bicycle to Westley, California, one bright, beautiful day and this particular logo on the side of an MFPU caught my attention. (Mobile Food Preparation Unit. Honest! that's what California calls them.)

(Credits: This logo/image is the property of Vaqueras, Inc.)

By now it should be abundantly clear that I am an afficionado of all things "catering" (except for eating any food sold from a catering truck... and icemakers... and commissaries... and outlaw owners.)

When I saw these vaqueras (cowgirls), my first thought was, "! ! ! ! ! ! !"

OK! ok. My second thought was, "* * * * * * * *"

All right, already!... My third thought was, "Why couldn't I live next door to caterers that looked like that?!"

My fourth thought? "Who knows? {shrug} Maybe they did once. {nah}"

Anyway, if you are in the neighborhood of Westley, las vaqueras are at the corner of Highway 33 and Howard Road, just a couple miles off Interstate 5. The MFPU appears to be parked there permanently, for some reason.

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Fast, Fun, Friendly Halloween Word Puzzle

Not usually one to decorate for Halloween, this little ensemble was too much to resist: