Friday, May 28, 2010

Make New Friends... And Keep The Old...

In keeping with the spirit of the Girl Scout campfire song in the title, it was time to open or renew communications with a couple of governmental agencies charged with overseeing certain aspects of the seamy, steamy industry politely called catering.

Tax revenues are important for some reason to the State of California, and sales taxes from retail businesses are tracked pretty carefully. So I wrote to my new friends at the Board of Equalization.

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Board of Equalization
Disclosure Officer, MIC: 54
P.O. Box 942879
Sacramento, CA 94279

May 26, 2010

Re: Cancellation of Seller’s Permit

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am seeking to ascertain the date of discontinuance for the following business:

TLC Catering
810 Fishback Street
Manteca, CA 95337

Owners: Lynda Allen and Theresa Brassey.
No Fictitious Business Name statement filed in San Joaquin County since 1989.

Sometime in the middle of February, 2010, daily departures of catering trucks ceased and For Sale signs went up on the vehicles. Other business operations ceased on the property. Regulation 1699, section (f), requires surrender of the Seller’s Permit upon discontinuance of the business or transfer of the active business to another person.

Please respond with some sort of Board of Equalization documentation regarding the date of surrender of their Seller’s Permit.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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And renewing communications with the San Joaquin County Environmental Health Department (EHD)...

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Attn: Jeff Carruesco, Program Coordinator
600 E. Main Street
Stockton, CA 95202

May 26, 2010

Re: Superior Court Case # 3-2009-00212085-CU-OR-STK,
Behling v. Allen, Brassey, TLC Catering and Commissary

Dear Mr. Carruesco,

On March 18, 2010, I requested copies of the health permit cancellations for TLC Catering and other related correspondence between your office and the business owners.

The owners and operators, Lynda Allen and Theresa Brassey, have elected to cease business operations at 810 Fishback Street in Manteca, to include their last MFPU and the private commissary.

Please send my copies to the address on the letterhead.

Please send copies of these documents to my attorney...

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It was brought to my attention by someone more well-versed than I in the Manteca Municipal Code, that the city has fairly stringent provisions for the time-amortization, discontinuance, and removal of (legal) nonconforming buildings and uses. Title 17, Section 55 deals with these particulars. The Planning Commission only gets involved if an extension of the time-amortization period is requested. For everything else, administrative authority is vested in the Community Development Director to execute the section's provisions, which includes notifying violators to immediately discontinue and remove illegal nonconforming uses.

I won't bore the reader with more details - except to say, it feels as if I'm at the beginning of 2008 again! I may have to fight every single battle again with the city.

What is wrong with this $%&&* city?! Isn't there a single  #%%@&  oxymoronic  public servant who understands the zoning ordinance? Isn't there a single paid professional planner who can explain the ordinance clearly to a mere citizen upon his first question or complaint? Isn't there a single department director who can truly take proper action as authorized by the publicly adopted ordinance? Are all these city minions so oblivious to the law, lazy in its application, or fearful of taking 'uncomfortable' action that the abomination-upon-the-land, known as TLC Catering (even if it was legal, which it never was), wasn't  sent to hell  amortized within very few years of this code's adoption in 1992, rather than entrenching itself for over two decades from its spawning.

A precedent-setting court case for the elimination of nonconforming uses is Los Angeles v. Gage (1954) The second footnote quotes a legal authority:
"It has always been assumed that non-conforming uses would gradually eliminate themselves from the district in which they exist if they were not permitted to expand. Such has not proven to be the case. They not merely continue to exist, but to send down deeper roots. They become clear monopolies and special privileges. Their existence is a continual threat to the conservation of property values in the districts where they exist. The time has come when cognizance should be taken of this situation and provision made, probably in the state law, whereby nonconforming uses may be gradually eliminated under some equitable method of procedure." Bartholomew, The Zoning of Illinois Municipalities, 17 Ill.Munic.Rev. 221, 232. (emphasis added)
The court stated in its opinion:
"In essence there is no distinction between requiring the discontinuance of a nonconforming use within a reasonable period and {1} provisions which deny the right to add to or extend buildings devoted to an existing nonconforming use, {2} which deny the right to resume a nonconforming use after a period of nonuse, {3} which deny the right to extend or enlarge an existing nonconforming use, {4} which deny the right to substitute new buildings for those devoted to an existing nonconforming use — all of which {the latter 4} have been held to be valid exercises of the police power. (See County of Orange v. Goldring, 121 Cal. App.2d 442 [263 P.2d 321]; 58 Am.Jur. 1026, 1029, §§ 156, 158, 162; anno. 147 460*460 A.L.R. 167; 1 Yokley, Zoning Law and Practice, 2d ed., §§ 151-157.) (italic numbering added)
I wonder if all of our zoning, planning, and code enforcement employees slept through their "Law of Zoning" college class? Or, have not kept up their continuing education requirements?

It is pretty clear that our officials should have been able to do one of the following:
  • 1. Immediately abate TLC Catering's illegal use of property in 1987 when the warts first appeared;
  • 2. Immediately abate TLC Catering's illegal use of property in 1992 after new ordinance adoption; or,
  • 3. Put TLC Catering on amortization for abatement (incorrectly presuming legal nonconforming status) after the 1993 complaint.
 The #$%#%$ owners of this illegal business operation should not have had even one day of their nuisance operation on the property, and certainly no more than seven years after being turned in in 1993.

But no! Manteca officials let them go on and on and on... for twenty-three years! Tell me again, why does Manteca even have a municipal code?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Offensive (but Legal) Motion on the Scrimmage Line

Two months ago, the lame duck insurance company lawyer whispered "settlement" into the air, and my attorney tripped over his shoelaces getting a proposed Stipulated Judgment to him on March 30th, offering to hold discovery in abeyance in hopes of settling. Defense made just enough telephone calls over two months to my attorney to keep the false hope alive, especially when he heard about the misdemeanor charge against his clients.

Quite to the contrary, the Barefoot Dirty Girls (BDGs) (through Lynda, aka The Mouth) have consistently threatened, promised, and taunted, "See you in court!" Wouldn't you know it? They have absolutely ZERO interest in settling anything - or going to court, where their leather bottoms will be wiped with their own dish towels. Defense has successfully gamed (stalled) the civil discovery process.

So, let's go on offense again!

Whereas: The civil case has - again! - been continued to 9/14/10.

Whereas: The free pass given to the BDGs seventeen years ago by the City of Manteca is in process of being torn up. (Monopoly image: Every time they pass GO, they will have to pay $200 instead of collect it.)

Whereas: Who better to "unwrite" the grandfather letter than the writer of it?

Whereas: Although no longer in an official capacity, Ben Cantu is certainly familiar with the researched documents, understands them, and knows the only correct conclusion that can be drawn from them -
Lynda Allen and Theresa Brassey lied in 1993 about the TLC Catering business being grandfathered on 810 Fishback Street.

Whereas: A deposition scheduled for last December to establish those facts got swept away in a lawyerly screw-up - and the deposition was never rescheduled. (Someone could die [of natural causes, of course] before the deposition ever gets rescheduled if the matter is left with these two attorneys.)

Be it Resolved: Plaintiff personally requested Ben Cantu write an affidavit attesting to his review of the documents previously submitted (twice!) for admission by the defendants, and his conclusion of lack of grandfathered status for Allen, Brassey, and TLC Catering.

Put your game faces on, BDGs!
(and bring Baby Wipes (c) !)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pardon Me, Ma'am, Your Joists and Slats Are Showing

The three-ring circus next door is an endless source of thigh-slapping, siding-splitting, roll-off-the-roof-and-onto-the-concrete, laugh-until-you-die, shyster... hysterectic... hysterectomy... hysterical, uproarious humor. Please wait until I sop up the tears streaming down my face...  ...  ...  ... 

If there is anything the BDGs can do perfectly, it is that every single thing they do is completely WRONG. Who needs illegal mobile home CATV when every moment they are awake is pure, free entertainment?

In Manteca, pouring concrete attached to your house requires a permit. Attaching a porch or patio covering to your house requires a permit. Re-roofing your house requires a permit. Permitting these geniuses to design and execute any architechtural tasks demands a one-way pass to a mental hospital!

Anyway, this is what it looked like when the code enforcement officer showed up today at 1:00 p.m. No doubt the Frank Lloyd Wright wannabes will only get a C.E. slap on the hands instead of the much more satisfying effective and medically preferred boot to the head.

Hey, don't look at me! They didn't share their plans (and hopes, and dreams, and deepest secrets) with me prior to hiring "some guys with trucks" to demolish and rebuild - or expand - the backside of their house. Apparently, neither did they share that information with the fire department, the police department, the building safety department, the county assessor's office, or verify their laborers' licenses through the California Department of Consumer Affairs. (OK, all that is almost automatic when you get a permit.)

{sigh} I just wish that with all these "improvements" they are buying, they replace their Lynda-designed and Corky-built pile of shit fence beween our houses with a fifteen-foot high, freeway-style sound wall, as I was refused permission from the City of Manteca to do in March of 2008, over two years ago. I wonder what the C.E. dude thought about their p.o.s. fence? What are your thoughts?

Yes, siree, these three are the Next Big Thing(s) in the Cheap Trailer Trash category of environmentally responsible - yet friendly and inviting - living space design.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Concrete Defense? Pour It On, Ladies!

Holy Cow! When I used the words "concrete defense" in a previous post, I didn't think the BDGs would take me literally! (If I disappear anytime soon, have authorities look for my remains under their new concete slab.)

Last Easter Sunday, my neighbors left on a day-trip. The outdoor radio was ON all day because they turned it on just before they took off. (The speaker is on the wall to the left.) This is the way their screened back porch looked at mid-day, about the time the police arrived to "enjoy" the music with me.

This weekend the porch went missing! Below is what the area looked like last night - ready to pour concrete.

Given the BDGs' contemptuous refusal for twenty-three years to do anything legally, the immediate questions presented were:
  • 1) "Does this project require a building permit?"
  • 2) "If so, do they have one?"
  • 3) "If so, is it an owner's permit or a contractor's permit?"
This morning the street was lined with cars: Lynda's big-ass black Chevy pickup (an over-compensation, no doubt), a Chryler Sebring, the handyman's red van with silver striping, a small blue pickup, Theresa's soccer mom black minivan (now there's an oxymoronic juxtaposition of incongruous images!), and Corky's getaway car parked across the street. That was all to make room for another guy's work truck and a concrete delivery. Don't worry, there was still room for the painted ladies... sorry, painting ladies... and their pre-installation painting projects (see picture at end of post and look in the sliding door reflection.)

And, yes, the outdoor radio was turned on at 7:00 a.m.

At noon, the folks at the City of Manteca's one-stop permit shop were most helpful. When the three questions above were put to them, the answer to the first inquiry was, "Yes, a permit is needed." Turning to a nearby terminal, the city's computer system was consulted to answer whether one had been issued (question #2.)

Voila! There IS a permit!

{Knock me over with a feather! ... confusion reigns supreme... my mind casts wildly about for a lifeline... I forget how to breathe... the universe has just been turned inside out... and upside down!... 'Is NOTHING as it seems, anymore?'}

A croaking "Hail, Mary" is ventured... "Is it an owner's permit or a contractor's permit?"

The reply set the vast cosmos spinning aright once again - and prevented my untimely death by suffocation on city property - but it presented a new puzzlement (which is the normal course of earth's rotation in regards to the Barefoot Dirty Girls.) "It is a contractor's permit. On 5/14/2010, Sears pulled a permit to install vinyl siding on the house."

'Wait... hold on... I'm processing this new information...' In logical progression, that left all three original questions unanswered, and added a fourth. 'WTF are they doing behind the house? It has nothing to do with Sears siding.'

Who do you call when you have ghosts? Ghostbusters! The picture of the missing porch - and newly installed concrete forms - was graciously given to the permit technician, who said it would be forwarded to Greg Baird in Code Enforcement, which officer would visit the site, cite the scofflaws, and "encourage" compliance to Building Safety codes. Such action could also extend to anyone (licensed or unlicensed contractors) assisting in the violation.

Everyone I've spoken with has assured me that Greg Baird is top flight... the cat's meow... a code enforcement officer extraordinaire. I, however, have never gotten a believable answer out of him yet (but some thigh-slapping humor! (see end of post) I'll give him one more chance - with freshly taken and printed pictures - no more than a day old. (No ancient history here, Greg.)

If he hurries, he can still imprint his hands and write his name in the wet concrete.
Oops,... News Splash! He may be too late all ready...

... and I'm still breathing air.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Flying Her True Colors (or, The Dominant Is Unmasked)

I'm dang near speechless!

I picked up a copy of the police report on the Disturbing The Peace complaint filed against Lynda Allen, et al, on April 28, 2010. (See California Penal Code, Section 415 (2).) The officer did a masterful job of writing the report. It is factual, but not at all dry. His written observations captured the essence of the dominant known as Lynda - her belligerent attitudes; her egocentric and antisocial behaviors; and her abrupt, abrasive communication style.

As much as I truly wish to publicly share the three-paragraph narrative with my faithful followers, I must exercise patience until the District Attorney's office has had a chance to review the report and the other evidence on which this criminal complaint is based. What I CAN do is remind you of these posts leading up to the complaint:

 new radio ADDS to noise nuisance,
 the magic rock,
 Christmas present,
 her big thingy,
 6:00 a.m. Super Bowl weekend (here and here),
 Valentine's weekend,
 demand letter,
 magic rock reprise,
 rejected settlement,
 smoke gets in your eyes,
 audience of one Easter Sunday,
 just for the hell of it, and
 pimples ready for popping.

But... to say what she said to the police officer, and the galling tones she used, and her abrupt, defiant termination of the brief visit - all this verified what I've known regarding this woman from our earliest dealings. Her mask has slipped and exposed her to authorities for what she truly is... a spoiled and vindictive child. She has lost her credibility at Manteca City Hall, although some former protectors, still gulled by her schmooze, may yet try to shield her from prosecution.

With her "hobby" business now folded, she has retreated to Plan B, which appears to be only clueless, useless lurching about her graveled, business yard, half-acre compound. I certainly hope she has considered Plans C, D, and E  (capitulate, de-louse, and escape)...

... and take her flying colors with her.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cat-herding the Digitless Mesdames Over the Digital Divide

Kinda like Ma and Pa Kettle, the domestic co-habitants (and defendants), Lynda Allen and Theresa Brassey stood shoulder to shoulder, hip to hip, out on their front lawn this morning and saw me off to work. Actually, "saw" is a totally inadequate word for the... what?... steely-eyed glares... glowering scowls... accompanied by impotent rage, directed at me as I drove by. Their mouths were probably moving, but they never say anything truthful, so who cares?

However, it was a nice touch to see that Lynda was dressed for the day at 8:00 a.m. Because, you see, an hour earlier, at 7:04 a.m. sharp (she certainly didn't look sharp!), she was still in her robe and slippers as she made the round trip from house to outbuilding to turn on the outdoor radio. It was obvious at 8:00 that she had retreated indoors not only to dress but to make a stunningly futile attempt at personal beautification. With all the money the Barefoot Dirty Girls (BDGs) have been spending recently on superficially cleaning their yard (all the BIG "boxes," shanty sheds and trailers/trash are still there), it is impossibly hard to believe they do not have a radio inside their house - like normal people - that they can listen to while attending to their toilet*. (Hmmm... handymen, indoor radio, or professional beauticians?)

In fact, how hard would it be to acquire personal music listening devices for use outside? That would be so much better than the current neighborhood-wide music broadcasting device (unless one is deliberately trying to annoy the neighbors?) In this brave new world of digital technology, maybe something like these .mp3 players with earbuds:

These personal pleasure toys come in Tiny, Large, and Country-size.

What!? The BDGs yammer on with some tired, lame excuse having to do with too many old dogs? ...or was that "no new tricks"? Is it possible they really do not know when, where, or how to use this technology?

This is a textbook object lesson in "Annexing Taking the BDG out of the county, but not taking the country out of the BDG." Perhaps a few pictures could adequately demonstrate the varied conforming uses to which these players are put.

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WORKING - or working out. Strap it on - wherever you like. (Works best with a black outfit.)

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PLAYING - or playing around. "Hide the iPod" comes to mind. (Plays best with a black outfit.)

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JUST HANGING OUT - in Tracy, Costco, the Health Dept, or a Manteca PD working girl roundup, etc. (Hangs out best with a black outfit.)

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There it is... one example for T, another for L, and a third for C. Those street-smart, shop-worn BDGs from the country should be able to come up with others. Or, if the three WORK, PLAY, and HANG OUT together, there is this corky little device for "safe listening."

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* Toilet \Toi"let\, n. [French. toilette, dim. of toile cloth. See Toil - a net.]
1. A covering of linen, silk, or tapestry, spread over a table in a chamber or a dressing room. [1913 Webster]
2. A dressing table. --Pope. [1913 Webster]
3. Act or mode of dressing, or that which is arranged in dressing; attire; dress; as, her toilet is perfect. [Written also toilette.] [1913 Webster]


Monday, May 17, 2010

Camels' Noses and the Travel Trailer Flim-Flam

Hosea 8: 7  For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up. 

Life has a way of "rewarding" people in different ways. Saturday I went over to greet a woman and her husband who were visiting the property across the street from mine. Bonnie, who now lives in another state, was visiting family members - and the home where she grew up. She stopped by to inspect the cleanup work recently done to prepare the two-acre parcel for sale. We had a most interesting chat, especially when the subjects turned to:
It seems our very own, home-grown-in-the-neighborhood, Florence and Her Merry Troupe of Nightingale Nurses had inveigled* the widowed owner (Bonnie's mother) to allow them to "place" their dog in her front yard for protection and allow them to "store" their travel trailer in her driveway to give the place a "lived in" appearance. (Probably because they couldn't cram one more big metal box onto their own half-acre business yard (actually an R-1 residential lot) without causing vehicular gridlock! That would be bad for business...)

Anyway, last October, Bonnie called and asked the Barefoot Dirty Girls to move the travel trailer. She was assured it would be taken care of... but it wasn't. (No big surprise to those who know the BDGs.)

I was unaware of Bonnie's dealings when, on the last day of last November, I filed a code enforcement complaint on the travel trailer at 785 Fishback for noncompliance with a city ordinance. I knew the problem would eventually go home to roost where it ought; my only hope was that the owner of 785 Fishback (Bonnie) would not be too inconvenienced. This back story has to be the reason for the surprisingly fast code enforcement response.

After the December 1st inspection (Shim Sham Shimmy), a Notice of Violation was issued on December 7th. Indeed, Bonnie's mom got the notice - with its imminent fine in the event of noncompliance. Bonnie called Manteca police and code enforcement and got one story, then called the BDGs and got a different story - and an insolent hang-up by the alpha female. In an immediate followup call, Bonnie delivered an ultimatum - either move the trailer NOW, or it will be towed. On December 13th, the homeless travel trailer was moved across the street to 810 Fishback, to proudly take up residence alongside the myriad cast-offs and detritus** of a failed business, and other nonconforming uses maintained by the ex-T-uLCers.

And here's some redneck humor for you - the BDGs also demanded $3,000 for the gravel they dumped across the street to park their travel trailer on. Three thousand dollars would buy thirty-three cubic yards of crushed basalt. A local price for crushed basalt (delivered) is $90.95 per cubic yard. Five yards are around $450. What shysters!... Go pound rocks into sand!
Also during the recent property cleanup, some stuff in a shed started going into dumpsters - until the BDGs came screaming across the street and claiming ownership of the junk. They were told the items would be stacked in the carport and they could reclaim it from there; anything remaining would be tossed.
As the modern-day story unfolded, two things came to mind. The first was a statement Lynda made March 3, 2009 in city council meeting.
Ms. Allen: ... I've been there so long and actually I took care of the... the owners of that house we took care of 'til they passed away. And then the daughter come in, and somehow they...
She made it appear she was taking care of the owners and property at 786 Fishback as well as the owner and property at 785 Fishback. (See? The neighborhood Florence Nightingale. But don't believe it - she uses and abuses people to her own ends.)
The second thing that came to mind is a very ancient tale: 
The Camel's Nose In The Tent

One cold night, as an Arab sat in his tent, a camel gently thrust his nose under the flap and looked in. "Master," he said, "let me put my nose in your tent. It's cold and stormy out here." "By all means," said the Arab, "and welcome" as he turned over and went to sleep.
A little later the Arab awoke to find that the camel had not only put his nose in the tent but his head and neck also. The camel, who had been turning his head from side to side, said, "I will take but little more room if I place my forelegs within the tent. It is difficult standing out here." "Yes, you may put your forelegs within," said the Arab, moving a little to make room, for the tent was small.
Finally, the camel said, "May I not stand wholly inside? I keep the tent open by standing as I do." "Yes, yes," said the Arab. "Come wholly inside. Perhaps it will be better for both of us." So the camel crowded in. The Arab with difficulty in the crowded quarters again went to sleep. When he woke up the next time, he was outside in the cold and the camel had the tent to himself.
Nahum 1: 3  The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

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* inveigle [ɪnˈviːgəl] (verb)  to lead someone into a situation or persuade to do something by cleverness or trickery; cajole. Ex., to inveigle customers into spending more.

[from Old French avogler to blind, deceive, from avogle blind, from Medieval Latin "ab oculis" without eyes]

** detritus (noun) debris: the remains of something that has been destroyed or broken up;
loose material, such as stone fragments, silt, etc. that is worn away from rocks.


Friday, May 14, 2010

BDG (Barefoot Dirty Girls) Episode # 1,723

A plaintiff's brief filed in advance of the case management conference scheduled for Monday, May 17, 2010 indicated that - absent a settlement by the defendants - the plaintiff is ready to go to trial.

It is hard to imagine that any normal, rational persons, who had TWO lawsuits filed on them for essentially the same thing, that those persons would fail to take immediate corrective actions.

Catherine Cass was just such an irrational [person]. Her instructive case arose in Southern California. Only one of many incidents cited was:
Cass's constant noisemaking had prevented the Wallaces from enjoying their property. The signs Cass posted caused Jim Wallace humiliation and embarrassment, requiring him to constantly have to explain the situation to fellow church members who were frequently at his house for meetings. Over the years, he had several times tried to talk to Cass about the problems, but she would just spit at the ground and walk away. After he told Cass he would resort to the legal system if she did not stop, the signs came down for one day. The next day, a new sign appeared saying "the only reason my signs are gone is because my neighbor threatened me." The signs then started to be put out again. Just before the original trial date set in this case, the signs came down, but the incessant noises continued. (emphasis added.)
(I'll be damned if that doesn't sound, word for word, action for action, exactly like Lynda! Maybe they're sisters!)

Just like Catherine Cass, the BDGs seem incapable of grasping reality. I really love reading the court's opinion of this miserable old screwed up witch  case. Just as the BDGs' continuous icemaker and business noise drove the civil noise nuisance suit on them, and just as their retaliation of playing continuous radio noise drove the misdemeanor complaint on them, this trio of bright lights seems to think nothing will come of any of it.

I hope they realize that to have a chance in hell  of prevailing, in either case, depends on two things: 1) they have a more concrete defense than Cass (she had none), and 2) they have a better lawyer than Cass (she represented herself.)

The appeals court sustained the damages and modified the wording of an injuction against Cass, but otherwise ruled:
The trial court entered judgment in the Plaintiffs' favor on both causes of action.

As modified the judgment is affirmed.

Ready whenever you are... Cass times 3.


Meet the Candidates Night

Last Monday night was a Candidates Night for the November 2010 elections, organized by the South San Joaquin County Republicans and hosted at the Chez Shari golf course clubhouse. Various political organizations were introduced and Rita Stolp of the Tea Party Patriots was the featured keynote speaker. Jason Campbell reported the local angle in a Tuesday Manteca Bulletin article.

I went to the meeting, being a newbie local candidate, blissfully content to merely observe because I was not on the list of speakers... until the organizer/M.C., Frank Aquila, asked, “Are there any other local candidates here tonight…?” I raised my hand, stood, and introduced myself. My first extemporaneous political speech was a disaster; I write much better than I speak (at least I think so.)

Preceding me, Manteca's mayor, Mr. Weatherford (former city police chief, councilman, and two-term mayor), stood and put on a most embarrassing show.  "Aw, shucks, I'm a nobody. I don't set policy..."

A year-and-a-half ago I quoted a young woman, a Manteca outsider, in a council meeting, who had this to say about Manteca's brass:

"I mentioned to my father one evening that dealing with Manteca reminded me of a 1950s town in the Deep South. Ironically, the very next day I was introduced to someone who had been a Manteca resident for 10 years who described the dynamics of Manteca's political scene as, quote, 'Think American South circa 1950.' "

After the meeting, the iconic Mr. Weatherford buttonholed me and attempted to set me straight on my comment that the mayor certainly does set policy by holding employment at will powers over the city manager. His beef was that it takes the council to dismiss a city manager. That part is true (see MMC code sections in footnote), but his claim he is a powerless figurehead is ridiculous. I believe I used the term, the city's Head Cheerleader (which is not really derogatory if you think about it in light of what city council members did on their recent junket to Washington, D.C.)

Gimme a C... Gimme a D... Gimme a B... Gimme a G... What does it spell?
(in the Community Development Block Grant program!)

(I know, I know... CDBG is a state program. However, feel free to substitute any other acronymic program for which Manteca has to beg for taxpayer funds to be returned locally from state or federal bureaucracies. And remember that any  every bureaucrat who touches those funds skims a percentage before passing them on.)

Back on point again...

The fancy Latin phrase, quid pro quo (trading favors)... and, if you don't trade, he rattles a few skeletons... says everything about Mr. Weatherford's personal influence and his penchant for taking all the credit for every revenue dollar ever collected, ignoring the debits, and regularly singing his own praises for every taxpayer/ratepayer/feepayer/RDA-purchased "accomplishment" over his councilman and mayoral terms in city office.

The thrust of my speech was that local governments and their constituency have almost no choice but to dig in and hold on, fiscally, while conservative representatives to state and federal governments correct the ruinous, self-consuming course currently held by the "ship of state."

All we hear at Manteca City Council meetings is, "Sacramento is stealing all our money... again!" While California's spending truly is profligate, it is Sacramento's money; they managed to squeeze it (mostly) legally from law-abiding (tax-paying) citizens. But as the the Constitution of the State of California, Article 11, Local Government, makes very clear, every county and city in the state is only a political subdivision of the state; they cannot "steal" what is already theirs. The state can, however, renege on long-standing revenue sharing programs, re-write the taxation and spending laws, and break all sorts of promises... at least until the Olden State turns to dust... or is brought back to moral and fiscal solvency by responsible representatives in the legislature.

Regardless of what disconnected state and fed "lawmakers" do or don't, voters in the City of Manteca need to seriously consider whether this municipality should be impartially administered according to good law, or continue to be the personal political playground of an insular "good old boys" club.

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Manteca Municipal Code
Chapter 2.08 CITY MANAGER

Section 2.08.010 Office created—Appointment—Term.

The office of the city manager is created and established. The city manager shall be appointed by the city council and shall hold office for and during the pleasure of the city council.

2.08.080 Relationship to city council.

The city council and its members shall deal with the administrative services of the city only through the city manager, except for the purpose of inquiry, and neither the city council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any subordinates of the city manager. The city manager shall take his or her orders and instructions from the city council only when sitting in a duly held meeting of the city council and no individual councilmember shall give any order or instructions to the city manager.

2.08.100 Removal from office—Notice from council.
The removal of the city manager shall be only upon a three-fifths vote of the whole council in regular council meetings, subject, however, to the provisions of the next succeeding sections. In case of his or her intended removal by the city council, the city manager shall be furnished with a written notice stating the council’s intention to remove him and the reason therefor, at least thirty days before the effective date of his or her removal.

Authority for the above municipal code is granted in Article 11 of the California Constitution:
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California Constitution
Article 11, Sec. 5. (b)
It shall be competent in all city charters to provide, in addition to those provisions allowable by this Constitution, and by the laws of the State for: (1) the constitution, regulation, and government of the city police force (2) subgovernment in all or part of a city (3) conduct of city elections and (4) plenary authority is hereby granted, subject only to the restrictions of this article, to provide therein or by amendment thereto, the manner in which, the method by which, the times at which, and the terms for which the several municipal officers and employees whose compensation is paid by the city shall be elected or appointed, and for their removal, and for their compensation, and for the number of deputies, clerks and other employees that each shall have, and for the compensation, method of appointment, qualifications, tenure of office and removal of such deputies, clerks and other employees.

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