Thursday, June 19, 2008

Manteca turns 90!

Manteca was incorporated 1918 -- 90 years ago. Manteca city officials had a small party at the "Civic center" government compound.

Highlights include persons more than 90 years of age getting certificates. A short interview with a fellow named Bologna (named after the city not the sandwich, as he explained). He and a friend are looking for their names on a photograph of a wall showing veterans of the 2nd World War. Notice when I ask "what did they call you in the army?" You can almost see the thoughts of far away places well up when he answers. Also included is the music and refreshment served and some of the displays of historic items. Lastly, included is a rare and personal interview with the City Clerk of Manteca about how her family travelled to and settled in the California's central valley. Even her father chimes in, it's like an oral history!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Caltrans meeting

Here is the video of the meeting with Caltrans. The subject of the meeting was to present several options for how to improve the highway off ramps (interchanges) on I-99. Now, this may seem like a meeting on how to watch paint dry, but apparently there is great public interest.

The issue came up briefly the night before at the City Council meeting and I was surprised to find the meeting room was packed with people. There is a a lot of interest because it directly involves moving some homes (takings of property) for the right of way and various other issues (the officials use the dramatic sounding term "impacts").

Curiously, the council members seem to side with those who wanted option 1 or 2 and opposed option 3 and encouraged the people to speak out and make their voices heard to "protect their interests." What is curious to me is that, as you can see from the question and answer interview toward the end of the video, the engineers seem to say that option 3 was the best for 1) movement of traffic, 2) traffic safety and 3) the least "taking" of homes or land by eminent domain. (The terms condemnation, taking, and eminent domain are used interchangeably in the video).

The third option obviously seemed best. But the public seemed to oppose that because it would destroy or "impact" the "character" of the road. As for if this is the serious concern for the preservation of a way or life or if it's narrow minded standing in the way of progress I don't claim to have an answer.

I asked those three questions directly at the end of the video. In addition to some other questions... you'll have to watch. hehe. I didn't really mean make light of the issues it's just that the poor guy was getting pummelled with serious questions and complaints. And I'm sorry for the bad camera work, it was just me filming and it's the "gut cam" some of the time and the acoustics in there were terrible.

In the first part you don't need to really hear anything you can see people pointing to charts and things. Notice there was a stenographer taking public commentary. The video is highly edited but I tried not to alter the meaning of anything. The guy in the middle of the film did want them to condemn his house and he favored that options so he could move, maybe not surprisingly if the other option is to live by the highway off ramp. And at the end, I hope you will watch that, the engineer makes an impassioned plea about how seriously he views the taking of homes. Then I asked the ratings questions... you'll have to watch... it's odd though how the silliest question gets the best and most direct and to the point response...

And thanks for tuning in!