Your Voice: Churchill, invasion of privacy, more THS parking & Kimball needs to get a grip
Feb 14, 2014 | 7600 views | 1 1 comments | 194 194 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kimball, count your blessings

EDITOR,

As a sophomore currently attending Millennium High School who has been involved in various sports, I have got to say that Katelyn Trent’s complaint is absurd at the very least. I will not deny the fact that school athletics are a crucial part of the high school system socially, economically, and traditionally. We should all be very fortunate to have ongoing sports for all of our local high schools despite the financial crisis the state of California is in. Our school softball team has had numerous successes as league champions despite playing on a barely salvageable home field at a school location that does not at all resemble a high school. So for her to have the audacity to complain about “dry fields” is comedy. Kimball has a beautiful campus that functions well for all the necessities, and these little complaints make it seem like they don’t already get enough. As most of us are aware, a record-breaking drought has swept through the area, and even with this weekend’s blessed rains, the yearly rainfall is still below average. Californians everywhere have been asked to limit their sprinkler use and to conserve water as this upcoming summer will be hell if we do not follow the proper precautions to alleviate the effects. So until enough rainfall has brought the yearly average back to normal, the maintenance of the Kimball High fields and the perfectly substantial turf fields should be forgotten for a while. Just take a tour of our campus, and you’ll realize to appreciate more. As a school, we’ve dealt with and prevailed over many hardships athletically and academically. Why can’t Kimball afford to do the same?

Jordan Jeffers, Tracy

More THS permit zones needed

EDITOR,

I currently live behind Tracy High School, and we need a radius pilot area rather than two blocks for the permit parking trial being done.

We have been complaining about this issue for years. The students drive reckless at high speeds when pedestrians are around. Including my small children. The students trash the neighborhood along with Fine Park. I am continually picking up trash off my lawn and out of the street. They also use my personal trash bins to dump their garbage when there are dumpsters five steps away. The workers from TUSD also come in Fine Park and smoke and then leave all the cigarette filters littering the park. At any point, there are tons littering around the trash can. Yes — around, not in, the garbage. The school points at the police department and the P.D. points at the school. No one wants to take accountability for this ongoing problem. I will get our entire neighborhood to sign a petition to include our neighborhood in the permitted parking area trial. I would like to see all residential neighborhoods affected assisted, not just two blocks. There is no accountability on the students. They have no repercussions and continue their actions knowing this.

Please include our neighborhood in the permit parking area. If we are not included, the students will just move all their vehicles to our neighborhood.

Thank you for your consideration.

Briana Cordeiro, Tracy

Government invasion of privacy is a local concern

EDITOR,

During the January 7 City Council meeting we finally saw open discussion of the Tracy Police Department’s practice of secretly recording individuals who are suspected of no crime, while they are in their own homes and have every expectation of privacy. During this discussion, police Chief Gary Hampton stated that “surreptitious recordings … are regulated by our policies and supported by state law.”

California’s Privacy Act requires that all parties to a communication must consent to its recording — violation of this act is a criminal offense. An exemption is provided for law enforcement personnel, with the specific intent of aiding “in the investigation of criminal conduct.” TPD policy, developed by an independent risk management firm, likewise permits surreptitious recordings “during the course of a criminal investigation.” There is no justification, however, in statute, pertinent case law or TPD policy, for surreptitiously recording citizens in the course of activities that do not involve criminal conduct.

In contrast, TPD policy strictly prohibits surreptitious recording of other TPD members. Coupled with the TPD practice of recording the average citizen, this prohibition amounts to a twofold violation of Article 1, Section 7 of the California Constitution — the TPD has assumed both privileges (of recording others) and immunities (of not being recorded themselves) that are not granted on the same terms to all citizens.

This practice of secretly recording citizens who are not suspected of any crime is an invasion of privacy, contrary to the California Constitution, and potentially a criminal violation of law. Mr. Hampton has failed to respond to a policy complaint regarding this practice for over two years. If the TPD cannot justify and will not abandon this practice, then the City Council must intervene to protect the fundamental, constitutional and statutory privacy rights of the people of Tracy.

Paul Miles, Tracy

Take back our community

EDITOR,

America is broken, we are broken. We the people of the United States of America need to fix them.

We sit and we complain about our terrible plight, and trust me, I accept as much blame as any other citizen doing nothing to stop the erosion. What I propose is that we follow the lead of our forefathers and take action. Let’s stop the decline, let’s stop the erosion of America and let’s start fixing it. We need to lift the rocks and expose the cockroaches wherever they are. We need to crush them. We need to take back America. I am writing on behalf of all the decent, honest, hardworking, honorable citizens, politicians/civil servants, and working men and women of this once-marvelous nation. A nation which is being eroded and will eventually be destroyed by criminals (self-serving politicians, the liberal media, unions, and government administrators). I am writing because only a few are standing up and saying, “Enough,” and I/we are doing nothing about the state of affairs but complain and we do not stand up beside them.

Well, I am saying, “Enough.” Let’s do something about it all. I propose we lift the rocks, expose the cockroaches and restore integrity and trust, respect and honor, and the commitment to our legacy (our children). We must take back the government, take back the media, take back our nation and put people in positions of authority and responsibility who are acting in the interest of the people. Good people acting in the interest of and representing the old America.

Let’s band together, do business with each other, seek like people to join our cause, and most of all find those who will stand up and represent us and our country and then support them. We will start in Tracy and then move on.

Bill Durbin, Tracy

Churchill situation handled poorly

EDITOR,

I have just read about our city manager using a city credit card for personal expenses. Being a prior business owner, I am appalled at the city’s dealing with this manner. This should have not been a slap-on-the-wrist situation and then go on as business as usual. The man was warned once before about using the city credit card for personal expenses. This matter should have never been handled by the City Council; this is a criminal matter. This is taxpayer money. This card was never to be used for personal use or even for a personal loan. The manager did not pay back the money until he was caught by the auditors. One of the excuses for not letting him go was that he was proficient in his duties. I would hope that we have elected officials who could hire a new outstanding person to do the job and don’t use city money for personal expenses. But then again, according to the article, they had a lack of judgment in dealing with this situation. When you think of this incident, it makes you wonder how this manager can manage our city. What else has he done, when dealing with city affairs?

Stephen Ridolfi, Tracy

What does Churchill know?

EDITOR,

Mayor Brent Ives and Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel are quite understanding, even magnanimous, about City Manager Leon Churchill’s having played fast and loose with the city’s credit card on numerous occasions over the years. That’s your money and mine, folks. And I’ve got news for everybody: Even if you return stolen goods after you’re caught, you can still be prosecuted. Of course, that’s in the real galaxy, not government. What I find astounding is that there seems to be no particular public outcry, that we accept this sort of thing as a fact of life; that that’s the way it was, the way it is, and the way it will always be. That said, am I the only person who thinks Mr. Ives and Mr. Maciel don’t remotely dare try to punish Mr. Churchill because of what Mr. Churchill knows?

Carl Dellanno, Tracy

Mosquito board wrong

EDITOR,

The San Joaquin County Mosquito & Vector Control District is governed by a nonelected, part-time Board of Trustees, and the agency is funded through property

taxes and special benefit assessments. Each of the seven cities in San Joaquin County appoints one trustee and the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors appoints four trustees to represent the unincorporated areas of the county. Trustees meet each month and they receive a per-meeting stipend of $100. However, the San Joaquin Taxpayers Association discovered that the trustees had, in fact, voted on July 21, 2009, to approve health insurance benefits for themselves that are normally reserved for full-time employees.

Because of public interest and local media coverage on such a waste of taxpayer money, followed by a San Joaquin County Grand Jury report, the district’s attorney asked the trustees to revisit the issue. Most recently, the matter was discussed at the board’s regular meeting on Jan. 21. Several trustees spoke in favor of continuing the benefit, a few spoke against it and the decision was made to revisit the issue at the next regular meeting, March 18.

The city of Tracy’s representative and longtime trustee Chet Miller was among those who voted to end the health insurance benefit. Mr. Miller addressed the other board members and said, “We are wrong. We cannot be on a board where we vote the same for us as the employees get, because most of what we do gets done right here at the monthly meetings.”

Thank you, Chet!

Leroy Ornellas, Tracy

 

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Comments
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mtrew
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February 14, 2014
To say Katelyn's letter is absurd is slightly absurd itself. We all need to get educated at the state level and see that we could overcome our financial crisis and our schools could be made all that they could be by halting the misuse and waste of our taxpayer dollars. That is the bottom line.

As far as the grass being "dry". It is not just that. There are pot holes and lumps that need to be fixed in order for the playing field to be at the least somewhat safe for our children. We need water to do that. Thanks to the city for responding to our needs. As a parent I do not require a state of the art field for my kids but my tax dollars had better ensure that they are safe. If you understood the issues we have had at Kimball (a new supposed "state of the art" school) and the bureaucracy behind the attempts to have things fixed that should have never been an issue in the first place, then you may understand our frustration. Don't judge unless you walk in our shoes. She has valid complaints and I hope now some action will be taken. I wish for all kids to have safe and productive years at their schools and if something is not right I encourage students to come forth as she has.


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