Council Roundup: Permit parking plan postponed as students make their case
by Michael Langley
Mar 07, 2014 | 6209 views | 13 13 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Tracy City Council decided Tuesday, during their regular meeting, to postpone for 60 days a decision about establishing a pilot program for parking permits in two neighborhoods west of Tracy High School.

The council asked the city staff to develop a permit parking plan during the regular meeting Jan. 21 after hearing concerns from neighbors who live on 12th Street and Berverdor Avenue between East Street and Mae Avenue.

Dozens of students from Tracy High filled the council chambers Tuesday to suggest some other solutions.

“We don’t choose to park in the neighborhoods. We do not want to park in the neighborhoods,” senior Katie Low said during the public comment period.

The assistant superintendent of business services for Tracy Unified School District, Casey Goodall, said he and Superintendent Dr. James Franco had personally counted the 250 student parking spaces at Tracy High and also found about 80 cars parked in the neighborhood on one day. He said part of the problem is that the school is on a 32-acre piece of land. He estimates the student population of more than 2,000 would ideally need 55 to 60 acres.

“It would be much more convenient to be dropped off,” Tracy High senior Sarah Jessee told the council. “You have to keep in mind that this is a commuter town. The reason both my parents work is so eventually I can afford to go to college, which is the whole point of high school: to push out our students to be productive in the real world.”

Neighbors had complained about damage to their parked cars by other cars speeding through the narrow streets, trash left on their lawns, public urination and general loitering by THS students.

Senior Kyla Jessen, who was elected by 140 students in Dr. Steven Drouin’s social studies classes to speak for the interests of Tracy High, suggested mending fences with a good-neighbor day.

“Throwing a barbecue and doing some yard work for the neighbors, picking up trash,” Jessen said, “so we can restore that relationship.”

Jessen told the council that the students had discussed many possible ways to address the neighbors’ concerns. She said most students cannot carpool, because by law, most cannot drive teenage passengers. A park-and-ride program would not address the needs of students in the regional occupational program, who work off campus for course credit, or those in work-experience programs, she said.

Goodall told the council that TUSD is forming a committee of students, school administrators, Drouin and district administrators that will meet by the end of the month to brainstorm options. When asked by Councilman Charles Manne how TUSD would include the neighborhood, Goodall responded that district leaders would engage with neighbors with a smaller group once some ideas came from the first committee.

Tracy High senior Chad Leiske said working with people living near the school is a core principle of their next steps.

“The parking program will not fix the majority of the issues that the neighbors have,” Leiske said. “The idea of a good-neighbor program is such a good idea, because it lets students the ability to work in a community setting and really establish the relationship, the dialogue.”

Following the public comments from the students, every member of the City Council praised their commitment to finding solutions outside of city action. Councilwoman Nancy Young added that some adults could learn lessons from the students about not just presenting problems but also suggesting answers.

Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel, who publicly criticized TUSD during the council meeting Jan. 21 for not dealing with the problem earlier, praised the district.

“The school district has become very proactive in dealing with this,” Maciel said.

Mayor Brent Ives suggested waiting 60 days to decide about a parking permit pilot program, to allow the district and students time to reach some solutions with the neighborhood. All five council members agreed by consensus to the two-month delay.

After the decision, Goodall praised Drouin and his students.

“Dr. Drouin, I think, engaged his students in a really positive way,” the assistant superintendent said. “He hasn’t told them what to do, he’s made them think about the impacts of actions.”

Drouin, who was in the audience but did not speak to the council, was happy with his classes.

“Democracy is compromise. I am pretty pleased in general,” he said.

City reviews financial transparency plan

The council also heard from the director of administrative services for the city, Jenny Haruyama, about plans to update the way the city handles its money.

Haruyama said she was in the process of revising the auditing process and reviewing city financial policies.

“While I really believe the city internal controls work, they’re solid, there’s always value in doing a self-check,” she said. “We’re looking very carefully at credit card policies. We’re looking at cellphone policies, travel, petty cash handling, and really doing a comprehensive review.”

Haruyama also briefed the council about new software being installed that she hopes will be done by the end of the fiscal year in June.

“It provides a lot of user-friendly, easy ways to access our city’s financial information where you can drill down by fund, by department. You query on very specific expenses,” she said. “It’s a very simplified tool for someone to get real information quickly.”

Haruyama said the city’s finances could be made available to the public on the city’s website after the installation.

• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at 830-4231 or mlangley@tracypress.com.
Comments
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newtotracy
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March 10, 2014
the kids did a great job of voicing their case and asking for more time. I can only hope that they voice this to the other kids at the school however...since it's not the one's who are involved who are the issue.

a) deal with the parents who seem to think that their taxi service trumps all other laws or rights

b) deal with the kids who think that surrounding streets are mere speedways for them to play on.

I live several blocks away on the other side of Holly...and just today saw at least 10 cars full of kids hauling tail down 12th St. I guess it'll take them hitting someone or each other to make a case for bussing.

there is NO "need" to drive...there are busses (albeit not great ones in CA) and there is carpooling. I looked the other day after school...and the number of cars who were after school were not a great number. They don't want to carpool...I get it.

school district needs to come up with a new parking lot...yes, it'll raise our taxes, but what's the cost on all of the studies etc that we're paying for now? let's make residents happy, students safe...and spend extra funds on police to nail the speeders!
victor_jm
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March 10, 2014
It's all about self-interest and money because the zero-sum game of our lives is more important than the non-zero-sum interactions of cooperative people. The non-zero sum people are trying to ameliorate the damages of the zero-sum players.

Remember, we decide which animals may live in luxury (dogs) and which animals will die in squalor (cows). Sorry, but I don't value the dog's life over the cow's life, and the type of thinking which places a different value on different creatures, particularly, the skewed thinking of the moral primate, humans, is at the root of this issue, but few of us understand this.

The people in this neighborhood deserve tranquility, and the answer isn't to move this nuisance to another neighborhood. The school was never intended to accommodate the current student body. The District has been derelict; they have been feeding the cows to the dogs.

Still, they can't help it. They're just doing what they've been told by the mythmakers.

Ornley_Gumfudgen
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March 10, 2014
victor

"The District has been derelict; they have been feeding the cows to the dogs."

I believe it was th citizens of Tracy who were derelict in not makin certain thair elected School Board was doin it's job. They did it because th collective "WE" allowed em to through our own ambivalence ta what was goin on under our noses.

If ya have been in Tracy close ta five years or so, ya should have known these problems existed an done somethang about em then. It ain't a new problem. It's been goin on fer decades an nothin has been done about it because most of th citizenry don't care ta force th district, an pay fer it, ta take th appropriate action.

Th District then, does what it always done fer th past few decades an points th finger at th City ta solve an take th heat fer when really th City ain't got much ta do with it except see that drivers on th street drive lawfully, which ain't just a problem around Tracy High but a problem all over Tracy especially around th other schools.

I am astounded more children around our schools haven't been maimed or killed what with th daily dangerous drivin activity I see; mainly at th elementary an middle schools whair th parents of those students teach thair students at an early age that it's OK ta break th law when yer in a hurry an it's ta yer benefit ta do so.

An th authority that needs ta fix it? It's yer elected School Board, they are th ones that deal with these problems because it's thair facilities that cause em.

Funny, I don't much hear people blastin th School Board as much as they blast th City Council. Why is that? Thair both elected officials aren't they?

Ornley_Gumfudgen
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March 10, 2014
newtotracy

It's a start an I hope they larned somethang positive in thair experience.

They are gonna need that in th future when they take th reins of leadership away from those who apparently don't really know how ta lead all that effectively.

Don't expect instant results. But these kids are interested so let's take that an run with it, considerin how many adults don't really seem ta care all that much.

Fer cartain, thair ain't no easy fix ta this problem. No matter what ya do someone's not gonna be happy an that's really gonna center on, as it always does, money. How much money can be spent ta make th problem go away?
rose1234
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March 09, 2014
Recently when I passed by the corner of MacAuthur and 11th past Tracy High I thought,

"they should have just made that a parking lot for THS".

There are empty business building there, but business is bad.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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March 10, 2014
So rose

Are ya sayin ya thank th School District should raise yer taxes ta purchase that property so they can use it fer a partkin lot?

If ya got enough voters ta agree by votin fer it it might actually work.
landingapproach
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March 07, 2014
Why not build a parking structure on the school property that can handle all cars. The students and teachers will be happy, the neighbors will be happy.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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March 09, 2014
landingapproach

Good idea! Now, are ya certain all of th local property tax payers are gonna support it by raisin thair taxes so th school can build it?

Not ta be negative but some how or other I personally don't thank that idea is gonna fly very fore an very well could crash before takin off ta later land with a correct approach.

I'd like ta see somethang from th school district. Out of Tracy High's administrator/student population, how many vehicles are actually involved in th school parkin issue on th whole.

Then, even though it may not meet th entire demand, utilizin th ag fields that lay fallow or used fer practice sports training, might be used fer such a parkin structure. What's more important, sports or education. I understand student complaints about not havin a place ta park but honestly, that's not th local home owner's problem now is it?

It's a school related problem and at best, fer th protection of home owners, a parkin by permit on th street in front of thair homes is th only real parkin that should be permitted on a day ta day basis.

Once in a while is fine fer anyone ta deal with. Day after day is too much. It's a school board issue.
mdsmith17
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March 09, 2014
Parking structures cost millions of dollars.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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March 10, 2014


mdsmith17

"Parking structures cost millions of dollars.

An yer point is?

mdsmith17
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March 11, 2014
What is my point? The point is parking structures cost millions of dollars. Do I have to add that the school district can't afford that? I kind of thought it would go without saying.
CharlieWaffles
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March 07, 2014
Having a bbq and picking up garbage will change nothing you kids are taking up all of the parking
tinwings
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March 08, 2014
Charlie,

It looks like you to are part of the problem. How about making some positive suggestions and use your God given brain to try to help the situation. Get off the couch and get involved in the solution, work with the council and students to find an answer. You live near a school, probably the same one you went to. A lot of these kids live miles away from the school and have no other means to get there. I'm trying to help and so should you!


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