Tracy's forgotten neighborhood
by Michael Langley
Jan 31, 2014 | 10115 views | 26 26 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Forgotten streets
A school bus drives on C Street near Mount Diablo Road on Friday, Jan. 24. A section of the road has been without sidewalks since it was built.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Lisa Di Pasquale is fed up with the lack of city services in her neighborhood. When the real estate agent looks out from her South C Street home, she sees children walking in the road to South/West Park School on Mount Diablo Avenue and the Montessori School on Tracy Boulevard, because there are no sidewalks for them to use.

“We’re literally five blocks from downtown Tracy. It’s not like we’re some outskirts neighborhood,” Di Pasquale said. “It’s very dangerous, being that there’s two schools close by where children have to walk to and from school and they have to walk in the street.”

Fellow Southside resident Ray Morelos is also fed up.

“It’s the neighborhood that growth forgot,” Morelos, a former city councilman, said. “I attended South School back in the second grade, which is over 60 years ago. Now, 60 years later, it’s still the same. No sewer, no sidewalks, no gutters, and still on septic tanks. It’s still the same.”

The southern city limit of Tracy was once marked by West South Street, leaving most of Southside Tracy as a rural part of San Joaquin County. That meant no city amenities and only well water for most farms and homes in the neighborhood.

Tracy grew and incorporated the area south of West South Street — but that did not change the rural nature of the area, according to Public Works Director David Ferguson.

“When it was annexed to the city, it continued to be under those standards,” Ferguson said.

Now the city has grown up around Southside, and Di Pasquale, who bought her house 14 years ago, thinks it’s time it offered residents there normal urban amenities, such as sidewalks and sewer and water access.

“I want to see some changes,” she said. “My ultimate goal is sidewalks up and down Mount Diablo, South C and Mount Oso.”

Di Pasquale and nine other Southside residents stood before the City Council during the Jan. 21 meeting and asked council members to take action and provide those amenities to their community.

Ferguson said the cost of installing those features, which is still unknown, would likely be borne by the residents.

“They would have to pay connection fees for the construction,” he said.

Morelos believes the property owners can’t do it themselves.

“With regards to property owners paying for their part, it was too costly,” he said. “The city still can’t come up with a formula to help the property owners pay to solve that problem down there.”

Ferguson said that without direction from the council, the city staff cannot act.

“The city is not going in and using city funds to install sidewalks, curbs and gutters,” he said. “It would be a policy decision for anything to change. Council sets policy.”

During a regular City Council meeting May 7, the city staff presented three possible ways to pay for infrastructure improvement in the Southside. The council could form a Community Facilities District where property owners could pool their money to pay for the improvements. It could use $89,899 remaining at the time in the Residential Area Specific Plan to pay for city amenities. Or it could do nothing and wait to see if the California Legislature would pass a bill that would fund such projects.

The council voted unanimously to wait and see if the Legislature acted.

Morelos said he had watched city inaction on those issues for years.

“If the city was willing to help, at least in that neighborhood, they could have done something at least piecemeal, and they haven’t done anything at all,” he said.

The public works director said he understood the residents’ concerns about the children’s safety and the appearance of the neighborhood and had walked the area twice so he could see the issues himself.

“We want, obviously, the city to be safe for everyone,” Ferguson said. “I understand that, and I would probably feel the same way if I lived there. But again, for the city to do anything, it goes back to a policy change.”

• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at mlangley@tracypress.com and 830-4231.

 
Comments
(26)
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tracy_fly_boy
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February 08, 2014
This issue has been around a half dozen times...and always before election time. Props to Ray Morelos for making it an election issue again. After all, when he was on the council in the late 80's he didn't lift a single finger to fix the streets. Way to step up for the south siders, huh.
Gabe63
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February 06, 2014
Funny how we can spend money on two bronze men in the middle of down town but refuse to spend money on side walk for students.

I feel the city of Tracy is trying to hard to look like a great community but in reality isn't very community friendly.
108MW
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February 04, 2014
Sneaky - Your post was exactly my point. So many codes and "fees" are just another way of heaping taxes on all of us.
108MW
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February 03, 2014
SOMEBODY works for the government.
Sneaky
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February 03, 2014
There are folks that are employed by the government. Do they actually do any work? I am skeptical.
108MW
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February 03, 2014
P.S. Fudge. I stopped reading your rant when I saw the "word" ta.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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February 03, 2014


An speakin of rants?

Ya make a lot of false assumptions regardin my knowledge of engineered septic systems an thair maintenance. Ya paid fer yer own septic tank. That's what th costs are. Ya didn't pay inta a communal system like the rest of th city did. Don't know when ya put yer septic system in but ya did all of that fer you an no one else. Sorry but if ya want ta connect ta th city's system then ya need to pay th city fer that. Note, while th county does monitor our waste water treatment plant ta ensure it's working th county don't contribute much in th way of fundin fer it's construction, operation an continued operation. That is born by th residents in Tracy who are paying thair taxes ta support that effort. Sorry but it seems that ya haven't been payin inta that fund but ya really got no right ta connect ta somethang ya haven't been payin fer. Sorry ya don't like th way I write but in th end that's yer problem isn't it? It don't bother me a bit. Might I suggest if ya don't like what yer readin, STOP READING IT and stop tryin ta squelch someone else's right of free speech? I honestly stopped any sympathy fer yer rant when ya started ta make it personal because I don't agree with ya.
108MW
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February 03, 2014
Fudge - You're annoying and I never read your posts because they're also annoying and the way you write is part ghetto part trying too hard. But, anyhow. What is trying to be pointed out in plain English is this. I paid 20,000 to have my engineered septic built and put in by professionals which means that I paid the county already to make certain that ALL permits and county codes were met. Not only met, fudge, but with the anticipation that a problem MAY arise. You probably don't have an engineered septic so you have no notion of what you're babbling about but there is an alarm that goes off in my home if there is a problem which means fudge, that I call a septic company out to repair the problem. I don't NEED to pay the $350 tax, which is what it is, to the county so that they too can tell me that something is wrong with MY septic system that I already paid for. You're annoying.
TalkinTracy
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February 01, 2014
Hey jarbukle a lawsuit makes sense to you right? So. Who will you sue. The county whom built the homes with septic tanks? The schools who didn't build sidewalks? The property owners who don't give a bull cookie and let the buildings fall down? The city who didn't get grant monies for free sewer pipes? A developer who developed across the street and didn't give these homes free sewerage? The governor who took money from local governments in California? The federal government who thinks my once displaced, co-worker who was laid off has to pay a federal fine because he can't afford insurance at his lower paying contract job? The South Side residents who moved there knowing the county built homes without sewerage? The auto mall? Home Depo? The mall? Santa Clause? Putin? Hitler? Noriega? Bob Hope or the Beetles?

Who? Did you pay the county for sewer pipes? Did the developer ask the county to provide sewer pipes when the county approved the homes?

So. Who will you sue?

The residents. Do they want to pay the fee to connect? Do they know where the fireworks money goes? Sadly they don't. They want someone else to go get upset for them and then they feel better about getting nothing.
me-here
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February 02, 2014
It has alwayw been my understanding that Mt. Oso and Mt. Diablo roads area was never in the City of Tracy and are current only county properties.

Somewhere back in the ages, they never hooked up to City services and never paid the hookup fees or city taxes.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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February 02, 2014
me-here

That's my take on it.
jarbuckle
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February 01, 2014
Southside residents have been paying property taxes for many many years. Where does that money go. It hasn't gone to curb gutters and sidewalks.

The Southside residents pay water bills just like the reset of Tracy residents. In their water bills they pay for upgrades to the sewer treatment plant, the new outfall pipe, and all other components of water and sewer maintenance and upgrades. What do they get for it. They get to pay to pump their septic tanks.

When there are heavy rains Southside streets are flooded and septic tanks don't work.

Whether your Liberal or conservative Democrat or Republican you should get what you get taxed for.

Lawsuit possibly.



Sneaky if you want to live on the Southside I'm sure one of the residents will trade their house for your nice suburban home.

TheWattchers
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February 02, 2014
Property taxes are paid to San Joaquin County who built the homes.
me-here
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February 07, 2014
Jarbuckle: The taxes on those areas which are not "in the City of Tracy" go only to the County. They are not and never did pay taxes to the City of Tracy. When my property was taken into the City....guess what....there were very expensive hook up fees AND THEN MY TAXES PAID TO THE COUNTY WERE SHARED WITH THE CITY. NOT UNTIL THEN. I paid to have sidewalks put in front of my property. Not done by the City until redone years later.
TalkinTracy
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February 01, 2014
A couple of things grind us the wrong way. One is the people who represent the South Side always have a liberal agenda. And they always play their card politically motivated instead of trying to help the South Side people. I guess it's because if you do a precinct walk you find that most residents are democrats so the South Side so-called community leaders must think they are doing the South Side residents a favor?

But it's clear to many in the South Side that they're being taken for a ride. Look at how the South Side leaders allow the newspaper to portray South Side property owners. Barbed wire fences, dilapidated properties and a whole lot more. It's sad, but people are being abused by South Side spokespersons for decades.

The hardest part to fathom is why we put up with it. I see every election the South Side leaders telling people to vote for Democrats and for years they held Tracy Democratic Meetings at their places of business. Outrageously, they will not tell the South Side residents to go knock on Jerry Browns door and ask him to give the redevelopment funds that California took away.

This is California liberals screwing California liberals at their best.
Sneaky
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February 01, 2014
I have a message for the residents of that area. You should be happy with the positive things about the area. You don't know how lucky you are. I live in a more typical suburban part of Tracy and have always wanted to move to an area with a more rural feel. I once tried to buy a house on Mount Oso but was outbid. I say they should enjoy your large lots and relative freedom from moronic city and HOA regulations. You complain about having no gutters but guess what, if you did it would just be more grief that it is worth. Every year or so I get nasty letters from the city threatening to fine me because when I hose down my driveway the grass clippings and such get in the gutter. It makes me wonder what the heck they think the gutter is for. You can probably park more or less anywhere with no complaints, whereas if I choose to park on my grass one day, or at the end of my driveway, across the sidewalk, I would no doubt get a fine or at minimum a "don't do that or we will fine you" letter. The fact that your neighborhood is on septic tanks also means that you probably don't pay the sewer fees the rest of us have to.

You do not realize how good you have it.
108MW
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February 01, 2014
Good Point! Wouldn't it be nice if you could pay their taxes and then be left alone? But noooooooo. You gotta pay for your own harassment. I can't even monitor my own septic anymore. My friend is a contractor and he can't even monitor his own septic. Gotta pay the county, albeit not sure of San Joaquin; talking about Tuolumne, to make sure I can krap in my own toilet without the government monitoring it. $350.00 a year. Pretty sure I can tell when my krapper is too full.

Ornley_Gumfudgen
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February 02, 2014
108MW

Only $350 annually ta ensure ya can take a crap in yer toilet? Seems pretty cheap ta me considerin th average homeowner in Tracy is payin upwards of $40 a month fer sewer tax as applied ta thair water bill. Let me see, that works out ta be slightly less than $30 a month. Somehow or other I don't feel anyone is gonna thank yer gettin a raw deal from th county ta ensure yer septic tank ain't pollutin our drinkin water that comes out of th ground.
yepper
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January 31, 2014
You won't get any help from the city council ...... They are too busy buying statues / kiosks / freeway signs / etc. / etc.

I KNOW! Tell them your part of the Tracy Automall ! Maybe that will work .........
108MW
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February 01, 2014
Hey that ridiculous touch screen kiosk looks like it's really raking in the dough.
SpikeVFR
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January 31, 2014
so wait, you bought homes in the area knowing there weren't services, and they you are upset that there aren't services where you bought your home?
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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February 02, 2014
SpikeVFR

In many respects thair's is virtually th same complaint th Clover Road community has been airin regardin city amenities in thair community amenities they didn't contribute to in order ta have them put inta place.

Now if all of these homeowners want ta make up all of th back taxes that make these amenities possible I don't see a problem with th City takin em all in an placein all of it under th control of the City ta maintain. But it's unfair ta expect other tax payin citizens ta shoulder th financial burden while a few reap th benefit without havin ta pay fer it. It's really that simple.
reader72
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January 31, 2014
I have lived in the neighborhood for 30 years. It seems to me this area has been pretty much ignored while new housing with the sidewalks and gutters have been installed across the street. Why wasn't this addressed when these new houses were built?
Downtown_JulieBrown
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January 31, 2014
89,000 dollars won't make the cut. The money from the fireworks booth won't help either.

California state builds schools for low income areas like Lammers etc and never considers the students parking or walking.

Brown is a clown.
Tracy1999
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January 31, 2014
"Brown is a clown"

Is that the same Brown as in Downtown_JulieBrown.


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