Cleanup reveals hidden camp
by Glenn Moore
Aug 29, 2014 | 6306 views | 7 7 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Grant Line Road abatement
A woman and a man sift through debris in a field off Grant Line and Lammers roads on Monday. The area once held a pair of farmhouses and had recently been used by squatters. The property was cleared Monday as a crew removed a tree from the lot.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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A group of squatters was removed from a field at Grant Line and Lammers roads on Monday.

Deputy Les Garcia, spokesman for the San Joaquin County Sheriff department, said that neighbors had complained about people trespassing on a property at the corner, which was the site of a former home and barn.

Garcia described the people as squatters who gathered near a large tree near the edge of the road. He said the property owner had made arrangements to remove the tree on Monday and Tuesday.

Deputies were sent to keep the peace and make sure there were no confrontations between the crews removing the tree and the squatters.

Garcia said the people on the property were trespassing and could have been arrested, though no one was. He did not have an exact number of squatters, describing the group as “several” people.

The only record of a complaint by neighbors was on Monday, Garcia said, and he did not know how long complaints had been made.

The Press spoke with 10 neighbors on Lammers Road between Grant Line and Middle roads on Wednesday, none of whom said they had complained about the people trespassing. All the neighbors said they were used to seeing homeless people walk down Lammers to the property.

On Monday and Tuesday, crews could be seen removing trees and branches along Lammers Road. They also removed concrete from the foundation of a barn that used to be on the property and large piles of trash, including shopping carts, bottles, bags and other debris.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, people who had been squatting in the field lined up along Grant Line Road across from the field with possessions they had taken from the property.

Tracy Police Department Lt. Luis Mejia said Thursday that the police had not received any complaints about the people, nor had they broken any laws by sitting on the lawn with their possessions.

“Being homeless isn’t a crime,” Mejia said. “Being homeless doesn’t give you any less rights than you or me.”

• Contact the Tracy Press at or 835-3030.

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September 04, 2014
Where's that darned Al Sharpton when you need him?

September 03, 2014
"Being homeless isn’t a crime,” Mejia said. “Being homeless doesn’t give you any less rights than you or me.”

However trespassing, loitering, defacing, and destruction or theft of public/private property doesn't give you more rights than me. That includes off-roading, shooting, or dumping your garbage with deliberate intent of circumventing the law.

All one need do is look around Tracy to many areas of (avoiding going to Tracy Recycle and) simply dumping on the side of the road. By the very same people who supposedly "know better" plus were either paid or could afford to go to the dumps.

'Humans create trash'. Then scratch their heads wondering where to put it.

August 31, 2014
Homelessness is not a crime, but trespassing, squatting and stealing shopping carts from stores so you can move their possessions is a crime. If we quit giving these people money they will go find somewhere else to live. I'm surprised there weren't protesters (besides the homeless.. let's call them champions for the homeless) out there complaining that someone was taking their private property back and not allowing someone to call it their "home". These same "champions of justice" would not want the homeless on their lawns and property but will complain that someone else won't let them stay on theirs. These homeless have no problem squatting in an area they call "home" regardless of whether it is legal. Just because someone is not "using it", doesn't mean is isn't theirs. I have shirts and pants in my closet that I don't use often, that doesn't mean that someone should come in and "borrow them" until I need them... it's the same principle.

September 02, 2014
Hey firemedic what size britches do you wear?
August 30, 2014
Homelessness is everywhere. When rents continuously going up and jobs that don't support that rent (in this town), I'm surprised that there aren't more people homeless. ....and no moving from your hometown doesn't solve the problem.
August 29, 2014
Perhaps, Lt. Mejia, you wouldn't mind if the squatters squatted on your lawn. After all, they don't have any less right to your lawn than you do.
August 29, 2014
Every square inch of this country is “owned” or “claimed” by someone or some entity which supposedly manages it in some fashion. Every square inch of land in this country is affected by taxation. Many homeless people don’t figure into this calculus because they don’t work. Instead, they abandon shopping carts, litter, vandalize public property, but, technically, according to Lt. Mejia, they aren’t doing anything criminal. I think to myself, “When is this country going to do something about homelessness? When is this country going to do something about unemployment? When is this country going to do something about the porous southern border?”

But then I think about Lt. Mejia’s comment and realize he pretty much sums up our attitude about these issues. I am wondering why a comment from him is even a part of this article.

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