Merced City Council Meeting, December 1, 2014: A UC Merced student lectures the Council

Submitted: Dec 17, 2014
Badlands Journal editorial board



Uh, sorry about that, I didn't know we were going to jump into public comment so fast ... My name is Peter Howell, I'm here to talk to the city council, mayor, and actually, most specifically to the city manager, Mr. Bramble. Uh, Mr. Bramble, if I could have your attention, sir -- sorry about that -- uh, thanks, OK, sorry about that (waving a baseball hat crumpled in his right hand, body language exaggerated as if he thinks he's speaking to people who don't speak his lingo). Mostly this was about the decision to -- I have three things I have to talk about, mostly city-management issues I believe -- The first is kinda the most controversial I guess, the one the people are the most passionate about, the benching being removed from umm, Bob Hart Square. Ummm, I think that in the future the city council should try and find ways to solve the actual problem that we're experiencing, the homeless problem, as opposed to -- as other people have touched on tonight -- moving it from one place to another,. Umm, there's, there's definitely research. If you want to come out to the UC you could definitely contact a couple of scholars and we could point you in the direction of some other cities that have had very successful homeless-abatement programs through support, actual support of the homeless as opposed to targeting them. Like we've seen on Bear Creek, umm run them out rather than giving them an actual place to say, umm, I think that umm some people have the perception that Merced is soft on homelessness and that's why we have homeless people here and I think homelessness is a problem all over California -- whatever town you go into -- and just acting like it's a problem we should have to deal with, that it's oh, something, whatever, that we can just push it somewhere else I don't think that's the right way to go about it.

Emmm,. the second thing is, I really wish you would go around in some of the northern neighborhoods and eh, remove some of the stop signs that are just completely pointless, for a lot of citizens that live up there that just amounts to basically a waste of gas everyday uh I am a student I am starting my own business, money, gas is pretty important to me if I have a truck loaded down with kegs and I have to stop at six stop signs to get through the neighborhood, uh, it actually affects my gas, so if we could go like north of M Street and just turn some of those T intersections into just straight through it would be really helpful, ah, and I think that's something you guys should have addressed already since those houses haven't been build for several years. I don't know why I have to come up here as a 23-year-old kid and tell you that, hey, there's no houses built there so we should fix that area ummm and then lastly

I think that the bike path on Bellevue um or just really the bike side lane really needs to be fixed. We have serious trucks using that road um like big 16-wheelers carrying construction equipment and we also have the CatTrack buses using that area and those buses go 50 miles an hour 55 miles an hour and people are biking right there. We have the new law that people have to give three feet of space and realistically that's almost impossible for cars to pass so what you have is some responsible drivers slowing down so these can pass at a safe speed and distance and there are other people just buzzing by bikers and some people use that for skateboarding. Is it going to take a UC student dying before the City fixes that part of the road or, I mean I'm going to go to the County Board of Supervisors meeting tomorrow, I believe it's tomorrow and say the same thing, Part of that road is in the county, part of it is in the city, um, I think that is really something we need to address as the UC continues to grow that risk is just continuing to be there and getting bigger and bigger and it's something like ... and M Street is the same thing, you have people going 49 miles an hour next to cyclists and theoretically  uh kids could be biking to school at uh 8 a.m. and you don't know who's going to be out on the road. Is it going to take somebody actually getting hit by a car to fix our streets?

Sorry, this was like an overly negative address to the City Council, but uh it's kinda been bugging me for awhile I was gunna come in a couple of weeks ago and bring up some of this stuff hmm but uh high speed rail uh figured it wasn't the right time. So, um, anyway, I appreciate that you guys do a lot of hard work but I just wish that uh maybe you'd be a little more proactive about some of this stuff and uh search for 21st Century responses to some of the problems that we're having uh. Alright. Thank you.



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