A letter to Merced City Councilman Michael Murphy and colleagues from a neighborhood

 Friends of the Badlands editorial board sent us this letter that a group of neighbors wrote to Merced City Councilman Michael Murphy, who made a campaign visit to a house party on their block this weekend.
Murphy is running for mayor.
He graciously received the letter, read most of it and told its bearer that he agreed with several of the issues the letter raises. He appeared open to hearing about the problems of that neighborhood which, we imagine, are not so different from a number of neighborhoods in town.
The neighbors were impressed with him and he may have changed a few votes on the block in his favor. -- blj



To: Michael Murphy, candidate for mayor of the City of Merced; members of the City Council and other candidates for mayor and council seats
From: East Twenty-Second Street neighborhood
Date: October 16, 2016
Hand delivered
We would like to thank our neighbor for inviting Councilman Murphy, candidate for mayor, to visit our neighborhood. A local homeowners and renters group talking informally this week came up with these suggestions.
First of all, we are really disheartened with how dirty Merced has become in recent years It needs to be cleaned up.
1. The city should start Curbside Spring Cleaning again, not least of all because many people just don't have access to vehicles to take garbage and junk to drop off centers.
2. The city should organize volunteer groups once again to clean up the alleys and replace broken and shot-out street and alley lights.
3. Recycling centers are filthy. The local center on 21st Street is a safety problem: people jaywalk across 21st St., pets wander around the facility and in the streets; it is filthy and the city needs to clean it up.
4. We want more code-enforcement and animal-control officers. We shouldn't have to call police for these matters. Too many stray animals run around our streets because of too many foreclosures, abandonments non- compliance with the leash law and most of all failure to provide affordable spay and neuter programs. Some people in this neighborhood have occupied and vandalized empty homes owned by out-of-town landlords. There is apparently no legal mechanism for arresting this type of criminal. Too many non-operable cars are parked on the street. The city should enforce regulations against illegal auto repair businesses in residential areas.
5. We need a four-way stop at 22nd and Cherry streets or speed bumps on 22nd because it has become a speedway for people living east of Cherry and heading east off Glen Street.  This constant speeding of cars and pickups endangers the many children living on this block.
6. The 22nd Street neighborhood deteriorates rapidly between Cherry Street and the dead end near Yosemite Parkway. It has no sidewalks. It needs city attention. The corridor along the Santa Fe tracks, from E. 23rd to E. 26th streets going east from Glen Street is filthy. The city should petition the railroad and apartment owners to clean it up.
7. We would like to see Parsons Ave. go through and cross the creek because it would take pressure of Glen and 21st streets.
8. People are growing marijuana in this block and the plants have grown higher than the fences.
9. Backyard portable swimming pools must be maintained --either by draining or adding chemicals -- to avoid creating mosquito breeding grounds.
10.  On garbage days our streets get littered. People overfill the cans. Property owners should be notified. Their renters should either get more cans or be cited for overfilling cans.
11. Many of us watch the City Council meetings and tell others about them. We don't always like what we see. Particularly, we do not want to see all public funds going to improving the new communities in North Merced rather than the older, established communities in South and Central Merced. 
12. We are disgusted with local government that has allowed homebuyers to receive a tax break for living in their homes when they in fact rent them out and continue to enjoy this fraudulent discount at the expense of all taxpayers that play by the rules.
13. It is time for UC Merced to pay up. We expect the city to vigorously pursue revenues it has never collected for sewer and water it has provided UC.
14. The city should prohibit commercial bottling of our water supply.
15. This neighborhood is constantly disrupted by illegal fireworks and gunfire. This is all illegal and we would like the city to stop these practices.
16. We are deeply concerned by the city's decision to stop collecting developer fees, thereby effectively withdrawing from MCAG, the only vehicle in the county for the distribution of federal highway funds. Many of us are not voting for Measure V because sales taxes are the most regressive form of taxation, hardest of all on those least able to pay, and, judging from the recent council wrangle over repairing N Street, the least likely to ever get any benefit from the measure.