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Turlock resident supports roadblock fee, warns of future block party problems

POSTED July 12, 2013 10:36 p.m.

When Turlock resident Myra Demartini invited her family over for fireworks, barbecue and celebrations on July 4, she was expecting to see the red and blue lights of fireworks, not police cars.


Demartini, who lives in a neighborhood near Crowell Road across the street from California State University, Stanislaus stated that on the night of July 4, the block she lives on threw a neighborhood block party. However, the party Demartini claims, was not actually meant for the whole block.


“We had no idea that the party was even happening,” said Demartini. “Only about three or four houses actually living on the block were invited to the supposed ‘block party.’”


Demartini stated that the troubles began when her daughter-in-law asked those throwing the party to move a table that was blocking the area in which Demartini and her family wanted to light up their own fireworks. She stated that after asking those throwing the party to move the table, Demartini’s daughter-in-law was subjected to verbal abuse.


“I thought they were going to hit her,” said Demartini.


According to Demartini, things escalated to a point where she had to call upon law enforcement. However, Demartini claims that the peace officers did not break up the party, and that the festivities continued on till past midnight, prompting a complaint letter that she sent out to the Turlock City Council.


The incident comes during a time when the city is currently discussing a proposed road block policy that would call for those applying for a road closure for block parties to provide proof of special event insurance of $1 million dollars, and pay a mandatory $40 processing fee.


Although the policy has always been a part of the city’s municipal code, its implementation did not go into effect until last month.


Demartini stated that she is in favor of the insurance policy and that the city needs to address the risks involved with neighborhood block parties.


“Somebody has got to do something,” said Demartini. “If they don't put a stop to this, someone is eventually going to get hurt.”


The policy has also spurred up quite the debate with city members and the council.


On Tuesday night, the council discussed the proposed policy with council members Amy Bublak and Bill Dehart opposing the new requirement, stating that it would deter community members from participating in neighborhood events.


“It goes against what makes this place so great to live in,” said Bublak. “This absolutely is not the way to go.” Bublak also discussed the possibility for an exemption for National Night out, a country wide effort to spur community engagement, set to be held next month.


 Dehart echoed Bublak’s concerns, stating the mandatory fee on road closures seemed “somewhat oppressive.”


Currently, the city does not charge fees or require insurance to those looking to apply for street permits. It does however, make sure the party applying follows the traffic control plan at all times, provide light barricades for requested areas that lack adequate lighting and requires that alleys shall not be temporarily blocked by anything other than barricades or cones.


Successful applicants usually demonstrate a collective request for a community centered event. Main streets are excluded from road closures.


The Council is expected to vote on the fate of the road closure policy at the next council meeting on July 23.


On Tuesday night, the City Council also:


• presented a proclamation welcoming new California State University, Stanislaus President Joseph F. Sheley


• Approved the City of Turlock Safety Program and authorizing the implementation of the procedures and general safety orders outlined within, effective immediately


• Approved the contract between the City of Turlock and United States Judo

Federation to offer judo classes.

• Authorized the City Manager to sign and mail a letter of support for the Fire

Sprinkler Incentive Act – Senate Bill S.1163.

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