Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

Stop MIDInsanity.com

My friends, if you care about the future of our City, County and Valley, please take a few moments and
read from the several articles contained in the site, below.
The Management and several Directors of the MID have been engaged in a malicious attempt to sell the 
most precious asset we own, our pure water.  MID was created to protect our rivers, our water, and
provide water to farmers.  In the last 100 years, that water has created a bounty far beyond what
the creators dreamed.  Our farmers feed the world, and make an economy our of the drops of water
provided by their predecessors.  MID wants to get out of the Agriculture water business, and would
start by selling “small” amounts of water to San Francisco.
Please understand that this first sale of a “small” amount of water equals the total annual water supply for
the Cities of Turlock, Riverbank AND Oakdale.  And that is just what MID admits to now.
Again, please take a look at this site. Thank you very much, Dave

It is finally up.  Spread the word.  We need to get the real facts out about this insane water sale.

There is no water to sell.  It is all contracted.


MID’s Water Analysis by Reed Smith Part II

For those of you who the prior article doesn’t display in the desired way please use the following link.



MID’s Water Analysis by Reed Smith





Estimate for 2018

MAXIMUM MID Annual Allocation Tuolumne River

310,000  AF

Spillage from Oakdale Irrigation District into MID (actually zero) (6)

0  AF

Seepage/evaporation from Modesto Reservoir and System  (1)

(60,000)  AF

Agriculture Customer Use  (Acre Feet = AF) (1)

(191,000)  AF

City of Modesto Domestic Water Project Phase #1  (2)

(35,000)  AF

Environmental Stewardship  
  FERC Relicense of Don Pedro projected (Min.) (3)(4)

(20,000)  AF

  CA Water Resources Control     (Min.) (3)

(24,000)  AF

  Bay/Delta (3)  
  San Joaquin River Restoration (3)  
City of Modesto Domestic Water Project Phase #2 (3)(4)

(35,000)  AF

  CA Dept. of Housing and Comm. Dev.(5)  
Outflow (regardless of infrastructure improvements)

(30,000)  AF


Current Over-Commitment

(85,000)  AF



(395,000)  AF

NOTE:  The only variable that can be manipulated is Agricultural Customer allocation
There are 58,000 Acres eligible to receive ag water in the MID  
Asst. Gen Manager, Walt Ward has presented that the base ag allocation is 191,000 AF.
  191,000 AF ÷ 58,000 acres = 3.293 AF / acre, or                                39.5 acre inches / acre
If MID has over committed our water by 85,000 AF, and the only source for adjustment is ag,
Mod II/FERC   191,000 AF + (85,000 AF) = 106,000 AF  
Mod II/FERC   106,000 AF ÷ 58,000 acres = 1.83 AF / acre, or 21.93 acre inches / acre

(85,000) + (27,200) AF CCSF

(112,200)  AF

Mod II/FERC/CCSF 191,000 AF + (112,200 AF) = 78,800 AF  
Mod II/FERC/CCSF 78,800 AF ÷ 58,000 acres = 1.36 AF / acre, or

16.30 acre inches / acre

If an almond crop requires 36 acre inches to produce a decent crop, how many acres will a
grower need to own to fallow to provide enough water?

2.21 acres

Every grower in MID will have to fallow 59% of their land to grow a permanent crop.
What banker is going to make a “Crop Line” loan or real estate loan on those values?
Growers will have to fallow

34,071  acres

At 3,000 lb almond crop (nonpereil + pollinator) @ $1.90/ lb $5,700 / acre
With Modesto Chamber economic multiplication factor of 7X $39,900 per acre
Times acres fallowed = ANNUALLY


Multiplied by MID’s proposed contract terms of 60 years =






    (1) Walt Ward 3/5/12 Landowner Meeting MID  
    (2)  GM Short present to Modesto Chamber of Commerce, MID 2/17/12
    (3)  Tim O’Laughlin MID Board 2/14/12  
    (4) Tim O’Laughlin Modesto City Council 3/13/12  
    (5) Dave Thomas – 22,800 AF Requires City of Modesto to build 22,800 new homes
      as share of population growth to be completed by 2014 (State Law)
    (6) Walt Ward 3/5/12 Landowner Meeting MID – presented +16,000 AF = FALSE CLAIM

“Whats on America’s Mind” Tonight at 7:00

Tonight we’re going to be talking about the Modesto Irrigation District’s water sale, the Free Speech demonstration at the City Council meeting Tuesday,  Florida’s Stand Your Ground law , Trayvon Martin, the Supreme Court’s  “Political Leanings” and an environmental update on fracking.


The Shaming of American Women

By EOM Staff

Several states are proposing severe restrictions on abortion rights and even access to birth control.  Birth control became legal in 1965.  Abortions became legal in 1973.  In an attempt to restrict both of these things, the conservative right has proposed the following in some states:

A mandatory, medically unnecessary trans-vaginal probe ultrasound.  If the woman is insured, this procedure won’t be covered because it is medically unnecessary.  If she is uninsured and low-income, how will she pay for this?

Requiring a physician to describe in detail the fetus, and force the woman to listen to the fetal heartbeat.

Requiring a physician to tell his patient that abortions cause breast cancer, which is not true.  Carrying a pregnancy to term and breast-feeding reduce the risk of breast cancer,  but that is certainly not the same as saying abortions cause breast cancer.

Requiring a physician to read a government prepared pro-life script to their patients, even if the physician supports abortion rights.

Mandatory 24 – 72 hour waiting periods after seeing a physician, but prior to terminating the pregnancy.  This can be financially difficult for women who have to travel across a state (many states have only one abortion provider), then spend 3 nights in a hotel prior to ending the pregnancy.  She would also be forced to miss work for those 3 days, which only adds to the financial burden.

Making demographic information available on-line regarding every woman that has an abortion, including: county of residence, age, marital status, educational level, number of children she has, and how many pregnancies she has had.  They also want to require that the physicians’ name be made public. 

Requiring a woman who uses birth control for reasons other than contraception to prove to her employer that she is using it for medical reasons in order to be reimbursed by her employer-sponsored insurance.  Women often use the pill to treat endometriosis, regulate periods, relieve pain from heavy periods, control the growth of ovarian cysts or to treat severe acne.  Requiring her to show her medical records to her employer would be a violation of HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).  This is a federal law, which among other things, protects the privacy of medical records.

Texas recently lost Medicaid funding for family planning due to Governor Rick Perry signing a law that takes Planned Parenthood off the list of agencies that a woman can choose for her health care services.  Medicaid law prohibits states from limiting a woman’s choice of providers, simply because that provider offers separate services (such as abortions), even though abortions are not paid by taxpayer funds.  Because of this, Medicaid has removed their funding from Texas and now low-income women will have birth control restricted.

Some states would like to ban abortion, even in the case of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life.  In discussing the possibility of allowing abortion in the case of rape Bob Winder (R-Idaho) said that he wonders if women truly know when they’ve been raped.  He also said that when a woman sees her physician about the issue of rape and pregnancy, he hopes the physician would question her about her marriage and ask if the pregnancy were really the result of a rape or of  “normal marital relations”.    This is as offensive as the statement of some male legislatures who question whether a woman truly understands what she’s doing when she terminates a pregnancy.

Fortunately, as of March 22, many of these proposals were being reviewed by the legislatures who wrote them.  I believe this is a result of the outpouring of anger from American women who do not want to lose their reproductive rights.  Ironically, the reason many of the men who wrote these proposals are giving as the purpose for reviewing them, is “I didn’t understand what that would mean.”  Apparently, it’s the men who don’t understand the reasons for birth control and the right to a safe, legal abortion.  Women understand all too well.

I can’t help but believe that many of these efforts are an attempt to “shame” American women into giving up their reproductive rights.  The creator of Doonesbury recently ran a series of comic strips about these issues.  He referred to the waiting room as the “shaming room” and the trans-vaginal probe as the “10 inch wand of shame”. 

What will be next?  We are barely past the stage of blaming a woman for being raped.  Do we want to be like Pakistan or other countries, where the woman’s family is shamed if she is raped?  And the only way for her to bring honor back to her family is to marry her rapist?  It sounds far-fetched for America…but it’s a slippery slope when you start taking away the rights of half of America’s citizens.

The Second Edition of What’s on America’s Mind Wednesday at 7:00PM Pacific Time

Please take time to check out What’s on America’s Mind tonight at 7:00 PM.  We’ll be bringing you a small slice of the Modesto City Council meeting regarding MID’s potential water sales along with a general rate discussion, a conversation about what many are calling a better way for our children to learn, and of course an update on election issues all Americans,  especially women,  should be concerned about.

I want to thank everyone who listened in last week during the show and those who listened to the archive at a more convient time. Remember you can click on the chatroom and watch as a guest or you can get a sign-on of your choice from blogtalk with a valid email address.  It’s free and then you can join in chatroom discussions, ask realtime questions, or just say hi. You can always call in to the show and engage in the conversation.


Emerson Drake

Proposed transfer threatens River

A proposed transfer of 2 million gallons of water per day from the Modesto Irrigation District (MID) to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is currently under negotiation. This water would come from the Tuolumne River. Since 2008, when the environmental impacts of the transfer were studied, water use and demand projections have decreased dramatically, raising questions about the need for additional diversions. In addition, because the SFPUC reportedly will only ask for the water every 3rd year, the true cost of the water will be a staggering $2,100 per acre foot! At a time when water rates are increasing substantially every year to pay for system upgrades, it makes little sense to invest in unneeded, and highly priced, water. To register your opinion with the SFPUC, click here.

Kudos to Ed Bearden

 My Friends, giant STA kudos must be given to Ed Bearden for his discussion of the threats the Modesto Irrigation District management is posing to us individually and our entire economic environment.  Ed makes some VERY important unique observations and comments in his article.

        In addition, he forces us, and the MID management to remember 3 critical issues, which are:
            1.  MID is NOT a business, but a ratepayer-owned utility mandated to serve the needs within the District.  Ed says, “Someone (meaning Tom VanGronigan and Paul Warda) has forgotten this valley was a desert prior to the 1887 creation of the MID as a public utility.”  Ed reminds us of the sacrifice and arduous work by which the People created a water storage and distribution system which created a bounty of food and business. 

            2.  Ed reminds us that MID management, aided by rubber-stamp Directors (same 2 guys), squandered untold millions of ratepayer’s money on failed ventures like TANC, Mountain House, the Four Cities, the BioMass Burner, the Phase 2 water treatment plant.  Ed says, “So now the MID board is saying we need money more than we need water.”  And this would be an even bigger mistake.

            3.  Ed’s most important and compelling comments remind us that YOU and I own the land and the water.   MID exists because our ancestors sacrificed and labored, mortgaged their farms, and created this green, productive valley with their hands, mules, horses and blood.  They did not create water to be sold to a city 100 miles from our District. MID management has NO AUTHORITY to sell water outside the District, only the ratepayers can authorize that.  Until they do, the water belongs here in the Valley. 

            If Ed will give me the liberty to paraphrase his great article, I would say to Directors VanGronigan, Warda, Wild and Blom, “Join Director Byrd, and do NOT sell our water to a greedy city far away, especially for the 30 pieces of gold they offer.  Do NOT violate the trust the Ratepayers demand of you.  DO stop this horrible idea of permanent divestiture of our precious resource.  Stop considering this giveaway now.”

            Ed, on behalf of the Stanislaus Taxpayers Association, every farmer and dairyman, every electricity user in the District, THANK YOU for your considered and wise words.

                Dave Thomas

Dear Republicans,

We will stop this “alleged” war on religion, if you will stop your war on women, workers, unions, teachers, textbooks, voting rights, minorities, science, the environment, the separation of church and state, the poor, the unemployed, the middle class, common decency and common sense.  OK?

Modesto’s Newest Talk Show Premieres Tonight

Live at 7:00PM tonight is “What’s on America’s Mind”  with Emerson Drake as host, thanks to the Central Valley Hornet.  You can listen live on the internet and participate in the discussion by joining in the chatroom or by calling the number on the site where you can just listen or choose to join in. 

The address is http://www.blogtalkradio.com/centralvalleyhornet/2012/03/15/whats-on-americas-mind-with-emerson-drake 

The show will be coming to you live and broadcast around the world.  This weeks topics range from the MID’s  water sales to women’s rights and birth control.

I hope you will find the time to listen in.


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