Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

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Bruce “Dark Side” Frohman, Methinks Thou Doth Protest Too Much

By Emerson Drake    Darksidepic

Okay I know the title is a misquote of a line from Shakespeare that has entered the common  vernacular but seldom has it been more appropriate.  Public Record Requests (PRR) are a valuable tool in trying to peek behind the curtain  of deceit that sometimes appears when dealing with public entities and  public figures.  We use it here on the Eye on a regular basis, as do others .  In this instance a  PRR was made in an attempt to discover any ongoing correspondence between Modesto’s Mayor, Council, and Staff.

                                              Some Context 

Much to my surprise  an exchange of ‘curious’ emails between  Modesto’s Mayor Marsh and former one term  Modesto City Council Bruce “Dark Side” Frohman were among the several hundred that were turned over.  It’s common knowledge,  at one time prior to being elected Mayor,  Marsh was an advocate for the preservation of prime farmland.  Soon after the election it was revealed he (Marsh) not only attended the private Modesto  Chamber of Commerce Transportation Committee meetings but publicly stood quietly on the sidelines while the Modesto Chamber and its members plotted to extend Modesto’s General Plan boundaries West and North to the river.  What was unknown  to the public at this time Marsh was a co-conspirator with his own plan.

In the past Dark Side had  been publicly siding with Denny Jackman and others for the preservation of prime farmland while pushing development onto less productive soils..but something changed recently.  After the Council withheld it’s previously promised support for a watered down version of RUL last spring and refused to place it on the ballot Denny was forced to seek signatures for his Stamp Out Sprawl initiative.

Mayor Marsh had been throwing the Board of Supervisors (BoS) under the bus at every opportunity.  He actually started using them as the boogie man and the reason for his land grab.  To “protect the farmers” he claimed.  And of course it came at a price, over 1,000 acres of prime farmland and the ability to place retail businesses inside the Beckwith Dakota Triangle.  This is akin to starting a small fire in a tinderbox forest and not expecting the Rim Fire which we experienced last year to develop. The Rim Fire eliminated hundreds of thousands of acres of forest and Marsh’s big-box retail would eventually eliminate the family farms in and around Wood Colony.  But he doesn’t care.

So when I wrote three sentences to my private facebook friends I didn’t expect the hoopla that ensued. Here is what I wrote.

“Stamp Out Sprawl has new opposition. Bruce Frohman has gone over to the dark side and has contacted Modesto Mayor Garrad Marsh to co-author the con or opposition to SOS on the ballot. More to come. Watch EyeOnModesto.com for more information including the damning emails to be released soon.” 

These sentences spawned five articles from both Dark Side and the sites owner.  Each one funnier  than the prior one from my perspective since they flail out at anyone who commented  either on the sites’s stories or on my facebook follow-up.

Dark Side made the usual protestations, the statements were taken out of context, that his privacy was violated and I should have asked for permission, that Marsh’s emails were being monitored and  maybe my favorite was that it was  Orwellian. My response was: Your email wasn’t between private citizens, it was sent to the Mayor of Modesto at his ‘official’ city email so there was no expectation of privacy. It was obtained by a public record request which focused on developers in the Salida area, so asking for permission to publish it would seem to be a moot point.

Instead of me listing some of the phrases he used, here are Dark Side’s own words:    “Regarding Mr. Drake’s comment, I have no expectation of privacy when I write an email. However, I was quite surprised that the Mayor of Modesto’s email is being monitored so that those who may disagree with Mr. Drake’s viewpoint can be attacked without opportunity to respond. To have emails monitored in such a fashion seems Orwellian. Characterizing me, a private citizen, as having gone to the dark side for wanting to participate in the discussion is insulting and unreasonable. It is regrettable that some folks cannot engage in a discussion without name calling and personal attacks.”

Now compare my three sentences to what Dark Side wrote.  Kind of funny isn’t it?

After using over six hundred words in response to my three sentences, the one thing he didn’t supply is the email exchange:  From Frohman to Marshl: Subject: Denny Jackman Urban Limit Line Initiative  Bruce ‘Dark Side‘ Frohman’s exact words to the mayor on August 27, 2014 were: I would like my name to appear on the ballot argument opposing the initiative.  “Would you consider co-authoring a ballot argument, including me as a signatory?”

Is ambiguity involved?  Could there be a misunderstanding?  Is he undecided?  Were his words twisted out of context?  At least now you know why he was blustering and making all kinds of claims and  accusations.

               Lets get to the Heart of the matter…the Emails

Click on the link and you see the entire email exchange. Frohman_emails

Its almost understandable that the Mayor put further contact off for several months.  The purpose here isn’t to demonize anyone but with so many futures at stake in Wood Colony,  Salida, and Modesto knowing who REALLY supports you and who is drilling a hole in the bottom of your life boat IS important.

Bruce, your own words tell us you HAVE gone over to the Dark Side.

 

 

 

 

City of Modesto Knowingly Violates State Labor Code

By Emerson Drake   modestoarch (1)

On September 23, 2014 a citizen of Modesto stood up during the public comment period of the Modesto City Council and asked if applicants for jobs with the city were going to be required to provide passwords or sign-on to their social media accounts. The concern is that there are questions prospective employers are not allowed to ask applicants such as their religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, race,  sex, and disability status.  Some of this protected information is easily obtained when looking at someone’s social media accounts.

Modesto Police Chief Galen Carrol was asked to respond.  He replied that it was important to see what an applicant is posting and gave as examples, excessive drinking, nude photos of themselves and others, illegal drug use among others.  While we shared some of the Chief’s concerns, it is illegal to ask an applicant to sign into their social media accounts in the presence of a background investigator or hiring supervisor.

California Labor Code 980 section 3-a & b  Passed 9-27-12 effective 1-1-13

LABOR CODE, SECTION 980

980. (a)  As used in this chapter, “social media” means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or Internet web site profiles or locations.

(b)  An employer shall not require or request an employee or applicant for employment to do any of the following:

(1) Disclose a username or password for the purpose of accessing personal social media.

(2)  Access personal social media in the presence of the employer.

 

Oops….so the Chief is blatantly violating state labor code and he dmitted, no flaunted it, in front of his boss, Interim City Manager Jim Holgersson, and the City Attorney Adam Lindgren.  The City Attorney has been found wanting in several decisions he has made and actions he failed to stop….from violation of free speech rights (signs in the council chamber ato not allowing a second public comment after a proposal has been changed), and now he’s either clueless or complacent…we’ll let the reader decide.

On Monday the Council will interview Jim Holgersson for the permanent job of City Manager.  It’s our point of view that he isn’t up to the task due to failing to protect the rights of Modesto’s citizens from intrusive and illegal questioning by the city staff he currently oversees and the companies he’s outsourced the background checks to.

On April 16, 2013, a legislative review committee considered the potential need for a law enforcement exemption to Labor Code 980, but decided it would probably be unconstitutional and chose not to make such an exception.

The Stanislaus Sheriff’s Dept Doesn’t have a StingRay but is Missing Military Equipment

By Emerson Drake  sheriffsbadgelogo

After hearing and reading how the Sacramento Sheriff’s Dept. had purchased a “stingray device”  we decided to make a Public Records Request to discover if the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Dept. had made a similar purchase. News 10 broke the story about a device that mimics a cell tower and can take information from your cell phone and tablet without your knowledge.  The scary thing is the police haven’t applied for warrants or told judges or defense attorneys about information they might have obtained. According to the News 10 report the deputies have been trained to lie in court as to how the information was obtained. These devices have been proven to have been purchased by Sacramento, Oakland and San Jose Police Departments.

“The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department may be keeping judges, prosecutors and the public in the dark about the use of a controversial electronic surveillance tool known as the StingRay, according to new information obtained by News 10.

Despite evidence showing the sheriff’s department is utilizing the device, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office and Sacramento Superior Court judges said they have no knowledge of StingRays or similar tools being used in Sacramento.”

Here are the results from our two requests:

Mr. Drake,

Your email dated August 1st, 2014 requesting documents related to a “stingray device” was forwarded to the Office of County Counsel for response. You specifically asked, “…if the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Dept. or the District Attorney owns and or operates a ‘stingray” or like device.”

Neither the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Dept. nor the District Attorney’s Office own such a device, and therefore there are no public records in that regard.

Additionally, pursuant to California Government Code 6254(f) and California Evidence Code 1040 the County deems any records related to investigatory files, or records of investigations, exempt from disclosure by express provisions of law.

Sincerely,

Robert J. Taro

Deputy County Counsel

Office of Stanislaus County Counsel

 

We had concerns since the Sacramento Sheriff’s Dept. felt it was within their rights to lie to the public regarding this device we wanted to ensure the information was void of deception so we made the second request.

Dear Mr. Drake,

Your recent request at the Board of Supervisor’s Meeting on August 12th, 2014 requesting documents related to “records and grant applications with the Harris Corporation since 2005″ was forwarded to the Office of County Counsel for a response.

Pursuant to Government Code section 6253, this email is to inform you that we have determined that your request seeks copies of disclosable public records in the possession of the County, and that the County intends to provide records responsive to your request.

You will find those records attached to this email in two separate attachments. The first attachment contains several documents that include a “Supplier Payment History Report” as well as several invoices. Please note that the “Supplier Payment History Report” is a summary of the purchases made from “Harris Corporation” during the time frame you requested. The invoices are titled “Oracle Account Coding Strip”. You will see that these invoices are all from the “Emergency Dispatch” aka “Stanislaus Regional 9-1-1″ department from 2010 and 2011.

Even though the “Supplier Payment History Report” reflects purchases made in 2005 and 2007, I have been advised that we do not keep invoices from that long ago, therefore there is no other “record” of invoice.

In addition to those documents, you will also find a spreadsheet of purchases from the Harris Corporation during the time frame you requested.  Please note that there is a description of the purchased items on this spreadsheet. Perhaps the most noteworthy of these is a item that cost $24,605.04. That item is described as a “Crash Kit for Microwave” and was purchased in 2005. I have been advised that it was purchased for “Stanislaus Regional 9-1-1″.

It does not appear as if any of these items are for a “Stingray or like device” that was the basis of your original request.

I would also note that a “Grant Application” is usually made to a State or Federal agency. An award of a grant generally results in the receipt of funds used to purchase equipment, labor, or other services which would be reflected in these attachments I have provided.

We feel that the attached records comply fully with your request.

If you have any further questions or concerns based upon the above, please feel free to call.

I can be reached at the Office of Stanislaus County Counsel – (209) 525-6376.

Sincerely,

Robert J. Taro

Deputy County Counsel

Harris_Corporation_4  Harris_Corporation_Spreadsheet

AllGov reports 

10 California Police Agencies Suspended from Pentagon Program for Losing Weapons and Gear,  Stanislaus Sheriff’s Dept is Among Them

Most of the California suspensions occurred last year. NBC Bay Area reported last week that the Napa County Sheriff’s Office lost an M-16 assault rifle and was suspended on May 6. The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department didn’t know where two M16A1 rifles were and was suspended in October 2013.

Suspended agencies don’t have to return all their military equipment, but can’t order any new stuff. If an agency screws up bad enough, its status is downgraded to “terminated,” but that has only happened to seven of them.

Other suspended agencies listed were: California Highway Patrol-Sacramento, Arcadia Police Department, Huntington Beach Police Department, Maricopa Police Department, Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department, Stockton Police Department, Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department and Sutter County Sheriff’s Department.

So almost needless to say we filed a Public Record Request to find out what had gone missing at the  Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Dept.   We’ll keep you informed  when they make their response.

A hearty thank you to one of our readers for bringing this issue to our attention.

 

City Council Theatrics, a Glimpse behind the Curtain

By Emerson Drakeroyalty-free-vector-of-a-comedy-and-tragedy-theater-drama-mask-logo-by-john-schwegel-51421

We’ve all read the fairy-tale version Mayor Marsh, city staff, Cecil Russell  (lobbyist from the Chamber), Ryan Swehla,  and David White from the Alliance, staged for the public and the Modesto Bee, but is it the truth?  One thing we can assure you of and that is that it’s NOT the whole story.

Thanks to a public records request we discovered Mayor Marsh and Josh Bridegroom from the city and Ryan  (NSP2 funds debacle) Swehla had been having conversations behind the scenes regarding the purchase of the old JC Penny building at 11th and J streets.  As you may recall Swelha is wired into city staff because of his business relationship with former Councilman Joe Muratore.  Muratore was forced to return a $58,000 real estate commission payment from the sale of an apartment complex to avoid felony charges. On top of this it seems city staff had set aside $1.2 Million for his and Swehla’s apartment project while several other developer’s projects languished due to a lack of NSP2 funds.

Is this all about sales commissions?

In order for Swelhla and Muratore’s company NIA Benchmark to make the sale to Valley First Credit,  Modesto would have to make concessions of approximately $445,000 in parking revenue to Valley First Credit. These proposals/demands are listed in the email suggesting they  have  already been discussed and acquiesced to by the Mayor and staff.  It would leave a sour taste in citizen’s mouths if they thought it was all being done for realtors, especially these two ,considering their histories. It would be a hard sell if not impossible.  So they decided to reinvent the story.

Is David White more familiar with downtown businesses than Swehla and Muratore?

It belies credulity that a newcomer to Modesto is more aware of business conditions than those who control more than 2 Million square feet of office space and represent many of the lots ready for development, yet that is what we are supposed to believe.  Benchmark is always out in front of the crowd.  Remember, they were cornering  the Salida market when all hell broke loose regarding the  backroom talks taking place over Modesto’s annexation desires. Of course Muratore was in on the initial discussions behind the scenes before Marsh and  Cogdill Jr. took his place.

White makes the perfect Frontman

David White, being new to Modesto needed a feather in his cap to get a little credibility/gravitas but this might not have been the way to get it.  He has been going around telling his different audiences what they want to hear.  When he talks  to the City and County he promotes business parks and bringing new businesses to Modesto.  But when he was thanking the MID Board (3 of the 5 are farmers) for their $10,000 contribution, in advance he denies looking at farmland for business parks and stresses local business.  Heck, speaking out of both sides of his mouth the way he does,  you’d think he was running for office.  Getting credit for allegedly bringing 70-100 jobs, after five years can’t hurt.  What falls by the wayside is these jobs were already in Modesto located at Orangeburg and College.

To Balance the Parking Fund, Parking Meters Will be Installed.

Timing is everything and this is no different. The Council and their committees will be entertaining a proposal from the Downtown Improvement Association  to re-install the parking meters they recommended be removed years ago.  There is little doubt they will be suggesting a PRIVATE company administer/own these meters.  To understand better try reading Griftopia by Matt Taibbi. Our council has a history of wanting  to privatize city jobs not always for the better…. well, except for those who get our money.

The sale hasn’t gone through

Yes the sale hasn’t gone through.  What was lost in the stage play was the air in the basement of the Penny building isn’t of the best quality.  The county used to rent space there but had to give it up because of environmental concerns.  To sum it up, this whole dog and pony show was staged this way so a realtor could get his commission, a newcomer could get his spurs, the council could claim a victory of sorts and get some of the annexation stink off of themselves (it didn’t work regardless of whether or not this sale goes through) and the parking concessions are being done at the taxpayers/store customer’s expense.  After all the  street parking is free now so why should we pay for it?

Here is one of  the emails we drew information from  Swehla and Marsh

Attn John Gunderson Please Try Being Informed and NOT just Opinionated

By Emerson Drake    jgunderson

On July 26th Modesto City Councilman John Gunderson wrote an article under Community Columns John Gunderson: Clear thinking needed on Salida annexation issue where he makes several dubious and completely wrong claims.  Now we can’t tell you if just can’t comprehend what he reads or is just being malicious.  What we can say is when he relayed his columns to fellow council members, staff and others (yes the result of a public record request) where he claims to have done the research himself. The above photo is the Councilman’s ‘official’ picture.  The below one is the one he posted of how he see’s himself on facebook.  jJohnGunderson

Unfortunately Councilman Gunderson  has been wrong on this issue for a long time but to make specious claims he says he researched? well here is Katherine Borges’  response in its entirety. Her original post 

Fun from Cat and Gundy -or- John Gunderson Salida Facebook post #4 and my reply

 
John Gunderson’s new profile pic of “me”. Which ironically
(and eerily) looks just like my cat.

Well folks, Modesto City Councilman John Gunderson is at it again. I must really crawl under that guy’s skin because he can’t seem to go a week without a Facebook post on Salida. This week, he regurgitated an e-mail I wrote to the council in June regarding a tip I received from a Salidan that Modesto had hired a consultant to help them annex Salida. 

 
My cat. Rescued as a kitten
from the intersection of
Woodland & Carpenter.

While both Mayor Marsh and city planner, Patrick Kelly replied that the city didn’t hire Keith Bergthold as an annexation consultant, there’s something still amiss here. Why would Bergthold tell his Fresnan friend that he had an eighteen month contract otherwise? Perhaps it was just being bandied about and was all verbal at that point? Either way, its DOA now because the city can’t very well go and hire him after denying that they hadn’t. And how effective would he be with any kind of collaboration building with Salida? (Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.)

 
Councilman Gunderson can’t help but crank up the old propaganda machine starting right in the second sentence with, “Think the Goodwin Study would have been enough, the annexation concept was proven to be a bad idea.” First of all, anyone want to wager that Councilman Gunderson has NOT read nor thoroughly examined the Goodwin Study? Because if he had, he would know it shows that Modesto would stand to rake in $22.8 million a year in revenue in annexing Salida at full build out of the Salida Community Plan. How does that prove the annexation concept is a bad idea? And if it were proven to be a bad idea, then why is Modesto keeping Salida in their general plan? Councilman Gunderson wrote in his community column just two weeks ago that, “…the majority of the Modesto City Council feels (annexation) is still a possibility“. And he says I have “nothing to worry about???”

And once again, the councilman nay says Salida incorporating, “Should stop worrying about incorporation for Salida as well because that can’t happen either.” I previously responded to his comment about whether or not Salida can be incorporated, but it apparently didn’t register in his brain so I’ll say it again, “Keep in mind that no one has ever applied to incorporate Salida as a city. If no one has ever tried, how does anyone know whether or not it can be done?

 
Available land in
Beard Industrial Park
What he also doesn’t seem to comprehend is only supplying water in exchange for land -IS- extortion when you supply water to other areas without forcing them to turn over their land! To put it into language he’ll understand, its known as an “out-of-boundary service agreement” and the council approves them all the time. And once again, I’m going to call him out on his double standard for trying to justify water extortion by saying “Modesto ratepayers deserve better” when Beard Industrial’s sweetheart deal costs ratepayers and the city millions upon millions each year. The city of Modesto supplies both water AND sewer to Beard without annexing the land. (Read more about Beard)
 
Lastly, Councilman Gunderson said, “Modesto’s water should be leveraged for the best possible outcome that helps pay for services for residents of Modesto proper, not the surrounds.” When the City of Modesto purchased the Del Este Water Company in the mid-1990’s, they took over the existing wells and infrastructure in Waterford, Grayson, Del Rio, part of Turlock and Salida. So technically, they bought Salida’s (et al) water so its not “Modesto’s water” he wants to “leverage” to begin with. Our water comes primarily from wells in Salida so he wants to leverage our own water against us! Additionally, development occurs in all of those other former Del Este served communities and yet, Modesto does not “leverage” the water by extorting land from them; except in Salida.

In case you were wondering why Councilman Gunderson is so fixated on Salida its because if Salida were annexed, we would be assimilated into his district. That’s right, we would be the constituents of a man who feels water extortion upon us is justified because the majority Modesto residents in his district “deserve better” than the Salidans.

“The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.” – Aldous Huxley

Stay tuned for more “fun” from Cat and Gundy…at some point in the next 7 days – -
________________________________________________________________

 
More fun from “Cat”. Think the Goodwin Study would have been enough, the annexation concept was proven to be a bad idea. Catherine has nothing to worry about on that. Should stop worrying about incorporation for Salida as well because that can’t happen either. Refusing City of Modesto water for new development within the Salida TPA… refusal is extortion? Modesto ratepayers deserve better than that. Modesto’s water should be leveraged for the best possible outcome that helps pay for services for residents of Modesto proper, not the surrounds. Development outside of a city’s limits is a losing proposition because of the State’s mandated property tax distribution scheme. 

salidakat@
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2014 12:48 PM
To: COUNCIL; Brad Wall; Patrick Kelly; Terry Withrow; Vito Chiesa; Dick Monteith; Jim DeMartini; Bill O’Brien; Marjorie Blom; George Petrulakis
Subject: SALIDA ANNEXATION CONSULTANT
To the Modesto City Council:
I received the following from a Salidan today, “My father lives in Fresno and is friends with a man named Keith Bergthold. Keith told my dad he was hired by the city of Modesto to see what can be done about annexing Salida.”
I’ve met Mr. Bergthold at the Carpenter’s Church General Plan presentation in May and I also attended the April Stanislaus Community Foundation breakfast that was connected with Fresno Metro Ministries.
So you can fire Mr. Bergthold because HELL WILL FREEZE OVER before you ANNEX SALIDA or the Kiernan Corridor! Get that through your thick skulls!! How many different ways and from different people do you need to hear that before it sinks in?!? It doesn’t appear that turning out hundreds of people to voice that works since both Salida and Wood Colony have done that!!
I’ve told you once if I’ve told you a thousand times, we are willing to work with you if you want to develop the Kiernan Corridor (although I don’t know why since you are so IMPOSSIBLE, OBSTINATE and DYSFUNCTIONAL about our communities) BUT YOU’RE NOT GOING TO JUST TAKE SALIDA NO MATTER WHOM YOU HIRE!!! Your status quo land grab days are over!!! Get a clue!!!
Since you have a contract with Mr. Bergthold, why don’t you have him use his remaining time in educating you about “build up, not out”. Fresno has done well with that. Look around their Kaiser Hospital and then look around Modesto’s. And in the meantime, LEAVE SALIDA and WOOD COLONY ALONE you greed-driven sellouts!!!
Very sincerely,
Katherine Borges

On Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 1:53 PM, Garrad Marsh wrote:
Katherine,
You are wrong about Mr. Bergthold being hired by the city. Mr. Bergthold has not been hired (or to my knowledge even contacted) by any City of Modesto employee or elected.
Garrad

From: Katherine Borges [mailto:salidakat@
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2014 2:02 PM
To: Garrad Marsh
Cc: COUNCIL; Brad Wall; Patrick Kelly; Terry Withrow; Vito Chiesa; Dick Monteith; Jim DeMartini; Bill O’Brien; Marjorie Blom; George Petrulakis
Subject: Re: SALIDA ANNEXATION CONSULTANT
Mr. Mayor,
WHO hired him then? I was told he has an 18-month contract. Emerson has filed a public information request with the city. Even if it turns out that you’re right and the city has nothing to do with it, then you need to find out who working to annex Salida on your behalf. I want nothing to do with this man and will not contact him. His e-mail is: Keith.Bergthold@
Katherine

On Jun 4, 2014, at 2:47 PM, “Patrick Kelly” wrote:
This is to confirm that the City did not hire Keith Bergthold. Keith represents Fresno Metro Ministries and has volunteered his time to work with Stanislaus Community Foundation to look at asset based community development. At Keith’s request, the City presented the General Plan Amendment proposal at a community workshop (hosted by Metro Ministries) held on May 8, 2014, intended to inform the public about Modesto’s General Plan Amendment currently underway. At Keith’s request, the workshop also included a presentation by Carlos Yamzon, Executive Director with StanCOG about the 2014 Regional Transportation Plan / Sustainable Communities Strategy. The intent of the presentation format was to share with the public Modesto’s General Plan Amendment proposal in context of StanCOG’s regional plan.
Patrick Kelly, AICP

From: Keith <Keith@
Date: June 4, 2014 at 3:37:17 PM PDT
To: Patrick Kelly < >
Cc: Katherine Borges <salidakat@ Garrad Marsh < >, COUNCIL < >, Brad Wall < >, Terry Withrow < >, Vito Chiesa” < >, Dick Monteith < >, Jim DeMartini < >, “Bill O’Brien” < >, Marjorie Blom < >, George Petrulakis < >, “Brent Sinclair” <>, “kberg@ <kberg@>
Subject: Re: SALIDA ANNEXATION CONSULTANT

Thank you Patrick. I have no idea where such false assertions mentioned below with respect to the City of Modesto and Salida or contracts with the City might originate. I have been volunteering with various groups in Modesto, Fresno, Madera, and Kern around community building for healthy people and healthy places – which is a regional initiative and goal of Fresno Metro Ministry. Please have people contact me directly to confirm my activities and intent. Thank you again for sharing this information. Regards, keith

 

How Recent Supreme Court Decisions Harm All Of Us

By EOM Contributor  ladyjustice

First I’d like to provide some information on the recent decisions, then I will explain why I think they are harmful to all of us.

Let’s start with the Hobby Lobby decision first.  The court has ruled that Hobby Lobby can deny insurance coverage for particular types of birth control based on the fact that it goes against their deeply held religious beliefs.  The contraception mandate provided for in the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) had exemptions for birth control coverage for institutions or businesses whose PRIMARY purpose was the promotion of their religious beliefs.  Hobby Lobby’s primary purpose is the selling of craft items.

Hobby Lobby particularly opposed IUDs and morning after pills believing that they were similar to abortions.  IUDs are very effective and very popular among women.  They are also very expensive.  Morning after pills are necessary in circumstances where a woman may believe her regular birth control has failed or in cases of rape and/or incest when the woman may not have been protected by any kind of birth control.  According to the 35-page dissent written by Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, this decision was so poorly written that it leaves the door open for any employer to deny coverage of ANY type of  birth control.  She also says that even though this decision was only about birth control, again it’s so poorly written it leaves the door open to denial of coverage of such medical procedures as blood transfusions and mental health treatment if your employer is a Jehovah’s Witness or a Scientologist.

Now I would be more believing of Hobby Lobby’s “deeply held religious” belief concerning types of birth control if they didn’t import the majority of their products from China where millions of women are forced to have abortions every year due to China’s one child policy.  I would also be more believing of their reasoning if they didn’t invest millions of their pension plan money in pharmaceutical companies that produce the very type of birth control they object to.  Apparently where Hobby Lobby is concerned, having to pay for birth control violates their religious belief, but making millions of dollars by investing in that very type of birth control, and buying their products from China, is in no way a violation of their religious beliefs.  As far as their beliefs go, money trumps religion every time.

Now about the “buffer zone” around clinics that provide abortions.  The court ruled that one particular clinic in Boston violated the free speech of citizens because their 35 foot buffer zone included a public sidewalk.   This particular clinic was built very close to the public sidewalk in a crowded urban area.  I understand the reasoning that public sidewalks can’t be excluded.  But because of this decision women seeking a legal medical procedure at this clinic will now be forced to push their way through a crowd of potentially violent protesters.   It will also result in more clinics trying to do away with buffer zones. Protesters were always able to voice their opinions outside the buffer zone and still be heard.  They claim they want to engage in “gentle conversations about other options”.  If that were true, why have there been 6800 incidents of violence, 2500 incidents of trespassing, 42 bombings, 17 attempted murders and 8 murders at clinics in the last 15 years?  This is not a free speech issue, but it is very much a safety issue.  By the way, the Supreme Court has a 185 foot buffer zone around their building.

Now about how this effects us all:

*Since the advent of the pill, women have been able to continue/finish higher education at a much higher rate than before.

*Having a higher education means that women can provide better financial support for their families.

*Women who can better help provide for their families results in fewer families needing public assistance (food stamps, housing aid, health care) which is provided through our tax dollars, thereby saving all of us money.

*Women who space when they have children and how many they have are healthier and their children are healthier than women who have too many children in too short a time period.

*Having more children than a woman can care for or afford will result in more children going hungry, which in turn will result in poorer education for those children, because study after study shows that kids can’t learn when they are hunger.  So we will have more poorly educated people in our future work force.

*Not being able to afford birth control will most certainly result in many unplanned pregnancies.  Those women will have to drop out of the work force for a period of time, which will financially harm their families and our economy.  When and if they return to the work force will depend on how much they can afford to spend for child care.

Hopefully, men will realize how this effects them, too.  Since it’s primarily women who are responsible for birth control (although I would certainly like to see this change), men will now be fathers sooner and perhaps more often than they would like.

Yes, I realize the court decision on birth control doesn’t mean that women can’t go out and get that birth control.  But affordability equals access.  Birth control can be very expensive.  An IUD can cost up to $2000.  The pill can cost $50 – $75 a month.  If you are a minimum wage worker, that is a significant amount of money.  And as we know, women are paid considerably less than men in the workplace to begin with.

Access to safe and legal abortions is being greatly reduced in many states.  Now the affordability of the most effective types of birth control is being reduced for thousands and potentially hundreds of thousands of women.  It seems to me that everyone should wish for fewer abortions to be performed in this country.  Affordability of birth control can help accomplish that.  But when you can’t afford birth control or when your birth control fails, ending a pregnancy safely for women who desire to, should always be an option.  It’s 2014, but women’s rights are more along the lines of 1950.

I get the “religious beliefs” idea.  I really do.  But when your religious beliefs infringe on other peoples lives in this most personal and private way, something has to give.  The ability to access birth control and a safe termination of a pregnancy will benefit women, men, children and all families.  This is the greater good.  And when your religious beliefs interfere with the greater good….well, you know where I stand.

 

Birgit Fladager’s Response to a Public Record Request

By Emerson Drake  ladyjustice

On May 6, 2014 we attended the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors (BoS) meeting and witnessed a strange occurrence during the public comment portion.  Modest’s former Mayor  Carmen Sabatino had just finished making some interesting points regarding the D.A.’s office and investigators.  In recent weeks he has been vocal in his objections regarding the DA.’s 25 wire taps and the ensuing 25,000 intercepts in 2012 and the expense involved.  Most of his time this week was involving an interrogation  in Turlock of a 13 year old girl and alleged misconduct by two D.A. investigators Kurt Bunch and Steve Jacobs. these can be heard at 9:30 seconds into the meeting.  Sixteen minutes into the meeting Birgit Fladager interrupts the meeting by rushing the podium out of turn to attack Carmen  Sabatino and her opponent Frank Carson.

Mayor Sabatino’s earlier allegations and Birgit Fladager’s out of control behavior  involving the wire taps and her investigators  intrigued us.

Recently we made three Public Record Requests from District Attorney  Birgit Fladager.

We requested the number of requests by year 2011, 2012, 2013.  We requested any documents regarding which agencies made the wire tap requests.  And finally we requested documents which would indicate if any of her investigators were working for the agencies when the requests were made. We also made it very clear we weren’t interested interfering with any investigations just who made the requests.

Here is the official response from the D.A.’s office.

Mr. Drake,

I am informed that the District Attorney's office has no documents
containing the information you described in your May 12 request.  The
records containing the information you seek are court records that are
in each case sealed by order of the judge.

Ms. Fladager has informed me that she happens to know herself that in
2012 there were 4 intercepts by MPD on homicide cases that resulted in
arrests in 3 of those cases (the fourth involved the deaths of Deputy
Paris and Glendon Engert and the suspect committed suicide); there were
two intercepts by the Stanislaus Drug Enforcement Agency that resulted
in arrests (one case was prosecuted federally and the other case by
Merced County); and there was an intercept on a Sheriff's Office
homicide case that has resulted in one arrest.

If you have additional questions please let me know.



Thomas E. Boze
Deputy County Counsel
Stanislaus County Counsel
1010 Tenth Street, Suite 6400
Modesto, California 95354-0882

 

Now I don’t know about you, but for the District Attorney to claim she has not ONE single piece of paper tracking over 25 wire tape requests she made in 2012 alone, we find to be not only extremely questionable, but likely disingenuous in the context of her upcoming reelection bid, especially if you take into consideration how few wire tape requests (3 – 5) other counties have made.  According to her she doesn’t have the ability to show how many requests were made in any single year.  Is this any way to run an office?  Or is it just another way to hide from the public excesses by government agencies and/or potentially corrupt individuals with the help of her office?

 

Modesto Police Refuse to Arrest Auto Thief

By EOM Contributor  mpdpatch

I can tell you with certainty why Modesto is #1 in auto thefts.

On April 29th, 2014, the night clerk at a hotel in Modesto saw someone drive into the hotel parking lot, park their car and walk across the street to another hotel.  Watching the cameras, she saw him walk back and forth from the other hotel to his parked car several times.  She contacted the security guard and asked him to keep an eye on the car and the person.  Some time later the security guard came and gave the night clerk a description of the man.  She called the other hotel and gave them the description.  They knew who it was and what room he was in.  They were asked to contact the man and ask him to move his car off the first hotel’s property.  They did that but he did not move the car.  A few hours later our night clerk called back and asked the hotel to relay the message that if the car wasn’t removed, it would be towed.  His response to that was “I don’t care about that car.”  That made our night clerk suspicious, so she called MPD with the license plate number and they informed her that the car had been reported as stolen.  They sent Officer Hoke to investigate.

Officer Hoke spoke to both our security guard and our night clerk.  He was concerned because there was no actual video of the man getting in and out of the car because it wasn’t in view of the camera.  The security guard informed him that he had personally witnessed it and had provided a description of the man to both hotels.  The officer returned to his car and after a while the security guard approached him and asked if he was going to do anything.  Officer Hoke responded “Oh, man…it’s too much paperwork..you’re killing me, just let it go”.  When the guard reported this to our night clerk, she called 911 to report a stolen car on our property.  They told her they would send a squad out and she told them an officer was already here and refusing to do anything.  That resulted in two more squad cars coming to the hotel.  The officers then went (with Officer Hoke) across the street to the other hotel and returned with the man who had been in the car.  They placed him in a squad car and they all left.  We assumed he would be arrested for auto theft.

As required by his company, the security guard has to include police case numbers and details whenever he has any interaction with law enforcement.  He called MPD the day after the incident to get the case number.  He was told there was no case.  Even if the man had convinced the officers that he didn’t actually steal the car, he was still in possession of a stolen car.  I thought being in possession of stolen property was a crime, but apparently not in Modesto!  And even though there was no video of the man getting in and out of the car, why isn’t an eyewitness account (from a security guard who is employed by a licensed security company) enough to arrest someone for being in possession of stolen property?

I have to wonder if there was “no case” because MPD wished to protect Officer Hoke, who failed to do his job.

I was downtown at city hall today and saw signs posted on the walls that say “If you see something….tell someone.”  The signs go on to say that if you see something suspicious you should report it to the police.  Well, our night clerk and security guard certainly saw something, they reported it, and MPD failed to take any action.

So the next time you see us being reported as #1 in auto theft…it’s no wonder why.  Don’t you think the thieves know that if they get caught stealing a car (or being in possession of a stolen car), they know they won’t be arrested/prosecuted?  If your car is stolen, please don’t bother MPD with it.  They are too busy avoiding doing any paperwork!

Dave Lopez is Hiding Campaign Donations from YOU..!

By Emerson Drake  fingerspointing

When reading Dave Lopez’s 460’s, which is a list of campaign donors of  $99.00 or more,  one thing jumped off the page at us.  Of sixteen donors who gave $1,000 or more, only five were completely filled out.  The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC)  requires candidates to list the employment or business type of donors.  And not surprisingly most of the missing information is from developers, real estate, and home builders. Why is he omitting the necessary information?  We can guess, can you?

Maybe like the rest of the Modesto City Council he’s willing to lie to our faces (Zoslocki “I’m not a developer”, Kenoyer “I support farmland” , Lopez “I don’t want to develop Wood Colony”) to get elected and afterward he or she will  do whatever or vote for whomever he or she feels like.

And yes the Modesto Bee is well aware of Lopez’s transgressions.  But they choose to remain silent on the subject.  Hmm, it appears Joe Kieta has turned the Modesto Bee into a Humble Bumble without teeth.

Birgit Fladager Turns Her Back on Elder Abuse Cases

By Emerson Drake stopelderabuse

We were sent an email questioning Birgit Fladager’s refusal to address and lack of involvement in alleged  elder abuse cases where court appointed conservators are involved.  People have been denied the right to even contact their family members and Birgit turns a blind eye to complaints that bank accounts have been drained and property sold off without consulting the families.  Here is the email we received detailing many questionable actions by Court appointed conservators:

Perhaps the citizens of Modesto, California, should also check out and investigate most of the many, many years, of the Conservatorships, Trusts, Special Needs etc., in the Family Law / Probate Dept. and all through the District Attorney Birdit Fladager. We as family and many other families in these many years have filed complaints, concerning our loved ones and the Estates, being cleaned out, injustices happening and ongoing. There is a ” Web of Corruption ” and it filtered down, in the different departments, of the very persons, that are suppose to protect the elderly and to insure that all of the Constitutional / Conservatee’s Rights , are protected. Especially, the lives . This,,,, they do not do.

We have written to, filed many complaints and of course, ALL has been ignored, lost, hidden and in truth, ignored, even though as per Calif. Rules of Court, they must file, they sometimes will not ! Although all documents were sent by the USPO and certified, the Family Law / Probate Dept. , will still ignore, the complaints and pleas , from the many, many, victims and the families. Even D. A. Birdit Fladager, recieved a complaint and we did get a response from her, pretty much treating us as ” dummies ” and telling us that ” we do not know the laws etc., “. She actually, was very unprofessional and through her snippy remarks, we made sure, that we learned the laws , to one day, go before her and use them back to her, as she told us. She since this time, has NOT done one thing, to protect the elderly, the victims, nor the families. etc. Only, since her inappropriate letter to us, we ” DID learn the laws, our rights and we have filed so many documents of complaints etc., , knowing that they would continue to ignore us and to ” further, with proof, we will file the largest Class- Action, against Stanislaus County, that they have ever been witnesses too and named “. This will also, include, ” Wrongful Deaths and unbelievable abuse etc. “, Moral Terpitude, Defamation of Character, Slander, Denial of Constitutional / Conservatee’s Rights etc., and through Willful, Malicious Intent etc.,

If you are all interested in some of this, then go into the Case Index Files (www.stanct.org , the click into the case files , or put in the persons names ) and pull up all of the cases, concerning the Mother / daughter team of Conservators, Trustee’s , Guardians etc., named M. Terry Campbell #230 ( actually an invalid, cited 2- times and fined , since 10-31-2011 , through the Calif. Professional Fiduciary Board ) and Laurie Jean Jamison # 376 . They have cases together and separately and still many OPEN. You can believe us, when we say that , no matter what these 2 women do, including putting the property, accounts, over billing, triple billings, Estrinsic Fraud, Perjury , Embezzlment, Real Estate Fraud , Estrinsic Fraud etc. , allowing abuse and just plain ” committing perjury and lies to the courts “, they will always, be ruled for and the families are denied, even the rights to have a Telephonic Hearing, to tell the Judge the truth. We can assure you, that we can provide years of files cabinets, from many families to prove of these injustices, abuse and deaths in the control and hands of these women. For MANY YEARS and ” no one will try to stop the, from any Stanislaus Co. Fam. / Pro. Dept.!

WHY ? Well, we know why now and it is not hard to figure out. It took many families, all over the country, that have been destoryed, lost loved ones and had their estates completely cleaned out, to ALL contact each other, put the stories, cases and the unmistakeable PATTERNS together, to know the names, the dept., and the corrupt practices.

Perhpas, they do get away with it, as the M. Terry Campbell # 230, actually did work for the Stanislaus Co. Family Law Department and for over 20 – years . M. T. Campbell, has entered into the complaints on her, that she ” worked as a Probate Examiner, a Court Investigator and a Paralegal in these 20 to 30 years and for the Stan. Co. “. , before she retired, with the City Benefits, in 03 – 2003 .

Meaning, that since her and her daughter and business partner, the Laurie Jean Jamison , are really only 2 of a FEW , Conservators , ETC, that must be ” licensed in the Stan. Co., and the surrounding area, they are the ones, to be ” Court Appointed, with the Court Investigators Managers approvals etc., for most cases. You see, the are all ex-working assoiciates and ” friends too even in the FB. sites “. Meaning, that it is like the ” good old boys club “, but here, it is ALL women. !! Believe us, we have checked out, even the clubs, organizations , etc., that they all are in too. There is a ” Huge Pattern of Corruption ” and we will bring the truth out, as we are trying to save the dying vitims in their care. Also, what we have above, is perhaps a ” Conflict of Interest ” and all personnel, all city officials etc., do ignore all complaints and for MANY, YEARS !

WE, again, can and will prove, of the allegations above and concerning many, many families and victims, still ongoing.

So, if anyone out there, really wants to even save the animals, perhaps you should include our elderly, the Veterans, the Special Needs etc., in your plight and show just how that the District Attorney,the Stanislaus Co. Family Law / Probate etc. Courts, has allowed and participated in the corruption concerning so many Conservatorship / Trustee and Special Needs cases, of these 2 – protected and corrupt , unfeeling and abusive women, Laurie Jean Jamison P.F.L.# 376 and M. Terry Campbell , unlicensed # 230 .

Oh, by the way, by all state laws, a person has to be state licensed, through the Calif. Professional Fiduciary Board and especially if they have 2 – to 3 , OPEN AND ACTIVE CASES. Well they do have many, many open cases. Yet there is another so called Conservatee/ Trustee, that has NEVER, been licensed EVER ! Now the county, the Boards etc., have ALL been notified time and time again, that a woman from Merced, named Joanne Ringstrom, ( Jo anne etc. she spells it different, at different times ) is in the Stan. Case Index files too . She has and has had over 8- plus cases and they will never do a thing to her. If you check this out, she also has and has had with the M. Terry Campbell, many ” questionable open cases and for up to 20 years or more “. By the files to this date., they are still open too and actice. Yet, again, she has NEVEr had a license, since the state law went tinto effect, on 07-01-2008. Make no mistake, we do have the years too, of the printed out index files, the cases, the hearings, the petitions etc., so that ALL of our allegations here, can and will be proven . ( Just in case anyone from the courts do read this and perhaps may want to ” alter and fabricate the files, as sometimes this has happened “. We can prove too, if this is done.

This too, falls into the District Attorney’s lap, as it it their department too.

So, since the District Attorney, Birgit Fladager, does not seem to ever care about the lives of the elderly, the Veterans and the Special Needs, then perhaps the public needs to be aware , ” that this corruption and injustices, abuses and deaths, can and will, one day, come into their own homes “. At any Family Probate/ Conservatorship, etc., hearing , this can effect the most vunerable and elderly. Please do not be ” blindsided “, as so many of us have been. Once you are in the Stan. Court system, you will have all rights and everything taken from you and your family, ” even your rights to ever tell the court the truth “. Even if it concerns family abuse etc., and you reach out to them for ” help ” . If this happens, then they will then know your name and you WILL, forever be in their clutches. Yes, this is a pattern too, that for years, we have put together. At the top of this too, is the Court Investigator Manager and she approves of and is friends with the 2 crooked Cons. above. Start there ,,,.

Perhaps, you may want to advertise, to ask other families, if they have ever had a horrible and bad experience, from the Stanislaus Family / Probate Law Dept.’s ? Give the names of the 2- Conservators to the public. It is legal . You would be shocked, at the victims, that will come forward. We are out of Calif. right now, 2,500 miles away, yet please know, we are many, including families still right there.

One case right now, has been in the webs etc. and this case will break the others wide open and for the huge Class Actions. Google the name June Guinn Missing. / June Guinn Found . The family finally found their Mother June Guinn on 06-10-2013 and after 5 plus years of being denied to even know if June Guinn was alive. NOT, by any court order !!! It was the cruel and inhumane decision, of the Laurie Jean Jamison, M. Terry Campbell and the Sheila Guinn, that actually, had June , in her care 24 hours a day, illegally and for years. They have tried to blame other family members for things and this too, is lies and falls under the Rico Statues, still within the timely manners. Also, they have had June Guinn, since 04-04-2008. Meaning that ALL of the ABUSE, has happened , AFTER 04-04-2008 . They do try to blame others and before this date. Make no mistake, these are slanderous remarks and through perjury, lies of theirs.

Now, if you pull the sites up, just know, that what we have all uncovered and have the medical reports to prove, June Guinn has had MANY near deaths,. in their care and ALL after 04-04-2008 ! June has had a broken leg, where she layed for 2- days, before they took her to the hospital for medical attention, ( it was also called an Open Fracture of the Fibula / Tibia left leg bone ), she has had a broken right arm, broken right hand, all withering and nerve damage, due to NO medical care, kidney failure, due to a kidney injury etc., taken off of 11 – ” unneeded medications, numerous blood transfusion etc., etc., etc., All in the care of them, all as June Guinn is and has been BEDRIDDEN. Yet at each near death emergency, they lie to the Doctors, then June Guinn is sent back to the private home, @ 1726 Lauralee Court, Modesto, Calif. and into the hidden and locked away, hands and control of Sheila Guinn and Laurie Jamison. No one in that city or county, will ever give the love, protection and the care, to June Guinn . No one can get past the front door, for an immediate Welfare Check, to save June Guinn’s life.

Again, we are not saying anything illegal, as we can and will prove, of ALL allegations, medical reports, lies to the doctors etc.

So, as you can see, the City and County, do not care about the lives of our elderly, vulnerbale, Veterans and Special Needs, old and young,,,,, so no wonder, they would not ever care about the animals care and neglect either. It is a circle/ web of corruption and they all cover each others backs, in all that they do.

So, since you are there and it seems that you have had almost enough, maybe you want to investigate our allegations and the truth here. Perhaps, show how the issues are so much alike, in a few ways. It can only help Modesto.

We will get Modesto, Californai, back into the Nationwide Media outlets and not for anything good that they have done. How sad. Modesto, only has, the horrible things told about and because, only horrible things can happen there. How sad.

Thank you. Stop Family Court Corruption

Another voice has spoken out. Courtesy of http://www.theexaminer.com

Elder abuse of June Guinn by Modesto, California conservator

June Guinn has been hidden from her family since 2008. Family fears that June may no longer be alive.

Stanislaus County Court records (Case Number:387352) show June Guinn was placed under conservatorship on December 12, 2007. The court file lists professional fiduciary Laurie Jamisonas conservator. Family andfriends say Jamison has kept June hidden from her loved ones since April 2, 2008.

California’s Notice of Conservatee’s Rights states that a conservatee retains the right to “receive visits from family and friends.” California’s Handbook for Conservators further instructs:

When a person becomes a conservatee, he or she does not lose the right to visit with friends or family. … Do not isolate the conservatee by keeping friends or family away.

California’s Welfare and Institutions Code § 15610.07(a) defines isolation as elder abuse.

Physical abuse, neglect, financial abuse, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain ormental suffering.

This Examiner contacted Jamison for an interview and welfare check with June Guinn. Jamison refused and said, “That would be a HIPPA violation.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services specifies that HIPPA covers only medical information. HIPPA does not apply to an individual’s location or general condition.

Professional fiduciary Jamison is committing elder abuse in unlawfully isolating June from her family and friends. As well as being a crime under Penal Code 368, elder abuse by a professional fiduciary is a licensing violation named in the Business and Professions Code 6584(d):

Fraud, dishonesty, corruption, willful violation of duty, gross negligence or incompetence in practice, or unprofessional conduct in, or related to, the practice of a professional fiduciary.

Advocates filed a complaint with the Professional Fiduciaries Board on June 9, 2013.

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