Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the day “November 22, 2011”

A Short but Contentious MID Meeting Today

By Emerson Drake

There was an early announcement saying agenda Item 8 was removed and postponed due to Glen Wild’s absence.  Item 8 being the one Allen Short is pushing to cast in stone what he calls past practices of the Board.  Unfortunately, at the end of the meeting the Board decided to insert a “special” meeting now scheduled for next week, which is before the two new Board members take their seats.


Board member elect Larry Byrd quietly asked the Board to consider delaying this particular decision until after the two new members take their seats in December.  The Board did not officially respond to his request.  After all Allen Short couldn’t tell them what to think, at least not in public.


The Board has been playing fast and loose with their past policy regarding the public comment period.  This is from their Agenda and is present on all of their agendas.


Public Comment Time: Because these are non-agenda matters, generally no discussion or comment by the Board should be expected, except to properly refer the matter for review as appropriate.  But no action will be taken at this meeting.


Yet for two weeks in a row the Board has waited until a member of the public has been seated before responding caustically.  While it’s nice to see the Board do something other than sit there stone faced, waiting until the audience member sits down to respond and then said audience member isn’t allowed to refute the Board member, General Manager or Board Council, doesn’t allow reasonable discourse.  If anyone on the dais decided to respond to input from the public, the public should be allowed to follow-up if they so desire. After all, this is the public’s meeting, isn’t it?  When I tried to follow-up on an issue, Paul Warda, MID Board President, warned me to remain silent or be removed from the meeting by an armed guard if any further outbursts were made.


Despite the claims of MID Board Attorney Tim O’Laughlin that a slur (suggesting that responses weren’t made on a timely basis) was made against his office regarding timely Public Information Request responses, a Public Information Request made four weeks ago during a meeting remains unanswered.


When it came to the matter of MID Board members not having their own email addresses, Cecil Hensley proudly told everyone he doesn’t even own a computer.  Thank you for your service, Mr. Hensley but personally I prefer someone I can get in touch with on a timely basis.  The only email address available to the public on MID’s website for the Board is board@mid.org  and it’s under the Board Secretary’s designation.


It’s obvious that citizens who wish to communicate with the MID Board are being inhibited and their concerns to the office holders that they elected, are being screened by Allen Short.


Board –Staff Linkage Policy BL-3 The Board Secretary shall: c) Receive and disseminate Board Communications.  This includes emails from the public which she gives to G.M. Allen Short just before the meetings and he passes out as meeting goers have witnesses time and time again.  Allen Short begged to differ regarding the email statement by the public but this item would seem to address the comment in its entirety.


For a long time now the Board, especially Director Tom Van Groningen has been misleading the public regarding the “special lower rate schedules” or discounts. These   discounts give lower rates to companies using off peak electricity they don’t offer to the public. And yet in turn the residential user foots the bill when an industrial user doesn’t cut back during peak periods. These discounts aren’t available to the residential electricity user, so in essence residential ratepayers have been subsidizing some of the businesses in the MID electric territory for some time now.


It looks like we’ll have to wait for the agenda to come out on Friday to find out if the Resolution regarding Board Governance Process and Board Staff-Linkage will be voted on.


But since approving the two resolutions are the main reason for the meeting, it appears the old Board will put its rubber stamp on Allen Shorts request.


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