Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the day “January 8, 2012”

Will Candidate and now Councilman Dave Lopez Make Good on His Word?

By Emerson Drake

On October 24, 2011, Dave Lopez was being interviewed on Athens Abell’s “On Watch” television show when he made some promises to his constituents. One of them was in response to Ms. Abell’s question regarding the misuse of SCAP and NSP2 funds.  “If the audit comes back and it says there has been a misappropriation of funds and it’s this persons department will you personally call for their resignation?”

Dave Lopez’s response was “Absolutely, absolutely, that is what you should count on your local officials for. You find the bad piece and you cut it away.”  Yet the findings are in and Joe Muratore has been potentially threatened with debarment because of his misdeeds. Which means he could be prevented from ever having anything to do with government funded financing and the question we’ve asked Susana Wood, City Attorney, is will Modesto be barred from future participation in federal funds if Mr. Muratore remains on the City Council.  To this point we haven’t received an answer.

Quite honestly we don’t expect to receive one since she’s the council’s attorney and not the attorney for the citizens ofModesto.


Muratore’s fellow City Council members have remained completely silent including Dave  Lopez. This is an extremely sad state of affairs forModesto.  We have enough black eyes in the nation’s perception without having a councilman spreading his particular form of greed throughout the city’s business.

We can’t forget the $48,000 dollars still in question between Mr. Muratore and his business partner Ryan Swehla and Swehla’s business partner Scott Monday.

It appears these men have conspired to keep as much of the NSP2 money for themselves as possible by controlling the disbursement of funds from the city (remember the contractor couldn’t apply for more money because of the $1.2Million saved for Muratore’s Benchmark Realty’s use on the apartment on which Benchmark made the $62,500 commission).

Will Dave Lopez follow through on the ideal his campaign promise was based on, or is it business as usual in the family owned and operated Modesto?

It’s time for Modesto’s citizens to clean house and get respect back for their City Council. If any one on the city council remains either quiet or in support of Mr. Muratore they are part of the problem and not the solution.

To listen to Dave Lopez’s words go to



Does Mitt Romney Know What’s Going On?

EOM Staff
During last night’s Republican debate, Mitt Romney was asked if thought states should be allowed to ban contraception.  He hemmed and hawed and the question was repeated.  His comment was that “contraception is working just fine.  I don’t know if a state has a right to ban contraception.  No state wants to!” he told moderator George Stephanopolous.  He then wondered why he was being asked such a silly question.  He also said he couldn’t imagine a state pursuing such a policy.  Obviously this man who wants to be our President is completely unaware of what is going on in America.  Missouri recently voted down the personhood amendment on their ballot.  There are a handful of states that will vote this year on a personhood amendment.  So, yes, Mitt – several states are hoping to ban birth control!
While proposed amendments don’t exactly say that granting “personhood” to a fertilized egg will end birth control, it will, in effect, ban IUDs and the birth control pill.  Both of these methods simply prevent the fertilized egg from implanting itself in the lining of the uterus.  If a fertilized egg is considered a person, these methods will be banned.
Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are the only GOP candidates who have not signed a pledge with Personhood USA to declare that a fertilized egg is a person.  However, they have both stated that they believe life begins at conception, which certainly leaves the door open to the next step – preventing American women from using birth control.
Yes, there are many important issues to consider when you vote.  The economy, jobs, health-care, preventing future wars….but if women lose the right to determine how many children they have and when they have them, they are losing one of the more basic human rights.  Consider the long-term effects.  If a young married woman can’t use birth control, she will probably start having a baby every other year.  That prevents her from having a career. The more children she has, the harder it will be to provide for them.  Doctor’s visits, immunizations, dental care, vision care, clothes, food, text books, shoes, college…  Our schools are already over-crowded.  There are more Americans living in poverty now than since before World War II.  The programs to assist low-income families are strained and in many cases, closing down.  And if birth control is banned, all of these problems will become even more severe.
So before you vote in November, carefully consider all the things that are important to you.  And remember, birth control is important to millions of American women.  If you have a mother, a sister, an aunt, a wife, a daughter…birth control is important to them.  And it should be important to all the men in their lives, too.

Why Are Voting Rights Being Restricted?

By EOM Staff

Right wing politicians have long been opposed to a national photo identification card, but are making a massive effort to institute a photo ID requirement for voting.  The Republicans are now waging a battle against the American voter.  Laws are being sought that restrict access to the voting booth.  Laws that will disproportionately harm people of color, low income people and both young and elderly voters.
Many of these bills have been modeled on legislation drafted by the American Legislative Exchange Council.  This is a conservative advocacy group whose founder explained:  “Our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down”.
The Justice Department recently blocked South Carolina’s new law requiring voters to show photo Ids at the polls.  They did this based on data submitted by South Carolina that showed minority voters were about 20% less likely to have the acceptable photo ID required at the polling places.
The number of voters who may be disenfranchised by this wave of legislation is estimated to be upward of 5 million.  Statistically, most of these would be expected to vote along Democratic lines.  These efforts to quash voter participation are not genuine, grassroots movements, but have relied on funding from people like the Koch brothers.
Here are some examples from the Modesto Bee’s recent opinion page about the results of voter restriction:
In Nashville, 93 year old Thelma Mitchell had a state issued ID.  An ID that she used as a cleaner at the state capitol building for over 30 years.  This ID allowed her access to the governor’s office, but she was recently told that it wasn’t good enough to get her into the voting booth.
Darwin Spinks, an 86 year old World War II veteran from Tennessee, went to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a photo ID for voting purposes, since drivers over 60 there are issued driver’s licenses without photos.  After waiting in two lines, he was told he had to pay $8.  Requiring a voter to pay a fee to vote has been unconstitutional since the poll tax was outlawed in 1964.
Another elderly Tennessee woman was initially denied a voter ID when her birth certificate with her maiden name did not match her married name.  She was unable to locate her decades old marriage license.  To read the Bee’s entire opinion, click here: http://www.modbee.com/2012/01/05/2013369/voter-id-laws-often-end-up-restricting.html
Civil rights groups say the restrictions amount to an attack on voting rights on a level not seen since segregation.  An estimated 100 civil rights organizations marched from New York City’s Upper East Side to the United Nations last month to draw attention to the mounting problem of voter suppression in communities of color across the nation.  Many of the proposed laws will require extensive documentation in order to obtain a voter ID card.  It is typically minorities, low income and again the elderly or young who lack the necessary documentation.
The real election outcomes in 2012 will most likely hinge more on the battle between billionaire political funders like the Kochs versus the thousands of people in the streets demanding – ONE PERSON, ONE VOTE!

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