Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Are you Concerned about the Proposed MID Water Sale?

Here is some interesting information from Reed Smith.

Attached please find a transcription of the Thursday, May 18 SFPUC’s Deputy General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, Michael Carlin’s, presentation on behalf of SFPUC GM, Ed Harrington, to the Bay Area Water Delivery and Conservation Agency Board of Directors meeting.  The section includes both Mr. Carlin’s presentation, and the questions and answers directly following and pertaining to his presentation. 
I think you will find the area bounded by a RED BOX on page 17 interesting.
Without prognosticating the inference of the key statement.  One might suspect that MID Director Wild’s assertion this past MID Board meeting on May 22, 2012 that his support for the 2,240 AF sale to the SFPUC is solely to make money for infrastructure ( a concept publicly not shared by GM Allen Short ) is probably out the window.  It appears that MID will be spending all of it’s income from this “drop in the bucket” (as characterized by Mayor Marsh) on litigation costs.  Net result: no income benefit to MID from the sale.
So, let’s see what the next excuse in favor of the sale from Director Wild is.  I can hardly wait . . .
From: Aaron Porter
Date: Tue, 29 May 2012 08:09:58 -0700
To: Reed Smith
Cc: “Allison C. Schutte”
Subject: RE: BAWSCA May 17, 2012 meeting?

Hi Mr. Smith,


Attached is the requested section of the transcription of the May 17, 2012 BAWSCA Board of Directors meeting.  The section includes both Mr. Carlin’s presentation, and the questions and answers directly following and pertaining to his presentation.  I hope this adequately meets your request, and if you have any further questions or requests, please let me know.



Aaron Porter





“What’s on America’s Mind” Wednesday at 7:00 PM Pacific

Mayor Marsh wants control of the Water Treatment plant?  The crazy goings on in local politics,  Florida’s playing with voter registration again, Mitt Romney’s long form, notorized embossed birth certificate-is it real? What you gonna do?


Modesto Mayor Wants MID Water Treatment Plant?

Here is one citizens response.

MODESTANS BEWARE:  “Modesto’s bid to gain ownership of the plant would require opening a 2005 amended transfer and delivery agreement that spelled out the terms of expanding the water treatment plant”  There you have it in one sentence.  Don’t fall for it.  The Mayor appears to using this “negotiation” to stop the City from suing MID for it’s Anticipatory Breach of Contract and stop MID from stealing the City’s water, something Mayor Marsh, according to Councilman David Lopez during the Council meeting on May 22, voted in favor of in closed session on May 8.  If the Mayor can derail the upcoming lawsuit by the City with new “negotiations”, that frees up MID to sell Modesto’s water to San Francisco, who does not need it.  Why would Mayor Marsh want to open up negotiations on a signed binding contract that the other signator to, MID, is already breaching?  Why Mayor Marsh?  Do you have some personal interest in derailing the City from protecting it’s contracted water rights?  If “negotiations” need to take place, they should be shelved until MID has voted to NEVER sell water outside the District for more than one year, and AFTER four of the present MID “WATER-THIEF” BOARD are recalled.  Only then will the City have an entity with integrity enough to “negotiate” with.

A Quick Peek Behind the Curtin at MID

Where do we know Martino Graphics from?  

The answer is simple, co-owner Marian Martino competed in the political forums to replace Kristin Olsen after Olsen abandoned her City Council position to be a State Assemblywoman.

At the time, when asked, Ms. Martino chose not to supply a reasonable explanation as to why she  bailed out of the running for the council after she was proclaimed one of the three finalists (and in many viewers minds one of the best selections).  Marian has been seen occasionally at MID meetings.  She never speaks but one has to wonder if political consultant Mike Lynch traded his support for MID Director in exchange for stepping back as a candidate for council.
MID General Manager Allen Short confirmed the money paid to Martino Associates, a Graphic Design firm,  actually ended up in  political consultant Mike Lynch’s wallet.
Nothing that MID Directors Tom Van Groningen, Glen Wild, Paul Warda or the people in the shadows behind them do can be taken at face value. 
And it appears that the evil emperor Allen Short has persuaded Director Nick Blom to join the dark side.

What Has Happened to Christianity In America?

By EOM Staff

We all know that this country was founded on freedom of religion.  That means we are all free to practice any religion we choose, or no religion at all.  There is no religious test for running for the office of President of the United States.  But for some time, religion has been working it’s way into our political process.  I believe that’s bad for all of us.

A pastor in North Carolina, Charles Worley, told his congregation that he has a solution for the problem of gays and lesbians.  His solution?   “Build two large pens, electrify the fences, separate the gays from the lesbians and drop food to them.  Because they can’t escape and can’t reproduce, they will eventually die off.”   Really?  Put them in pens?  Remind you of anything?  Auschwitz, perhaps?

Another pastor, Tim Rabon has said that the next step for the states that allow gay marriage might be re-defining marriage “to be between a man and a beast”.  He actually believes we’re not far from that.

Sean Harris is a pastor in Fayetteville.  He has encouraged his congregation to become physically abusive to their children if they exhibit signs of being gay.  We all remember Michele and Marcus Bachmann’s “pray away the gay” theory, I guess Pastor Harris believes you can beat away the gay.

Ron Baity says that homosexuality is a perverted lifestyle.  He told his congregation that “lesbians, gays, bi-sexuals and transgender people should be prosecuted.”  Should we send Americans to prison for being gay? Sounds like Nazi Germany again, doesn’t it?

I have known gay people in my life.  They have all been kind, considerate and caring people.    I think if we each look into our extended families, among our aunts and uncles, cousins and so on, we will find a family member who is gay.  Would you want your cousin put in an electrified pen?  Do you think your aunt will someday want to marry a farm animal?  Do you think your uncle and his significant other should go to prison?

From a historical perspective, blacks and women have had to fight hard for the rights that were freely given to white men.  All gay people want is to be treated like the rest of us.  They are fighting for their rights now.  I believe we should fight alongside them.  They are our brothers and sisters.

As far as the pastors mentioned above…they aren’t true Christians.  No true Christian would be so full of hate.

Dave Thomas’ Public Information Request to the MID

Mr Short, on behalf of the Stanislaus Taxpayers Association and under the tenets of the California Public Records Act, Government Code sections 6250-6277, I request the following documents:
            1.  There have been negotiations between MID and SFPUC regarding the contract to sell and buy water.  I request all handwritings, sound recordings, maps, computer discs, printed documents or                 any other recorded documents that have been used or given to any MID employee or MID Director that have been used in these negotiations.  This includes all documents dated May 8                     thorough May 22, inclusive.
            2.  This includes all records relating to the conduct of the public’s business, broadly construed. 
            3.  This includes specifically any and all documents or communications delivered or otherwise conveyed to any and/or all MID Directors, even those which might be marked as restricted.

        It is now about 2:35 PM on May 22nd.  I expect you to deliver all these requested documents no later than 3:00 PM on June 1st.  I expect that you will produce these documents with a minimum
            staff time, and at no cost to the Association.  If you have any questions, comments or want me to modify this request, please contact me at my e-mail address, above, or call my office
            at 577-4373.

                    Thank you very much, Dave Thomas, President, STA

E A R T H Q U A K E ! ! !

No we aren’t having an earthquake.  This is the title to Reed Smith’s Earthshaking  Good News email to the Modesto City Council.


I have some great news from the Bay Area.  According to Peter Drekmeier, Program Director for the Tuolumne River Trust, Thursday evening at the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) meeting, Mr. Steven Ritchie, Assistant General Manager, of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, made a presentation regarding the proposed MID water sale.  During a response to a question from the audience from Drekmeier, he informed the BAWSCA audience that a revised contract was due to be returned to MID and one of the significant modifications from the first DRAFT was that the SFPUC would no-longer be responsible for ANY legal cost associated with litigation directed at MID (please keep in mind that this news is 2nd hand).  I am in the process of obtaining the audio file of the meeting, and will forward it to you as soon as it is available.

Anticipated modification to:      DRAFT MID-SFPUC AGREEMENT Page 6 of 15  G. Litigation; Cooperation in Litigation. The Parties will vigorously defend any legal challenge to this Agreement or its implementation. The parties will reasonably cooperate, to the extent permitted by law, in the defense and any settlement of any claims challenging the validity of this Agreement or its implementation; including but not limited to claims brought under CEQA, NEPA, the Clean Water Act, state or federal Endangered Species Acts The parties agree to jointly retain outside counsel. Unless otherwise provided in this Agreement, SFPUC agrees to pay litigation fees and costs, including costs of the outside counsel.

Subsequent to that event, Mr Todd Sill was advised by MID Director Glen Wild that Sill should “throw away the original DRAFT proposed contract, as it is going to be revised”.  This begs the question as to whether a revised document, containing the SFPUC modification to financial responsibility for legal costs, was distributed to Directors on Friday, prior to COM’s letter being hand-delivered.  Friday morning, MID staff stated that a revised contract was expected to be posted on the website soon.  This raises further the assertion this past Tuesday that Director Wild’s support for the sale is solely financial, that being that his justification of the sale is to get money for MID infrastructure needs.  With the arrival of millions in potential legal costs as a co-habitor of any contract to sell water, the income from the 2,240 AF sale becomes revenue neutral to MID on day one, thus erasing Director Wilds apparent hard-fought invention of a justification.
Ah, but I digress.  The community has expressed grave concern regarding making the SFPUC the lead agency on EIR’s for waters being transferred in this sale agreement.  Of course, we feel that MID and it’s constituents should maintain primacy in all environmental assessments, not the SFPUC.
Parallel to that concept, we feel that MID should maintain primacy in controlling and financing all litigation resulting from their insightful and studied decision to sell our surface water to the SFPUC.  Certainly MID’s General Counsel has never strayed from accurately predicting positive outcomes for his clients, e.g., Valley Bio-Energy v MID.
I wanted to share this good news with the you, the City’s fiduciary decision makers, as this turn-of-events raises the question regarding the probability of the COM recovering legal costs from MID, should the COM determine that MID’s majority of Director’s ethics have failed their constituents when they knowingly breach the Amended Treatment and Delivery Agreement.  
It was a rather grotesque moment when MID’s General Manager, Allen Short, told the Stanislaus Farm Bureau Board on May 1, 2012, (parodied –  na, na, na, na, na, na) “we expect at least three lawsuits, and it is no big deal, ’cause the SFPUC is paying for all MID’s legal costs.”  (parodied – we can be as stupid as we want, ’cause there is NOTHING you can do to stop us, ha, ha, ha.)  Well this situation appears to have changed . . .  oopsie, no more FREE big-time SF lawyers?  

Will this change in legal financial responsibility cause MID’s Directors to pause when considering voting for the proposed sale on June 26, 2012?  Not if the May 22, 2012 Board meeting is any indication.  For the record, any observer will conclude there are four (4) intractable Directors who have clearly declared they are for this sale, no matter what the contract says.
I commend you for initiating the first steps in securing your water rights.  I am sure your constituents expect nothing less from you.

Here is the Link to a Short MID Meeting Video

Take this link and watch MID Board President Tom Van Gronongen interrupt Brian DuBois.  Talk about a lack of civility. This was just one of many times VanGroningen interrupted speakers at the meeting.  More footage will be posted shortly.


What on eath can Judy Sly be thinking?

Check out “What’s on America’s Mind” at 7:00 Tonight

Tonight MID’s Secret Lobbyist Mike Lynch,  Who let the cat out of the bag at the city council?, Arizona’s Sec who is a birther and wants to take Obama off the ballot and many more issues we all need to be concerned about especially women.

So don’t be late.


MID uses Deception to Hire an Old School Lobbyist

By Emerson Drake

It was revealed at Tuesday’s MID board meeting that General Manager Allen Short and MID Board President Tom Van Groningen used a company named Martino Graphic Design to funnel money.   This money went to a local political consultant named Mike Lynch, on MID’s bill paying ledger, under the guise of public affairs-2012 in the amount of $4582.97 for the month of March alone.  Mr. Lynch has his own consulting firm called, no surprise, Lynch Consulting, so why the deception?

Lynch has been going around to local political wannabees and others like Ruben Villabos,  Modesto School Board President and OFFERING his services to them when they run for election or re-election as necessary. One of Lynch’s most obvious Charlie McCarthy dolls (ventriloquist dummies) is Josh VanderVeen (LCR member), stepson to Modesto Councilman Dave Lopez. Both of these men and three others spoke for the water transfers.  As a long time MID meeting attendee it needs to be said none of these people ever came to a MID meeting until Mike Lynch became involved.

But Lynch found his “mother lode” in the LCR or Latino Community Roundtable. This organization which consists of 195 members, many of whom are politicians ($10.00 to those over age fifty, and then you get to vote for yourself) who have stood in front of the LCR hoping for endorsements.  LCR represents no constituency other than themselves and whom could only field 18 members at a recent political forum they held at, surprise, the Modesto School board office thanks to LCR  member Villabos.  While I’ll be one of the first to say LCR has many well-meaning members of the general public they also have those craving a seat at the local political table and Mike Lynch holds out his “free pass” to the promised land.

PART of your electric utility payments are being used to finance the posturing of political wannabees

Now campaign consultants have been making promises to candidates  for quite some time, after all it’s how they make their money, but to my knowledge this is the first time a public organization like MID has PAID  a consultant to potentially alter the political landscape using Public/RATEPAYER money.

Mike Lynch personally contacted each and every Modesto City Council member and asked for the Letter to MID not be written (it’s available on this website). Then Lynch sent Ruben Villabos, apparently his personal emissary, to a “private session” of the Council with foreknowledge of what was to be discussed.

Which Councilmember tipped of f Mike Lynch and Ruben Villabos about the secret topic?

That was the question at last night’s City Council meeting. Former Modesto Mayor Carmen Sabatino appeared in front of the Council last night to question the minutes of last weeks meeting which DID NOT mention Vallabos’ appearance. Sabatino questioned the validity of Villabos appearing and was reassured by City Attorney Susan Acala Wood his appearance was legal under the Brown Act. The Council said the minutes would be changed to reflect Villabos’ appearance.

But the over-riding question spoken by Councilwoman Stephanie Burnside was “who tipped Lynch/Villabos off?”  Nobody was forthcoming regarding this.  Looks went around the room but no one was willing to fess up. Needless to say  Diogenes is still looking with his lamp.

So where does this leave us?  Well, our electric payments are going to a political consultant without our consent who is bent on giving away our water, and our best hope, is the City Council sticking to their guns.

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