Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Reed Smith’s Response to Tom Van Groningen and MID

When the FACTS fail MID Director Tom Van Groningen, all he has left is opinion.


Let me start by commenting that Tom Van Groningen (TVG) is only President of the MID Board, because heappointed himself President.  There was no vote for him to dominate the conversation at MID.  He claims to be the only one in the room in command of the “FAQ’s” (made-up false statements).  That is distinctly different than “FACTS.”

TVG states “the dialogue has generated some misinformation and I’d like to set the record straight.  The water transfer under discussion doesn’t include the sale of water rights”.  I guess TVG’s FAQs do not match up with the FACTS presented by the Chief of Water Rights for the CA State Water Board, who told us a 50-year water sale contract is absolutely a waiver of water rights.  MID will never get the water back.

TVG has been staging this SCAM since at least 2008, yet his ploy of the week is to scare you into the FAQ that the deal is NOW “urgent”.  The only thing that is urgent is the cash that will be skimmed off this deal.

TVG states: “The necessary infrastructure improvements are many, . . . These improvements will enhancewater use efficiency, increase the system’s flexibility and ensure reliablewater for our customers.”  This statement baffles me, as his staff and consultants were asked for the specific assessment reporting on the flume.  There are none.  No analysis has been done.  How can he state it is crumbling when he has not even looked?  Where is the X-Ray analysis of the structure?  His senior water engineer said in a MID Board meeting this year that if the flume started to leak because of an earthquake, it could be repaired within 5 days for approximately $55,000.  That made TVG furious (great video), and in the name of “civility” he called his own senior water engineer, with 35 years of MID experience, a LIAR during a MID Board meeting.  Wow.  I guess I missed the engineering degree on TVG’s resume.

I would like to point out that the Roman Empire’s first aqueduct was constructed in 312 BC, and much of these were constructed with concrete, the same as the Geer Road flume.  Many are still in use today.  Pretty scary being just 95 years old, when heritage aqueducts are over 2,000 years old.  Yes, certainly urgent, yup, yup, yup.

If the funds from the water sale are for infrastructure, why did MID General Manager, Allen Short, tell MID water users in October, no less than eight (8) times that the income from water sales would ONLY GO TO “CURRENT OBLIGATIONS, not infrastructure”. Why? Please read MID’s Proposed contract for this sale on their website foryourself.  That would be a FACT TVG.  Exhibit D says: “POTENTIAL USES OF REVENUE – Water sales revenue will be used for water related costs including BUT NOT LIMITED TO: • Debt retirement, • Rate stabilization, • Improvement district repairs/updates, • Enhanced canal security, • Pressurized systems, • Infrastructure improvements, • FERC relicensing and related obligations, • Water conservation programs.”  I do not read any commitment to infrastructure here.

The only honorable and truthful MID Director, Larry Byrd, set the stage to document what the otherfour have been up to: they already voted for this water sale once on January 10, 2012.

This only reminds me of the semantic concept of “to rationalize” when broken down onto its component parts is a “rational lie”.  When FAQS from the MID GM, MID Gen. Counsel, and the other four Directors are demonstrably all “rational lies”, who can doubt they WILL VOTE FOR THE SALE on June 26.


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One thought on “Reed Smith’s Response to Tom Van Groningen and MID

  1. izzie32 on said:

    The water sale was decided long ago. June 26th is formality. Mr Short tells these guys what to think and how to vote. Perhaps the embarrassment of a recall effort may awaken them. Doubtful. I suggest we dont wait for the next elections to send the message.

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