Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the month “January, 2013”

Animal Abuse Ordinance in Front of Modesto Committee

English: Author: Carl Skaggs This image was ta...

By Emerson Drake

The Cat Killer Ordinance or Animal Abandonment Ordinance will be discussed by the Modesto Safety and Communities Committee of the Modesto City Council on Monday February 4, 2013 at 5:00 PM, in room 2005 at 1010 10th Street. We have

to thank Interim Police Chief Gene Balentine, Captain Harris,  Councilmen Muratore, Geer, and Gunderson along with City Attorney Susanna Acala Wood and Mayor Marsh for pushing this ordinance through so quickly.The Committee consisting of Councilmen Lopez, Geer, and Gunderson will have to vote on it and if approved, send it on to the City Council.

The link is to the Committee agenda report

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This link is to the proposed ordinance

27963501312013082402203

D.A. Birgit Fladager needs to step up to the plate for past infractions committed by the two men and can be encouraged by the public to do so and enforce existing State Law against animal abusers at 525-5550.

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

Radio RED 104.9 FM

Radio RED 104.9 FM (Photo credit: Mahdi Ayat.)

Topics include the Salida MAC meeting last night and some of Mayor Marsh’s comments, Councilman Cogdill throwing a snit, The illegal meeting held by the Work Force Alliance,  The passing around of confidential documents to the Alliance and the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, Janice Keating being in denial about her pay for performance during the water sale, ta councilman deleting his annexation emails, the Don Pedro relicensing, and women in the military, these and more so tune in at 7:00PM Wednesday and find out the things you really  need to know.

104.9 FM Modesto our Flag Ship station

The call-in number is 1-347-215-9414

Forced Parenthood – Brought To You By Your Government

English: A woman swats away the stork which ha...

English: A woman swats away the stork which has brought her her child. Caption: “And the villain still pursues her”.  And the villian is the American government.

EOM Contributor

Paul Ryan is at it again.  He is supporting yet another “personhood” bill that would grant all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood to a one-celled human embryo.   Previous personhood bills have been soundly defeated in several states, including Montana, North Dakota, Colorado and socially conservative Mississippi.  Mr. Ryan also sponsored a bill that was nicknamed “let women die” because it would allow hospitals to refuse to allow a woman emergency abortion care, even if her life were in danger.

Not only would these laws, if passed, prevent abortion in most cases, they would also result in banning some forms of birth control.  The birth control pill and the IUD do not prevent eggs from becoming fertilized, they simply prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the lining of the uterus.  Medical science does not consider a woman to be pregnant until the egg is securely implanted in the uterus.  Personhood bills would consider a woman pregnant before medical science does.  Do these politicians actually believe the know more about medical science that physicians do?

What is being forgotten in this emotionally charged discussion is the rights of the woman.  Do women lose their rights the moment an egg is fertilized?  Why would a single-celled embryo have more rights that I do?

New Mexico is trying to pass a law that would prosecute rape victims who have an abortion for “tampering with evidence”.  Giving birth isn’t evidence of rape, it’s just evidence of pregnancy.  Evidence of rape includes bruises, scratches and injuries.  Rape kits done at a hospital provide evidence of rape.  If they want to determine paternity, you don’t need to carry a pregnancy to term to do that.  If a rape victim has an abortion, tissue from that procedure carries the DNA of the rapist.  The New Mexico bill would allow prison sentences of up to three years for any rape victim who has an abortion and for the physician who performs it.  If the purpose of this “evidence” is to determine paternity, let’s start by putting the DNA of every male in the country into a national database.  It will be very easy to determine paternity.  Men don’t think the government should have their DNA?  Too bad…women don’t think the government should force us to become mothers.  If the government is going to control the lives of women, you can be sure we will force it to control the lives of men, too!

Wisconsin lawmakers have imposed restrictions on chemical abortions, including a waiting period.  These are abortions caused by taking medication prescribed by a physician.  They are performed very early in the pregnancy, can be done at home in privacy, and are extremely safe.  Wisconsin is forcing women to wait longer to end a pregnancy, making it necessary to have a surgical abortion.  This only adds stress to the woman and her partner.  Surgical procedures are still very safe, but slightly riskier than chemical ones, as there is always the chance of infection.

We are quite possibly heading to forced parenthood.  Any woman who becomes pregnant, either rape or accident, will be forced to become a mother.  There is a flip side to this….men will be forced to become fathers.  How many of you men believe the government has the right to force you to be a father?  Think about it….every time you have a sexual encounter you will run the risk of your government forcing you to be a father.  Birth control fails.  IUD’s, the pill, condoms….all have a certain failure rate.

We need to consider not only the rights of women to choose when or if to become a mother, but the rights of men to make a choice to become a father.  Will the government force these men to be involved in their child’s life?  Will they be strict in forcing them to pay child support?  Several states already give rapists the right to sue for visitation rights and even custody.  Apparently the rights of men, even rapists, outweigh the rights of their victims, who are women.  Now the playing field will be leveled to a certain degree.  Will men stand for allowing their government to force them to become fathers?  I doubt it.  It should be interesting.

The goal of the conservatives in this country is to eliminate abortion.  They may succeed in making it illegal, but we all know that desperate women in desperate situations will try to end their pregnancy.  What the conservatives will succeed in is causing women to die from unsafe abortions.

Conservatives and liberals alike would like to reduce the number of abortions performed in this country.  It has been shown that abstinence only education doesn’t work.  The way to reduced unplanned pregnancies and abortions is to provide thorough sex education in schools.   The states with the highest rate of teen pregnancies are the ones that teach abstinence only.  Teenagers have raging hormones.  They think they’re in love.   If they have the knowledge to prevent pregnancy, most of them will use it.  Sex education and access to birth control.  That’s what this country needs.  Not politicians forcing parenthood on us against our will.  All of us would like to have a less intrusive government.  Forcing parenthood on us?  That’s incredibly intrusive.

Salida MAC Meeting Tuesday at 7:00PM

A montage I (Valente Q.C.) made with pictures ...

REMINDER: The Salida Municipal Advisory Council meeting is Tuesday, January 29th at 7 pm @ the Salida Library Community Room. Modesto Mayor Garrad Marsh and Councilman Dave Cogdill plan to attend because they want your questions about Modesto’s potential annexation of Salida. Please plan to attend and bring your family, friends and neighbors. — at the  Salida Library.

Attitudes are welcome, tar and feathers are optional…(metaphorically speaking, of course.)

Local Politics, It’s an Insiders Game

By Emerson Drake

Imagine, if you will, a hit and run driver who killed a man is sentenced.  The local Sheriff has the ability to decide if he spends his sentence of a year actually in jail or allowed to spend his time at home with an ankle bracelet.  The Sheriff gets calls and visits from people he refers to as Rotarians who ask him to allow this man to stay out of jail because in his words “he’s written grants that have brought lots of money to Stanislaus County.” The Sheriff’s policy was no home detention for crimes of violence and a fatal hit-and-run fits that description.  The perpetrator not only received this “special treatment” he  even received lax follow-up on his home detention and was seen several times out and about town, from the Gallo Center, to the Brenden movie theater in the evenings when he should have been at home.

The Sheriff’s name was Adam Christianson and the Rotarians he referred to were members of the Stanislaus County Workforce Alliance, Chamber of Commerce, and the Rotary. The man’s name was Joe Gibbs.  The group he worked for was called Stanislaus Community Assistance Program or SCAP.  What most people remember of the SCAP debacle is Mr. Gibbs wanted to be paid over $600,000 dollars for his grant writing ability. 

Official seal of County of Stanislaus

Well, that and the fact he and his wife placed her parents in one of the fanciest remodeled homes while using SCAP staff to rent out the two homes her parents owned.

Less remembered is the joke of an investigation Modesto City Manager Greg Nyhoff performed. The total paper trail was an email to SCAP warning them about the Bee’s investigative article.

What many people aren’t aware of is the continuing SCAP connection at city hall. Not only have former SCAP board members been placed on multiple city committees, they still promote on the city website some of the companies involved. From the company that attempted to channel $62,500 to Benchmark Realty (then owned by Councilman Joe Muratore and his business partner Ryan Swehla), to Joe Gibbs and SCAP.

Joe Gibbs

Stanislaus Community Assistance Project (SCAP)

2209 Coffee Rd. Suite A

Modesto, CA 95355

(209) 572-2437

Jgibbs1@scap4.org

Ryan Swhela

Trinity Ventures

1120 13th Street. Suite I

Modesto, CA 95354

(209) 380-4425

ryan@trinityventures.us

You can see for yourself here  NSP2 Developers straight from the city website.

Recently J.David Wright, Modesto’s third largest political contributor in the last local election helped, Frank Ploof  get placed on the Citizens Housing and Community Development Commission.  It is bad enough that Ploof is a former member of  SCAP’s Board of Directors, he spent 10 months helping Daryl Fair, the former SCAP Board Chairman with a nonprofit that hadn’t filed their papers with the IRS for several years and had lost their nonprofit status.  Now Mr. Wright is also promoting Mr. Fair to run a day drop-in-center for the homeless.  All he needs is a grant. That’s correct,  he wants to stick his hand back in the honey jar, your pocket and mine.   Watching Wright show up at the last city council for the expressed reason of making sure Ploof received the necessary votes sure took the cake. By the way, despite all of the SCAP connections and the fake nonprofit, the vote was 5-1. Councilman Lopez voted against with Councilman Muratore recusing himself from the discussion and vote.

Watching the city representative make sure their “insider friends”, the Beard Industrial Trust, receive special treatment from the LAFCO Board, which cost Modesto millions of dollars between property taxes and utility fees, was enough to turn a citizens stomach. But quite honestly it was just business as usual for Modesto and the County we live in.

Since the Alliance and the Modesto Chamber of Commerce are 501 (c) (6)’s,  they can lobby to their heart’s content and allow donors to receive “business deductions”.  The donors can EXPECT some return on their investment according to Bill Bassett, and receive special favors  from the City and County.

Our Mayor likes to say “Politics just happens to most people.”  Maybe he’s correct, but between the back door, and behind the scenes  dealings that go on every day how is a citizen supposed to have a chance?

Important Don Pedro ReLicensing Meetings for the Public

There will be two Don Pedro Relicensing meetings the public is encouraged to attend on January 30th from 8:00 AM until 5:30 PM  and January 31st 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM.  These meetings will be held at the MID offices in Modesto so please try to attend.

For those who are unable to participate in the meetings in person here is the call in information:

    Call-in Phone Number 866-994-6437, Conference Code 5424697994

–          Online meeting information (below – same for both days)

Join online meeting

https://meet.hdrinc.com/jenna.borovansky/3D64F0F5  

First online meeting? Here are the agendas:

Initial Study Report Meeting (Day 1)

Wednesday January 30, 2013   8:00 am – 5:30 pm

Meeting Location: MID Offices, Modesto

Time

Topic

8:00

Opening – Agenda Review, Purpose of Meeting 

8:20

W&AR‐15 Socioeconomics Study

8:40

W&AR‐01 Water Quality Assessment

9:00

W&AR‐02 Project Operations/Water Balance Model

9:25

W&AR‐03W&AR‐16 Reservoir Temperature ModelLower Tuolumne River Temperature Model

9:55

W&AR‐04 Spawning Gravel Study

Break – 10:20

   

10:35

    IFIM Schedule and Update

10:45

W&AR‐05   Salmonid Populations Information Integration

11:05

W&AR‐06 Tuolumne River Chinook Salmon Population Model

11:30

W&AR‐10 Onchorhynchus mykiss Population Study

Lunch Break – 11:50

   

12:50

W&AR‐07 Predation Study

1:15

W&AR‐08 Salmonid Redd Mapping

1:40

W&AR‐11 Chinook Salmon Otolith Study

2:05

W&AR‐12 Onchorhynchus mykiss Habitat Assessment

2:30

W&AR‐13 La Grange Reservoir Fish Assemblage and Population Study

Break – 2:55

   

3:10

W&AR‐14 Temperature Criteria Assessment

3:35

W&AR‐17 Don Pedro Reservoir  Fish Population Study

4:00

W&AR‐18 Sturgeon Study

4:25

W&AR‐19 Riparian Information Study

4:50

W&AR‐20 O.mykiss Scale & Age Study

5:15

  Wrap-Up & Review 1/31 Schedule

 

 

Initial Study Report Meeting (Day 2)

Thursday January 31, 2013   8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Meeting Location: MID Offices, Modesto

Time

Topic

8:00

Opening – Agenda Review, Purpose of Meeting 

8:15

CR‐01 Historic Properties Study

8:40

CR‐02 Native American Traditional Cultural Properties Study

9:05

TR‐01 Special-Status Plants Study

9:30

TR‐02 ESA- and CESA-Listed Plants Study

9:55

TR‐03 Wetland Habitats Associated with Don Pedro Reservoir Study

Break – 10:20

   

10:35

TR‐04 Noxious Weed Survey

11:00

TR‐05 ESA-Listed Wildlife – Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle Study

11:25

TR‐06 Special‐Status Amphibians‐Aquatic Reptiles Study

11:50

TR‐07 ESA-Listed Amphibians – California Red-Legged Frog Study
Lunch Break – 12:15    

1:15

TR‐08 ESA-List Amphibians – California Tiger Salamander Study

1:40

TR‐09 Special‐Status Bats Study

2:05

TR‐10 Bald Eagle Study

2:30

RR‐01 Recreation Facility and Public Accessibility Assessment

Break – 2:55

   

3:10

RR‐02 Whitewater Boating Take Out Improvement Feasibility

3:35

RR‐03 Lower Tuolumne River Boatable Flow Study

4:00

RR‐04 Visual Quality Study

4:25

  Wrap-Up and Next Steps

English: A wide spot in the Tuolumne River as ...

Mayor, Council, LAFCO Just Cost Modesto MILLIONS

I don't know and you don't either.

I don’t know and you don’t either. (Photo credit: j_mills)

By Emerson Drake

At last night’s Local Agency Formation Commission or LAFCO a vote was taken to give special interests a leg up on the competition and the citizens of Modesto are footing the bill.  LAFCO Commissioners voted to repeal a 2010 Resolution, #2013-01 which states if an out of boundary service extension, which in this case is a sewer extension to the Beard Trust Industrial Park, is allowed the future purchasers of the property are required to sign a waiver not to oppose their annexation by Modesto.

It seems like a small change but allows LAFCO Commissioners to be “swayed” by business owners in the future to allow for another exception to what is supposed to be the rule.  What difference does it make you ask?  Well check your utility bill next time you get ready to pay it and you’ll find a 6% utility tax/user fee added if you live in Modesto. Not only will Modestans be shorted this income but we lose out on the property tax collected every year.  The tax if you live in the county goes 100% to the county. If you live in an incorporated area (Modesto in this case) the split is 70/30.  70% to the county and 30% to Modesto. It doesn’t affect the amount of property tax a business has to pay.

But it does affect the amount of money Modesto has to hire more police officers.  All of our council members including the Mayor talk about finding more money to spend on police, but last night they insisted on giving it away. There is also a mill tax Modesto collects from businesses if they are in Modesto.

Lets all understand that businesses aren’t going to agree to be annexed into the city if they have a choice when they are already getting the services at no extra cost from the city.  Now our Mayor has claimed it’s easier to attract business if they aren’t required to sign a waiver.  But in his next breath he says the reason he wants to annex Salida is to make it easier to attract business.   Huh?  Why is it that in Beard Industrial Park it’s better NOT to be in Modesto and up around Salida it’s BETTER to be in Modesto?

Now if Beard Trust, which owns the industrial park, wants to make it more business friendly, why don’t they reduce the cost of using their private railroad which currently charges about three times the amount for each move of a rail car as do other railroads. Three times the cost to spot (bring it to your dock) the car and three times the cost to move it away.  This is what they’ve been doing since Tri-Valley came to town.  These excessive charges are at least one of the reasons Tri-Valley went under. Since they (Beard) own the land they refuse to allow any other railroad to service businesses there.

So why did the Mayor and the Modesto City Council actively participate in the fleecing of Modesto’s citizens by Beard Industrial?  I honestly don’t know.  It doesn’t make any sense especially since they keep crying about not having any money to pay for more police.  Don’t forget you’ve been paying extra to build and expand the water treatment plant and sewage facility.  They(the City Council and LAFCO) are giving away to their friends the bounty YOU paid for.

The vote was unanimous to grant Modesto and Beard Industrial their special private deal.  Despite pleas from the public to be our last bastion of defense against special interest politics, the Commissioners went along.  They actually said if the public didn’t like it they should go talk with their council members and not them. They want the power to make “special backroom” deals against the public’s best interests if and when the choose.  After all it isn’t breaking the law, if you change the law.  Unfortunately, in this case, they changed it for the worse.

In another decision they chose to break the Attorney General’s orders and allow Alternate Members of LAFCO to attend closed sessions.  The vote was three to two with Commissioners O’Brien and Bublak voting no.  So we could be facing an expensive lawsuit in the future.

The scary thing about this Board is they changed the official policy to give themselves more leeway in “special interest” decisions and when they couldn’t change the meeting law, they decided to break it.

You can’t watch these important meetings on-line because they aren’t video recorded.  You can’t watch it live since they don’t use streaming video. They do have an audio recording you can arrange to hear by appointment.  Last night we asked the LAFCO Board to consider televising, utilizing streaming video, and archive their meetings to allow those who can’t attend to watch their meetings.  They are now looking into the cost. We thank them for that.

You won’t read this in the Bee, at least not first hand coverage. Despite the potential millions of dollars being lost to Modesto, the Bee chose not to attend the meeting.  Then again maybe they had gotten a phone call and  knew the outcome was preordained.

If you live in Modesto you might want to take a moment to call your council representitive and ask why they gave away money that could have gone to pay for more police officers.

Fake Nonprofits, SCAP and the Modesto City Council

English: Author: Carl Skaggs This image was ta...

By Emerson Drake

Here we go again. The first time a Modesto City Council member asked City Manager Greg Nyhoff to investigate the Stanislaus Community Assistance Project better known as (SCAP), he spent six weeks “investigating” and finally the concerned Councilman, Dave Lopez, was forced to go to the Modesto Bee to shed some light on the seamy side of SCAP’s actions.  And when we made a public records request regarding the investigation, only one page was produced.  It being an email from Parks and Rec Julie Hannon’s office warning SCAP the Bee would come calling and the article was apt to be negative.

Now former member of the SCAP Board of Directors Frank Ploof is going to be appointed to the Modesto Citizens Housing and Community Development  Committee.  We expressed our concerns at the last council meeting as did Councilman Lopez.  I pointed out how Daryl Fair, former SCAP Board Chairman, had recruited Ploof to the SCAP Board and had brought Ploof to his fake nonprofit, which had been stripped of its nonprofit status by the government for failing to file the necessary documentation. Frank Ploof apparently volunteered for approx. 10 months.   If all of this wasn’t in the housing arena where Ploof might be persuaded to “help” his buddy Daryl Fair again, it wouldn’t be of so much concern.

Also troubling is the email exchange between Hannon and Ploof and then Hannon and the council.  Despite having the false nonprofit exposed, Hannon failed to question Ploof on the subject.  The following is both emails between Hannon and Ploof and Hannon and the council.

First Julie Hannon to Frank Ploof:

Frank- Here is what we discussed last week.  Can you please proof my write-up and return it to me.  I would like to send it out to the Council members sometime on Thursday.  Also, if you are still interested in this position, I think you should be at the Council meeting on 1/22 so you can address the Council and any new questions, in person.

 Here is a response from Frank Ploof on the questions raised at the last Council meeting regarding his appointment to CH&CDC:

 What was your involvement with SCAP as a Board Member?

 I was a board member for approximately 3 weeks. I never attended a Board Meeting, as I was in New York much of this time, but did participate in several phone conference calls.  Once I heard what the organization was going through and dealing with, I resigned my position on the Board.  I was, at that time, recently retired and not interested in spending my time with that organization.

 What was your involvement with Daryl Fair, the Renaissance Center and Home of the Brave?

 I volunteer and help with Case Management through the Renaissance Center.  For a time, when this organization was without a building to call home we meet for 5-6 months at the Home of the Brave.  That is no longer the case and we haven’t met there since  XXXXXX.

Frank—Do you have anything else you want the Council to know about you or your interest in this Committee…..if so, please add it here:

Even though we requested ALL of the correspondence the only thing we received was July Hannon’s email to the council:

Councilmembers-

 I spoke to Frank Ploof on the phone and via e-mail.  Here are the  responses from Mr. Ploof on the questions raised at the last Council meeting regarding his appointment to CH&CDC:

What was your involvement with SCAP as a Board Member?

I was a board member for approximately 3 weeks, June 1 – June 25, 2011. I never attended a Board Meeting, as I was in New York much of this time, but did participate in several phone conference calls.  Once I learned what the organization was potentially dealing with, I resigned my position on the Board.  I was, at that time, recently retired and not willing to spend my time with an organization involved in turmoil for which I had no prior knowledge of when joining the board. 

What was your involvement with Daryl Fair, the Renaissance Center and Home of the Brave?

I began volunteering as a Case Manager for the Renaissance Center in 2/11 when it was located on H street.  When the owning organization of  the H Street building required it back for one of its programs, the Renaissance Center began serving its clients from the community building at the location now known as Home of the Brave.  The use of that facility was only temporary while the housing units  were being repaired and ended around 11/11.  My role as Case Manager also ended at that time since the Renaissance Center was without a facility to service clients.

I believe Mr. Ploof will be at the Council meeting on Tuesday.

Please feel free to contact me regarding any further questions.

Julie

 No questions were asked regarding what the SCAP Board of Directors voted on between his accepting the Board position and his letter of resignation (which we have yet to see), SCAP arranging for the rental of the home or the FAKE nonprofit called the Renaissance Center and Ploof’s involvement in fund-raising efforts if any.  And since he was made aware of the Renaissance Center’s having its papers pulled as a nonprofit several months before he left why is it he stayed so long?

If J. David Wright wasn’t going from councilperson to councilperson trying to drum up support for Ploof’s former colleague, Daryl Fair,  to be involved in a project between the council and the homeless, and Ploof being potentially  appointed(actually very likely)  to the Committee,  we wouldn’t be so concerned.  But with the Modesto City Council’s propensity for one page “investigations” we wouldn’t be surprised if we could see another debacle using public funds.

Can anyone say NSP2?

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

Radio RED 104.9 FM

Radio RED 104.9 FM (Photo credit: Mahdi Ayat.)

Topics include: Fake non-profits like Thanks4Giving, Lower Campaign Limits for Modesto called the TIN CUP Ordinance, Canceled Public Meetings Between Modesto and the County, Some Background on the County’s Medical Care Contract,  Conversation with Investigator Interbitzen from the District Attorney’s Office about our local Cat Killers, a discussion about paranoid Hysteria and Sandy Hook, and the latest Intrigue from SCAP so please tune in at 7:00 PM Wednesday and find out the things you really  need to know.

104.9 FM Modesto our Flag Ship station

To listen to the show live on from our archive anytime just click on the following link:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/centralvalleyhornet/2013/01/17/whats-on-americas-mind-with-emerson-drake

News Last Week in Modesto – What You Haven’t Read Anywhere Else

English: Author: Carl Skaggs This image was ta...

By Emerson Drake

Former SCAP Director Appointment to Housing Committee Delayed but NOT Cancelled

On Tuesday the City Council came within moments of voting former Director of  SCAP Frank Ploof, onto Modesto’s Citizen Housing and Community Development Committee.  Mr. Ploof only served for two months as a Director on SCAP’s Board according to Julie Hannon.  Our concern is the ongoing relationship that developed between Daryl Fair, who was the President of the SCAP Board during the worst of the excesses, and who recruited Ploof for SCAP and  the Renaissance Center.  They continued to have an incestuous relationship with SCAP and the organization they billed as a nonprofit, the Renaissance Center.  Fair was the Executive Director and Ploof was a “case manager” and SCAP was paying the rent for the building on “D” street where the pseudo nonprofit was located.

Incredible as it sounds the Finance Committee met according to Julie Hannon, in November to interview eight candidates and choose Ploof. Interesting, since the City website shows the November and December meetings of the Finance Committee being cancelled.  Ms. Hannon told us Councilwoman Stephanie Burnside and Councilman David Cogdill Jr. were the ones interviewing the candidates.

While Mr. Ploof seems like a nice enough man, his relationship with Daryl Fair is a cause of major concern when it comes to Modesto’s Housing Committee.  And we have to wonder about the reasons J. David Wright is buzzing like a bee from councilperson to councilperson promoting Mr. Fair and his search for money to open a homeless drop in center.  It should also be noted J. David Wright was one of Modesto’s larger contributors to local Council races.  Why is Mr. Wright involved with people fronting for phony nonprofits?

After sitting in with the Finance Committee interviewing candidates for the planning Commission and the Board of Zoning adjustment and hearing the probing questioning, I’m surprised Ploof slipped through.  Though in all fairness it should be pointed out Ploof omitted disclosing the SCAP position from his questionnaire. And since City Manager Greg Nyhoff failed to document his investigation, or lack there of,  into the SCAP debacle, the Council members would have to be paying attention to the media to have known. Councilman Lopez asked for this appointment to be delayed and the rest of the council agreed and it was sent back to committee.

We have no doubt with seven others to choose from the Committee can find another capable candidate.

Mayor Marsh Wants Salida Ad Hock Committee to Meet Without the Public Being Present

The Mayor finally admitted having received the “Draft” of the Goodwin Study on the Salida annexation.  He had a meeting scheduled for this week and had staff relay to the public “Stay Home, you’re not invited.”  This is a major concern. Fortunately Supervisor Withrow had already given me an invitation.  When the Mayor was made aware of this he promptly cancelled the meeting.  Eventually it was rescheduled for Jan. 28,2013, but civilian member Thomas Reeves cancelled it, since the politicos were refusing to share the Goodwin report with the rest of the committee members.  I felt it was necessary and went to the Board of Supervisors and to the City Council to protest the Mayor’s actions.  Surprisingly the local print media failed to share this information with the citizens of Modesto or Salida.  Nothing like the third estate allowing games like these to be played. 

The bottom line is,  why the secrecy?

It’s only Money – OURS..!   $17,000 Extra for Soccer Fields

On December 4,2012, Item #16, with the consent of the council Staff pulled back the bids of the synthetic turf for the three soccer fields at Mary Grogen Park saying they had written the bid so poorly they only received a bid from one company which they said wasn’t competitive. On Tuesday they accepted a bid for $17,000 dollars more than the bid in December.  There were questions about the bidding process regarding the City not stating the way the bid was going to be judged. But this time staff didn’t care about the challenge made during the meeting, concerning the bid process, which was flawed or the fact it cost Modesto more money.  But what the heck it was only $17,000 out of Village One’s pocket-book right?    Huh?

Lower TIN CUP Limits Passes Committee and is Sent to Staff – Will Come Back in March

Something we’ve been trying to accomplish for several years is to lower the amount people can contribute to a candidate before  the now elected official has to step back or recuse themselves and not vote for an item brought forward by their contributor.  In Modesto this ordinance is called the TIN CUP or Time Is Now to Clean Up Politics.  The current amount is $3,000 dollars to all candidates and the new levels, if passed, will be $1,000 for council races and $2,000 for mayoral races.  Councilman David Geer and Councilman John Gunderson voted for the lowering of the limits and Councilman Dave Lopez voted against the proposal. Remember anyone one can continue to contribute any amount they choose but the candidate can’t vote for a proposal if the upper limit is passed.  This should help level the playing field for the average citizens. I hope people will call their council representatives and request they support the new levels. 

 After all,  does anyone think we need more money in politics?

To learn more about the Renaissance Center, “the nonprofit that wasn’t,”  go to our older archive location http://www.eyeonmodesto.blogspot.com/2011/11/renaissance-community-services-non.html

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