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