Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the day “March 3, 2013”

Modesto’s Tin Cup Ordinance Goes to Committee Monday at 5:00

By Emerson Drake

Last adjusted in 2005, Modesto’s  Time Is Now To Clean Up Politics or TIN CUP ordinance is being voted on for the second

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

English: Author: Carl Skaggs This image was taken by me on January 14, 2010 in Modesto, California I hereby relinquish all rights to this photo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

time by Modesto’s Safety and Community Committee.  The last time the ordinance was changed the Modesto Chamber of Commerce was the petitioner.  They actually wanted to get rid of campaign limits altogether (no surprise) but a compromise was reached at the insistence of the Councilman Garrad Marsh(Marsh wanted to keep the limit at $1,000.  A donation can be made with a limit of $3,000 before a member of the city council including the Mayor, had to recuse themselves from voting on the contributor’s bill

We’ve been trying to get the TIN CUP total rolled back for several years and the requested

levels are a $1,000 contribution for council races and $2,000 for mayor with a 48 month window.  Since 2005 we instituted council districts, there by lowering campaign costs.  A council candidate has only one sixth of the city to “get the message out”  to.

In fact there is no limit,  and will be no  limit on how much anyone can donate. It just helps keep the old quid pro quo in check.  At least that’s the goal according to some, and levels the playing fields say others. It should come out of committee unscathed since it’s the wording agreed upon by the committee during their January  meeting.  The vote then was Councilmen Geer and Gunderson voting for and Councilman Lopez against.

Councilman Lopez like to say he believes someone running for Council should have the guts to ask for $3,000 yet he doesn’t. He asks for $2,999 so he can still vote for a donors project.

For the public there is NO downside to the change.  It helps to level the playing field between average citizens and deep pocketed special interest groups.

Here are the top ten contributors for the 2012 city elections.  Some of the totals would astound you, like the over $20,000 to Brad Hawn by Stephen Endsley over one year before the elections.

1  –  Dr. Steve Endsley
2  –  David Wright
3  –  George Petrulakis
4  –  Modesto Police Officers Association PAC**
5  –  City Signs
6  –  Modesto City Firefighters COPE (PAC)
7  –  Dr. Aruna Chopra including Chopra Development
8  –  Modesto Chamber of Commerce PAC (MOPAC)
9  –  Russ Newman including Newman Romano LLC
10 – Chris Tyler

After all what do a couple of City Unions, a developer under indictment, a developer not under indictment,  several lobbyists, a SCAP Director loving insurance salesman, a land use attorney,  and a Gallo In-Law have in common?

Could it be to make friends and influence people and their votes?    I heard a politician say, “Money doesn’t buy access to me or my vote.”  

My response is fine, then the limits won’t stop you from voting YES on lower TIN CUP limits.

Here is the pdf of the entire ordinance: 28221703032013111122796

Please don’t hesitate to call or email your Council representative and let them know how you feel.   Lets take the special interest money out of politics.

Tell them to Vote Yes for lower TIN CUP limits.


Modesto Crime Stats And the Mayor Says this is Better Than Salida?

Emerson Drake

Modesto California

The attached report is Modesto’s Crime Statistics for the month of December 2012 and year to date 

through December 2012. This report is presented to the Safety and Communities

Committee as an informational item on crime statistics within the City of Modesto.

                                          2011            2012             % of change

Homicide                                14                 20                +43%

Rape                                      67                 59                 -12%

Robbery                               425               450                 +6%

Aggravated Assault              907             1061               +17%

Burglary                              2121             2571                +21%

Larceny/shoplifting             5410             6906               +26%

Auto Theft                          1363             1799                +32%

Part One Crimes, with the exception of rape increased as compared to 2011.  There were six more criminal homicides reported in 2012 than in 2011.  In addition to the 20 murders in 2012, there were 4 justifiable homicides.  Of the 20 murders, 7 were gang-related.  Sixteen of the murders involved firearms. 

Property crimes (burglary, larceny, auto theft) increased 26.78% while violent crime (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assaults) increased 12.52%.  The nationwide average for the first six months of 2012 indicates cities with similar population (100,000 – 249,000) saw an increase in property crimes as 1.9% and an increase in violent crime of 2.2%.

Part Two Offenses (forgery/fraud, stolen property, vandalism, weapons violations, vice crimes, sex offenses, drug violations, offenses against family, disorderly conduct, and other miscellaneous offenses) are up 4.17%.

The Modesto Police Department continues to monitor and address the effects of AB109 Prison Realignment.

It’s hard to believe after reading this Mayor Marsh actually suggested Modesto can provide better police protection for Salida than the Sheriff can

Is it fuzzy math or fuzzy thinking?  You decide.

Modesto’s Animal Abuse Ordinance to Council on Tuesday 3/5/12


cat-yoga (Photo credit: ilexxx)

By Emerson Drake

Modesto’s Cat Killers now have reason to fear as the Modesto City Council will be voting on an update to the municipal Code.  Section 5-4-405 will be added to Article 4 of Chapter 4 of Title 5 outlawing abandonment of animals including cats.  Seems like a mouthful but it should give cat killers like Phillip Sumner and Jeff Reed second thoughts keeping from enticing pets into their yards, trapping , and then abandoning them to die a probable death of starvation.

The new ordinance will require the cats to be turned into animal services for potential recovery by their owners. Exceptions are made in the ordinance for recognized groups who capture then spay and neuter the animals.  We brought this into the glare of the public eye after hearing the heartfelt pleas of owners of missing pets taken by these animal abusers. The original story can be found at:


Many thanks go out to Former Interim Police Chief Gene Ballentine and Captain Mike Harris.  The on the Council to support an ordinace and to speak up in support was Councilman Joe Muratore followed by Mayor Garrad Marsh, Councilmen Dave Geer and John Gunderson and Dave Lopez.  City Attorney Susanna Acala Wood was very supportive and helpful from the beginning.

While this ordinance can’t reverse past issues it will help going forward and I hope those grieving pet owners who first brought this to the publics attention back on October 23,2012 will be able to attend the meeting Tuesday night at 5:30.

The ordinance is under hearing in the Council Agenda Hearing Item #5 for Tuesday.  The Ordinance reads as follows :

ORDINANCE NO. _______-C.S.




The Council of the City of Modesto does ordain as follows:

SECTION 1. AMENDMENT OF CODE. Section 5-4.405 is hereby added to

Article 4 of Chapter 4 of Title 5 of the Modesto Municipal Code to read as follows:


(a) It shall be unlawful and a misdemeanor offense for any person who

contains any stray animal (including cats) found at large or on their

property to abandon the animal.

For the purposes of this section only the following definitions shall apply:

(1) “Contains” shall mean traps, corners, confines or in some manner

restricts the animal’s freedom from continuing to roam.

(2) “Stray animal” means an animal that is running loose and at large

with no owner present, and/or an animal that is trespassing on

another’s property.

(3) “Abandons” means once the animal is contained, the person

transports the animal to a location other than where it was

originally contained and releases the animal to freely roam.

(b) Within twenty-four (24) hours after containing any such animal, the person

doing so shall do one of the following:

(1) Release the animal where it was originally contained or return the

animal to the owner, if the owner is known;

(2) Report to City of Modesto Animal Control officials the fact that

such animal is contained and include the location where the animal

is contained, a description of the animal and license number of

such animal, if any; or


(3) Transport the animal to the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency

facility and provide the date, time and location of when and where

the animal was located when surrendering the animal to facility


(c) Animal Control Officers shall pick up and dispose of such animal in the

same manner as though such animal had been found at large and


(d) This section shall not be interpreted to apply to a person or organization

registered with the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency as a caretaker for

feral cats when that person is caring for feral cats.

SECTION 2. EFFECTIVE DATE. This ordinance shall go into effect and be in

full force and operation from and after thirty (30) days after its final passage and adoption.

SECTION 3. PUBLICATION. At least two (2) days prior to its final adoption,

copies of this ordinance shall be posted in at least three (3) prominent and distinct locations in

the City; and a notice shall be published once in

The Modesto Bee, the official newspaper of the

City of Modesto, setting forth the title of this ordinance, the date of its introduction and the

places where this ordinance is posted.

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