By Emerson Drake
We had a room full of City of Modesto Staff and of course Mayor Marsh and Councilman Codgill. The County was out in
force With Supervisors Terry Withrow and Board Chairman Supervisor Vito Chiesa along with CEO Monica Nino and staff. The Ad Hoc Committee is led by Thomas Reeves but the meeting was dominated by Katherine Borges. Because of the research she has done she challenged the Goodwin Report’s numbers and quite honestly the report was found lacking in accuracy. Despite being paid $60,000 by the city and county the Goodwin representative was forced to admit the “costing figures” were estimates not grounded in fact but estimates created by using fuzzy numbers. Ms. Borges rightly pointed on the vast difference between the amounts charges to contract cities and those “allotted” to Salida for the Sheriff’s Department.
Mayor Marsh admitted he might have jumped the gun by talking about the possible annexation of Salida last year by not quietly consulting with Salida first and Ms. Borges underlined his comment and placed an exclamation point after it. She repeatedly said Salida does NOT want to be annexed by Modesto. She set off the short fused Modesto Councilman Dave Cogdill. How a man with such a short temper ever made it into politics is a wonder. Of course it might have something to do with riding his daddy’s coattails and the silver spoon of entitlement he was born with.
He basically said “why should Modesto be at these meetings since you aren’t going to believe a word we say.” Here is where I believe an opportunity was lost. If someone would have taken him up on his offer to walk away I really think he would have left just as he started to at a Salida MAC meeting. Supervisor Chiesa talked him down from the ledge that night but since the Supervisor was under the weather today maybe he would have let Cogdill walk. Believe me it would have been no loss because of his my way or the highway attitude.
They Mayor offered to help by using Modesto staff and his experience to assist Salida in exploring incorporation. My real thoughts are, if Salida has difficulty early on in the conversation in securing the financial wherewithal to stand alone the County will try to push the Salida MAC into a shotgun wedding with Modesto.
As usual the topic came around to jobs and shovel ready land. It appeared both the County and Modesto’s leaders thought the EIR or environmental impact reports had been done on the 1,000 of business park in the Salida plan. But Matt Machado threw ice water on their warm and fuzzy moment. NO EIR has been completed according to Mr. Machado. So what no one said until AFTER the meeting, because the public wasn’t allowed to speak was the question, “Who controls the county’s largest business Park?” The County does…its name is WestPark.
So now we know the Salida business park ISN’T shovel ready. Will Modesto still thirst for the annexation?
You better believe it. There are too many on the Council who see that land as being good for THEIR own pocketbooks. And for my two cents that starts with Councilmen Dave Cogdill and Joe Muratore.
The Ad Hoc meetings will continue in the future but sadly no one on the Ad Hoc Committee suggested the public be allowed to contribute in the future. If we go the taxpaying public be forced to sit quietly and watch.