Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the day “April 11, 2013”

Presented to at the Modesto Irrigation District April 9,2013

By Joan Rutschow

The over regulation of farmers by the State Water Resources Control Board will have a devasting effect on farmlands, agriculture income, and jobs.

The recent proposal by the WRCB to release 35% of the unimpaired flow on the Stanislaus, Merced, and Tuolumne Rivers

The department logo.

The department logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

will have the following estimated and unacceptable outcomes:

1. Fallowing as many as 220,000 acres of farmland.

2. Loss of $187 Million in ag income and using a 7x economic multiplier according to the Modesto Chamber of Commerce equates in their estimate to $1.3 Billion.  But it is MUCH WORSE:  220,000 acres of permanent  crops which is what will have to be abandoned.  An average 5,000 lbs. at $2.50  per lb. equals gross farm-gate value times the economic multiplier of 7x equals $87,000 of economic benefit to those ag communities.  Apply this to 220,000 acres and it is a very big economic hit of $19.2 Billion that we currently HAVE and will LOSE.

3. Unfortunately, the WRCB is willing to sacrifice our agricultural livelihood and destroy our entire community.  All for the purpose of providing striped bass with exorbitantly priced salmon for every meal.

I personally attended the Don Pedro re-licensing meeting at Modesto Irrigation Headquarters on January 30 and 31st, 2013.  We were told by the meeting attendees that 93% of the young salmon in the rivers were killed by PREDATORS – mainly large mouth bass!  HUMAN NEEDS MUST COME FIRST!  Farmers MUST be allowed adequate water to provide food and fiber as needed by our growing population.  With our present drier water pattern, water is more important than ever!  There is NO GUARANTEE that the proposed release of 35% of the unimpaired flow of the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced Rivers would significantly save the salmon population, but would definitely GREATLY HARM FARMLANDS (FOOD PRODUCTION!), agriculture income and jobs!


Joan Rutschow

Modesto Ca.




What Came Out of the Workshop

By Emerson Drake

It was the meeting the public forgot. Well not everyone forgot, after all, there were five from the  public. Three were

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)

candidates or probable candidates for council seats and of the remaining two,  one was from Salida.  Of the council most were there with the exception of Councilman Lopez who was a no-show  and Councilwoman Burnside who came a half an hour into the conversation.

At the very beginning the sparse attendance was noted and immediately Councilman Cogdill said it wasn’t the council’s fault.  But maybe the choice of day and time Wednesday at 3:00 PM could have had something to do with it.  Or maybe not.

After a comparison of the city’s official Vision vs Mission statements the meeting shot past a review of the priorities established in the first Goal Setting Workshop.  For those paying attention to such things, the Annexation of Salida was the very first item under PRIORITY A. 

This time around a plan “B” had been established.  Councilman Cogdill was pushing to “grow” Mary Grogan Park by establishing more ball fields of an unnamed type to join the 10 soccer fields (three artificial turf and seven grass) presently being planned by entering into a public/private partnership to develop and fund the project.  But make no mistake, Mayor Marsh hasn’t taken his eyes off of the prize called Salida and neither have the developers as no plan “B” was mentioned regarding business parks.

It was generally agreed upon the areas we can focus on to achieve easy gains in internal efficiency are outlined in the Moss Adams report.   A copy can be found by clicking on the following pdf link.


We’ve brought this to your attention in the past but if you haven’t already now would be a good time to peruse this document. It was suggested this study contains up to 30 good ideas for improvement.

We were  disappointed in one particular portion regarding Priority Champions.

The City Staff were seeking members of the council to help be responsible for the priorities being established by these workshops. But it appears in true political fashion, some  Council members lead by Councilwoman Burnside wanted no part of being a “Champion” suggesting it was the staff responsibility to push these priorities forward. Councilwoman Burnside stated she wanted to see more reports from the other committees.  I guess the reports/meeting minutes  available on the city website aren’t sufficient.  If “special reports” are generated for her then they should be placed on the city website for all to read.  Please don’t require a Public Records Request for this information.  The City Clerks office is understaffed as it is and are doing an incredible job of keeping up so lets not add to their workload.

One thing experience has shown is if one or more council members don’t show or take a particular interest that no matter the topic, it won’t get done.  It languishes on the vine, dries up and is lost to the scrap heap of disinterest.  When running for office council members like to take credit for actions of past councils (like Modesto’s density) which worked out but are hesitant to take responsibility for major projects where they will be in the forefront.

The next meeting is a community forum scheduled for Thursday, April 18, 2013 from 5-7 PM  at the Downtown Plaza.

As always if you want to hear more on this subject check out yesterday’s radio broadcast on blogtalk.  The link is available on this site.  As soon as the pdf of the hand outs from yesterday’s meeting are made available I’ll be providing them.

 So, as usual, in Modesto, apathy reigns supreme.  You can almost say it’s counted on.

Post Navigation