By Emerson Drake
MID Has a New Back Door Man
When the Modesto Irrigation District was discussing creating their Water Advisory Committee there were only a few major requirements. Being knowledgeable regarding water issues, understanding a successful business model, and most importantly, and without exception, not running for the MID Board in the fall. Most of the people nominated and approved fall into that category. But it seems we have one MAJOR exception. The Water Advisory Committee Chairman Jim Mortensen has been seeking financial supporters in an apparent run for office for District 4. And he has apparently found one in Bill Lyons. Lyons, who supported Glen Wild, Tom Van Groningen, and Paul Warda to name the ones still on the Board through his Beckwith-Dakota LLC, has pledged his support. Bill Lyons has been milking MID for every penny he can, and has found a new shill to put into office. Unfortunately the people Lyons’ supported in the past are responsible for many of the terrible decisions made by MID. And since Jim Mortensen won’t or refuses (you choose) to honor his pledge NOT to run for the MID Board then how can anyone in good conscience vote for him? The public should DEMAND his removal at the next MID Board meeting. The meeting scheduled for May 28 has been cancelled. Maybe now we know why.
Along those same lines we keep hearing Carol Whiteside (of Martino Graphic Designs funneled money fame) is considering a run for the MID Board. Ms. Whiteside who collected a minimum of $15,000 (not invoiced by her company, California Strategies) from MID through Martino Graphics ,has been contacting Board members to arrange meetings. The last time she pulled this stunt she was being directed by Tom Van Groningen and Glen Wild (they were the only Board members aware of the surreptitious arrangement with Martino Graphics. Neither the rest of the MID Board nor the public are clear on what she did to earn the money (except to study MID records according to Tom VanGroningen). Apparently for the friends of a chosen few, MID is the gift that keeps on giving. With her record of receiving funds under the table from MID, I don’t understand how she could consider running but then maybe she’s talking with Billy Lyons too.
The Modesto Chamber of Commerce’s new Bible vs Their Plan, Pathways to Growth
The book is “The Coming Jobs War” by Jim Clifton (Chairman of Google) and is quite interesting. I’ve heard several members of the Chamber tout this book as a must read for planning Modesto’s future. The funny thing about people pushing books allegedly supporting their actions is that most people never get around to reading them. Come on, it’s no indictment against anyone but most people aren’t readers. It’s just a fact of life and the Chamber knows it. So all they feel they have to do is wave a book by Google’s Chairman and people will accept anything they say as Gospel. Unfortunately for the Chamber some of us are readers. I finished it last week. Would it surprise you to learn that most of the Chamber’s proposals run contrary to what the book espouses? It shouldn’t because that’s how the Modesto Chamber of Commerce rolls. These are the same people when they ran short of money to finish paying for refurbishing Modesto’s Arch were saying they were asking the city for a loan but had City Manager Gregg Nyhoff place on the agenda a request for a one time gift. Now that’s hardly the same thing. I pointed this out during the City Council agenda meeting and when it came to the Council meeting, Councilman Cogdill expressed concern at using public money and the Chamber’s head lobbyist, Cecil Russell, ask for it to be pulled from the agenda. It’s in the record so feel free to check it out. The print media never mentioned that to you did they?
I’ll be placing an annotated list of quotes taken word for word from the book so YOU can compare the two divergent philosophy’s (the Chamber’s and the book’s author).