Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

What’s on America’s Mind With Emerson Drake Wednesday at 8:00 PM

A 49 year old man rapes a 14 year old girl and gets 30 day sentence, a blow by blow description of the LCR Council Candidates

Radio RED 104.9 FM

Radio RED 104.9 FM (Photo credit: Mahdi Ayat.)

forum, wondering about Modesto’s proposed sales tax, these topics and more so tune into tonight and find out what you need to know to make decisions important to you, your family and your community. Wednesday at 8:00 PM.  See you then.

104.9 FM our flagship station

Tp listen in live or from our archive http://www.blogtalkradio.com/whats-on-americas-mind/2013/08/29/whats-on-americas-mind-with-emerson-drake-1


Vance Kennedy Voices Concerns to the MID Board

By Vance Kennedy

1.  There is an estimated minimum need for about $35 million dollars in funds to answer requirements for Don Pedro

Drip Irrigation Layout and its parts.

Drip Irrigation Layout and its parts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

reservoir and the MID irrigation system.  That number is a very approximate one.  To the best of my knowledge, funds have not been saved for this.

2.  That money is too large to be obtained by immediate charges, so a bond issue is necessary.

3.  Recent comments by the head of the Federal Reserve, suggesting an easing of bond buying, caused a very rapid jump in 30-year Treasury interest rates of 0.8 percent.  That still leaves interest rates far below long-term averages.  However, the Federal Reserve immediately hastened to try to calm the fears of a rapid rise in interest rates.  It helped, but did not cause interest rates to return to the prior low rates.

4.  In the past, large-scale printing of money resulted in large increases in inflation, but with a variable time delay.  It seems reasonable to assume a similar occurrence in the future.

5.  Now is the time to sell bonds before the Federal Reserve actually does raise interest rates.

6.  A source of bond repayment must be identified before the bonds can actually be sold.

7.  That means an equitable distribution of charges to water users is needed, which will take time, but the time available is very, very short if we are to take advantage of existing low interest rates and before inflation takes off.

8.  The only way a bond can be issued rapidly is to use MID’s overall credit, with a definite written agreement that raw water users will repay the rest of MID customers as soon as possible, and that means very promptly, with no exemptions.

9.  That will require a major, perhaps gradual, charge causing water rates to increase greatly.

10. When water rates increase greatly, many farmers may forego flooding and use drip irrigation.

11. That will result in dropping the water table greatly, just like in the foothills, due to lack of sufficient groundwater recharge.  Also, it could cause a permanent loss of rights to river water, since flood irrigation is greatly reduced and canal water will not be used beneficially.  That loss of water rights should apply permanently to farmers going to drip irrigation because once water rights are lost, they cannot be easily recovered if, indeed, they ever can be recovered.  Otherwise, drip irrigators will act like parasites on the flood irrigating farmers.  This problem with drip irrigation has not been widely recognized in the past, but can no longer be ignored.

12. To avoid the loss of water rights to the river, the farmers must continue to flood irrigate and pay whatever is required to retain the water rights to canal water.  Cities should also encourage farmers to flood irrigate, since groundwater is their backup in case of a severe or prolonged drought.

13. A rough estimate of the cost to pay off $35 million dollars over 30 years, and cover already existing costs, is on the order of $38 per acre foot, plus or minus $5 per acre foot, assuming the present interest rate of 4.8% on MID bonds.  That will mean at least quadrupling the present raw water charge.  Before city residents get all excited about their water rate increases, they should realize that the water charge is estimated to be less than 2% of their water bill.  Hence, their water bill might go up $3 to $4 dollars per month.  City cost now is 1/5 of a penny per gallon.

14. The immediate reaction to this proposal will be “No way”.  Farmers can either face reality now or pay a lot more in the not too distant future.  I challenge anyone to face the situation realistically and come up with a better way to solve our long-term problems.  Detailed explanation of these ideas have been provided to the Board members will prior to this meeting.  Do the Board members have any questions or comments?  Time is of the essence.  $35 million for each 1% increase in interest cost to pay off $35 million over 30 years.  The total increase in interest costs over that 30 years will be about $10.5 million.

LCR’s Modesto City Council Candidates forum is Monday, August 26, 2013 at 6:00 PM

The Latino Community Roundtable (LCR) would like to invite Modesto residents and LCR members to the first candidates forum scheduled for Monday, August 26,

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)

2013 at 6:00 PM at the Alliance. The address is 1020 10th Street place (one door down from Fuzio’s). It will start right at 6 pm.
The forum is open to the public and free of charge. See you there..

14th Annual Salida Town and Country Parade, Festival, and Car Show August 24th

Photo: Only 25 days until the Festival! :D please let me know if you'd like to participate in The Car Show &/or have a booth to promote your business or sell your goods! :)Photo: Salida Chamber of Commerce will have a booth at The Salida Town & Country Parade Festival & Car Show! We'll have chamber applications available. See you there 9-4pm. Parade starts at 10am

What’s on America’s Mind Wednesday at 8:30 PM After the StanCoG Meeting

Tonight’s topics include the recent attacks on women’s rights, the Planning Commissions steps forward and Marsh’s steps


Radio RED 104.9 FM

Radio RED 104.9 FM (Photo credit: Mahdi Ayat.)


backward, who is running for council and MID that doesn’t have a clue, tonight’s StanCoG meeting, these topics and more so tune into tonight at 8:30 PM and find out what you need to know to make decisions important to you, your family and your community.


104.9 FM our flagship station


To listen live or anytime from our archives http://www.blogtalkradio.com/whats-on-americas-mind/2013/08/22/whats-on-americas-mind-with-emerson-drake-1


City Staff Says It Could Spend $2.5M – $6M but Says it Doesn’t Know Who Owns the Property

By Emerson Drake

At last Wednesday’s 8/15 meeting of Modesto’s Economic Development Committee the discussion was about where

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

he City Council  might spend the ‘extra’ money from the 1% sales tax (Proposition X ) one funding option was for a annual/one time expenditure of $2.5 Million.  It was explained they  couldn’t decide which column, annual or one time, to place the funding option under but they could easily spend the money on infrastructure in the Bangs area.despite having already mentioned we needed to spend approximately $50 M for infrastructure to prepare the Kiernan East and South Business Parks.  But Brent Sinclair said he preferred to spend $6M in the Bangs area. He commented the land owners there were anxious to move forward.

Public Records Request (PRR)

I made a PRR to find out who owned the property Mr. Sinclair was in such a hurry to jump start.  Here was the response I received.

Mr. Drake,

Brent Sinclair has advised us that he has no listing of the property owners in the Bangs area.

This completes your public records request.

Thank you,

Apparently the Modesto City Council is in hurry to spend the money but claims they don’t know who will benefit from the voters largess should Prop X be approved.  More than just a little scary, or should I say disingenuous  don’t you think?

I’m starting to believe this Proposition should have been named (Proposition WHY )

The Cuts the Finance Committee Refused to Recommend for Political Reasons

By Emerson Drake

On Wednesday August 15,2013 the Modesto Finance Committee met to discuss the budget reductions recommended by

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

the City Manager Greg Nyhoff in the event the one percent sales tax doesn’t pass. The committee which consists of Chair-Stephanie Burnside. Vice-Chair David Cogdill, and Joe Muratore (absent with Dave Geer standing in) had made prior arrangements with Nyhoff and Mayor Marsh to withhold discussion because of Councilwoman Burnside’s unwillingness to voice her opinions due to  her up-coming re-election bid.  Of just as much concern was Nyhoff having not placed his recommendations on-line (they still are NOT on the city website.

All of the Department heads were there to discuss and or answer questions regarding the potential cuts but because of the previous behind the scenes agreement to help Burnside, no give and take took place.  As a matter of fact Nyhoff told the Dept. heads they could leave.  This article isn’t meant to be a discussion of the right or wrong of the sales tax or of the cuts, we’ll do that in another article.  It’s about disdain and the lack of  transparency by Modesto City officials towards the public. The room was full with Chamber of Commerce members,  a couple of members of the public and one candidate, Bill Zoslocki. Of potential interest were the only three people in attendance with color printouts in white folders, Brent Sinclair, lobbyist Cecil Russell, and candidate/developer Bill Zoslocki. Everyone else had the black and white copies from the table at the door.

Then there was the single page Nyhoff handed out during the meeting containing the cuts.  It was noted the potential deficit this year was $11.8 Million and much is expected to be the same next year.  If they don’t fill positions again this year in the Public Safety and Non-Safety Departments the deficit will be only about $8 Million.  Yet the goal for the day’s exercise was $6 Million.

Here is the list of recommended reductions.

The City Manager’s Dept.  ……………………………………………………….$141,000                                                                                                                    Eliminating lobbyists contracts, eliminating dues, memberships, supporting Alliance, CA League of Cities, Conference of Mayors, eliminate CM and DCM conference attendance.

Human Resources Dept.  …………………………………………………………$209,000                                                                                                                  Position reductions (slow recruitment and hiring, reduced HR assistance to departments regarding personnel matters, delayed response to labor group inquiries.

Finance Dept. ………………………………………………………………………..$450,000                                                                                                                  Downsize budget division (annual budget process, cannot expand to 2 year budget, minimal forecasting and pro forma updates, slower responses to operating dept inquiries) downsize purchasing division (formal RFP’s will go from 120 days to 240. master contracts will expire and require delay in renewals), downsize grant section (grant compliance will shift to operating depts. causing a greater potential for errors in regulatory grant reporting, internal controls weakened significantly)

Parks Recreation & Neighborhood Services ……………………………….$1,000,000                                                                                                              Close Centre Plaza, Closure of Dryden Golf Course, eliminate GF subsidy for John Thurman Field (impact to Modesto Nuts). eliminate support for parades, recreation  programs and Leisure Bucks Programs, eliminate graffiti abatement.

Community and Economic Development ……………………………………$400,000                                                                                                               50% reduction in code enforcement services and complaint inspection, elimination of planning activities of 50% reduction in service (eliminate support for CIP Task Force, 50% reduction in response to customers, developers, City Manager, City Council, inquiries), eliminate participation in Regional Rail. regional transportation and sustainable communities, Eliminate long-range planning (General Plan, ag preservation, housing element, Urban Growth Review), eliminate Downtown Hospitality Program, (parking study, policing and security, entertainment and nightlife)

Total non-public safety …………………………………….approximately $2,200,000

Public Safety Departments–Police and Fire

Modesto Regional Fire Authority (MRFA)…………………………………..$1,400,000                                                                                                      Brown out one fire engine / station

Police …………………………………………………………………………………$2,500,000                                                                                                      Reduction in patrol, reduction in Animal Control Services, elimination in STAN CATT participation, withdraw from Auto Theft Task Force, reduce office hours in customer service, eliminate participation in Federal Gang Task Force

Total Public Safety–Police and Fire …………………………………………$3,900,000



By Joan Rutschow


A montage I (Valente Q.C.) made with pictures ...


1.  In the residential area east of McHenry – how many homes will be built?

2.  Will any of these homes satisfy the RHNA low income housing mandate?

3.  Does this development plan fit or match the designs of the City’s determination of a “sustainable city” under SB 375?

4.  Will any “compact” housing be built in the “Kiernan” road area (which is designated for commercial development?

5.  What commercial square footage would be built for any one building?

6.  Will any commercial buildings allow manufacturing or industrial purposes?

7.  What are all of the exact boundaries (street locations) of each of the proposed employment (business park) and residential areas?

8.  Why hasn’t the proposed buildling of 553 residential homes (to include 182 low income units) been featured in the MAP provided in this presentation?  This large project is known as “Woodglen” which would be bordered off Pelandale/Carver/Dale/Tully?

9.  What has the Economic Development department, or others, done towards obtaining any future employer guarantees to relocate to Modesto (to substantiate that such commercial development will be reasonably filled)?  How many business locations will be built?  How large for each?

10.  What are the water expectations (daily volume needed) for these large areas of commercial and residential development?  Are you expecting that any of these sources will come from any of the two Del Rio Tank Wells project?  Please answer both questions in detail.

11.  Why do you think employers will want to relocate to the proposed Kiernan commercial areas when Modesto has a severe crime problems (gangs and realignment persons) with not enough officers on duty to serve 206,000 residents and with an additional proposed 11,000 low income housing units to be built for Modesto and another 5500 low income housing units to be built for the unincorporated areas)?  

Do you think that these conditions, along with bad air quality, would be favorable conditions for successful businesses to have their best employees to relocate to Modesto?

12.  Per the City and County’s LAND USE documents, no growth will go forward until sufficient public service levels exist for fire, police protection and water availability.

13.  The AG ELEMENT of the General Plan is to protect prime farmland.  Why is the Chamber of Commerce Plan proposing the destruction of prime farmland from Salida to Del Rio?

14.  How many acres of prime farmland would be destroyed under this Chamber of Commerce Plan?

15.  Is any part of the Chamber of Commerce Plan to be compliant with SB 375?


88% would NOT like to have a high-density (high-rise) low-income housing unit in their neighborhood.

80% think an increase in high-density (high-rise) low-income units will negatively impact your property values.

78% are concerned that 100,000* new residents would put their water supply at risk.  *25,608 new low-income, high-density units as mandated by the County Board of Supervisors on 8/28/12, at 4 persons per unit.

By Joan Rutschow


A Follow-up to Aug. 13 Letter Regarding Modesto City Planners

By D. Minighini


This is a follow-up to the letter written by Carla von Hungen and posted here on 8/13. Please scroll down or http://wp.me/p1UFSP-14g 


Dear Residents Across Modesto (whether living in the incorporated or unincorporated areas):


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



Remember to look at page 11 of the July 15, 2013 Planning Commission AGENDA This document can be found in its entirety on the web by searching the Modesto Planning Commission website, under this date. … View more


This document outlines some of the development the City and County wants to implement under the General Plan Amendment project. The General Plan Amendment is the document that governs all of Stanislaus County. The Planning Commission will vote to approve it or not, on August 19th at their public meeting.

The redevelopment of our existing neighborhoods with be with low income affordable housing via the verbage on Page 11 of the agenda report entitled “Neighborhoods.”     This how our local government will destroy middle class neighborhoods, destroy thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars in real estate gains, and destroy the social fabric of a group of similar families with similar values and behaviors.  By this document, our local government has decided to mandate that low income affordable housing will be incorporated into existing neighborhoods.  This is NOT a mandate by    state law, SB 375. This is OUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT’S planning ideas, and might I say, very bad planning without care for people’s current and future wealth that is present in the homes they own.  Let’s not even talk about the social problems that will occur from forcing low income or Section 8 (benefit) residents into our neighborhoods.  Low income housing needs to be developed and located properly within the city and county. The below new “neighborhood” redevelopment (per the General Plan Amendment document) is being mandated ACROSS THE ENTIRE CITY OF MODESTO (that’s incorporated and unincorporated areas). 


These kinds of housing plans are negligent misinterpretations and malformations of a “sustainable city” under SB 375 by local city planners and other government personnel who have written or approve the General Plan Amendment as it now states.  Anyone in our local government, or city planners, should respect people’s economic holdings of home ownership and the financial wealth that exists in the varying neighborhoods of this city. The expectation of real estate gains coming from the one major asset that families have, is sometimes, all that they have. There is no law that demands that low income housing should be incorporated into existing neighborhoods. The placement of low income housing is a very important decision and its location should not infringe or hurt any other existing resident’s real estate values. Low income housing brings various social and economic ills to middle class or upper class neighborhoods. It will destroy financial wealth for existing residents. These are real estate facts that are well known. This also intrudes into our constitutional protections to the pursuit of happiness and the foundation of economic prosperity that this country was built upon. Every American strives to reach higher, and as their lives progress and when they decide to invest in, they choose and spend thousands of dollars into a particular neighborhood because of its economic level, social behavioral expectations, and the type of residents who live there who have similar values. Homeowners who buy into middle and upper class neighborhoods have worked hard to afford it, and have finally achieved it, with no government handouts.

Local Modesto government and City Planners have no right to destroy the American economic model and cause financial injury to its residents who own property.

The below verbage of the General Plan Amendment document is a direct proximate cause of injury to residents if it passes.  The below verbage should be modified and deleted:

“The City of Modesto will promote and facilitate a fabric of complete, cohesive, pedestrian-friendly and family-oriented neighborhoods across the entire City. New neighborhoods are to be integrated with existing neighborhoods, through contextual design consideration, compact development patterns and application of Neighborhood Compatibility Guidelines and other applicable development guidelines.”

“Goal III.C
Neighborhoods. Neighborhoods should be complete, compact and sustainable so that housing, jobs, shopping and transit access are within easy walking distance of each other. Neighborhoods should include a mix of compatible land uses within close proximity, contain a diversity of housing types to accommodate a wide range of economic levels…”

“Policy III.C.1
Complete Neighborhoods. Complete neighborhoods promote livability, sustainability and safety for all residents. Modesto’s neighborhoods should contain: a mix of housing types including affordable and market-rate;…”

(“Compact” and “affordable” housing is referring to the city’s “sustainable city” high- density, low-income RHNA housing!)

Residents need to attend the Monday, August 19th Planning Commission public meeting and voice their opposition to this and other development under the General Plan Amendment document.
The Planning Commission meeting will be held at 6pm at 1010 10th Street, basement level.

Your voice is needed.   We all need to stand together, in as large of group as possible, to demand that this verbage be modified or deleted.  This neighborhood building code is just about millions of dollars in grant monies being paid to developers and having a steady stream of tax payer money paid to our government. SB 375 is just ONE method of reducing greenhouse gases by building compact high density cities. We need to encourage our government to use “other” ways to meet the 5% GHG reduction mandate by 2020.
We don’t have to let our government destroy our neighborhoods by low income housing (which people all over the Bay Area will come to live in it. There is no guarantee that our local residents will be chosen for it.).
Don’t think your voice won’t matter. There is only one more chance on August 19.

Unincorporated area residents of the City of Modesto need to be concerned about this too.


D. Minighini
Modesto unincorporated resident 


What’s on America’s Mind With Emerson Drake Wednesday 8/14 at 8PM

Tonight’s topics include women’s issues around the country,  Profiteering developers in Modesto running for office, opening

Radio RED 104.9 FM

Radio RED 104.9 FM (Photo credit: Mahdi Ayat.)

Modesto Plaza, these topics and more so tune into tonight and find out what you need to know to make decisions important to you, your family and your community.

104.9 FM our flagship station

To listen live or in our archive : http://www.blogtalkradio.com/whats-on-americas-mind/2013/08/15/whats-on-americas-mind-with-emerson-drake-1

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