By Emerson Drake
Thanks to Mayor Marsh the excrement has hit the oscillating rotary device (something about hitting a fan). We learned last week Mayor Marsh was planning NOT to allow people who had spoken at the December City Council meeting to speak again. Apparently if you don’t agree with the Mayor and Modesto Chamber of Commerce’s land grab proposal (also known as Pathways to SPRAWL) you should sit down and shut up!
When we tried to inform people regarding his plan we were met with disbelief. Not that people thought we were lying, but shaking their collective heads thinking it was political suicide and was unthinkable. But now it has been made public (remember just because you might have read it in the Bee doesn’t make it wrong.. :). We were singing our tale loud and long (including to the Bee) because the purpose is to get the word out to as many people as possible.
What may have slipped past many people is the Mayor and staff are cooking up an idea to delay Denny Jackman’s Residential Urban Limit (RUL) proposal they had originally slated to vote on next year and place it on the 2015 ballot along with the removal of Measures A&M. Now I believe Denny’s RUL was watered down in order to get it past the City Council but it would be better than nothing, but NOT worth exchanging Measure A&M for. No Way.
Just to refresh your memory, here are the official versions of A&M taken from the city website.
On March 6, 1979, the voters enacted Measure A, the “Citizens’ Advisory Growth Management Act,” which requires the City Council to hold an advisory vote of the citizens of Modesto prior to extending sewer trunk lines to areas outside of the current sewer service area. Measure A allows Modesto’s citizens to voice their opinions on growth before it happens and ensures that City Council members know the public opinion.
On November 4, 1997, the voters enacted Measure M, the “Modesto Citizens’ Advisory Growth Management Act of 1995”. The purpose of Measure M is to extend the advisory votes required by Measure A to all sewer improvements and to bring the public’s voice into decisions concerning whether or not to allow urban expansion. And of course the link for those named Thomas…. http://www.ci.modesto.ca.us/ced/documents/planning_urbanarea.asp (http://www.ci.modesto.ca.us/ced/documents/planning_urban-area.asp)
A and M allow the citizens of Modesto to control, what in the past was uncontrolled growth (SPRAWL) and to help maintain the quality of life Modestans enjoy and to keep Modesto’s greedy developers at bay. We have been aware for years that the developers, staffers, Chamber of Commerce and some elected officials don’t want the public to be able to weigh in. Four years ago when David Geer was first elected we had five areas to vote on and ALL five were turned down by the voters by a margin of 60 – 70 percent. Yet current council members have referred to this vote as voter fatigue and try to use this as a reason to negate your prior vote. Councilman Lopez was one of the worst offenders at this.
Tuesday night at 5:30 in the basement of 1010 10th Street (City Hall), the Council will be considering and discussing the General Plan Amendment which may or may not include Salida (Marsh says yes), but definitely will include 1825 acres of Wood Colony. I believe since the staff proposal has been changed EVERYONE should get to speak. But Marsh is tired of people not agreeing with him, but that isn’t our problem. As they say in business, he isn’t hourly, he’s salary (as they all are) and as such should allow the public to speak. The RUL extension is on the calendar as is the Berberian Shopping Center slated for the corner of Sylvan and Oakdale Roads.
Come early and be prepared for a lengthy meeting. Remember, this is part of their plan. They want you to get tired and discouraged and go home without speaking.
If you are interested in some of the players behind the scenes in this little play of greed, check out this website and see who owns the property involved. It isn’t just Prudential Real Estate Salesmen like Craig Lewis and Councilman Bill Zoslocki (yes, Bill works for Craig) who have been pushing this nasty piece of business through the Planning Commission, others are involved, like lobbyist Cecil Russel with the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.
Here is a link to the maps of the county. use the little hand to see who the players are in Wood Colony from the vocal to the silent. The silence is deafening-but you can afford to be silent when others do your bidding for you. This is a new link that works. Thanks to those who pointed out the difficulty.
Stanislaus County: GIS Central :: GIS Standards.
The sabbatical is over…I’m back!
As a point of interest the OFFICIAL minutes of the council don’t list the speakers….so maybe no one spoke..:)