Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the month “January, 2014”

Vindictiveness Doesn’t Look Good on a City Councilwoman

By Emerson Drake jkenoyer

Ms, Kenoyer had stated during her campaign she would NOT support any attempt to annex Salida.  She repeated it several times on Jan 7th.  Over the weekend she received a flyer JennyKenoyer_flyer which upset her. Apparently she was offended at being reminded of the promises she broke and of course having flyers being passed out didn’t help.

Now Ms. Kenoyer is running around telling people she’s going to teach Salida a lesson.  Watch closely and you’ll see our ‘Jenny’ vote against the very people she promised to support.

Jenny’s promises and her word seem to be worthless.   And for someone like myself who has been a constant supporter of hers for many years this is heartbreaking.

We’ve only just begun. It’s time to hold politicians accountable to the people.  The copy machines are warmed up and the people are motivated.

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There’s Still time to Help Wood Colony and Salida

modestoarch

Please write your councilperson  and or all of them and tell them to leave Wood Colony and Salida alone.  Anyone can email them so please, do it now.  Also feel free to call them at 571-5597.

Marsh can be reached at mayor@modestogov.com

The rest of the council by using the first letter of their first name and their last . The email addresses follow by council district

jgunderson@modestogov.com   tmadrigal@modestogov.com  dlopez@modestogov.com  bzoslocki@modestogov.com jkenoyer@modestogov.com dcogdill@modestogov.com

Mayor and City Attorney Create Imaginary City Council Policy

By Emerson Drake gmarsh

In recent weeks we’ve made several attempts to contact the interim City Attorney for Modesto,  Adam Lindgren,  we’ve left detailed messages but Mr. Lindgren refuses to return our calls.  The first time was before the Jan. 7th meeting of the City Council to discuss the Mayor’s illegal refusal to allow those who had spoken at the Dec. 3rd meeting regarding the General Plan Amendment to speak again despite the fact that the proposal had changed significantly.  We left messages explaining the legal ramifications in an attempt to head this miscarriage of the Brown Act off at the pass. Unfortunately the City Attorney had been given the task of ‘finding’ a way to keep the people from speaking again so it became necessary to educate both he and the Mayor in public. Fortunately one of our contributors quoted the case on point (Friant Water Authority v. County of Madera) and eventually the Mayor relented and allowed those who spoke at the Dec.3rd meeting to speak again.

The second time it’s regarding the Mayors threat to remove anyone holding signs from the meeting. Admittedly it was a childish threat made in anger.  We called Mr. Lindgren, who seems to ALWAYS be out of the office,  several times but he refuses to return my call.   So as is our way, we made a Public Record Request of the city for the applicable City Charter amendment that would allow the Mayor to  take away the First Amendment rights of the attendees. The Supreme Court has ruled signs are “free speech.”   Here are the eleven pages the City responded with. If you can find where this document allows the Mayor to threaten to throw citizens out of the meeting for carrying signs please let us know.City_Council_Organization_and_Procedure (2)

Mr. Mayor, until you finally corrected yourself towards the end of the Jan.7th  meeting you violated the law,   please don’t do it Tuesday night.

JENNY KENOYER BREAKS HER CAMPAIGN PROMISE!

Dear Modesto Neighborsmodestoarch

Less than 2 months into office (and at her first city council meeting), your new Modesto City council member JENNY KENOYER 

is planning to break her campaign promise to preserve prime farmland!

During her campaign when asked how important farmland preservation is to Stanislaus County, Jenny Kenoyer replied, “Farmland preservation is probably one of the most important things that is so important to us.  Agriculture is the base of our economy” and “I’m really concerned our council that is there now is not really concerned with preservation of ag land”.

Yet at the January 7, 2014 Modesto City Council meeting, Jenny Kenoyer indicated that she supports annexing the prime farmland west of 99 known as Wood Colony for development.  She was quoted as saying,” I DON’T CARE WHAT THE PEOPLE OF WOOD COLONY THINK, THEY DON’T VOTE FOR ME.”

Your neighbors in Wood Colony need your help to protect their homes, their farms, and their families’ farm heritage!

Please e-mail or call your councilmember, Jenny Kenoyer and request she stick to her campaign pledge to preserve farmland and NOT VOTE TO PAVE OVER FAMILY FARMS IN WEST MODESTO!

E-mail: JKenoyer@modestogov.com and/or call (209) 571-5597.

CONTACT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! – URGENCY NEEDED!  THE VOTE IS TUESDAY!

Or attend the Modesto City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 5:30 pm at 1010 10th Street Place – Basement chambers.

*To locate the YouTube video, just google “Jenny Kenoyer Interview” and the date is August 16, 2013.

We’ve just added the pdf of the flyer being distributed in Modesto.

JennyKenoyer_flyer

Today in the Name of Freedom We Start Taking the Battle to Them

By Emerson Drake7539_644398712288462_663275294_n

Okay it’s a little dramatic, but it fits.  The Modesto City Council is preparing, through its General Plan Amendment update, to annex Wood Colony and possibly Salida and I say enough is enough.  Unlike the beleaguered citizens of Modesto, residents of Wood Colony and Salida have a means to fight back.  Marketplace Shopping Center is a prime example.  Modesto residents came out in droves to protest the building of the center at Sylvan and Oakdale roads but the city council, after pretending to listen and postponing the decision a few times, decided developers were more important to them than the voting citizens of the neighborhood.  They can’t protest the decision to a higher authority like Wood Colony and Salida will be able to ie: LAFCO.

The Modesto City Council has been drinking the Chamber of Commerce’s Kool aid.

After speaking with Councilwoman Jenny Kenoyer on Jan.7th it became obvious, that despite her protestations of independent research, she was mouthing the exact platitudes of the Chamber’s Craig Lewis and lobbyist Cecil Russell.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, is the chant.  But all they are providing are empty promises of ‘core’ jobs which is deceiving few if any.  Core jobs don’t rely on freeway access, warehouse and distribution jobs at $10 to $12 an hour do.  And the Chamber says we should be grateful for that.  But Bill Lyons’ Wood Colony Business Park (WCBP) would provide the 5% commissions for Realtors like Councilman Bill Zoslocki and his boss at Prudential Realty, Craig Lewis.  Jenny likes to say she wants a research facility to be built at WCPB and challenged me to give her another option.  Very simple, if it’s going to be 10 to 20 years before build-out, which I doubt, lets use the second rate soil on land East of Modesto.   Just like the Chamber, Jenny dismissed this out of hand.   Why?  Because they know it’s out best option and it undermines their arguments in favor of Salida and Wood Colony.

Another talking point they, the Chamber and many members of the Council make is a business park would keep our children from leaving Modesto.  What a joke, but again false promises hold out hope to parents of children who might leave after college graduation.  I suppose if they had a child who wanted to be an oceanographer they’d promise to build an ocean in the proposed park too.

Their spiel isn’t about truth, it’s about taking advantage of the hard times and making as much money as possible for themselves and their friends just like developer and profiteer Bill Zoslocki did with Village I.

I supported Jenny Kenoyer when she ran for office the first time. I sat with her and fought the proposed water sale to San Francisco.  I heard her speak many times about preserving prime farmland.  And now because she mentions  farmland mitigation she believes it covers for her sins for making false campaign promises.  I understand some politicians lie to get in office but I truly never expected it of her, not to this extent.

And as for taking the fight to them…

There are people walking Modesto council districts explaining to the people just how badly the City Council is treating the German Baptist Brethren in Wood Colony.   But as Jenny admitted saying, they (the Brethren) can’t vote for her.

Food for thought about the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and those in the Modesto City Council who vote against the preservation of Wood Colony and Salida…To know where Evil grows and permit it to flourish is to accept responsibility for all that follows.

‘We The People’ Modesto Chapter

By Emerson Drake                    honorourheritage

I think it’s time for the people of Stanislaus County to have an organization  of their own representing them.  It wouldn’t be affiliated with any other groups, and is just out of concern for the issues faced by those of us in the Central Valley.  We’ve watched Modesto try to claim land belonging to the residents of Salida and now Wood Colony is being threatened with extinction.  It’s important to understand extinction is exactly what will happen if the majority of the Modesto City Council gets their way.  It’s the extinction of a way of life for the German Baptist Brethren, and everyone else who lives in the area.   Once industry invades Wood Colony it’s the beginning of the end.

Going to the Modesto Planning Commission meetings we heard the Modesto  Chamber of Commerce attempt to extend Modesto’s influence to the river on the West and North.  They were claiming ‘they’ would protect farmland but the reality is something completely different.  This massive land grab they attempted to bring into Modesto’s General Plan (37 square miles) was larger than Modesto proper (34 square miles.)

Individually they can ignore the will of the people but collectively they have to listen.  It’s important for everyone to come forward and speak your mind to the Modesto City Council.  Citizens of Modesto especially.  Why?  Because the Majority of the City Council is preparing to help you surrender your ability to vote on Modesto’s annexations.  We ALL need to protect Measures A and M because they help us to rein in the greed coming from the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and being funneled through the City Council.

The people of Wood Colony and Salida need and deserve our support. Only by standing together can we survive the onslaught being perpetuated by the Modesto City Council and Modesto Chamber of Commerce.

Think about it.

Special thanks to the Fly N Dutchman Graphics and Banners for the picture.

The Chamber Plotting the Take over of Wood Colony

By Emerson Drake                                         LTU_Team-225x145

In our opinion a small cabal of greedy people have taken over the Modesto Chamber of Commerce in the last eight to ten  years.  They run candidates who promote their agenda, many times to the detriment of Modesto citizens.  From Tom VanGroningen, Glen Wild, and Jim Mortensen on MID Board to Stephanie Burnside and Dave Cogdill Jr. on the City Council, we’ve helped in the attempt to fight off their influence and it’s one more time into the breach my friends.

Herein the picture are some on the people behind the land grab.   And this is the list of names of the Transportation Committee which comprises many of the other plotters.                                                                                                                                                                            Modesto Chamber of Commerce – Land Use & Transportation Committee Craig Lewis, Brad Hawn, Chris Murphy, George Petrulakis, Tom Nielsen, Ron Jackson, Dennis Wilson, Chris Esther, Kole Seifkin, Ron Ehrke, Mark Buckley, Warren Kirk, Steve Madison, Jim Mortensen, Jeff Burda, Randy Clark, Linda Sadler, Becky Meredith, Bill Zoslocki, Joan Clendenin, Steve Rank And of course the Chamber’s head lobbyist Cecil Russell.  If you know  any of these people feel free to contact them and register your disapproval.

It’s difficult to expect an open mind from Councilman Bill Zoslocki when he was part of the problem.  Little wonder he was being so condescending and speaking like a preschool teacher to their charges. But what is the connection you ask?  It goes back to the Village I debacle where developers and the Chamber used their considerable influence to lower building fees which allowed developers like Bill Zoslocki to receive excess profits (in other words become profiteers), but now Councilman Zoslocki is working for Craig Lewis at his branch of Prudential Real Estate.  Their constant lament during the Planning Commission presentations/workshops was there wasn’t enough commercial land for THEM to sell. Like we owe them a living and should take/steal land from others and make it available to them.  Just how self-entitled can you get?

Brad Hawn (on the lower right) is a former city councilman who the Chamber worked behind the scenes to get placed on LAFCO (Land Formation Commission) which will eventually get to decide if the annexation will go through.  Jim Mortensen, a failed MID candidate, was helping the Chamber promoting the water sale to San Francisco and is/was actively promoting the land grab.

George Petrulakis (second from the right) is a land use attorney who wrote most of the Modesto Charter and helped ensure clauses like the one Marsh misused to keep the public from speaking out at city council meetings as the Brown Act allows. Fortunately one of our contributors quoted the case on point (Friant Water Authority v. County of Madera) and eventually the Mayor relented and allowed those who spoke at the Dec.3rd meeting to speak again.  Unfortunately if was after many had already gone home.  George’s boss from Keystone Development spoke at the meeting to promote the land grab.  George’s claim to fame, along with writing the Modesto City Charter, was with Keystone where  he threatened to sue Patterson and then he was behind a petition to create a zoning czar in Patterson who would NOT be accountable to the city council just because of a zoning disagreement.  He’s one land use attorney we need to keep an eye on.

Of course we can’t overlook the Chambers head lobbyist Cecil Russell especially since Cecil was actively promoting the water sale to San Francisco along with Keating.  He and former Modesto Councilwoman Janice Keating, also from the Chamber, are basically speakers for hire and will say almost anything at any time for a payday.

In order to fight fire with fire we suggest a flyer be made and spread around town to businesses who are Modesto Chamber members.  The flyer would request support from Modesto shoppers with the goal of saving Wood Colony and while asking the store owners for permission to display the flyer ask the owners to call the Chamber and request they cease and desist.

And this is just the beginning…

Here are more of the denizens of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce

Craig-LewisRuben-VillalobosBrad-Hawncecil-russell Left to right: Craig Lewis, Ruben Villalobos, Brad Hawn, and of course the lobbyist Cecil Russell.

Mayor Marsh and Some Council Members Want to Silence the Opposition

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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.

Measure A
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.

Measure M

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.
http://gis.stancounty.com/giscentral/public/map/esri/flex/parcelfinder/index.jsp

Stanislaus County: GIS Central :: GIS Standards.

gis.stancounty.com

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..:)

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