Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

County Wants to Spend $1 Million of Taxpayers Money in Secret

By Emerson Drake   stanislauslogo

County CEO Stan Risen has hand picked a committee to oversee spending $ 1 Million dollars of taxpayer money and he claims the best way to do it is in secret.  This committee is comprised of Gallo Center for the Arts director Lynn Dickerson; Modesto Nuts general manager Mike Gorrasi;  CEO of the Economic Development and Workforce Alliance Dave White; Stanislaus Surgical Hospital CEO Doug Johnson; county Superintendent of Schools Tom Changnon; Modesto City Schools Superintendent Pam Able along with Rev. Marvin Jacobo of City Ministry Network; Jeff Pishney of Love Our Cities; Cle Moore-Bell of Christ Unity Baptist Church; and Mark Vasché of Pinnacle Forum of Northern California among others.

No offense to any of the people on the Committee, but if you placed these people in the old fable “The Emperor’s New Suit”, they would be admiring the cloth and the tailoring.  Most of these people have no experience or expertise in homelessness other than to say we need to get rid of it.

The Reason For The Secrecy

According to Stan Risen in an interview with Ken Carlson and from his article in the Bee,  “we don’t need someone looking for every quote to make us look bad.”   So basically he’s saying we don’t want any accountability for what we say and do.   You’re trying to justify spending Taxpayer money in secret and you’re worrying about someone else making you look bad?  Stan Risen, CEO of Stanislaus County, paid with County funds, hand picks a group and demands total secrecy? Risen is his and their, own worst enemy.

Maybe Another Reason

We had the opportunity to listen to CEO Risen make his pitch to the City County Liaison Committee which meets monthly.  While his plan is interesting what concerned us at the time was the mandate, “any group that wants to apply for money MUST have a religious affiliation.”   Risen refuses to consider anything else.  Taxpayer money tied to a religious mandate doesn’t seem right or legal.  Should a religious connection preclude a group, no, but requiring one reeks of foul play especially considering the affiliations of four of the members.

What needs to Happen

Meeting in public  isn’t something you leave to an appointed board.  The County Board of Supervisors needs to insist that ALL meetings be held in public and in a  room that accommodates everyone interested in attending.  Hiding behind closed doors , whispering in secret, and spending taxpayer money isn’t what the people of Stanislaus County expect or will tolerate.

Don’t be shy, they like to hear from their constituents.   Feel free to contact the Supervisors and tell them how you feel about spending $1 Million dollars of Taxpayer money in secret.

Here are their email addresses.

William.Obrien@stancounty.com   vito.chiesa@stancounty.com   withrowt@StanCounty.com   MonteithD@StanCounty.com   DemartiniJ@StanCounty.com

The meeting will be held Monday from 8:30 a.m. to noon in a conference room at Greens on Tenth, at 953 10th St. in Modesto.

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5 thoughts on “County Wants to Spend $1 Million of Taxpayers Money in Secret

  1. As a citizen of this county,I object strenuously to this unconstitutional mandate. Requiring religious affiliation for groups is so obviously a violation of the separation of church and state embedded in the first amendment to our constitution. David Tucker

  2. Let me just ask….are you certain it’s tax payer money and not something donated to the county via a “religious” affiliation?

    • In October, supervisors approved Focus on Prevention “to establish the county and chief executive officer as a facilitator and convener” of community partners to address issues of quality of life. The county budgeted $1 million for prevention efforts this year and hired consultant John Ott under a $148,000 contract to facilitate meetings with community members.

      Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/ken-carlson/article22569213.html#storylink=cpy

      • As a follow-up I asked at today’s committee meeting where the money was coming from. The response was from the County’s general fund and not from a set aside from any donations. I hope that completely answers your question.

      • Then it is in deed most disturbing. I have seen communities get donations and don’t see the need to disclose all about a donation, but general fund money is governed by open meeting laws and their quest for privacy may only involve employee / labor negotiations or property purchases. Even in the case of the later a meeting notice with a parcel number is required. Shame on them.

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