Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “Brown Act”

The Missing Council Video

By Emerson Drake  

On Tuesday 8/15 the entire Modesto City Council met for ethics training.  It was a Brown Act meeting which meant there was a published agenda and the public was allowed not only to attend but to speak during the public comment part of the meeting.  Now usually these types of meetings are held in a much smaller room than the Council chambers but since all of the decision makers in the City’s staff including about a dozen members of the Modesto Police Dept. were required to attend, it was held in Council Chambers.  They don’t have video capability in the smaller rooms but obviously they have it in Council Chambers.

But as you’ll note unlike other council meetings they not only haven’t posted the video but are actually refusing to make it available for streaming even though they recorded it.

Council Meeting 8/15/2017 Agendapdf|Packet|Minutes
Council Meeting 8/8/2017 Agendapdf|Packet|Minutes|Video
Council Meeting 8/2/2017 Agendapdf|Packet|Minutes|Video

First we called the City Clerk’s office and requested that they make the meeting video available but they claim that it was never streamed and that they don’t make workshops available.   I explained that after being at the meeting for about one hour I then went home and we watched the rest of it live on our  computer.  They said okay but they weren’t supposed to stream it.  They are making the video available to any staff that missed the meeting at no cost.  But the public?  Well, we are kept in the dark and being sent the bill for the privilege.  We’ve called the City Manager’s office and the Mayor’s office but so far they haven’t  responded to our queries.

So what’s the big deal?  Well, not only was it a tutorial for the elected office holders and city staff BUT it was also a tutorial for the public to let them know their rights and what to expect from public record requests.

And for the record despite the taxpayers paying for the elected and city staff that packed council chambers some still could not get there for the meeting to start on time.  So Mr. City Attorney, you may have blamed the three minute public comment period for running 18 minutes overtime but that wasn’t the truth, was it? (It was one of Adam’s final comments that shows we were actually listening at home long after departing the meeting)

MINUTES

 

City of Modesto

 CITY COUNCIL WORKSHOP
Chambers, Basement Level
Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th Street
Modesto, California

Tuesday August 15, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.

 

City of Modesto

 SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Council Conference Room, Basement Level
Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th Street
Modesto, California

Tuesday August 15, 2017, at 11:30 a.m.

 

CITY COUNCIL WORKSHOP
 

Roll Call – Present: Councilmembers Ah You (arrived at 9:45 a.m.), Grewal, Kenoyer, Madrigal, Ridenour, Zoslocki, Mayor Brandvold

Absent: None

 
PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD

 

  • Emerson Drake spoke regarding private emails, an email to him dated March 22, 2017 regarding 14,000 “hits” in response to his Public Records Act request, and cameras in parking lots.
1. AB1234 Ethics Training Workshop (Funding Source: Not Applicable)
  City Attorney; Adam Lindgren, 577-5288, alindgren@modestogov.com 

 

ACTION:  City Attorney Lindgren and Assistant City Attorney Sanchez conducted the AB 1234 Ethics Training Workshop.

MATTERS TOO LATE FOR THE AGENDA

 

None.

 

CLOSED SESSION

 

CONFERENCE WITH REAL PROPERTY NEGOTIATORS:

(Pursuant to Section 54956.8 of the Government Code)

Property:                     Property between 9th and 10th Street, and E Street and F Street,

located in Modesto, CA; APN: 106-044-005

Property Owners:        Victor Martinez/Victor & Iris Martinez TRS

Negotiating Parties:

For City:          Cynthia Birdsill, Director of Community & Economic Development for City of

Modesto

Adam U. Lindgren, City Attorney for City of Modesto

For Property Owners:             Larry Killian, Real Estate Broker

Under Negotiation:     Possible purchase

 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

ACTION: This meeting adjourned at 11:10 a.m
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Workforce Alliance Violates Brown Act, Holds an Illegal Meeting

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)

By Emerson Drake

The Alliance held their monthly meeting January 28th at noon and everyone but the public was invited.  As an organization subject to the Brown Act the Alliance  must post their agenda 72 hours ahead of time, and the official places they choose to use are their website and on the door to their offices at 1010 10th Street.  Unfortunately for the public, the time on the website was 3:30 PM and the two pages attached to their door had NO MENTION of the meetings start time.

So understandably when five interested members of the public arrived early at 3:15 for the meeting and discovered the meeting was already over, there was some consternation.  During his convoluted explanation, Bill Bassett pointed out it was mentioned just before the meeting by attendees, that the starting time listed on-line was incorrect, but they went ahead with the meeting anyway.  What was strange was they adjusted the time on their site to 12:00 AFTER the meeting was over.  How that helped I’m not really sure, though their admission came after I explained the incorrect listing had been downloaded over the weekend.

You haven’t read about this in the Bee

You really have to wonder why this Brown Act violation has been overlooked by the Modesto Bee since one of their reporters, Ken Carlson, was one of the five left hanging by the incorrect/false time posting. But even Ken has to get it past his editors before it gets printed in the Bee. And as we have seen, the Bee editors have an agenda they adhere to when it comes to backing the powers that be.  They consider that it’s in their best interest not to ruffle the feathers of those in power so they can continue to receive the behind the scene phone calls (or as in the case of MID, confidential Legal Memos) giving them advance notice of political deals. Unfortunately this practice ends up taking their readers down the rabbit hole with them.  The Bee keeps their secrets for weeks as in the case of the memos, until Eric Cain published them on his site, www.TheValleyCitizen.COM .  Blog sites like his and this one are where you can find out what they don’t want you to know.

It was interesting to read the two different versions of Ken Carlson’s article on the Goodwin report. The first one mentions the Bee obtaining the Goodwin Report and the second one, the one published doesn’t.  Makes you wonder doesn’t it?  It’s those pesky editors.

The Leaking of the Goodwin Draft Report to the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and the Workforce Alliance

One of the reasons we wanted to attend the Alliance meeting was to hear Bill Bassett’s comments on expanding the Enterprise zones, shovel ready ground, and the need for Modesto to annex Salida to make it easier to divide up the pie known as Salida.  Both the Alliance and the Chamber have had the Goodwin consulting Group’s Fiscal Impact Analysis Draft Report for the better part of two weeks. Who in the City and County governments gave these reports away? Well no one will admit to it but it happened.  My thoughts are to look to those who are the liaisons from the City and County but who knows?  It appears the Chamber is getting ready to launch an “Annex Salida” campaign.  After all, one of the reasons for the Chambers existence, and that of the Alliance,  is to manage situations for the advantage of their members. Remember Bill Bassett has repeatedly said his “investors” expect a return on their investments.  And it usually comes out of your pocket and mine.

Is anyone censuring the Alliances Violation of the Brown Act?

We made sure both the City of Modesto and the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors were made aware of the Brown Act violation and have asked both organizations to issue the Alliance a letter of protest. Will anything come of this probably not.  When it comes to the potential annexation of Salida, our Mayor has turned a deaf ear to the vocal protests of over 240 Salida Residents.  So I ask the Mayor and Council, when was the last time 240 Modestan’s showed up to a council meeting and stayed past the presentations?  For that matter I ask the Board of Supervisors the same question.  At Tuesday’s meeting of the BoS there was only one member of the public present for the last hour of the meeting. 

Why should the City or County censure the Alliance?

Most people aren’t aware the County gives the Alliance about $92,000 and the City gives the Alliance about $60,00 of the taxpayers money so I feel they have a responsibility to speak out. 

Not only should the Alliance receive a letter of censure from both of the Board of Supervisors and the Modesto City Council. these two government entities should stop wasting taxpayer money on the proposed annexation.

George Petrulakis Bills MID $28,852.50 for July More Ratepayer Money Down the Drain

By Emerson Drake

The situation at the Modesto Irrigation District is getting worse by the day. More Brown Act violation.  More Public Information Act requests unanswered.  And now we’re paying a lawyer/ lobbyist/opinion maker another $28,852.50 in July to work against the ratepayers best interest.  We have expanded our request to include the invoices presented to MID by Mr. Petrulakis to discover exactly what he’s billing MID for.

Here is MID latest response to my requests.

0_v1_PRA_Response_to_Emerson_Drake_dated_August_22__2012

A Recent Update

The legal Department at MID just informed me they would not be releasing any of the invoice details naming attorney client priviledge.

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