Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “corrupt business practices”

The Planning Commission, the Chamber, and You Monday 6/3

The Planning Commission is meeting

Luke on Modesto, Tatooine

Luke on Modesto, Tatooine (Photo credit: Rubink1)

CITY OF MODESTO
PLANNING COMMISSION WORKSHOP AGENDA
MONDAY, JUNE 3, 2013 – 6:00 PM
KING-KENNEDY MEMORIAL CENTER
601 S MARTIN LUTHER KING DR (MELLIS PARK) – MODESTO, CA

The Chamber of Commerce will be presenting their Pathways to Jobs.  We have been informed the Planning Commission will meet again on Monday July 15.  Tomorrow is another opportunity for people to speak out and tell the Commission what YOU want for Modesto and not just what greedy developers want. They keep saying jobs but what their actually selling is homes.

We suggest you read Bruce Frohman’s article at : http://thevalleycitizen.com/?p=2136 The Valley Citizen is full of articles of importance to Modesto and all of Stanislaus County.

The Planning Commission agenda can be found at http://ci.modesto.ca.us/ced/pc/pdf/agendas/2013/060313_PC%20Agenda%20GPA%20Workshop.pdf

The picture represents what our prime farmland will look like when the Modesto Chamber of Commerce is through.

 

Advertisements

The Chamber’s Pathways to Growth at the Monthly LCR Meeting

By Emerson Drake

I’ll expand on this discussion over the weekend but note the HUGE land grab around the Beckwith Dakota Triangle and the area next to Salida.  This acreage is without a doubt some of the best farmland in the world.  The area east of Modesto is PPP rated (piss poor pasture, this is actually the terminology used by farmers) so no problems there. Especially take note of the original size of the Beckwith Dakota triangle compared to their desired footprint.  A special thanks to Katherine Borges for the picture.

Is the Proposed WOODGLEN Project Right for Modesto?

May 6, 2013

ghost subdivision

ghost subdivision (Photo credit: reallyboring)May 6, 2013

City of Modesto Planning Commission
(Sandra Lucas, Ted Brandvoid, Patricia Gillum, Chris Tyler, Steve Carter, Dennis Smith,
Marshall Riddle)
1010 10th Street, Modesto, CA
RE: STUDY SESSION for “Woodglen” development by Fitzpatrick Homes;
Requiring annexation of 72 acres of County Agricultural land to build
353 single family homes, 180 units of multi-family housing.
Dear City of Modesto Planning Commission Members,
As a public resident who lives in the unincorporated area of Modesto, nearby the
proposed site of the project (Bangs/Carver/Pelandale/Tully Road), this project would
involve the conversion (destruction of) agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes is
quite large, and would definitely cause several negative impacts for the surrounding area
and the city overall.
Before you approve any such development to proceed further, or give the developer
approval to present such an annexation to LAFCO for consideration, I would ask that
answers to the following concerns should be provided to the public:
1. The residential building of 533 homes in one project, to be built in 2013/2014 while the
recession is still, and is expected to continue in force for the next 5 years (for our area),
which Modesto is effected by still a high 20% unemployment rate, with no promise of
employer/s migration to our area, this excessive residential project is an example of
“urban sprawl” that is not sustainable in the next year or two years, and will further cause
economic damage to existing property owner’s equity and property values.
2. The 683 page “EIR Draft Document” does NOT provide support or mitigation actions
to justify to go forward with this project.
The entire report must be read in its entirety by anyone making decisions on this project.
Some concerns in regards to the content of this document include:
Several “Potentially Significant” negative impacts if this large residential
development were approved. Some, but not all, citations include:
Destruction of AG Land
“the proposed project site has historically been used for agricultural purposes and
is currently cultivated alfalfa and almonds.” (Almond crops are one of Stanislaus
County’s top crop categories and directly responsible to maintaining our
economy.)
TO: Stanislaus County Planning Commission, May 6, 2013 public letter, RE: STUDY
SESSION for “Woodglen” development by Fitzpatrick Homes, Page 2 of 5.
Rebuttal: The AG Element of the General Plan’s main goals are to protect
agricultural land – our #1 industry.
Air Quality and Transportation
“Implementation of the proposed project would result in pollutant emissions being
released into the atmosphere.”
“Implementation of the proposed Woodglen Specific Plan project will exacerbate
existing conditions at one intersection operating below the City’s minimum LOS
D with the addition of projected traffic and result in levels of service dropping
from LOS C to LOS E at one additional intersection.”
“Significant and unavoidable” transportation negative impacts will result from:
“Implementation of the proposed Woodglen Specific Plan project would result in
an incremental increase in delay that exceeds the daily thresholds at intersections
where LOS D is already exceeded.”
“Implementation of the proposed Woodglen Specific Plan project would result in
level of service dropping to an unacceptable level on one roadway segment and an
increase in volume-to-capacity ratio above the incremental threshold on two
roadway segments under near-term conditions.”
Rebuttal: This residential project is TOO BIG for the proposed area, and will
cause air pollution from 533 OR MORE resident automobiles owned by residents
trying to navigate out of the neighborhood. Modesto’s air quality is already at a
serious and extreme levels (caused by automobile emissions).
The project will also cause significant negative traffic slowdowns, hurting
existing residents who normally travel on the major streets of Standiford, Bangs,
Tully, Synder, Carver, and Prescott – to get home, to work, or for other needs.
This project does not meet greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction mandates under SB
375. Road widening or additional road lanes encouraging more cars does not
reduce GHG.
Who would actually pay for any road widening or additional lanes? I hope
taxpayer money would not be spent, nor would transportation improvement grant
funds be spent.
Any transportation costs should be paid by the developer!
TO: Stanislaus County Planning Commission, May 6, 2013 public letter, RE: STUDY SESSION for “Woodglen” development by Fitzpatrick Homes, Page 3 of 5.
The further destruction of farmland would most likely be involved just to accommodate the multiple road improvements required. What other farmland owners will be personally harmed by any eminent domain land takeovers?
Excessive Noise and Dust
The construction period which would last for several months to a year, two years, ??? would cause harm to nearby residents and such dust would travel and pollute the air to a larger surrounding diameter where more residents live, causing unknown and possible serious (lung) health effects.
Water Quality
Of serious concern is, “Implementation of the proposed Woodglen Specific Plan would increase the amount of impervious surface on the project site and the amount of urban runoff. In addition, construction activity could contribute to short-term discharges of waste and accelerated soil erosion and siltation. These things could degrade surface water quality.”
Rebuttal: The protection of surface water quality is an important human and agricultural need. Contaminated water will reach crops in which humans consume. Contaminated water is known to cause serious health issues, which include cancer (means eventual death).
“Implementation of the proposed project would expose people and structures to future ground shaking. The presence of sandy soils and groundwater creates the potential for unstable soil conditions and liquefaction. Furthermore, construction on the project site could contribute to soil erosion.”
Rebuttal: No development, or one that may serve a city’s future plans, should ever jeopardize the personal or property safety, or economic protection of surrounding property of existing owners and residents. Ground shaking and liquefaction of the ground is a serious situation and can cause economic and personal harm to residents in an undetermined radius surrounding the site. This area’s sandy soil presents very sensitive construction issues. Unknown earth damage could extend well beyond the site and is not warranted to support this project’s size. (The entire community of nearby Del Rio could be affected as it is also built on sandy soil due to its location to the Stanislaus River). There are no “mitigation” measures that are justifiable or can prevent harm to residents.
“Implementation of the proposed project would increase demand for police services in association with new residential development.”
TO: Stanislaus County Planning Commission, May 6, 2013 public letter, RE: STUDY SESSION for “Woodglen” development by Fitzpatrick Homes, Page 4 of 5.
Rebuttal: The City of Modesto and Stanislaus County are severely underserved with providing Modesto’s 206,000+ residents with proper police protection at large. Only twelve (12) patrol officers to date are out on patrol at any given time in the entire city. (Quote from Police Chief Ballantine on March 4, 2013). Only six (6) county patrol officers to date are out providing police services in the unincorporated areas of Stanislaus County. (Quote from Mayor Marsh in a Modesto Bee article dated May 5, 2013).
Until there are significant increases in city and county police patrols offering police protection and services at large, this development cannot go forward, adding another 533 units (with 1000+ more persons) to protect. Previous, existing, and new general plan policies state that NO new developments will go forward until proper public services are available.
What is meant by “the project includes development of an “infrastructure financing plan” ? What is being developed, when, and by whom? How much money? How realistic is achieving this? Who pays what, who gets what?
3. How is this 533 residential home development consistent with the General Plan and Land Use and Zoning?
Is this large project accepted by StanCOG to meet it’s “future growth and development” of a “sustainable city” under SB 375?
4. Are any of these homes or multi-unit buildings going to satisfy RHNA affordable housing numbers under the 2009-2014 Revised Housing Element Update?
If so, how many units will be set aside?
5. Are any of these homes or units going to be purchased by HCD or other government agencies with NSP or Housing Block funds, offering either subsidized rental housing or property sales to low income persons? If so, how many homes and units?
6. With Modesto experiencing insufficient water resources to date for its residents and farmers, (a variety of problematic issues) – where will the water needs for this project’s residents come from? Which agency would provide water and from what sources?
Will this additional water need cause any rate increases or supply loss to existing residents of Modesto or Stanislaus County unincorporated residents?
Existing legislation does NOT allow any future growth until adequate public services (such as water) are available.
7. How will the City of Modesto Police Department or the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department provide sufficient police protection at large to an increased population of 533
TO: Stanislaus County Planning Commission, May 6, 2013 public letter, RE: STUDY SESSION for “Woodglen” development by Fitzpatrick Homes, Page 5 of 5.
homes (which reasonably amounts to at least 1000 total persons (2 per household or the project as a whole), when existing police protection is at very severe levels (12 officers on patrol for a population of 206,000 approximately, (city services) and 6 officers for the unincorporated town areas (population unknown)?
The City or County currently is NOT paying for reasonable levels of protection at large for Modesto or Stanislaus County!
Existing legislation does NOT allow any future growth until adequate public services (such as police protection) are available.
I urge you to NOT vote in approval of this huge residential project at this time, which has has NO realistic “sustainability” or “demand” in our area at this time, or in the near future. This excessive project will cause multiple issues of serious harm to existing land owners and existing residents. Mitigated proposals hurt residents and would cause cumulative negative impacts to the city’s residents. Proper public service levels do not exist to warrant the project to stain existing services to the public.
Sincerely,
D. Minighini
Modesto unincorporated resident
Encls:
City of Modesto “2012 crime statistics” presented to City Council Safety & Communities Committee/Council Workshop Meeting on March 4, 2013
http://www.modestogov.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=535&doctype=AGENDA
“Re-Alignment” Update web article, May 3, 2013, re: more releases into communities
http://news.yahoo.com/california-prison-crowding-plan-still-falls-short-213707352.html
The Woodglen EIR Report: http://www.modestogov.com/ced/pdf/planning/projects/woodglen/Woodglen%20SP%20DEIR_FINAL.pdf

 

And Now for the Rest of the Story

By Emerson Drake

In the past, especially in a one newspaper town, the Opinions Page Editor had the bully pulpit and was king.  You might

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

A montage I (Valente Q.C.) made with pictures that I took for the Infobox in the Modesto, California Article. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

dispute their particular version of events at home, work, or when friends get together but you couldn’t mount a vocal opposition to those special interest groups the Editors supported, those who would run roughshod over average people to get their sometimes exploitative and usually lucrative way.  And in Modesto, that’s the way it’s been.

Enter the new media.  Not facebook or myspace but blogtalk radio and News/Opinion Blogs like this one.  We also have a local public radio station 104.9 FM K-GIG that allows local people to air their concerns. Concerns the Bee ignores when it isn’t convenient to them and their advertisers, advisers, and lobbyists.  In recent years we have seen the Bee adopt a policy that allows people to comment on articles challenging the views and articles of their reporters and Op Ed staff. From talking with many of the reporters and ALL of the Op Ed people the general consensus is most dislike having their version of events challenged.

For an educational experience,  go to a city,  county,  school board, or one of their committee meetings and see if you recognize it when you read about it the next day in the Bee.   You can take this challenge from home by watching the meetings on cable or on streaming video but you really need to be there to experience the totality of the  complexities occurring at these meetings.   As an example, after a recent SalidaMAC meeting Ms. Sly wrote about the evening.  After reading her piece I found it difficult to believe she had been present.  But she was.  That’s the scary part. Her story was barely recognizable. Or maybe I should say her perceptions were more like a glass half empty than half full.  Well, quite honestly, I wasn’t sure she even knew a glass of anything existed. But that’s been the problem all along.

The behind the scenes power structure in Modesto has been basically the same for years.  Yes, some of the faces have changed but the policies have remained the same. And the Bee has continually supported them with their “go along to get along” mantra.  The only real exception to that is when the public, faced with the unpleasant realities of the Village I debacle, over-threw  the developer/real estate bosses who had dominated Modesto’s  political landscape for years.  There was a four or five year window, a kind of renascence if you will, when voters and not political machines were in control.  But then partially thanks to the Bee’s bitter vendetta with Mayor Sabatino, and the dark ages sometimes called Ridenour years,  a developer controlled council re-emerged.

We witnessed a rise in power of the lobbyists at the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and the Alliance.  They once again, thanks to the Bee’s  influence and MID donations of ratepayer’s money, started their campaign of greed.

For twenty years the Bee has promoted the local real estate and home builders contention that planting driveways remains supreme, and look where it got us.  The housing bubble burst and we have a plethora of empty homes seeking owners.  We’ve been turned into a city of renters by the slavish devotion of the Bee to the Chamber’s and the Building Industry Association’s mantra of homes.  Now the cry ringing in our ears is jobs, jobs, jobs.  Yes we do need jobs but isn’t this deja vu?  We heard this from the Alliance and the Chamber six years ago about Westpark and how it would be our salvation.  Well how’s that working out for you?

Also during this time the Modesto Irrigation District was mismanaged into a near fiscal bankruptcy.  But being a monopoly  it’s much easier to survive.  You just raise the rates on electricity.  The millions and millions of dollars lost on the failed geothermal project, the Mountainhouse debacle, the four cities boondoggle, the TANC project power-line project failure, and the doomed garbage burning/biomass  plant helped to create the high electric rates and lost opportunity at the Lodi generating facility which could be saving us money in much greater quantities every single day.

What did all of these have in common?  They were all supported by the Bee.  Every, single, one.

So when the often quoted (in Bee Op Eds) lobbyist/political consultant Mike Lynch was exposed for having taken $52,500 from MID without ever sending them an invoice, blow back was expected.

When it was exposed that Ms. Sly had been in possession of MID documents for several months detailing the funneling of money from MID through a third party not only to Mike Lynch but Mark Looker, Janice Keating and Carol Whiteside, but maintained her silence, blow back was expected.

When it was exposed that only Tom Van Groningen and Glen Wild on the MID Board along with the guidance and support of General Manager Allen Short were aware of Ms. Whiteside receiving payments from Martino Graphics, blow back was expected.

I will continue to offer Ms. Sly-Herrero the opportunity to discuss these issues in a public forum as I have in the past. I wonder if she would prefer live TV or Radio?

Blow back is expected.

“MISSPENT FUNDS – NO REPRESENTATION”.

 

Mr. Greg Nyhoff, City Manager                                                                 via mail & fax.
P.O. Box 642                                                                                                209-571-5128

Modesto California

Modesto California (Photo credit: Wha’ppen)

Modesto, CA  95353
 
Mr. Garrad Marsh                                                                                                via email.
Mayor of Modesto
 
RE:  “Community Outreach Survey” to be done by Oakland based Lew Edwards Group
 
Dear Mr. Nyhoff and Mayor Marsh,
 
            Today, The Modesto Bee featured a front page article about a community outreach survey the City of Modesto plans to conduct in April or May through the above business group.  This survey is supposed to “assess the priorities of the community and its attitudes and awareness of services provided by the city”, give you feedback regarding the public’s feelings about the city’s public safety, roads, and the establishment of commercial flights from Modesto airport to Los Angeles area, how people feel about the city’s customer service, residents’ attitudes towards the city’s revenue options, and capture residents’ quality of life issues.
            To get a proper assessment of the community of the city of Modesto, a “random” telephone survey of only 400 residents (among a population of 203,000 (2010 Census) is only .00019% of the current population!  This is not even 1% representation.  How could this survey even be a realistic one, or true representation of the attitudes or community sentiment of Modesto?  Every resident’s voice should be heard
As far as we know, the outreach area just might be selected to be the poorest area of Modesto –  which would not reflect several middle class or upper scale neighborhoods’ concerns, attitudes, and values. 
            The public has a right to know the questions for the survey
Why don’t you publish another front page article in the Modesto Bee – with the survey questions and an email response address, so that EVERY Modesto resident can send you their comments.  
            Additionally, Modesto has not even sufficiently marketed and informed the public of the April 18, 2013 public outreach opportunity for the “strategic plan update” and what is this all about? Is this going to be done the day before, which will limit attendance too?
 
Sincerely,
 
 
D. Minighini
Modesto, Del Rio resident”

Important Meeting Monday 6 PM General Plan Amendment Don’t Miss It

Monday, April 15, 2013  at 6:00 PM a Public Workshop is going to be held at Davis High School’s “Little Theater”

Stopsign

Stopsign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

regarding the General Plan Amendment.  The whole point of the workshop supposedly  is to find out what the COMMUNITY/CITIZENS of Modesto really want to see our city evolve into and where to focus growth.  The Mayor and City Council sat down with staff and the maps show the result of their conversations.  Unfortunately many of these staff members have become representatives of our developer driven council. The last time the General Plan was extensively revised was by a developer driven city council in 1995.  As we have seen in recent council votes, we again have a developer driven and controlled council. I know I used developer driven council three times in the last three sentences,  but those are the facts, it was true than and its true now.  You don’t have to take my word for it check the campaign donation lists  available on the city website(except for those they have removed and you have to make an appointment to see)  and see for yourself who the majority of the $1,000 donations came from.

A sentence straight out of the meeting  flyer explains much if you read between the lines. “Broad public participation will help ensure that the amended plan reflects the community’s preferences and values to the maximum extent possible.”  If it’s really the public’s plan why wouldn’t it reflect the public’s values COMPLETELY?  Could it be because special interests groups come first in Modesto?

When I asked the council at a recent meeting why the workshops are being held on Monday nights if the really want public participation?  And several council members just smiled. Monday night’s are traditionally the hardest time to get people to venture out of their homes.  In addition General Manager Gregg Nyhoff announced he was going to spend $25,000 on a phone survey since only 80 people came out to participate at similar workshops on a different topic.

I have been trying since early Thursday to get details on how the phone numbers for this phone poll will be chosen.  This story was written on Sunday and so far no response.  My question originated after I read an article stating in 2006 only 10% of homes were without land-lines using cells instead. In 2010 that number had increased to 25% and a 2013  survey showed 51.7% of homes don’t use land-lines and rely on cellular phones. So where are those poll phone numbers coming from?

It gets worse when you look at the percentages of young professionals and middle and lower-income people who use ONLY cellular phones.  Now if we were to examine the rates of developers and real estate agents who use land-lines the numbers obviously skew towards 100 percent.  So who will be better represented by the phone poll, taxpaying citizens or developers?

At the first workshop developers, real estate agents, and lobbyists, were out in force and we expect they will, like rats, multiply for the Monday night’s second workshop. This series of meetings will effect you if you live in or around Modesto, yes Salida that includes you too.   So if you want any chance  at all to effect zoning, growth patterns,  guide development to particular areas,  have questions, or just want to have your say, Monday night 4/15/13 at 6:00 PM be at Grace Davis High School’s “Little Theater” next to the tennis courts (East side) 1200 West Rumble Road.

Mark your Calendars and Come on Out to the General Amendment workshop.  I’ll see you there.

MID’s Peyton Place

By Emerson Drake

Lately we’ve been entertained with several stories  regarding MID’s  recent  “sexcapades” without being let in on what has

Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women'...

really transpired behind the scenes by the main stream media.  First we travel back to late last year when the MID Board decided to hire an outside law firm (recommended by  the Human Resources Director) to investigate the General Manager regarding potential misconduct charges.

After talking with a few insiders who have chosen to remain nameless for fear of retribution, the alleged story continues to unfold as follows.  Most of the occurrences related here are/were common knowledge among office  staff members.

Members of the MID Board were informed in closed confidential  session the results of the personnel investigation. Unfortunately word leaked  from a Board member to the subject of the investigation regarding the investigation’s  findings. It’s also supposedly presumed this same Board member gave the Bee a copy of their lawyers confidential report a few months ago.  When challenged during a regularly scheduled MID meeting regarding the leaked report the, Director Van Gronigen remained silent.  Judy Sly, Opinion Page Editor of the Modesto Bee, was at this same meeting and was asked if Director Tom Van Groningen had passed her the law firms privileged memo.  Her response was a curt “NO comment.”   This same Opinion Page Editor had written several articles using details from the report without acknowledging possession of  the surreptitious copy.  While the copy was passed to them illegally, supposedly by a Board Member,  it wasn’t illegal for the Bee to possess.   It wasn’t until Eric Caine obtained a copy and published it on his website http://www.thevalleycitizen.com did all of the details of the memo see the  light of day.

Now the harassment  investigation’s subject decided discretion being the better part of valor, made the decision to “get out while the getting was good.”  He retired without a “golden parachute” or severance pay.  All he received was his vacation pay and his sick pay and of course his retirement pay. So deals were made for the Board and the retiree  to remain silent in public.  Fortunately for us, there are people who work at MID that are  concerned about the story not getting out and being covered up.

Now the story goes the investigative firm spoke out of turn to their friend who had assisted them in receiving the lucrative $60,000 commission.  And this individual chose to retaliate against those who had spoken the truth to the investigators.  Payback for perceived slight (letting the cat out of the bag) if you will.  In the past at MID, speaking the truth to authority was foolhardy and shortened ones career path to advancement (written tongue in cheek).

It should  be pointed out the story does have a good ending.  Two of the recently promoted individuals came down squarely on the individual seeking revenge and stopped their retaliatory actions.  This signals a change for the better in the culture at the MID.  Hopefully they’ll continue to keep an eye on the situation, because I know we will.

One Public Meeting On and Another Off and What it Means to You

Chamber pot

Chamber pot (Photo credit: Pete Reed)

By Emerson Drake

The General Plan Amendment Public Workshop is still scheduled for Monday April 15, 2010 at 6:00 PM at Davis High School “Little Theater” (1200  West Rumble) park near the tennis courts on the East side of the school.

We can question if whether these meetings will make a difference or not but if no one goes and speaks out they’ll do what they want without  an argument and we will have nothing to refute their discussion points with at City Council.  The Modesto Chamber of Commerce Lobbyist Cecil Russell has been recruiting real estate salesmen and developers like Craig Lewis, Dennis Wilson, Bill Zoslocki,  and others to speak out in favor of planting driveways on Prime Farmland.  This cabal (the Chamber and their fellow conspiracists)  is also VERY interested in Modesto’s attempt to annexation of Salida.  Modesto’s City Manager Gregg Nyhoff (of the bungled nitrate in the well water issue) recently decided to spend $25,000 on a phone poll because they didn’t get enough public input on a prior set of public workshops.

Please understand if you live in Modesto and Stanislaus county this General Plan will affect us for the next 20 years.  Don’t let just a few greedy people decide our future for us.

As an aside, you just have to appreciate the conniving being done when they say they want public involvement  then they schedule the public meetings on Monday nights and one of them is the final day for taxes being due.

Secondly: The monthly city and county Liaison meeting has been cancelled.  For those curious, Salida was NOT on the agenda.

For those wondering about the picture, it’s what we won’t have if Modesto developers get their way.:)   It also might be my new symbol for an article involving the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and or their developer buddies.

What’s on America’s Mind Wednesday at 6:30 PM

Topics include Is Salida being sold down the river by Modesto and the County and does Modesto being on the Ad Hoc

Radio RED 104.9 FM

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

Committee help or hurt Salida, Modesto’s General Plan Amendment and what it means to you, are TIN CUP levels high enough or should we TAKE BACK our government and LOWER the limits, North Carolina wants to adopt an official STATE religion, a story about a donkey in a well,  does government just happen to people or is it government by ambush..these and more so tune in at 6:30 PM Wednesday and find out the things you really  need to know.

104.9 FM Modesto our Flag Ship station

The call in number is (347)215-9414

The live and archived link is: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/centralvalleyhornet/2013/04/04/whats-on-americas-mind-with-emerson-drake

Modesto’s Economic Development Committee Feb.11,2013

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

By Emerson Drake

Monday’s 5:00 meeting of Modesto’s Economic Development Committee was almost uneventful but not quite. First it was an opportunity to address those who had supposedly approved Modesto’s request to LAFCO to change LAFCO’s written rules or policy and allow a “special arrangement” to be made with the owner of Beard Industrial Park, the Beard Trust. 

We’ve asked this question of Mayor Marsh, several LAFCO Board members, and  Brent Sinclair (Modesto’s Community Economic Development Director) and no one has an answer.  Waterford Mayor and LAFCO Board member Charlie Goeken says since Modesto and Beard Industrial requested it and the County was okay with it, LAFCO had no reason not to go along with it.

After a conversation with Councilwoman Burnside, who was nice enough to give me a general direction to look in (but unfortunately the quest didn’t bear fruit), I decided to submit a Public Information Request to Modesto to help in finding out when the Committee  first voted and then the  Council voted on the LAFCO request.

Salida was mentioned in passing during the status report of the development projects processed by the committee.  The list wasn’t mentioned in detail and wasn’t passed out to onlookers.  It can be found as a supplement to the committee’s agenda on-line at Modesto city’s website. http://ci.modesto.ca.us/council/committees/econ.asp 

The second item on the agenda was Brent Sinclair’s recommendation to postpone the 2013 Urban Growth Review. It was felt by staff that so little had changed it wasn’t necessary to update the plan. It is reasonable to presume since little had changed and his department has a computerized list of all changes, an update would be relatively easy and reasonable with the potential looming Salida annexation.  Since $60,000 dollars had just been spent to obtain accurate numbers (the Goodwin Report) it makes logical sense to be using new up to date numbers in the Urban Growth plan.

But Brent Sinclair said it was too hard for staff to update the plan and delaying it for two years seemed reasonable to him. The committee agreed with him.  I brought this matter up to the council the next night but the Mayor seemed to agree with Brent “It’s too Hard” Sinclair.

Could there be a reason Mayor Marsh and Councilman Cogdill, both on the Modesto Ad Hoc Committee, and pushing the annexation of Salida, don’t want or desire an update?  Is an agenda involved? You tell me.

Post Navigation