If you don’t mind lets take a short road trip. Lets get in the car at the Double Tree hotel on 9th St. in Modesto and go west on Maze Blvd also known as 132. We’re going to pass Carpenter Rd and Dakota Rd. Still heading west we pass Hart Rd and Gates Rd, past the old Yandell Ranch Airport. We’re even going to pass the large Mapes Ranch sign and go all the way to the river. Our journey was about 13 miles and took us around 23 minutes just to get here. Now lets turn right on the river and take it all the way to just past Salida to the north.
This is the area Ted Brandvold voted to give to the Modesto Chamber of Commerce complete control of for ANY kind of development they can dream up. Now you know why the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, along with real estate people and developers are supporting Ted Brandvold.
So from 99 to past Mapes Ranch, to the San Joaquin river on the west, from here all the way past Salida to the North. That’s a lot of homes and farms and ranches for the Chamber to pave over.
The boundaries and votes I mentioned are all part of public record during Ted’s time on the Modesto Planning Commission. The plan was presented by Craig Lewis, Cecil Russell and “Broker Bill” Zoslocki all members of the Chamber, Craig Lewis is a realtor and Bill Zoslocki is a real estate broker while Cecil Russell is a lobbyist. All of these men support Ted for Mayor. We need to hold Ted Brandvold responsible for his votes while on the Planning Commission.
Now you see why we need to vote for Garrad Marsh for Mayor of Modesto.
They say the truth is stranger than fiction and that has never been more obvious than in this election cycle. The Modesto Chamber of Commerce, or at least three of their members, have been pulling out all stops in an attempt to steal Measure I from the public. Their two campaign flyers are filled with falsehoods, innuendos,, and blatant lies (that’s as kind as I can be at this point) and now their obfuscating the source of their money.
It’s bad enough they don’t list the FPPC number on either of their flyers. And yes it is required but they have also managed through a series of ‘mishaps’ to make it almost impossible to follow the money.
Where Did the Documentation Go?
So we contacted the County Clerk’s office to try to follow the money trail. Here is the official version: The Modesto Chamber of Commerce faxed to the County Clerk’s office their 497’s which is the document required when a contribution of $1,000 or more is received and it is supposed to be filed within 24 hours of receipt.. But since this is a city Measure it is supposed to go to the City Clerk’s office. ‘Unfortunately’ it was misfiled in the manila folder (no matter how many times people and the BoS have requested, the County Clerk’s office refuses to place these documents on line) of another Political Action Committee or PAC account of the Chambers. This is extremely strange considering 497 documents weren’t supposed to be accepted at the County Clerk’s office period.
For another unknown reason a clerk was rummaging through the outdated PAC file and discovered the document (how lucky for us was that?). It was then forwarded to the City Clerk’s office 11 days late.
Some interesting Coincidences
There is a history between someone who now works at the County Clerk’s office in the election division with access to campaign statements and the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber and the Bee’s former opinion page editor, who for the last 10 years supported three candidates to the Modesto Irrigation Board, all of whom were sponsored by Bill Lyons (who wanted to sell the free water he gets from his special arrangement with MID). The cabal of three at MID that was in place three years ago, Tom VanGronigan, Glen Wild and Paul Warda, who were supported by the Bee and the Chamber during their election campaigns) were pushing to sell our water to San Francisco. The Bee, Chamber, and Bill Lyons supported the sale which after much intense public discussion was turned down despite the Bee’s endorsement.
Now we see the most current aligning of stars with Bill Lyons pushing against Measure I (he has property in the Beckwith Dakota Triangle – read Wood Colony, that he wants to develop) along with the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and (at this writing the Bee hasn’t made a public comment) with a friend possibly in position to obfuscate the public knowledge of the money trail.
While we will say without any qualms and with many thanks from us that County Clerk Lee Lundrigan looked into events and has been most helpful in explaining the much traveled documentation: an unknown someone in her office ‘accidentally’ accepted wrongly submitted faxes and misfiled these important documents and then someone in her office fortunately discovered the mistake nine days later and then forwarded the documentation the the City Clerks office where it was placed online for the public on Monday afternoon.
When checking for updates on the Campaign documents, yesterday, Oct. 22nd was a mandatory reporting day, the former online 497’s were missing. According to the city Clerk’s office the missing documents along with any updates will be online by day’s end.
Why does this matter?
There are several reasons, actually violating FPPC campaign laws would be one. But during an election season opponents and the public have a right to know how much money is involved and where it’s coming from. Since the Chamber and their three donor amigos and their friends like George Petrulakis are very familiar with election laws and rules it’s our opinion this has been willful and orchestrated.
When it comes to misleading the public, the Modesto Chamber of Commerce is second to none. We’ve watched while the Chamber pulls strings behind the scenes and gets City Council members to say and do the strangest things but for today lets focus on their No on Measure I campaign.
The Campaign started out by breaking the Fair Political Practice Commission (FPPC) rules. When the Chamber mailed their pack of lies to voters they didn’t include the FPPC number which is required. Wondering why? Well the Chamber filed their original paperwork with the City Clerk’s office without the FPPC number and without stating where their money came from. Days later the Chamber filed their required 497 forms (for donations over $1,000 dollars) with the County Clerk’s office. But that isn’t where city candidates are supposed to file. Since they advise political newcomers on procedure you’d think there had to be a reason. There was, it took eleven days for the forms to travel the two blocks between the County Clerks and the City Clerk’s office.
Maybe this was because Judy Sly, the Bee’s former Opinions Editor, was seen working behind the counter at the County Clerk’s office in the immediate area where the filed campaign forms are kept. Maybe it was a coincidence, maybe not, but it is interesting. Remember Ms. Sly and the Chamber’s lobbyist and CEO Cecil Russell were some of the few people to be in favor of selling our water to San Francisco and the result would have been Bill Lyons making even more money. You ask what does the No on I campaign have to do with selling our water? Bill Lyons is the answer. This is always an informational litmus test but I digress.
The Money Behind No on I
The money behind the No on I campaign came from Craig Lewis, ($3,000) Chamber expansion committee chairman and Board Director, David Ginelli ($1,000) Chamber Chairman of the Board), Cecil Russell head lobbyist and CEO of the Chamber, and last but not least the Chamber of Commerce themselves to the tune of $3,000. Anyone noticing a theme here? No wonder they were trying to keep this information away from the public. You just have to love lobbyists and their organizations. Well not really but you get the drift.
Ahh the Unions
The Modesto Police Officers Union (MPOA) didn’t provide funds but allows the Chamber to use their name in the flyer and yes, for a group that claims to be concerned about public safety there is an unusual history here. Now most officers are good people but their union is a lobbying organization with their prime purpose is supposed to be for the officers and the public, but is it? Back in 2008 the City opened its books for the MPOA and explained there was only so much money but the union demanded a raise. So the city offered the MPOA a choice. You can have your raises but we’ll be forced to lay-off our youngest officers with families. The Union said in no uncertain terms lay them off. They weren’t concerned about having fewer officer on the street which, according to the No on I campaign’s propagand,a will make us less safe. It was all about the money then like it is now.
Claims by Current Politicians
Mayor Marsh and Councilman Gunderson like to say the county will do something similar like they did with Beard Industrial Park back in 1963. In August of 2011 the city requested an out of boundary service application. LAFCO required the land owners to sign a waiver preventing them from protesting being annexed by the city. But Marsh, Gunderson, Zoslocki and the City of Modesto actually have petitioned Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) to rescind their waiver policy and on Jan. 22, 2013 LAFCO gave Marsh, Gunderson and the rest of the City Council their wish and voted to allow the change. So it really doesn’t matter what the County did back in 1963 if Modesto is going top continue to bend over backward to SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS like the Chamber, Beard Industrial, realtors, and other developers and then mislead us. We’re just in for more of the same lies we’ve been fed for a long long time.
It isn’t About Jobs, It’s All About Developers and Their Greed
The local developers own land and want to develop it no matter what the cost. Here in Modesto we watched as the family farm across from Big Valley Grace was forced out of business because of encroaching developments. They were promised by the city the “right to farm” but when complaints started coming in the were forced to give up land they’d farmed for years. Sprawl advocates say farmers can always buy more land but that really isn’t true. Prime farmland like in Wood Colony and North of Kiernan is irreplaceable. Not only is it the best water recharge land there is, but more crops can be grown on this land than almost anywhere in the world.
Despite what candidates like Doug Ridenour say (Doug doesn’t really say it he just repeats it but the people being paid to run his facebook page do) California law pushes homes to be built near jobs not highways. So if the Chamber’s preferred candidates, Kristi Ah You, Doug Ridenour Sr. and Mani Grewal will be honest for a moment, don’t hold your breath, they’ll be forced to acknowledge if business parks are built in Wood Colony then homes and SPRAWL will soon follow.
Don’t Buy the Lies, Vote YES on Measure I
Riverbank Mayor Richard O’Brien says, “It’s not the American way, to go against the majority”. If that were true, America would still be a British colony. But what Mayor O’Brien is referring to is Hughson Mayor, Matthew Beekman’s vote on LAFCO. On March 25, 2015, Matthew Beekman, who serves on the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO), cast one of three votes supporting an equal farmland mitigation formula which applies to the nine cities in Stanislaus County. LAFCO policy requires that one acre of farmland be set aside and preserved for each acre that is lost to residential housing development. The formula was discussed and implemented because the City of Patterson was requiring too little in mitigation fees from developers to preserve equal quality farmland. Read the Modesto Bee’s April 11, 2015 “Our View: Trying to overturn LAFCO vote is wrong” on the reverse side of this flyer for more on the issue. Matthew Beekman followed LAFCO rules which state pursuant to Government Code Section 56325.1:
“While serving on the Commission, all commission members shall exercise their independent judgment on behalf of the residents, property owners, and the public as a whole in furthering the purposes of this division. Any member appointed on behalf of local governments shall represent the interests of the public as a whole and not solely the interests of the appointing authority.” The mayors of six of the nine cities in Stanislaus County are caving to pressure from developers and are holding a hearing to remove Matthew Beekman from LAFCO. Riverbank resident, David Tucker is embarrassed by the mayor’s words and actions. He wrote the following letter to the editor of the Modesto Bee on April 6, 2015:
Re “Mayors move against ag vote” (Page A1, April 5): I am ashamed to be a citizen of Riverbank. Our mayor, Richard O’Brien, implies that fellow mayor Matt Beekman of Hughson is unAmerican communist for supporting ag-land preservation by his LAFCO vote.
DAVID TUCKER, RIVERBANK
Matthew Beekman followed the rules. He voted his independent judgment. He voted for fairness in preserving ag land. And now our mayor wants to make him pay for his vote.
If you disagree with the mayor’s words and actions as David Tucker does, let Mayor O’Brien know. Write him an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org and/or write a letter to the editor of the Modesto Bee before May 13. On this day, the hearing will be held to remove Beekman from the LAFCO board. You are welcome to attend and voice your opinion. Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 6 pm Turlock City Hall Chamber 156 S. Broadway Ave., Turlock
On Wednesday March 25, 2015, the Modesto City Council held a special meeting away from video recording devices. Ostensibly it was to decide if they should send a letter in support of five other cities in Stanislaus County regarding a decision the Local Agency Formation Commission better known as LAFCO, made. The Commission isn’t sexy or well known but is vitally important when it comes to setting boundaries and settling disputes.
But let us begin the conversation with a little ground work. LAFCO was intending to set actual values to the in-lieu of fees part of the mitigation discussion. Several cities proposed setting their own fees. For example LAFCO research suggested for the fees to be meaningful the price needed to be around $7,000 per acre and Patterson for one, was proposing $2,000 per acre of prime farmland.
The Special Meeting with NO Video Recording
LAFCO’s intention of visiting the fees has been public knowledge for several weeks. They notified the Modesto City Council by email two weeks prior to the meeting according to Mayor Marsh. And of course they posted their agenda as required by law. The special meeting was requested by Council members Kenoyer, Cogdill, Zoslocki, and Lopez. The topic of the fees could have been dealt with at the last meeting of the city council but instead they choose to have a meeting not in their official chambers but in a small meeting room, 2001, on the second floor.
Six members of the public were present Craig Lewis, Brad Barker, Cathy Zoslocki, Kevin Valine, myself, and Tom Halan, the Patterson City Attorney ( if I got that name wrong I’m sorry, who just happened to be in the building on other business).
When the Council members weighed in Jenny Kenoyer said she didn’t understand what LAFCO was intending to do and she didn’t appreciate the last minute meetings with out prep time. Dave Cogdill complained about the cities losing control of their mitigation fees. Bill Zoslocki claimed it was an over reach by LAFCO. Dave Lopez said LAFCO was over stepping their bounds and claimed Jenny Kenoyer agreed with him. He also blamed Mayor Marsh for not writing a letter supporting the other cities. During the meeting Kenoyer never commented on Lopez’s remarks. And John Gunderson said he needed more time to think about whatever it was LAFCO intended on doing. Marsh tried to explain LAFCO was just setting a price so there would be a level playing field for all of the cities but Kenoyer and Gunderson just had a blank look on their faces. The others just kept repeating their previous comments like mantras. Just saying the same thing over again. The work of developer special interests was obvious.
Now I realize this sounds like just sound bites but it was the entire text of their statements at this point. Each of them, talked twice and they just repeated their brief statements.
Members from the public
Brad Barker went first and was the most eloquent and informative. He carefully explained to Kenoyer and Gunderson what LAFCO’s intent was and walked them through the chaos that would ensue if each city could set their own fee levels. The Patterson City Attorney just restated the cities should be allowed to keep control of their own fees. I reminded the Council of the Patterson building fees which were woefully short on being able to build the needed infrastructure for the tarffic which eventually come and that the County had to step in to pay for the costs of rebuilding the roads. Also having seen the blank faces of Gunderson and Kenoyer, I tried once again to explain what was happening later on that night at the LAFCO meeting. Craig Lewis read some of Ed Persike’s op ed piece from the Bee that day and also trotted out the book the Coming Jobs War which actually says to do the exact opposite of what he, the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and the developers are pushing for. But unfortunately as we learned at a Modesto Planning Commission meeting, most of the commissions members who opened the book didn’t read past the first few pages (one to two pages) and unfortunately, the general public has read even less. But pretending to relay information from a book gives the air of knowledge. Unfortunately it just makes it easier to manipulate them.
At the end of the short meeting Kenoyer and Marsh voted against sending the letter and Cogdill, Zoslocki, Gunderson, and Lopez voted for the City Manager to send a letter in support of the other cities. In other words, at this point in time in the City of Modesto, special interests rule. After the meeting they each stuck to their short sound bites. Especially Gunderson. He had that feral, almost goofy look he gets. You know the one a child gets when they think they have fooled you and just kept saying he needed more time to consider everything over and over again as if that explained everything away.
The Four Who Were Shills for Developers Promoting SPRAWL
The Bottom Line
LAFCO, thanks to Terry Withrow, Jim DeMartini, and Matt Beekman made us all proud and went forward and set the price for land fee mitigation in the amount of $7,000 per acre.
The following are the letters sent by various groups both for and against LAFCO’s proposal.
We’ve all listened to the Modesto Chamber of Commerce tell their story, some of us six or seven times, of how their Transportation Committee met over a six month period (it gets longer every time they tell it) met to discuss Modesto’s land expansionist planning needs for the next twenty years. In previous articles we chronicled how the Chamber went from needing 1,000 acres to over 25,300 of land during their series of presentations to various civic groups and public entities. The above map is from their July 2013 presentation. This represents their goals and is an early view of what the comprehensive General Plan scheduled to begin two years from now will look like if they get their way.
As usual when it comes to people attempting to manipulate the public for their own selfish interests what they don’t tell us is just as, and sometimes more important, than the information they disseminate.
For example during these ‘planning meetings’ that Mayor Marsh and City Manager Nyhoff attended along with members of the Chamber’s Transportation Committee, they discussed how best to seize Wood Colony land for an industrial park and sneak Salida’s already zoned business park land from them to be placed under Modesto’s control.
I admit after hearing Mayor Marsh paint George Petrulakis and the Chamber as ‘evil’ and a position we don’t totally disagree with, as the people we really had to worry about compared to himself and his friends, I was surprised to learn of the initial collaborations. When his friends, Councilwoman Kenoyer of (I don’t have to worry about Wood Colony because they can’t vote for me) fame, and Councilman Gunderson who just can’t stop repeating “no one is talking about annexation”, while the Mayor keeps using the terms annexation and eminent domain, don’t make anyone feel they can be trusted.
Part of the ‘art of the deal’ was the watering down and delay of Denny Jackman’s Residential Urban Limits proposal. An arrangement was made so the Chamber wouldn’t fight it when it came on the ballot but at the council meeting where it was proposed, a little ‘kicker’ was added. Councilman Cogdill proposed that Modesto would repeal the Measures A and M which deal with the public’s ability to control land acquisition and development(sewer expansion) by the city by requiring public advisory votes.
All of the General Plan Amendment discussion has been orchestrated from the beginning by just a few people. For example the rank and file of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce don’t get to vote on the Board of Directors, they’re appointed, the same is true of the Alliance.
The Modesto Planning Commission and Staff spent the better part of a year holding workshops for the public where Bill Zoslocki and Craig Lewis passionately advocated for a much larger footprint for Modesto. People came forward and expressed themselves very succinctly. And the Planning Commission’s meetings, Brent Sinclair and the rest of Modesto’s planning staff listened to the public’s wishes and proposed a footprint which was in line with Denny’s original RUL proposal.
Then the politicians stepped in. For a while you needed a score card to understand where each one of them stood. From Nyhoff’s open mic fiasco where he dissed everyone who disagreed with the Chamber, we learned why Jenny turned her back on both her campaign promises, to protect prime farmland and keep Salida for Salida. The bumbling John Gunderson, so elated the Mayor was finally talking to him as an equal, rubber stamped every proposal Marsh made whether he understood them or not. For Cogdill and Zoslocki the mantra is “more is better.” But Zoslocki added “but I can’t be caught voting/going on the record for it.” Lopez, after being warned about people willing to energetically campaign against him in the Board of Supervisors race, disavowed any interest in Wood Colony. And Madrigal, well Tony is still out collecting prom dresses, rather than focusing on the larger tasks needed by the city.
But it all began with a few greedy real estate men (Zoslocki and Lewis), a small handpicked few from the Chamber, a City Manager who spent more time working for the desires of a few in the Chamber of Commerce than he did the people of Modesto, and a Mayor who though he could write his own legacy by stealing the land from the residents of Salida, the farmers of Wood Colony and the German Baptist Brethren who, to take a page from Jenny Kenoyer’s book, don’t vote anyway.
And We, the Citizens of Modesto are the only ones who can stop this. And what have we been doing? We’ve been saying…. Sir, can I please have another?
It’s time to take back our City Government from the greedy special interests that are intent on ruining Modesto.
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.
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.
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