Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “Dave Lopez”

Local Candidates Didn’t Want You to See What They Were About to Do

By Emerson Drake                       modestologo

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

dcogdillbzoslockidlopezjgunderson

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.

commentstoLAFCO

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Dave Lopez is Hiding Campaign Donations from YOU..!

By Emerson Drake  fingerspointing

When reading Dave Lopez’s 460’s, which is a list of campaign donors of  $99.00 or more,  one thing jumped off the page at us.  Of sixteen donors who gave $1,000 or more, only five were completely filled out.  The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC)  requires candidates to list the employment or business type of donors.  And not surprisingly most of the missing information is from developers, real estate, and home builders. Why is he omitting the necessary information?  We can guess, can you?

Maybe like the rest of the Modesto City Council he’s willing to lie to our faces (Zoslocki “I’m not a developer”, Kenoyer “I support farmland” , Lopez “I don’t want to develop Wood Colony”) to get elected and afterward he or she will  do whatever or vote for whomever he or she feels like.

And yes the Modesto Bee is well aware of Lopez’s transgressions.  But they choose to remain silent on the subject.  Hmm, it appears Joe Kieta has turned the Modesto Bee into a Humble Bumble without teeth.

Dave Lopez Lies and the Bee Plays Along

By Emerson Drakepetesegerspeakup

The Bee Editorial Staff consisting of Joe Kieta and Mike Dunbar have hit a new low I didn’t think possible after the Judy Sly & Mark Vasche era.  The following is an article by Katherine Borges which delineates the Lopez misrepresentations.     Salida Annexation

Dave Lopez: The truth behind his spin

Modesto City Councilman Dave Lopez, who is running for Stanislaus County Supervisor Dick Monteith’s seat in District 4, is the latest to join the political spin club with talking points on why Modesto should annex Salida.

He first revealed his three supposed annexation-justified talking points in an April 22, 2014 interview on The Dave Bowman Show. The second public forum where he used the three again nearly verbatim was the League of Women Voters candidate debate as reported in the Modesto Bee.
Please go to the Salida Annexation site to read and understand Dave Lopez’s lies and wonder if he would lie to the people of Stanislaus County about this, what else would he lie about?  If you want to call and tell Mike and Joe how you feel about their playing fast and loose with the truth,  Mike’s number is 578-2325 and Joe’s is 578-2356.

News Last Week in Modesto – What You Haven’t Read Anywhere Else

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

By Emerson Drake

Former SCAP Director Appointment to Housing Committee Delayed but NOT Cancelled

On Tuesday the City Council came within moments of voting former Director of  SCAP Frank Ploof, onto Modesto’s Citizen Housing and Community Development Committee.  Mr. Ploof only served for two months as a Director on SCAP’s Board according to Julie Hannon.  Our concern is the ongoing relationship that developed between Daryl Fair, who was the President of the SCAP Board during the worst of the excesses, and who recruited Ploof for SCAP and  the Renaissance Center.  They continued to have an incestuous relationship with SCAP and the organization they billed as a nonprofit, the Renaissance Center.  Fair was the Executive Director and Ploof was a “case manager” and SCAP was paying the rent for the building on “D” street where the pseudo nonprofit was located.

Incredible as it sounds the Finance Committee met according to Julie Hannon, in November to interview eight candidates and choose Ploof. Interesting, since the City website shows the November and December meetings of the Finance Committee being cancelled.  Ms. Hannon told us Councilwoman Stephanie Burnside and Councilman David Cogdill Jr. were the ones interviewing the candidates.

While Mr. Ploof seems like a nice enough man, his relationship with Daryl Fair is a cause of major concern when it comes to Modesto’s Housing Committee.  And we have to wonder about the reasons J. David Wright is buzzing like a bee from councilperson to councilperson promoting Mr. Fair and his search for money to open a homeless drop in center.  It should also be noted J. David Wright was one of Modesto’s larger contributors to local Council races.  Why is Mr. Wright involved with people fronting for phony nonprofits?

After sitting in with the Finance Committee interviewing candidates for the planning Commission and the Board of Zoning adjustment and hearing the probing questioning, I’m surprised Ploof slipped through.  Though in all fairness it should be pointed out Ploof omitted disclosing the SCAP position from his questionnaire. And since City Manager Greg Nyhoff failed to document his investigation, or lack there of,  into the SCAP debacle, the Council members would have to be paying attention to the media to have known. Councilman Lopez asked for this appointment to be delayed and the rest of the council agreed and it was sent back to committee.

We have no doubt with seven others to choose from the Committee can find another capable candidate.

Mayor Marsh Wants Salida Ad Hock Committee to Meet Without the Public Being Present

The Mayor finally admitted having received the “Draft” of the Goodwin Study on the Salida annexation.  He had a meeting scheduled for this week and had staff relay to the public “Stay Home, you’re not invited.”  This is a major concern. Fortunately Supervisor Withrow had already given me an invitation.  When the Mayor was made aware of this he promptly cancelled the meeting.  Eventually it was rescheduled for Jan. 28,2013, but civilian member Thomas Reeves cancelled it, since the politicos were refusing to share the Goodwin report with the rest of the committee members.  I felt it was necessary and went to the Board of Supervisors and to the City Council to protest the Mayor’s actions.  Surprisingly the local print media failed to share this information with the citizens of Modesto or Salida.  Nothing like the third estate allowing games like these to be played. 

The bottom line is,  why the secrecy?

It’s only Money – OURS..!   $17,000 Extra for Soccer Fields

On December 4,2012, Item #16, with the consent of the council Staff pulled back the bids of the synthetic turf for the three soccer fields at Mary Grogen Park saying they had written the bid so poorly they only received a bid from one company which they said wasn’t competitive. On Tuesday they accepted a bid for $17,000 dollars more than the bid in December.  There were questions about the bidding process regarding the City not stating the way the bid was going to be judged. But this time staff didn’t care about the challenge made during the meeting, concerning the bid process, which was flawed or the fact it cost Modesto more money.  But what the heck it was only $17,000 out of Village One’s pocket-book right?    Huh?

Lower TIN CUP Limits Passes Committee and is Sent to Staff – Will Come Back in March

Something we’ve been trying to accomplish for several years is to lower the amount people can contribute to a candidate before  the now elected official has to step back or recuse themselves and not vote for an item brought forward by their contributor.  In Modesto this ordinance is called the TIN CUP or Time Is Now to Clean Up Politics.  The current amount is $3,000 dollars to all candidates and the new levels, if passed, will be $1,000 for council races and $2,000 for mayoral races.  Councilman David Geer and Councilman John Gunderson voted for the lowering of the limits and Councilman Dave Lopez voted against the proposal. Remember anyone one can continue to contribute any amount they choose but the candidate can’t vote for a proposal if the upper limit is passed.  This should help level the playing field for the average citizens. I hope people will call their council representatives and request they support the new levels. 

 After all,  does anyone think we need more money in politics?

To learn more about the Renaissance Center, “the nonprofit that wasn’t,”  go to our older archive location http://www.eyeonmodesto.blogspot.com/2011/11/renaissance-community-services-non.html

Gregg Nyhoff’s SCAP Investigation ?

By Emerson Drake

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)

In April 2011, Councilman Dave Lopez  went to see Modesto’s City Manager (C.M.) Gregg Nyhoff with concerns about the Stanislaus Community Assistance Project (SCAP) and excessive compensation to Joe Gibbs, the Development Director for SCAP.  Joe received $195,860 and was in line to receive $431,471 more. 

But we aren’t trying to rehash SCAP or the NSP2 problem, but are here to discuss Mr. Nyhoff’s investigation or lack thereof.  We presented Modesto with a Public Information Request to see all of the documents relating to the city manager’s investigation.  The extremely sad part is their response contained only one page after four plus weeks of the City Managers investigation.  It’s almost as if he were avoiding leaving a paper trail.

I  had occasion to discuss this with C.M. Nyhoff and his response was “well I did make some phone calls.”  Further inquiries suggested the calls were to city staffers.  Can you imagine Councilman Lopez comes to him with a major concern about potential fraud or malfeasance and Mr. Nyhoff, at the very least, sits on his hands?  Little wonder the Councilman felt the need to go to the Bee.

The lone page from the email we received is dated May 26, 2011, just two days before the Bee broke the story and more than one month AFTER Councilman Lopez spoke to Mr Nyhoff.  So despite the City Manager’s protestations, NOTHING was written down until the city was aware the Bee was going to publish SCAP’s short comings and then only to enlighten  SCAP.  Modesto City employee Judith Ray is warning SCAP employee Marcia Bradshaw that the Bee reporter has been a “consistent antagonist toward recovery act programs in general and NSP in particular and we can  be assured of a negative bias when it comes out.”

So just how thorough do you believe Nyhoff’s investigation was?  To my way of thinking all he did from the beginning was circle the wagons to protect himself and his staffers.  After all he is the city manager and the buck stops there.  At least for a few minutes before the Council gets involved.

Knowing all this and reading  the way the City responded to the Grand Jury report was just too much to stay quiet about.  If Councilman Lopez hadn’t gone to the Bee none of the malfeasance would have been uncovered.  Joe Muratore might have been able to keep the $62,500 he was willing to risk his position on the council for, and indeed his freedom. Profiting from HUD money as a Councilman is a felony and Joe Gibbs would be $431,471 dollars richer and he and his wife would still be in charge of SAP despite their questionable tenants.

Here is Nyhoff’s written  investigation.

 SCAP

The city’s response to the Grand Jury

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The Grand Jury’s findings

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After reading all of the information it’s reasonable to come to the opinion that Councilman Lopez stood up against those who would participate in a cover-up and spoke out to shed the light of day on a serious problem and uncovering a potential  misuse of public funds.

The discussion can be heard about 1:10 minutes into the Council meeting.  The following link will take you there.

http://www.modestogov.com/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=457&doctype=AGENDA

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