The following is a letter written to the Modesto City Council by a citizen of Modesto concerned about the direction the Council has taken. It’s an important read so please do so.
The letter says it all so we’ll add nothing to it.
The following is a letter written to the Modesto City Council by a citizen of Modesto concerned about the direction the Council has taken. It’s an important read so please do so.
The letter says it all so we’ll add nothing to it.
In the spring of 2015 the Modesto City Council and Staff made a commitment to the citizens of Modesto to create an Effective, Responsive, and Transparent Government. Unfortunately, the reality the majority of the Council has created is completely different. Modesto isn’t being run by the entire Council, it’s being dictated to by a group with the smallest of majorities. Council members Bill Zoslocki, Mani Grewal, Doug Ridenour, and Jenny Kenoyer also know as the ‘Gang of Four’ flex their muscles with great regularity and have the voting block to ram their policies through the Council at will. To solidify their power grab they’ve become linked arm in arm with Modesto City Manager Joe Lopez and City Attorney Adam Lindgren.
For us, the people of Modesto, to try and find out what’s going on behind the scenes an effective tool is supposed to be making Public Record Requests (PRR) supported by the Brown Act. City Attorney Adam Lindgren doesn’t think much of the public’s right to know. His actions suggest he believes we should be treated like mushrooms (keep us in the dark and feed us ****, well you get the drift.) The Brown Act suggests we should get a response to a PRR in 10 working days. There is at least one PRR dating back to June of 2019. A partial but non responsive response was received in September 2019, but nothing since despite having it brought up in several Council meetings. The Gang of Four believes it’s in their best interest to keep us in the dark.
That’s not overly surprising since a complete email disclosure from the PPR would show how the Gang of Four, along with the City Manager and City Attorney, conspired to force City Auditor Monica Houston out of office and caused them to decide to pay to pay $225,000 in tax payer money as hush money. For them, buying Monica’s silence was better than the truth coming out. The truth could bring sanctions from the State Bar Association, which along with the exposure could potentially cause Adam Lindgren and his firm (Meyers Nave) to lose the very lucrative, multi million dollar Modesto City contract.
We’ve come to understand these elitists (the Gang of Four, the City Manager and the City Attorney) believe they can get away with anything they choose and quite honestly so far they have. Imagine, the City Auditor has the temerity to do her job of ensuring the rules in place are being followed, even if it might cost the City Attorney and Meyers Nave windfall profits. It becomes easy to see why they felt the need to get rid of the Auditor. After all what better way to send a message to the rest of City Staff, that it’s our way or the highway.
Is there any better way to garner political support during an election year than to borrow an outdated quote for business from the County known as a request for proposal or (RFP) that was over 16 months old. The security company involved in that RFP didn’t fulfill the basic standards of the request set by County rules and was disqualified. Then the City awarded them a $3.7 Million contract based on the outdated and unqualified county RFP. That the company head just happens to be the President of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and a player in Doug Ridenour’s and Joe Lopez’s regular poker game couldn’t hurt when three of the Gang of Four, Grewal, Zoslocki, and Ridenour are running for office this year. Heck, that sure buys a lot of good will, they might even get the Chambers’ endorsement.
Just to point out how they like to give money to their friends, we can’t leave out how the City Manager, Joe Lopez, who is allowed to approve contracts without Council approval up to $50,000, recently came back with an increase to what we think of as ‘City Manager Specials’ when he upped the contract to Management Partners from $42,900 to $152,900 on 12/10/19. Before we go any further, we need to mention that it’s recognized by many that the City Manager despite his, lets be polite, less than exemplary performance record in each of the multiple positions he has held with the city, had been brought up through the ranks because of his “go along to get along” business demeanor (yes man). It was former City Manager John Holgersson who was personally responsible for bringing Mr. Lopez up through the ranks. When the current City Manager was questioned by Councilwoman Kristi Ah You during a recent council meeting about Holgersson’s relationship with Management Partners, Mr. Lopez looked surprised and stumbled around looking for a plausible answer that didn’t let the cat out of the bag. When she made her question more specific Mr. Lopez again acted surprised, without much success when she pointed out his picture was on Management Partners website and was designated as a Partner. For those who don’t remember Holgersson was a Consultant with Management Partners who recommended himself and was hired as Modesto’s City Manager then was ultimately fired. And yes, the Gang of Four made sure this $110,000 addition to the original contract went through. After all, City Manager Joe Lopez helped them down play the $700,000 we continue to lose every year and will do so into 2022, thanks to the Gang of Four kicking the can down the road over Modesto’s Centre Plaza. We’ve been losing $700,000 a year since 2012 while waiting for the catering contract to expire in the spring of 2019.
There’s no end to their hubris. The self serving hiding of emails prevents exposure and helps ‘associates’ save their lucrative contracts. They also play fast and loose with the procedures and pass out millions of dollars in contracts to their friends, and have distributed over $100,000 of taxpayer money to old allies. The Gang of Four provides political cover by using their votes on the Council and ensuring the City Manager can continue to dispense money as they see fit to his and their friends. Possibly the greatest concern is the cornerstone, if you will, the Gate Keeper of the secrets, the sphincter of information, the City Attorney Adam Lindgren.
Don’t go away thinking this is the entire list because it isn’t, not by a long shot. These are just a few of the most recent trials and tribulations we’ve been forced to endure. One of the more insidious ways they silence their opposition on the Council is to bring up topics during closed session that aren’t on the agenda. In closed session, the only things they are supposed to talk about are the items on the agenda. Once the item is discussed (even though it’s not on the agenda), they cannot discuss it outside closed session. If asked, they can tell you they talked about items not on the closed session agenda but can’t say what they were. The purpose of doing that is to hide information/discussions from the public. So if a city council member feels something that was discussed should be shared with the public, they are prevented from doing so. And, you guessed it, the City Attorney threatens them with legal troubles if they do.
We’ve watched from the sidelines as these people attacked one female department head and ran her out of town. The big question now is who will be the next target of their witch hunts?
We can no long stand silently on the sidelines while the Gang of Four and their two henchmen steal democracy from Modesto.
It’s always interesting to see what the Council is trying to slide by us on the Consent Calendar. This week we have nine items that if they get their wish will not be discussed and if all goes as usual will be voted on and more than likely passed unanimously and moved on without some much as a ripple in their wake. So if it’s business as usual with the Council they’ll spend $4,237,168.00 without explanation or comment. In order to have any conversation on any of the consent items a member of the Council has to “Pull” an item off consent. A member of the public, by filling out a simple form, is allowed to pull an item too.
Generally speaking the public seldom pulls anything off of the consent calendar. That’s where we step in. We have a tendency to speak up, ask questions, and pull items from consent. Often asking the questions they would prefer not to answer. We keep requesting the department heads bring the necessary information to the Council meetings but until recently they have claimed to be unable to produce it for the public at the Council meetings, and the Council, on the advice of the attorney, has refused to allow the public to present the information during the council meetings. If you haven’t read the on line agenda packet before attending the meeting you’ll never know the what, why, or especially the how because you won’t find it at a meeting.
In the past they had the department heads along with all of the relevant information available at Council meetings. Now they’re only sure to be available at the agenda review meetings which are held on the Monday at 4:00 PM, before the routinely scheduled Council meetings on Tuesday. Unfortunately the ‘Gang of Four’ have a tendency to be too busy to attend. So if you hear them ask for more information during a Tuesday night meeting you’ll know they were too busy running their business empires or running for another office other than the one they were elected to (Mani Grewal for state senate, Bill Zoslocki for the Board of Supervisors, and Doug Ridenour for Mayor).
Recently they were awarding Rank Security a contract expanding their roll in Modesto. They went from a $168,560 contract to a $3,699,756.00 all on consent. After we pulled the item we asked the question if there was an RFP or a request for proposal. It means the same thing as putting out a bid for services. The Deputy City Manager answered that yes we had. But the truth later delivered by staff was they had piggybacked on a Stanislaus County bid for county wide security services. What wasn’t mentioned that night was that the bid was 18 months old and that Rank hadn’t made the list of qualifiers for the contract. That’s right. Rank wasn’t ranked by the County. We had to do a public Record Request to discover this. But our Council members were determined to give the contract to Rank. After all Steve Rank, the companies owner, is the President of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and three of the for members of the Gang of Four are running for office and they need his and the Chambers support.
All of this went down on the Consent Calendar item #6 on Sept. 25, 2019. Councilman Bill Zoslocki didn’t have a clue if any RFP had been done. No one on the Council said one word . They didn’t know. They were going to vote for this contract no matter what. $3.6 Million and they weren’t going to ask any questions.
The Consent Calendar is where they try to slip things through that they would prefer to keep quiet. We will continue to pull these questionable items. We’ll continue to ask the hard questions. And when they take our tax money and give it to their backroom buddies we’ll continue to call them out.
It’s a strange world we live in.
We made two Public Record Requests (PRR). The object of the first one was to get information from the City of Modesto regarding how the City Attorney obfuscates the amounts Modesto pays for legal fees in general, including those we have to pay to his firm, Meyers Nave. City Attorney Adam Lindgren had his para legal respond (see accompanying picture) by scrambling their response. Adam took exception to my characterizing his response as ‘scrambled’ at the 8/13/19 Council meeting. We can only presume he prefers the term ‘randomizing.’
Each of these entries is him cannibalizing parts of budgets of other departments to use for legal expenses. In other words he gets to spend other departments’ money for his legal costs without it being reflected against his office. He likes to say this has been an ongoing practice but this basically was initiated soon after his firm took over as City Attorney. So lets review…stealing from other department’s budgets for legal fees is a “past practice” that he started when he and his firm took over being City Attorney in 2013. He justifies it by simply calling it past practice.
Another interesting observation is that his department received the files in chronological order but as you can tell he made analyzing the costs more difficult by his, and we’ll use the term Adam apparently prefers here, ‘randomizing’ their response. This picture is shown as an example of the technique he employed and not the information inside the files themselves.
His response to the he second PRR is more of his modus operandi (read method or technique). It was a simple request designed to discover when he knew Monica Houston brought the problem of purchasing property around Rt. 132 to light and when he recused himself from the discussion like an ethical attorney would.
From: Dana Sanchez <email@example.com>
By Emerson Drake
We’ve learned Modesto’s auditor apprised members of the Modesto City Council’s Audit Committee in a memo on July 19th of her concerns that the City Attorney and the company Meyers Nave had overstepped their bounds by misrepresenting themselves in SR 132 eminent domain legal services. The memo was sent to Mayor Ted Brandvold and Councilmen Mani Grewal and Douglas Ridenour.
That’s when the scheme was created to implement a cover-up of the alleged malfeasance by Meyers Nave, the company Modesto has contracted for legal services, which supplies Adam Lindgren as Modesto’s City Attorney. Less than two months after Modesto hired Monica Houston as the City’s Auditor and just weeks after the memo was sent to the City staff; City Manager Joe Lopez and Attorney Adam Lindgren implemented a series of job performance evaluations in secret (closed sessions) supported by Council members Bill Zoslocki, Doug Ridenour, Mani Grewal, and Jenny Kenoyer The City Attorney demanded they go into closed sessions for the evaluations. For those unaware Council members can’t reveal to the public what is said during closed sessions. It’s our understanding that four and possibly more closed sessions were scheduled. But obviously and according to their plan, we don’t know what transpired but we doubt it was hugs and smiles. Probably just the opposite (acrimonious with hostile overtones) since they are trying to silence Monica.
In an article in the Bee dated Oct 10th by Rosalio Ahumada, the City Council meeting was detailed quite well except at the time he and the rest of us weren’t aware of the memo behind some of Ted Brandvold’s and Kristi Ah You’s comments. During the Council meeting, about 1 hour and 19 minutes, Mayor Brandvold suggested documents were being falsified by city staff. If the documents that the Auditor has don’t match the documents the city now has or any falsification is present then heads should roll starting with the City Attorney and City manager for suborning the falsification or alteration of city documents. If you listen to the council meeting when Mani comes back in you hear lots of static. We’ve been told before the interference is caused by someone’s phone being on. Mani was the only one that left the dais. You have to wonder who he felt the need to call for instructions. But there’s more…
In the memo Houston includes actions by Meyer Nave of supplier favoritism including no bid contracts. Also included are suggestions of fraud, waste and abuse in the assigning of contracts. These charges could expose Modesto to financial loss.
There have long been questions about the large sums of money Modesto is spending for legal fees. We are aware lawyers are expensive but having a real City Attorney is cost effective compared to outside council/firm is extremely expensive. We and others have submitted Public Record Requests truing to find out just how much Modesto pays in legal fees but to this point the items provided by the city are so redacted it makes them almost useless. They black out so much information it’s almost impossible to tell what services the invoices are paying for. Also coming into question is the assigning of legal contracts. Is Meyers Nave receiving quid pro quo for their assigning lucrative contracts for city business? What are they hiding?
All things considered it would seem we have a Sacramento legal firm adding to their bottom line using questionable legal means at our expense and they, with the help of the inept City Manager and a few members of the City Council, are willing to orchestrate a the firing of anyone who stands in their way. Why is it when someone steps forward to warn the City Council of problems they get shown the door? When will Modesto start working for ALL of the people who live here and not just special interest groups that quite often don’t ?
More food for thought: Meyers Nave is council for four other cities in Stanislaus County which would give them a large power block on StanCog and Stanislaus LAFCO or Local Agency Formation Commission. Before your eyes glaze over LAFCO has the final say on cities wanting to expand and develop. In Modesto they enabled a new area of Beard Industrial to avoid paying Modesto user fees which was against their policy until Modesto special interests intervened. So we not only provide below cost subsidized electricity we don’t charge them the extra six percent user tax that you and I pay for electricity, sewer and water.
Prior City Councils helped to guide us through the recession created by the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Recently we’ve been faced with the need to chart a new course for Modesto. Unfortunately the current council seems to be taking a step backward. In the last four years we’ve had transparency replaced with obfuscation and thriftiness with a spend-it-like-you’ve-got-it mentality. The most tenured council members are Bill Zoslocki, Jenny Kenoyer, and Tony Madrigal and they just happen to be up for re-election.
No Council oversight: City staff has run amuck with contracts. An example is with the Garrett Thompson contract for soft patch, first being signed in 2012, then being doubled in 2014, then tripled from its original numbers in 2016, and the most recent increase was without Council approval. And Acting City Manager Joe Lopez, tried to slip it in under the radar under a consent item at a recent Council meeting. He blamed it on human error and accepted no responsibility.
Most recently we’ve been informed about a second contract where we paid $426,452 more than the contract called for. Again… no real answer as to why this happened.
Should this surprise us? Probably not since Joe Lopez says more of these financial bombshells will be coming. When will they be coming? After the election.
Now they want to buy a city block: The senior three council members, Zoslocki, Kenoyer, and Madrigal, all want to but a city block for $3.1 Million. They want to use money (steal it would be more accurate) that earlier councils from 1998 to 2008, and we the taxpayers put aside, to build a fleet maintenance facility. A facility we need since the one we were using was on the land we overpaid for and subsequently sold to the state for the new courthouse. It doesn’t matter to these three that the same block has been up for sale for years and several developers have been pitched the deal and everyone of them walked away because they determined it wasn’t financially feasible. When asked what they intend to do with the property, to paraphrase, their answer was “we don’t have a clue, but it sure sounds like a good idea doesn’t it.”
The Red Lion will never go bankrupt! As a reminder to put it short and sweet… in Modesto’s past, the city bought and then used the property under what’s now called (oops spoiler alert) the Double Tree as collateral for the Red Lion hotel to be built. It went bankrupt and the city lost the land. But maybe it’ll be different this time! After all Ryan Swehla and Benchmark have already been offering their management services (for a price) to the city. Even Craig Lewis offered his services for financial management. Local businessmen always want to get their fingers in our pockets.
Don’t they say that doing the same thing over and over is a sign of insanity?
Under the senior three we watched former City Manager Ted Holgerson threatened to terminate then Fire Chief Slamon which would result in him losing his retirement, if he gave the benefit of his experience and his opinions rather than giving the party line that Holgerson and the senior three wanted. Because of this, Chief Slamon eventually resigned from his position and took a position with a city half the size of Modesto.
Under the senior three Zoslocki, Kenoyer, and Madrigal, over 14,000 emails weren’t applied to Public Record Requests. Using private email accounts instead of city accounts to conduct city business is unethical and obfuscating. These emails went missing during their term in office. The city attorney has delayed his response to requests for these emails for the last six months. To date we’ve received approximately six months worth out of three and a half years.
Under the senior three the City’s situation with CalPers and the union retirement accounts has become more dire. The issue is so serious that according to some the City could possibly face bankruptcy in the next five years. But the senior three intend to keep on spending like there’s no tomorrow.
The senior three’s experience hasn’t made Modesto more financially sound. They seem intent on having us crawl further and further out that proverbial limb and refuse to provide the accountability and guidance staff obviously requires.
The senior three have had their chance it’s time for a new starting line-up.
When it comes to making important decisions that effect the public, City Attorney Adam Lindgren often falls more that just a bit short, personally it’s my opinion he fails miserably.
Back when the City Council was going through the Wood colony debacle Adam Lindgren interpreted case law to say that signs could not be shown in the Council Chambers and anyone doing so could and would be removed. This was enforced throughout the meeting until a Modesto citizen, Gaetana Drake had the chance to speak. She cited specific case law relating to Adam’s decision. After further review as they say, Adam changed his decision and signs, which had been ruled free speech by the courts, were resentfully allowed to be displayed accompanied by a cheer from the 200 plus attendees. At another City Council meeting regarding Wood Colony the city had allowed people to speak and then significantly changed what they were going to be voting on. At first they refused to allow people that had already spoken to address the change. Then once again a Modesto citizen, Gaetana Drake, pointed out case law which specifically say they had to allow it to be addressed once they significantly changed the motion. You would think this would be City Attorney 101.
Starting to see a pattern? We’ve recently discussed the 14,000 emails the city wants to keep out of the public and they actually started making up new policy and law. Here is part of a follow-up email from the City where they try to charge for processing the same emails they avoided using in Public Record Requests.
The City Clerk’s office also communicated with you and asked you to narrow the requests in a manner that describes identifiable records which may be located by City staff with reasonable efforts. You informed the City that you do not wish to narrow your requests. Without more focused requests, the City considers these requests to be overly burdensome and cannot process them any further, without further action on your part, for the reasons stated below. Should you wish to contact our office and narrow your requests, and/or submit a deposit as explained below, we will be more than happy to work with you to provide the information you seek.
The City has determined that where staff time and expense necessary to respond to such broad and voluminous requests is not reasonable, the public interest in not wasting taxpayer resources to process the request clearly outweighs any public interest to respond to such requests, particularly when no attempt by you has been made focus the requests. (Gov. Code section 6255; American Civil Liberties Union Foundation v. Deukmejian 32 Cal.3d 440, at 452-453.)
In order to begin processing this request, the City requires a $250.00 deposit, as printing and data extraction time (10 cents per page) is necessary to ensure that privileged, private, or personnel-related exempt records are not released in violation of the law. Upon remittance of the deposit, the first 2,500 pages will be reviewed and then all non-exempt public records from those pages will be available for your inspection. Additional deposits would be required to continue processing this request.
So in effect the City Attorney Adam Lindgren want $1,400 to process the 14,000 emails he should have been including all along in Public Record Requests. $1,400 in data extraction time? And if the money isn’t paid in advance they processing of emails would stop!
It’s not only illegal it’s unethical and more importantly it isn’t what the law says. When we started this Public Record Request(PPR) for the private emails the Council has been using we were told the total email numbers were probably few and the topics inconsequential. If, when they say a few, they mean 14,000 you have to wonder what inconsequential means.
But there’s more: The 14,000 emails are only those on the City’s servers. Any emails sent from private email accounts to private email accounts are NOT included in the 14,000, and the city refuses to supply the email addresses saying the Council members will be given guidelines to follow and they will be going through their own emails to see what is relevant and what isn’t.
So the Mayor and Council that claim to be completely transparent and yet are using private email accounts, to conduct city business, are now going to police themselves?
Most reasonable people if asked would say that’s inconceivable. And to borrow a line from the Princess Bride, I don’t think that word means what you think it means, especially when it comes to Modesto politics.
Many times Public Record Requests are the only way to find out what is going on behind the scenes especially when your topic is Modesto politicians and you’re discussing City business. They aren’t a tell all, yet sometimes a glimpse of light slips through. Recently we discovered that Cecil Russell and his Chateau Provence Home Owners Association, with the help of Rank Security, had illegally mounted cameras on city light poles and were stealing electricity from MID.
Now using the same method we’ve uncovered 6 private email accounts that the Mayor and members of the City Council are using to conduct city business. At first we were told that it was probably just a few emails and they were mostly about meetings. But they didn’t realize we already had in our possession emails to and from Modesto Mayor Ted Brandvold and land use attorney George Petrulakis.
So we did a Public Record Request on the six emails. The scope was from the time each had taken office until present. Never did I expect the response I received via email.
Regarding your Public Record Request of March 8, 2017 for all emails since taking office, including attachments to and from: 3 from Ted Brandvold, 2 from Bill Zoslocki and 1 from Tony Madrigal. (the actual email addresses have been redacted)
Our IT Department is working on this to pull all the emails, however they have gotten over 14,000 hits on this request.
Is there any way we can narrow this request? Are you looking for something specific that we can narrow with some keywords? Perhaps we can narrow the time frame?
If you can let me know as soon as possible, I can let IT know how to proceed with your request.
Administrative Office Assistant III (Confidential)
City Clerk’s Office
Since then we’ve learned of even more email addresses being used.
Modesto seems to be admitting every single Public Record Request made by us and others in the last several years is incomplete. And now we’re told the city will NOT be going back and supplementing the requests. They are telling the very people that withheld the information by using private accounts to ‘police’ themselves. Only one member of the Council, Kristi Ah You, has stepped up to the plate and placed her emails up for review.
No guidance has been given other that the term ‘city business’. And as City Attorney’s staff has pointed out there is currently NO policy or requirement that Mayor, Council members or city staff use ONLY their government email accounts for city business. And who had his hand in (wrote the majority) from the beginning when the Modesto City Charter was written? Why George Petrulakis of course. If you want the rules to favor you, you write the rules.
We always need to keep in mind that the title of City Attorney is misleading. His title should be Mayor and Council’s attorney because in my opinion he works against the public’s best interest. He liberally uses Brown Acts exemption clauses and with his silence on other aspects advises them on how to avoid the Brown Act and the best way to mitigate the damage if they are caught. He should be firmly suggesting to them they need to use ONLY City email accounts and City cell phones.
What or should I say how much are they trying to hide?
Maybe it’s time to go after their text messages too.
Informative article printed in the Bee today from the Orange County Register
It was just after high noon when Mayor Marsh tried to face down the crowd at Hart Ransom Elementary School in Wood Colony. The Mayor started out on the wrong foot when he reminded the audience he once had a teaching credential and he was here to educate them in Modesto politics and how to count to four. Unfortunately for Marsh he’s allowed his educational skills and debating skills to get rusty. The Mayor has gotten used to a semi-controlled environment of the council chambers where he can threaten dissenters with expulsion if they disagree or interrupt him with the truth. He has also forgotten that truth is his best weapon because he left it at home on Saturday. And to top it all off, many of the audience members are much better informed than he and most are more knowledgeable than Council members John Gunderson and Jenny Kenoyer, who were also present but silent. The two council members riding shotgun that day must have decided to keep silent and let people wonder instead of talking and removing all doubt as to their lack of understanding the basics of the issues.
Early on he was forced to say “I’ll take that back” three times in ninety seconds as a member of the audience (they all appeared to be residents of Wood Colony) would correct statements he made and these were just a few of many mis-statements he made and was corrected on. The ever polite and politically neutral Marjorie Blom, LAFCO’s (Local Agency Formation Commission) Executive Officer, would speak later displaying her knowledge and understanding by explaining the process correctly without pointing out the mistakes Marsh made.
And yes Mayor Marsh did blame Wood Colony residents for not coming out to Modesto’s meetings starting a year and a half ago. Their absence wasn’t surprising since Marsh had mentioned annexing Salida in his Inaugural/State of the City Address but had failed to mention Wood Colony. But politicians like to play the blame game and yes he had to take that back too. The Mayor brought former councilman Denny Jackman into the conversation several times for support, especially for RUL (Residential Urban Limits). For those followers of politics, the Mayor was careful when he chose to get Denny’s endorsements and Denny was just as careful as to what he agreed with. But to the uninitiated it appeared to come off smoothly.
We’ve come to believe the compromise Denny struck trying to get a version the Council and Chamber could support, is too watered down to be effective. To enlist the Chamber’s support they had to offer up the public’s last vestiges of control and that is Measure’s A and M, and allow them to be put on the ballot for repeal. When that was discussed you could actually see Cogdill and Zoslocki become excited.
The Mayor wasn’t completely disingenuous, he stated although he is a farmland preservationist he isn’t one 100 percent of the time, not even ninety percent according to his own words.
The Mayor had kind words for Councilman Zoslocki calling him a likable and deeply religious man like himself. Just that they disagreed on farmland preservation. I admit at this point I did start laughing out loud for a moment. Here’s the thing, most everyone agrees Marsh is an intelligent man, he just isn’t always politically savvy. By the way, Mayor Marsh put the voting suggestions forward and by his unwillingness to lose a vote to keep Wood Colony out of Modesto’s General Plan, he allowed Zoslocki, Cogdill and Lopez to vote to keep it out while his block voted to keep Wood Colony in. It is an upside down world when this happens, since Zoslocki had been traveling from one Planning Commission Workshop to another with the Chamber of Commerce all last year in an attempt to take Modesto’s General Plan all the way to the river for the western boundary. Zoslocki, Cogdill and Lopez are the most Chamber/builder friendly people on the council with Madrigal coming right after them.
The Mayor addressed the recall talk towards Gunderson and Kenoyer by saying if they were recalled, Modesto/Wood Colony/Salida would only get someone worse. In all fairness we’re not sure that’s possible considering the way they voted on Jan.28th. The recall discussion regarding Jenny has been loud but the conversation regarding Gunderson had only begun to be strident when he started cutting himself off from his constituents who disagreed with his voting positions. It was a childish move and left many shaking their heads in disillusioned astonishment, which is an action many of his council mates have done since he was elected.
It truly seems to me the problem originated with the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and I discussed this and pointed it out during the public comment period with the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors several times at January meetings. The Chamber was allowed to frame the argument as jobs vs prime farmland but that just isn’t the case. When I had my conversation with Jenny Kenoyer on Jan. 7th about saving Wood Colony, she responded by saying “give me an alternative.” So I immediately pointed out the North County Corridor and the County’s prediction that it would be completed many years before 132 goes all the way to Interstate 5 in an expanded form and that the soils east of Modesto were far poorer, unofficially referred to as PPP (piss poor pasture) by farmers and that was where we should be building business parks and homes. But Jenny had, to use the vernacular, drank the Chambers get rich quick kool-aid and ignored the suggestion and only wanted to consider Wood Colony. And yes that was when she uttered the now famous words, “I have to worry about the 200,000 people living in Modesto and besides those people in Wood Colony can’t vote for me.” She repeated those words three different times so I’m sure I wasn’t the first or the last person she had said them to.
It was great to see that the citizens of Wood Colony had thoroughly educated themselves about the issue and were defending themselves quite adequately. They weren’t buying the half truths Marsh was selling and told him point blank he needed to bring the issue back to the council and take Wood Colony completely OUT of Modesto’s General Plan.
I fully admit I voted for Marsh and Gunderson believing then and now they were the lesser of two evils. I guess it goes to show we need a better class of politicians in Modesto.
We hope to have the audio from the meeting up soon.
Ms, Kenoyer had stated during her campaign she would NOT support any attempt to annex Salida. She repeated it several times on Jan 7th. Over the weekend she received a flyer JennyKenoyer_flyer which upset her. Apparently she was offended at being reminded of the promises she broke and of course having flyers being passed out didn’t help.
Now Ms. Kenoyer is running around telling people she’s going to teach Salida a lesson. Watch closely and you’ll see our ‘Jenny’ vote against the very people she promised to support.
Jenny’s promises and her word seem to be worthless. And for someone like myself who has been a constant supporter of hers for many years this is heartbreaking.
We’ve only just begun. It’s time to hold politicians accountable to the people. The copy machines are warmed up and the people are motivated.