Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “Modesto Bee”

America’s Queen of Division Coming to Modesto

By Emerson Drake    ann_coulter2wiki

While I prefer sticking specifically to local politics, learning that local Republicans  invited (and paid $25,000 to)  Ann Coulter to come to Modesto to speak has me shaking my head.  And when I discovered she was being  brought to Modesto’s Centre Plaza as a political pundit and not to the Gallo as a comedian I started chuckling.

Then I see my favorite quote machine, County Supervisor Jim DeMartini, hard at work.  I realize Jim has a dislike for liberals in a general political  sense and while  bragging about how the local GOP raised $25,000 privately (Ms. Coulter’s speaking fee) at the drop of a hat, he belied concern over losing money by confidently saying “we’ll make money on it.”

Anyone can go to the Local GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner, after all tickets are going for a paltry $125 to $10,000.   Coulter is promoting her book “In Trump We Trust” and signing copies.

Even the Bee Provided Their Own Donation:  No,  to my knowledge they didn’t make a donation or a ticket purchase but they did help DeMartini sound a little less crazy when they deleted a couple of lines from their hard copy delivered paper that were in their online version.

Republican politicos from around the country have been suggesting people protesting their town hall meetings were paid protesters and agitators from out of town. Supervisor DeMartini decided to sound tough and said “PAID PROTESTERS AND OUT OF TOWN AGITATORS-WE’RE NOT EXPECTING TROUBLE BUT WE’LL HANDLE IT IF IT HAPPENS.”   Jim,  I think you’ve been drinking the kool-Aid but the Bee did you a favor by NOT printing this, but then again that’s just me speaking.

We’ve seen people, yes protesters, from around the country showing their drivers licenses to officials and cameras proving they were from the immediate area where the meeting was being held.  Will protesters here hear the question, are you from around here?  And then be required to supply their drivers license to be believed?.

You’re welcome to have Ann Coulter, Queen of the Crazy Quotes, come to Modesto to speak but I think it speaks more to what divides us than what will bring us together. But considering the current political climate maybe that’s why they’re bringing her here.

$10,000 dollars to rub shoulders with Ann Coulter?  There I go shaking my head again.

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The Bee’s Jeff ‘the slimeball’ Jardine, First He Creates the News and Then He Writes about It

By Emerson Drake   recallbirgit

While this is far from the first time the Modesto Bee has allowed one of their employees to attack people in print it should be the last.  Some have questioned  if this was ‘slime ball’s’ idea or if it was spawned by one of his editors, I suggest either way it needs to stop and stop NOW.  Papers caught creating news can’t be trusted.  Public Record Requests are a wonderful tool when attempting to seek out the smoking gun of Hypocrisy. Jardine’s story  isn’t a case of the misuse of public money or the public’s trust.  No he’s made it personal and vindictive in our opinion.

 

Former Mayor Carmen Sabatino has been trying to point out that Stanislaus County D.A. Birgit Fladager through her minions has withheld exculpatory evidence (and yes the AJ Pontillo was subsequently  found innocent) and was more recently caught withholding discovery from the Carson defense team.  A  District Attorney withholds evidence that clears a mans name is in the minds of most people despicable and now to be caught for the second, or is it the third time, hiding evidence form the defense means Stanislaus County Court rooms can hardly be called a bastion of justice.

 

Jardine has use an informative sign as an excuse to attack our former Mayor at his place of business.   Jeff creates the story, he writes the story, and pronounces guilt in the story.  But Jeff, you’re the one that’s guilty here.

 

By Mayor Carmen Sabatino

Below is an official public records transcript between a Modesto Bee reporter, Jeff Jardine and a Caltrans employee, Rick Estrada.      The press is supposed to REPORT the news, not act in desperate protagonist measures to CREATE news, and then innocently report on their creation.

Jeff Jardine, the National Enquirer is calling – they need a gumshoe to report on alien abductions and bat-faced vampires lurking about.

January 10, 2017 at 11:19am FROM Rick Estrada TO Jeff Jardine

Jeff, you noted you were going to be out of the office for some time, so I felt an e-mail would serve best.

Regarding the Changeable Message Sign we were discussing on McHenry Avenue/State Route 108 in

Modesto:

** I have spoken to maintenance unit confirmed it is not a Caltrans sign

** I have spoken to maintenance unit and confirmed the sign is in the public right of way

** I have spoken to our permits unit and confirmed there is no permit issued for this sign

As a result, one of managers from the maintenance unit will visit this location and advise the owner of the sign that it must be removed immediately from the public right of way. If the sign is not moved following our visit, the next step is we will contact CHP and ask for law enforcement to get involved in resolving this situation.

Safety is always a priority for Caltrans. Our goal is to keep the state’s highways in the best, and safest, condition for motorists.

Regarding the use of a CMS sign when it is not in the public right of way? I would ask that you please call Caltrans’ Outdoor Advertising Unit, specifically Michele Day who oversees Stanislaus and other counties.  Her number is (916) 651-1254 and this is her realm of expertise. If she does not respond, her supervisor is James Arbis (oversees NorCal) and he is at (916) 654-6413.

 

January 10, 2017 at 12:52pm FROM Jeff Jardine TO Rick Estrada

It was not there when I drove by a few minutes ago. Maybe the rental company wanted it out of the rain.

 

January 10, 2017 at 12:57 FROM Rick Estrada TO Jeff Jardine

J=happyface

 

January 10, 2017 at 1:21PM FROM Jeff Jardine TO Rick Estrada

What about, as you mentioned, putting out a sign that looks like a CalTrans sign but bears a political message?

A violation of any sort?

January 10, 2017 at 1:23PM FROM Rick Estrada to Jeff Jardine

That’s where Outdoor Advertising comes in. We have a unit stationed at our HQ that deals with ‘advertising’ signs of this sort … I included a name and 2 phone numbers of potential contacts who can give you more concise information.

If they don’t get back to you, let me know and I’ll pull the chain. Hope everything’s going well Glad to see the sign is gone

J=happyface

 

January 11th, 2017 at 11:16AM FROM Jeff Jardine to Rick Estrada

OK, so Michelle said that if an unauthorized sign is reported, a maintenance crew would go out and seize it, informing whomever that they have 30 days to come pick it up at the yard. So can you tell me if that sign was seized or direct me to someone locally who can answer that question.

Mr. Sabatino claimed I was disrespecting him by even calling him.

 

January 11th, 2017 at 11:22AM FROM Rick Estrada to Jeff Jardine

I spoke with our Modesto Maintenance manager, who visited the location yesterday afternoon. When he got there, the

CMS sign was already gone – having been moved by someone other than Caltrans.

City might have stepped in? Or perhaps owner was told by someone else to move it … I had checked with our guys this morning

 

January 11th, 2017 at 11:25AM FROM Jeff Jardine to Rick Estrada

Thanks. Some folks posted pics of it on FB, and his PI buddy wrote about it on Carmen’s blog…..

When Thursday is the New Friday

By Emerson Drake  ladyjustice

When politicians and public relations consultants have bad news that has to be delivered for public consumption they try to do it on Friday afternoons. It’s referred to as the Friday news dump.  It’s used to avoid the media scrutiny that would accompany any release during the rest of the week.

 

You see newspaper people like to have weekends off just like the rest of us.  So the majority of the Saturday and Sunday editions of the paper are pre-written and much of it already printed.  They leave a small space for sports but that’s about it.  And with their staffing cuts many times reaching someone on the weekend  in the newsroom is impossible.

 

For the most part for courts in the  judicial system Friday is a day to sort out legal and side issues with the attorneys so juries get to stay home.  So any news will come out on Thursday and what better day to release a bombshell like the Frank Carson revelations of forgotten files than the day before Christmas Eve.  The Chief Deputy District Attorney Marlisa Ferreira, after delivering the bombshell of newly found files, had her car brought around to the back of the building and snuck out the back door, all of the time refusing to questions.  And of course where was District Attorney Birgit Fladager?  Conveniently out of town traveling with family, incommunicado. Couldn’t plan that any better.

 

The District Attorney’s conduct in this case, in our opinion, was reprehensible at best and vindictive, personal and almost criminal at worst.

 

One of the important questions remaining is will local mainstream media Public Relations Powerhouse, the Modesto Bee, call her out on her heinous behavior and run a series of articles ON A TIMELY BASIS (soon and often) or will they support this petty vindictive politician that is apparently using her office for personal payback.  Another example is if they backed a politician for office than you won’t see many follow-up negative stories.  But if you ran against one of their ‘favorites,’  and that’s a lengthy list,  then God help you because the Bee’s version of ‘scorched earth’ would make General Sherman jealous.

 

Bee history suggests they will run a positive article after they run a negative one for politicians and organizations they supported to gain ofice.  If they run an article showing the dark side of a few Sheriff’s deputies they’ll run a feel good article showing deputies interacting with children (not picking on deputies just using an example you’ll recognize.

 

So expect the Bee to allow the behavior of Birgit Fladager and her office to fall by the wayside.  They want to shape the narrative and decide which stories you’ll remember and which you’ll forget.  There goes that institutional memory thing I talk about again.

 

 

 

 

Did the Bee Engage in Voter Suppression?

By Emerson Drake  dontbesilent

On Election Day morning, the Bee’s headline read: Clinton has Clinched, AP Delegate survey says. Now on election day, using the reasoning (defective reasoning in our view), that this was ‘real news’, I was told by a high ranking editor at the Bee, that they felt it was important to report.  I was even told they questioned the AP’s timing of the release of the poll, but they felt the need to report it anyway.   How can this headline be construed as anything but a blatant attempt to convince voters that going to vote for a Presidential nominee was an exercise in futility.

Quite honestly, reporting a ‘poll’ released by another news organization (Associated Press) on election day smacks of irresponsible behavior and extremely poor judgement to us. It doesn’t matter which candidate you supported, having our local paper suggesting they were doing the ‘right thing’ especially at a time when we all should be doing everything we can to get voters involved, is ludicrous

Adding even more shame to their actions they didn’t make the story available on Modbee.com or on their Facebook page making commenting on their actions impossible. Agree or disagree with what you read on the Bee’s Editorial Page, to place this story on the front page above the fold was a deliberate act that should have negative consequences to whomever made the decision.

When a newspaper uses its power and manipulates the public to create news instead of reporting it, it becomes just a piece of paper, a piece of paper suitable for the bottom of birdcages, wrapping fish and designating a place for the dog to go.

The Chamber Plotting the Take over of Wood Colony

By Emerson Drake                                         LTU_Team-225x145

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

Craig-LewisRuben-VillalobosBrad-Hawncecil-russell Left to right: Craig Lewis, Ruben Villalobos, Brad Hawn, and of course the lobbyist Cecil Russell.

Mayor Marsh and Some Council Members Want to Silence the Opposition

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By Emerson Drake

Thanks to Mayor Marsh the excrement has hit the oscillating rotary device (something about hitting a fan).  We learned last week Mayor Marsh was planning NOT to allow people who had spoken at the December City Council meeting to speak again.  Apparently if you don’t agree with the Mayor and Modesto Chamber of Commerce’s land grab proposal (also known as Pathways to SPRAWL) you should sit down and shut up!

When we tried to inform people regarding his plan we were met with disbelief.  Not that people thought we were lying, but shaking their collective heads thinking it was political suicide and was unthinkable.  But now it has been made public (remember just because you might have read it in the Bee doesn’t make it wrong.. :).  We were singing our tale loud and long (including to the Bee) because the purpose is to get the word out to as many people as possible.

What may have slipped past many people is the Mayor and staff are cooking up an idea to delay Denny Jackman’s Residential Urban Limit (RUL) proposal they had originally slated to vote on next year and place it on the 2015 ballot along with the removal of Measures A&M. Now I believe Denny’s RUL was watered down in order to get it past the City Council but it would be better than nothing, but NOT worth exchanging Measure A&M for.  No Way.

Just to refresh your memory, here are the official versions of A&M taken from the city website.

Measure A
On March 6, 1979, the voters enacted Measure A, the “Citizens’ Advisory Growth Management Act,” which requires the City Council to hold an advisory vote of the citizens of Modesto prior to extending sewer trunk lines to areas outside of the current sewer service area. Measure A allows Modesto’s citizens to voice their opinions on growth before it happens and ensures that City Council members know the public opinion.

Measure M

On November 4, 1997, the voters enacted Measure M, the “Modesto Citizens’ Advisory Growth Management Act of 1995”.  The purpose of Measure M is to extend the advisory votes required by Measure A to all sewer improvements and to bring the public’s voice into decisions concerning whether or not to allow urban expansion.  And of course the link for those named Thomas…. http://www.ci.modesto.ca.us/ced/documents/planning_urbanarea.asp (http://www.ci.modesto.ca.us/ced/documents/planning_urban-area.asp)

A and M allow the citizens of Modesto to control, what in the past was uncontrolled growth (SPRAWL) and to help maintain the quality of life Modestans enjoy and to keep Modesto’s greedy developers at bay.  We have been aware for years that the developers, staffers, Chamber of Commerce and some elected officials don’t want the public to be able to weigh in.  Four years ago when David Geer was first elected we had five areas to vote on and ALL five were turned down by the voters by a margin of 60 – 70 percent.  Yet current council members have referred to this vote as voter fatigue and try to use this as a reason to negate your prior vote.  Councilman Lopez was one of the worst offenders at this.

Tuesday night at 5:30 in the basement of 1010 10th Street (City Hall), the Council will be considering and discussing the General Plan Amendment which may or may not include Salida (Marsh says yes), but definitely will include 1825 acres of Wood Colony.  I believe since the staff proposal has been changed EVERYONE should get to speak.  But Marsh is tired of people not agreeing with him, but that isn’t our problem.  As they say in business, he isn’t hourly, he’s salary (as they all are) and as such should allow the public to speak.  The RUL extension is on the calendar as is the Berberian Shopping Center slated for the corner of Sylvan and Oakdale Roads.

Come early and be prepared for a lengthy meeting.  Remember, this is part of their plan.  They want you to get tired and discouraged and go home without speaking.

If you are interested in some of the players behind the scenes in this little play of greed, check out this website and see who owns the property involved.  It isn’t just Prudential Real Estate Salesmen like Craig Lewis and Councilman Bill Zoslocki (yes, Bill works for Craig) who have been pushing this nasty piece of business through the Planning Commission, others are involved, like lobbyist Cecil Russel with the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.

Here is a link to the maps of the county.  use the little hand to see who the players are in Wood Colony from the vocal to the silent.  The silence is deafening-but you can afford to be silent when others do your bidding for you.  This is a new link that works. Thanks to those who pointed out the difficulty.
http://gis.stancounty.com/giscentral/public/map/esri/flex/parcelfinder/index.jsp

Stanislaus County: GIS Central :: GIS Standards.

gis.stancounty.com

The sabbatical is over…I’m back!

As a point of interest the OFFICIAL minutes of the council don’t list the speakers….so maybe no one spoke..:)

What’s on America’s Mind With Emerson Drake..Friday at Noon.

Français : Radio Contact 104.9 FM

Français : Radio Contact 104.9 FM (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Topics include Thank God and Grey Hound She’s Gone…a tribute to the
Bee’s Judy Sly,  the continuing War on Women’s Rights, When did we
really start to lose our privacy, Measure X just won’t go away,
Modesto’s General Plan Amendment, the Entertainment Commission, Downtown
revitalization,  these topics and more so tune in and find out what you
need to know to make decisions important to you, your family and your
community. Friday at Noon.

 

104.9 FM our flagship station

 

To listen live or from the archives at your convenience  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/whats-on-americas-mind/2013/11/22/whats-on-americas-mind-with-emerson-drakefriday-at-noon

 

Judy Sly and the Bee’s Cover-up of Jim Mortensen’s Lie

By Emerson Drake

When the Modesto Bee’s Editorial Staff brought the MID District 4 candidates in to visit they allowed the candidates to ask one  question of

Punch and Judy puppet show in Philadelphia

Punch and Judy puppet show in Philadelphia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

another candidate.  Jim Mortensen was asked if he had brought a lawsuit, made a financial claim or received any monetary payouts from MID in the past.  His response was that he’d received between $3 to $4 thousand dollars in remunerations.

In response to two Public record Requests MID turned over the claim Jim Mortensen and his attorney filed against MID for $90,000 dollars.  At first it was denied but after threatening  further legal action a settlement was reached in the amount of $20,000.

Ms. Sly has always claimed she believes it a greater offense when a candidate lies about his past instead of coming clean.  So to be fair we forwarded the Public Record Request responses to Ms. Sly so she could set the record straight since the Bee has already  endorsed Mortensen.  Ms. Sly has yet to respond to our information and queries.  It’s generally known Ms. Sly is finally retiring after this election, but to see her go out on such a dishonest note is sad.

An interesting side note is one of the Directors who voted for the payoff was the same man paying Mike Lynch to be Mortensen’s campaign adviser,  Bill Lyons.

This  pdf is the $90,000 claim Jim Mortensen ‘forgot’.

Slegal13101810310

This pdf documents the $20,000 payout Jim Mortensen tried to obfuscate.

Slegal13102413510 (1)

Shame on Jim Mortensen for failing to come clean on a $90,000 claim and a $20,000 payout.  Those kind of numbers you would remember, especially if you’re running for the MID Board.

Shame on Judy Sly and the Modesto Bee for trying to cover-up Mortensen’s obvious lie.  It just goes to show you can’t trust the Modesto Bee’s Editorial staff, especially when they have an  agenda.

Pinocchio’s anyone?

Pinochios

General Plan Amendment Meeting Monday 9/16 at 6:00 PM 1010 Basement

Tonight is one of the last times if not the last time the public will get to influence the Planning Commission’s recommendations

Beyond the First Amendment

to the Modesto City Council.

Here is the supporting pdf: 091613_PC Agenda GPA WkShp

It’s yet another important meeting the Bee didn’t mention.

What’s on America’s Mind With Emerson Drake…Wednesday 8:00 PM

Tonight’s topics include Developer Bill Zoslocki, Paul Draper and Centerra, Archway Commons and the downtown Court House

Radio RED 104.9 FM

an update on the Montana judge who sentenced a man 5 days for rape, these topics and more so tune into tonight at 8:00 PM and find out what you need to know to make decisions important to you, your family and your community.

104.9 FM our flagship station

To listen live or from our archive http://www.blogtalkradio.com/whats-on-americas-mind/2013/09/05/whats-on-americas-mind-with-emerson-drake-1

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