This falls under the category ‘You Can’t Make This Stuff Up’
Do you think you have friends in high places? Maybe you do and maybe you don’t, but Cecil Russell certainly does. On Friday December 2, 2016 a Modesto Irrigation District employee, Ms. Queta, called the City of Modesto to inform them cameras had been placed on three street light poles outside Chateau Provence which just happens to be the gated community where Cecil Russell lives. Ms. Queta said they had been illegally installed and the power was being stolen.
Just as interesting according to MPD Chief Carroll, these cameras can be viewed in real time by Modesto Police. So without knowing for certain, we can presume Cecil Russell at least helped to make arrangements for cameras to be installed on city light poles using stolen city power. In one of the emails Chief Carroll said he was working with Cecil and the Association and in good faith he believed they (Cecil and the Association) had worked something out with MID.
And people at the City like Mark Murphy, Traffic Operations Engineer, believed they needed to be removed. When the questioning went further Jeff Barnes asked if anyone took out an encroachment permit. Dan England responded that the city had NOT issued any permits for cameras on the poles. Jeff Barnes then jumped in and told Chief Carroll “We are not planning on touching them. However MID might since the cameras ware using MID power without paying. MID would be well within their rights to stop the power theft.”
Chief Carroll came back with a lengthy response: “Just to clarify, I was working with the neighborhood association to have this done. It would be my bad if there were not permits pulled. I believed we could give approval for the cameras, and we did have a meeting about it 6-8 months ago. The issue was MID power the association and Cecil Russell I believe had worked something out with MID. I have contacted them and they will reach out to MID. As a side note, those cameras are able to be viewed in the PD real time crime center and I believe we should figure out a protocol in conjunction with MID that would allow public / private partnerships if a neighborhood association is willing to purchase cameras.”
So apparently even if you live in far North Modesto where there are very few homeless and live behing high walls and an iron gate you are ‘special’ and the MPD will provide a real time video security watch on your neighborhood. This watch will be for free and that includes the light poles to mount the cameras and the power to run them, at least if your name is Cecil Russell and you’re the head lobbyist for the Chamber of Commerce