Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “Reed Smith”

Tonight’s ‘On Watch’ Cable Channel 15 at 6:00 PM

On Watch with Athens Abell will feature Jon Rodriguez, candidate for District 2 for Modesto City Council,  Reed Smith and Donna Minighini  will bring news

English: Map of the San Joaquin River watershe...

English: Map of the San Joaquin River watershed, which drains most of central inland California into the Pacific (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

about the land use and water woes still facing the Central Valley.

Channel 15 on Comcast and Charter
6:00-7:00 pm
To watch live on your computer click here at 6:00 pm

Public Workshop on the General Plan Amendment..Why Weren’t You There?

By Emerson Drake

The only way to prevent  “Government from just happening to us”  is to be a participant every step of the way.  It

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

isn’t easy for most of us, heck it isn’t even possible for some.  Life has many demands from work, family, and all that is entailed in keeping our heads above water.  We’re limited to trying to pay as much attention as we can to our communities and hope others will keep us informed.  In Stanislaus County and Modesto in particular,  politics has always been an insiders game. One thing to keep in mind considering the current topic is, the Planning Commission was chosen by the City Council not voted on by the people  and will be making the recommendations to the Council regarding the General Plan. Like I said, it’s an insiders game.

Politicians make the rules, not so much to benefit the people, but  more often to give them something to point to when the citizens suddenly become aware and wake-up and say, “hey, what’s going on”  and of course by then it’s too late.  They’ll say, “we did everything as required by law” but the damage is done and can’t be undone.  And of course they wrote the laws.

We were at the meeting Monday night at the Peterson Event Center.  Out of 203,000 who live in Modesto and another 20-30,000 who live around the city about 85 people showed up to hear what Modesto City Council wants to plan for our futures. Make no mistake and think the eventual outcome doesn’t matter,  because it does.  What ever the final form of this document is, it will be referred to for 20-50 years as guiding force for what comes next.  The areas which end up being marked for expansion will be planted with driveways.  Previously preserved farmland acres  which are covered by the Williamson Act will be undone.

Phrases like, “Modesto adopted a  a statement of overriding consideration for loss of prime farmland as being significant and unavoidable.”  This came out of the following LAFCO document which walks us through just one of the areas Modesto annexed in recent years, This particular one just goes back to May 15,1997 but the documentation as you will see goes back to Jan. 14, 1995 for the Contract-Land Conservation Act which in turn references the Land Conservation Act of 1965.

Modesto.Kiernan

Monday night showed a glimpse of the devious developer schemes to come.  We heard from Craig Lewis a developer and Prudential Real Estate Broker and he is also connected to six different companies.  Mr. Lewis was also at the Valley Vision workshop between the City Council and the City Planning Commission where he bemoaned the desire of the majority of the public to preserve prime farmland.  For those who haven’t gone through  the “developer experience”  you get to hear their mantra of “jobs, jobs, jobs.”  Don’t get me wrong we need jobs but the only one s taking home the big greenbacks will be developers and their friends. He read to us out of his guiding light book, a financial magazine.  He and his kind will (metaphorically speaking) attempt to wrap themselves in a flag in an attempt to make it seem to be your patriotic duty to forget farming and plant driveways. We heard him and his colleagues talk about developing the Dakota/Beckwith area, also know locally as the Emerald Triangle because of the ultra prime soil (rated 95 out of 100) which exists there.  They talked about how Dakota was being expanded to four lanes and made it sound like it was going to be tomorrow.  After talking with County staff, Matt Machido last night I can tell you NO money has been appropriated for Dakota Road expansion, none has even been applied for.

Likewise we noticed on City maps being used for the workshop Hammitt Rd. interchange with a completed tie in to Ladd Rd was shown. When I questioned Brent Sinclair about this he said he would ask Matt Machado at the County.  Not being one to wait for Modesto’s rendition I went straight to the horses mouth so to speak and asked Matt about it Tuesday night.  Again Matt said NO money has been requested or set aside for the interchange completion let alone the tie in.

While many people spoke that night among the notable were Reed Smith, Karla Von Hungen, and Donna Minighini.  Reed ask questions about the availability of water to service the ever enlarging expansion Modesto has in mind.  He pointed out the water supply is already inadequate and steadily diminishing.    Brent Sinclair had earlier promised replies to questions but remained silent preferring to ignore the question completely.  Several bordering on many in the audience requested a response but Brent just remained silent.  Ms. Von Hungen and Ms. Minighini commented on California’s  insistence on forcing counties and cities to designate a portion of their land for large numbers of future middle and low income housing as a requirement to receive state funds. They noted the county had designated large numbers of homes for the Salida footprint and pointed out how the county had violated home owner rights by designating condos to be built in Del Rio over the objections of the majority of the residents.

Here are two pdfs with maps showing the version adopted in 9/9/09 and the second the map proposed by staff on 2/14/13.

GPA-10-001 EXH GPLU Diagram Adopted 9-9-09

GPA-10-001 EXH GPLU Diagram Proposed 2-14-13

The following is a link to the city of Modesto website where these diagrams can be found.  I’ve requested the city to put a link on the front page but so far Mr. Sinclair and his staff are “too busy” to help keep the public informed. After all they held one of the three meetings  they are required by law to hold.

http://ci.modesto.ca.us/ced/projects/gp-amendment.asp

Here is what Modesto’s outside accountant (Moss Adams) said about Modesto Staff.  Take a bow Mr. Nyhoff. All of the credit is yours.

COM-Org-Study

It wasn’t pretty was it. This is what happens when you hire a City manager who refuses to put anything in writing for fear it will be discovered by a public information request as as such will be held accountable, and is more concerned about what the Chamber of Commerce thinks, than about what the Citizens of Modesto need.

There will be two more public workshops, Monday, April 15,2013 at 6:00 PM at the Davis High School “Little Theater” 1200 Rumble Rd. Park near the tennis courts at Davis Park.  The final workshop or opportunity for the public to speak their minds will be Monday, June 3, 2013 at 6:00 PM at the King-Kennedy Memorial Center 601 South Martin Luther King Drive-Mellis Park.

Here is a line straight out of their flyer:  Broad public participation will help ensure that the amended plan reflects the community’s preferences and values to “the maximum extent possible”.

An interesting  way to phrase it isn’t it.  After expanding into previously carefully guarded areas, ignoring some questions and refusing to answer others, I wonder just what “the maximum extent possible” really means.

MID Staff and GM Allen Short Caught Lying to MID Board

By Emerson Drake

We’ve spoken our concerns before regarding the accuracy and manipulation of information contained in staff reports, but seldom do they let you see  it so blatantly.  The report is titled Agreement for Directional Boring Contractors. It can be found in its entirety at the link at the bottom of the article.

To provide some very short background, when underground cable reaches its lifespan of approx. 25 years and the injection process they use to extend its usefulness’ warranty expires, it needs to be replaced. This is done by boring holes and replacing the cable.

Why Change Contractors?

MID has been using Applegate Johnson a local company with local employees satisfactorily for years.  There was a clause in their contract that allowed Applegate Johnson to request a rate hike. So they requested a hike and MID said no. MID was so upset, despite the fact MID had no other problems with this company other than their rate increase request, and instead of discussing their proposal, MID  sent the contract out for re-bidding to six vendors. Only five vendors responded and Daleo Inc of Gilroy was tentatively awarded the contract at the suggestion of nameless MID staff. The T & D Division and the Purchasing Department approved.  Assistant General Manager Tom Kimball and General Manager Allen Short both signed off as attesting to the truth of the presentation.

Here’s where it starts to get Hinky

On pages three and four of the report  are the actual bids the companies submitted.  Out of twenty-eight items Applegate Johnson was the low bidder on twenty-six and most of these by significant margins.  So why change vendors and was there a significant savings to be had by going with an out of the area vendor? According to the presentation given to the Board by Denise Ray of the Purchasing Dept and Asst. GM. Tom Kimball, Daleo was the most qualified bidder based on price,experience, and references.  But is that true?

Public Comment Period

It appeared the Board was going to vote for approval, but when the Public Comment Period opened a completely new story emerged.  Several speakers came and made their points regarding the contract.  At least two were from Applegate Johnson and pointed out Daleo’s  proposal was not only more expensive than their new one but was more expensive than if MID had used the numbers from the contract increase request they submitted.  Now company men speaking well of their business isn’t unusual, but something was different in this case. 

The Bid Numbers were Right in Front of  Us

Seldom are bids so clear and easy to read.  This one obviously was and while this was being discussed I went over them as did others. Twenty-six out of twenty-eight items  being in Applegate’s favor is easy to prove or disprove. It was easy to discern there was more than meets the eye going on  here. We’ve seen MID staff shuffle, concoct, and just create out of thin air some of the numbers GM Short has needed in the past whenever he’s challenged (see Reed Smith’s analysis of MID’s “extra” water to available for sale to the SFPUC).  I held up MID’s own documents and asked the Board members to look for themselves. I specifically addressed Directors Glen Wild and Paul Warda.  Mr. Wild,  known as a rubberstamp for GM Short and Van Groningen,  just looked bored as usual when “official reality” is challenged, but to his credit Director Paul Warda was intrigued by the opposing sides regarding the costs and wanted to get to the bottom of the dispute and requested more time to study the proposed contract.

MID Attorney Tim O’Laughlin Attempts to Obfuscate Details

All staff had to do was provide a breakdown that would support their claim of cost savings but O’Laughlin intervened and said he would prepare the rebuttal.  An important thing to understand is, if attorney O’Laughlin writes the staff report he covers it in what he considers his priestly robe of invisibility and will refuse to allow the public to see it (attorney client privilege).  But why would the attorney jump in so quickly?  The most probable reason is to prevent the public from finding out the reason for the strange and expensive to the ratepayers decision by staff.  Which in my opinion is either pique from the requested raise or blatant favoritism towards a bidder by steering the contract in a specific direction possibly for personal satisfaction or gain.

As ratepayers we can’t afford personal pique to enter into MID contract negotiations.  And anyone who does so should be summarily dismissed.  And since Tom Kimbal and Allen Short SIGNED this document saying the details are accurate and complete to the best of my knowledge, they should be held accountable for any misrepresentations.

Nothing happens at this level of MID without the General Manager’s approval. Nothing.

Contracts

Contracts (Photo credit: NobMouse)

Here is the pdf.  I apologize for the size of the download and include it because it will be taken down by MID shortly despite requests from the public to keep an archive like other public entities do.

Board Agenda Report

Subject: Agreement for Directional Boring Contractors  Bids are on page four and five of the report.

090412BoardAgendawithAttachments

Now ask yourself why you haven’t read about this in the Bee.

Reed Smith Takes the Bee’s Judy Sly to Task

Here is a copy of the email.
 
Judy:
 
I am troubled by your characterization of citizens expressing their First Amendment right to free speech in your article referenced below.
 
 
“Some of the opponents of the proposed water sale have taken over recent MID board meetings, throwing out verbal bombshells and making rude and reckless accusations against some board members. We understand that they sometimes feel like they’re under attack.”
 
Just between you and me, hey, please give me the names of the persons who have “taken over the MID Board meetings”?  I have been to every one except April 3, 2012, since October 2011.  All I know is that Tom Van Groningen has limited citizens comment time from a bare five (5) minutes to the minuscule 3 minutes (3) per person to discuss complex issues.  It is hard to imagine a “3-MINUTE TAKE OVER” with two and sometimes three (3) heavily-armed guards.  Refresh my memory, have the Modesto Police been called yet?  You were there . . .  I can’t remember.
 
I would also be interested in which of their statements you consider “verbal bombshells”, “rude and reckless accusations”.  I am sure you have copies of all the Board meeting videos since last October, as do I, and it would not take much to provide proof of your assertions.    I am trying to understand your criteria for your claims.  I find it a little irrational that you criticize the very persons you need to stay in business, or maybe Joe does not need,  . . .  you know the residents of Modesto.  Actually, I am trying to determine if your assertions in this article are “reckless accusations”.  So, let’s get to it.  Show me your cards.  Who, When, and What did they say.  Then we can compare that to the words of the “most civil” MID Board Chairman Tom Van Groningen, personally civility-trained by the almighty Carol Whiteside.
 
Also, I would be interested in your characterization of any citizen who goes to the microphone and speaks to a position, for or against, that is paid to promote that position, and does not declare to the Board, or the rest of the public, that they are being paid to promote and sell us, and how much?  Does that sound OK to you?  You know, there might be an article there, not sure.  You might want to look into that.  I have lots of leads for you if you are interested.  Lots of leads.
 
I eagerly look forward to your reply.
 
Civilly,  Reed Smith

Reed Smith Questions Modesto Bee’s Editor and Senior VP/News Joe Kieta

Joe Kieta
Editor
Modesto Bee
 
Mr. Kieta:
 
It was nice to meet you on July 11, 2102 during the Editorial Board session when John Duarte and I were invited to discuss the MID water sale to the SFPUC.  Welcome to Modesto.
 
During the Editorial Board meeting, Judy Sly proposed that MID’s repeated false claims could be attributed to mere incompetence.  Incompetence would be justification to end negotiations to sell our water all by itself.  This was countered during the presentation as implausible because of the repeated re-use of documents that by MID’s own documents prove false, numerous times after the lie has been publicly exposed.  I would find the term “criminal” closer to the mode MID Board and staff are in, with incompetence removed from the excuse list many months ago.  
 
On one particular issue we discussed, John Holland followed-up in a phone call to me on July 13 asking me to validate a statement I made, that being my source of the California Water Resources Control Board staff’s statement in a meeting on May 3, wherein we were told that a 50-60 year water transfer was a “permanent” transfer of water rights.
 
I sent the e-mail below to Mr. Holland on the 13th as a reference document and cc’ed you.  I entered your e-mail address incorrectly, so it has been in my in box as undeliverable.  So, fast forward to my writing to you today.  On July 10, I had a very brief encounter with John Holland in the foyer of the MID Board Chambers during the morning MID Board Meeting break.  I inquire if he had contacted the references I provided.  He said he had not had time.
 
POINT:  One of MID Board’s key criteria for any water sale is to not interfere with the water right.
 
 

Question Key: General Questions Ag Related Questions November 2011

1. Will transferring the water for a long term deal endanger MID’s water rights?

The proposal is for selling water. Just water; MID’s water rights will be retained by MID; in fact by putting water to beneficial municipal and industrial uses, MID is protecting the water right.

 
I have provided John Holland with a statement witnessed by myself and John Duarte, who was in your conference room with John Holland on July 11, stating that experts in state government factually believe water rights are voided.  I have provided Mr. Holland with the citation of who, what, when, why, and where, on THE MOST IMPORTANT FACT IN THE WATER SALE NARRATIVE, and . . . Mr. Holland is too busy to validate and report it.  Hmm.
 
It begs the question of the Bee’s veracity on this issue.
 
I hope to see Mr. Holland’s reporting in a major article on MID’s attempt to sell our water rights.  Certainly it is newsworthy.
 
Regards,
 
Reed Smith

Important MID Up Date Here’s the Latest Information about the Water Sale

From Reed Smith

Concerned water users:
 
Director Larry Byrd stated today that MID has four (4) votes IN FAVOR OF SIGNING THE CONTRACT.  Any utterances by Nick Blom, Jr. or Paul Warda to the contrary are not true.  Blom and Warda are so strongly in support of the sale that Byrd fought for an hour and a half today just to prevent MID Board from voting on this contract on July 10.  His successful result is that they will vote on July 24, 2012 to approve the sale.  We gained 2 additional weeks to prepare, thanks to Larry.
 
 
 
You will see that there are no substantive changes from the Draft stating that is was entered into January 24, 2012.
 
 
Our < stopMIDinsanity.com > efforts already include:
 
• Supporting City of Modesto Councilpersons in suing MID as first-parties to a breach of contract.
 
• CEQA compliance litigation preparation.
 
• 3rd-party lawsuit against MID for breach of contract.
 
• Referendum
 
• Recall of Board President Tom Van Groningen and Nick Blom, Jr.
 
• Possible recall of City Council members who support the sale by voting to restrict the City of Modesto from defending it’s contractual water delivery agreements through litigation.  We feel this is the first line of defense.
 
• Economic analysis for litigation support
 
• Hydrology technical assessment and support
 
We will keep you apprised of developments as they evolve.
 
Fundraising is now a critical component to our success, so any referrals to potential supporters will be important.  We have a goal of $250,000 in the next 60 days.
 
Regards, Reed
 

Are you Concerned about the Proposed MID Water Sale?

Here is some interesting information from Reed Smith.

Attached please find a transcription of the Thursday, May 18 SFPUC’s Deputy General Manager and Chief Operating Officer, Michael Carlin’s, presentation on behalf of SFPUC GM, Ed Harrington, to the Bay Area Water Delivery and Conservation Agency Board of Directors meeting.  The section includes both Mr. Carlin’s presentation, and the questions and answers directly following and pertaining to his presentation. 
 
I think you will find the area bounded by a RED BOX on page 17 interesting.
 
Without prognosticating the inference of the key statement.  One might suspect that MID Director Wild’s assertion this past MID Board meeting on May 22, 2012 that his support for the 2,240 AF sale to the SFPUC is solely to make money for infrastructure ( a concept publicly not shared by GM Allen Short ) is probably out the window.  It appears that MID will be spending all of it’s income from this “drop in the bucket” (as characterized by Mayor Marsh) on litigation costs.  Net result: no income benefit to MID from the sale.
 
So, let’s see what the next excuse in favor of the sale from Director Wild is.  I can hardly wait . . .
 
 
 
 
 
From: Aaron Porter
Date: Tue, 29 May 2012 08:09:58 -0700
To: Reed Smith
Cc: “Allison C. Schutte”
Subject: RE: BAWSCA May 17, 2012 meeting?
 

Hi Mr. Smith,

 

Attached is the requested section of the transcription of the May 17, 2012 BAWSCA Board of Directors meeting.  The section includes both Mr. Carlin’s presentation, and the questions and answers directly following and pertaining to his presentation.  I hope this adequately meets your request, and if you have any further questions or requests, please let me know.

 

Regards,

Aaron Porter

BAWSCA

PagesfromBAWSCA-MAY2012-BoardofDirectorsMeeting

 

E A R T H Q U A K E ! ! !

No we aren’t having an earthquake.  This is the title to Reed Smith’s Earthshaking  Good News email to the Modesto City Council.

 
Councilpersons:

I have some great news from the Bay Area.  According to Peter Drekmeier, Program Director for the Tuolumne River Trust, Thursday evening at the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) meeting, Mr. Steven Ritchie, Assistant General Manager, of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, made a presentation regarding the proposed MID water sale.  During a response to a question from the audience from Drekmeier, he informed the BAWSCA audience that a revised contract was due to be returned to MID and one of the significant modifications from the first DRAFT was that the SFPUC would no-longer be responsible for ANY legal cost associated with litigation directed at MID (please keep in mind that this news is 2nd hand).  I am in the process of obtaining the audio file of the meeting, and will forward it to you as soon as it is available.
 

Anticipated modification to:      DRAFT MID-SFPUC AGREEMENT Page 6 of 15  G. Litigation; Cooperation in Litigation. The Parties will vigorously defend any legal challenge to this Agreement or its implementation. The parties will reasonably cooperate, to the extent permitted by law, in the defense and any settlement of any claims challenging the validity of this Agreement or its implementation; including but not limited to claims brought under CEQA, NEPA, the Clean Water Act, state or federal Endangered Species Acts The parties agree to jointly retain outside counsel. Unless otherwise provided in this Agreement, SFPUC agrees to pay litigation fees and costs, including costs of the outside counsel.

 
Subsequent to that event, Mr Todd Sill was advised by MID Director Glen Wild that Sill should “throw away the original DRAFT proposed contract, as it is going to be revised”.  This begs the question as to whether a revised document, containing the SFPUC modification to financial responsibility for legal costs, was distributed to Directors on Friday, prior to COM’s letter being hand-delivered.  Friday morning, MID staff stated that a revised contract was expected to be posted on the website soon.  This raises further the assertion this past Tuesday that Director Wild’s support for the sale is solely financial, that being that his justification of the sale is to get money for MID infrastructure needs.  With the arrival of millions in potential legal costs as a co-habitor of any contract to sell water, the income from the 2,240 AF sale becomes revenue neutral to MID on day one, thus erasing Director Wilds apparent hard-fought invention of a justification.
 
Ah, but I digress.  The community has expressed grave concern regarding making the SFPUC the lead agency on EIR’s for waters being transferred in this sale agreement.  Of course, we feel that MID and it’s constituents should maintain primacy in all environmental assessments, not the SFPUC.
 
Parallel to that concept, we feel that MID should maintain primacy in controlling and financing all litigation resulting from their insightful and studied decision to sell our surface water to the SFPUC.  Certainly MID’s General Counsel has never strayed from accurately predicting positive outcomes for his clients, e.g., Valley Bio-Energy v MID.
 
I wanted to share this good news with the you, the City’s fiduciary decision makers, as this turn-of-events raises the question regarding the probability of the COM recovering legal costs from MID, should the COM determine that MID’s majority of Director’s ethics have failed their constituents when they knowingly breach the Amended Treatment and Delivery Agreement.  
 
It was a rather grotesque moment when MID’s General Manager, Allen Short, told the Stanislaus Farm Bureau Board on May 1, 2012, (parodied –  na, na, na, na, na, na) “we expect at least three lawsuits, and it is no big deal, ’cause the SFPUC is paying for all MID’s legal costs.”  (parodied – we can be as stupid as we want, ’cause there is NOTHING you can do to stop us, ha, ha, ha.)  Well this situation appears to have changed . . .  oopsie, no more FREE big-time SF lawyers?  

Will this change in legal financial responsibility cause MID’s Directors to pause when considering voting for the proposed sale on June 26, 2012?  Not if the May 22, 2012 Board meeting is any indication.  For the record, any observer will conclude there are four (4) intractable Directors who have clearly declared they are for this sale, no matter what the contract says.
 
I commend you for initiating the first steps in securing your water rights.  I am sure your constituents expect nothing less from you.

Where Have all the Watchdogs Gone

By Emerson Drake

Once upon a time you could expect your local newspaper to keep a close watch on things, but as we’ve all noted in recent years the Bee has vacated their responsibilities in this regard.  Now don’t get me wrong,  they were very forthcoming in the SCAP scandal but everyone had to notice when it came to the NSP2 funds all of a sudden things became quiet. 

The business community led by the Chamber of Commerce and others put pressure on the Bee to rein in their questioning of people with dirty hands like Councilman Muratore.  His taking of the $62,000 was noted, but quickly put aside when he returned the money, while failing to mention taking the money was a felony.

Just like they did with Joe Gibbs, the businessmen who stood to profit from the NSP2 funds, urged the Bee to back off.  Remember with Gibbs was guilty of hit and run in connection with a death,  but Sheriff Christianson violated his own policy and  listened to those he termed good Rotarians and allowed Gibbs to serve his time under house arrest(via an ankle bracelet). 

Now the Bee has recommended the MID proposed water transfer to go through albeit for the 2,200 acre feet.  By reading the contract, the Bee couldn’t have missed the  right of first refusal for San Francisco on any future water deals and their position of being first in line for all water rights (even before Modesto’s) and allocations during droughts.

After these unconscienable  conditions had been negotiated by MID’s General Manager Allen Short and attorney Tim O’Laughlin and approved Tom Van Groningen, Glen Wild, and Paul Warda, the Bee incredibly also added their stamp of approval. 

We the People have had to Become the Watchdogs

If it weren’t for Director Larry Byrd (whom the Bee refused to endorse because of his stance on this issue) and members of the public, this blatant giveaway would have been a done deal weeks ago.

The well-known adage of the Chamber of Commerce  is “if a Modesto businessman can make a buck then it works for us.”  And when their money men got on the phone after one of their backroom meeting, strings start being pulled. 

But sometimes, just sometimes, things start to go in Joe and Josephine Average’s favor.  In this case it was average citizens like John Duarte, Reed Smith, myself and a whole host of others who have been stridently against this water transfer/giveaway since June of last year.  The many people who have been speaking out at the MID meetings, County Board of Supervisor and City Council meetings were sighting statistics and gathering data and waking up the public to the injustice being done to the citizens of the central valley by this so-called water transfer.

Every thinking person has to question the integrity of any MID Board members who champions this flight of fancy of Allen Shorts. Not do so would be naive.  Now Short and Van Groningen are waffling. Their failure to safeguard citizens is obvious and  they are now saying the contract could be changed.  Why now?  Because their duplicity has been exposed?   Is it concern about the best interests of the community they serve, or because friends and neighbors are questioning their unfathomable thinking process and  motivations for endorsing the  “special arrangements” favoring San Francisco which are found in the contract?

It was gratifying to see the Modesto City Council stand up to MID and threaten a lawsuit to stop the misguided water transfer. Fortunately many had gone to  Council meetings to protest the giveaway of Modesto’s water rights. The letter to MID from Modesto can be found on this site in an earlier article and until now it was the only place it could be found. All of us thank the Modesto City Council for preventing this fiasco.

Make no mistake, we aren’t out of the woods yet.  Given a chance VanGroningen, Wild and Warda would vote for Shorts version in a heartbeat. Nick Blom seems to be sitting on the fence, but if one believes his campaign promises he’ll vote against the transfers. One thing for sure, we’ll find out if Director Blom is a man of his word or just another politician who’ll say anything to get elected and then kowtow to the local power brokers after they get in office like Councilman Dave Lopez did over the NSP2 deadwood ie:Councilman Joe Muratore.

Vigilance is the price of freedom. And vigilance is what we need to ensure the MID Board is making good decisions because for years now, by following Allen Short’s leadership, they’ve come down on the wrong side of almost every major decision. From the Geothermal project to Mountain House to the Four Cities to TANC they haven’t gotten it right yet and I see no signs, that without strident guidance from the public,  they’ll ever improve.

Tonight on “What’s on America’s Mind”

Wednesday night at 7:00PM pacific 9:00 Central time

MID’s Lawyer Tim O’Laughlin says NO to timely public information requests by Reed Smith. The buying of a political endorsement from the Latino Community Roundtable,  Modesto’s budget workshops and of course an update on issues that concern all of us especially women.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/centralvalleyhornet/2012/05/17/whats-on-americas-mind-with-emerson-drake

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