Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “Salida California”

Attn John Gunderson Please Try Being Informed and NOT just Opinionated

By Emerson Drake    jgunderson

On July 26th Modesto City Councilman John Gunderson wrote an article under Community Columns John Gunderson: Clear thinking needed on Salida annexation issue where he makes several dubious and completely wrong claims.  Now we can’t tell you if just can’t comprehend what he reads or is just being malicious.  What we can say is when he relayed his columns to fellow council members, staff and others (yes the result of a public record request) where he claims to have done the research himself. The above photo is the Councilman’s ‘official’ picture.  The below one is the one he posted of how he see’s himself on facebook.  jJohnGunderson

Unfortunately Councilman Gunderson  has been wrong on this issue for a long time but to make specious claims he says he researched? well here is Katherine Borges’  response in its entirety. Her original post 

Fun from Cat and Gundy -or- John Gunderson Salida Facebook post #4 and my reply

 
John Gunderson’s new profile pic of “me”. Which ironically
(and eerily) looks just like my cat.

Well folks, Modesto City Councilman John Gunderson is at it again. I must really crawl under that guy’s skin because he can’t seem to go a week without a Facebook post on Salida. This week, he regurgitated an e-mail I wrote to the council in June regarding a tip I received from a Salidan that Modesto had hired a consultant to help them annex Salida. 

 
My cat. Rescued as a kitten
from the intersection of
Woodland & Carpenter.

While both Mayor Marsh and city planner, Patrick Kelly replied that the city didn’t hire Keith Bergthold as an annexation consultant, there’s something still amiss here. Why would Bergthold tell his Fresnan friend that he had an eighteen month contract otherwise? Perhaps it was just being bandied about and was all verbal at that point? Either way, its DOA now because the city can’t very well go and hire him after denying that they hadn’t. And how effective would he be with any kind of collaboration building with Salida? (Yes, that’s a rhetorical question.)

 
Councilman Gunderson can’t help but crank up the old propaganda machine starting right in the second sentence with, “Think the Goodwin Study would have been enough, the annexation concept was proven to be a bad idea.” First of all, anyone want to wager that Councilman Gunderson has NOT read nor thoroughly examined the Goodwin Study? Because if he had, he would know it shows that Modesto would stand to rake in $22.8 million a year in revenue in annexing Salida at full build out of the Salida Community Plan. How does that prove the annexation concept is a bad idea? And if it were proven to be a bad idea, then why is Modesto keeping Salida in their general plan? Councilman Gunderson wrote in his community column just two weeks ago that, “…the majority of the Modesto City Council feels (annexation) is still a possibility“. And he says I have “nothing to worry about???”

And once again, the councilman nay says Salida incorporating, “Should stop worrying about incorporation for Salida as well because that can’t happen either.” I previously responded to his comment about whether or not Salida can be incorporated, but it apparently didn’t register in his brain so I’ll say it again, “Keep in mind that no one has ever applied to incorporate Salida as a city. If no one has ever tried, how does anyone know whether or not it can be done?

 
Available land in
Beard Industrial Park
What he also doesn’t seem to comprehend is only supplying water in exchange for land -IS- extortion when you supply water to other areas without forcing them to turn over their land! To put it into language he’ll understand, its known as an “out-of-boundary service agreement” and the council approves them all the time. And once again, I’m going to call him out on his double standard for trying to justify water extortion by saying “Modesto ratepayers deserve better” when Beard Industrial’s sweetheart deal costs ratepayers and the city millions upon millions each year. The city of Modesto supplies both water AND sewer to Beard without annexing the land. (Read more about Beard)
 
Lastly, Councilman Gunderson said, “Modesto’s water should be leveraged for the best possible outcome that helps pay for services for residents of Modesto proper, not the surrounds.” When the City of Modesto purchased the Del Este Water Company in the mid-1990’s, they took over the existing wells and infrastructure in Waterford, Grayson, Del Rio, part of Turlock and Salida. So technically, they bought Salida’s (et al) water so its not “Modesto’s water” he wants to “leverage” to begin with. Our water comes primarily from wells in Salida so he wants to leverage our own water against us! Additionally, development occurs in all of those other former Del Este served communities and yet, Modesto does not “leverage” the water by extorting land from them; except in Salida.

In case you were wondering why Councilman Gunderson is so fixated on Salida its because if Salida were annexed, we would be assimilated into his district. That’s right, we would be the constituents of a man who feels water extortion upon us is justified because the majority Modesto residents in his district “deserve better” than the Salidans.

“The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.” – Aldous Huxley

Stay tuned for more “fun” from Cat and Gundy…at some point in the next 7 days – –
________________________________________________________________

 
More fun from “Cat”. Think the Goodwin Study would have been enough, the annexation concept was proven to be a bad idea. Catherine has nothing to worry about on that. Should stop worrying about incorporation for Salida as well because that can’t happen either. Refusing City of Modesto water for new development within the Salida TPA… refusal is extortion? Modesto ratepayers deserve better than that. Modesto’s water should be leveraged for the best possible outcome that helps pay for services for residents of Modesto proper, not the surrounds. Development outside of a city’s limits is a losing proposition because of the State’s mandated property tax distribution scheme. 

salidakat@
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2014 12:48 PM
To: COUNCIL; Brad Wall; Patrick Kelly; Terry Withrow; Vito Chiesa; Dick Monteith; Jim DeMartini; Bill O’Brien; Marjorie Blom; George Petrulakis
Subject: SALIDA ANNEXATION CONSULTANT
To the Modesto City Council:
I received the following from a Salidan today, “My father lives in Fresno and is friends with a man named Keith Bergthold. Keith told my dad he was hired by the city of Modesto to see what can be done about annexing Salida.”
I’ve met Mr. Bergthold at the Carpenter’s Church General Plan presentation in May and I also attended the April Stanislaus Community Foundation breakfast that was connected with Fresno Metro Ministries.
So you can fire Mr. Bergthold because HELL WILL FREEZE OVER before you ANNEX SALIDA or the Kiernan Corridor! Get that through your thick skulls!! How many different ways and from different people do you need to hear that before it sinks in?!? It doesn’t appear that turning out hundreds of people to voice that works since both Salida and Wood Colony have done that!!
I’ve told you once if I’ve told you a thousand times, we are willing to work with you if you want to develop the Kiernan Corridor (although I don’t know why since you are so IMPOSSIBLE, OBSTINATE and DYSFUNCTIONAL about our communities) BUT YOU’RE NOT GOING TO JUST TAKE SALIDA NO MATTER WHOM YOU HIRE!!! Your status quo land grab days are over!!! Get a clue!!!
Since you have a contract with Mr. Bergthold, why don’t you have him use his remaining time in educating you about “build up, not out”. Fresno has done well with that. Look around their Kaiser Hospital and then look around Modesto’s. And in the meantime, LEAVE SALIDA and WOOD COLONY ALONE you greed-driven sellouts!!!
Very sincerely,
Katherine Borges

On Wed, Jun 4, 2014 at 1:53 PM, Garrad Marsh wrote:
Katherine,
You are wrong about Mr. Bergthold being hired by the city. Mr. Bergthold has not been hired (or to my knowledge even contacted) by any City of Modesto employee or elected.
Garrad

From: Katherine Borges [mailto:salidakat@
Sent: Wednesday, June 04, 2014 2:02 PM
To: Garrad Marsh
Cc: COUNCIL; Brad Wall; Patrick Kelly; Terry Withrow; Vito Chiesa; Dick Monteith; Jim DeMartini; Bill O’Brien; Marjorie Blom; George Petrulakis
Subject: Re: SALIDA ANNEXATION CONSULTANT
Mr. Mayor,
WHO hired him then? I was told he has an 18-month contract. Emerson has filed a public information request with the city. Even if it turns out that you’re right and the city has nothing to do with it, then you need to find out who working to annex Salida on your behalf. I want nothing to do with this man and will not contact him. His e-mail is: Keith.Bergthold@
Katherine

On Jun 4, 2014, at 2:47 PM, “Patrick Kelly” wrote:
This is to confirm that the City did not hire Keith Bergthold. Keith represents Fresno Metro Ministries and has volunteered his time to work with Stanislaus Community Foundation to look at asset based community development. At Keith’s request, the City presented the General Plan Amendment proposal at a community workshop (hosted by Metro Ministries) held on May 8, 2014, intended to inform the public about Modesto’s General Plan Amendment currently underway. At Keith’s request, the workshop also included a presentation by Carlos Yamzon, Executive Director with StanCOG about the 2014 Regional Transportation Plan / Sustainable Communities Strategy. The intent of the presentation format was to share with the public Modesto’s General Plan Amendment proposal in context of StanCOG’s regional plan.
Patrick Kelly, AICP

From: Keith <Keith@
Date: June 4, 2014 at 3:37:17 PM PDT
To: Patrick Kelly < >
Cc: Katherine Borges <salidakat@ Garrad Marsh < >, COUNCIL < >, Brad Wall < >, Terry Withrow < >, Vito Chiesa” < >, Dick Monteith < >, Jim DeMartini < >, “Bill O’Brien” < >, Marjorie Blom < >, George Petrulakis < >, “Brent Sinclair” <>, “kberg@ <kberg@>
Subject: Re: SALIDA ANNEXATION CONSULTANT

Thank you Patrick. I have no idea where such false assertions mentioned below with respect to the City of Modesto and Salida or contracts with the City might originate. I have been volunteering with various groups in Modesto, Fresno, Madera, and Kern around community building for healthy people and healthy places – which is a regional initiative and goal of Fresno Metro Ministry. Please have people contact me directly to confirm my activities and intent. Thank you again for sharing this information. Regards, keith

 

Marsh, Zoslocki, Lewis, Russell, and Nyhoff were Collaborating All Along

By Emerson Drakechamberslargeplan

We’ve all listened to the Modesto Chamber of Commerce tell their story, some of us six or seven times,  of how their Transportation Committee met over a six month period (it gets longer every time they tell it) met to discuss Modesto’s land expansionist  planning needs for the next twenty years.  In previous articles we  chronicled how the Chamber went from needing 1,000 acres to over 25,300 of land during their series of presentations to various civic groups and  public entities. The above map is from their July 2013 presentation. This represents their goals and is an early view of what the comprehensive General Plan scheduled to begin two years from now will look like if they get their way.

As usual when it comes to people attempting to manipulate the public for their own selfish interests what they don’t tell us is just as, and sometimes more important, than the information they disseminate.

For example during these ‘planning meetings’ that Mayor Marsh and City Manager Nyhoff attended along with members of the Chamber’s Transportation Committee, they discussed how best to seize Wood Colony land for an industrial park and sneak Salida’s already zoned business park land from them to be placed under Modesto’s control.

I admit after hearing Mayor Marsh paint George Petrulakis and the Chamber as  ‘evil’ and a position we don’t totally disagree with, as the people we really had to worry about compared to himself and his friends,  I was surprised to learn of the initial collaborations. When his friends, Councilwoman Kenoyer of  (I don’t have to worry about Wood Colony because they can’t vote for me) fame,  and Councilman Gunderson who just can’t stop repeating “no one is talking about annexation”, while the Mayor keeps using the terms annexation and eminent domain, don’t make anyone feel they can be trusted.

Part of the ‘art of the deal’ was the watering down and delay of Denny Jackman’s Residential Urban Limits proposal.  An arrangement was made so the Chamber wouldn’t fight it when it came on the ballot but at the council meeting where it was proposed, a little ‘kicker’ was added.  Councilman Cogdill proposed that Modesto would repeal the Measures A and M  which deal with the public’s ability to control land acquisition and development(sewer expansion) by the city by requiring public advisory votes.

All of the General Plan Amendment discussion has been orchestrated from the beginning by just a few people. For example the rank and file of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce don’t get to vote on the Board of Directors, they’re appointed, the same is true of the Alliance.

The Modesto Planning Commission and Staff spent the better part of a year holding workshops for the public where Bill Zoslocki and Craig Lewis passionately advocated for a much larger footprint for Modesto.   People came forward and expressed themselves very succinctly.  And the Planning Commission’s meetings,  Brent Sinclair and the rest of Modesto’s planning staff listened to the public’s wishes and proposed a footprint which was in line with Denny’s original RUL proposal.

Then the politicians stepped in.  For a while you needed a score card to understand where each one of them stood.  From Nyhoff’s open mic fiasco where he dissed everyone who disagreed with the Chamber, we learned why Jenny turned her back on both her campaign promises, to protect prime farmland and keep Salida for Salida. The bumbling John Gunderson, so elated  the Mayor was finally talking to him as an equal, rubber stamped every proposal Marsh made whether he understood them or not.  For Cogdill and Zoslocki the mantra is “more is better.”  But Zoslocki added “but I can’t be caught voting/going on the record for it.”  Lopez, after being warned about people willing to energetically campaign against him in the Board of Supervisors race, disavowed any interest in Wood Colony. And Madrigal, well Tony is still out collecting prom dresses, rather than focusing on the larger tasks needed by the city.

But it all began with a few greedy real estate men (Zoslocki and Lewis), a small handpicked few from the Chamber,  a City Manager who spent more time working for the desires of a few in the Chamber of Commerce than he did the people of Modesto, and a Mayor who though he could write his own legacy by stealing the land from the residents of Salida, the farmers of Wood Colony and the German Baptist Brethren who, to take a page from Jenny Kenoyer’s book,  don’t vote anyway.

And We, the Citizens of Modesto are the only ones who can stop this.  And what have we been doing?  We’ve been  saying…. Sir, can I please have another?

It’s time to take back our City Government from the greedy special interests that are intent on ruining Modesto.

 

Salida Brings Rome a Little Closer to Home…Julius Caesar Saturday 12/14 at 3 PM

Looking forward to it Saturday Dec 14th at the Salida library…!

1459058_10152020246598444_549857811_s

Save the date!  Come see KK & I in "Julius Caesar" this Saturday @ 3pm @ Salida Library

Modesto’s General Plan Council Meeting Comments

By Katherine Borges

City Council comments for Modesto’s General Plan Update on December 3, 2013 –katherinecouncil

My name is Katherine Borges and I serve on the Salida Municipal Advisory Council also known as the Salida MAC.

For those of you recently elected to the council and who may not know, Salida residents have been vocalizing their opposition to annexation to Modesto over the course of the last year and a half at both public meetings and in the media. At our February Salida MAC meeting, the MAC council voted unanimously against being annexed by Modesto. This vote represents the majority opinion of Salida residents and that is what the MAC council is elected to do just as you are, represent the people.

At the August General Plan Update meeting, Brent Sinclair and his planners announced that they had removed Salida from the Plan. However, Mayor Marsh is quoted in the Bee on August 20th as saying that it was “premature to do that”. On September 16th, the Modesto Planning Commission voted to submit the plan to you as is without Salida.

In the Modesto Bee, Mayor Marsh suggested that tonight’s vote on the General Plan Update be postponed until January so the new council members can get caught up to speed. As far as Salida goes, there’s really not much for you to get caught up on there because Kevin Valine of the Bee nailed it when he called it, “vehement opposition”.

And now its your turn to listen to the people of Salida, to not vote to add Salida back in and furthermore, we respectfully request that you additionally remove the land south of Kiernan, east of Stoddard and west of Dale that is part of the Salida Community Plan. The county has designated this land for Salida’s future and the Stanislaus County Supervisors support us in this.

Its time for Modesto to work with Salida and not against us. You also need to stop your water extortion. For anyone who may be unaware about this, the City of Modesto has a ‘will not serve’ in place for new development in Salida. In other words they refuse to serve new water customers unless Modesto gets to annex the land. This was the case with Modesto’s land annexations for the parcels that Costco and Kaiser are on. Salida not only lost the retail tax base of Costco, but our Salida Fire District lost the property tax from that land as well which was a factor in forcing them to merge with Modesto. And something key that you are missing here with this extortion is that by inhibiting growth in Salida, you are inhibiting new jobs for Modestoans.

Please consider extending an olive branch to Salida in the effort to makes amends and keep Salida out of the General Plan Update and remove the land south of Kiernan as well. Another olive branch to consider is selling our Del Este system back to Salida. We want it and you don’t so let’s do this! Allow Salida to become City of Modesto water customer for new development. There is already pipe being laid as I speak under the Kiernan overpass to bring water from Modesto to Salida. 2014 is almost upon us and this would be a great way to start the new year working together.

Planning Commission Forwards Recommendations to City Council, 4-3

By Emerson Drake

Monday night’s Planning Commission (PC) meeting was one of the most enlightening so far.  Traipsing through the murky

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

waters of the General Plan Amendment process has been challenging.  Like all public processes at times it becomes trench warfare with groups like Modesto’s Chamber of Commerce saying one thing publicly and then maneuvering behind the scenes in a completely different direction.

The case in point

The Chamber has been talking publicly with the Commission and interested parties like those from Salida, saying Salida should be removed from Modesto’s General Plan. But when it came time to vote the three Commissioners most closely tied to Modesto’s Chamber, Ted Brandvold, Steve Carter,  and Marshall Riddle,  finally showed their cards.  They openly voted against the PC’s Staff proposal  and  earlier attempts to return Salida to the General Plan along with an additional 1,200 feet on the North side of Kiernan between Dale and McHenry.

Brent Sinclair had explained to the PC and the public that he and staff had made the recommendations because he believed, not only could he sell the plan to the Stanislaus Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO),  but that Modesto could set the standard for all Stanislaus County communities to follow.  At previous meetings Brandvold’s comments had made it obvious he had bought into Craig Lewis’ ‘we need to stay ahead of Riverbank’ spiel.

Craig Lewis made a last desperate attempt to try and sway the Planning Commission by pointing out how many acres less the new proposal was but it was quickly responded to by acknowledging the majority of the acreage being removed was Salida.  The Commissioners didn’t buy the keeping up with the Jones’ (Riverbank) or maybe like many of those in the audience they were aware Riverbank is in the process of pulling back their General Plan boundaries to more reasonable limits.

The PC Staff recommendations  091613_PC Agenda GPA WkShp

The Brandvold, Carter, Riddle proposal which included the additional land failed to pass 3-4 and the following vote to  support the PC Staff’s proposal passed 4-3.

Another interesting note was the mention of the several hundred notices which had been sent to landowners in the now expanded Beckwith-Dakota Triangle (1,830 acres in the shape of a rectangle) and that only 6-8 came to the meeting.  Also of note was Commissioner Brandvold’s comment that the same few faces from Salida were always present and he wasn’t convinced they represented Salida’s position on annexation. You can imagine the reaction. You had the Salida Chamber of Commerce represented at the meeting along with the Salida MAC. The Salida MAC had previously voted to officially oppose the annexation of Salida by Modesto so I’m really not sure what he was thinking or if he was…thinking.

It could have just as easily been said that the same few people had been representing Modesto Developers at these meetings but since he clandestinely supported the Chamber it went unsaid by him.  It also needs to be noticed Salida has continually supported their friends to the south, Wood Colony, in their attempt to avoid annexation.  But there are those, especially those who didn’t bother to attend this meeting,  who would sow the seeds of dissent and ignore this fact.

It’s far from over

The business park planned for the Beckwith-Dakota triangle is HUGE and 1,830 acres (almost 3 square miles) is too much land to allow to be stolen from farmers and those living in Wood Colony.  It has been pointed out repeatedly NO buffer between Business Parks  is allotted for. And if this doesn’t change the harassing lawsuits against these farmers are inevitable regardless of Right to Farm Ordinances.

Chris Tyler’s comment from the prior meeting, “Prove it Works”, is important to remember because if those responsible for placing businesses in the proposed business park allow an inequitable arrangement similar to the one Blue Diamond received in Turlock we’ll have squandered, not only our legacy for Modesto’s future, but allowed the best soil on God’s green earth to be paved over.  Giving away 88 precious acres of some of best farmland in the world for 50 jobs has to be considered unacceptable. Over in Mountain House they insist on high quality jobs to be brought in or they turn the businesses away. I realize how desperate we are for jobs but we can’t afford a giveaway to “buddies” to line the pockets of a few.

The recent months with the Planning Commission have been similar to the opening skirmish of a major battle and the Modesto City Council will be the battleground.  The big guns/power brokers will be brought in to do battle in the main arena. Of notice was land use attorney/developers mouthpiece George Petrulakis sitting in the back of the room taking in the preliminary’s planning and  awaiting the spectacle yet to come.

14th Annual Salida Town and Country Parade, Festival, and Car Show August 24th

Photo: Only 25 days until the Festival! :D please let me know if you'd like to participate in The Car Show &/or have a booth to promote your business or sell your goods! :)Photo: Salida Chamber of Commerce will have a booth at The Salida Town & Country Parade Festival & Car Show! We'll have chamber applications available. See you there 9-4pm. Parade starts at 10am

What’s on America’s Mind With Emerson Drake Wednesday 8/14 at 8PM

Tonight’s topics include women’s issues around the country,  Profiteering developers in Modesto running for office, opening

Radio RED 104.9 FM

Radio RED 104.9 FM (Photo credit: Mahdi Ayat.)

Modesto Plaza, these topics and more so tune into tonight 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 in our archive : http://www.blogtalkradio.com/whats-on-americas-mind/2013/08/15/whats-on-americas-mind-with-emerson-drake-1

Modesto’s Future is Being Decided Will Your Voice be Heard? Modesto’s General Plan Amendment

By Emerson Drake

On August 19 the Modesto Planning Commission will be meeting to formulate proposals to give to the Modesto City Council.

Stop Sign

Stop Sign (Photo credit: SP8254)

The discussion encompasses much more than just the Chamber of Commerce’s Pathway to SPRAWL.  It designates  areas inside the city where businesses will be allowed preferential treatment over homes, and Homes are already there.

The plan also designates the way they intend for people to live.  The transportation plan has a life of its own.  But rather than going on we think it’s more important for EVERYONE to look it over for themselves.  So here is the plan as it stands now with out including the Chamber of Commerce’s proposed changes.

071513_PC Agenda GP Workshop

Yours, Mine, Our futures are being plotted by this plan and to date very few of us have come out to the meeting to be heard.  No matter what your views are, if more people don’t show up to discuss the plan ALL of the suggestions made by average citizens (you and me, all of us) will be ignored.  The City Council does this regularly in order to support the SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS (like the Modesto Chamber of Commerce) that have controlled Modesto for the past thirty years.

It’s important for everyone to participate in the ongoing conversation.  Please be part of helping to decided our future.  Read the proposal, think it through, and come out and speak your mind.   Thanks

July Salida MAC Meeting Now Available for Viewing

Thanks to Brad Johnson and 104.9 K-GIG FM  the Salida MAC  July meeting is available on line.  Watch land use attorney George Petrulakis, lobbyist Cecil Russell, real estate salesman Craig Lewis, Village I profiteer Bill Zoslocki, and conflicted LAFCO member Brad Hawn try to convince the audience that SPRAWL is a good thing and that concrete is better than Prime Farmland.  Now if we could only get the Chamber representatives to respect women….

The following is the complete (all five parts) Salida MAC meeting.

http://kgig.org/Town_Meeting_Live_Video_Salida_Ca_Streaming_Online_.html

 

Salida CA - Salida, CA

Modesto Chamber of Commerce Representatives Get Offensive with Salida MAC Attendees

By Emerson Drake

Despite the nice turnout of over 120 people the night had an ugly start when one of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce’s representatives, Craig Lewis, started making negative comments to a few of the people as they walked through the door.  (No, they weren’t directed at me)!  I believe he prefers to denigrate women as we heard several times as the night progressed.  I guess its the way he was raised, believing women belong at home, pregnant and if they want to have an opinion they should ask their husband for theirs, (heaven forbid they form an intelligent one of their own).

Unfortunately professionalism went right out of the window and the presentation continued going down hill from there.  Land use attorney, George Petrulakis, felt the need to call out several people in the audience during his part of the presentation, even before they had a chance to speak.  He made the mistake in attempting to suggest that a Del Rio resident, who in the past at a variety of meetings around the County, has been vocal in her attempt to save prime farmland,  had no real basis for her argument since she lived in Del Rio.  Several in the audience immediately stood up and requested Salida MAC Chairman Thomas Reeves to reign in  Mr. Petrulakis and insist he start using civility which he was obviously lacking.  George claimed he was only making a point, although at her expense.  Maybe in this case George should have stayed quiet since she stood up and pointed out he lived in Del Rio too and was attempting to convince others his opinion was the only correct one. Agriculture_Investment_Zones_Around_Modesto

The above is the first time the Chamber suggested all 25,300 acres of their plan for SPRAWL be brought into Modesto’s General Plan. The above picture is courtesy of Duane Spyksma.

It seems that according to Mr.Lewis and Mr. Petrulakis, the only people allowed an opinion are men since they were heard to  verbally abuse both females, an audience member and a member of the Salida MAC for having one.

During the meeting the Modesto Chamber’s CEO and head lobbyist Cecil Russell was overheard by several attendees to say “The problem with these people is they’re stupid, they aren’t smart enough to think outside of their small box.”  We freely admit this phrase was told to us by several people after the meeting.  And though their recollections varied slightly and the prior statement is paraphrased, we believe it is  extremely close to his original statement.

While the presentation was going on it appeared that several people who were first time attendees and lived in the Wood Colony area weren’t believing very much of what they heard.  Like most of us believe, the idea that the Chamber wanted to protect prime farmland by bringing it into Modesto’s General Plan was ludicrous. And when the Chamber reps started getting vicious and personal with the audience several couples  got up and left shaking their heads in disgust.

Very telling was hearing Cecil Russell trying to take the meeting over by attempting to not allow the comment time that Chairman Reeves had already scheduled immediately after the presentation for the listeners.  Now and in the past Cecil has refused to allow the general public to have a copy of his Pathway to Growth/SPRAWL plan and isn’t interested in any forum that allows debate.  He, and the Chamber, apparently intend on ramming it through the Modesto City Council where it’s believed he might already have the votes. The Modesto Council has ignored the public on every recent vote where preserving prime farmland is concerned.

Here is the most recent copy of the plan for greed and SPRAWL we’ve managed to obtain.  The is from the Modesto Planning Commission meeting July 15, 2013.  The Chamber refused to supply the Salida MAC with an electronic copy from their meeting.

GPA-10-001_EXH_Chamber_of_Commerce_plan_7-15-13

The Chamber brought along most of their usual cadre of supporters, Brad Hawn, Dave Romano, Bill Zoslocki and a few others.  We found council candidate for District 4 Bill Zoslocki, a Village I profiteer, prefers to be called a “broker” rather than “developer.” From our view that like a highway man being offended by someone saying  he used a revolver  instead of an automatic during a hold-up, but if that’s what he prefers maybe he won’t jump up and melt down when his name hasn’t been used.  It seems like the Chamber’s buddies enjoy when members of the public are called out by name but take offense even when theirs isn’t used.  I have to think he recognized himself.

What the remaining listeners heard was the Chamber’s plan will bring 39 square miles into Modesto’s General Plan when Modesto proper is only 37 square miles. And the Chamber wonders why their plan is being called the Pathway to SPRAWL by those who see it for what it is. The largest bait and switch land grab in Modesto’s history.   After all, who could believe the Chamber was going to “protect” the farm study areas by bringing them into the General Plan?  From all of those I talked with there weren’t any believers that night.

And shame on the arrogance and lack of professionalism of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce for publicly going after these women by name.     Besides boys, these ladies will kick your butt at the ballot box!

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