Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “San Francisco Public Utilities Commission”

MID Board Votes 5-0 to Kill Water Sale With San Francisco

Seal of the City of San Francisco for fair use...

Seal of the City of San Francisco for fair use to illustrate the article about San Francisco, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Emerson Drake

After emerging from closed session Board President Tom Van Groningen made the following announcement.

Based on information received from the City and County of San Francisco, the MID Board of Directors directed staff and General Counsel to discontinue further negotiations regarding the proposed sale of water to the City and County of San Francisco.

We’ve filed a Public Information Request for SFPUC’s letter to MID but apparently they refused MID’s request to change the contract’s language regarding the right of first refusal and being first to receive the contracted amount during a drought.

I’ll write in more detail regarding today’s meeting later. 

Congratulations for all of those who stood their ground and fought against the proposed sale.  Well Done.

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Reed Smith’s Thoughts about the Sen. Feinstein Letter

English: Dianne Feinstein http://bioguide.cong...

English: Dianne Feinstein http://bioguide.congress.gov/bioguide/photo/F/F000062.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

November 28, 2011

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein

United States Senate

Re: Water Transfer Discussions

Thank you for taking the time to meet with the group from Modesto Irrigation District and City and County of San Francisco. It was a pleasure to talk with you and we appreciate the opportunity to brief you on our discussions regarding a potential water transfer. I especially enjoyed viewing your wonderful painting of the Hetch Hetchy Valley. Thank you for that treat and for the signed photograph to commemorate our visit.

[ CODE for we will help tear down Hetch Hetchy and return it to a granite valley. ]

As we discussed, MID and San Francisco have developed some key points for a potential sale of Tuolumne River water that San Francisco could take through its existing Hetch Hetchy pipeline facilities, . . .

 [ NOT conserved water, Water not controlled by the CA WRCB ]

with the revenue for MID being used to finance necessary irrigation distribution infrastructure improvements . . .

[ NOT True.  Short told everybody, including YOU that it would be used for current obligations.  Now we know that his proposed 34% salary and retirement SPIKE are to be paid out if the water sale.]

 . . . that also would achieve system and water use efficiencies to produce sufficient water to serve San Francisco.

[ Here is the most disgusting statement in the document.  Allen Short works for the SFPUC, but MID rate payers foot the bill. ]

MID conducted a series of public outreach meetings . . .

[ NO HEARINGS HAVE BEEN HELD.  NOT ONE! ]

[ These were not designed to inform the public, they were to get the public to disclose their objections to what a stupid irrational idea this was and have the public tell Short what he needs to tell the rest of the public to con them. ]

. . . to provide information about the discussions with San Francisco, and to solicit as wide a variety of opinions and comments as possible.

[ What we find is the Allen Short has spent $640,000 paid by MID to Martino Associates, who pays Mike Lynch, who pays Rubin Villalobos, who pays other people to write OpEd’s for the Bee, or come to the microphone to promote this water sale.  The ONLY farmers who have supported this sale are Bill Lyons, Jr., Billy Lyons, Bob Ott, and his son, and one poor destitute share-crop farmer that farms 1,000 acres of Bill Lyons Jr.’s Mapes Ranch with free water. This is a mater of public record. ]

Attached are the final presentation materials used in those meetings.

[ I do not find the materials where Short claims he has bribed Senator Feinstein to personally interfere in the FERC relicensing of Don Pedro.  We intend to find out what specific contractual activities she agreed to do for 30,000 Acre Feet of out pre-1914 water rights? ]

The meetings were very well attended. The key issues raised, as anticipated, were protecting MID water rights, making certain its customers, including the City of Modesto, are served during dry periods, and ensuring there would be no significant impact to the River or the environment.

[ MID has completely failed to account for where the water to accomplish the needs.  There are NO ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP allocations in any of the pie charts.  What we do find is 40,000 AF given to Bill Lyons, Jr. FOR FREE. ]

We have developed a set of “frequently asked questions” and responses, which is also attached for your information.

[ Why were these FAQs full if fraudulent statements?  The MID Board has done nothing to provide truthful facts. ]

The next steps would be to complete negotiations with San Francisco and present the deal points to MID’s Board of Directors to consider initiating a small 2,200 acre foot transfer as well as a new environmental review process for a subsequent larger water transfer up to 25,000 acre-feet. We will certainly keep you apprised of any developments.

[These amounts are co-joined.  This is one deal, because the SFPUC has first right of refusal on ALL THE REST. ]

As always, if you have any questions or if we can provide additional background, please contact my office.

Allen Short General Manager

Copy: Michael Carlin

Where is Assistant City Attorney Rollie Stevens?

By Emerson Drake

While it doesn’t have the same connotations as asking “Who’s John Galt?” , “Where is Rollie Stevens?” should make people stop and think.  Rollie Stevens was Modesto’s  Attorney negotiating the water contract between the City of Modesto and the Modesto Irrigation District back in 2005.  This contract spells out the fact that Modesto and the Farmers stand first in line for OUR/MID water.  MID has demanded and Mayor Marsh has acquiesced to, Rollie Stevens absence at any talks between MID and Modesto.  Why?  Because MID knows Mr. Stevens is the most knowledgable  individual on the city staff regarding this contract which is vital to Modesto’s long-term BEST interests.

MID is supposed to be owned by the ratepayers but over the years, we ignored the MID Board and allowed the Board to spend/waste Millions of dollars unchecked, and at an ever-increasing rate.  In recent years the public exposed several of their ill-fated ventures.  One was the TANC project that the MID General Manager led, and despite public outcry against it, the proposal was curtailed only when (SMUD), Sacramento Municipal Utilities District came to their senses and pulled out of the monstrosity of overspending  that General Manager Short had helped to create. The cost to MID was approximately $5 million dollars.  The second was the Bio-Mass/ Garbage burner Project of Stephen Endsley.  After discovering how badly they were being duped by Endsley and MID, the MID ratepayers rebelled and finally MID pulled out of the garbage burner business.  The cost to ratepayers was $1.2 Million plus MID Attorney Tim O’Laughlin pocketed a cool $92,000.00 for this project alone.  This was despite being assured by attorney O’Laughlin that MID had no exposure to litigation. It seems it’s all a mater of perspective with O’Laughlin, who lives in Chico,  and doesn’t buy water or electricity from MID.

Now MID is pretending the small sale of 2,240 acre feet isn’t important, but as always the devil is in the details.  And the details here which bear importance are;  if the contract is signed, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission will be first in line for any MID water for the next fifty years, yes before Modesto and the Farmers, and has first right of refusal over any potential water sales MID might care to make.  The contract also sets a price for future water sales which includes an extremely small price escalator.

Just as important and maybe even more so because of its size is the looming 25,000 acre foot sale.  MID intends on pursuing it immediately after the 2,240 sale, so both sales should be considered at the same time by ratepayers trying to make a decision.  We also need to consider the small sale doesn’t pay for anything. The 2,240 acre feet times the $700.00 per acre foot comes to $1,568,000. yearly.  At this rate it will take 70.79 tears to pay for the $110 Million in infrastructure the MID Board claims we need.  And yes, the much larger sale triggers an EIR or Environmental Impact Report but with the SFPUC  footing the cost and being the lead agency, stopping it at that point is a much harder task than most realize.

Now back to the initial question of  “Where is Rollie Stevens.”  To use a sports metaphor,  it’s like playing a Superbowl and having our coach decide to bench our all-pro quarterback or 2,000 yard running back because the other team doesn’t want to play against him.  Why would we concede to those conditions?

This is the $64,000 question we need to ask Mayor Marsh. 

So Mayor, why are you keeping Rollie Stevens on the sidelines? 

Modesto and the farmers need to stand shoulder to shoulder on the water sale issue.  Agriculture is the economic driving force in the Central Valley and we need to nurture it.  And as we all  know,  if you want to keep something alive in the Central Valley, you need to water it.

We have NO extra water for sale to San Francisco.

Rollie Stevens, we need you.

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