Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “Stanislaus Workforce Alliance”

Workforce Alliance Violates Brown Act, Holds an Illegal Meeting

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

English: Author: Carl Skaggs This image was taken by me on January 14, 2010 in Modesto, California I hereby relinquish all rights to this photo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Emerson Drake

The Alliance held their monthly meeting January 28th at noon and everyone but the public was invited.  As an organization subject to the Brown Act the Alliance  must post their agenda 72 hours ahead of time, and the official places they choose to use are their website and on the door to their offices at 1010 10th Street.  Unfortunately for the public, the time on the website was 3:30 PM and the two pages attached to their door had NO MENTION of the meetings start time.

So understandably when five interested members of the public arrived early at 3:15 for the meeting and discovered the meeting was already over, there was some consternation.  During his convoluted explanation, Bill Bassett pointed out it was mentioned just before the meeting by attendees, that the starting time listed on-line was incorrect, but they went ahead with the meeting anyway.  What was strange was they adjusted the time on their site to 12:00 AFTER the meeting was over.  How that helped I’m not really sure, though their admission came after I explained the incorrect listing had been downloaded over the weekend.

You haven’t read about this in the Bee

You really have to wonder why this Brown Act violation has been overlooked by the Modesto Bee since one of their reporters, Ken Carlson, was one of the five left hanging by the incorrect/false time posting. But even Ken has to get it past his editors before it gets printed in the Bee. And as we have seen, the Bee editors have an agenda they adhere to when it comes to backing the powers that be.  They consider that it’s in their best interest not to ruffle the feathers of those in power so they can continue to receive the behind the scene phone calls (or as in the case of MID, confidential Legal Memos) giving them advance notice of political deals. Unfortunately this practice ends up taking their readers down the rabbit hole with them.  The Bee keeps their secrets for weeks as in the case of the memos, until Eric Cain published them on his site, www.TheValleyCitizen.COM .  Blog sites like his and this one are where you can find out what they don’t want you to know.

It was interesting to read the two different versions of Ken Carlson’s article on the Goodwin report. The first one mentions the Bee obtaining the Goodwin Report and the second one, the one published doesn’t.  Makes you wonder doesn’t it?  It’s those pesky editors.

The Leaking of the Goodwin Draft Report to the Modesto Chamber of Commerce and the Workforce Alliance

One of the reasons we wanted to attend the Alliance meeting was to hear Bill Bassett’s comments on expanding the Enterprise zones, shovel ready ground, and the need for Modesto to annex Salida to make it easier to divide up the pie known as Salida.  Both the Alliance and the Chamber have had the Goodwin consulting Group’s Fiscal Impact Analysis Draft Report for the better part of two weeks. Who in the City and County governments gave these reports away? Well no one will admit to it but it happened.  My thoughts are to look to those who are the liaisons from the City and County but who knows?  It appears the Chamber is getting ready to launch an “Annex Salida” campaign.  After all, one of the reasons for the Chambers existence, and that of the Alliance,  is to manage situations for the advantage of their members. Remember Bill Bassett has repeatedly said his “investors” expect a return on their investments.  And it usually comes out of your pocket and mine.

Is anyone censuring the Alliances Violation of the Brown Act?

We made sure both the City of Modesto and the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors were made aware of the Brown Act violation and have asked both organizations to issue the Alliance a letter of protest. Will anything come of this probably not.  When it comes to the potential annexation of Salida, our Mayor has turned a deaf ear to the vocal protests of over 240 Salida Residents.  So I ask the Mayor and Council, when was the last time 240 Modestan’s showed up to a council meeting and stayed past the presentations?  For that matter I ask the Board of Supervisors the same question.  At Tuesday’s meeting of the BoS there was only one member of the public present for the last hour of the meeting. 

Why should the City or County censure the Alliance?

Most people aren’t aware the County gives the Alliance about $92,000 and the City gives the Alliance about $60,00 of the taxpayers money so I feel they have a responsibility to speak out. 

Not only should the Alliance receive a letter of censure from both of the Board of Supervisors and the Modesto City Council. these two government entities should stop wasting taxpayer money on the proposed annexation.


What’s on America’s Mind Wednesday at 7:00 PM

Radio RED 104.9 FM

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

Topics include the Salida MAC meeting last night and some of Mayor Marsh’s comments, Councilman Cogdill throwing a snit, The illegal meeting held by the Work Force Alliance,  The passing around of confidential documents to the Alliance and the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, Janice Keating being in denial about her pay for performance during the water sale, ta councilman deleting his annexation emails, the Don Pedro relicensing, and women in the military, these and more so tune in at 7:00PM Wednesday and find out the things you really  need to know.

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The call-in number is 1-347-215-9414

Local Politics, It’s an Insiders Game

By Emerson Drake

Imagine, if you will, a hit and run driver who killed a man is sentenced.  The local Sheriff has the ability to decide if he spends his sentence of a year actually in jail or allowed to spend his time at home with an ankle bracelet.  The Sheriff gets calls and visits from people he refers to as Rotarians who ask him to allow this man to stay out of jail because in his words “he’s written grants that have brought lots of money to Stanislaus County.” The Sheriff’s policy was no home detention for crimes of violence and a fatal hit-and-run fits that description.  The perpetrator not only received this “special treatment” he  even received lax follow-up on his home detention and was seen several times out and about town, from the Gallo Center, to the Brenden movie theater in the evenings when he should have been at home.

The Sheriff’s name was Adam Christianson and the Rotarians he referred to were members of the Stanislaus County Workforce Alliance, Chamber of Commerce, and the Rotary. The man’s name was Joe Gibbs.  The group he worked for was called Stanislaus Community Assistance Program or SCAP.  What most people remember of the SCAP debacle is Mr. Gibbs wanted to be paid over $600,000 dollars for his grant writing ability. 

Official seal of County of Stanislaus

Well, that and the fact he and his wife placed her parents in one of the fanciest remodeled homes while using SCAP staff to rent out the two homes her parents owned.

Less remembered is the joke of an investigation Modesto City Manager Greg Nyhoff performed. The total paper trail was an email to SCAP warning them about the Bee’s investigative article.

What many people aren’t aware of is the continuing SCAP connection at city hall. Not only have former SCAP board members been placed on multiple city committees, they still promote on the city website some of the companies involved. From the company that attempted to channel $62,500 to Benchmark Realty (then owned by Councilman Joe Muratore and his business partner Ryan Swehla), to Joe Gibbs and SCAP.

Joe Gibbs

Stanislaus Community Assistance Project (SCAP)

2209 Coffee Rd. Suite A

Modesto, CA 95355

(209) 572-2437


Ryan Swhela

Trinity Ventures

1120 13th Street. Suite I

Modesto, CA 95354

(209) 380-4425


You can see for yourself here  NSP2 Developers straight from the city website.

Recently J.David Wright, Modesto’s third largest political contributor in the last local election helped, Frank Ploof  get placed on the Citizens Housing and Community Development Commission.  It is bad enough that Ploof is a former member of  SCAP’s Board of Directors, he spent 10 months helping Daryl Fair, the former SCAP Board Chairman with a nonprofit that hadn’t filed their papers with the IRS for several years and had lost their nonprofit status.  Now Mr. Wright is also promoting Mr. Fair to run a day drop-in-center for the homeless.  All he needs is a grant. That’s correct,  he wants to stick his hand back in the honey jar, your pocket and mine.   Watching Wright show up at the last city council for the expressed reason of making sure Ploof received the necessary votes sure took the cake. By the way, despite all of the SCAP connections and the fake nonprofit, the vote was 5-1. Councilman Lopez voted against with Councilman Muratore recusing himself from the discussion and vote.

Watching the city representative make sure their “insider friends”, the Beard Industrial Trust, receive special treatment from the LAFCO Board, which cost Modesto millions of dollars between property taxes and utility fees, was enough to turn a citizens stomach. But quite honestly it was just business as usual for Modesto and the County we live in.

Since the Alliance and the Modesto Chamber of Commerce are 501 (c) (6)’s,  they can lobby to their heart’s content and allow donors to receive “business deductions”.  The donors can EXPECT some return on their investment according to Bill Bassett, and receive special favors  from the City and County.

Our Mayor likes to say “Politics just happens to most people.”  Maybe he’s correct, but between the back door, and behind the scenes  dealings that go on every day how is a citizen supposed to have a chance?

“What’s on America’s Mind” Wednesday at 7:00PM Pacific

Radio RED 104.9 FM

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

On our last scheduled show for 2012 conversation drifts from the topics we covered and those still on the front burner.

Why is Modesto’s Mayor giving Beard Industrial Tract a competitive advantage over Salida in the business attracting sweepstakes, The Taj Mahal of dog pounds Stanislaus County’s own Animal Services Agency on Cornucopia Way, the local political landscape, Cat Killers Jeff Reed and Phillip Sumner, and of course much more…Wednesday night at 7:00 PM Pacific time.

Our Flagship Station 104.9 FM Modesto/Salida

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