Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “Stu Gilman”

Gov. Newsom’s Appointee Uses Lobbyist to Disrupt MID Meeting

By Emerson Drake  

On Tuesday Bill Lyons used lobbyist/attorney Stacey Henderson from Terpstra Henderson Law Office located in Ripon to disrupt questioning of the MID General Manager regarding invoices from Gualco, a lobbying firm MID uses for state issues.  Ms. Henderson is paid to appear at MID meetings by several close business associates of Bill Lyons.  People who regularly attend MID meetings are aware of her close ties to Lyons and their continual attempts to keep MID electric ratepayers subsidizing farmers’ irrigation rates.  William Lyons, 68, of Modesto, has been appointed Agriculture Liaison in the Office of the Governor, a cabinet position for $175,008 per year. You have to give him credit, he knows how to cash checks paid for by taxpayers.

While a member of the public was engaged in an informative exchange with GM Scott Furgerson, Ms. Henderson leaped to her feet and began to speak over the conversation.  At the beginning of every MID meeting the Board Secretary reads a short spiel stating that any persons causing a disruption will be asked to leave.  Apparently that doesn’t apply to Bill Lyon’s lobbyists.

To make everything more clear and easier to follow, Bill Lyons has been CEO of Lyons investments (read Mapes ranch) since 1976, and that is around the time Bill began treating MID as his personal fiefdom. Bill and or his family and business associates controlled three of the five votes on MID’s Board as long as most can remember (until Jim Mortensen bungled it).  For years they funded any challenge to his votes/puppets by cutting a campaign donation check for  $5,000 anytime they were opposed during an election(in most elections they ran unopposed due to lack of interest). For perspective a $5,000 check in past MID terms was more like a $50,000, check today.

Just to introduce all of the Lyon’s entourage, because we wouldn’t want to leave anyone out, another Bill Lyons lobbyist Bob Fores (who is also a lobbyist/attorney), chimed in later but at least he didn’t disrupt the proceedings.  It’s humorous to onlookers when attorneys take umbrage to being called lobbyists but if your clients don’t have any official business in front of MID and you’re being PAID to shape opinion, then you are by definition a lobbyist.  Now personally I can understand why a lobbyist wouldn’t like being called an attorney but…Oh well you get my drift.

Stacy Henderson has lobbied MID to allow farmers to sell water to each other and insisted on keeping MID’s nose out of the prices farmers charge each other, all the while insisting MID deliver the water to her clients at approximately $40 dollars per acre foot below MID’s delivery cost.

Bill Lyons tentacles reach all over the sate but especially Stanislaus County. He was behind the attempted MID water sale to San Francisco and was able to get the Modesto Chamber of Commerce including Cecil Russell, to publicly support the sale (Lyons keeps pulling those strings).  His elected MID puppets even created a slush fund of $250,000 to support the sale.  Think about that for a minute they used ratepayer funds to ram an unpopular water sale down out throats.

Can we afford to have lobbyists paid for by Bill Lyons disrupting public meetings and getting away with it?  Watching the GM schmoozing Ms. Henderson during the following break provided us with another clue and a chuckle. But not to be outdone Stu Gilman conferred with Chamber of Commerce’s CEO Cecil Russell’s female executive assistant behind the dais during a break.  I can’t say that I or anyone else there had ever seen that happen before.  When it comes to weird twisted politics, MID takes the cake.

We can count on one thing, that there’s more to come from Lyons and his band of marionettes.

About the EyeOnModesto:  We’re not paid to attend meetings and our opinion’s aren’t for sale. You can’t say the same for lobbyists or attorneys or for lobbyists that are attorneys who go to these meetings

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MID Mailbag Brings Us Featherbedding at the MID

By Emerson Drake 

Over the years our MID Mailbag has produced very interesting results that have become stories, like the bastardized ‘smart meters’ MID purchased that were defective requiring hundreds of thousands of dollars (of our money) to set right. But in the past year we’ve come across some items that need to see the light of day.

When Greg Salyer was allowed to step down as MID’s General Manager and retain his same salary of $236,188, eyes were opened.  His new title of Assistant General Manager, second in pay only to the newly hired GM seemed excessive for a position created by Mr. Salyer for himself.  In the last year we’ve received ‘concerns’ from staff that they see no input or leadership coming from Salyer and are wondering how long the farce will be maintained.

After receiving numerous complaints internally regarding the inexperience and lack of performance of an Engineering Tech Supervisor last year, management finally made a move and D.W. was sent toddling off the Woodland Generating Station.  But in MID’s usual fashion a position is now  listed  internally.  A position that was eliminated years ago because it was no longer needed.  But in the best of MID’s traditional featherbedding style (Featherbedding is the practice of hiring more workers than are needed to perform a given job) MID has resurrected the job and will offer it to D.W. at double his paycheck all for a special project.

Towards the end of last summer we kept hearing how then Turlock Mayor and MID employee Gary Soiseth had stopped showing up for work at MID while still cashing his paycheck.  It all came to a head on September 7th when Soiseth resigned rather than potentially being fired.  Apparently, and unknown at the time to the rest of us, this was the first of the behind the scene maneuvers by John Mensinger, Paul Campbell, Stu Gilman and MID General Manager Scott Furgerson.

By the October 23, 2018 Board meeting it became obvious these four had conspired into trying to hire Gary Soiseth as a consultant through Gulaco with a salary increase from $132,579 to $216,808 and for doing basically the same job he had been doing, when he was actually showing up, for MID.

So when concerns were expressed by other Board  members that Multiple Brown Act violations had occurred in recent months it wasn’t a surprise.

Multiple Public Record Requests have been delayed for months.  The current regime is reverting back to Tom VanGroningen and Allen Short days.   These were the  the exact opposite of the clean transparent days from Nick Blom and Larry Byrd.

For MID employees wanting MID to be run as a public business and not a personal empire you can express your concerns by email to westernpalms@aol.com

Oh yes and Paul, are you going to get a discount from John on all that lumber you’re thinking about needing?

 

 

 

MID’s Missing Legal Costs

By Emerson Drake  

A follow-up to MID Staffer Caught ‘Fudging’ the Numbers

We received the missing numbers through a Public Records Request.  Not surprisingly Scott Van Veren’s representation to the public and the Board wasn’t as advertised.  In the last meeting he made the claim the reason he hadn’t added the legal costs for lawsuits was because the settlements would skew or distort the report.  So lets take a look and you tell me.

From 2014 through 2018 the missing numbers total from the legal fees for the lawsuits came to $3,283,175.  The settlements for the same period came to $100,648.  There was an additional column called other which was described as consultant fees and materials for the lawsuits which came to $680,383.  You can see the breakdown by year below. Click on it to enlarge

it.

But clearly Scott claiming that $100,648 would skew $3,283,175 was a smoke screen.  Just as sad was Director John Mensinger repeatedly calling for a vote.  I would suggest John was aware of the ‘3 card monte’ or maybe you’d prefer ‘shell game’. being played out by MID staff.

Unfortunately MID is now using outside attorneys to process PPR’s.  Normally you could get the answers quickly and if you had any questions they were happy to provide answers.  The attorney I spoke with didn’t have a clue what the numbers meant nor could he explain the ‘other column’  Finally I was given a name at MID for follow-up explanations which were helpful. A hearty thanks to Ms. Cartisano. So we’ve made another PPR to find out just how much money MID is wasting on outside attorneys.  Billable hours versus salary?  The answer would seem to be a no brainer.  But you know John Mensinger and his cabal, they’ll stop at nothing.

 

MID Staffer Caught ‘Fudging’ The Numbers

By Emerson Drake 

At the 1/22/19 meeting AGM Finance/Treasurer Scott Van Vuren delivered a report that was supposed to layout our in-house and outside legal costs to allow the Board to make an educated decision regarding whether to hire a replacement in-house attorney or to hire an outside law firm to function as MID Counsel.  He made his presentation but both some members of the Board and the public had questions.  When we tried to get Van Vuren to total the two  pages, the first for $1.8 M  and the second for $1.8M each total is give or take $100,000, he was hesitant to respond, in fact he refused to respond to repeated inquiries.

We helped him with his math offering that it added up to approximately $3.6M but we couldn’t get him to say the words.  Finally he was forthcoming enough to state that there were additional legal costs he hadn’t included in the report. Most notably these were outside legal costs. When asked to place a number on these he said he’d have to get back to us and the Board.  Scott repeatedly said the missing numbers would be skewed by settlements. So some of the Board started following up with questions.  Scott kept using Turlock Irrigation District (TID) as his comparison.  But when asked to produce TID’s  numbers so we could compare apples to apples he claimed he’d need to get TID’s permission. Obviously Scott was stalling since these numbers are public domain.

Scott had been saying all along that we paid more then TID for legal costs but had nothing to back up his statements.  Questions were finally asked why he hadn’t checked with other districts for comparison. Obviously it didn’t suit his and Director John Mensinger’s preconceived position that outside services would be better.

John Mensinger kept trying to interrupt the questioning saying he’d heard enough but even Director Stu Gilman was getting curious now.  What they didn’t mention and since public comment is only 5 minutes so we didn’t get a chance to ask, was about the comparison.  TID’s budget is less that half of MID’s. ($164M vs $429M) and it’s safe to say that MID’s 122,000 electric customers are several times more than TID’s.  So why use them as a comparison?  So they can  get the predetermined outcome the ruling cabal desires.

And since we’re just trying to be helpful we have made a Public Record Request from TID for their legal costs for the last three years.  Scott seems to produce more reliable numbers when someone is looking over his shoulder.  The public needs to look out for themselves now since our compadres in this fight on the Board are out numbered.

It’s starting to sound like 2011 all over again.  And that bodes ill for the ratepayers.

For the follow-up see MID’s Missing Legal Costs

 

The House Modesto Gets Flimflammed at MID

By Emerson Drake  

On October 1, 2017 Pastor Glenn Berteau took a few minutes from Sunday’s service to introduce  lay pastor Stu Gilman and to ask for the congregations’ support and vote for Stu Gilman.  Pastor Berteau reminded the congregation that Stu is a personal friend of his and a friend of The House along with being a board member of The House.  Stu made a promise to the congregation that day. He said for years they had been overpaying for electricity and he would get them a rebate based on how much money they had spent on electricity.

Stu was subsequently elected to the Modesto Irrigation District Board and MID was facing a law suit from ratepayers.  He and the rest of the MID Board decided to commission a Cost of Service Study from Bartle Wells Associates and MRW & Associates to defend against the pending lawsuit.

Now to the meat and potatoes. The ‘report’ basically said apples were oranges and up is down.  It’s an agreed upon fact the water delivery side was facing a $17 Million shortfall every year.  And the electric ratepayers have been overcharged to pay for steeply discounted electric rates to large companies (read below cost in some cases), to pay for the water losses and to buy a percentage in the natural gas powered Lodi plant.  The Lodi plant is where their profits come from and are called ‘discretionary funds’ by the report.   The report states if MID’s Board has a policy they can point to that allows them to spend the discretionary funds as they see fit, that could include cars, boats. subsidizing farmers and large businesses including Gallo.

Stu Gilman and the rest of the Board voted to support the report and if it holds up in court it removes any possibility for the congregation and quite honestly the rest of us ratepayers to not only get a rebate but to get an even break in MID’s repressive rate structure.  So when the rubber met the road Stu supported MID and abandoned his congregation and the rest of the ratepayers.  Stu had his chance to stand up and keep his word to us but he showed his true colors and instead became just another one of them.  We had hope and gave him rope, and look what he did with it.

One of the issues is the essence of religion is submission to authority and for supporting Stu Gilman, Pastor Glenn must accept some responsibility for the outcome.  People expect their Pastors, Ministers, Priests, and Spiritual Advisers to look out for their best interests when they demonstrate their support for candidates or ballot measures from the pulpit.  As happens often in life the people that need the breaks the most get screwed but when it happens to you, by the leaders of your church, you should be asking questions.  Lots of questions.

And your belief in their answers is discretionary.

MID Intrigue, Betrayal and the Brown Act

By Emerson Drake  

Recently Modesto Irrigation District meetings are more like a Shakespearean play. They’ve had it all, palace coups, intrigue, betrayal,  possible legal violations and audit reports that stretch credulity.  And believe it or not we’re underplaying recent events.

Since it directly effects our wallets lets start with the most recent first, the 100 plus pages of the District’s Cost of Service Study Report.  Listening to the report of their meeting on line will mystify and amaze you while on occasion putting you to sleep.  When I hear “generally accepted audit and accounting standards” the hairs on the back of my neck rise up because that is the same verbiage we heard during the Enron scandal.  Remember Enron’s report suggested Enron was financially sound all the while the walls were crumbling down.

MID is fiscally sound but the reasoning behind the report is questionable. The whole purpose of this report is to defend them against an electrical ratepayers law suit. They change the words “electrical profits” to “discretionary funds” that can be applied anywhere the Board chooses. And as the magician says abracadabra there is no subsidy for the water side despite the annual shortfall of  $17M.  When evaluating MID’s reports keep in mind the old adage  ‘liars can figure and figures can lie and that well paid ones do it even better.”

The report’s cost of service numbers are skewed, in other words biased and distorted.  As we learned during the Mountain House discussions it all depends on which column they put costs into.  Or if they bother to account for them at all, after all out of sight is out of mind.  MID has a tendency to say once we decide to supply power to an area the expensive main feeder power lines and substations don’t count against cost of service. Yet someone pays the bill.  But that person is an imaginary one named ‘discretionary’.

While we’re still working our way through the report we haven’t come across the validation of supplying electricity at below cost to businesses while still covering their costs. If you have any doubts, it’s ‘Discretionary’ that is paying for it.  If you want to meet ‘Discretionary’ take a look in the mirror.

As we continue to review the report and receive information from our on-going public record requests, there will be more to follow.

 

 

The House Breaks Covenant Again

By Emerson Drake  

When you decide to start a church you have many choices.  You don’t have to do anything.  You don’t have to involve anyone or any entity, you can go about your own business preaching and praying anyway you choose.  When starting a church many people choose to enter into a covenant with the government to gain a special status.  The status of being a non-profit, which in this case a 501(c)3, means you can raise money and not pay taxes on it and you can give your donors a tax break on their donations which allows them to deduct the donations from their taxable income.  It also means you can start profitable businesses and not pay taxes (like we said a special status.)  But if you choose to enter into this covenant with the government there are rules you must abide by.  These rules allow churches to promote issues BUT these same rules forbid these nonprofits from championing candidates for political office.

It’s really very simple to follow the rules, and the overwhelming majority of churches across the country do it all the time, but The House has repeatedly and deliberately violated the rules of the very covenant they sought out.  Yes churches can allow candidates to speak with the congregation but the operative word here is candidates with an “s.”  The House was aware they broke the rules when they allowed Stu Gilman, a church board member to speak and have tables at the back of the sanctuary for people to sign up to help with his campaign. They made a point of excluding Jake Wenger.  And now they’ve done it again with the two Sheriff’s candidates.

When Jeff Dirkse was introduced to the congregation it was obvious he was the, if you’ll pardon the expression, chosen candidate.  Here is Pastor Glen’s opening comment for a man he admits to just meeting.

Pastor Glen Bertreau, speaking to congregation: “Let me do this before I get started. Jeff Dirske is here – good friend – he is running for sheriff of Stanislaus County, and I met him the other day and what a great brother, meeting him.”  The entire transcript will be posted towards the end of the article.

What’s most important here is that according to Juan Alanis, well lets hear it in his own words…From the Juan Alanis for Sheriff 2018 facebook page answering if he had been asked to speak,  Juan Alanis for Sheriff 2018 responding to Gaetana Rohrer-Drake, “I have reached out to Glen Berteau months ago when I first started campaigning and never received a call back.”

So after watching the video and reading the transcript we decided to go and try to meet with Pastor Glen Berteau in person to ask him a few simple questions regarding his and by extension his church’s actions.

We arrived at 10:30 between 9 and 11 o’clock services.  As we entered the Church we couldn’t help but notice the large ‘We Love Our Pastors’ signs being passed out to all church members.   We had arranged to meet with someone from The House to assist with meeting with Pastor Glen but unfortunately that didn’t happen so instead we worked our way over to the information desk only to be turned back around and go back past their version of ‘Starbucks’  to go to ‘the room’ where you meet with Pastors.  There we met with ‘Pastor Mike’ and his wife.  After explaining the reason for our visit he didn’t know if we would be able to meet with Pastor Glen but would do his best to check.  We went back out to see if we could see anyone one we knew. That is where the picture was taken.  

Fortunately MID Board member and a member of The House’s Board,  Stu Gilman, came to meet with us.  I had met Stu before at an MID meeting.  Stu pointed out that this was a 25th anniversary and Love Our Pastor’s Day.  Pastor Glen leaves the Briggsmore and Coffee address to go to The Church Downtown after the 9 AM service and is back before he takes the stage during the 11 AM service (he isn’t present at the start of the services or necessarily at their ends).  Stu was kind enough to inform us the Pastor was also leaving for Sweden on Tuesday and wouldn’t be back until June, so there probably wouldn’t be time for a conversation before then.

When I walked through the reasons for my trying to get a visit with the Pastor and my concerns about Juan Alanis trying to speak to the congregation Stu said while he couldn’t speak for Pastor Glen, but he himself wasn’t aware of any attempts by Juan or his campaign to contact Pastor Glen or The House in general.  He suggested that if the Alanis campaign had called that maybe the message was lost between the church secretary and the Pastor. “You know how messages can get lost” was his follow-up response.  One thing I can say for sure is that we’ve been trying to contact Pastor Glen since the MID campaign and he has yet to return our calls. It isn’t a requirement that he respond to our call, not by a long shot, but ours aren’t the only calls he’s been dodging.  The multiple complaints against The House by the Freedom From Religion Foundation and private citizens to the I.R.S., hopefully will eventually take their toll.  The list of people calling and getting no response from Pastor Glen and or The House keeps getting longer and longer.

We can’t prove that the Alanis campaign did or didn’t contact The House, but after seeing the effect of Pastor Glen’s support of Stu Gilman (a candidate with no knowledge or expertise in electrical or water issues), in the MID race, it’s hard to believe that the Alanis campaign didn’t reach out to them. One thing for sure is that after the controversy over Stu Gilman’s MID race, The House and Pastor Glen didn’t make his actions (recommending political candidates) blindly and without forethought.

It’s obvious that The House broke its Covenant with its church members and with the People of the United States.  The only way to get them to stop is to repudiate their actions and vote against any candidate they illegally  promote.

The following is a complete transcript of one of the three services at The House where Jeff Dirkse was introduced to the congregation:

Pastor Glen Bertreau, speaking to congregation: Let me do this before I get started. Jeff Dirske is here – good friend – he is running for sheriff of Stanislaus County, and I met him the other day and what a great brother, meeting him. This man here, he graduated from West Point. We don’t have many people from our area from West Point. And got out of West Point. You’ve got to be pretty sharp to even get in, plus graduate, and you come out an officer. Then he went to Iraq, fought in Iraq for us and probably had near-death ex – let me just introduce him. Welcome Jeff, right here. Come on. Give him a big hand. Let’s honor one of our former – one of our soldiers here.

Bertreau to Dirske: Hi, Jeff. God bless you, buddy. Good to have you here. Sandy’s in the back – his wife is back there – they’ve been here all three services. All three services they’ve been here and this is the first time they’ve been over here. Aren’t you glad you came? Wasn’t it fun?

Jeff Dirske: Very much so, thank you.

Bertreau to congregation: And Jeff is – as you know, Adam Christianson, we we know, is retiring, he’s just gonna retire. And so they’re gonna have a new race here, new sheriff’s race and Jeff – I’m gonna let him tell it. I could tell it, but Jeff why don’t you greet our people here, there’s a lot of people that are here at our service. He was here at our 9:00, he went over with me to the Downtown, and now he’s here at this. I said these are all different people here, you don’t know who they are, and so I want you to greet all our people.

Bertreau to Dirske: They all love you.

Dirske to congregation: Well good morning, everyone and thanks for having me – I appreciate the opportunity to be here. And before I talk a little bit I actually want to say thank you – I want to say thank you to the House and this congregation and the church. You have been very supporting of law enforcement over the years and and unfortunately before even the 9:00 service this is not the first time I’ve had to stand in front of you. I’ve had to speak at the death of one of our employees, and on behalf of law enforcement, thank you for that. (applause) So – yeah, please give yourself a hand. So I grew up here in Stanislaus County. My family is in farming, and quite frankly, I thought that that’s what I would do when I grew up. And then in high school I kind of felt a different pull, and I fell the pull towards the military, and I ended up at West Point, as Pastor Glen has already talked about. Graduated from there in 1994 and served 5 ½ years in the U.S. Army the first time. And then some things changed, some family dynamics, my father had cancer, and we felt the pull to come home. And there was kind of a circuitous route, I’m not going to go into the details of that, but we made a couple of stops along the way and we ended up back here farming, all of which we thought is exactly what God wanted us to do, and then September 11th happened. And by 9:00 that morning I knew that I would be back in service somehow. And so then that circuitous route that God took us on became apparent, and the why became apparent, and I ended up commanding a company in Iraq in 2005. (applause) And that was one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced in my life.

Bertreau to Dirske: And you’ve had – was it four near – didn’t you have four almost near death – you could have died about four times in Iraq, right?

Dirske to Bertreau: Yes, my vehicle was hit four times by IEDs. The closest one was about 65 pounds going off from me to you. And 65 pounds of explosives is an awful lot. And other than a concussion, I came out unscathed (applause). Thank you.

Bertreau: It’s really a miracle.

Dirske: Thank you. But I bring up Iraq because it was definitely a call, it was God’s call that took us there. I did not have to do that. I had a wife and three kids at home and I was really completely out of the military. And before I went my dad said do you really want to go to war? And I said no, I don’t, but I have to. And that – it was a rough year. But it was also the most rewarding year that I think I’ve ever experienced, because I was doing exactly what God wanted me to do. Now I’m back here, obviously I’ve been in law enforcement now for several years since then, and looking to take this next step. And this, again, is I think exactly where God wants me. And public safety, protecting people is just a calling that I have. It defines who I am. And I know that even though politics is not always the most fun, but my family knows that this is exactly what God wants us to do. So thank you.

Bertreau: So you feel a call. There is a calling. As I would have a calling or you (gesturing to audience) have a calling to do what God wants you to do. There is a calling that is there. There’s really a closeness with law enforcement, that’s just what I feel, because we’re both in an area of helping people, we just help in two different ways. And it is a calling to do what you want to do, to even lay your life on the line every day. But I thank God we have people – and you know what, we talk about this that we need Christian people in areas of influence in our city, right? (applause) So would you just thank Jeff for hearing from God, running for Sheriff, God’s will will be done. Amen. Thanks Jeff, for being here. Appreciate you. Sandy, God bless you.

 

 

 

“The House” Panics and Takes Down The Infamous Video

By Emerson Drake  

The House Modesto take Three:  We’ve all heard the bluster from Pastor Glen Berteau and others regarding his and the church’s endorsement of Stu Gilman for  the MID Board.  The Pastor claims they’ve done nothing wrong and that all the attention for violating IRS regulations and the Johnson Amendment he and the church has been receiving is unjustified.   We’ve done nothing wrong he’s stated.  Yet the good Pastor refuses to go on camera or return our phone calls

But it has become obvious that both the church and the Pastor have blinked.  When you go to the link to the sermon we provided in an earlier story you’ll find that  “This video has been removed by the user” sign on their YouTube page.  If the video proves their innocence why did they remove it?  Sounds like they’re trying to hide the smoking gun.  Last Sunday, 11/5,  we couldn’t help but notice the live 11 am service was a rerun from the week prior.

Channel 40 out of Sacramento finally caught wind of the scandal and has run with the story.  Our only surprise it that it took so long and that others haven’t followed.

This endorsement by a church, a nonprofit 501(c)(3), brings shame on Stu Gilman, his supporters, The House, and all of Modesto.  If you want to endorse candidates for political office pay taxes like the rest of us.  You shouldn’t  pretend to be a church if you’re going to act like a political organization.

 

Complaint Filed Against The House

By Emerson Drake  

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF)  has filed a complaint against Modesto’s ‘The House’.  IN it they allege  The House, being a 501(c) (3), violated I.R.S regulations.  And we believe they violated  the Johnson Act, but that would be for another arena.

Why Pastor Glen Berteau choose to go against the law is something only he can answer.  He has not returned phone calls.  Here is the complaint click on it to enlarge:

 

We don’t believe ANY non-profit 501(c)(3)s  should be endorsing candidates. Both the church ‘The House” through the law, and the candidate (Stu Gilman)  by the ballot box, should be held accountable.  How about you?

Is “The House” Breaking the Law?

By Emerson Drake  

During The House’s church service on October 1, 2017 Pastor Glenn Berteau took a few minutes at 36:30 into the service to allow Stu Gilman to ask for the congregations’ support and vote.  Pastor Berteau acknowledged he wasn’t aware that MID had a Board of Directors that the public voted on.  He reminds the congregation Stu is a personal friend of his and a friend of The House along with being a board member of The House.

The church has a large beautiful stage and video system with huge screens which works well for power point presentations in their sanctuary.  During the church service, Stu was invited up on the stage where Pastor Berteau said Stu deserves our support.

One of the first comments out of Stu’s mouth is to say “No one else is running for MID seats this year”.  Which is an outright lie, but hey lets cut him some slack, after all he wants to be a politician.   The Pastor uses Modesto Bee Videos to attack MID employees’ high rate of pay across the board but then claims not to be going after the working man just the Staff and Board.  But in reality the numbers cited in the video are bolstered by the working man, especially linemen, while the  Board makes only $1,000 a month. I guess it shows Stu’s supporters can talk out of both sides of their mouths too.

Stu offers ratepayer rebates (just pie in the sky) but isn’t willing to simply offer lower electric rates.  When pressed, Stu admits to having NEVER attended a MID meeting.  Now we realize working your schedule around meetings can be tough  but come on, Stu owns his own company so it begs the question, not even one meeting?  Why do people keep recruiting members of the public to run for the MID Board that don’t have a clue about what MID does but still think they know how it run it better?  So at the end of his political commercial in the middle of the weekly meeting Stu asks for volunteers to make phone calls and knock on doors and would they please join him at his table at the back of the room.

The big sendoff:  Pastor Berteau says “This is church.  Is this a church you say?  Absolutely! It’s not just in this building. We care for our city and the people in our city. I tell politicians that as a Pastor, I know more about this city than you do.”  He goes on to ask Stu to let him know when the other districts come up for a vote so he can let the congregation know so we can get the right people in there.

I don’t know about you but we don’t like non-profits to be telling people which candidate to vote for.  If they want to support a cause that’s fine but if you want to run a candidate or a slate of candidates then start by giving up your non-profit status and start paying taxes.

In the video the Pastor says he doesn’t shy away from controversy. But unfortunately Pastor Berteau was did not return our calls for comment regarding this article.  We will follow-up if he has anything  to say.

Addendum 10/18/2017:  The Freedom from Religion Foundation has been contacted and they will be filing a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ). So yes what The House and Pastor Glen Berteau  are doing IS illegal.

 

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