Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “Supervisor Terry Withrow”

How Does a Park Become ‘Surplus’ in the County’s Eyes?

By Emerson Drake   

Mono Park is a pretty two acres of green consisting of large beautiful trees,  picnic and play area on Mono Drive between Santa Ana and Santa Rita Ave in Modesto’s Airport District.  It is an oasis of green with its large/huge trees and lawn in an area that has very few comforts the rest of us have come to rely on, you know, like sidewalks.  Sidewalks should not  be an exception in residential areas instead of the rule but that’s the fact of life in many of  the County’s unincorporated areas.

Now the County has staff exploring whether Mono Park should stay a park or be labeled ‘surplus’  then sold to friends and possibly be turned into warehouses for the likes of the Gallo’s or one of their many subsidiaries.  Of course the County doesn’t want to speculate as to who might purchase the site. But their flyer specifically mentions cutting down the beautiful trees in the park

A community meeting was held March 13th at Orville Wright Elementary school by the Airport Community Collaborative. According to the County approximately 20 people attended. The County dangled the carrot in front of the people suggesting maybe sidewalks or a new roof for the Legion Hall.

Improving the Quality of Life By Selling Our Parks?   If we sell Mono Park to the Gallo’s for warehouse space then even  more trucks will be coming into the Airport District. Our local Air Pollution Control Board says the single biggest polluting factor in the central valley are the diesel trucks driving up and down Highway 99.  So the County’s answer to how can we improve the quality of life in Modesto and specifically the Airport District is to have more trucks with the accompanying dirt, dust, noise, and pollution at all hours in our neighborhoods.  But then again why should they be concerned, none of the Board of Supervisors lives anywhere close to there.

So the County is using slight of hand, mixing in a little community involvement, Gallo money, and Presto Change-o, you have one less park for the children to play in and for families to picnic in.

The next park they decide is surplus may be YOURS.

A Salida Resident’s Comments to the Board of Supervisors 7/16/13

By Katherine Borges

 

My comments tonight are to share with you an update on the Salida Annexation and Incorporation.  I find it extremely

 

English: This map shows the incorporated and u...

English: This map shows the incorporated and unincorporated areas in Stanislaus County, California, highlighting Modesto in red. It was created with a custom script with US Census Bureau data and modified with Inkscape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

sad and unfortunate that I even have to include the annexation part of these comments considering that the people of Salida have spoken and our Supervisor came out in support of us, yet the land grab rape and pillage of Salida continues.

 

 

 

The latest assault occurred in this very room, just 24 hours ago, sitting in your very seats were Modesto’s Planning Commissioners. They were presented with two General Plan updates for Modesto – one by Brent Sinclair, Director of Community and Economic Development for Modesto and the other was presented by various members of the Modesto Chamber of Commerce.

 

 

 

Both plans include Salida.  Mr. Sinclair’s plan includes an additional 1,800 acres along Kiernan that is part of the Salida Community Plan.  It’s quite callous and arrogant the manner in which Modesto’s planners treat Salida in that regard.  That they have the gall to include portions of the Salida Community Plan’s land, let alone Salida, just because they can. Its called “The Salida Community Plan” for a reason and not “The Modesto Community Plan”.

 

 

 

Now I know you have seen the Modesto Chamber’s presentation which contains the further troubling aspect of landlocking Salida to the East and the West with land grabs of astronomical proportions. And I know that nearly all of you farm so I’d be preaching to the choir with any data or statistics I could quote about the quality of prime farmland in and around Salida, so all I really want to do is remind you that you five are the stewards of this prime farmland.  You have it within your power to stop Modesto from making a travesty of their city seal over there.

 

 

 

You also have it within your power to help free Salida because the citizens of Salida can only do so much. We had hoped to file for a designation called a “Community of Interest” which in Riverside LAFCO has previously been used to set the boundaries of an unincorporated community and protect it from annexation.  But Stanislaus LAFCO has a different policy for a Community of Interest which has turned out to be a real bust for us.  In Stanislaus, all the designation affords is that the MAC and Sanitary District are notified of any pending land annexations.  The only way left for Salida to protect Salida is through incorporation.

 

 

 

So now we are working on completing the steps required by LAFCO for incorporation.  I plan to come back and give you updates on how this progresses.

 

 

 

In the meantime, its up to you to protect Salida and preserve our community plan for Salida. I realize that even though the Modesto Chamber has asked both the Modesto City Council and the Modesto Planning Commission to adopt their plan, that that might not necessarily happen.  But they could end up in some sort of compromise where the Chamber starts out asking for more, much much more, and settles for less which may even be the happy medium that they were going for in the first place.  Either way, unless you stand up to them on Salida and the other county areas behalf, we stand to get shafted once again.  We need you to defend us.  You are our voice.

 

 

 

In closing, I would like to thank Salida’s Supervisor Withrow for his continued support of Salida, I’d like to thank Supervisor Chiesa for attending the Salida MAC and Ad Hoc Committee meetings; we appreciate your involvement.  I’d like to thank Supervisor O’Brien for his “No” vote on the Salida Now initiative because you would’ve preserved our vote, but I’d also like thank Supervisors DeMartini and Monteith for their “Yes” votes on Salida Now because that gave us a better community plan than the one we previously had and its one that’s worth fighting for.

 

By Katherine Borges

 

Watch the June Salida MAC Meeting

Here you go folks, the most recent Salida MAC meeting videos.

Stanislaus River

Stanislaus River (Photo credit: chaimann)

https://vimeo.com/69520817

https://vimeo.com/69520816

For those who couldn’t be there this is the next best thing.

The second link contains much of Katherine Borges’  incorporation presentation.

Many thanks to Brad Johnson for the recording and uploading of the videos.

Salida MAC Meets Tuesday the 26th at 7:00 PM at the Salida Library

Last Months Salida MAC Minutes courtesy of  http://salidamac.blogspot.com/

 

English: Map of the Stanislaus River, a major ...

English: Map of the Stanislaus River, a major tributary of the San Joaquin River, CA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Salida MAC Newsletter – March 2013

 

 

The February Salida MAC meeting video is viewable online by clicking this
LINK – thanks to Salida MAC Councilmember, Brad Johnson and local Salida Public Radio Station 104.9 FM. LIKE “Salida MAC” on Facebook and follow on Twitter https://twitter.com/SalidaMAC
and sign up to receive our newsletter via e-mail. ~ Katherine Borges, Editor

Salida Annexation Report – Salida Municipal Advisory Council Chairman, Thomas Reeves, moved the annexation agenda item up to be discussed and voted upon first. Chairman Reeves read a statement and then asked the other MAC council members for their comments. He then opened the topic for public comment and discussion. The MAC council voted 4-0 against annexation with the public’s support. The Salida MAC council and members of the community requested that Stanislaus County District 3 Supervisor, Terry Withrow, support the position. Salida MAC’s vote and Supervisor Withrow’s decision to support the Salida MAC vote were covered by several local media outlets:
Salida leaders vote against annexation plans” – KCRA 3 – Feb 27, 2013
Salida advisory council rejects Modesto annexation plan” – The Modesto Bee – Feb 27, 2013
Modesto’s Salida annexation proposal gains a foe in Supervisor Withrow” – The Modesto Bee – Mar 1, 2013

Salida Postmaster Report – Salida Postmaster, John Paul Cabral, reported that there had been 90 mailboxes broken into in the area, 14 of which are in Salida. Postmaster Cabral asked that Salida residents please pull their mail from the mailboxes because there are gangs coming in from Modesto targeting Salida’s mailboxes. The Stanislaus County Sheriff has made two arrests so far. Thanks to an alert postal clerk at the Salida Post Office, a man was arrested who had been robbing post offices.

Salida Fire Department Report – Capt. Greg Bragg reported January’s numbers for Station 12 which ran 164 calls serving two fire management areas: from Dale Road to Ladd comes back in on Kiernan and down the Sisk Road corridor and then everything out to the river. 60% of the 164 calls were for EMS. They also provide services in other station areas.

Salida Fire Administration building used for training and
scheduled to be demolished.

The old Salida Fire Administration building has been sold for demolition due to the widening of the Kiernan interchange and is being utilized for training.

Stansilaus County Sheriff Report – Stansilaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson reported that the Sheriff’s Department is not facing any more cuts and is hiring for the first time in more than three and a half years. There are sixteen recruits in the academy and the Sheriff is building jail bed infrastructure and a Coroner’s facility. Sheriff Christianson introduced Deputy Lloyd McKinnon from the Crime Reduction Team who said, “The Team would be in Salida a lot this week, but you’re not going to see us.” Deputy McKinnon also reported that robberies are down 33%, aggravated assaults are up 67%, burgulary is up 8%, larceny is up 12%, auto theft is a big zero, homicide zero and rape is zero.

Salida Sanitary Report – Salida Sanitary Board member Brad Johnson shared a photo of one of the two robots at the Sanitary District.

City of Modesto Water Division Report – Dennis Turner, Director of Public Works for the City of Modesto stated that the water well that had been shut down for contamination was well #281 which is right across the street from the Salida Library. On December 5, 2012, a routine yearly sample was taken on well #281 and the sample showed higher than acceptable nitrate levels. The results were conveyed to city staff on December 6 and the procedure should have been to resample the well immediately, and that was not done. Staff discovered the error when they did a monthly report on January 8, 2013 and promptly shut the well down which is procedure. From December 5 to January 8th, well #281 ran for one hour a day contributing water into the Salida system. The department collects 585 samples in the Salida system every year. Well #281 contributed about 11% during that time period. Well #281 is the smallest well of the eight wells that serve the community of Salida and its water mixes with other sources to meet all of the demands for the Salida community. The City of Modesto is working with the State Department of Health to ensure this never happens again. New procedures have been put in place. Well #281 will remain offline until a treatment is decided upon to remove the nitrates.

Following are answers to some of the questions asked during the Q&A. Answers were provided by Dennis Turner.

The allowable limit for nitrates is 45 ppm (parts per million) and the well tested at 68 ppm.

Modesto plans to install water lines on the new Highway 99 overcrossings and large water storage tanks in North Modesto which will also serve Salida’s water system. The water tanks will not be installed until hydraulic models demonstrate the need.

The City of Modesto is required at all times to maintain a certain water pressure to maintain fire services. The system that monitors the pressure is not manned 24 hours a day so residents should call the City of Modesto Water Department if they detect a dramatic drop in water pressure, or detect any odd colors or smell in the water.

Public Works Department Report – Gary Hayward submitted an announcement about the work on the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Broadway will be closed for this work on March 4. The Kiernan RR crossing is tentatively scheduled for closure Mar 18-21.

The rough section of road on north Pirrone is scheduled for resurfacing and work should be completed in late April/early May.

Public Works is co-oping with the Parks Department on budgeting for a fix on the mile section of sidewalks on Pirrone west of Sisk. When the plan is determined, Salida MAC will view it.

The sound wall that was run into by a vehicle on Whitestone Way has been repaired.

Nick W. Blom Salida Regional Library Report – Branch Manager Diane Bartlett reported that on Saturday, March 1, 2013 there will be a celebration of Dr. Suess’ birthday and “Read Across America” with story and craft in the Storytime Room.  On March 23, ‘Paver Painting’ will be at the Salida Library where you can paint stone paver ladybugs, turtles, and bunnies. This program will be held from 1-3 pm and is open to all ages.

Friends of the Library Annual Book Sale held March 7 from 10 am – 5 pm and March 9 from 10 am – 3 pm.

March 22 & 23 – the Stanislaus County will hold a mobile hazardous waste collection in the library’s parking lot from 9-1 pm.

Love Salida“will be held April 27. Geary Oreglia at Salida’s Kountry Kitchen is looking for opportunities within the community. One of the project’s will be held at the library from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm.

Supervisor District 3 Report – Supervisor Withrow shared that the ‘DRC’ (Day Reporting Center) for probationers located on Broadway will be out of Salida by the end of March. The DRC is moving to downtown Modesto.

NEXT MEETING: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 7 pm at the Nick W. Blom Salida Regional Library Community Room, 4835 Sisk Road, Salida. Featured presenters are Stanislaus Council of Governments (StanCOG) and Stanislaus County Parks Division.

Salida MAC meetings are broadcast on government cable channel 19 in Salida and channel 7 in Modesto on Saturdays at 11 am.

Be sure to “LIKE” Salida MAC on Facebook and follow on Twitter to keep apprised of the latest information about Salida.

 

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.)

During Modesto’s State of the City address Marsh Declares WAR on SALIDA, and the response of a few Salidans,  Stage 2 on the Cat Killer Ordinance, a recap of the Modesto City Council meeting, the politics and challenges behind getting a city ordinance passed, Lower TIN CUP limits, this and much more Wednesday night at 7:00 PM.

Mayor’s State of the City Speech soc2013EOM 

104.9 FM our Flag Ship Station

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

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/centralvalleyhornet/2013/02/07/whats-on-americas-mind-with-emerson-drake

Salida MAC Meeting Tuesday at 7:00PM

A montage I (Valente Q.C.) made with pictures ...

REMINDER: The Salida Municipal Advisory Council meeting is Tuesday, January 29th at 7 pm @ the Salida Library Community Room. Modesto Mayor Garrad Marsh and Councilman Dave Cogdill plan to attend because they want your questions about Modesto’s potential annexation of Salida. Please plan to attend and bring your family, friends and neighbors. — at the  Salida Library.

Attitudes are welcome, tar and feathers are optional…(metaphorically speaking, of course.)

News Last Week in Modesto – What You Haven’t Read Anywhere Else

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

By Emerson Drake

Former SCAP Director Appointment to Housing Committee Delayed but NOT Cancelled

On Tuesday the City Council came within moments of voting former Director of  SCAP Frank Ploof, onto Modesto’s Citizen Housing and Community Development Committee.  Mr. Ploof only served for two months as a Director on SCAP’s Board according to Julie Hannon.  Our concern is the ongoing relationship that developed between Daryl Fair, who was the President of the SCAP Board during the worst of the excesses, and who recruited Ploof for SCAP and  the Renaissance Center.  They continued to have an incestuous relationship with SCAP and the organization they billed as a nonprofit, the Renaissance Center.  Fair was the Executive Director and Ploof was a “case manager” and SCAP was paying the rent for the building on “D” street where the pseudo nonprofit was located.

Incredible as it sounds the Finance Committee met according to Julie Hannon, in November to interview eight candidates and choose Ploof. Interesting, since the City website shows the November and December meetings of the Finance Committee being cancelled.  Ms. Hannon told us Councilwoman Stephanie Burnside and Councilman David Cogdill Jr. were the ones interviewing the candidates.

While Mr. Ploof seems like a nice enough man, his relationship with Daryl Fair is a cause of major concern when it comes to Modesto’s Housing Committee.  And we have to wonder about the reasons J. David Wright is buzzing like a bee from councilperson to councilperson promoting Mr. Fair and his search for money to open a homeless drop in center.  It should also be noted J. David Wright was one of Modesto’s larger contributors to local Council races.  Why is Mr. Wright involved with people fronting for phony nonprofits?

After sitting in with the Finance Committee interviewing candidates for the planning Commission and the Board of Zoning adjustment and hearing the probing questioning, I’m surprised Ploof slipped through.  Though in all fairness it should be pointed out Ploof omitted disclosing the SCAP position from his questionnaire. And since City Manager Greg Nyhoff failed to document his investigation, or lack there of,  into the SCAP debacle, the Council members would have to be paying attention to the media to have known. Councilman Lopez asked for this appointment to be delayed and the rest of the council agreed and it was sent back to committee.

We have no doubt with seven others to choose from the Committee can find another capable candidate.

Mayor Marsh Wants Salida Ad Hock Committee to Meet Without the Public Being Present

The Mayor finally admitted having received the “Draft” of the Goodwin Study on the Salida annexation.  He had a meeting scheduled for this week and had staff relay to the public “Stay Home, you’re not invited.”  This is a major concern. Fortunately Supervisor Withrow had already given me an invitation.  When the Mayor was made aware of this he promptly cancelled the meeting.  Eventually it was rescheduled for Jan. 28,2013, but civilian member Thomas Reeves cancelled it, since the politicos were refusing to share the Goodwin report with the rest of the committee members.  I felt it was necessary and went to the Board of Supervisors and to the City Council to protest the Mayor’s actions.  Surprisingly the local print media failed to share this information with the citizens of Modesto or Salida.  Nothing like the third estate allowing games like these to be played. 

The bottom line is,  why the secrecy?

It’s only Money – OURS..!   $17,000 Extra for Soccer Fields

On December 4,2012, Item #16, with the consent of the council Staff pulled back the bids of the synthetic turf for the three soccer fields at Mary Grogen Park saying they had written the bid so poorly they only received a bid from one company which they said wasn’t competitive. On Tuesday they accepted a bid for $17,000 dollars more than the bid in December.  There were questions about the bidding process regarding the City not stating the way the bid was going to be judged. But this time staff didn’t care about the challenge made during the meeting, concerning the bid process, which was flawed or the fact it cost Modesto more money.  But what the heck it was only $17,000 out of Village One’s pocket-book right?    Huh?

Lower TIN CUP Limits Passes Committee and is Sent to Staff – Will Come Back in March

Something we’ve been trying to accomplish for several years is to lower the amount people can contribute to a candidate before  the now elected official has to step back or recuse themselves and not vote for an item brought forward by their contributor.  In Modesto this ordinance is called the TIN CUP or Time Is Now to Clean Up Politics.  The current amount is $3,000 dollars to all candidates and the new levels, if passed, will be $1,000 for council races and $2,000 for mayoral races.  Councilman David Geer and Councilman John Gunderson voted for the lowering of the limits and Councilman Dave Lopez voted against the proposal. Remember anyone one can continue to contribute any amount they choose but the candidate can’t vote for a proposal if the upper limit is passed.  This should help level the playing field for the average citizens. I hope people will call their council representatives and request they support the new levels. 

 After all,  does anyone think we need more money in politics?

To learn more about the Renaissance Center, “the nonprofit that wasn’t,”  go to our older archive location http://www.eyeonmodesto.blogspot.com/2011/11/renaissance-community-services-non.html

Politics and the Salida Ad Hoc Committee

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

By Emerson Drake

When Mayor Marsh and Supervisor Withrow got together and decided to create the Salida Annexation Ad Hoc Committee I immediately became concerned.  Ad hoc committees by definition aren’t legally bound by Brown Act rules. This means they can meet without a publicized agenda and they can meet out of the public’s eye (no pun intended) .   In Modesto our recent ad hoc committee of concern was tha Blue Ribbon Commission on the Homeless.  After going in front of the City Council we were assured, by Mayor Ridenour,  the committee would act as if  under Brown Act guidelines despite the secrecy requested by some of the appointed members.

I appeared in front of both the Board of Supervisors (BoS) and the Modesto City Council and expressed concern and believed everything would be above-board and fully disclosed with public involvement.  The BoS followed through with openness.  Leading the way were Supervisor Terry Withrow and CEO Monica Nino.  I believed at the time Modesto’s Mayor Garrad Marsh was operating along the same lines. 

I was completely mistaken.

Before the City started the Christmas Holiday furlough I called the Mayor’s office and asked to be notified of the next Salida ad hoc meeting date (they had already met once without notifying the public). According to City manager Greg Nyhoff, the City and County received the “draft” Goodwin report on Wednesday 1/2/13.  On Thursday 1/3/13, I received a call from Kathy Espinoza from the Mayor’s office saying the ad hoc committee would be meeting on January 10th. Ms. Espinoza made it very clear the Mayor was not going to allow the public to attend saying she had been in touch with the City Attorney’s office and they explained to her the ad hoc committee wasn’t required by law to adhere to the Brown Act and she conveyed to me the Mayor had no intention in following the Brown Act.

The intrigue

Prior to Ms. Espinoza calling I had received a call from Kacey Smith in Supervisors Withrow’s office extending an invitation to me from Supervisor Withrow to the upcoming meeting and informing me of the time and place. I relayed this to Ms. Espinoza to her chagrin. She explained how Modesto had several ad hoc committees which didn’t allow the public to attend. I asked her the names of current ones and her memory failed her, but she stood her ground saying there were some.

On Friday morning at 11:35 I received an email from Ms. Smith from the Supervisor’s office saying the meeting had been postponed until Jan.28th at 3:00PM on the sixth floor of the City/County building.  This is just one day before the scheduled Salida MAC meeting on Jan.29th at 7:00PM at the Salida library where Mayor Marsh and Supervisor Withrow are on the agenda to speak to those assembled regarding the potential annexation.

Since the Mayor had already received the Goodwin “draft” report when he had Ms. Espinoza call me regarding the ad hoc meeting  you have to wonder why the meeting was postponed.  The only thing that changed was Mayor Marsh learning the public had been invited to attend the meeting.  Why does he feel the need for secrecy?  Why, after saying his administration would insist on transparency,  is he invoking his own personal “cone of silence” over the proceedings?  What doesn’t he want the general public to know or ask?

Open and Transparent or Political Favoritism

Why is the Mayor running from a comparison between his standing in front of LAFCO and basically giving away City services at our expense by saying new businesses moving into the Beard Industrial Tract won’t have to sign a waiver allowing them to be annexed into the city while INSISTING on a knock down drag out fight to bring Salida into Modesto?

Why is it good for business NOT to have to be annexed by Modesto in the Beard Tract while it’s good for business in Salida to be annexed?

We’ll be expressing our concern to both the County Board and the City Council next week at their PUBLIC meetings.  Hopefully the other members of Modesto’s City Council will persuade the Mayor to conduct business in the full view of the public and not behind closed doors.  A public records request has been sent to discover how many more if any committees are ad hoc and conducting City business out of the public’s view.

If you want to hear the Mayor’s comments from his last town hall meeting regarding the annexation they’ll be on Monday night at 6:00PM 1/7 on Comcast 15 or the Assyrian channel on any cable network in the valley  or you can listen to the streaming video here http://www.betnahrain.org/KBSV/kbsv.htm 

As an aside, did I mention the Mayor’s office didn’t call me to say the meeting was rescheduled?  I wonder why?

Apologies to Ms. Espinoza for the now corrected, unintentional, misspelling of her name.

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