Monday, April 15, 2013 at 6:00 PM a Public Workshop is going to be held at Davis High School’s “Little Theater”
regarding the General Plan Amendment. The whole point of the workshop supposedly is to find out what the COMMUNITY/CITIZENS of Modesto really want to see our city evolve into and where to focus growth. The Mayor and City Council sat down with staff and the maps show the result of their conversations. Unfortunately many of these staff members have become representatives of our developer driven council. The last time the General Plan was extensively revised was by a developer driven city council in 1995. As we have seen in recent council votes, we again have a developer driven and controlled council. I know I used developer driven council three times in the last three sentences, but those are the facts, it was true than and its true now. You don’t have to take my word for it check the campaign donation lists available on the city website(except for those they have removed and you have to make an appointment to see) and see for yourself who the majority of the $1,000 donations came from.
A sentence straight out of the meeting flyer explains much if you read between the lines. “Broad public participation will help ensure that the amended plan reflects the community’s preferences and values to the maximum extent possible.” If it’s really the public’s plan why wouldn’t it reflect the public’s values COMPLETELY? Could it be because special interests groups come first in Modesto?
When I asked the council at a recent meeting why the workshops are being held on Monday nights if the really want public participation? And several council members just smiled. Monday night’s are traditionally the hardest time to get people to venture out of their homes. In addition General Manager Gregg Nyhoff announced he was going to spend $25,000 on a phone survey since only 80 people came out to participate at similar workshops on a different topic.
I have been trying since early Thursday to get details on how the phone numbers for this phone poll will be chosen. This story was written on Sunday and so far no response. My question originated after I read an article stating in 2006 only 10% of homes were without land-lines using cells instead. In 2010 that number had increased to 25% and a 2013 survey showed 51.7% of homes don’t use land-lines and rely on cellular phones. So where are those poll phone numbers coming from?
It gets worse when you look at the percentages of young professionals and middle and lower-income people who use ONLY cellular phones. Now if we were to examine the rates of developers and real estate agents who use land-lines the numbers obviously skew towards 100 percent. So who will be better represented by the phone poll, taxpaying citizens or developers?
At the first workshop developers, real estate agents, and lobbyists, were out in force and we expect they will, like rats, multiply for the Monday night’s second workshop. This series of meetings will effect you if you live in or around Modesto, yes Salida that includes you too. So if you want any chance at all to effect zoning, growth patterns, guide development to particular areas, have questions, or just want to have your say, Monday night 4/15/13 at 6:00 PM be at Grace Davis High School’s “Little Theater” next to the tennis courts (East side) 1200 West Rumble Road.
Mark your Calendars and Come on Out to the General Amendment workshop. I’ll see you there.