Accountability & Martian Oppostition

Back in the day, Modesto wanted and eventually got MEASURES “M” AND “N. These were supposed to accomplish a few things, but in specific they were meant to make the City Council more “accountable,” and open. Measure N was to “put more (racial) minorities on the council.” Now that we are six years on, what have these two highly controversial and pushed by the same Chamber that wants Wood Colony and Salida annexed wrought?

It would be hard to argue today that the Modesto City Council is “more accountable” to anyone. Indeed, this particular Council seems more intent on blaming each other, the voters, the good people of Wood Colony and Salida for (by turns) daring to stand up to them and then not showing up to two years worth of meetings where the invasions were allegedly planned in great detail. Blame anybody but them! After last falls scandal of the City Attorney suffering an “ethical” lapse and this weeks audit showing that the Public Works Department is essentially managed by intimidation and fear, a City Manager who not only isn’t standing up and taking responsibility for the failures but IS a finalist for the Manager position in Oxnard (it’s just like Modesto, but with an ocean!), one is forced to wonder – just where is all that accountability and openness?

Measure N’s effect has been less obvious, as whether or not it has “put more minorities on the council” is debatable. Dave Lopez’s win was more about his Union funding and standing with his party than about his ethnicity. And for the 804 people who bothered to vote for Tony Madrigal one has to think that was a contest that somebody had to win regardless of the apparent lack of interest by the people who we were told that they had no other way of getting representation on the Council than by having the least supported candidate who wins more by default than by election. The basic effect of Measure N has been to limit the overall talent pool in favor of slim segmented and discriminatory choice of bad candidates and/or unprepared job seekers who just needed a paycheque.

And all you have to do is look at what we have today on the dais to see it.

On a personal note, back in 2008 I was still pretty new to this business, and for some reason I thought that my job was to support civic measures that claimed to “improve” the City with no objective plan for doing so, nor any measurement system to establish success. I put my name on the list of people who endorsed Measure M (not Measure N) because I had faith in the people who asked me to do so. That was a mistake and an error that I regret, along with a whole lot of other Modeston’s today.  If I could undo it, I would, but I can’t. So I learned from it, and now I look at things with the critical eye of Mozi and I question the basis for any new Measure. You’ll note that I have not been in support of any Measure since then. Nor will you ever see my name on an endorsement list again. If you do, you can be certain that the Candidate or Measure is lying, because I simply won’t do it.

All because of Measure M, which has provided no accountability or openness, only more pay for Councilmembers.

“We’re really pleased the voters saw Measure M as accountability, and we’re grateful for this,” Mayor Jim Ridenour said.

“Future councils have the tools to ensure accountability in government.” (Modesto Bee 2/6/2008)

Speaking of accountability, did you know that Modesto “suspended” its Airport Manager last December? He has subsequently retired, but one has to wonder what is going on out there, when this whole Modesto to LA flight arrangement is based upon “non-binding” pledges to buy tickets? In the meanwhile, Sky West announces that due to “poor performance in the market, THEY ARE DROPPING Modesto to San Francisco flights. In fairness, the SF flights are plagued by the notoriously unreliable SFO, with its fog delays and construction, but if we can’t keep that little commuter hub, how are we going to keep the LA flights?

The Berryhill brothers, one a State Senator and the other “just a dumb farm boy” (his words, not mine), could end up in a real court of law, although I doubt that they want that, over the FPPC fine of $40,000 for laundering money from one campaign to another. I know, the Supreme Court said that they doubt that really happens, but in case you missed it (and you did) THE REPORT FROM THE JUDGE is rather striking. Having read the brothers rebuttal (HERE), there is pretty much no argument that Tom did send $40,000 to the Committee, but he claims that there was no intent to funnel it to his brother Bill’s floundering and desperately short on cash, but local and therefore logical campaign. Just a vague “hope” that the committee would “o the “wise” thing.

Over on my website, we have a pretty GOOD DISCUSSION GOING on about Congressman Denham’s HR 2377, otherwise known as the Illegal Immigrant Enlistment Act. One of the points made was that Congressman Denham seems to be dismissive of the opinion of anyone who “has not served” in the Military. This led to the suggestion that everyone should serve n some capacity, but while I am not convinced of that, you can head on over there and let us know what you think too!

And just an aside, if you went outside last night and looked up to the southeast, you would have seen THE PLANET MARS at it’s brightest since 2007. It was beautiful and sharing it with the love of my life who like to look at the stars as much as I do was the perfect end to the day. It happens again tonight, you might want to spend a few minutes outside taking in the beauty of the COSMOS…


Posted on April 8, 2014, in News & Notes and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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