Listeners to Bay Area radio stations frequently hear advertisements for a massive Lathrop residential project called “River Islands.” The advertisements tout home construction by a group of award-winning homebuilders on secluded islands in the San Joaquin River Delta. The ads go on to boast six restaurants to serve residents, one new fire station and a new police station, as well as a plethora of recreational activities. Ads rarely live up to […]
Frohman: Fix Modesto’s Three Can Catastrophe Now
Modesto Mayor Sue Zwahlen recently advised a disgruntled citizen that the city’s new three-can collection program for garbage waste is only a six-month “pilot program.” While most pilot programs are tested in small areas of town, the Modesto City Council implemented the garbage collection experiment throughout the city, formulating rules with minimal citizen input. Now, the consequences of their dubious decisions have affected the entire city. At the end of […]
Is Modesto’s New Blue Can Worth the Trouble?
For Modesto residents, the New Year is already more troublesome and more expensive, and it’s only just begun. The new one percent sales tax increase and higher garbage collection rates are bad enough. Then there’s the new recycling program and its complicated disposal system. As the city’s website says, all residences must have three large waste cans — blue, black, and green — even though they may have space enough […]
Two Views of Modesto’s Proposed Sales Tax Increase
Former Modesto City Councilmember Bruce Frohman always offers thoughtful analysis on issues involving local government. Below, he argues against Measure H, Modesto’s proposed sales tax increase. Following Bruce’s argument, The Valley Citizen presents its own argument in favor of Measure H. Ever since Proposition 13 passed in 1978, cities throughout California have seen their budgets shrink via inflation. While total dollars in Modesto’s annual budget have swelled from about $200 […]
Valley Drivers Ripped Off by Big Oil — Electric Costs to Rise
Former Modesto City Councilmember Bruce Frohman earned a reputation as a zealous defender of taxpayer dollars when he was in office. He’s still careful with his hard-earned dollars. Like many of us, he’s incensed that oil companies are making huge profits while many of us struggle with rising gas prices. ed As I write this, I am away on business in Colorado. During my trip, I am noticing gasoline prices […]
Raise Taxes? City Residents are Already Taxed Twice
Ever since the Dick Lang administration of the 1990’s, Modesto City Government has been perpetually broke. Subsequent city leaders have had very little discretionary money with which to operate. The present city council is considering whether to ask voters to approve a special sales tax within Modesto to alleviate ongoing budget shortfalls. To decide whether approval of a new sales tax increase is warranted, voters need to understand how Modesto […]
New Home Projects Add to Homeless Problem
Logically, new home construction should help reduce homelessness in Stanislaus County. This is not what is happening. With few exceptions, lower income people in Stanislaus County have been priced out of housing and rental markets. When new single-family homes sell for over $400,000 and apartments are not being built, the majority of new home buyers in Stanislaus County most likely will come from the Bay Area. Given higher housing prices there, Modesto’s new […]
Is Economic Success in Stanislaus County Unattainable? Part II
Perhaps the best economic news for Stanislaus County in the past 20 years has been the present supply chain problems and product shortages experienced nationwide. Given that educational levels in the county in general are well suited for manufacturing jobs, plus the realization by industrialists that the best business model may be a shorter supply chain, manufacturing might return to the San Joaquin Valley and provide new jobs. The number […]
Stanislaus 2030: Booming Economy or Unattainable Dream?
About every ten years, there is a significant turnover of leaders in Stanislaus County. Each newly elected group lacks the institutional memory of departing incumbents. High staff turnover within city and county government makes understanding what the departing group planned difficult. City managers come and go like shoppers through a revolving door. New leaders often choose to change direction. With the loss of institutional memory, new officeholders tend to make the […]
Are Water Sales Delaying Development of Alternative Sources?
If one wants to know how bad a drought is, ask someone whose business it is to plumb the water table and test the effectiveness of wells and pumps. A gentleman in the business told this writer that he is busier than ever. Businesses that rely on well water need to keep the water flowing. Wells need testing to make sure they don’t go dry and to check pumps for […]