Earlier this month, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) unveiled a new design for the 132 West Freeway Project. The project has a new manager, and all new staff. Most of the previous management personnel involved in the project are retired. The latest iteration of the project is basically the same as the original design considered in 2014. According to Grace Magsayo, the new project manager, the primary change is a […]
Jeff Denham Weasels on Ethics
Stanislaus County Congressman Jeff Denham is the consummate politician; he keeps his constituents informed only about what he wants them to know. When telling folks only what they want to hear, he conceals his support for decisions that hurt his constituents. One important but little-known fact about Congressman Denham is his obstruction of economic development within his district. It’s a subject he dodges, just as he dodges other issues that might undermine […]
Water: “A Pox upon Them All,” says Bruce Frohman
Even though Stanislaus County has suffered only 5 years of drought, citizens of Modesto have been under some form of water rationing for over 20 years. We are permitted to water our yards once a week in winter and twice a week in summer. Many of us allow our lawns to die each summer in order to conserve water “for the good of the community.” Our level of disgust with local […]
Measure L: Is Taxpayer Money Funding a Tax Increase?
The Stanislaus Council of Governments (STANCOG), a taxpayer funded organization, has sent out three campaign flyers in favor of Measure L, a county-wide ballot proposal that will increase the sales tax by one-half percent for 25 years. While use of taxpayer funds in a campaign is illegal, the council thinks it’s getting around the law by portraying the flyers as “fact sheets.” In reality, they include misleading statements that belong […]
Measure L: Borrow Now, Pay Later
The voter handbook has arrived. Now voters can see what Measure L really is about. In the first paragraph of the handbook’s explanation of Measure L, the text says that local government may issue bonds using anticipated revenue from the one half percent sales tax to build and repair roads. Historically, roads have been funded by a pay-as-you-go system. Under the present system, local government had cash to build or […]
Need a Cop? Get in Line
At the September 29, 2016 Woodland West Neighborhood Association (WWNA) of Modesto meeting, Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christiansen seemed overwhelmed by the law enforcement challenges his department faces. His presentation did not reassure citizens that they live in a safe community. He counseled citizens to keep all doors and windows locked, keep all possessions locked up tight, and install video cameras if one can afford to do so. At the […]
Measure L Will Not Fix Altamont Pass Congestion
Proponents of Measure L have promised just about everything to everyone. Supposedly, it will be a boon to economic growth because it will enable the construction of expressways throughout Stanislaus County. Unfortunately, the biggest transportation barrier to economic growth is congestion on the Altamont Pass. For over ten years, Caltrans has been working on widening the Interstate 580 Corridor. The work has been completed. Chronic congestion previously existed from Santa […]
Backed up Traffic? Why Wait for Measure L?
One of the promises of the proponents of Measure L is to synchronize traffic signals. While the cost to set the signals is minuscule compared to the revenue that would be raised by the measure, failure to synchronize the signals now is the height of government irresponsibility. The cost is so low and the benefit so great that before any roadwork is done, signals should be in sync. When traffic signals are […]
Measure L: A Tax Republicans Favor?
When Modesto Mayor Ted Brandvold ran for office in 2015, he opposed Measure X, which would have increased sales taxes to fund police services. Mayor Brandvold does support Measure L, a one half percent sales tax to fund transportation. A vast majority of the one billion dollars that will be raised over the twenty five year life of the tax increase will go to fund roads. No money will go […]
Measure L: Welcome Bay Area Commuters
Early on, Bruce Frohman realized Measure L was part of a much larger urban development strategy. He authored two arguments against Measure L in the 2016 Stanislaus County voter handbook. We’ve published the first argument here. Below is the rebuttal to arguments in favor of Measure L that will also appear in the 2016 voter handbook (in italics). The rebuttal is followed by a discussion of the ambitious development plan […]