Tuesday, August 5, 2014

John Gunderson Salida Facebook post #3 and my reply

Read first: John Gunderson Salida Facebook post #2 and my reply

Modesto City Councilman John Gunderson sent the following message to his Facebook friends along with a link to his latest note on Salida:

  • Conversation started Saturday
  • John Gunderson
    John Gunderson

    The following article was in last Sunday's Bee. After so much angst, misinformation and misunderstanding I felt that some truths need to be brought out. Modesto's and surrounds problems are because of poor planning and previous board of supervisors' lack of understanding of what the future may bring. https://www.facebook.com/notes/john-gunderson/clear-thinking-on-salida-needed/696004827136112
  • Clear Thinking on Salida Needed

    Now that we are past the recall effort, a chance for a real understanding may be possible.  I would like to mull over the "annexation" issue of Salida as it seems to be persistent and not clearly thought out by many.  Can only address it with the notes I have gathered, but some accuracy of the situation has been acquired.

    First off, the City of Modesto is not the enemy.  True there has been some discussion between County and City about annexation with County offering ~$2 million per annum to be reduced over time.  Appears to be conceptual as no progress has been made in that direction.  The majority of Council feels that it is still a possibility.  I don't like it because of the gambling notion that development will occur as County payments are reduced.  Sweet deal for County but not so certain for Modesto.  I will never support annexation unless that basic concern was addressed properly and revenues realistically support services.  Development will not occur anyway unless the numbers work for the investors, not there yet.  Annexation cannot happen without a vote by Salidans, hasn't been any talk about that yet.

    There are numbers that must be considered by the public entities as well.  The Salida MAC (municipal advisory council) is trying for incorporation.  A City of Salida conceptually would be subsidized at 34% of the County's share of property tax for the existing Salida TPA (town planning area).  County normally keeps approxamately 9.13% of property taxes collected by my calculations.  I do not know how long this "subsidy" would last or how the existing services would be funded.  Regardless, development would be necessary for Salida to have any degree of independence.  Development around Salida means encroachment on farmland.  By the way, Modesto received 50% of what would be a city's share from County when we annexed Shackleford. This is insufficient and should not be the formula for future annexations.

    Much of our property tax (59.14%) goes towards education versus 41.685% for San Joaquin County.  This is State mandated and not at all flexible unless the State wants it to be (not happening).  I think it would be helpful if County posted online very clearly where our tax dollars go, with expandable pie charts and detailed explanation clear enough for anyone to understand.  This would be a good move for transparency and I think we as taxpayers deserve that.

    Our County has some serious issues with property tax distribution that hinders meaningful progress.  First off, the shares of the property tax "pie" for Stanislaus County and the cities within are among the lowest in the state.  I had gathered property tax info from the State and County and came up with the 9.13% for County that was already mentioned and there is a 5.26% share for the cities (14.39% total).  Compare that to San Joaquin's 14.88% and their cities' 8.18% (23.06%) and one can see some disparity.  This is one factor that works against Salida and works against the County islands within Modesto as well.  Another problem is that new or existing development within any unincorporated tracts will never be able to collect a city share of the property taxes unless County gives up some of its share.  This applies to Salida as well as Modesto's County islands.  If these impediments could be changed, a lot could be done to put our house in order and I definitely would not want it being done at our County's expense.  May be the only way forward though.  Change the percentages to something realistic and remove the exclusion for a city's share in newly annexed/incorporated areas and you would see a realistically viable City of Salida.  A rennaisance would be very possible, something worth dreaming about.

    As things are with the mantra being "nothing with the State will change", I would much prefer resources going towards solving the County islands within Modesto issue rather than using them for incorporating Salida.  Has much to do with health, public safety and quality of life for the people living in those County pockets.  Salida looks fine as it is, however if they wish to organize busloads to protest the situation at the Capitol steps I would gladly go along and add my voice along with a picket sign.  Beats turning on each other and placing the blame where it belongs makes much more sense than what we have been going through.

    I think Stanislaus County and Modesto deserves better.  If we tried, put some effort into it... the revenue issue could improve.  It's about what's fair.  Stanislaus County isn't what it was in 1978 (negative bailout, AB 8) and the contribution we make for education proportionally is 17.46% more than what San Joaquin County has to bear. Make the wheel squeaky enough and maybe something can be done.                    
    LikeLike ·  · 


My reply which was published in the Modesto Bee on Sunday, August 3, 2014, titled:

"Katherine Borges: Not Salida's enemy? Funny way of showing it"

Just after taking office, Modesto Mayor Garrad Marsh announced his intent to annex Salida. Something baffling then and to this day, is why Salida residents weren’t asked first whether they wanted to be annexed to Modesto?
Unlike other unincorporated county areas such as Shackleford, Salida residents have never asked to be annexed into Modesto. On the contrary, Salida fought off Modesto’s last annexation attempt in 1996.
Why would Mayor Marsh think the situation had changed in the ensuing 16 years?
Councilman John Gunderson’s opinion piece in last Sunday’s Bee (“Clear thinking needed on Salida annexation,” Page D3) does nothing but add to the agenda-driven propaganda espoused by Modesto council members about Salida. He opens with “First, the city of Modesto is not Salida’s enemy,” then in the same paragraph says “but the majority of the Modesto City Council feels (annexation) is still a possibility.”
Over the past 2 1/2 years, Salidans have resoundingly spoken against annexation at public meetings and in the media. The Salida Municipal Advisory Council voted against annexation in February 2013. This position is supported by the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors. Regardless, the city council voted against its own planning commission’s recommendation to remove Salida from the general plan.
How does voting in favor of an opposed annexation say Modesto is not Salida’s enemy?
When the city of Modesto purchased the Del Este water system, which serviced Salida in the mid-1990s, it issued a “will not serve” notice for new development in Salida, except on one condition: they will supply water if they get to annex the land. That’s right, Modesto uses water as extortion to annex Salida’s land. The Kaiser and Costco parcels used to be part of Salida’s tax base. Modesto even refused to supply water to a Modesto City Schools campus on land designated for Salida: Gregori High School. The school district was forced to dig its own well.
How does water extortion say Modesto is not Salida’s enemy?
Several statements in Councilman Gunderson’s piece require correction: The county has not offered $2 million per year for Modesto to annex Salida. As far as the county is concerned, Salida is off the table. Councilman Gunderson has also been corrected before on the property tax sharing numbers; the future city of Salida would get 30 percent, not 34 percent. Thirty percent is what the other nine cities in the county receive. The reason Modesto received 50 percent in the Shackleford annexation is due to it being a residential area without a retail tax base to offset the city’s costs for infrastructure. Yet Councilman Gunderson refers to 50 percent as “insufficient and should not be the formula for future annexations.”
How does asking for more of Salida’s property tax pie say Modesto is not Salida’s enemy?
Keep in mind that no one has ever applied to incorporate Salida as a city. If no one has ever tried, how does anyone know whether or not it can be done?
Despite this, Councilman Gunderson states “development would be necessary for Salida to have any degree of independence” which is not necessarily the case, since there are cities such as Waterford that operate on a smaller tax base than Salida’s. As for “development around Salida means encroachment on farmland,” why do you think Salida ended up in Modesto’s annexation cross-hairs to begin with? Modesto wants to develop the farmland on the Kiernan Corridor.
How does the hypocrisy of saying Modesto should develop the land but Salida would be “encroaching” say Modesto is not Salida’s enemy?
In the annals of Stanislaus County, its unlikely that a city has treated a neighboring community as shabbily as Modesto has treated Salida (with the exception of Wood Colony, perhaps) in just the past 20 years.
Modesto’s first step toward “clear thinking” on Salida should not be an offer to organize a tax protest at the Capitol. Removing Salida from Modesto’s general plan, stopping further annexation attempts, and ending water extortion would truly say Modesto is not Salida’s enemy.


  • Emerson Drake ·  Top Commenter · Modesto, California
    Fantastic article Katherine. Hit them with Salida's best weapon, the TRUTH.

    • Sarah Cromwell
      Great job Katherine Borges!

      • Duane Spyksma
        Nothing says it better than the truth. The past reflects the future. Modesto is upset because they don't know what to do when people stand for the truth and see through the smoke screen they are trying to put up. Remember the Mayor Marsh saying " We don't have all of the facts." That is ok for them to think that. We have more facts than Modesto Mayor thinks we have. Just another attempted Smoke Screen. The Mayor and the rest of the council needs to know that people are smarter than the council gives credit.

        • Amanda Sorenson ·  Top Commenter
          Modesto thinks it is Russia and Salida is Crimea and they can just come in and try to annex us. They are wrong. Salida will continue to fight annexation. Remember, councilman Gunderson had a painting made of him in the likeness of Joseph Stalin and said he would have no problem putting it up in his classroom. Is this the kind of person we should allow to teach children and make important decisions for Modesto?

          • John Walker ·  Top Commenter · Software Engineer Air Traffic Management Research and Development at UCSC
            Great piece of writing Katherine. As it always be the case with our City Council and Mayor, decisions seem to be about how to take what is our economic base that is Agriculture and turn it into a warehouse district. We do not need Salida or Wood Colony to make our city better. What we need is more organic growth based on small and medium business. The idea that a $9 - $12 an hour warehouse job fixes our problems is ridiculous. That implies there is something to do in a warehouse which is also a red herring argument. Will they listen? Have not seen any proof of that. Council Member Gunderson still thinks he is the smartest guy in the room, and the Mayor is hopefully going back to running a bowling alley in the near future.

            • John Gunderson ·  Top Commenter · Councilman at City of Modesto - City Hall
              #1 Catherine Borges own email said she was expecting 34% from the County #2 there was talk early on when I joined Council of County offering $2 mil if Modesto were to annex Salida. It was just talk. #3 Modesto is not obligated to supply water and sewer to new development in Salida, that water needs to go to development within Modesto. That makes Modesto an enemy? Salida could remain as is under the County much like Denair. Mayor Marsh voted to take Salida out of the General Plan as did I. Believe it was Jenny Kenoyer who did as well. The vote was the same when I moved for another attempt to remove. For Ms Borges to say the Mayor wants to annex Salida is not true. There has been no Salida residents' vote on annexation for Salida, so Ms Borges is correct in saying they were never asked. No annexation or moving it into the sphere of influence has been attempted with a ballot measure. Never got that far, it's just a conceptual color on a map. Not enough to get excited about. All this energy being expended by Borges & Co. would be better spent trying to correct the property tax distribution formulas at the State level. That would be of benefit to all of the County and cities. I stand firmly on my statement "fix the County islands (within Modesto) before incorporating Salida". I am hopeful that Modestans will contact our supervisors and remind them that some issues are more urgent than others.

              • Katherine Borges ·  Top Commenter · Salida, California
                Regarding #1: What my e-mail said was, "Also, if you're going to quote me, you should go back and re-read my e-mail so you get your facts straight because this is what I wrote to you:

                "If you read the 1996 Master Property Tax Sharing Agreement and its later amendments you will find that when a city annexes an island in, the property tax the city will receive is 34%. However, Salida is excluded in that agreement and thus, would be negotiated separately."

                #2: Its difficult to corroborate gossip, but I doubt the county would want to shaft themselves like that selling Salida down the river to Modesto for a mere $2 million per year when Salida currently brings in $4-5 million in tax revenue per year.

                #3: You're absolutely right that the city has no obligation to supply water to new development in Salida. But how about not extorting land and allow Salida to become a water customer? Its pretty darn irritating to sit in council meeting after council meeting watching the council approve "out-of-boundary water service agreements" for other areas but you use water to extort land from us. How about doing the right thing for once? And Steve Goldstein adequately addressed the mayoral part.

                If its just a "conceptual color on a map" then how about removing that concept? Why leave it if you're against it? Why are YOU expending energy by writing about Salida in the first place?

                If you have an issue with property tax distribution formulas, then have at it, but its not my calling.

                I agree that some county islands could use "fixing" but that's not dependent on whether or not Salida incorporates. And is irrelevant to Modesto annexing Salida because that will NEVER HAPPEN.

            • Steve Goldstein · President at The Spa Doctor
              Really? You said, "For Ms. Borges to say the Mayor wants to annex Salida is not true.". what planet are you living on? Here, I will give you the quote from HIS mouth....... ""We need to explore the annexation of Salida,"........."The Salida Plan area holds the best long-term potential for quality job-producing business and industries."......"This is a vision that needs to begin now,".

              Here;s the link: http://www.modbee.com/2012/03/28/2133555/modesto-mayor-its-time-to-annex.html#storylink=cpy.

              Keep spinning.. keep deflecting... keep distracting people from the truth.

            • Athens Abell · Creator/Producer at Home Grown Highways
              This is what Mayor Marsh said *before* he was elected, while campaigning for the Mayoral seat. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXTMIYJNgIo

            • Helder Garcia ·  Top Commenter · 
              Great letter Katherine!

              • Emerson Drake ·  Top Commenter · Modesto, California
                What we have that passes for City Councilpersons in Modesto is just pathetic. Gunderson doesn't represent his constituency in regards to Salida and Wood Colony. He went so far as to block individuals who disagreed with his political positions on facebook and then comes to the Bee figuring they would not only NOT see his rants but also wouldn't be able to call him out on his lies no matter how politely they do it. In his hubris he misrepresented what Katherine Borges had written and thought he could get away with it. Almost needless to say, she set him straight. If you want to be in control you should stick to your treehouse antics... Then again that didn't go so well for you did it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCtXOUCIz2U

                • John Gunderson ·  Top Commenter · Councilman at City of Modesto - City Hall
                  Catherine Borges sez: "When the city of Modesto purchased the Del Este water system, which serviced Salida in the mid-1990s, it issued a “will not serve” notice for new development in Salida, except on one condition: they will supply water if they get to annex the land. That’s right, Modesto uses water as extortion to annex Salida’s land." My question immediately was "What Modesto Council in their right minds would allow Modesto's water and sewer service to be used for new development in an unincorporated or municipal Salida?" It would be very illogical for a municipality to do this. Dream on Catherine Borges... Modesto's utilities are not the path to incorporation, believe the Board of Supervisors knows this.

                  • Katherine Borges ·  Top Commenter · Salida, California
                    You said it exactly right Mr. Gunderson, 'What council in their right minds.." because your council is obviously NOT in their 'right minds". Are you trying to say that when Turlock has new development, you deny them water service? Or Del Rio? Or Waterford? All are on the former Del Este system too. If you were in you're "right mind" you wouldn't view new water customers as an illogical prospect. And we don't need your sewer service, we have our own and its better than yours. Unlike yours, we don't have fines for sewage overflows. Your posts don't do anything to further prove "Modesto is not Salida's enemy" now do they?

                • Mary Kathryn Smalley ·  Top Commenter · Chabot College Hayward
                  Great article Katherine. Bang, Bang, Bang, you hit the nail on the head with each paragraph.

                Read more here: http://www.modbee.com/2014/08/02/3466937/katherine-borges-not-salidas-enemy.html?sp=/99/1641/1642/#storylink=cpy

                No comments:

                Post a Comment