Board chairman dishes out praise…oh my.

TheBackStory

I read with great interest the Modesto Bee article by Ken Carlson regarding the State of the County address given by Board of Supervisors Chairman Vito Chiesa.    A few thoughts on the bullet points of the speech…

The speech was reported to be more upbeat than the one he gave four years ago.  While upbeat is good, it can only reflect positive changes if the negative issues reported to the Citizens four years ago, are addressed as well.

For example, when staff cuts and revenue shortfalls were highlighted four years ago, a specific update would have been appropriate yet were not discussed.  How were revenue shortfalls addressed?  What was the impact of staff cuts over the past four years?  AT LEAST those two issues of concern (and the other worrisome issues reported)

Mentioned as well was a short quip regarding the bringing Stanislaus County back from the drought?   How does this impact current drought measures?   How will this affect the current massive battle by MID to protect our water?

Retiring the General fund debt in the coming year under the dark cloud of pension fund explosions is to put it lightly – optimistic at best.  Call me cynical but so much of this upbeat speech could use some fresh air sunshine.  Dealing with public pensions is going to be extremely painful.

For example, the remarks regarding the Public Private partnership successes – First the Gallo Center Foundation – let’s not forget the $1.2 million per year subsidized by  County tax payer funds.  The Gallo Centeris indeed a grand building – however it did not save downtown, and has fallen far short of what the citizens were promised.

The Center is proclaimed as a success and yet it is rented from the County.  If it is truly operating in the black, why is CEO Lynn Dickerson begging for donations before performances?

The veterans of this county should be very proud of themselves for their 15 years of persistence in demanding something like the Stanislaus Veterans Center – it was their passion and hard work – and NOT the County’s benevolence, but public pressure that made this happen.

Chairman Chiesa dedicated his speech to the memory of sheriff’s deputy Dennis Wallace who was killed in the line of duty in November.   Honoring Deputy Wallace is a good thing, and while the County has been kind to his widow, Mercedes, they have yet to live up to responsibilities of the workers’ compensation claim where Deputy Wallace was referred to as “Limp, Lame and Lazy”.

It is the height of hypocrisy to defame a man publicly, then after his tragic murder let flow the praise (so richly deserved).

More on this in a future article. Hypocrisy, Hypocrite and Hypocrites. – STAY TUNED!

Just a passing comment of Chairmen Chiesa’s comments on putting away “platform shoes and disco pants” went out of style in 1979.

Has the County’s culture really been stagnant for near 40 years?  Explains much…

It is a good thing that the County is finally putting more services online, and I encourage a full-speed ahead approach to these on-line initiatives.

The time has long passed where Citizens expect the County to use technology to bring people to the government and government to the people with as much convenience and transparency as possible.

Chairman Chiesa spoke of the success of the psychiatric services within the Heath Services Agency – I wonder why this was highlighted in the light of $265,000 budget cuts for psychiatric drugs.   How does the county explain those who occupy and live on our streets, gutters and doorsteps?

A few looming issues have grown to such a statewide embarrassment that even the Modesto Bee no longer can, and does no longer obfuscate or downplay the scandals in the District Attorney’s office such as the seven million dollar Kaufman case fiasco or the 15 million dollars in workplace settlements in the Sherriff’s Department alone.

Notice that between and Sherriff’s Department and the District Attorney over $22 million has been wasted in malfeasance and related lawsuits and yet the Chairman frets about Governor Brown’s $7 million dollar “dent”.

I say to you, start in your own organization we have entrusted to you, Chairman Chiesa, when you lament over funding losses or “dents”.

Choosing an upbeat tone for the speech is understandable, however as long as there are “large flies in the ointment”, it is incumbent on Board of Supervisors Chairman Vito Chiesa to speak to all issues that affect the way the County residents live, work and play in their community.