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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Market gives Nestor red light

Has anyone from the city looked into the financial health of Nestor Traffic Systems?

The City of Manteca is considering contracting with Nestor Traffic Systems for a series of "red light cameras." A public hearing on the issue is scheduled for Tuesday, 2 Sep 08 at 7pm at "city hall."

Here's an article that says they are "beset with losses." And they are hugely in debt. And that's from April of this year. Last year the firm was delisted from the NASDAQ. And evidently, since then things have only gotten worse -- the stock price dropped from 22 cents per share last May to 8 cents a share today. One of the principles has left the board of directors and there's "no plans to replace him."

From the looks of the balance sheet, they have suffered huge losses and the losses continue. They might be on target to only lose 6 cents a share this year, which is good 'cause the stock is only worth 8 cents a share!

One of the statements reads:

The opinion of our auditors ... and as further discussed by management ... contained an unqualified opinion ... regarding our substantial net losses in recent years which raised doubt regarding the Company's ability to continue as a going concern. ... We continue to seek additional sources of equity and debt financing to fund system installations ... however, there can be no assurance that the funds will be available on terms acceptable to us, if at all.

Clarence A. Davis, Chief Executive Officer of Nestor, Inc., stated the following: "Although we are disappointed that the market has not yet recognized the dramatic advances the Company has made, we remain confident...."


Evidently the City of Santa Fe Springs was one of those that hasn't yet recognized the dramatic advances: They terminated their contract with Nestor saying "it was not satisfied with the service provided by the Rhode Island-based Nestor Traffic Systems..." and "the council was dissatisfied with the company," said City Manager Fred Latham. Areas of concern included customer service, experience and accessibility, he said.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lathrop mayor being "smeared" in stealthy blog

A photo lifted from manteca live! was used in the "anonymous smear site." And it's right at the top of the page! I thought it looked familiar! Here is a side by side comparison. I want you to know there is no permission to use this picture and there's no association between this blog and the anonymous smear site.

For the non-computer savy let me briefly explain how someone can simply "grab" a photograph from any website. All you need to do is right click on a picture and you can save it to your disk on your computer. There's really no technical way to stop this. (Some suggest you can "mark" your pictures to help prevent this. That's possible but impractical.) This is not to say it's right or "legal" to steal someone's photographs. But what I'm saying is that it's very easy to simply "take" a photograph from a web site like this one and just use it without permission for whatever nefarious purpose.

Also, I want to caution the reader also to be careful about interpreting "information" presented in some web site. There's an implication in some of the text of the smear site that "they are trying to find us! But since everything is 'true' there's nothing they can do." In other words they are telling you "you should believe this -- after all I couldn't say it if wasn't true!" Never assume that what you read on line must be true, or else the government would order them to remove it. It's not that simple! It can take months or years and many dollars to fight a first amendment case and even then it can hinge on esoteric definitions of what is "true" and the various standards for libel for public figures and so on and so on. There is no "they" that you can just call up or email and tell them to "remove something from the Internet 'cause it's not true." It's a highly complex issue and I can't caution you enough to never assume something is true because "otherwise they would make them remove it."
I agree with Jackie that the candidates should disavow themselves from this sneaky web site. The people deserve to know if any of the candidates are responsible for this abomination.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Local Smear Campaign

When I heard about the website devoted to smearing Lathrop's mayor Kristy Sayles, being interested in all things political, I immediately had to take a look. My first reaction was, "this is why people don't run for public office." (And thank you Manteca Bulletin for giving the deplorable piece-of-crap website publicity it doesn't deserve.) I don't live in Lathrop but I follow what goes on there since it's so close by and we have friends that live there.

Regardless of how I feel personally about Lathrop's mayor, I gotta say that I was pretty much horrified by what I read on the "anonymous" website. It's basically a litany of her personal life and the goings on there, past and present, and has little or nothing to do with how she's performed as mayor or why she should be voted out of office.

The Bulletin calls the website "slick" and that it is. It's also one of the meanest smear campaigns I've seen and the "webmaster" seems to personally take great delight in airing Sayles' dirty laundry and responding to comments, maybe a little too much delight. It borders on the obsessive. I also have a pretty good idea who might be behind it and I'm sure a lot of other people have a good idea too. Do I need to say that it's someone who's also running for public office in Lathrop?

When I first looked at the "anonymous" website there was something very familiar about it but I couldn't figure out what it was until today when Joe told me to take a look at one of his older posts on our blog here. The anonymous website owner/owners stole the photo they used for their website's logo from MantecaLive.com. We were not asked permission by anyone to use the photo which was taken by my blog partner. Not only is this a theft of our intellectual property, but it taints us and our blog by associating us with what may be a libelous website trying to destroy the reputation of a city official.

There's something fishy in Lathrop and it stinks to high heaven (I know, it's a terrible cliché but it fits). It's pretty obvious that Kristy Sayles has attracted some enemies during her tenure as mayor. What is not obvious is exactly what she's done to garner such wrath. We've heard she "took money from developers" but so what? Almost every single person in an elected position in Manteca and Lathrop has taken money from developers. How many of them have been investigated by a grand jury?

When's the last time you heard of a city council rejecting the findings of a grand jury about their own mayor? That's one of the issues on the website dedicated to her political demise. If a grand jury can find no evidence of wrong-doing, then who can? Shall we try our politicians in the media (and I'm including websites and blogs in that definition) by repeating half-truths and innuendo and stating it as fact and hide behind the veil of anonymity the internet offers? Do we want to elect people to represent us who engage in such tactics? I don't think we do.

I think the people of Lathrop deserve to know who's behind the "anonymous" website dedicated solely to ruining the reputation and career of a publicly elected official. Whether you like the mayor or not, this is truly politics at its dirtiest. If I lived in Lathrop, I'd want to know who was behind it because I think it says far more about their character than it does about anything else.

I call upon all the candidates on the ballot for Lathrop public office to publicly denounce the anonymous website and disassociate themselves with it. Maybe by process of elimination, the truth will come out.
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