Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lathrop politics out of control (again)

Last Friday during a meeting of the Mayor's Art Show Committee, a verbal and physical altercation broke out between Planning Commissioner Dan MacNeilage (a frequent commenter on this website), the mayor's husband Thomas Sayles (a member of the committee) and Ron Rhodes, husband of former mayor Gloryanna Rhodes. The Manteca Bulletin did an article about the fracas yesterday after talking to MacNeilage and Rhodes but, as usual, was "unable" to reach the Sayles for any comment.

What could prompt a planning commissioner and a former mayor's husband to show up at a committee meeting (a committee on which neither sits) for the sole purpose of starting a fight with the current mayor's husband? I don't have the answer to that, but there's some small hint that there's a lot of resentment and anger over the annual Mayor's Art Show in the video from the last Lathrop city council meeting where J. "Chaka" Santos accuses the mayor of disrespecting Bennie Gatto (former mayor) and tells her it's not her committee.

Santos and MacNeilage are bullies and I guess we can add Ron Rhodes to that list now too. Santos smacks his fists during his "citizen's forum" rants at Mayor Kristy Sayles, like he wants to punch her. MacNeilage makes frequent threatening statements on this website, saying things like someone's going to "get hurt real bad" if we don't stop what we're doing. I would suggest to MacNeilage and others who have made threats to us over publishing their pictures and statements here, that if you don't want to be talked about, then stop showing up at public meetings and stop speaking at those meetings.

Commissioner MacNeilage seems to have appointed himself spokesman and enforcer for Lathrop politics and he says that he went to the Arts Committee meeting to "talk to Sayles" because he reportedly had "upset" some of the committee members and "made Joyce Gatto cry." (Joyce Gatto declined to comment to the Bulletin.) He admitted telling Sayles "you're not wanted here, you're not needed here" even though Sayles is a member of the committee and MacNeilage is not. Apparently, the bullies in Lathrop think they can get their way through brute force, and the ugly threats that have been flying around the past year have now escalated to physical violence.

Four years ago Kristy Sayles was the darling of Lathrop politics, backed by then mayor Gloryanna Rhodes and other prominent Lathropians. I think they thought that Sayles, being young and a newcomer to politics, would continue the "good old boys club" way of doing things that has been standard in the town for many years. When Sayles showed that she had a mind of her own and bucked the old establishment in Lathrop politics, the fangs and daggers came out. First came the vicious website that tried to destroy her and her family through ugly rumors and lies, false complaints to government agencies and the grand jury. Now we can add assault and battery to the frightening list of disgraceful actions taken in the name of politics.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The government will "cease to exist?"

The editor of the Manteca Bulletin has a good idea recommending "no" on all the May 19 special election ballot measures. But I don't know what to make of his statement that if they don't pass "California government as we now know it will cease to exist." There's nothing in the measures that would cause the government to "cease to exist." At most, if you vote "no" it would cause the legislators to have to rethink things and start paying reasonable prices for government "services."

The real clue in in the first measure which couples a promise to spend less with extending the new tax increases beyond two years. Think about it, they are saying "we promise to spend less, so please give us more money; trust us, just give us more money and this time we'll spend less." Nonsense! If they are going to spend less, then they don't need more tax money!

The only measure I'm still thinking about is it might be an idea to re-purpose the special "mental health tax." I'll get back to you on that....

Saturday, April 25, 2009

School bus meeting

The subject of this weeks Sun-Post editorial. The MUSD plans to extend the walking distance no bus zone to save money. Video of the first informative meeting with "the public" held on 30 Mar 2009.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

For "Earth Day" I decided to stand next to a tree and look "concerned about the Earth." I hope Gaia is pleased.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

TEA party

Here's a view of the "TEA party" 15 Apr 2009 in Stockton, California.

Kids: Do not try this at home!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lathrop participants complain

Here some citizens rightly complain about Manteca Live's juvenile commentary. Dan is right, we aren't in junior high. Our previous satire was beneath us and we apologize for any implication or insult.

Here is the actual video of the Lathrop meeting so you can see there was no evidence of wild chimpanzees.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Gas stations required to be works of art.

The heavy hand of city "planners" makes gasoline (and many other things) more expensive in Manteca.

If you want to start a business in Manteca, the city government will "help you" by mandating your style of architecture and even offer you the helpful suggestion of what color you must paint it.

First, where was this "public outcry" about "ugly gas stations" mentioned in the Bulletin? I don't recall any groundswell of complaints about the appearance of anything.

Next, how did the city officials become experts on what is pleasing or good? Sort of like a bureaucratic aesthetic judgment panel?

Why do people believe that such a thing is necessary? Doesn't every business have a motivation to build a pleasing business? Isn't the whole idea of a business to encourage customers to come and patronize the business? Who is in the best position to determine what is a "good appearance" or "good color" that will attract customers to his business? Is it the business owner who has his own money at risk or is it the disinterested bureaucrat? Why would the city "know better" than the owner what a business "should look like?"

The city is demanding that the gas station use style and color to "blend in" to the surroundings. Maybe they've been watching What not to Wear too long, but correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the idea of a business to stand out and attract customers and not to hide from view?

By the way the Manteca Bulletin report gets an extra propaganda point for use of the word "standards" instead of what they actually are: "requirements."

Oh, and an extra point to the city for using the term "work with" (as in "we are working with the developer"). In this context, "work with" means "making demands under threat of denying you the privilege of doing business unless you do as we say."

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

nice tree in the middle of the road.

By my reckoning, the residents of the "Union Ranch" development voted 178 NO and 38 YES, thus approving the special tax to pay for the trees in the street. (I observed the back room counting at last night's city council meeting.)

You read that right. The large majority of residents voted NO. Yet it was approved. Why? The answer is that one person had the power of 1,018 votes because he was much wealthier than anyone else. You see, in the formation of special districts, one man doesn't have one vote. Under edicts of the People's Republic of California the number of votes you have is determined by the value of the property you own.

The "rationale," if you want to call it that, is that the rich man pays more in taxes, so he should have more say. And, in fact, the tax is based on the value of the property. But it still seems downright un-American. And it is, especially the way these districts usually work in the real world of land development.

It was only because of a bureaucratic snafu that the election made news with residents attending the council meeting complaining. Normally, the way the city likes to do things is that they hold the "vote" before a single house is sold. That way, all the parcels are owned by one person (the developer) who votes yes and it's recorded at "100 percent in favor of the special tax" for that area.

Then, we are told, people moving in are "fully disclosed" about the fact that the developer voted for a new tax that you, the new home owner, are obligated to pay. I don't know why I didn't think of this convenience sooner, I think I'll ask the local rich guy to vote for me all the time and save me the trouble of actually deciding anything.

We didn't even get into the issue of how the developer is "forced" to cast his single powerful vote under threat by the city. They usually include language in the "development agreement" that lets them revoke or deny building permits unless the developer exercises his free will in this free and fair election and votes the correct way.

Welcome to democracy California style.

By the way, there's a story on this issue in the state run news service. Also I've visited Union Ranch and it looks like Disneyland on acid or the planet that shot spores at Spock and turned him emotional.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The hits keep coming

Today's Manteca Bulletin has an article about whether Lathrop should have an elected mayor or go back to the old days where members of the city council rotated the duties of the mayor. In an interview with one person, planning commissioner Dan MacNeilage, the Bulletin gives publicity to the League of Extraodinary Gadflies and their neverending quest to destroy Mayor Kristy Sayles. Nevermind that the voters overwhelmingly decided they wanted an elected mayor back in 1994 and nevermind that the voters also overwhelmingly elected Sayles to be their mayor in the last two elections. Since the mayor's term of office is only 2 years, they must be afraid the citizens of Lathrop might elect her to a third term. The League of Extraordinary Village Idiots thinks they know what's best for Lathrop, not the voters.

This latest attack comes after an attempt to keep Mayor Sayles from going on a lobbying trip to Washington DC this month as part of the regional One Voice group that includes representatives from Manteca and neighboring cities.

One question for the Bulletin and reporter Rose Albano-Risso: Why are you giving these detractors so much time and column space in your newspaper? Could it be that Albano-Risso is friends with developers Tom and Cathy Luckey who allegedly bankrolled the vicious website that attacked Mayor Sayles and her family last year? The Luckeys have deep ties to MacNeilage and one of the other League members, "Chaka" Santos, another bully critic of the mayor. Santos also ran for mayor last election but lost by a landslide. The article decries the name-calling and mudslinging that went on during the election, but blames it on Mayor Sayles! Anyone who follows this blog knows where the name-calling and mud-slinging came from and it wasn't from the mayor.

Shame on the Bulletin and Albano-Risso for spreading such nonsense and for being an accomplice in this continued bullying smear campaign against Lathrop and its mayor.

The League of Ignorant Villagers are bullies. Maybe in person Commissioner MacNeilage is a nice friendly guy but behind the keyboard he becomes a vicious bully who threatens to knock some teeth out when he doesn't like something. MacNeilage was one of the biggest posters on the website against Mayor Sayles last year and claimed it was all in good fun but seems he can't take it when some fun is poked in his direction.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Economy fixed!

I called the white house this morning and asked to speak with President Obama about how my economy was doing. The guy who answered the phone said he was busy with a customer in the back but he looked up my paperwork.

He said the economy was all fixed and ready to be picked up and asked if I needed a ride. Just out of curiosity I asked what was wrong with it. He said it looked like it was just a loose belt that needed adjusting and it would have been ready last Tuesday but they had to order some parts from the fed. He said it should run fine now and added "get back to work."