“To set the record straight. Having personal knowledge on the situation on the water studies, I will give my account and everyone can check what I have written. During my time as Mayor we worked on getting city hall in shape, putting people and personel in place to handle growth and develop a city that is self sufficient. When analyzing budgets from the year 2000 to my current term, we were running at a deficit in water and sanitation funds. The management that was present at that time was not equipt to give direction in fixing the problem at hand, not charging enough money for services being rendered. We hired new management, we gave direction and initiated a water study in August 2006, which is needed to raise rates, and received the documentation in June 2007. I was voted out in November 2006. Now, I have had an extensive conversation with Samra about the water study and why he did not act on it. The fact he did not do something before I was elected and did not do anything after me goes to his lack of leadership. He was given the opportunity to look at, not only one study; but, two. Mr. Samra did not look at the study and give alternatives to meet his criteria of what he felt was needed to fix the problem at hand.
I only hope that Livingston begins to revolt against people who only raise problems but offer no solutions. Anybody can be a heckler; but it takes a person of character and understanding to take action and actually do something positive.” Comment by brandonfriesen on Stage set for recall showdown in Livingston
“honestly Freisen is the dip sh!t that started all livingston’s troubles and got us in deep sh!t with Fosters…o yeah and he hired that dumb a$$ city manager that scared off Walmart and every other business that wanted or Wants to come into our city. I love my city. The problem is not the council members. The problem is the dip sh!t city manager! Yeah thats you Dick! i mean Richard:)
Who are you gay11? i mean gray11.. lol
Ha Nateras a counselor?! she is just a secretary!lol” Comments by urfaceson on Stage set for recall showdown in Livingston
“WOW urfaceson, you really need to wash your mouth out. Just a reminder to you folks reading these comments, remember birds of a feather flock together. These individuals are crass and do not appear to have clue with respect to engaging in a critical dialogue. Listen and consider the comments from those against the recall, and those for it. And to those who understand what is at stake, watching from the side lines, your silence does nothing more than encourage Samra, Espinoza, Aguilar, and Land their accountability continues unchecked, and your silence is deafening. The fiasco needs to end.” Comment by realitycheck on Stage set for recall showdown in Livingston
“Did Mr Vierra ever ask to have the rates raised he has been on the council longer the Mr Espinoza? When the rates were raised where they done in proper and legal manner. How much has the lawsuits cost the tax payers? Over 1000 citizens signed the recall petition for the concerns that were raised. Apparently the court agreed with the citizens that city violated many rules in raising the rates. We don’t Varela, Nateras and Vierra admiting to that.” Comment by freethinker209 on: Stage set for recall showdown in Livingston
“Yes, those mailers[i] should have had that info, but it did not. What really chaps my hide is the amount of my water bill tripling. That is the fault of ex Mayor Samra and his council, if they would have raised the rates in small increments then it would have been OK, but it was left up to the new mayor and council to clean up the mess left behind from Samra and his crew. And now the community is blaming them. I read the Grand Jury report and it made me go "mmmm". What in the world did these 2 guys think they were doing by intimidating city employees? It eventually was going to come out. I tell you, it was a good ole boy Mayor and his buddie councilman’s swollen egos. Did the others on this council not know what Samra and Espinoza was doing and just let it go by the wayside? I have a hard time looking at these 2 people when I see them in town I walk the other way and avoid them because they are not trust worthy and only have their own agenda to fill, I have too much to do other than waste my time or words speaking to them. By the way, I believe that Councilwoman Nateras is one of the most honest persons on the council, I do not know her personally, but do see the honesty in her.” Comment by pmgtmz on : Stage set for recall showdown in Livingston
“As the buildup to the Aug. 31 recall election continues, City Council meetings, which are already heated events, will only become more intense.” From Stage set for recall showdown in Livingston by Mike North of the Merced Sun Star
Will become More Intense? Ya Think?!?
If you’ve been a regular at City Council Meetings, you already know, it’s been a little “intense” already. And if you haven’t been able to attend or watch the Meetings on TV, all you need to do is go read the Meeting Minutes for the last year or so to get a feel for the rising “intensity level”.
When I wrote “Trolls, Frauds, Wingnuts and Flamers”, the comments and rhetoric at City council Meetings was beginning to get just a tad “heated”. Since then, it has really ramped up several notches.
OK…maybe a lot more than several notches….
But……Before we go much further, lets review a few terms, shall we?
A “Flame War” is where people spend more time insulting each other (like in the Comment Section) than debating any particular topic.
A Rational Person has a personal belief system and point of view but for the most part, avoids participating in “flame wars” and name calling. Although they may have sincere differences of opinion with “the opposition”, they don’t try to achieve their means through devious means or bully tactics. They strive to “stick to the facts” and back up their position logical reasoning.
They have the ability to “agree to disagree without being disagreeable”.
On the other hand….
A “Wingnut” may have a personal belief system and point of view, but is not so much interested in winning the debate by winning hearts and minds as much as ensuring the utter destruction of “the opposition” by whatever means necessary.
A “troll” makes comments to just to mess with people’s heads, not because s/he has a particular view on any particular topic. S/he is just happy as a clam to disrupt any debate by name calling, and “flaming”, in an effort to get everybody of topic and into an open “flame war”. Trolls don’t really care about the outcome of any debate. They just enjoy arguing for arguments sake and they will take whichever side of the argument necessary to stir up the most strife at any given moment.
A “Whack Job” is just plain crazy and acts like a damn lunatic.
A Fraud needs no further definition.
Ever since the “Water Rate Wars” began, well over a year ago, there has been quite a bit of “commenting”, going on during Public Comment portions of City Council meetings and in the Comment Section of the Sun Star.
For a few moments, let’s take a short Trip Down Memory Lane and look at a some comments from the Annals of the Sun Star Comment Section and I’ll let you decide whether to classify the “Personalities” below as Rational Persons, Wingnuts, Trolls, Frauds, and/or Whack Jobs . (This is not an all inclusive listing—maybe I will continue the “political taxonomy” in a later post)
Ready? Here we go…
Comment on Stage set for recall showdown in Livingston Mr. Espinoza you need to explain to the community of Livingston exactly what kept you from addressing the water rates early on. You owe the voters, especially those who voted for you, an explanation; that is, if you want to be "Mayor Espinoza." How can you possibly think that by saying that you "would have done the responsible thing and increased water rates in small increments, but never had the chance," is good enough? Who stood up against you when you tried to address it back then? Please tell us. Concerning the Grand Jury findings, do you realy believe that all voters are naive enough to believe you when you wouldn’t even accept a single invitation offered by the Grand Jury, and the media, to tell your side of the story? Accusations such as these are very serious, how can you just sit there and not respond? By the way, Councilwoman Aguilar none of this worries you? You have aligned yourself with Mr. Espinoza and Mr. Samra; therefore, your inability or outright refusal to make wise decisions and your behavior, especially in city council meetings, disqualifies you from sitting in that seat. And you teach our children?
Regarding the recent increase in water rates, if the advice or opinion given by the attorney to the city was incorrect, then that matter will be rectified. Attorneys often interpret the law differently, they don’t always agree. That is why judges have already made some decisions and more decisions will be made soon enough. I pray that the truth will prevail.
Comment on Stage set for recall showdown in Livingston rockstar209…now it is the "recall group"s fault for the canceling of the fireworks. The council said themselves that they had planned on canceling the fireworks before the recall had come into play. The council just didn’t announce it until March, not leaving enough time for the funds to be raised.
freethinker209…you are right, there were plenty of others that have been on councils past that could have raised the water rates nominally and none did. To blame it solely on Espinoza and Samra is flat out ridiculous!
kagee…the "recall group" is corrupt? How about the way in which the water rates were passed in the first place? Let’s not forget about the Foster Farms lawsuit that was brought against the city where the judge declared "the water rate hike unconstitutional". Have we all forgotten the manner in which they got it passed? You know, how they were supposed to have a super majority of 4 votes and fired their attorney and had another waiting in the wings only to say, nah, we can pass it with just 3 votes. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty corrupt to me.
and btw…could this be a violation of the Brown Act to have all 3 gathered together discussing business? hmm…idk
Comment on: Livingston payment debate runs well into night Ditto with outsidelokingin comments. And to expand on the city saving money, a citizen had a great idea to save the city money…have Varela and Nateras resign their positions instead of forcing the city to pay for a recall election. The response from them….dead silence. Nateras, as usual, was confused at how she should be voting. At one point, she voted one way and then when her group spoke up, she changed her vote to go the other way. She also wasn’t sure which way to vote on the next item and instead of having a repeat of the previous miss-vote she abstained from voting because she was unsure of which way her trio was voting. She did wake up at the end of the meeting and went against her trio, to the dismay of the mayor, and voted to keep the meetings to two a month. It doesn’t really matter, though, because they’re going to cancel one every month anyway. And in case you hadn’t heard, the July 4th fireworks in Livingston have been cancelled. Could that be because the city has burned their bridges with Foster Farms, who were a big donator of the event? Way to go!!
Comment on: Recall effort under way in Livingston Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve but didn’t. Yes it’s true, past councils did not raise water rates in small increments when they should have. We can’t go back and it is what it is now. That doesn’t mean we should make up for it ten-fold now. This city manager needs to go and will as soon as the recall goes through. And it will!! The people will prevail!!! It’s already in motion and is just a matter of time now. btw, what’s up with the scheduled meeting being moved to Thursday? This mayor and city manager think they can do whatever they want, whenever they want. Enjoy it while you can, things will change very soon.
Comment on: Livingston’s ex-mayor says fireworks cancellation a victim of politics That is a great question, Karma and gardeningsnail. I think the community would like to know. Mr. Samra, are you there? Since you were well informed and on top of the donations over the years and were tooting Ms. Aguilars’ horn for working so hard in making calls, getting donations and hosting "Mc Sparkel" night (it’s spelled SPARKLE, by the way) at the local McDonalds, one would believe you would have this information at hand. Gardeningsnail, I am no attorney, however, you are right on the button with the 501(c)3 procedures on collecting donations. I also know that if a 501(c)3 tax ID number is "borrowed", as the self appointed Livingston Fireworks Committee was attempting to do, it would be grounds for revocation of that organizations tax exempt status, per the IRS. I hope that is not the case.
Comment on: Livingston’s ex-mayor says fireworks cancellation a victim of politics WOW…First, for the SunStar to give the former Mayor of Livingston, who has been investigated by the Grand Jury for misuse of his power to better himself and intimidate city employees, the opportunity to use this forum to spew his toxic agenda, SPEAKS VOLUMES. Second, I guess I may be a little out of touch, but I cant recall EVER spending even close to $150 on fireworks, as Samra suggests. Why didnt Samra pick up the phone, use his influence, and get the needed "two calls" made? It cost $500 to get a 501(c)3 non profit ID. The statement that he truly believes "with every fiber of my being and soul" (and there’s alot of being there)that the two being recalled were justifying the cancellation, and using it as retaliation against those citizens that signed a petition, is, well at the least, stupidity, and at the most, slanderous and/or libelous. They say, "The biggest accusers are usually the biggest abusers". If the shoes fit..put them on and leave,……..Quit Dividing the Community Mr. Samra
Comment on: Recall effort under way in Livingston GPG is right. Five on the city council campaigned on the issue of water rates, all promised they would do what was best for the community, and only three have kept that promise. Esinoza, Aguilar & Co. have decided its best to lie to the community and tell them they will be able to lower the water rates as opposed to taking any critisism, in hopes to keep thier $300 a month position. I feel for them, selling yourself, your pride and integrity short for $300 a month….well, I guess there are desperate people out there. I wonder if Samra and Espinoza will try to intimaidate the new Police chief into thier way of thinking, like they did with Chief Eldridge. After all, they are still under investigation by the GRAND JURY.Do you remember that Livingston? "WITH Integrity, nothing else matters, WITHOUT integrity nothing else matters……."
Comment on: Like Livingston, cities nationwide cutting Fourth of July fireworks shows Oh there was lots of money alright but as you stated before, no non-profit to carry the event out and no city cooperation. Time ran out. It’s funny how public employees believe they are not accountable to their citizens and get on their high horse and are even rude at times. They should be thankful they have a public serving job yet they have the audacit to snap back at those that feed their hands. The money is there it’s been committed by the donors but it’s got no place to go. It’s like a hot tamale; no non-profit dared come forth and take the lead. Maybe the MUHSD or could of done it since it’s on their school grounds but even then, patroling and city worker’s aren’t there to assist. What nice place isn’t it? Full of self serving egos. CLEAN HOUSE CITIZENS OF LIVINGSTON!! Come election time, clean house!! Begone with the old and in with the new!
Comment on: Wal-Mart drops plans for supercenter in Livingston Oh and the manager also favor’s gallo too much. He wants the rancho san miguel to come in along with a slave mart. Those to are way too expensive for the locals and will not bring any outside taxes to the city. Terrible decicions. Yep those two stores won’t be packed. Hope they go away too.
Comment on: With skimpy agenda, Livingston City Council might start meeting just monthly And this is news? Laughable mayor who was only elected tu his surname rather than a platform which he didn’t have. His ego is as big as his head. Sunstar please be more professional. Leaning in favor of one party(person) doesn’t make him a better person and talking bad about another doesn’t make the Sun Star a bette paper.[ii]
Comment on: Nine apply for Livingston Planning Commission vacancies Finally, good to see out with the old and in with the new. There were folks voted in who new nothing but didn’t want the city to grow. Where do they expect their children to live? It’s about time the old folks pass the reigns to the new generation with hopes of a much better Livingston than we have today. Blocking out the downtown area was one of the dumbest decisions ever made. The old areas of the City need to start being redeveloped befor blight becomes worst. Those new old looking apartment complexes should of never been built. Codes and regulations need to be established to allow nicer complexes to be built so they don’t look delapidated in one year.The monte cristo future trailer trash park should of never been built. Condos should of been built instead. So many errors on have been passed and look at the City now.
Comment on: Livingston forced to pay for well filter This is one reason for the urge to raise the fees so drastically. Once again, bad planning and no action taken on time. Information like this needs to be provided to the council so that they can seek appropriate action. If they are not informed by the people in management and professionals they hire, then the cannot take a appropriate actions. TIME TO CLEAN HOUSE!!
Comment on: Livingston City Council sets recall election date for Aug. 31 Repeal the rates, let the Water Quality Board, EPA etc. come in an shut off the water and close down the sewer plant. When people are using bottled water to bathe and porta potties for other matters, then they will appreciate the council. What a crock, these guys were elected to do a job and they did it and now some people are upset. the real waste of tax payers dollars is in this recall and special election.
Comment on: Livingston council cancels Fourth of July festivities Well lets see, No City sponsored 4th of July, seems the local clubs and organizations could step to the plate and put something on, or maybe let people block off part of the street and have bbq’s and neighborhood fireworks. Sewer and Water rates out of whack? The city should shut off the water, if what you pay only can pay for three days of water and sewer, then thats what they should give you. Yeah I don’t like the rates either but the air quality board, water quality board and the enviornmentalist have pushed their agenda so far that you now have to pay for their baloney.
Comment on: Loose Lips: Stocking stuffers for Merced area leaders Union Advocate, no matter who is chosen as the Police Chief, there will be screaming of poor leadership and low morale. This has been a constant at Livingston for at least 25 years, even though both the previous 2 chiefs were brought in from the outside. I think that the low morale is due largely to the low salaries, but this is something that the chief has no control over. A police officer who is not paid what he is worth does not feel valued, which breeds resentment that’s tough to overcome. I can sympathize, but I’m suggesting that your frustration is misplaced.You might be better off by giving Silva a chance. You know what to expect from her; an employee who does what they’re supposed to won’t have a problem. She knows the department and the community, and there’s a lot to be said for that.
So there you have it, just a few of the personalities who have chimed in either on the Recall or other Things Livingston.
Who are the Rational People and who are the “Others”? You decide. J
Which reminds me….While we’re on the Subject of the Recall and such….can anyone explain to this poor slow GardeningSnail just why about the only thing in nearly 3 hours of discussion at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting was important enough to be translated into Spanish for the TV Audience was when the Recall was to take place (not to be confused with the General Election)?
Now…for the real reason you clicked to be here in the first place…..
Roy Soria, Chair
Kaye Greeley, Vice Chair
Luis Enrique Flores, Commissioner
Alex Gonzalez, Commissioner
Hugo Salgado, Commissioner
Manoj Bains, Alternate Commissioner
LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING AGENDA
July 13, 2010 7:00 P.M.
CITY CONFERENCE ROOM, 1416 C STREET, LIVINGSTON
Members of the public are advised that all pagers, cellular telephones and any other communication devices be put on vibrate mode or turned off during the Planning Commission meeting.
Call to Order: 7:00 PM
Roll Call – Chairperson/Commissioners
Pledge of Allegiance
Item No. 1 – Consent Agenda
All matters listed under the Consent Agenda are considered routine by the Planning Commission and will be adopted by one action of the Commission unless any member of the Commission wishes to remove an item for separate consideration.
a. Action Minutes from the June 8, 2010, regular meeting.
Item No. 2 – Public Comment
Members of the Audience – At this time, any person may comment on any item that is NOT on the Agenda. PLEASE STATE YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS FOR THE RECORD. While the Planning Commission encourages participation from the audience, no more than five (5) minutes are allowed per discussion item. Topics not considered urgency matters may be referred to City Staff and/or placed on the next agenda for consideration and/or action by the Planning Commission.
Item No. 3 – Public Hearings
a. Site Plan/Design Review 2010-05. AT&T has applied for Site Plan/Design Review to install six (6) new panel antennas on an existing tower and one new cabinet on the ground located at 2370 Walnut Avenue, pursuant to LMC 5-5-8.
b. Site Plan/Design Review 2006-01 and Negative Declaration. Foster Farms proposes to expand its rendering operation at the existing poultry processing Complex. The existing building is approximately 6,150 square feet in size and will be expanded by an additional 2,500 square feet of covered and enclosed space. The building was previously used for producing a liquid pet food ingredient but has been out of service since September 2003. An Initial Study and Negative Declaration were prepared for this project. The 30 day public comment period on the Negative Declaration commenced on June 1, 2010 and ends July 1, 2010.
Item No. 4 – Reports
a. Planning Commission
b. City Staff
c. City Attorney
Item No. 5 – Adjournment to regular meeting on August 10, 2010.
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance to participate in this meeting, please contact the Community Development Department at (209) 394‑8041, Ext. 112. Notification 48 hours prior to the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to assure accessibility to this meeting.
Members of the public who have questions regarding any agenda item may comment on that item before and during consideration of that item when called upon by the Planning Commission Chairperson.
All actions of the Livingston Planning Commission can be appealed to the Livingston City Council by filing an appeal, in writing and paying the appropriate fees, with the City Clerk.
[i] A reference to a Bulk Mailer soliciting signatures for the Recall that lacked the Name, Address, and FPPC ID# of the Organizing Committee.
[ii] Although this comment was later deleted by the Sun Star as “abusive”, I managed to make a copy before they did so.