Posts by Lew

ACCOUNT SUSPENDED?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

CYBER GRINCH

Whoa! That’s something you don’t want to see in place of your website homepage but that’s exactly what hundreds of visitors observed on this site Friday December 9th, 2011 beginning at 1824hrs and lasting through the weekend. Shortly after I discovered the disturbing message telephone calls and emails started coming in….”What’s happened Lew?” “I don’t know” was my computer illiterate response.
NO OUTSTANDING BILLS
I knew it had nothing to do with billing since I pay in advance. Posted material wasn’t of concern. What remained was that nagging ever present fear of third party intrusion by others. Monday morning it was confirmed, my site had been “hacked” and someone tried to enter malicious content which prompted the hosting server “defense software” to simply shut everything down to prevent further intrusion.
Actually it’s pretty cool when you think about how fast such a defensive response occurs. The only problem I had with the whole procedure was how the term “suspended” might be misinterpreted [or intentionally portrayed by some] as indicating the site administrator (yours truly) had done something inappropriate – heck I even researched my receipts to make absolutely sure I was paid up in advance. LOL
Considering the fact government entities, major corporations, and about any computer system you can imagine has been hacked at one time or another I guess it was only a matter of time before I experienced such frustration. Fortunately, other than inconvenience and some worry, no harm was done.
NOW LET’S SEE….WHERE WERE WE?
Oh yeah, fixing leaks before the rainy season. Looks like most, if not all, of the precipitation anticipated in this vicinity will actually occur a little further South so my withholding irrigation water idea didn’t work out too well. Since meticulously watching my water meter I was curious about how routine water use adds up towards the next month’s bill.
HOW MUCH WATER USED IN A TOILET FLUSH?
Ever wonder what a toilet flush looks like on a water meter? Check it out:
[Equipment and dog whining in background – non meter related! lol]
The math appears to be correct since the water supply must not only fill the tank but the volume of the flushed bowl as well. If a tank dispenses 1.6 gallons per flush and the bowl is designed to hold the same, two times 1.6 gallons equals 3.2 gallons. The meter read approximately .44 of 1 cubic foot of water (7.48 gallons), so .44 times 7.48 = 3.29 gallons which needed to be replaced. (Float adjustment will affect how much water is immediately replaced in the tank, a higher float will mean more water in the tank.) A while back one of my neighbors showed me one of those new pressure assisted flush toilets. Amazing, lifting off the tank cover revealed equipment similar to something under the hood of a high performance sports car! Some models even have a 1.1 gallon option for liquid flushing only.
You can imagine how a water meter dial must spin during bathing, laundry and other routine water uses … especially maintenance of landscaping. Although I enjoy the lower bills due to reduced irrigation during the “wet season” I receive too much pleasure from the trees, bushes, flowers and resulting wildlife to complain, however, reasonable methods of conservation will always be considered.
ELECTRONIC METER MODULE INSTALLED
I discovered a new resident inside my meter box this morning: the wired module that will allow LDPCSD employees to read meters remotely while driving by the location. Imagine the amount of time that will be saved without having to stop a vehicle at each box, exiting and approaching, removing the meter box lid, reading and recording the meter readout, replacing the box lid, returning to the vehicle only to start the whole process over at the next property. Think of the potential dangers that are eliminated with climbing up embankments, down into ravines and indigenous wildlife.
My best to you and yours, Lew
Categories: Uncategorized.

COURTESY CARDS WORK

Reading Time: 6 minutes

A few months ago I received a very high water bill that ultimately caused me to take a serious look at my aging water system. Occasionally I will forget to turn off one of a number of irrigation valves and understand a slightly higher consumption use for the next billing period but looking back through past bills for the same months in previous years revealed a regular consumption increase that I could not explain. Ahhhh, the quest begins.

HIGHEST BILL EVER

A neighbor was kind enough to stop by and advise he noticed some of my sprinklers had been running for quite a while and water was trickling down the roadway easement ditch. Naturally, that particular line of sprinklers were fairly isolated, rarely used, and the normal water line pressure had not been reduced for drip line/emitter irrigation. (Leaving “drip lines” on by accident will only create a slight increase.) I could not have intentionally chosen the worst possible valve to have left open. Duh!

After thanking my neighbor and running over to the valve I almost immediately remembered turning it on the past weekend just as some guests were arriving and in the commotion of greeting them failed to turn off the valve. Two and a half days those ^%$#*!+ high pressure sprinklers were on. I had already routed normal run off to the benefit of planted trees but as I followed this “metered creek” downhill the fact that most of the excess water was only nourishing weeds I would eventually have to cut next Spring was quite obvious. The waste of water was disappointing. That was the highest water bill ever received in over 20 years and was the catalyst for the above cartoon. Live and learn.

BRIGHT YELLOW CARD

Yup, this is something you certainly don’t want to find in your mailbox, but it sure is a wakeup call. This was the second time I recalled receiving an LDPCSD “COURTESY CARD” and for those of you fortunate enough to be unfamiliar with the notice, here’s the message:

“As a courtesy, we are sending you notice that an increase in water usage was noted during meter reading. Your meter was read on ____________, indicating water consumption of ___________ units compared with ______ units last month.

If you are aware of increased irrigation or other usage, disregard this notice.

If not, please investigate for possible water leaks or other malfunctions. If you find a problem please repair it or contact a plumber for the required repairs.

If you require further assistance, please contact our office at (209) 852-2331 Monday – Friday 7:30am to 4:00pm.

Thank you, Customer service”

STARTED TRACKING USE

I was curious about the discovered underlying increase of water consumption so I started documenting the days, time and meter readings before and after irrigating. Fortunately, when I initially started plumbing the property 20 years ago (and had the strength to dig all those trenches in this rocky soil) I installed two primary supply valves for irrigation; one west and downhill, the other east and downhill. Below these main valves are some secondary shut off valves along with several “Drip Line valves” which provide water to certain irrigating areas.

Through a process of elimination (closing secondary valves from downhill to uphill) I found even though ALL VALVES WERE CLOSED BELOW THE TWO PRIMARY SUPPLY VALVES – IF THE PRIMARIES WERE OPEN WATER WAS STILL VERY SLOWLY PASSING THROUGH THE METER – every second, minute, hour, day and week of the month! I have only temporarily solved the problem by keeping the primary supply valves shut for the winter and will eventually have to locate from where the water is escaping, but for now the waste has ceased. I know of one “in-ground” secondary valve that leaks and do not look forward to digging it up next year for replacement since I’ve already tried repacking the seal which obviously didn’t work.

DIFFERENT METERS OUT THERE

Currently the LDPCSD is replacing older meters (which are likely under-reporting actual water consumption) with newer models with drive-by electronic reading capabilities in addition to other desirable features. When my old meter stopped working years ago I received one of these new meters and must admit to noticing an immediate increase in my consumption rate which leads me to believe older meters do indeed start to under-read after time. [Documentation of this fact has been contained in previous Board Packets.] Many customers do not want a new meter and I can empathize with their concern but, in all fairness, they are likely under paying for what they actually use which is unfair to those that do. The loss of revenue by several hundred under-reading meters decreases the CSD’s revenue and over time could represent a significant loss, besides, we have the meters and they are useless unless working.

LEAK INDICATORS

Due to the differences in models currently used in our water system it is impossible to determine what type of meter a customer is using and therefore what type of “leak indicator” is incorporated in that model. The first photograph is of an older model and I assume that “sprocket wheel” probably turned with the passage of water. The second photograph depicts one of the newer AMR (Automatic Meter Reading) meters currently being installed and that small white triangle in the center will turn when water passes through the meter. [I believe my old meter had a red triangle.] Naturally the long red needle will spin around the numbered dial with water consumption and the total amount is recorded on the digital counter. The faster the water rushes through the meter – the faster the triangle and dial will spin racking up a higher number of units used.

The LDPCSD measures water usage in CCF units (Centum Cubic Feet or 100 cubic feet) [1 cubic foot of water = 7.48 gallons, therefore, 100 cubic feet = 748 gallons or 1 CCF ]

I was talking with Randy Gilgo the other day and he relayed how some customers couldn’t believe their leak indicator was turning very slowly until me made an ink mark on the meter glass cover. After talking with the customer for a while the movement was obvious.

SOURCE OF LEAK OFTEN SURPRISING

Some friends of mine recently commented they too had received a yellow “Courtesy Card” and could not understand how in light of there being no changes to their normal water use. Having already experienced my own leak investigation, we started with the “leak indicator” on the meter. Yes, it was turning. We shut off the supply valve to the residence to rule out any leaks in or around the house (hose bibs) but the indicator was still turning. We confirmed all irrigation valves were off and not leaking, but the triangle still turned. Then the serious inspection started – looking for any indication of dampness around pipes and valves. [This is why I brought up this subject now because soon it will be the rainy season and locating such “wet spots” will be impossible.]

Sure enough – after digging around some above ground pipes water saturated ground was revealed. The excavated hole quickly filled with water. We shut off the main water supply line at the meter box and emptied the hole of water and cleaned around the pipes and fittings. While one person turned the water back on at the meter box another watched the pipes in the hole for signs of leakage. Sure enough water was now spraying with the dirt removed. SHUT OFF THE WATER! lol

Now in this particular case the news was very good because there was no damaged pipe or broken fittings but rather, the connection was coming apart due to the water pressure in the pipe. Evidently, decades ago when the pipe lines were installed, a single coupling had been assembled in a manifold (numerous pipes and valves connected together in one area) with only the purple primer pre-treatment being applied and no pipe cement for a permanent connection. I’ve observed this very situation happen a couple of times but the “pressure test” revealed the problem prior to filling the trenches and burying the mistake underground and out of sight. [Of course, maybe the primer held for the test before filling?]

EASY TO DO

Laying out a complicated manifold can get confusing with the two chemical applications (primer and cement) to every connection in addition to the hurried time required to correctly assemble the manifold as the cement sets up – one component fitting can easily be overlooked. [There are now one application glues/cements.] Yup, sure was good news. We simply cleaned the two fittings and cemented them back together and thus far the leak indicator remains still. [Don’t forget to flush the line by opening a water faucet to expel sand, gravel or excess glue when the water is turned back on.]

RUNNING OUT OF TIME

The above leak would have been very difficult to locate and repair if the surrounding ground was already wet from rain. A leak that cannot be stopped without shutting off the supply to the house will continue without intervention and could get much worse. Unless you are prepared to go outside and turn on the meter valve every time you want to flush a toilet, take a shower, brush your teeth, wash the dog, etc., and then turn it off again, that leak is going to waste water and cost you more money.

My best to you and yours, Lew

Categories: Uncategorized.

PEARL HARBOR REMEMBERANCE DAY

Reading Time: 8 minutes

 

Although the number of “on scene survivors” and their accounts of what happened that day are rapidly dwindling, December 7th, 1941 irrevocably changed the lives of countless millions of people and will likely remain one of the foremost examples of the horrendous cost of war.

 

MOST EVERY FAMILY AFFECTED SOMEWAY

 

Mom was a teenager and quite cognizant of the realities of World War II and kept a scrap book of news articles, reports and photographs. One of her brothers was a Marine engaged in front line combat and still carries shrapnel in his neck from a near death experience on an island beach. Another one of her brothers served on the Navy destroyer USS Missouri also in the Pacific. Numerous friends were spread across the globe in other areas of turmoil in addition to Europe. As a young girl in California she lived with the ever present danger of potential invasion on the west coast. During the Summer from high school she helped out at the mud baths, hot springs, and mineral pools in Calistoga (Napa Valley) where injured soldiers were treated for their wounds and amputations (evidently the heat assisted in healing and extracting imbeded shrapnel). Her future husband, my Father, had enlisted in the Army Air Corps and ultimately became a bomber pilot in the Air Force also serving in the Pacific. Dad made a 33 year career in the US Air Force as did my brother who served over 20 years.

 

GREW UP AROUND DAD’S MILITARY SERVICE

 

Most of my adolescent life was spent on or very near military bases providing the opportunity of meeting many different people involved with various aspects of national defense in both military and civilian capacities. During the cold war era (Cuba situation) Mom was actually required to drive my brother and I on an escape route from Castle Air Force base up here into the foothills under the theory of avoiding potential radiation exposure if Castle were hit with a nuclear weapon. I currently look down at the old Castle air base remembering Dad shooting “touch and goes” in a KC-135 (Air refueling 4 engine jet aircraft) from the Fox Road vantage point at the end of the runway – even saw my brother decades later land and take off in a T-38 (jet training aircraft- he was a flight instructor like Dad and eventually ended up piloting the C-141 Star Lifter cargo aircraft which was later replaced with the C-17.) I vividly recall visiting and playing outside with other kids at “alert facilities” near base runways during different holidays when Dad was on alert.

 

A friend and co-worker of my Dad’s in Grand Forks North Dakota was a POW in Europe and relayed to me his stories of being transported by railroad car through numerous cities and towns in route to his ultimate confinement. His description of brutal situations soften with accounts of compassion displayed by indigenous people remain in my memories. Woodworking became this man’s personal relaxation hobby technique and I still possess a handmade cabinet he created in his garage 45 years ago and the thought of refinishing it is unconscionable. The scratches and scrapes only document it’s history of travel and are as important to me as the furniture itself.

 

I remember the noise of B-52 engines roaring outside our base housing only indicated to me that another episode of Gun Smoke with James Arness as Marshall Matt Dillion was about to begin.

 

Sure is interesting how the “old shows” could tell a gripping story within an hour – often culminating in a bloodless fatal shooting, but still be quite dramatic. Remember those? The victim would grasp their chest with one or both hands, make a quick parting comment, then collapse without even the slightest evidence of blood loss – yet now, gallons of blood and remnants of internal organs are Hollywood splattered across a wall just to illustrate the reality of a violent death.

 

While living in Taiwan for two years we could see the C-130s and other aircraft taking off to, and returning from, in-country missions to Vietnam and heard the stories of near misses by surface to air missiles and harrowing landings in remote areas. That was indeed a lifetime ago and although the type of warfare was different from today’s “war on terrorism”, all of it is destructive, horrific, and painful to those even remotely involved.

 

In light of the recent discoveries of possible habitable planets in space and man’s violent past, it begs the question: will humans eventually end up in some kind of war with another species like on Sci-Fi afternoon television shows? I’d be willing to bet money, marbles, or chalk that a malicious deep space enemy sure would unite humanity on this little rotating and revolving blue marble in space. Nothing like a common foe to put things in perspective – huh?

 

Sorry, I digress. I guess this is the sort of stuff that belongs in a private journal so suffice it to say today marks yet another day of remembrance to those who made the ultimate sacrifice at Pearl.

 

THE NOVEMBER 21st, 2011 BOARD MEETING

 

The initial meeting opened at 0905hrs with a full board consisting of Vice President Bill Kinsella and Directors Emery Ross, Mark Skoien, Victor Afanasiev and yours truly. Interim General Manager Dan Tynan and Board Secretary/Treasurer/Financial Administrator Charise Reeves were also present. The meeting jumped from Public to Closed Session during the continuing Personnel Grievance process initiated by the Board Secretary/Treasurer/Financial Administrator against the Interim General Manager. Again, with the sincere hope of a satisfactory resolution to this matter (both parties have agreed to meet with a mediator) I will not get into the literal “she said” – “he said” particulars of the situation.

 

PERSONNEL PROBLEMS NOT SURPRISING

 

There should be no surprise when the difficulties between Board members enable/produce an environment for similar problems with Staff and other employees. The concept of rotating the general manager’s position within a large organization with hundreds or thousands of “staff qualified” employees makes some sense considering the “cross training” approach, however, the proposed plan to do so at the LDPCSD where there are only six (6) full time employees [half of which might be interested in the GM position] was, in MY OPINION, extremely damaging to this district on a number of levels.

 

Such a suggestion does not occur within a vacuum devoid of consequences and I believe this is precisely what our CSD is now experiencing … the negative ramifications of an ill-conceived proposal. (Whether the resulting turmoil was intended or not is for the public to decide. Insecurity in any position is not desirable and can greatly increase the probability of a manipulative influence. The former Mariposa County Grand Jury certainly did not embrace the concept and ultimately suggested the director proposing such rotation resign as president of the board.)

 

INTENT AND MOTIVATION

 

What motivates people to do the things they do? Are their actions reasonable based on the currently known fact patterns or are there surreptitious ulterior motives? This is where trust in representation is crucial.

 

Obviously the extent of monetary compensation received for an individual’s work is of great interest to any employee. Those fortunate enough to actually enjoy their work may indeed place greater emphasis on their personal satisfaction in doing a job well but I suspicion most everyone would prefer to earn as much as possible if given the opportunity. But there’s the rub. If someone is tantalized with the prospect of greater reward and responsibility in obtaining a higher position such a proposed opportunity could distract from the duties for which they are already employed and compensated. Add to this the uncertainty and frustration caused to the employee who is currently charged with the sought after duties (and compensation) and a stage is set for an unnecessary adversarial and competitive relationship rather than that of mutual co-operation.

 

This produces serious collateral damage to other employees and district business at hand. Rather than collaborative work by all employees focused on the efficient execution of district business – an environment of distrust and suspicion is created. Co-operation and mutual support for the primary job is replaced with at best, apathy and/or indifference and at worst, disruption and/or intentional sabotage of another’s work.

 

SIGNIFICANT FACTS UNKNOWN

 

Without knowledge of all the facts (Closed Session information is confidential and not to be disseminated) it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the public to appreciate exactly what has been going on within our CSD. I believe particular pieces of information acquired in CLOSED SESSION would in short order clear up much of the confusion on both sides, but that is not possible at this time.

 

Personally I believe both parties are essentially victims of a ludicrous idea whose foreseeable negative consequences were clearly evident.

 

ANOTHER CIVIL MEETING

 

Although the last meeting went quite well (with the exception of the Ranchito Well Study – a preliminary capacity report – see below) I can’t help but believe the presence of an observing mediator (suggested by the previous Grand Jury) and members of the current Grand Jury, [in addition to the Vice President’s clearing of the meeting room a few meetings back because of another planned disruption], undoubtedly played a major role in the resulting civility. Be that as it may, it was pleasant and should continue. You know, as residents and “investors” in this community we probably have more in common than either side is willing to recognize. Perhaps by conscientiously avoiding “trigger issues” of the past our meetings will focus on more current district issues?

 

POSITIVE AND UPBEAT

 

I have a “post-it” above my computer monitor that reads: “Keep it positive and upbeat” but holding to such a positive affirmation is quite difficult at times. Occasionally friends and acquaintances from the valley will ask if I am still pleased with my foothill property purchased over 20 years ago and to be quite honest the answer might vary a bit depending upon recent activity up here. Lake Don Pedro politics are not enjoyable but the beautiful foothill environment usually trumps that downer. Perhaps the question is actually moot because much like the Roach Motel you can check in but cannot check out without a substantial loss of hard work and money – but that’s probably true anywhere nowadays. I firmly believe Lake Don Pedro will eventually be recognized as a great place to live and a good investment for the future, however, the past ideas of “fast money” probably won’t materialize again for quite some time. I guess it all depends upon what a person values the most, a home or lucrative financial investment.

 

A while back I was visiting some friends up here when a Hawk decided to take a break on their deck railing. Although the photograph was taken from inside the picture window it still came out pretty clear. Check out that predator look after I tapped on the glass!

 

 

 

 

Yup, there is so much to appreciate in these foothills if you take the time to observe and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else…. now if we could just do something about the counter-productive politics! lol

 

RANCHITO WELL STUDY REPORT

 

Unfortunately, the Engineer’s report concerning the question of the Ranchito Well production capacity [included in last meeting’s Board Packet furnished to the public] appears to support the uneasiness of those (including myself) who believe the continued expansion of service from that source could have some serious financial ramifications. The LDPCSD is a surface water treatment plant but if “ground water substitution for surface water transfer” is something to be considered – all rate paying customers should have a say in establishing that policy because it could get extremely expensive. Only a few months ago there were those that strenuously advocated expansion of such water service to properties outside the Merced Irrigation District Place of Use requirements under Water License 11395 – imagine where we would be now had that taken place?

 

 

 

 

 

Sure it would be wonderful to provide water to any property whose owner wanted it but as a former LDPCSD President recently commented, our CSD should refrain from providing services that are not required by law. Not required is one thing, not authorized is another. Still, just about anything is possible with the support of the majority of customers who would be willing to fund such a project.

 

A NEW COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT?

 

Apparently, a well is being drilled at the corner of HWY 132 and Bonds Flat Road where some potential commercial businesses might be located in the near future. Hopefully the drilling was successful and the well will provide adequate water for that development under the theory fair competition benefits everyone.

 

 

 

 

My best to you and yours, Lew

 

Categories: Uncategorized.

AREN’T YOU GLAD YOU ONLY HAVE YOUR OWN?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Difficult to believe it is December already – sure seems time moves faster the older one gets. Two days ago marked the one year anniversary since taking the Oath of Office to be a director on our LDPCSD Board of Directors. Although many good improvements have occurred already others are “in the pipeline” and will just take time.

I read an interesting article recently by a gentleman who spent 30 years in the public sector in Sacramento who commented that even when constituents overwhelmingly support a particular project or plan, due to the time constraints involved with legal requirements, regulations and procedures, governmental change often moves quite slowly. Certainly frustrating to both the public and those elected to represent their interests.

AREN’T YOU GLAD YOU ONLY HAVE YOUR OWN?

My Aunt once said “when you take a look at everyone else’s problems, aren’t you glad you only have your own?” Boy! Isn’t that the truth! This morning, just after 1030hrs, while standing in a checkout line at Staples in Merced I noticed a number of shoppers moving
towards the large windows at the front of the building and overheard someone
say there was a car fire in the parking lot.   Sure enough when exiting, there it was.
Fortunately I don’t believe anyone was injured but what rotten luck just
before Christmas (not that any time would necessarily be much better).

Again, sorry about the quality of the video clip but that’s the best I can do right now. A “zoom shot” was all I was prepared to risk since there were a number of loud “POPS” just before the fire flared up. I was afraid the fuel tank might explode but that’s probably more of a Hollywood type thing since I’ve witnessed several vehicles burn to the hubs without exploding, but why take a chance right? – Besides, it’s best to stay out of the way of emergency personnel while they do their work.

CAR FIRE IN MERCED CA PARKING LOT:     http://youtu.be/xJuZX-yJqVA

My Best to you and yours, Lew

Categories: Uncategorized.

JUPITER AND 4 MOONS

Reading Time: 1

JUPITER AND 4 MOONS

(Left to right)   Ganymede, Europa [the planet JUPITER center], Io and Callisto.

The photograph was shot with a digital camera held close to the telescope lens so  left/right is reversed from the actual position in the sky.    Taken around 2000hrs in the Eastern sky.

JUPITER AND FOUR MOONS

 

My best to you and yours, Lew

PS:  The last LDPCSD meeting went very well and we’ll get to some of the highlights later, but for now, hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Categories: Uncategorized.

OCT 21st 2011 FINALLY OVER (never thought it would end)

Reading Time: 10 minutes

OCT 21st 2011 FINALLY OVER (never thought it would end)

You will “recall” the last bit of transcript was a beginning question by me. Let’s pick it up from:

Director Richardson: “Then why won’t the county….”

Verbatim transcript in blue font based on analog and/or digital recording of meeting.

The meeting continues:

Harry Alfier: (inaudible)…..can use that as my …. (Inaudible)

TUMMOTA: (inaudible) …right now. He has got to speak, and you’ve got to listen. This is not fair…

Harry Alfier: and you just shouted me down Lew, I mean, let’s just tell the truth you see to be the purveyor of the truth, I wish, I really wish you were you could do some good. Just like you’re talking about Kathy I have it memorized what you said on there about Kathy cutting corners and there again I wonder if this is the something about, basically insinuating that Kathy doesn’t hand known disclosures.

Director Richardson: No

Harry Alfier: that’s exactly what you said

Multiple voices

Director Richardson: I said, I said real estate

Harry Alfier: Real estate disclosures, well that’s what her business is real estate, so is mine. And I can pull every contract for the last thirty-five years that says buyer has received copies of CC&Rs, Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation and the most recent financial statement by law we need to provide them. We, we don’t ever, who would not want to hand out a known disclosure or CC&Rs to someone when they buy property? So to insinuate otherwise is, is far as I’m concerned, is being a liar, and it’s been attacking people’s character, again Kathy stood up here and, and, and had a legitimate grievance with the district regarding the $3,000 hookup fee, that I think you’re going to find is illegal, and the next thing you know she’s on your blog being accused of being an illegal, unethical realtor and that’s just horse pucky. And if you can’t agree with that, that’s your M.O. that’s what you do.

Director Richardson: I never said that

[I have never lied and do indeed tell the truth. This bothers Mr. Alfier tremendously because his own distortions of truth are created and meant to explain away his self-serving activities which are quite obvious. Again Harry Alfier accuses me of lying and states he “memorized” what I wrote but cannot recite the same. He then interprets what he recalled I wrote, stated what I was basically insinuating, then determined as far as he was concerned, I was a liar. Nothing like an objective point of view. LOL

The “cutting corners” comment by Kathy Agee, who works with Mr. Alfier, has already been addressed.

QUESTION: Who would not want to hand out a known disclosure or CC&Rs to someone when they buy property?

ANSWER: Likely unethical real estate agents and/or brokers who put sales above California Department of Real Estate legal requirements for property transfers.

I seriously doubt simply checking off a list of miscellaneous 40 year old documents is all that is required. What about disclosures regarding things that have happened in the last 40 years? You know, I can’t find anything on recognizing hundreds and hundreds of nonexclusive easements in any of our governing documents…. Oh yeah! They were filed AFTER THE FINAL SUBDIVISION MAP.

Gosh, as a real estate broker extremely familiar with this area Harry Alfier must have been aware of many items a prospective buyer would be interested – like the designated high fire severity zone, the school situation (didn’t you have a problem where you failed to explain such to a family with children and had to “re-negotiate the sale” and “compromise” to the buyer’s benefit?), do you explain what outside MIDPOU means to property sales outside the subdivision and/or water service district, etc.? One of your advertisements state: “Golf course and country club are soon to be opening and will be state of the art.” What year were these photographs taken and the information posted? Is this up to date or misleading?

DISCLOSURES ANYONE?

The Department of Real Estate “Disclosures in Real Property Transactions” pamphlet stated: “A copy of the governing documents of the development, including any operating rules and a copy of the association’s articles of incorporation, ….”

Hmmm, including operating rules huh?

NEVER HEARD OF THE TRIFOLD? THAT’s PECULIAR.

Here’s what Harry Alfier stated at the April 19th, 2009 Lake Don Pedro Owners’ Association Board Meeting regarding the Trifold which was a 17 year old subdivision operating rules pamphlet (included grading and earth work incidentally) that had been upheld in both Tuolumne and Mariposa County Superior Courts:

“I was hoping I could bring in the paper that Mr. Kinsella and some other people keep referring to, the Tri-fold, that we need to be enforcing the Tri-fold of the CC&Rs, and I’ve been here a long time and I’m not sure what the Tri-fold is, and I was hoping that somebody, maybe the board, could explain what exactly the Tri-fold….they were, keep referring to.”

Excerpt from blog posting on June 8th, 2009 entitled “Absentees have always been the key”, subtitle: Real Estate/Land Developers Do Not Like Rules”.

Still even more interesting is the fact some people say Harry Alfier did in fact provide the Trifold to them when they purchased property through LAKE DON PEDRO REALTY. If that’s true…. How could you hand out a document used in the sale of property yet not know what it is called?]

Harry Alfier: And people come in an and disagree with you they’re attacked on your blog of being dishonest realtors, ah, I mean you you went so low on poor Mr. Porter as as to try to tie the man in some how you found some link on his website to his golf course for child porn and you were trying to tie the guy into child porn, it doesn’t get much lower than that Lew. SO I’m done.

Director Richardson: There were 160 pages of pornography on his website but I never said Tom Porter did that

Harry Alfier: OK do you honestly think that Porter was

Director Richardson: I just said, I never said he did that

Harry Alfier:  Well if you insinuate something, what do you expect people to think?  That’s pretty low, I don’t think you’d want someone insinuating that about your father.  So anyway I’m going to sit down, just try to tell the truth.


-[Complaints about pointing out illogical, rude or foolish behavior of those who disrupt business meetings with subject matter outside the jurisdiction of the board wouldn’t occur at all if the SO GOSIP limited their discussions to meeting material.

The SO GOSIP purposefully disturbed meetings by digging their hands deep down into moist steaming piles of false accusations and personal attacks. They ball them up into semi-clumps of verbal projectile weapons then throw them at anyone with the courage to stand up to their special interest platform of deceit. When challenged on this website they retreat and share stories of what others say I write because most admit to not reading for themselves. Then they manage the audacity to whine about how I accurately describe just how filthy their miserable little hands have become.

BRINGING UP THE PORNOGRAPHY SUBJECT WAS LOW HARRY

Harry Alfier once again demonstrates extremely poor taste in bringing up such a subject during a CSD business meeting and wrongfully attributes to me an insinuation that was never spoken, written or implied. That is all on Mr. Harry Alfier.

First of all, my point back then, as well as now, is represented with a question: why would a corporation solicit customer feed-back with no intention of receiving and responding? That’s more negligence or apathy than active participation. Heck, any one of a number terrorist organizations could have been operating through that website but discovery of such wouldn’t indicate that Thomas Porter was a terrorist, only that his corporation did a lousy job of monitoring its website which would have uncovered the unlawful activity. I never thought for a moment Mr. Porter would allow such despicable material to remain on his golf course website, therefore he could not have known about such. But someone did.

Secondly, Alfier by bringing up this particular topic now has also displayed an amazing lack of rudimentary compassion for a fellow business associate with whom he shares an advertisement. Despite county newspaper coverage of some recent local arrests, purportedly involving multiple unlawful relations with extremely young minors, I have never posted any of that information, much less links to the newspaper articles, even though a similar situation occurred years ago with a member of that same family. No names, details, criminal complaint information, nothing. I left it alone.

Some might argue it was wrong of me not to post publically available material regarding the details under the theory of alerting residents to potential risk. Ultimately I concluded this website had an extremely limited circulation to residents compared to the Foothill Express newspaper and if that publisher/editor did not feel a responsibility or necessity to report to our community, why should I, theoretically, report it to the world?

Here’s what I wrote on November 11th and December 5th, 2009 about the pornography discovered on the Deerwood Corporation website.

Director Emery Ross: Bill?

VP Kinsella: Yeah?

Director Emery Ross: (laughing) Sir

VP Kinsella: Ah you..

Director Ross: (laughing) Ah me, Sir (to TUMMOTA), my name is Emery Ross, please look at Lakedonpedro.org I’m so discouraged on this board what he writes about me.

TUMMOTA: [The Unidentified Male Member Of The Audience]: I’ve been reading his blogs

Director Emery Ross: I am really frustrated, I am his latest victim. I, everybody out there, these are victims in here.

TUMMOTA: Excuse me, this would not be the time to discuss this with me,

Director Emery Ross: Ok, just wanted you to see it though because these other people said it

[Director Emery Ross is frustrated? He is a victim? Good Heavens. Look in a mirror. The better part of eleven months of potential Board work has been obstructed and wasted due to some highly unusual behavior and activities by particular directors. I am not going to waste any more time on these particular directors or their activities because much of that has already been documented and I believe changes in the board configuration due to the recent appointment of Mr. Victor Afanasiev is going to help tremendously. Thanks for the advertisement anyway Emery, why not put it in your next “Pandering in Pedro” article? That’s LAKEDONPEDRO.ORG.

So TUMMOTA doesn’t think the meeting he just interrupted isn’t the right time to speak with him? OK, when would be the right time to discuss some things with you TUMMOTA? Come to think of it, what is your name and where do you work actually? Apparently you are not with the State Attorney General’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, or Sheriff’s Office….humm, quite peculiar. With what authority did you and your SO GOSIP friends interrupt an official business meeting of the district?]

TUMMOTA: Their rights are just as important to me as these rights, but it’s when they’re not displayed correctly, that’s when the problem happens and right now there’s being some good (inaudible) discussions going on here. But I got, I do read the blogs so does my supervisor, so

Director Ross: Good

[Ouooooo TUMMOTA is one of the few people who do read my blogs and he has a supervisor who reads too. Wow. Sure would like to have a talk with that supervisor as well. Sure seems as though Emery has bought into the officious intermeddler’s bit when he cries about being a victim. Responsible party is more fitting.]

Director Richardson: I send them to Sacramento.

TUMMOTA: You don’t need to, they’re on the internet correct?

Director Richardson: Beg your pardon?

TUMMOTA: Internet is everywhere in the world

Director Richardson: No, but I sent letters with the blog site to individual agencies in Sacramento.

Director Skoien: OK, let’s move on

VP Kinsella: Any other comments?

Director Richardson: I have nothing to be ashamed of.

[You should have seen their faces! Lol I guess the response they expected was for me to go “oh golly gee! You and your supervisor have been reading my blogs for years! Holy Moly I must be in big trouble and better stop writing immediately!” I have a stamp with LAKEDONPEDRO.ORG that I use on correspondence envelopes. Heck I’ve sent a bunch of bumper stickers to different agencies and departments in Sacramento with that same website address – like I’m really trying to hide something.

I want authorities to see what the SO GOSIP have been, and are doing, in Lake Don Pedro. COME AND GET IT!]

Syndie (acting secretary after Charise Reeves left the meeting room): No I just heard, taking notes for the secretary, I just wanted to know where we’re at on here are we (audience laughter)

Multiple voices

Director Ross: Director Comments

Syndie: on the agenda, and I was under the impression that that’s what we could discuss in a meeting, so I thought maybe I step into either a second meeting or are we under director comments, I just wanted to know

VP Kinsella: We’re under director comments but everybody else seems to be

Syndie: Ok

VP Kinsella: putting in their input

Syndie: You had opened up director comments? That’s where all this was?

VP Kinsella: Yeah

Syndie: OK

VP Kinsella: Yes

Syndie: Thank you

VP Kinsella: Mark?

Director Mark Skoien: I just want to say to Harry, back a few, when it was CSD business that was being talked about, (laughs) that we did do what you said, you didn’t think we should usurp his authority, that was in our statement when we reported out, that that was one reason why we didn’t, she left us no wiggle room and we just, hopefully the mediator will help work out a lot of these other things, but I think actually it was probably the last CSD business that we spoke about. Anyway I just wanted to say that we did come out

Harry Alfier: I do recall Bill saying when he came out

Director Skoien: and it was in our report out

Harry Alfier: in your policy basically

Director Skoien: so, that’s all I got to say

Harry Alfier: Thank you

VP Kinsella: Does anybody else have any comments? I’ll entertain a motion to adjourn. (laughter)

Director Skoien: I’ll second that motion

VP Kinsella: Meeting is adjourned.

END OF OCTOBER 21ST, 2011 LAKE DON PEDRO COMMUNITY SERVICES BOARD MEETING

[Shortly after the meeting I observed TUMMOTA outside the CSD office so I approached him and formally introduced myself with a handshake which he accepted without offering his name. I asked him his name but even with two attempts he could not intelligibly pronounce it and advised to “Just call me Rick”. (Note: TUMMOTA, as meeting audio recordings will clearly establish, spoke fluent English and had no noticeable accent of a second language.)

The more I spoke with TUMMOTA the less I believed he was anything but an imposter and officious intermeddler as a representative for the SO GOSIP camp. He could not offer any explanation for his presence other than being “unbiased” but refused to discuss topics he allowed to be presented in the meeting by the SO GOSIP and even turned down an offered tour of the Deerwood-Alfier Road. Very peculiar but I think with time much more will be learned about our mysterious TUMMOTA.

Let’s hope future meeting topics will be confined to the business of the district and service to customers. There are a lot of serious issues to address.

My best to you and yours, Lew

Categories: Uncategorized.

JUST A LITTLE RIDE

Reading Time: 7 minutes

NOTE: The below cartoon is merely a saterical illustration regarding some dangerous narrow roads constructed in the Lake Don Pedro Subdivison 12 years after 1991 SRA (State Responsibility Area) Fire Safe Minimum Roadway Standards were established.   The cartoon in no way refers to any actual fire.

1991 SRA Fire Safe Minimum Roadway Standards do what?

1991 SRA Fire Safe Minimum Roadway Standards do what?

1991 SRA Fire Safe Minimum Roadway Standards Do What?

Verbatim transcript is BLUE and based on analog and/or digital recordings of meeting.

[PERSONAL OPINION/COMMENT IN ITALICIZED FONT WITHIN BRACKETS]

Well back to the salt mine…….

[Believe it or not we are approaching the end of this report on the infamous October 21st, 2011 LDPCSD Board Meeting but there are a lot of points to still cover.

The SO GOSIP (Same Old Group Of Special Interest People) will likely have a difficult time topping their performances at that meeting, but who knows?   Perhaps someone will show up masquerading as an FBI agent, or Senator, maybe even the Governor of The State himself in the attempt to hi-jack another meeting?  I don’t think so after the last one where VP Kinsella had a Deputy Sheriff stand by to ensure the SO GOSIP didn’t turn a few minutes of their pleading and whining into a much lengthier barrage of personal attacks, accusations, and discussions about nonrelated CSD matters.

OH.  NOW WE ARE OFF TOPIC?

You will “recall” from the previous blog, Harry Alfier (owner of Lake Don Pedro Realty) felt “we were” getting off the subject when I attempted to explain my opinion that the substantial modifications made to a 1970s pathway or trail should have been compliant with 1991 SRA Fire Safe Minimum Roadway Standards.  I realize this is a sensitive subject for Harry because after all, he has received quite a special benefit in the form of an asphalt paved road that turns right at the entrance to his property.

OR DID HE?

Sure he jumps up and down and shouts that the road still exists.  Yup he can drive up to and access his lot much easier now without the dirt, mud, rocks, brush and grass to traverse, but other than driving out there across someone else’s property to visit his lot, what has he actually gained?  As I understand State fire code and County Building requirements that road is not a proper access for residential construction which begs the question:  Will that road ever be used to access multiple homes unless brought up to code?  Could it possibly be removed and the hill reseeded as suggested in the conclusion statement by a registered engineer who inspected the roadway?

SITE CONCLUSION

<LEFT MOUSE CLICK TO ENLARGE – LEFT ARROW BACK>

Although it is not surprising Harry is at the heart of yet another controversy in Don Pedro it is still a bit disturbing just how obvious the personal benefit is this time.   The best interests of residents, out of area owners, the community, and the very organizations entrusted to represent those interests have always taken a backseat in the political vehicle driven by Harry and fueled with disinformation.]

Director Richardson:  Well that’s what I said earlier none of this is, has to do with the business of the district.

Harry Alfier:  You just sat there as a board member and told Coralane that her father was breaking all these rules and you forget

Director Richardson:  No she got up and attacked me and called me a liar

Harry Alfier:  (inaudible) heard it

Director Richardson:  and I am not a liar

Harry Alfier:  (inaudible) set the record straight, you are

Director Richardson:  I am not

Harry Alfier:  Well you’re playing fast and loose with the truth

Director Richardson:  No I am not

Harry Alfier: You’ve heard the court decision; you’ve seen the judge’s decision

Director Richardson:  Then why won’t the county

Multiple voices, inaudible

[There we go again with the emotional and erroneous accusation that I am a liar – which Harry quickly reduced to “playing fast and loose with the truth” when denied.   Yes I am familiar with the court decision.  SO what?  There are many, many examples of decisions and rulings made during a particular time that are eventually corrected when negative consequences result.  Understand too, especially in these precarious financial times for our entire country, law suits against governmental entities are not appreciated and usually disposed of in the most expedient and desirable manner to that entity.  Perhaps a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs would have subjected the government to even more difficulties?

Should the County of Mariposa have enforced grading and code requirements which would have triggered and allowed CDF/CALFIRE to prevent the construction of those substandard roads?  I most certainly think so – shouldn’t taxpayers have had the expectation laws and regulations designed to protect them would be followed by their elected and appointed officials?

Is it fair that ordinary citizens were placed in the horrible position of having to expend their “golden years” retirement funds in an attempt to force the government to do what probably should have been done in the first place?   I don’t think so, but hey, I’m just a tax paying citizen, not a judge with years of experience in such legal matters.

I KNOW – IF MY AUNT HAD BALLS SHE’D BE MY UNCLE—but let’s play “what if” anyway

What IF Deerwood had graded the road through a lot owned by a family struggling to survive without the funds to support extended litigation?

What IF no one ever heard about these roads and such construction continued?

What IF Deerwood Custom Homes were quickly built to obtain the enhanced view of the Sierras without conforming driveways?

What IF the homes were actually purchased and occupied by families?

What IF a home caught fire and spread to others but fire equipment could not reach the conflagration and people were severely injured or killed?

That older couple who has experienced years of suffering, frustration and reduction in their “golden years savings” may very well be UNKNOWN HEROES who prevented serious accidents from happening.

Even without homes being constructed there, I wonder if Harry would care to swear on the life of his daughter that no one will ever be injured or killed on his private little driveway?   Not as easy as believing a pathway was a road – huh?

HARRY WON IN COURT – WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Harry Alfier runs around shouting “I won in court – I won in court” evidently believing this success (actually more a result of the Deerwood Corporation’s professional legal expertise and experience in such matters) is some kind of a rubber stamp condoning the activities which produced a number of extremely dangerous roadways in this community.   He is purposefully confusing different issues.

THINK OF IT IN HARSHER TERMS

If a defendant in a criminal case, facing overwhelming conclusive evidence of guilt, was released due to some kind of procedural legal error, would it be reasonable to equate that release with moral innocence?

If that defendant proclaimed “I won in court”  – would a murder, rape, robbery (or whatever)  be dismissed as acceptable social conduct only because he was not actually convicted and sentenced to prison?   Could he then claim the results of his activity were morally or ethically proper?   I do not believe so.  Claiming “I won in court” is a pathetic defense for what has been done in jeopardizing the safety and lives of others.

HOW MUCH $$$ TO CORRECT SITUATION?

This reminds me of the old bumper sticker:  “My Lawyer Can Beat Up Your Lawyer”.  Unfortunately, I think most of us realize justice, sometimes like anything else, can essentially be purchased by the one with a deeper financial pocket than his adversary.  I seriously doubt the same result would have been achieved if Deerwood did the same thing to someone who had as much money and influence.   Though you may not be able to un-ring a bell, there are procedures to remove or correct those extremely dangerous roads and CDF/CALFIRE possesses that legal mechanism – but will that process be utilized during a time when most every organization is experiencing budget problems?

When I first learned of the new $150/year STATE FIRE FEE for homes in SRAs I wondered if any of that money would be used to correct situations like in Don Pedro or will we as a community simply wait for the inevitable accident that often prompts change?   Sure doesn’t seem fair that those of us who constructed and/or maintained our homes to be compliant with fire and building codes must pay another $150/year in fees while corporations like Deerwood who have constructed roadways that are clearly noncompliant with 12 year old Fire Safe regulations, pay nothing.

You know, it has been humorously suggested that these developer convenience roads may have been simply unintentional mistakes because Deerwood was just so accustomed to constructing cart paths at the golf course.

“EXPERIENCE YOU CAN TRUST”

This phrase is used to advertise Harry Alfier’s Lake Don Pedro Realty office located in in La Grange, Stanislaus County only a few miles west of the subdivision and LDPCSD water service.  OK, I understand the “experience” part since Lake Don Pedro Realty has been in existence and doing business since 1968, but it’s the “trust” part that is a bit disconcerting.

I have always wondered:  How in the world does Harry rationalize within his heart (recognizing his mind is already focused on making money through real estate deals), any form of advocacy or excuse for the construction of noncompliant and extremely dangerous roadways?  I guess one could be cynical and suggest because he is some sort of a modern day “carpet bagger” only exploiting the resources of the Don Pedro area since he is not a resident.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpetbagger

Gosh he’s had so many years of opportunity and is very familiar with the area.  He runs a real estate business focused on this area yet couldn’t find a suitable residence in Lake Don Pedro for decades?  Did he really want to live here?

LET’S TAKE A RIDE

Prior to going any further with Harry Alfier’s statements I think it is long overdue for you folks who have never seen the Deerwood-Alfier Roadway – have the opportunity to take a gander.   What sort of person trurly believes such roads are adequate to serve multiple homes in our rugged and designated high fire severity zone?

Don’t worry — seatbelts will not be required.

CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK TO SEE THE DEERWOOD-ALFIER ROAD: http://youtu.be/AVGLVrU245c

My Best to You and Yours, Lew

Categories: Uncategorized.

ALFIER BATS FOR LAKE DON PEDRO REALTY

Reading Time: 14 minutes

 CONTINUATION OF THE OCTOBER 21st, 2011 LDPCSD BOARD MEETING

Verbatim Transcript based on analog and/or digital recording of meeting.

Director Richardson:  Well I guess it’s Harry’s turn now.

Harry Alfier:  Well, I’d just like to once and for all look Lew in the eye

Director Richardson:  OK, hang on

Harry Alfier:  and have Lew look me in the eye, those regulations that you keep telling me that I’m violating and Tom Porter is violating

Director Richardson:  I’ve never said you violated them

Harry Alfier:  well my driveway violates them you tell me, the bottom line is, it says right on those regulations Lew, these regulations do not apply to any roadways constructed prior to 1991 when the regulations came in

Director Richardson:  right.

NOTE: SRA stands for State Responsibility Area and SO GOSIP = Same Old Group Of Special Interest People

[NOT A DRIVEWAY.   I believe Mr. Alfier is confusing terms because it is a roadway that actually serves his property off Alamo Drive, not a driveway.  A road provides access to more than two residential or access to any industrial or commercial occupancy. The Deerwood-Alfier road was clearly constructed to provide access to at least five parcels immediately:  one for Harry Alfier and four for the Deerwood Corporation further south.   Apparently there were plans to extend the road around the hill to the west to reach other properties and re-connect with Alamo Drive, but such a project would have to conform to 1991 SRA Fire Safe Minimum Roadway Standards.

A roadway is defined as any surface designed, improved, or ordinarily used for vehicle travel.  As discussed below, there are very good arguments to support the opinion the original “pathway” established in the early 1970s was not a road.   

I HAVE NEVER DISAGREED that preexisting driveways and roads were exempt from SRA 1991 Fire Safe Minimum Roadway Standards because it would be extremely unfair to make owners of existing driveways and roads spend money to bring them up to a newly created standard.  They were satisfactorily serving the purpose up to that point, but in this case the pathway was not being used to serve anything, yet it was upgraded to a roadway to serve multiple homes in the future with complete disregard for regulations and safety. 

NOT VERY REASONABLE

The new fire codes also applied to “new construction, not relating to an existing structure, which requires a building permit”.   IN MY OPINION, turning a minimally scraped pathway into a substandard and dangerous 1,600’ asphalt paved road to serve multiple homes is analogous to upgrading a temporary storage shed to a 4,000 sqft family residence with disregard for building code requirements concerning structural calculations, foundation engineering, framing, roofing, electrical, plumbing, etc., because the quality and safety of the finished project will suffer. (This is a great example of “cutting corners”.) 

A residence not built to code produces a dangerous and noncompliant home, and a pathway turned into a road without regard to minimum roadway standards creates a dangerous substandard road.      

Harry Alfier:  All the roads that you’re questioning and I know that you don’t believe me but I’ll, I’ll swear on my father’s grave and the life of my daughter, every road that you are talking about was constructed by Boise Cascade in the early 70’s to provide access to these properties.

[I’m sorry, but that’s kind of creepy – swearing on your father’s grave and daughter’s life?  I’m sure Harry was only trying to emphasize his point and instill confidence in that what he was saying was the truth, but I’m sorry, I disagree and find his method of persuasion rather melodramatic and in poor taste.  I do think Harry has convinced himself it is the truth, otherwise he wouldn’t say such a thing but there is a big difference between a scraped pathway serving nothing and only marking where a road might be constructed someday and roads “constructed by Boise Cascade”.       

If such roadways were indeed constructed by Boise Cascade in the early 70’s, where are the maps, engineer reports, grading permits, and county approvals?  

Why are there no official maps of these roads in county records?  Even the nonexclusive easements upon which these alleged “roads” were constructed were not filed until AFTER the Final Subdivision Map for Lake Don Pedro had been approved by the county.  

How can roadway infrastructure changes be made to the legally approved Final Subdivision Map without public input and discussion? 

The easements giving rise to these access roads were clearly “after-thoughts” designed to reach properties which already had designated driveways connected to state or county maintained roads.  These developer-convenience roads are not required for property access.    

Harry Alfier:  Don’t shake your head because that’s the truth and I can prove to you that’s the truth.  The courts have already, the courts aren’t stupid they saw it and saw the aerial photograph so you just keep telling the same lie and that’s why, when, you just kill me when you keep telling me how everything I say is the truth, everything, it’s not the truth, the truth is, it says right on the, how can they violate those regulations when the regulations clearly state those roads are exempt from those regulations? 

Director Richardson:  Any modification to an existing road had to come into conformance with the 1991 SRA …

Harry Alfier:  Where’s the modification?

Director Richardson:  When you asphalt pave 1,600 feet of road it’s a modification

Harry Alfier:  (inaudible)

Director Richardson:  Plus that road was not there at that time because the satellite images clearly showed that it was not there.

Unknown:  getting off the subject

Multiple voices

Harry Alfier:  We’re getting off the subject

[Oh…now you’re concerned about getting off the subject?  But you are the one that brought the matter up.  Now in regards to the Deerwood-Alfier Roadway that serves Harry’s property, I attended that court hearing and saw the same aerial photograph displayed on the court room wall which was evidently accepted as proof of a previous existing road.  With all due respect to Judge Parrish, I did not see a road but merely a pathway or trail through hillside grass. 

I would agree that a pathway may have been scraped once years ago but construction of a “real road” never occurred nor is there any past paperwork indicating such.  Part of Harry Alfier’s evidence that the road existed was based on a declaration by Wes Snyder who worked closely with Boise Cascade and Harry’s father “Uncle Milt” who has been selling property here since 1968 (Even before the subdivision had been approved.).  

Mr. Alfier provided evidence to the court about the operation of the Lake Don Pedro Owners’ Association which is interesting since he only makes a living here and is not a resident.   You must also remember there were “land developer friendly directors” on a board which refused to enforce regulations which Harry has always supported.   Part of our regulations prohibited “dirt work” without approval, but without enforcement from those directors and committees……anything desired was allowed.

The fact the CONSTRUCTED DEERWOOD PAVED ROADWAY indeed existed at the time Judge Parrish heard the matter undoubtedly played a big part in its being permitted to remain, however, it appears to me as though the circumvention of PUBLIC SAFETY LAW was essentially rewarded with the ruling a previous road had existed and therefore it was not subject to the new Fire Code Standards.  This is an old method of operation for developers not wishing to get “tangled-up” with restrictive or prohibitive laws, regulations or codes – sneak the project in under the authoritative/enforcement radar then request mitigation measures for approval and/or use.

PARRISH FIRE

I have been advised a number of people were interested in the Parrish fire tragedy and how that other road made the point of SRA Fire Safe Roadway Minimum Standards in regards to the similar “hairpin” turn on Harry Alfier’s property.  Judge Parrish made the favorable ruling for Deerwood and Alfier prior to his accident but begs the question if his decision might have been different if heard after his personal loss.   Rather than trying to “sum up” that original article, here it is: 

 

HOW AND WHY DID THIS HAPPEN IN LAKE DON PEDRO?

REMINDER TO THE SO GOSIP:  THIS IS MY OPINION as to how and why those dangerous roads were able to be created 12 years after passage of the 1991 SRA Fire Safe Minimum Roadway Standards.

THE HOUSING BOON.  At the time the housing construction industry was wild with growth.  Numerous properties in this area were available at distressed prices and Thomas Porter and his Deerwood Corporation had the ability to purchase several hundred.  With these properties and their votes came the power to vote in LDPOA elections providing him with the ability to place whomever he wanted on the board. 

PORTER HAD A TIME FRAME and could not be slowed down with normal procedures, constraining or even prohibitive subdivision regulations.

FIRST LINE DEFENSE DESTROYED.   Porter was able to “sponsor” real estate/land development “friendly directors” on the LDPOA who refused to enforce the CC&Rs and the Trifold which was a condensed pamphlet of regulations designed to protect the subdivision from uncontrolled development.  The TriFold had been successfully relied on for approximately  17 years and had been upheld in both Tuolumne and Mariposa County Superior Courts yet was ultimately rescinded in a highly questionable procedure by “Porter Supporters” on differing boards.   Only 40 year old CC&Rs now protect the subdivision and they too are rarely enforced if contrary to what the SO GOSIP advocate.

The LDPOA was supposed to protect this area on behalf of ALL OWNERS but it was quickly neutered and many speculative/model homes, and developer convenience roads were constructed without approval.  Despite assurances by former directors involved that “approval letters” establishing “compliance” were in every Deerwood file, the statements were completely untrue.  This is the ironic part, had Mr. Porter confined his building to the existing rules by only constructing homes for those ready to purchase he would not have found himself possessing so many new and vacant homes for so many years.  Obviously, Mr. Porter was not the only housing speculator practicing in this area at the time but Deerwood cleared the trail – so to speak.

NONEXCLUSIVE EASEMENTS.   As mentioned above, these were filed after the Final Subdivision Map was approved and were intended to provide access to “difficult to develop lots”, however, they did not have anything to do with roadway standards being followed to produce adequate and safe roadways.  They merely identified the location where roads could later be established.   The future road would have to be constructed on top of the nonexclusive easement, yet in the Deerwood-Alfier Road due to the terrain, the road in places, was simply cut into the hillside where most convenient and wasn’t confined to the underlying easement.  This in combination with obstructing Public Easements for natural drainage (increased erosion due to installation of roads without required soil studies, proper engineering, drainage control, etc.) and the asphalt paving dedicated Pedestrian & Equestrian Trails in violation of Mariposa County Ordinance 950 -which prohibits motor vehicles on trails, has created a host of problems for this subdivision in the future.

GRADING PERMITS.  These “developer-convenience roads” definitely required a grading permit due to the substantial amount of material that would be cut and used for fill, however, had a grading permit been obtained from the Mariposa County Building Department, CDF/CALFIRE would have been notified.   This “trigger notification” would have resulted in an inspection/approval process CDF/CALFIRE.

CDF/CALFIRE WOULD NOT APPROVE. There is no doubt that CDF/CALFIRE would have inspected and denied the proposed roads due to their refusal to recognize a rudimentary scraped pathway or trail as a legitimate preexisting road which would be exempt from the 1991 SRA Fire Safe Minimum Roadway Standards established 12 years earlier.

CONSTRUCTION OF SRA FIRE SAFE COMPLIANT ROADWAYS would have been extremely expensive, if even possible considering the underlying easement and terrain, and time consuming which were two critical variables for a land developer dedicated to constructing as many homes as possible while the “Housing Boon” existed.

THEREFORE it was absolutely crucial to develop some kind of way to access the properties for residence construction while simultaneously avoiding application for a grading permit which would have triggered CDF/CALFIRE involvement and put an immediate end to his road construction business before it started.  

Apparently this is what happened:  Deerwood representatives would go to the Mariposa County Public Works Department and obtain Encroachment Permits which only allow construction of a driveway from one or two residences to an adjacent state or county maintained roadway. 

Once the encroachment permit was obtained, Deerwood (under the radar of the Building Department grading permit requirements) constructed several asphalt paved roads to access multiple properties at once!  Saved money, accessed more homes, and in Harry Alfier’s case, greatly enhanced his properties’ view of the high Sierras and Don Pedro Lake by allowing construction on top of the hill rather than at a lower elevation with a traditional and expensive driveway. 

PRESTO!  Regulations specifically designed to protect life and property IN A DESIGNATED HIGH FIRE SEVERITY ZONE were circumvented for convenience and profit.  (((YET I AM ACCUSED OF BEING AN EVIL MAN???)))   I find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to believe a decades old land development/mortgage corporation like Deerwood, who had vast experience with construction in other California foothill communities was not familiar with SRA requirements much less local building and grading codes and regulations.   Sorry just can’t buy that one.

WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF FIRE SAFE ROADWAY REQUIREMENTS?

Were those original “pathways/trails” approved as “ROADS” by local government and therefore exempt?  I do not believe so.  Here are some interesting paragraphs from a March 31, 2004 CDF correspondence regarding interpreting SRA Fire Safe Regulations:

“BACKGROUND

Access is a major fire protection need, whether wild land or structural.  Failure to provide a reasonable access for emergency equipment and evacuation egress for civilians can result in major loss of life, property and natural resources.  Fire apparatus sitting at an intersection, waiting for civilians to exit on a narrow road cannot provide the necessary fire suppression action.  Safe access requires street and road networks that limit dead-end roads and provide reasonable widths, grades and curves on roads and driveways.”

“The suitability and safety of access is not dependent upon the date of construction, but rather the design criteria for that road.  Many existing roads may meet or exceed these standards, however many do not.  CDF and local fire fighters have responded to emergencies on unsafe, substandard roads for years.  The past use does not mitigate the danger to fire fighters and civilians.”

“The Board of Forestry recognizes the standards within the SRA Fire Safe Regulations are minimum standards and not intended to be applicable within the two zones of greater hazard levels.  The majority of SRA lands within Mariposa County fall within the “two zones of greater hazard levels.”  The Board also recognizes that past use of sub-standard roads does not mitigate this danger to firefighters and civilians.

While the Board recognized that retroactive application was impractical, the Board states the intent that transportation infrastructure would improve as development occurs.  In the last thirteen years of the regulations, rural counties have made little progress toward the improvement of existing infrastructure due, in part, to the miss-application of the intent of the law.”

SO ANYWAY – Since that original court hearing I have viewed many other aerial photographs and satellite images of that area taken over the years which supports the opinion it was indeed only a pathway/trail until Deerwood construction equipment graded and asphalted an actual roadway, which although better than the original pathway, didn’t even come close to meeting 1991 SRA Fire Safe minimum roadway standards.

Here are some photographs of photographs so the clarity is not all that great but good enough to make some points about how a “pathway/trail” was turned into a nonconforming and extremely dangerous road. 

PLOT OF AREA

Here’s a plot of some of the area for a better understanding of the road’s configuration.  Remember that lots in the subdivision were intended for residential development.  How can you build a house with an on-sight sewage disposal system with all the required setbacks when a roadway diagonally crosses the rectangular lot?  Lot 1177 was essentially scraficed so a developer-convenience road could access other properties.  The  purpose of FIre Safe minimum roadway standards were completely ignored.   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOVE: This particular developer-convenience road also partially covers and in one area, completely covers a Mariposa County Dedicated Pedestrian & Equestrian Trail with asphalt.  As the road continues south it actually veers off from its underlying easement, which is to say, the road wasn’t even built where it should have been.   Mariposa County Ordinance 950 prohibits motor vehicles on P&E Trails. 

Below are some photographs of photographs so the quality isn’t all that great, but they were part of the court record and were prepared and analyzed by a court recognized expert.  That brief analysis of the photo appears below the image.  Once the pathway/trail is scraped in later photos notice the difference in width between Alamo Drive which arches around the area that is supposed to contain the eventual Deerwood-Alfier Road.  How can such a trail be considered an actual road – especially when it serves no residence? 

  

ABOVE PHOTO: No activity is shown on the tract prior to 1971, with the exeptions of the lot access from Alamo Drive to the lots 1148-1152 and 1172-1178.  Native soils are very light colored and show up clearly once disturbed.  The section of Alamo Drive shown in the photo is not paved on this date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOVE PHOTO: The 1974 photo indicates that a preliminary pathway has been cut into the side hill from lot 1149 south to 1152.  The pathway shows revegatation in some areas.  This indicated the pathway was done between 1973 and April 1971.  The tire tracks are visible with vegetation in the middle.  This pathway was not maintained after being initially scraped and cut into the hillsides.  (Note the shadows that show on the uphill side of the trail.) There is no indication that construction allowed for handling drainage water that would be discharged on the downside of the pathway. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOVE PHOTO: The 1985 photo shows some sections of the north south pathway are completely revegetated.  Other sections clearly show light vehicle use with vegetation in the middle.  The section across lot 1177 is the section with most exposed soils.  There is no indication that significant erosion has occurred on the slope below the pathway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOVE PHOTO: The 1987 photo show continued, but light use, of the section of the easement from Alamo Dr. through lot 1177.  There is re-vegetation on some parts of this east to west pathway.  The easement extending south shows only small spots of bare soils.  Alamo Drive has been paved at the time of this photo.

PHOTO ABOVE: In 1993, the pathway from Alamo across lot 1177 has been maintained to remove the vegetation and permit temporary vehicle access to lot 1178.  Also an area south of this segment has been scraped leaving bare soils in the center of lot 1177.  The segment of pathway from 1149 south is completely re-vegetated.  The exception being narrow channels cut by water erosion parallel to the pathway.  The photo indicates increased erosion on lot 1150.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOVE 1997 PHOTO: Photo shows declining use of the pathway across lot 1177.  The upper portion across lot 1178 going south is difficult to see in the photo.  No change on the pathway from 1149 to the south.  Pathway is completely covered with vegetation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ABOVE 1998 PHOTO: The segment of pathway from Alamo across lot 1177 shows more use than segment going south.  The segment going south has no indication of bare soils.  This segment is also variaable in width from 5-7 feet.  The narrow portion is on the south portion of the pathway near lot 1172.  There is no indication of vehicle traffic on pathway going south.  The southern portion of the pathway is too narrow for a vehicle at time of this photo.

ABOVE PHOTO: December 1 2004: This photo shows the completed surfacing of the access road.  The photo shows no measures to handle the increased water on lot 1150.

NICE DRAINAGE HUH?   

Who will be responsible for the maintenance and repair of these private dangerous roads which are open to the public?  Will a “special benefit assessment” for road maintenance have to be paid by all beneficieries of such roads?   Wouldn’t these dangerous roads consistute a known disclosure?  Wonder if that is on Harry’s little check list for buyers?

What about the liability for property loss, potential accidents, injuries and/or death?

I have so much more to share with you but I am very tired and need to get away from this monitor, but until then and as always……

My best to you and yours, Lew

PS: I’ve got something special to show you next time in my continuing response to Mr. Harry Alfier’s “Swing of the Bat”.

Categories: Uncategorized.

I REMEMBER … A CONFLICTED BUT BEAUTIFUL MORNING

Reading Time: 23 minutes

CONTINUATION OF OCTOBER 21st, 2011 LDPCSD MEETING

Verbatim transcriptions based on analog and/or digital recordings of the meeting

Prior to jumping back into that infamous meeting orchestrated by TUMMOTA (The Unidentified Male Member Of The Audience) who was purportedly from the State Attorney General’s Office yet permitted a choreographed barrage of personal attacks by the SO GOSIP (Same Old Group Of Special Interest People) on a director during a recorded public business meeting, I would like to chitchat about some bird brains that are close to me.

“ANOTHER  BIRD” COINCIDENCE?

Yes indeed, I think that little bird knew exactly what it was doing when it landed on the trash can filled with wild bird seed and began pecking away at the lid.  Sure it would have been much more interesting if the little guy had been pecking out a complex Morse Code message regarding the condition of his feeding station, but his message was received loud and clear never-the-less. 

I’ve been feeding these birds for twenty years, in fact, one of the first “improvements” to the property was hanging a couple of seed feeders and a bird bath fed by a drip irrigation emitter to guarantee every time I watered trees their bath would be filled.   I had 17 existing Oaks scattered about a 1.1 acre downhill lot covered in hot dry grass, weeds,  “tripping rocks” (low to the ground that inevitably snag the toe of your boot and produce that “impromptu unbalanced downhill dance”) boulders and a host of other indigenous foothill creatures.  There were few neighbors then, Castle Air Force Base was still open and quite active with aircraft,  and that feeding/bathing station was a pretty popular spot for a host of animals.  Like a little oasis.

PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR

Certainly after feeding generations of different species of birds a few would come to learn my pattern of behavior just as I had theirs?  The encounter a couple of days ago was only one of many interspecies’ communications through the years.  Hummingbirds get quite vocal when their precious fluid container is either empty or has been over-run by ants (coating the wire that hangs the feeder with vegetable oil helps reduce ant intrusion but of course it eventually wears off after repeated ant attacks and requires re-coating to be effective.  Apparently, after walking through the oil they end up rubbing their antennas with legs contaminated with oil which they do not seem to care for at all.).  Sometimes they’ll even fly in for a quick shower when I’m spraying water on dust covered bushes and trees.

TWELVE O’CLOCK HIGH AND APPROACHING FAST

I’ll be doing some work in another area of the property when suddenly a Hummer will dart into sight, hover only a couple of feet right in front of me while chattering like crazy.  Once receiving some form of acknowledgement of its presence the little bundle of energy will rapidly change elevations and positions but all directly in front of me.  If I do not respond immediately it will fly a short distance to resting spot in a tree, chatter for a bit, then quietly observe only to repeat the process if I do not respond.  Usually I just laugh to myself, stop work, and proceed with filling the feeder with their traditional red nectar.  That’s when the real show starts with all of them jockeying for position, chasing one another off with some pretty amazing and amusing displays of precision flying.    

Anyway, after the “garage communication” I began filling the feeders to the common background choir of impatient chattering song by Finches, Nuthatches, Sparrows, etc., scattered throughout the surrounding trees.  Imagine the knowledge that could be gained if I could only translate the different languages? …….  “Finally – ‘bout time he got off his lazy butt” — “What’s so difficult? Put the seed in the feeder”—-  “Next time I’ll peck his forehead!” etc.     Well, enough about these particular bird brains.

I REMEMBER …  A CONFLICTED BUT BEAUTIFUL MORNING

I watched as he slowly placed one foot in front of the other in a series of small meticulous steps. Head down in clear concentration – focused on the unfolding path for what appeared to be house slipper clad feet.  The low elevation of these cautious steps often made the walk seem to be more of a shuffle.  As he continued to traverse the bright green Sun lit morning lawn framed in shadows of large Pines, I felt uneasiness build in my stomach and spread through my abdomen. 

A flood of divergent emotions started to boil up from stomach to chest as a multitude of concepts such as love, loss, emptiness, regret, betrayal, deceit, sympathy and purpose danced through the firing synapses of my brain.  Why would this observance trigger such strong emotions?  Because of a similar walk I had seen my Father negotiate in his late 80’s?  Or was it that nagging value taught as a child to respect my elders?

My mind began to process a checklist of memories, lessons learned, and confirmations of truth.  I confided in my partner about the possibility of changing the day’s schedule and foregoing any further investigation as planned.  Then almost simultaneously as those doubts left my lips a familiar and reassuring voice was remembered and clarified the issue barring further hesitancy:  “Knock it off Lewis – get back to work”.   The momentary doubts fueled by emotionally charged questions of life and death, respect, sympathy, and compassion for an adversary quickly evaporated and were replaced with a sense of respectful determination. 

I REMEMBER

OK, back to the October 21st, 2011 meeting where TUMMOTA represented as being from the California State Attorney General’s Office, insisted members of the SO GOSIP be allowed to personally attack a director with matters not constituting business of the Community Services District.

{Over stadium loud speakers….}

NOW PINCH HITTING FOR THE SO GOSIP – MS CORALANE PORTER OF THE DEERWOOD TEAM

Verbatim transcript with [PERSONAL OPINION/COMMENT in italicized font within brackets]

Coralane Porter: Ahm, and again this is related to your blog Lew. 

Director Richardson:  Sure

Coralane Porter:  You have attacked my father for years he has never been nothing but less, he’s always been a gentleman to you.  You have implied and pretty much said that he broke rules and regulations on driveways and that is a lie.

Director Richardson:  (Softly) No it is not.

[Yes indeed, to my knowledge your father has always conducted himself as a gentleman and I have stated so numerous times through the years on this website.  Even when personally advising directors (multiple times) he had every intention of recalling them from office he was a gentleman.  So?  Just because a person may be polite, that is not justification for doing wrong things.   My opposition has always been focused on what your father and his multi-million dollar Deerwood land development/mortgage corporation has done to this community, not how nice he appears while doing such. 

Nice try Coralane.  You know very well the issue is not about “driveways”, but “roadways” because the later were intended to serve multiple dwellings as in the case of the Deerwood-Alfier Roadway on Alamo Dive hill where your father and Harry Alfier intended to construct homes with an enhanced view of the high Sierras without the traditional cost of individual driveways.  Asphalt paving of a Pedestrian & Equestrian Trail in contradiction of Mariposa County Ordinance 950?  This is a complex subject but we’ll return to it after Harry’s speech because I’ve got some things I’d like to share with all of you.]

Coralane Porter:  Yes it is sir and you know that and you let it lie, you imply and insinuate and you, truly I, I can’t believe he’s as nice as he is to you.  He is such a gentleman and you have treated him horribly and that’s why I don’t read your blog because it, it’s so upsetting and what you do is you say things related to the water, you take pictures, you spend all this time and you just want people, we’ve lost business because of you sir.  Where people will come up here and they get on the blog and they go well it sounds like Deerwood is doing some really undercut because you want people to get that impression, you love for people to get that impression.

Director Richardson:  Not at all

[Please do not tell me what I do and do not know or want.  You who claim not to read posts on this website yet complain about what I write.  Actually, it occurs to me the people who claim to support Tom Porter, including members of his own family, are doing him more harm than good.  I never posted a photograph of the cartoon that gave rise to Porter’s “Cartoon Recall” of an LDPOA (Lake Don Pedro Owners’ Association) Board of directors until CSD Director Emery Ross used that recall as a reason not to support and appoint Victor Afanasiev to the board – the only applicant at that time incidentally.  It was an irresponsible and misleading comment to make in regards to the man’s qualifications and integrity.   As I have said many times I, and others, are very proud that we stood our ground in support of the First Amendment right to free speech against a very powerful special interest multi-million dollar corporation.  Every time members of the SO GOSIP make such spurious accusations and innuendos of wrong-doing it provides me with the opportunity to respond.  You bring it up then complain about the response. 

Oh, now you claim your business losses are because of me?  Oh please.   I wasn’t the one to purchase a non-performing golf course.  I wasn’t the one who put developer-friendly directors on the LDPOA Board who refused to enforce subdivision regulations.  I wasn’t the one who overbuilt with speculative and model homes constructed WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL as required by regulations.  Who from this area requested such uncontrolled development?  I find it interesting that in some areas Deerwood “cookie cutter” homes are so close you can spit from one deck to the one next door!  Perhaps people from high density city life care for that kind of layout but most folks up here surely do not judging by how they built their own homes.  But there’s the rub about spec & model homes…..the future owner has no say in their configuration on the lot.  Your father offered a “take it or leave it” home.  So?  People have chosen not to take it – yet you blame me?  Grow up.   I wasn’t the one who constructed dangerous developer convenience roads to maximize profits regardless of the potential injury and/or death to innocent others.  Do not blame others for the negative ramifications inherited due to past self-serving activities.   You assume to know what I want and state it as fact, and as usual, you are absolutely wrong.  I want people to know the truth about what has happened in Lake Don Pedro since arrival of the mighty Deerwood Corporation, but that wouldn’t be a big selling point either.  I wish no hardship on anyone, but some people earn it by their own actions.]

 

Coralane Porter:  And then after you said so many negative comments about things about my father and, and imply and insinuate, and this and that, then you kind of said oh gee it’s so sad that the country club is closed.  In one of your blogs you implied that I don’t even know if he owns it anymore?  You know, but its like you just put this stuff out there and it’s, it’s like creating something, he’s always done things by the book, always.  And as a daughter, as a daughter I am so offended by how you act as a Board of Director it is, it is unbelievable and you have a mocking attitude, you have a real arrogant way you carry yourself, you’re very friendly and kind of nice and if someone does something, see right now if you weren’t here (referring to TUMMOTA) he would be attacking me.

Director Richardson:  No

Coralane Porter:  You would be attacking me, yes you would

Director Richardson:  No, I’m hoping the new President (referring to TUMMOTA) will give me the opportunity to respond to what she’s saying to me though.

Coralane Porter:  And you’ve been doing this to me sir

TUMMOTA:  Wait till she speaks then you respond

Director Richardson:  OK, thank you

[Sure it is sad the golf course closed but expecting other water customers to subsidize its losses is unfair to the majority of customers but when has Deerwood been concerned about fairness to others?  I was raised in a golf family – my Dad played most of his life, my brother was on the college golf team and I knocked the ball around for many years until finding other things I enjoyed more.  I’m not against golf or those who play it at all but public funds should not be used to offset a private company’s water bill.  That golf course has always had a difficult time because of two major variables:  1) Lack of play, and 2) The amount of water required to keep it green.   Decorating it with expensive condos and Deerwood custom homes did nothing to change either of those variables.

One of your father’s associates, Orb Hatton owner of Tri County Realty, stated at a public meeting the golf course had some potential buyers.  (Do not forget if it wasn’t for your father, Orb Hatton would have never been allowed to run for LDPOA election because he wasn’t a member in good standing and had just paid $19,000 in a law suit for violating some of the very regulations your father later violated concerning “bridge roads” in the subdivision.  But your father and his millions of dollars pushed Hatton through despite obvious ineligibility to run.)  There have been many rumors about the golf course selling for years.  But please, if your father ever does get rid of it let me know so I don’t make the horrible mistake of saying he is still the owner. 

Done things by the book?  Which book – the land developer’s handbook of “rule and regulation circumvention”?   The field guide on how to “Pack a Board of Directors”?  Perhaps the classic:  “Play ball with me and I’ll stick a bat up your assets”?   

I am arrogant?  Who was it that came charging into Lake Don Pedro with proclaimed millions of dollars?  Purchasing several hundred properties at distressed prices to obtain a majority vote on the LDPOA board which then refused to enforce established regulations to protect the public?  I sure as heck wasn’t the “millionaire many times over” bragging in his book to be a “major real estate conglomerate”.  Who has displayed the typical signs of arrogance?  When your father first came to Don Pedro he was asked why he chose this area for his most recent development and his response was because the land was cheap.  But closely related to that (which would not have been in his best interests to admit) was the fact the residents and “out of area owners” were unorganized and ill prepared for another Deerwood assault on a community. Add a couple of local real estate business owners pursuing their own riches provided the “anything goes environment” for Deerwood.  You know as well as I there is a trail of Deerwood activites in other communities.  How many long time property owners who paid many years of standby water fees were denied the opportunity to build their “dream home” because Deerwood over built to obtain precious water connections?     Look at Brooktrails, which the Deerwood Corporation website still refers to “Brooktails”- they ended up with a building moratorium yet you whine about being offended with the truth?  Deerwood still can’t even get the spelling correct for that victim….should be “Brook-tales”.  Deerwood slid into Don Pedro with a past history of other conquests and methods of operation. Did the residents of this area request a change in the rural atmosphere to which CSD Director Mark Skoien recently referred?

NOTE: Apparently the previous building moratorium has been upgraded with a Development reduction program. Pretty interesting:   http://www.btcsd.org/specific/devredu.php

This might have been something Lake Don Pedro could have considered but developer convenience roads have already been constructed to many of the “difficult to develop properties” despite their dangerous nature.

Frankly, in retrospect I’m glad TUMMOTA was there but for different reasons.  None of the SO GOSIP should have been allowed to carry on about issues unrelated to the District, but since they did I have a legitimate reason and responsibility to respond.  Yes, I admit to being sarcastic by referring to TUMMOTA as the “new President” but the more he spoke the less I believed he was a legitimate  investigator from the Attorney General’s Office.]

Coralane Porter:  And you’ve been doing this for years though.  My parents have worked really hard at what they’ve done and that they have never cheated anyone, they’ve never stolen from anyone, and your constant (inaudible) and here you’re a board member and you attack the members of this community, you’ve done it for years and you are just unbelieve, unbelievable in your arrogance and how you treat the people and it’s, it’s really, just blows me away and ah, and ah blows me away that my dad is so nice to you.  I thought, well hey, I carry the anger and I’ve been, I try to be cool, but when she brought it up, you’ve attacked her, everybody, Harry, all the things that you have done and participated with us and Bill of course you’re connected with Lew too, but I’m not going to get into that right now, but I’m just saying you have had some very negative things and that’s, that’s, but you write a blog hoping people will read it and maybe they’ll decide hey, when we were trying to sell property you were hoping that maybe they wouldn’t buy it and some people didn’t.  But people that met my father and saw how he did his business, and I, I guess, I shouldn’t have gone up, come up here as a daughter but it’s really offensive and I think you’re an evil man.  I think you are an evil man and you sit on our board and you do a lot of, because someone who is evil puts stuff out there I (inaudible) you, you talk, you know you can speak without verbalizing.  You give a lot of body language and people can read that and I’ve tried to be nice in these meetings because of how you are, cuz you just love it, you love to get, you get all excited about stuff and you’re, you’re gonna have it in your blog and it will be all, oh yea, and that’s kind of like your shtick like hey I’m gonna get it in there, but you know what, I’ve had almost everything lost through this economy so you can’t take anything from me, nothing.  And you can’t take anything from my family any more.  

Director Richardson: May I speak now sir? (Speaking to TUMMOTA)

(Applause from audience for Coralane Porter)

[Yes I have written for over six years about what your father and his corporation has been doing here in Don Pedro (naturally with support from other real estate business owners and members of the SO GOSIP).  I have no idea how hard your parents have worked, what their actual motivation is, or how many people they have harmed.    I attack which members of the community?  The same ones who betrayed this area and assisted The Deerwood Corporation in its activities for their own “side benefits”?  You and your ilk may consider my responses an attack but that’s your perspective, I prefer to characterize it as local “Homeland Defense” from unethical business practices which have severely harmed this rural residential foothill area and countless people.

Attacked Kathy Agee?  You must pay more attention to what is being said Coralane.  Agee misstated the facts of the matter and wrongfully accused me of slandering her.  OK, we’ve already established your father acts like a gentleman but history is full of people who have done horrendous things to others but who appeared docile, polite or congenial otherwise.  So what does that have to do with the facts?

I am evil?   Have you taken a close look at some of your father’s hard core supporters?  How dare you – you spoiled pompous brat!  How can any of you not recognize the foreseeable injury/death of another on one of those roads?  When it happens (and it certainly will without intervention) are you going to shrug it off as someone else’s misfortune unrelated to Deerwood’s facilitating the accident scene?  I would not want that on my conscience but I guess that is another reason we find each other on opposite sides of so many issues.  Why not test the high speed performance and handling stability of your expensive luxury car on some of those developer convenience roads Deerwood constructed for us commoners?  (But look out for horses and pedestrians on dedicated P&E Trails!) Would you feel comfortable driving your parents around those roads in inclement weather or emergency situations?  You are so smug in your denial. 

“Our Board”?- you are sounding more and more like Harry Alfier all the time.  You’ve had almost everything lost through this economy?  I don’t know what you’ve lost but you certainly haven’t lost your misdirected sense of responsibility and accountability or propensity for blaming others for the results of your own actions.  It is still amazing to me that the SO GOSIP will acknowledge how the national economic crisis was created by unethical activities of others far, far, away…..but refuse to recognize perfect local examples.

So you don’t’ care for my “body language”?   Too bad!  I think it well accepted that most people will exhibit body language given a particular environment and sitting at a board table being attacked by one disingenuous special interest person after another is not enjoyable, but hey, at least I didn’t laugh at your group’s antics and performance because then you would charge I laughed at another’s misfortune.   Yes I can “speak without verbalizing” which I do find a bit humorous considering your mother’s actions.]

Director Richardson:  OK, anything I’ve ever said about your father has been absolutely the truth.  Those roads he put in this subdivision violated State mandated fire safety code, minimum standard – roadway standards, they violated them.  He put those roads in 12 years after the State of California issued those rules, to this date they are going to be a problem in this community for perpetuity – Harry, let me finish. [Harry Alfier owner of Lake Don Pedro Realty – the other beneficiary of the developer convenience road that serves his property on Alamo Drive hill begins to speak.]   Now as far as, as insulting your father, your father is nice to me, I’ve always been nice to him, but your mother flipped me off in a public restaurant with my girlfriend.

Coralane Porter:  She has never done that and you are a liar. 

Director Richardson:  No, no

[I had had enough.  I never publically mentioned what happened up there in Mariposa until right then.  I am a liar?  Oh Coralane, why on earth would I make up such a thing? (I mean besides your outrageous and contemptuous explanation that I am an evil man.)   I would never jeopardize my integrity by stating something untrue about another.  Why would anyone do such a thing when their presumed “targets” do more than enough harm to themselves?  NOTE: You, and Harry Alfier (later), have made slanderous statements about me in a recorded public business meeting and both of you should be more cautious and circumspect in your emotional outbursts and I am sure your father’s attorneys would agree.

This begs another question:  Why would Peggy Porter feel compelled to “flip me the bird” in a public restaurant in the town of Mariposa?  (The following explanation is illustrative of my observation that these people do more harm to themselves than anyone ever could.)

“THINKING CAP” POP QUIZ:

What human emotion would be most closely associated with “flipping someone off”?  (Extended middle finger displayed from the closed back hand of the presenter)  Please choose only one answer:

  1. A.       Trust
  2. B.      Anticipation
  3. C.       Surprise      
  4. D.     Anger
  5. E.      Joy

I believe most reasonable people would conclude letter D. “Anger” to be the most common and accepted associated emotion with “Flipping the bird”, “Traffic finger”, “Giving the finger”, etc.

For more on this obscene gesture:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finger_(gesture)

So, back to the original question: What would motivate Peggy Porter to do such a thing? For the answer let’s take a little trip back to another blog posting.

 

REMEMBER THE “ON THE COURTHOUSE STEPS” BLOG?

I posted that blog on August 24th, 2011 six days after witnessing the auction procedure on Thursday, August 18th, 2011 at the Mariposa County Courthouse.  What that original blog did not mention was the fact the auction involved two properties from the Lake Don Pedro area, one of them Thomas and Peggy Porter’s mansion on Rincon Court which overlooks the golf course, the other a residence owned by a former CSD General Manager. 

The auction was published in the Mariposa Gazette under “Public Notices” which I later referred to in the blog “CARLIN’S THINKING CAP” on September 7th, 2011.  (Information from that link apparently changes with the new foreclosures that are continually listed.  Very sad how many are in Lake Don Pedro.)  That blog dealt with a number of “hot topics” including, three directors refusing to investigate director misconduct (one of them ultimately pleading “no contest” to providing false information to a peace officer and resigning); an unpaid large water bill for the waste water plant which serves the golf course and surrounding homes; and Tom Porter’s announcement of his intention to recall certain directors from the LDPCSD.

That Thursday was planned to be a very busy day and a close friend who had the day off was going to help with the driving and videotaping of the Merced River’s flow to Lake McClure (those videos listed on top menu bar).  The plan was to witness the auction at the courthouse, grab a bite to eat at the “Happy Burger restaurant” then up to Yosemite for the video shots.  

The above paragraphs under the subtitle “A CONFLICTING BUT BEAUTIFUL MORNING” accurately describe the moments before the auction.  I did not know members of the Porter family would be attending the auction but when we pulled into the parking lot and observed Tom, Peggy and Coralane milling about the courthouse lawn waiting for the auction to begin, well, I thought it a rather sad situation.  There were no SO GOSIP supporters shouting opposition to the foreclosure process or demanding that the rules be changed or an exception be made for this particular matter.  It was quiet, peaceful and almost a funeral-like environment with the morning sunshine on the manicured green lawn.  I indeed felt a bit sick to my stomach.

KNOCK IT OFF LEWIS – GET BACK TO WORK

Yup, I could hear my Dad’s voice in my heart and mind quite clearly, along with my friend’s voice in my ear who was surprised at my sudden hesitation about continuing the research.   I decided to forego the actual Porter auction and gave the three of them about as much room as possible which made hearing the auctioneer’s words difficult.  The opening bid for the Porter mansion was $1.5 million, but I heard no bids from the Porters.  There was no one else in attendance.  I shot some video from our position on a bench on the other side of the front lawn away from the courthouse steps.  We waited for the Porters to leave the area in their vehicle at which time I approached the auctioneer for some information about the process and actually became a “witness” to one of the foreclosures.   

Finishing up at the courthouse it was time to grab some lunch before we headed up towards Yosemite National Park.  Turning onto the street where the Happy Burger Restaurant is located off HWY 140 we were surprised to see the Porter vehicle (personalized plates) parked in front of the Red Fox Restaurant a little further up the street and on the right.  I pulled into one of the open parking spaces at the Happy Burger about midway the length of the building and shut off the engine.  My friend and I discussed the possibility that the Porters might be in the Happy Burger because we could not see through the window treatment that was reflecting the late morning Sun.  Since there was obvious parking available in front of the Happy Burger we decided the Porters were likely at the other restaurant up the street since their vehicle was parked directly in front of that establishment.

BIG SURPRISE AT TABLE NUMBER WHATEVER!

Yup there they were immediately inside at the table directly in front of my truck parked outside. We ordered and immediately went to the outdoor patio area out of sight of the main restaurant area where the Porters were seated.  Our meals were served out on the patio and just as we started to eat Mr. Porter, instead of taking a right turn out the entrance door into the parking lot opened the glass door to the patio area on the left and said “Hey Lew, just saw you and wanted to say hello”.  I replied “Hello Mr. Porter” and waved.  Porter exited the restaurant.

I was still talking about how polite Mr. Porter had been when Peggy and Coralane walked out the glass entrance door (to the right), took a left, but stopped in front of a plate glass window directly in front view of our table.  Upon making eyesight and without any fanfare Peggy “flipped me off” and the two of them turned and walked away.  I couldn’t believe she did it and commented “I guess she thinks my website is number one”.  WE laughed about it for a while trying to figure out if Mr. Porter was involved in some way….. you know, like his stopping by to say hello was only to get our attention for the “gotcha” coming by way of Peggy and Coralane a short while later.  I honestly do not know. I’d like to think not.]

Coralane Porter:  She’s never, she’s hardly

Director Richardson:  You were standing right next to her when she did it.

Coralane Porter:  She’s never flipped you off

[Yes she most absolutely did but to be fair, I cannot say with certainly Coralane observed what her mother did because it happened so fast although it seems rather unlikely she and her mother would stop in front of the window for a couple of seconds without another purpose before proceeding outside to their vehicle across and up the street.  (Later that day I even thought about going by the Happy Burger on the way back from Yosemite to see if their video surveillance cameras captured the incident since it was by an entrance, but decided not to make a big deal out of the momentary “self-expression” by Mrs. Porter.) 

Either way, it doesn’t really bother me that Peggy “shot me the bird”.  The only reason I mention it now is because I am not a liar and refuse to be called such by Coralane Porter.  If Coralane was involved, she is the liar and if she did not see what her mother did she cannot claim I am not telling the truth because she is ignorant of the facts.  I believe she probably needs to have a heart-to-heart talk with her mother.  Based on past behavior of the SO GOSIP I certainly do not expect an apology from Coralane Porter but if offered I will accept such and we can put the matter behind us.]   

 

Director Richardson:  Besides that, be that as it may, you can deny

Coralane Porter:  that’s outrageous

Director Richardson:  that, you can deny that all you want,

Coralane Porter: Oh I will sir

Director Richardson:  because I have a witness too

Coralane Porter:  I’m gone, I’m gone

Director Richardson:  Well no wait, no, stay here and hear the rest of it

Coralane Porter:  No you can’t make me stay – what are you going to call your DA friend up here?

[Here we go again with the DA friend disinformation that was originally spread by a former director who pled no contest to providing false information to a peace officer which, need I say, is a far cry from the much more serious crime of felony perjury before a Grand Jury if that were indeed a part of the reason for the plea bargain.  The director resigned from the board the next day – matter closed.

Even if I did have a friend that was a District Attorney (which I do not), why would one be necessary since TUMMOTA was presented at the meeting and was an investigator from the State Attorney General’s Office?  LOL]

 

Director Richardson:  Oh no, you’re going to, you’re going to accuse me of all these things then run away and not listen to my response?

Coralane Porter:  I’ve listen to this stuff for years sir, I, years, and I don’t care what is said.

[Typical behavior, make spurious outrageous accusations then run away and ignore a defensive response. Coralane doesn’t  care what is said?  Then why did she and her friends open their mouths in the first place?]

Multiple voices to Coralane

[Coralane Porter starts to leave the Board Meeting Room and TUMOTTA quickly exits and consoles her]

Unknown female voice:  Coralane don’t give him the satisfaction

Director Richardson:  Satis….?  This is not satisfying to me at all.

VP Kinsella:  Coralee please sit

Director Richardson:  Please sit down

Ruth Smith:  Don’t lower yourself to his level

Director Richardson:  Oh, thank you Ruth.

Ruth Smith:  Don’t, don’t do it.

Director Richardson:  Thank you Ruth

Coralane Porter:  I’m upset

Ruth Smith:  I know you are

Coralane Porter:  I’m upset, it’s because of years of building up this stuff, it’s just years of this

Multiple voices in background

 

[Ruth Smith talking about “lowering to someone else’s level”?   That’s a laugh.  Ruth was formerly a staunch supporter of the property owners’ association and the regulations and rules which were created to prevent exactly what the Deerwood Corporation has done.  I have never understood this.  Harry Alfier, Kathy Agee, Orb Hatton, Tom Porter, etc. – I can understand their financial motivations – they are against ANYTHING that might make property transfers more difficult, but why would someone who protected and defended this subdivision for so many years suddenly do a 180 degree turn?  Go figure.  Your guess is as good as mine.  Oh yeah, almost forgot – in anticipation of their whining indignation regarding the previously posted cartoon of the “SO GOSIP Blockheads”, let me make this perfectly clear:

The cartoon was not a suggestion they commit suicide by cutting off their own head with a hand saw….. but rather, only the corners of the block!  LOL]

TO CORALANE PORTER

Since Coralane does not view material on this website would someone be kind enough to relay this message? 

I appreciate and respect your love and loyalty to your parents but please try to understand the following.

In a similar manner in which some business people will harm others and claim “it’s all just part of doing business”, I truly regret any discomfort or pain caused you and your family due to my honestly opposing the activities of your father’s land development/mortgage corporation in Lake Don Pedro.

I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who is attributed as saying:

“Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow.”

I agree with this observation.  Your father, as president of Deerwood, may not have “hands on” injured other people and may indeed be a gentleman in his public conduct, but with a stroke of his pen or whispered word he effectively set into motion a corporate machine that demolished other peoples’ dreams and seriously disrupted their lives as surely as if he personally operated the construction equipment.

The Deerwood Corporation has furnished your family with a luxurious life style for many years and no doubt your parents worked very hard for that accomplishment, however, to deny or fail to recognize the harm it has brought to others, unfortunately, only diminishes my instinctive sympathy.

The Deerwood Corporation is a powerful adversary with a massive arsenal of professional services at its disposal.  I believe its influence in this area overwhelmed, circumvented, perhaps even corrupted not only individuals but established regulations designed to protect the public along with the governmental entities authorized for their enforcement.  Confronted with this massive proven political machine I have used my limited resources in dedicated opposition. 

The birth of this website was a direct response to elected officials of the LDPOA “Porter Board” who clearly refused to abide by the law of this state and provide me with a membership list so as to write owners and attempt to organize our vast geographically dispersed membership.  Rather than allowing me to waste time, resources and money on paper, ink and postage for years, their obstruction birthed LAKEDDONPEDRO.ORG.

Yes indeed I have written, drawn, photographed and posted some pretty satirical stuff but for an  “evil man” have held back much.  The truth of the matter is The Deerwood Corporation has furnished much raw material and your denying such only diminishes your credibility. 

Perhaps in your secluded home set back from the roadway you may not have noticed the numerous trucks, vans and trailers hauling out other people’s dreams of homeownership and residency in these beautiful foothills.  Please forgive that I am not more understanding about the financial impact so many vacant Deerwood speculative and model homes have had on your lifestyle.  I do not enjoy seeing the suffering of anyone and that includes you and your family.  Be appreciative of what you have enjoyed for so many years and recognize loss is not just measured in cold hard cash.

 

My best to you and yours, Lew

 

PS:  Enough “touchy-feely” —– (there’s that sarcasm again) the next batter-up on the SO GOSIP lineup of personal attacks….. {drum roll …. Then heard over loud speakers of a packed stadium}  “Harry Alfier from Lake Don Pedro Realty!”  {Over background audience noise and ballgame announcer}:  “get your popcorn, roasted peanuts…..”

Categories: Uncategorized.

KATHY OPENS THE “SO GOSIP” ATTACK

Reading Time: 12 minutes

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THE SO GOSIP LIKE "CUTTING CORNERS"

Continuation of the October 21st, 2011 Special Meeting

Verbatim transcriptions based on analog and/or digital recording of meeting.

Probably the best way to proceed through portions of  transcript will be with my personal comments displayed in [Brackets and italicized] – because attempting to refer back to the material at the end, if presented in a one block transcription, would be redundant and time consuming.  

The first SO GOSIP (Same Old Group Of Special Interest People) speaker to begin the traditional attack on this website and my PERSONAL OPINION, was Kathy Agee.   As you will see in the following verbatim transcription, TUMMOTA (The Unidentified Male Member Of The Audience) provides the opportunity for this barrage of personal attacks to begin and encourages it to continue despite multiple admonitions on my part that the material was not business of the district. But of course you must remember TUMMOTA had been represented as a state investigator from the Attorney General’s Office.  GOOD GRIEF!

I have a rather complex sentence coming up here so I’ll break it up-

Ironically, the three SO GOSIP representatives, (all in the real estate/land development industry),

who defamed me in a pubic business meeting, (Hey Kathy – Good example of slander – the spoken word),

with the assistance of an unknown individual who may have impersonated a State Law Enforcement Official on official business for the State Attorney General’s Office,

only again “KA-BOOMED” themselves by providing me with another opportunity to reasonably respond. 

You folks may have accidentally raised a number of other important matters as well.  I look forward to commenting on them eventually, so thank you, but first a variation of an old joke from the 1980 movie AIRPLANE with Leslie Nielsen as Dr. Rumac:          

“Surely, TUMMOTA knew how to conduct a public business meeting?”

“Apparently he did not – and stop calling me Shirley.”   

 

WHO IS THIS REGULAR SO GOSIP SPEAKER?

I am only familiar with Kathy Agee as a real estate agent who previously worked with Harry Alfier through his Lake Don Pedro Realty office in La Grange – just down HWY 132 in Stanislaus County.  I have no idea whether she still works out of that office.   Other than at CSD meetings the only place I believe I have ever seen Mrs. Agee was when helping Mr. Alfier move someone else’s recreational vehicle to Alfier’s property on the Deerwood-Alfier Developer Convenience Road on Alamo Drive hill.  (I was helping the land owner rake and burn brush when suddenly Harry came driving up the Deerwood/Alfier Road with the motorhome’s horn honking the entire way.  I believe it was Kathy who was driving another vehicle behind Harry, probably so he wouldn’t get a citation for the expired registration tags.  Lol  I remember this because it was just after the appellate court in Fresno upheld Mariposa County Superior Court Judge Parrish’s decision regarding a dispute between The Deerwood Corporation, Harry Alfier and the property owners of the land.  The developer convenience road begins on this couples property then diagonally crosses and proceeds to other properties at least 3 owned by Thomas Porter/Deerwood Corporation and one by Harry Alfier.  I remember wondering why he was making such a production out of the matter but after years of watching the deterioration of that RV I realized it was the same type of “gotcha” Harry pulled on me across the street from the home I was building.  But that’s a story I’ll bring up from the old website later.    

CRAZY FACT RELATED TO SRA STANDARDS

Anyway, so Judge Parrish ruled in favor of Deerwood and Alfier and then in a horrible coincidence the Judge lost his own home to a fire where a similar roadway was involved since that driveway/road was also narrow and had a “hairpin turn”.  As bad luck would have it that “hairpin turn” was the exact place two fire engines broke down and could not respond to the residence.  This unrelated tragedy never-the-less is a perfect example for why 1991 SRA (State Responsibility Area) Fire Safe Roadway standards were established – to provide safe accessibility for emergency firefighting equipment and adequate escape for residents during an emergency.  Again, getting off topic……

BACK TO: WHO IS KATHY?

Anyway, I do not know Kathy but imagine much of her anger and resentment towards me is grounded in my strong and vocal opposition to the construction of dangerous roads in this community by the Deerwood Corporation, and of course, one of them just happens to be very beneficial to her former/current work associate Harry Alfier.   Quite interesting how these roads were based on nonexclusive easements filed years after the Final Subdivision Map was approved by the county.  Questions still remain as to whether a standard grading permit was ever timely obtained which should have triggered CDF/CALFIRE involvement in roadway construction approval or merely an encroachment permit for a driveway to connect with a state or county maintained roadway.   But most importantly: who were these roadways to benefit?  The public and residents who would use them or private business and their financial concerns?    

OK FIRST BATTER UP:  KATHY AGEE

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Kathy Agee:  I just want to make a point, ah, with ah, what Ruth had to say as far as ah directors should commit themselves to focusing on issues and not personalities, present, presentation of the opinions of others should be encouraged, ah, you know this, this is something that ah, I and Lew I just, you know your, your recent blog about Emery and, and the blogs

Director Richardson:  I’m sorry that’s not business of this district.

Kathy Agee: Ah if you’re attacking with your position as a board member and you attack us after we’ve been in one of these meetings and you’ve put in your little, you know, opinions

[Not attacking with position – have been writing on LAKEDONPEDRO.ORG for over six years!]

 

Director Richardson:  Umhum

Kathy Agee: not facts, your opinions

Director Richardson:  Umhum which I labeled as such

Kathy Agee: but I think it’s not when you’re in the position that you’re in as a board member then you need to be limited to attacking, and that’s where you’re intimidating about us as ratepayers stand up here and say something because we don’t know how you’re going to take it and put it on your blog about us.

Director Richardson: Wel – you know, I, I would accept that except for one thing, I’m not doing the attacking, I’m doing the defensive.  I’ve been ah, called a liar, a thief, dishonest.  I’ve had people mess with my truck during open meetings – that I’ve had to go out there and stop that, I – don’t tell me that’s not true, that is true

Unknown:  I didn’t say it was

Director Richardson:  No, I was- it’s Carolyn.  But anyway ahm (multiple voices) no, no I, I am defending myself and you may not agree with my opinion and that’s fine we all have opinions, but if you see something that you think that I’ve written that is untruthful or un-factual please let me know what it is.

[My personal opinion is not subject matter for the CSD.  I have been writing for over six years about very serious issues affecting this community and if particular “personalities” have created or perpetuated these problems I will continue my PERSONAL OPINION reports on such activities.  If the SO GOSIP are intimidated by what I write they should perhaps seriously consider what they say at meetings because when they accuse me of lying or misrepresenting the truth, I will continue to defend myself with truth and fact and if that defense portrays the SO GOSIP as ill-informed, ignorant, or purveyors of disinformation, well, that falls on them for making the spurious statements in the first place. 

RECALL THE CSD ATTORNEY’S RESPONSE TO GRAND JURY?:

GRAND JURY R-5  “Board members should stop publishing documents that do not promote or represent the Districts interest as a whole”

CSD ATTORNEY RESPONSE:  “This recommendation cannot be implemented because it is directed at “Board members” and not at the District.  The District does not have jurisdiction or control over individual Board members’ exercise of their free speech rights and any attempt to do so would be an illegal prior restraint on speech.  This does not mean that free expression may not, under some conditions, give rise to liability or potential liability of the speaker for libel, slander, invasion of privacy, or under other legal theories.  The First Amendment and free speech is not always a complete defense.”

MY OPINION?  Providing the truth and facts regarding this district (along with information about those who wrongfully interfere with its business) most certainly represents the District’s interest as a whole.]       

TUMMOTA:  Doesn’t she have the floor?

Director Richardson:  Yes

[Technically no because Kathy is not a director, and Director Comments is not a question-answer period]

TUMMOTA:  Then why are you speaking?

Director Richardson:  Because she was speaking to me.

TUMMOTA:  No, she made, you interrupted her

Director Richardson:  (TUMMOTA speaking in background) No she was speaking to me directly – she was not speaking to the board.

TUMMOTA:  You cannot stop her speaking until you, OK, that’s fine

Director Richardson: OK

VP Kinsella:  OK

[Kathy Agee started by addressing her comments to “Lew” rather than the Board Chair, it started off personal to an individual who has administered a website for over six years as a citizen, not a director.]

Kathy Agee:  Well on the blog that you slandered me when I made a

Director Richardson: (softly)  I never slandered

[Had I defamed Kathy Agee, which I did not, it would have been libel, not slander.  Kathy Agee should do a little less talking and a little more research before accusing someone of a civil wrong which they have not committed.]

Kathy Agee: mistake by saying ah cutting corners

Director Richardson:  Yeah

Kathy Agee: when I corrected myself and said I meant cutting spending and you said well, maybe that’s the way Kathy does in her real estate.

Director Richardson:  No, I never said that

TUMMOTA:  You can’t speak, she has got to get her full

Director Richardson:  Well then you tell me why I should be allowed to sit here and be attacked?

TUMMOTA:  You are a director you should, you don’t listen

Director Richardson:  This is not District business

Multiple voices (TUMMOTA and Smith)

TUMMOTA: You need to listen to her, keep your personal comments until she’s done

Ruth Smith (LDPOA Appointed Director simultaneously talking in background) See why we don’t like to come to the meetings?

Director Richardson: This is not District business

TUMMOTA: (Inaudible) getting personal, well that’s too bad do you think she doesn’t have a right to speak because this isn’t business of your ah, or what you want to hear her in this ah this ah

[BINGO!  It appears TUMMOTA might have finally grasped my repeated admonitions about business subject matter and got a little tongue tied when he realized he had painted himself into a corner.]

Director Richardson:  We’re supposed to be discussing CSD business

TUMMOTA:  It’s not a discussion when she’s at the lectern

Director Richardson:  When she’s talking about a personal website that I run as an individual –

TUMMOTA talking in background

Director Richardson:  is not an issue of this district

TUMMOTA:  You are out of order, and you shall

Director Richardson:  I think you are out of order

VP Kinsella:  Oh, oh, OK

TUMMOTA:  No you are out of order and you know it

Director Richardson:  No

TUMMOTA:  So I would appreciate it (multiple voices) allow the constituents of this county

Director Mark Skoien:  This is great

TUMMOTA: to speak and not interrupt at every single turn.  Because you just (inaudible) disallowed her to get her point across you’re trying to shout your, these people down.

Director Richardson:  Her point

TUMMOTA:  This is not a bu, this is not a bully pulpit and that is not a bully board.  Just leave it at that and let her speak.

[A bully pulpit is a public office or other position of authority of sufficiently high rank that provides the holder with an opportunity to speak out and be listened to on any matter. The bully pulpit can bring issues to the forefront that were not initially in debate, due to the office’s stature and publicity.

This term was coined by President Theodore Roosevelt, who referred to the White House as a “bully pulpit,” by which he meant a terrific platform from which to advocate an agenda. Roosevelt famously used the word bully as an adjective meaning “superb” or “wonderful” (a more common expression in his time than it is today).

Does anyone else recognize TUMMOTA just made my point?  The BROWN ACT speaks of “Business of a specific nature that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body of the local agency”]

Director Richardson:  And this is not District business, be that on the Record.

TUMMOTA:  Does it matter?  

Director Richardson:  OK

TUMMOTA: It’s all – your (inaudible, multiple voices)

Director Richardson:  Go ahead Kathy, I’m sorry Kathy, please continue

TUMMOTA:  (Still talking) cuz it’on the record.

Director Richardson:  Yeah, yes it will be

TUMMOTA:  Stating it’s on the Record is kind of an erroneous comment

[TUMMOTA apparently doesn’t understand, I wanted my comment to be contained within the Official Minutes because he was personally facilitating interruptions of our business meeting.]

Director Richardson:  It will be, I’m sorry Kathy go ahead

Kathy Agee:  Well it, it is District Business because it was when I spoke at a meeting regarding District Business and correct me if you could quote how you said it, maybe I’m not using exact quotes, about when I said cutting corners and you, OK, could you please correct me and tell me what you said in there?

Director Richardson:  What I said was I think, you’re misusing the term cutting corners I think that implies something illegal or lack of quality, and you and all your friends that were sitting there said no, no, no it just means saving money and I said I think you’re wrong and we let it go as that.

Kathy Agee:  No, then you said maybe this is the way she does her real estate?

Director Richardson:  No, on my blog, on my blog what I stated was, cutting corners maybe something that’s done in real estate because we’ve had many people who come to these meeting and to the other board meetings when they never received their known disclosures.  But I did not use your name.

Kathy Agee:  It was in the paragraph about me, Kathy Agee

Director Richardson:  But it did not say Kathy Agee cuts corners, no it didn’t say that, it said maybe that’s what happens in real estate

Kathy Agee:  You insinuated that in (multiple voices)

Director Richardson:  That, maybe that’s the way you took it, but I think you should re-read it, that’s not what was said.

Kathy Agee:  I will re-read it

Director Richardson:  Please do.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

GOOD GRIEF!  Here we go again with discussion taking up meeting time for what purpose?  No wonder meetings can go for four to five hours.  What did Kathy Agee actually say and what was my “blog response” to which she is so offended?

FIRST: KATHY AGEE’S ORIGINAL MAY 4th, 2011 MEETING STATEMENT:

“My point is, you don’t get your financial plan and say, gee just because we need this money this is what we’re going to do… which I agree and appreciate you guys as far as this three thousand dollar hook up which is ridiculous, a thousand to me is ridiculous, but it’s kind of like the old game, you know, you play back and forth with the numbers, OK, a thousand sure looks better than three thousand.  Well five hundred really, $500-$600 that is just more reasonable than what you’re talking about, that’s just my opinion versus a lot of other people that I talk to, but I’m just saying, everyone has to cut corners, ah…”

[If any “old game” is being described here it is the one traditionally played when purchasing property.  A monetary negotiation process involving a seller’s initial high listing price and the purchaser’s lower counter offer –let the games begin.  Same as with purchasing a vehicle – the window sticker is the initial offer but for those who shop wisely and are educated as to the many variables used in calculating the MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) much money can be saved.   Kathy appears to compare the financial requirements necessary for our nonprofit CSD to provide water with the typical real estate offer-counter offer negotiation process to get a firm sale price.  This is absurd.  Apples and Oranges.]

Director Richardson:  Cut corners?

Kathy Agee:  Even here, cut corners as far as

Unknown:  Cut corners

Kathy Agee:  maybe, you know, these

Director Richardson:  I think that’s the wrong expression

(laughter)

Kathy Agee:  Cut corners?

Director Richardson:  I think cut corners means you’re not following the law

(laughter)

Kathy Agee:  Oh really?

Unknown:  That’s not the way

Unknown:  That’s not the way I take it either

(Multiple voices of agreement in audience that cutting corners was appropriate)   

 

SECOND: NOW THIS IS WHAT I WROTE IN A September 7th, 2011 blog entitled:  “Carlin’s Thinking Cap”:

“KATHY CUTTING CORNERS

A few meetings back there was an exchange between the “SO GOSIP” audience and members of the board regarding reducing the reconnection fee when Kathy Agee suggested the CSD “cut corners” to save more money.  I knew what she meant but still advised such term generally had a negative connotation implying something wrong or illegal.  I was surprised how many of the local real estate crowd immediately supported Kathy’s meaning as just doing things cheaper.

When I think of “cutting corners” I immediately think of construction related activities where quality (perhaps even safety) is sacrificed for cost savings or expediency.  There are many examples, thin concrete, inadequate rebar, undersized beams, lighter gauge electrical wire, blahh, blahh, blahh, all sorts of things where people can chose to “cut corners” and quality suffers.  When used in regards to driving, “cutting a corner” is like avoiding a traffic light wait by cruising through the corner gas station parking lot which I suspect the California Vehicle Code frowns upon.

I wonder what aspects of the real estate business these folks believe are amenable to a positive connotation of “cutting corners”?  Perhaps on little things like, “Known disclosures?””

XXXXXXXX

THAT’S WHAT I SAID – SO WHAT?

The whole issue of “known disclosures” is based on the numerous complaints by owners through the years who have stated they did not receive such information at the time they purchased their property.  Certainly Deed Restrictions on property are not a big selling point as they once were since the whole concept of CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) to protect property values from uncontrolled growth and development are only as good as the people who are elected/appointed to enforce them.   Without enforcement they are worthless and Lake Don Pedro has the history and developmental scars to prove that very point.    

IF ANYTHING REQUIRES "CUTTING CORNERS"

 

MORE MEETING TIME SPENT ON NON CSD ISSUES

So once again CSD Meeting time was consumed in addressing yet another groundless accusation by Kathy Agee who apparently wants to punish me for making a joke about her prior poor choice of words.  Most of us realize, “cutting corners” implies a negative activity often affecting quality.  Kathy argued otherwise, later apparently changed her mind, and now attacks me.  OK.

You know, had Kathy Agee stated the Deerwood Corporation was “cutting corners” with respect to its construction of access roads to serve multiple dwellings, well I would have agreed whole heartedly, but alas, perhaps Mrs. Agee also believes these roads are not dangerous?.

BIRDIE TOLD ME

THIS IS SO COOL.  I’m sitting in the garage scratching hand written notes for a blog.  The garage door is only partially open but this Nuthatch flies under and sits on the garbage can that contains the bird seed and starts pecking at the top.  Talked to him a bit but he continued pecking.  Whoa.  Did some little creature just remind me to fill the bird feeders or was it a mere coincidence?  I’m thinking the former, but regardless, I’ve got some outdoor chores to complete.  Later.

My best to you and yours, Lew

Categories: Uncategorized.