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
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.
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
Kathy Agee: Cut corners?
Director Richardson: I think cut corners means you’re not following the law
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?””
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.
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