Modesto Coun­cil’s com­edy act is any­thing but funny

The Modesto Bee (Sunday) - - Opinion -

Re “City leases ex­ceed spend­ing lim­its; coun­cil ap­proves fixes” (Page 1A, Oct. 26): Let me get this straight. The city of Modesto has an on­go­ing con­struc­tion project last­ing 15 years! On site, they have a “tem­po­rary” con­struc­tion trailer, leased for 15 years at al­most $50,000 per year plus a lease for the land it sits on for $573,354 and count­ing. The city coun­cil wants to make it seem to us stupid tax­pay­ers that the real is­sue is the fail­ure to au­tho­rize ex­cess ex­pen­di­tures and over­pay­ments once they ex­ceed $50,000 per year. This is a smoke screen of mon­u­men­tal pro­por­tions. The real is­sue is to­tal in­com­pe­tence at con­tract­ing and gi­gan­tic neg­li­gence of over­sight.

What re­ally needs to be dug into is who at city hall signed such leases. What are the con­nec­tions be­tween Modesto and Empire Trac­tion Com­pany and city of­fi­cials? $590,000 to lease five well sites since Novem­ber 2014, plus $573,354 to lease land looks like ex­or­bi­tant profit for some­one.

The in­ep­ti­tude is tragic yet hys­ter­i­cal; it would make a great script for a com­edy rou­tine. The ac­tors are city staff led by the city man­ager. The pro­duc­ers and di­rec­tors are the city coun­cil and the mayor. Just keep throw­ing those cream pies. As usual the cul­prits just walk away while the tax­pay­ers get left hold­ing the bag.

– Robert Le­Fevre, Modesto

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