To the Editor:
The following will address Supervisor Tom Wheeler’s criticism of Dale Drozen and his DOG Report:
Many feel that Supervisor Wheeler’s comments regarding Dale Drozen’s retirement income are inappropriate, irrelavant, suggestive of pension-envy and unbecoming of a representative of the people.
However, many would agree with the Supervisor’s statement that most cities and counties, throughout our Country, are struggling with costs of supporting government employee pensions, as retirees are living longer, and the army of retirees are beginning to outnumber the taxpayers who are working to support them. All the more reason for our County Supervisors and staff to be frugal and fiscally responsible with the people’s money.
Supervisor Farinelli reminded us, in his Christmas letter dated December 19, 2016, that our County “faced bankruptcy” a short time ago, and that should raise more concern for County Supervisors and Staff to be fiscally responsible with the people’s money.
On December 21, 2016, the Sierra Star reported that Supervisor Frazier cautioned County staff to remain vigilant on fiscal conservatism in
relation to the OHV Park project.
Supervisor Wheeler disputed what Mr. Drozen reported in regards to a proposed land lease by the County for an OHV Park project. (See
Supervisor Wheeler’s comments below)
On December 21, 2016 the Sierra Star quoted County CEO Eric Flemming as follows: “The County will lease the Jameson property (proposed property for the operation of the OHV Park) for $1 – $25,000/mo, but the County won’t pay those amounts. The County will ask the owner to waive the monthly lease amount.”
One can plainly see how confusing this is to constitutents. Why would the owner of the property execute a lease with no teeth and one that would allow the County to easily wiggle out of?
Mr. Drozen’s report indicates that the County must prove possession of the property in order to apply for a grant. So perhaps the purpose of the lease is to prove to the granting agency that the County has possession of the property by virtue of a lease document and nothing more. Maybe that can be clarified by the County.
For taxpayers, the biggest issue regarding this project is the lack of planning and information available. As Mr. Drozen points out :
“When asked where profits would go, we were told, into the general fund, when asked how much, it was clear they had no idea, no business plan, or any idea when they would have one, nor an idea when they would have one.”
Is this true? Or if a plan exists, why wouldn’t the Supervisor make it available to the taxpayers? Don’t taxpayers have the right to demand this
information since they are footing the bill for this project?
Another constituent asks for information on: Basic layout of the facility
As a businessman and Supervisor of our County, I’m sure the Supervisor will agree that these are valid concerns on the part of his constituents.
Another confusing aspect to this project is that Supervisor Rogers was quoted as saying, “We have no intention of the County running this as a business. We plan, as a County………..to allow people in the private industry, who want to run this to do so” (Sierra Star, December 21, 2016).
If that is the case, the Supervisors can tell the people how many prospects have come forward, to date, who are willing to take on this
project. A responsible Board and staff would require these prospects to submit background information, business history, financials, an operating plan and projections. Where are these documents?
There is a consensus that there is no OHV park in existence, in California, that is NOT subsidized by the taxpayers. Can the Supervisors
confirm or deny this with documented proof?
Supervisor Wheeler states: “and we did do a study a few years ago asking you citizens what Madera needed and wanted. Recreating was at the top!”
Constituents report that they have asked repeatedly to see this “study,” but no “study” has been provided to the taxpayers.
Perhaps this “study” exists, but it does seem a little disjointed to constituents since Madera County is surrounded by one of the greatest
recreational sites in the world, in addition to many parks, lakes, hiking trails and other recreational facilities within the County.
The Supervisor states: “Since my 10 years of being a Supervisor, I’ve been asked more times for an OHV park than any other thing……”
This may be true, however constituents may not see this as a need to sacrifice and risk so much to satisfy a special interest group.
Many of us would love to have a world class shopping facility, a few big box stores,cultural center and opera house a half mile away, so we won’t have to travel long distances to get to these facilities, but that is not realistic. This can’t be done without giving up the peace, tranquility, small town ambiance, low crime rate and other benefits. So we must make compromises.
Perhaps those who have a genuine, burning desire to drive fast on dirt, create excruciating noise, pollute the air with the stench of gasoline and hot engines, kick up huge amounts of dust and dirt, and scare the wildlife out of existence will consider living in an area where all this is
compatible with the community. Hopefully their new community won’t have an issue with the cost of liability protection required for their
Regarding Mr. Drozen’s comment: “For some reason elected officials get all starry eyed imagining their dream pet project is what we need,” certainly, everyone understands the need for our elected officials to fulfill some kind of legacy. But what our elected officials should understand is that the real heroes are those who will strive to take care of our most needed and necessary services, like fire protection; and rather than devoting time, taxpayer dollars and valuable county resources for a special interest project, constituents would like to see this effort toward necessary services without an increase in their taxes.
Lastly, I would respectfully ask the Supervisor not berate or chastise citizen Drozen for his active participation in our community. There are
too few citizens participating in and reporting on our County issues; and Mr. Drozen needs to be commended for doing so.
Considering that our County Board of Supervisors and staff are diligently fulfilling their duties in service to our County, they should never be
disgruntled over correcting misinformation or the fact that a citizen is participating and reporting, but they should welcome any and all
opportunitiesto clarify issues and work in harmony with constituents who care most about our community.
From: Tom Wheeler [mailto:email@example.com ] Sent: Friday, December 23, 2016 3:49 PM
To: Dale Drozen
Subject: Re: DOG Report 12 22 2016
So everyone knows ,
Yes I called the DOG “report stupid” because the writer does not read all the back up to get his facts before he does his report. This is at least the 4th or 5th time he has reported wrong information to all of you so his report will be in his favor and his agenda of trying to make us look bad. He either does not do his homework or leaves out words so his report looks more favorable for his agenda.
He keeps correcting his wrongs but by then everyone believes his wrong writings and it’s hard to change someone’s mind once they have been ill advised.
And it hasn’t been little things, it’s always the bigger items that as a former State Employee (Government worker) does not like how the
government works for the people in his mind. (at the end of my story, look at the picture of how he enjoys life so well on ur Madera County and State tax dollars) There is probably not too many of u on his mailing list that has this kind of a Pension or will have when u retire.
Your Tax Dollars for state retired people is going to break California in the near future, even Governor Brown knows this and is working on
changing some of these large payouts.
Even in his correction he didn’t get all his facts correct. In the motion to pass this revision we said it was a $1.00 per parcel per month for 6
months, with a option to renegotiate it before it runs out in 6 months, just like we did Tuesday. Not just $1.00 period like he said we said.
We will never (myself anyway) lease this land for more than a dollar per parcel!
Most likely we will have bought it before we have to renegotiate it anyway. We do not ever throw away you people’s tax dollars, and we did do a study a few years ago asking you citizens what Madera needed and wanted. Recreating was at the top! Since my 10 years of being a Supervisor, I’ve been asked more times for a OHV park than any other thing except now maybe how to get money to help them clean the dead trees off their property.
About The Williamson Act question asked , I personally didn’t know but
I found out before the day was done that 6 pcs are in it and 2 aren’t and it really doesn’t make any difference as long as we use it for recreation. As soon as we get over these Native American concerns, we can finish all our studies identifying all of his concerns ( and yours)to see if it is the best thing to finally purchase the property.
And comparing this project with the dump problem is like comparing black and white!!! I worked my tail off to get the dump contractor fired including going to the Grand Jury.
Two things the contract was terrible and they were stealing from us. AND ” no wait ,it didn’t cost Millions of Madera County Citizens
dollars” in lawyer fees , we settled out of court so we wouldn’t pay big dollars , surely not Millions and take a chance of losing and we did get a
settlement but not as much as we should have because of “Statutes of Limitations” that protects thieves . If I remember right, we could only go back 3 or 4 years.And they had been doing this over 15 years.!
Always looking out for Your tax dollars.
I could go on and on about some of his other Dog Reports, but I don’t want to waste anymore of your and my time.
So bottom line when u read the Dog Report remember that it’s from a disgruntled former Government employee that puts out just enough bad or wrong info to get u rallied up against us and that it isn’t always the whole truth. Your BOS works so hard to make Madera County the best Little Big county in the State to live, work and Play in.
Thanks and I really hope u All have a great Merry Christmas and a Great 2017, because I know I am.
Supervisor Tom Wheeler, District 5
Well I guess I can’t send the state report on his pension with this response. So I’ll send it after. And if i can’t, Mr Drozen gets $82,701.52 Per year to live a life of leisure chastising BOS’s and City Councils (he did this to the Clovis City Council after he moved there a couple years ago.).
And if anyone wants to see the report let me know.
On Dec 22, 2016, at 10:07 AM, Dale Drozen
DOG Report 12/22/2016
First off a correction on Black Hawk Ranch Money Pit
Supervisor Wheeler was kind enough to point out my error. I am not sure calling me “STUPID” was needed, but one must consider the source.
The amended agreement the Board passed to lease Black Hawk Ranch was not for $120,000 this year and $300,000 a year after that.
The correct figures are $60,006 this year and $300,000 per year thereafter. In other words the amended lease commits us to;
One dollar per month for six months,
Ten thousand dollar$ per month for the next six months
Twenty five thousand dollar$ per month for the rest of the 25 year lease.
I learned, when someone asked why we need a 25 year lease, the State grant folks require us to have control of the land for 25 years in order to get the grant.
I also learned the contract can be terminated with a 30 day notice, after certain triggers are met.
The Board was firm; They were, nor would they ever be spending any General Fund money on the OHV facility.
They are and will be I believe; spending grant money advances, County Counsel time, donated money, and Staff time. As I understand the Grant program, any money given to the County by the State, is an advance. If the County is unable to complete the project and operate it to the State programs satisfaction, all money must be paid back to the State by the County of Madera taxpayers.
When asked about what happens in six months when the rate goes up to $1,000 per month or in a year when it goes up to $25,000 per month, the answer was; “We will renegotiate.”
The economy is coming back land values are increasing; unless the County is paying several times the market value for the land another buyer will come along.
If I were the land owner and another buyer came along with the same or even less money, but without the contingency for getting grants and developing an OHV facility many if not most of the residents are fighting, I would go for the other buyer’s deal.
So much for renegotiating with the Lessor.
If the lessor, wants out of the lease all they need to do is hold the county to the agreed upon price, and the County will terminate it for them.
How many months of throwing away $25,000 each month before the Board throws in the towel?
We the taxpayers will lose everything we have invested to that point and we will be left paying the Grant advances back to the state.
I learned from Supervisor Rogers that the County paid for a study that indicated the taxpayers were in favor of a facility like the Off Road
Vehicle Facility. I am working on a request to get a copy of that study.
When asinked where and profits would go we were told; into the general fund, when asked how much, it was clear they had no idea, no business plan, or any idea when they would have one.
Madera County according to Board members will own the facility and have somebody run it. (This is a bit like the Fairmead Landfill situation.)
Any profits will go into the general fund, so it stands to reason any losses will come out of the general fund.
The previous Fairmead landfill operators were allegedly screwing up the operation, we the County were finally able to get out of the contract at a cost of over a $million$ dollars in legal fees paid by—– wait for it____ Madera County taxpayers.
Who will keep tabs on the OHV operator? Certainly not our Board.
I have seen no studies, no figures on how well other Green Sticker OHV facilities are doing in California. We have seen no studies on how
neighboring property owners are effected around existing OHV facilities.
If the number were good they would be presented at every meeting.
I believe the Board fell in love with the idea and logic got lost in the process.
Like the guy in the CarMax commercial who goes out to by a family car and show up in a Corvette convertible, until his pregnant wife tells him it will not work, and he returns it. Unfortunately this pig in a poke will be nonreturnable.
Our Board must have had one heck of a sales job, to think they are going to do this and make money for the County.
For some reason elected officials get all starry eyed imagining their dream pet project is what we need.
Politicians once they have fallen in love with that little red Corvette of a project, think it will be a great family car.
Fresno Granite Park, Fresno baseball stadium, and yes the High Speed Rail boondoggle, all over budget money loosing disasters pushed through regardless of the opposition, regardless of logic.
The Board is behind this project 100%.
Anyone with the temerity to challenge the boondoggle or ask for facts, figures or even a business plan, is insulted, berated, and belittled.
If you have any doubt how this board feels about the citizens and voters of this County you only need to watch the online video of the Dec 20th meeting Item 6 c. It starts out fine then their true colors begin to shine through.
The introduction to the Brown Act describes its purpose and intent: 
In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.
The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty  to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority , do not give their public servants  the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.
As always if you find and error in my reporting (other than bad gramma), please contact me and I will make any needed corrections or retractions. If you no longer wish to received DOG Reports contact me and your name will be removed from the email list.
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