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Mayor Carmen Sabatino

Mayor Carmen Sabatino


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An open letter to downtown property owners

I am seeking a second term as Mayor of Modesto and I want you to know that I will be seeking the repeal of the assessment fees the present Council has agreed to have imposed on you. The money is going to a group of private individuals who have formed a nonprofit to run their NEW CITY.

Sixty-one per cent of voting owners voted against the district, and yet this assessment district was formed. The City and County provided 14.5% of the yes vote.

To put it bluntly, owners were “scammed” with the process that left little doubt of the election outcome.

The City of Modesto and Stanislaus County, using your tax dollars, voted for this measure to insure a margin of victory. For some of you this assessment is double what you are now paying in property taxes.

Some of the same individuals who were previously involved in the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and SCAP scandal are featured players in the creation of this Downtown Community Benefit District.

The Bee reported that, “The impetus to create the district came out of the Downtown Modesto Partnership – a group of property and business owners, downtown supporters and the city and county – to find a way to improve the city center. Some of those involved in the effort include Gallo Center for the Arts CEO Lynn Dickerson, attorney Dave Gianelli and Ryan Swehla with the commercial real estate firm NAI Benchmark”

Out of 214 property owners 125 ballots were cast. And 76 owners voted against the district while 49 were in support. The first ballot was canceled and a second ballot was mailed out.


The voting got a big boost from local government. Modesto, its former Redevelopment Agency and Stanislaus County provided all of the winning margin of the outcome .