Jan 16

Powerful Words

Posted on January 16, 2023 at 8:20 AM by Marc Garcia

The coming of a new year presents many of us with a blank slate.  A way to look toward the coming year with a renewed focus and hope for a prosperous future. There is no finer example of hope for a brighter future than Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 16, 2023, is Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. On this day, we celebrate the life of Dr. King and all the ways he taught us how to be better humans and a better society. How we can live up to the ideals of our founding fathers when they said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

For nearly 13 years, Dr. King led a civil rights movement that achieved more progress toward racial equity and justice than the previous 350 years combined. While many were advocating for change by any means necessary, Dr. King used the power of his words and non-violent resistance to achieve what many believed to be impossible. 

In one of the darkest periods of American history, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught us all that unarmed truth and unconditional love are powerful moral forces that can lead to social transformation. Although he was tragically murdered in Tennessee while fighting for fair wages and working conditions for sanitation workers in Memphis, his powerful words, his sacrifice, and even his “dream” live with us and guide us today.

Just like Dr. King, I refuse to accept that Modesto is “bound to the starless midnight of racism.” I believe that Modesto, regardless of the color of your skin, how you pray, or whom you love, is a city for everyone. I believe that Modesto is a place where anyone and everyone can raise a family, start a business, and find success. I believe this so strongly that here at the City of Modesto we back up these words with action.

Last year, The City of Modesto launched our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program (DEI). We believe that the collective sum of the individual differences, life experiences, knowledge, inventiveness, innovation, self-expression, unique capabilities, and talent that our employees invest in their work represents a significant part of not only our culture but our reputation and achievement. This is not about quotas or political correctness but ensuring that the City’s practices, policies, and services that we provide to the community are built on the premise of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We further believe that by investing in an inclusive culture, we will attract the best and brightest talent, leading to more innovative, equitable, and inclusive solutions for all in our community. Building and sustaining an inclusive and diverse culture is essential, and it is the right thing to do.

The future is bright for the City of Modesto and I am excited for all that 2023 has to offer. I wish you luck with your new year’s resolutions and I hope this year is a prosperous one for you. Happy New Year.

Dec 22

Happy Holidays

Posted on December 22, 2022 at 2:47 PM by Marc Garcia

The end of the year is upon us and that grants us an opportunity to reflect on what we have accomplished in the past year and to contemplate our future. The City of Modesto has plenty to be proud of and our future is looking bright.

Homelessness is a tragedy that has impacted nearly every city in America. Here in Modesto, the problem is visible every day. There is no one reason for the crisis and not a single solution to solve it but I believe we have done amazing work with our Camp2Home program and the limited resources at our disposal. Working with our regional partners, we have successfully opened permanent supportive housing facilities for our most vulnerable residents. We have extended our relationship with the Downtown Streets Team which is doing amazing work in tackling the root causes of homelessness by helping those in need acquire vital documents, gain valuable work and job placement skills, and eventually permanent housing. Our newly formed CHAT teams have done an exemplary job in leading outreach efforts to our homeless population and guiding them to services. The City of Modesto also received the prestigious Helen Putnam Award for the development of an innovative outreach dashboard that allows outreach workers to efficiently track, monitor, and deliver services to residents experiencing homelessness.

Speaking of innovation, the City of Modesto has been recognized as one of the top digital cities in California and the United States. Technology is invading all aspects of our daily lives, and it is vital Modesto keeps pace with these technological advancements to efficiently deliver services to the residents. In October, the Municipal Information Systems Association of California (MISAC) awarded the City of Modesto with the MISAC Award for Excellence in Information Technology Practices. In November, the Center for Digital Government recognized the City of Modesto as one of the top 10 cities in the United States for utilizing technology to strengthen cybersecurity, enhance transparency and digital equity, plan for the future of work, and more. We are so proud of the tremendous accomplishment and recognition for the City of Modesto.

It has been no secret that over the last 14 years, the finances for the City of Modesto have been in dire straits. The economic meltdown of 2008 exposed the vulnerabilities of the City’s finances and led to difficult decisions in the years afterward. Even with this pressure, the City worked diligently to ensure efficient, effective, and transparent procurement practices. This year, the National Procurement Institute awarded the City of Modesto with the Annual Achievement of Excellence in Procurement in recognition of the city’s purchasing policies and practices. This is long overdue recognition and validation of the tireless efforts we take as a City to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars.

I believe the residents and citizens of Modesto recognized this hard work when they went to the polls this November and cast their ballots overwhelmingly in favor of Measure H. This one-cent sales tax increase will help the City of Modesto provide the vital services that our residents have come to depend on. Although I am pleased with the outcome, this is by no means a celebration. Now the hard work begins in following through on the mandate granted to us by the voters to deliver. I take this enormous responsibility seriously, and I look forward to working with the City Council and the Measure H Oversight Committee to allocate these dollars as effectively and transparently as possible.

This is truly one of my favorite times of the year. The holiday season fills us with happiness and joy. The crisp air, the twinkle of lights, and the smiles on people’s faces are what this season is all about. I hope you have managed to take advantage of all the wonderful holiday events here in Modesto and no matter how you celebrate, I would like to wish you and your family a warm joyous holiday and a very happy new year.

Nov 23

During this Season of Thanksgiving

Posted on November 23, 2022 at 1:16 PM by Andrew Gonzales

During this Thanksgiving season, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to our community. As we emerge from the challenges of the last few years, let us all set aside time during this holiday season to give thanks for our many blessings; family, neighbors, and friends.

I have been reflecting on the things I am most thankful for as Modesto’s City Manager. This past year was marked by the complexities of trials and triumphs. Of challenges and achievements. As we step out of the shadows of the pandemic, I am thankful for the relative peace, progress, and prosperity our city has enjoyed.  This has only been possible because of the everyday heroes here in our fair city.

I am thankful for the hard work and dedication of our City staff. In the face of difficulty and hardship, these public servants met the moment and persevered to maintain vital city services for the residents of Modesto. I am thankful for the residents that volunteer their time to serve and make a true and positive impact on our city every day. I am thankful for the businesses, non-profits, and community groups that help us achieve the goal of making the City of Modesto an inviting and safe community with a high quality of life, economic vitality, and thriving neighborhoods. I am thankful for all of you.

This holiday season, I give thanks to all who call Modesto home, and I wish you peace and prosperity. To the residents of Modesto, and from my family and my home to you and yours, Happy Thanksgiving.