On Monday night at the Merced City Council meeting, it was --
GREG HOSTETLER --
at the podium, bringing the backroom right out front before the public, the cameras and reporters. Prior to his appearance the Monday Night Council Follies had been dominated by police officers, in the aftermath of the shooting of one of their fellow officers, berating the council for inadequate manpower on the force. In the wake of Prop.47, which released a number of felons from prisons, the ongoing unnamed Great Depression II, and despite the statistics, everyone knows the streets of Merced are growing more dangerous (along with the streets of most cities and towns in America).
Of lesser dramatic impact at the meeting was a group of homeless advocates reporting on funds received and needed. Regarding the group of teenagers hauled on stage and prompted to recite a pledge to say nothing negative about Merced, all we can say is that we hope they are not issued firearms any time soon.
The evening was saved from the depression of calamity and the Pledge of Total Denial when Greg "SUPERFLY" Hostetler appeared, fresh from facial surgery. He apologized for his recuperation garb -- dark glasses over eyes and a black baseball hat turned backwards. But, always the businessman, his bluetooth was plugged into his ear
He announced he was pledging a million dollars to establish a foundation for the Merced Police Department. Except it was a little unclear what he meant by "pledge" or "million". But who's quibbling? Certainly not Councilman Mike Murphy, who got all puckered up while Mayor Stan Thurston"s face twitched, perhaps unconsciously, like a doomed character in Orwell's 1984.
These days, apparently, the rich don't pay a bribe in the backroom. Local governments in Merced County, impoverished because they permitted everything in return for nothing during the building boom, are now so weak that a developer who has left the rubble of unfinished subdivisions all around the county and is a known serial scofflaw, can just jingle his pocket change in public and be praised for it by fresh replicants of Big Business, whose minds are unclouded by memory, reason, reality or history.
“I decided it’s time to execute and take the lead to set up a foundation, so other people can join in,” *Hostetler) said. “If you set it up with $1 million with matching from the community, then the rest of the people can rally around that" ... Chief Norm Andrade said most of the details still must be worked out, but said the department is grateful for the offer. The news of the donation was a surprise to him as well, he said... The City Council also made a number of decisions during the meeting, including one that dealt with Hostetler’s property. The council approved a $58,250 contract with an independent contractor, who will conduct an environmental analysis of the undeveloped portion of Bellevue Ranch West. -- Thaddeus Miller, Merced Sun-Star, March 2, 2015.
It looks like what SUPERFLY probably did was to draft some kind of promissory note along the lines of "If you can raise $1 million, I agree to match it" in order to add grease to the wheels for more approvals for his dream of 400 acres of almonds on a flood plain inside the city limits.
Given his apparent state of medication on the podium, we hope his possible beneficiaries in law enforcement gave SUPERFLY an escort or a driver to take him home.
We suggest that any readers who considers our characterization of Mr.Hostetler unfair or exaggerated caatch the show themselves at the video of the March 2 Merced Council Meeting at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMCpd21Vgjc at about 1 hour, 42 minutes into the meeting.
Developer pledges $1 million to establish foundation for Merced police
Developer Greg Hostetler pledged $1 million this week to the Merced Police Department to go toward a foundation for officers, a donation that comes on the heels of a high-profile shooting that wounded an officer in Merced.
The announcement was made during the public comment section of the Merced City Council meeting Monday to the surprise of just about everyone in the room.
Chief Norm Andrade said most of the details still must be worked out, but said the department is grateful for the offer. The news of the donation was a surprise to him as well, he said.
The Police Department does not have a foundation, he said, which could help the department pay for equipment or aid the family of an officer killed in the line of duty.
“A lot of your bigger departments have a foundation,” he said.
Hostetler, owner of Hostetler Ranches, said the foundation would look something like the California Highway Patrol’s 11-99 Foundation or the Heritage Foundation, which he also set up to help fund the Merced County Spring Fair in Los Banos.
He said he’s done well enough in business to try to help others, and hopes those who can donate will do so.
“I decided it’s time to execute and take the lead to set up a foundation, so other people can join in,” he said. “If you set it up with $1 million with matching from the community, then the rest of the people can rally around that.”
Like his other charitable donations in the county, Hostetler said the money for the foundation is in memory of his wife, who died about four years ago.
The City Council also made a number of decisions during the meeting, including one that dealt with Hostetler’s property. The council approved a $58,250 contract with an independent contractor, who will conduct an environmental analysis of the undeveloped portion of Bellevue Ranch West.
Hostetler, who is looking to farm the land, would be responsible for reimbursing the city for the analysis, according to city records.
Hostetler said the shooting of a Merced police officer during a traffic stop Saturday played into his decision to make the “long overdue” donation, but the land in question did not.
“The ministerial act the council did (Monday) had not one thing to do with $1 million matching donation to the Police Department,” he said. “It was the right thing to do.”
Though the donation announcement came on the same night as the council’s decision, Councilman Mike Murphy said there was no impropriety. He noted the council had already approved the plans related to farming on the site.
The council tentatively approved the farming plan in December, assuming Hostetler met certain requirements.
“I think Mr. Hostetler is genuinely concerned about the well-being of our officers,” Murphy said.
He said the “generous” pledge will go a long way to helping a department that “needs every resource that it can get.”
Merced Detective Joe Deliman, who is president of the Merced Police Officers Association, said he appreciates the pledge, calling it “something great.” Deliman said the effort to establish a foundation is the first he’s aware of during his 18 years in Merced.
The money will benefit Merced police in the future, he said, but does not relieve what he sees as the City Council’s responsibility to add more officers. Adding officers will help ensure police are not overworked or otherwise put in danger, he told the Sun-Star.
Sgt. Robert Solis told the council on Monday that the officer shot during a traffic stop Saturday was scheduled to be off that day, an example of officers working extra hours. The officer has since been released from the hospital.
The department has a budget for 88 officers – though a few of those spots are empty. The number of officers peaked in 2007 at 111, but budget shortfalls in the city led to layoffs.
The council is expected to get its first look at a preliminary budget in May. Murphy said the council is looking at its options for discretionary funds and how to solve the city’s ills.
“Part of the solution has to be adding more officers,” he said.
by Curtis Mayfield
You're gonna make your fortune by and by
But if you lose, don't ask no questions why
The only game you know is do or die
Tryin' to get over
Tryin' to get over
Tryin' to get over