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Message from the CEO: December 2014 

Cecil Russell

Chamber CEO,
Cecil Russell

I will start this edition of Progress with congratulations to Jeff Denham, Anthony Cannella, Kristin Olsen, and Adam Gray on their reelections. These elected officials have served us well and we have every confidence that they will continue to represent us with a focus on creating an environment that will be conducive to growing jobs and strengthening our economy. The Chamber has identified many compelling issues that our Board of Directors will be examining, and we will forward feedback to our elected officials. These issues include water, transportation in the region, the new “hidden” gas tax being proposed by the California Air Resources Board, and public safety.

In regard to public safety, last month’s issue of Progress featured our public safety leaders. We are glad to report that in the City of Modesto we have had a 20% reduction in home burglaries, 13% reduction in commercial thefts, a 12% reduction in vehicle thefts, 11% reduction in robberies and a 5% reduction in larceny. This has been accomplished despite a 25% reduction in patrol staff and budget cuts over the last year. These reductions in crime have occurred because of a more strategic approach to, and use of, available resources and increased engagement with the community. The police department has been using predictive policing data and improved dialogue through one-on-one conversations, social media and town hall meetings. These strategies and their results have been reported in the Modesto Bee’s interviews with Modesto Police Chief Galen Carroll. These improvements are good news for Modesto and contribute to a better quality of life for all who reside here.

I had the pleasure this week to attend two different events that honored leaders in our community. The Civil Justice Association of California awarded Kristin Olsen with the 2014 Civil Justice Award for her work as our representative in Sacramento, fighting to protect the business community from lawsuit abuse. I also attended an event honoring Jeremiah Williams as Modesto’s American Legion Post 74, for his continuing service to our community. Congratulations to both of these very deserving people.

I have had the privilege of serving on the Committee for the Mayor’s Top Teens for the past three years. I am happy to report that the group of 30 teens, were chosen out of 47 nominated this year, will once again make us proud of the youth in our community. The program needs your support to help fund activities and scholarships for these well deserving students. Please contact Loree Lee in the Mayor’s office for more information at 209-571-5101 or visit their website: www.ci.modesto.ca.us/council/topteens

The holiday season is now fully upon us, which for many is a favorite time of year to celebrate with family and friends. We are fortunate to have a number of choices for holiday shopping in our community. Vintage Fair Mall is one of the Macerich Company’s top ten shopping malls in the entire country. We are featuring McHenry Village on our cover and also as the feature story for this issue. These and other great shopping areas in our city provide excellent shopping experiences, enabling us to shop local and keep our tax money in our community. I have recently learned of a new slogan: “START HERE. GROW HERE. LIVE HERE.” It is a sentiment that speaks to all of us, encouraging us to support our community, each other, and show our pride. We can be local if we shop local.

This year the City of Modesto presents the 2014 Celebration of Lights Rock’n Holidays on Saturday, December 6th, 2014. The day starts off with Breakfast with Santa at 8:30 a.m., followed at 9:00 a.m. by the Dickens Faire & Modesto Certified Farmers’ Market Presents: Victorian Christmas Market. The Holiday Parade begins at 5:30 p.m., rain or shine, which is directly followed by the Downtown Tree Lighting. After all of the festivities meet down at the Tenth Street Plaza for lights, garland, decorations, local vendors, SNOW, and music every half hour, starting at 7:30 p.m. For more information, times and locations, please visit: www.modestogov.com/prnd/events/holidayparade.

Have a great holiday season and bless our community.
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