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Brad Hawn vs Garrad Marsh for Modesto Mayor

Updated on January 29, 2012

Fill in your vote.

I voted for Brad Hawn!
I voted for Brad Hawn! | Source

Vote by Mail Runoff Election

The City of Modesto held an election for mayor on November 8, 2011. Because no one candidate received more than a required portion of the overall vote, a runoff election was set for February 7th.

The election is a mail-in ballot.

The voting forms started arriving in mail boxes around the 14th of January. There is only one issue: Brad Hawn or Garrad Marsh for mayor.

For those who wait until February 7th to vote, there will be six locations provided to drop off the pink ballot envelopes.

You can register to vote, and vote in the election, until January 23rd: Register to Vote in California (Print form, fill in, sign, and mail) In Stanislaus County, you must be registered at least 15 days prior to election to vote. It is unclear if a post mark qualifies. You may need to mail a few days before the 23rd.

Brad Hawn

Brad Hawn

"I don’t believe that government is a place to create jobs. I believe that government is a place to create an environment that jobs can grow.” – Hawn

Brad Hawn wants to keep the budget reduction to $100 million from $130 million.This is a smaller government plan. Every tax payer can get behind this. It means a 23% reduction in a cost that is funded by taxpayers.

In the video below, you will see and hear Brad Hawn discussing the issues of Modesto. I found that Hawn is very well informed. After watching the video of the debate at Modesto Junior College, I settled my vote with Brad Hawn.

Brad Hawn is a structural engineer. This is the highest level of engineering. To attain this title, an engineer must pass three separate exam, separated by years of experience. The first test is the EIT (aka FE), an extensive, 8-hour exam (plus a mail-in required as part of the application process). The second, after four years experience in engineering is the PE (Professional engineer) exam. Letters of reference and proof of experience must be provided before sitting for the PE. About 40 to 48% of these experienced engineers pass the PE. The structural engineering exam is also another full day to take. So few take this exam, it is given just once per year.

An engineer's greatest tool is a high-functioning brain. In addition to being a businessman, Hawn has a mental skill set in managing diverse information in large volumes, multi-tasking, and (as a structural engineer designing hospitals and schools) working through governmental bureaucracy to get projects accomplished.

Garrad Marsh

Garrad Marsh (Be sure to read smear campaign section at end of article.)

Marsh is a veteran who served 7 years in the navy. He studied finance at the University of Berkeley. Later, he bought out his , family business Yosemite bowl. Marsh says he has 7000 customers a week. These customers mean he has more contact with the public and a better feel of what "all of you" have to go through every day, what the will of the people is. I’m dedicated to preserving our agricultural interest here.

(Note: I bowl and have never met Garrad Marsh. I don't consider the people I see in the bowing alley a fair representative sampling of Modesto residents. I usually see teenagers there.)

Marsh also says he supports mixed use development rather than going into farm land. Mixed-use development is an excellent idea. It has gained in popularity in the last 10 years with city planners. (City planning may be the most important aspect of managing a city, imho). Mixed use development maximizes city use and preserves other land for other use, such as agriculture. Multiple use is also a business model gaining attention. This kind of thought is a benefit Marsh has as a business owner.

BUT: Here is a clip from a Modesto Bee article written by Ken Carlson:

On Friday, a leading Modesto developer and real estate investor said Marsh was actively involved in getting 1,770-acre Village I annexed to the city 20 years ago so he could develop his 26 acres of farmland. - Marsh's growth record at issue in Modesto Mayor race

Read more by clicking the blue article title above.

So, talking the talk is nice. But, a leader has to walk the walk as well.

Why is Marsh running for mayor?

One woman, modestomommy3, commented in a Modesto Bee thread that when she asked Marsh why he was running for mayor, "his first response was that he could no longer be on city council so he needed to find something else to run for" -modestomommy3

If that is true, I can only think it was a joke, or a poor comment. It is not a reason to not vote for Marsh. Many people have multiple reasons for making the decisions they make. We can be sure that Mr. Marsh has many reasons for running. The term limit as council member is just one. Either of these candidates will be an effective mayor.

Notes on the MJC Mayoral Debates:

Look at Marsh’s and Hawn’s comments at 12:50 of the video at the bottom of this article:

At 28:00 minutes, Marsh describes why he is a successful businessman. He knows how to keep good talent working for him. This can be a good skill for a manager as well.

As far as the debate about reform of pensions, look at 39:00 to see what Hawn and Marsh say about the ballot measure. Hawn is the only one who went against the unions. They have blitzed Hawn on Youtube. Marsh received money from the unions. The pension fund issue is a major problem for the city. It needs to be resolved.

The MJC debate has all the information you need to vote:


If Modesto elects either of these two men, we will have a good mayor. However, Brad Hawn demonstrates a much greater knowledge of the issues. Of all the candidates, only two of the men, in the debates, showed that they have plans for resolution of Modesto's issues: Brad Hawn and Bill Zoslocki. Mr. Zoslocki did not advance to the runoff.

Brad Hawn stands alone as the best candidate, and the better runoff option.

For whom will you vote?

If you plan to send in your ballot, for which candidate did you vote?

See results

Garrad Marsh's Smear Campaign

Before, I said either man will be a good mayor. Today, January18, 2012, I completely change that position. Garrad Marsh would make a poor mayor.

Today I received two smear campaign mailers from Marsh. One of them says "Marsh is not a developer. He is the owner of McHenry Bowl."

What? Excuse me? Anyone who buys property and intends to build it out is a developer. If you own 20 additional businesses, you remain a developer if you develop property. Hello? (See quote above from the Modesto Bee regarding a statement that Marsh attempted to annex land into the city so that it could be sold and developed (the prime reason it would be purchased after it was in the city.)

While calling Hawn a liar, Marsh is LYING himself. I do NOT want a truth twisting distortion artist to run our city.

Second Flyer

The flyer says:

"Brad Hawn's economic plan for Modesto is just plain nuts!

"Hawn, and engineer and councilman, said convincing manufacturers to develop value-added products, such as almonds with chocolate, instead of just almonds, would bring business here." (emphasis in original)

Modesto needs serious solutions to improve our economy. Brad Hawn: bad for our economy, bad for Modesto. Vote no on Hawn.

Whoever wrote this flyer is incompetent. First, let's hit the obvious: This is not an up or down vote on Hawn. It is an election. Voters face three choices: don't participate, vote for Hawn, or vote for Marsh. There is no option to vote "no" on either mayoral candidate.

Second, let's hit the really obvious: If you sell almonds and chocolate covered almonds, you will sell more products. The natural progression of economies all over the world is from agriculture and raw materials (like Nigeria) to manufacturing and value-added products (like China) to technology (like Japan, Germany, and France) and then to professional services (like the United States and Great Britain). This is a no-brainer. Why does McHenry Bowl sell pizza and beer? Answer: because selling multiple products and services (pizza and chocolate covered almonds) produces greater revenue than offering just one service (just bowling or plain almonds).

The first flyer claims "Marsh was the ONLY person to voice opposition to lowering the developers fees in Village One." The second flyer says part of Marsh's plan for improving Modesto's economy is "Cut red tape and streamline city processes to make it easier to locate and grow business."

Wow. First, these are contradictory statements. High fees are a primary prohibitive factor in bringing new construction and jobs to Modesto. Second, I am an engineer and work in several counties and cities in California and other states and nations. Stanislaus County is one of the most efficient counties. And, there have been great improvements in recent years to speed up permit processes.

In all the debates, Marsh seemed to know about the issues. He should know- he sat on the city council and listened to the issues. It was his job to know. However, anyone who watches the videos will see, Marsh does not really have a "plan". He just has talking points.

Brad Hawn is the one who has clear, well-thought ideas for the future of Modesto.

Please vote for Brad Hawn! Get up right now, find your ballot mailer, check the box for Hawn, sign it, and mail it.

The Modesto City Firefighters Inflammatory Flyers

(Note: As this campaign has progressed, I now no longer like Marsh at all. His campaign tactics have removed any courtesy I felt appropriate.)

January 24th flyer from Marsh: Reverse side just quotes some really twisted lines from the Modesto Bee. I wonder, how much advertising money has Marsh given to the Bee in the decades McHenry Bowl has operated? How much advertising money has Hawn, whose work is statewide, given to the Bee?

Protect Farmland?

Wait! Was it not Marsh who moved to put 26 acres into the city so they could be developed? Aren't these the same acres he himself owns? How can Garrad Marsh claim to "protect farmland and open space from more housing development and sprawl"?

Front Side of the Flyer:

The really ignorant (doubly so for an MBA) cheap shot about producing value added products is repeated. Again, value-added products sell for more, and create jobs. Hawn is right in saying that the city will be better off with some manufacturing to produce chocolate covered almonds. In fact, Oakdale brought in Sconza chocolates recently to replace Hershey's. It's a good move for Sconza, and a good move for Stanislaus County.

The Union Issue

The second comments attack Hawn's position which is contrary to the interests of the police and fire unions. One of this relates to benefits reform. Nationwide, public employees have been making almost twice the income of private sector employees- because of benefits and retirement packages. Between the two men, only Hawn has ideas for the future. Marsh's comments lead me to think he is just "present" at meetings. He is like the B student who can reproduce most of what he has heard, but cannot innovate that information in new situations and applications.

Modesto NEEDS benefit and compensation reform- Marsh is not the one who will bring it.

The smear campaign flyers are actually sent out by the fire fighters union. They aggressively support Marsh. They really want Marsh in, and not Hawn. Why? Because Hawn supports a trend moving in the U.S. to merge the administrative and resource components of police and fire. This will cut out some high-paying top jobs and some of the decision makers stand to lose a lot of money in lifetime retirement benefits if they can't hold those jobs for two or more years to bring up their calculated retirement checks. The desire of the fire union to see Marsh in office runs contradictory to the best interests of voters, who will save the money that will go to retirement benefits.

The timing of Hawn's measure to gain support for pension reform are the direct result of the timing of public outcry over the issue. However, Marsh quotes the Modesto Bee (who support Marsh) when the Bee speculates, "The timing appears to be politically motivated." To an impartial observer, the timing appears to follow public outcry.

First, Marsh knows that pension reform has increasingly been an issue with the public. Second, much of the public knowledge on the issue stems from articles printed by the Modesto Bee. Marsh blatantly distorts what he knows to be true- as does the Modesto Bee - when they promote the idea that Hawn's actions are only political. It is the Bee and Marsh whose actions appear to be "politically motivated". Add to that: hypocrisy. Why is Marsh not denouncing these flyers? Is it because of the donations he received from the unions?

Here is a quote from a modbee thread following an article on SCAP:

Well, City Council member Garrad Marsh personally profited from the Village One plan, by selling all his land that he owned, where the proposed expansion was planned! As a matter of fact, he even illegally gave money to his employees, so they could write checks to support it when it was on the ballot. I believe the maximum contribution was $500, and he gave $500 cash to most of his employees, and then they all wrote checks and sent them to the Village One campaign! I don't know, but I think that is illegal? Either way, it is unethical and shows what a greedy self-indulgent self serving scum bag he really is!

Is that true!? I'm looking for a source on this. Someone reply below if you know anything.

Read more here:


The list of endorsements leaves little to understand about who supports which candidates. The endorsements for Brad Hawn include outgoing Mayor Ridenour, Congressman Jeff Denham, and a long list of who's who from City of Modesto superivisors and county council members.

The endorsement page for Marsh just has list of residents.

Of these endorsements, who do you think better knows the candidate they endorse?


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    • Man from Modesto profile imageAUTHOR

      Man from Modesto 

      6 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)


      Thank you for posting. It started as a piece to show that Brad Hawn is the superior candidate- by far; but that Garrad Marsh would also make a good mayor. However, as flyers came to my house from the Fire Union, and as I began to learn more about who Marsh is, I quickly changed my opinion of Marsh. Marsh will be very bad for the city.

      In fact, I make this prediction: If Marsh gets in, there will later be a scandal involving a conflict of interest. Marsh does not seem to be one to really respect the rules, but to bend them as it benefits him.

    • profile image

      Jeff Stevenson 

      6 years ago

      It's obvious that this was not written to weigh the pros and cons of each candidate. The writer clearly states Brad's pro's while neglecting his cons, while overpowering Marsh's pro's with slander. If you choose to write a fair piece then please do so respectively.

    • Man from Modesto profile imageAUTHOR

      Man from Modesto 

      6 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

      Leave a comment. Tweet & retweet. Give a Google +1. Share on facebook.


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