Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Meet City Attorney Michelle Kenyon

Michelle Kenyon has been our City Attorney for about four (4) years.

The following professional background information for Michelle Marchetta Kenyon is from Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP/Michelle Kenyon, J.D../Attorney/ Partner.

Michelle Marchetta Kenyon
Michelle Kenyon
"Michelle provides legal representation for cities and other public agencies as city attorney and special counsel. Michelle currently serves as City Attorney for the cities of Rohnert Park, Calistoga and Pacifica, Town Attorney for the Town of Moraga, Acting City Attorney for the City of Piedmont, and Special Counsel to several cities in the Bay Area.

She previously has served as General Counsel for the Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, District Counsel for Sanitary District No. 1 of Marin County, and General Counsel for Livermore Amador Valley Water Management Agency. Her practice includes advising city councils and staff in all areas of municipal law issues such as annexation procedures, bidding and claims procedures, CEQA, code enforcement, conflicts of interest laws, contract review, elections, Government Tort Claims Act, initiatives, referenda, land use and planning, municipal finance, open meeting laws, personnel, Proposition 218, and water supply assessments.

Michelle’s other areas of specialty include land use litigation and appellate advocacy. She is experienced in both state and federal trial and appellate courts, including written appearances in the U.S. Supreme Court. She has successfully served as lead attorney in litigation involving CEQA, inverse condemnation, election law, civil rights, Proposition 218 and rent control, with several outcomes garnering published decisions.

Related, Education. J.D., University of California, Davis School of Law, 1986; B.A., Political Science University of California, Berkeley, 1980.  Bar Admissions. State Bar of California; Supreme Court of the United States; United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit; United States District Court for the Central District of California; United States District Court for the Eastern District of California; United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Memberships & Associations. California Community Land Use Project; Contra Costa County City Attorneys Association; League of California Cities;Public Law Executive Committee, State Bar of California (2013-2016)."

Reference, our City.  City of Pacifica, City Attorney, Michelle Kenyon/Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP. "Virtually every program and service offered by the city depends upon support from the City Attorney’s office in its establishment, development and operation. Legal services are not provided directly to the public or to individual residents or businesses.  The City Attorney represents the City Council and city in all matters of law pertaining to their office; represents and appears for the city and its officers in all civil actions and proceedings; Attends meetings of the City Council, Planning Commission and such other committees or commissions as required; Prepares all necessary legal documents such as contracts, deeds, ordinances and resolutions; Performs legal research and prepares opinions as required."   

Reference, the legal firm. Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP, from "Our Firm". "For more than eighty years, Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP has served the public agencies and private business entities of California.  Today, with over one hundred attorneys and nine offices throughout California, we are fully prepared to meet your legal needs. Our clients value not only our expertise and efficiency, but also our integrity and responsiveness.  In each of our seven primary practice groups, our only focus is to serve our clients so that they may receive the very best possible result."  Related, the attorney.  Super lawyers/Attorney profile, Michelle Marchetta Kenyon. Note: photograph from the Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

She is a partner in her law firm. Partners at Big Law Firms in SF typically go for $500 bucks an hour. So how can we be actually saving any money?

Anonymous said...

Whenever two lawyers sue each other on someone else's dime, they call that job growth.

Not a coincidence that we've been sued more since January 1, 2015 than any other three year period in Pacifica history

We'd save about sixty percent by going with an in house city attorney

Kathy Meeh said...

1122, with Michelle Kenyon, J.D., Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP our City has competence to address legally challenging City issues, including anti-growth NIMBY obstruction and lawsuits.

Also, where is the analysis for your 60% higher cost claim? Shall we take odds that what you say may be as high as 60% correct, or 100% misleading and wrong.
"No name, another stupid claim". That's a well deserved message to you.

Oh, your comment, "not a coincidence that we've been sued more since January 1, 2015"??? Then, tell your friends to stop suing our City, especially against that needed 1.3 mile Highway 1 widening improvement.

Anonymous said...

"Partners at Big Law Firms in SF typically go for $500 bucks an hour."

How can a person post with such authority and yet be so completely and utterly wrong?

Anonymous said...

Wow, a year ago this site would've been packed with Republicans looking to widen the highway.

Now its assumed that everyone here wants to stop highway widening.

Seems like they've won the hearts and minds of the people.

The Local Libertarian said...

I kind of have a sneaking feeling that big money has "discovered" Pacifica. In the light of increasing rents, economic concentration and long term potential for SF Bay Area. I hope my feeling is right.

Also: County studies golf course purchase: Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica owned by San Francisco

Chris Porter said...

11:22AM Are you kidding me? The last City Attorney farmed everything out to attorneys that specialized in different areas so we were paying a full time City Attorney with a huge expensive law library and another attorney versus someone we use when we need them. As far as lawsuits, how many came from Highway 1 widening and how many have we lost?

Anonymous said...

11:22 We could've hired three city attorneys at the city manager's salary for what we paid Michelle Kenyon's firm this year alone.

Only two of nineteen were related to highway 1 widening in the last four years, right?

Anonymous said...

1122 spoken like a true utility vendor feeding at the public trough.

A real City attorney could reduce our utility/trash pickup costs.

Anonymous said...

In-house city attorneys usually do very little litigation, even in cities the size of Pacifica. They farm it out to specialists. And, yeah, the law has specialists. Some cities require more specialists than others. Cecilia Quick farmed it all out, much to the annoyance of many--particularly those opposed to the regime of which she was an integral part. Change of regime, change of city attorney. A change made more attractive by the "big savings" to be had if we went with a contract attorney. How much money do we save? Depends entirely on the work load. That work load is neither all litigation nor is it all personally handled by the lead contract attorney. A bad year or two and we might be looking for a legal jack or jill of all trades. Hard to find.

Anonymous said...

411 Hey, back off. The City of Pacifica made that deal with eyes wide open and hands fully extended. Recology is a business, not your guardian angel. Your elected city officials? Now, those are supposed to be your guardian angels.

Anonymous said...

Not sure the relevance here but Recology is a garbage warlord. Poor service, overcharging and limited hours. All elected officials should consider a change or a legitimate competitively bid contract. I cringe every time I write them a check.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Kenyon knows that the DA's office will never pursue elected officials on Brown Act violations, therefore, anything goes in closed session. She is part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Watch your wallets!

Recology is coming to take more of your money!!


WHEREAS, The City of Pacifica (“City”) entered into a Franchise Agreement (“Agreement”) with Recology of the Coast (“Recology”) pursuant to which Recology provides services regarding recyclable materials, organic materials, and solid waste collection (“Services”);

WHEREAS, pursuant to the Agreement, Recology has the right to charge and collect from customers rates for the Services not to exceed the amount set forth in the Agreement;

WHEREAS, Recology has submitted materials for a rate adjustment for the period January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Pacifica that:

Section 1. The City Council confirms that Recology’s rate application for the period of January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2016 and Recology’s solid waste rates as set forth in the terms of the Agreement.

Section 2. The City Council finds that this Resolution is not a project for purposes of the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) under Public Resources Code section 15378(b)(5), and is further exempt from CEQA pursuant to Section 15273 of the CEQA Guidelines.

PASSED AND ADOPTED at a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Pacifica, California, held on November 9, 2015, by the following vote of the members thereof:

Steve Sinai said...

9:04, is that a 9.37% rate increase or a rate reduction?

Chris Porter, General Manager of Recology of the Coast said...

4:11pm, 9:16 pm AND ESPECIALLY 9:04 am...It's a 9.37% RATE REDUCTION! Why don't you all read before you criticize. My employees work very hard to give good service and keep costs down....This is a result of their efforts and to the person who wants to put the contract out to bid, what other utility has reduced their rates by this margin (or reduced at all!). It would be nice if you sometimes said a pleasant good morning to your garbage collectors. One of my men got assaulted Wednesday morning at 5:30am behind Vallemar School and had to be taken away in a ambulance. Someone on drugs or mentally unstable jumped him from behind and beat him up for no reason. Didn't even try to rob him. Another one of my men has been jabbed by a needle left in a garbage can by the beach and now has to have testing. Sorry 9:16 pm that you think you have poor service. We reduced the hours at the recycling yard because people were not using it as much and reallocated those hours to increased bulky item curbside pickups. Overcharging? I don't think so as most people using a 20 gallon cart now (over 50% or our customers) because of all the programs we have started are paying less then they did in 2009! Worth mentioning again because I guess I am on a roll, NO PLASTIC BAGS OF ANY TYPE OR COLOR IN RECYCLING CART. If you want to call me, I am here at least 10 hours a day at 355-9000.

Anonymous said...

Recology is horrible. We need a new trash and recycling company.
We pay almost twice as much for our recycling as Half Moon Bay does.

Tom Clifford said...

Steve, it is a 9.37% rate reduction. Thank you "Chris Porter" and your hard working team for both your hard work & fair treatment of the public's pocket book.

Steve Sinai said...

Thanks Tom & Chris. I had to do a discount double-check when I saw it was a reduction in rates.

Anonymous said...

I love Recology! Our guys are fantastic (and yes, I do wave and say hi when I am out early enough, and tip at Christmas). A couple of years ago, a raccoon knocked over our garbage can and scattered garbage everywhere. My husband was gone and I was seriously bummed about having to pick up the mess myself. Well, before I could get myself dressed and outside, the guys came by and cleaned everything up themselves. To this day, I am thankful.

I am also a huge fan of our blue and green bins because using them PROPERLY not only helps the environment, doing so enables us to use the smallest trash bin, which saves money. I literally have no clue why so much hatred is consistently directed at these folks. I guess some people just feel the need to complain about everything. But for every person who bitches, I bet there are several who are thankful -- we just don't take the time to say it.

I am very sorry to hear about the recent assault and the needle stab. There was an item on Nextdoor recently about dirty hypodermics being found on the ground at the Pedro Point shopping center. Very disheartening to learn someone was pricked by one. Crazy times. I hope both people recover quickly.

Jim Wagner said...

Chris is a very good friend of mine and Recology has been a terrific supporter of so many programs in Pacifica it's a shame that some continue this attack for no apparent reason except for long held animosity for whatever. They pick our garbage up for goodness sake! And do it for $47 in my case. They work hard. We get a reduction in costs to boot.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with the guys/gals who pick up the waste. Some are very courteous and all are hard working. I have had bad experiences at the yard in the past with respect to rudeness and bad attitude making it quite clear that they don't want to be bothered by me. This happens more often than not. As for the office, it is a mixed bag.

My problem is more with the City. This is our hard earned money and they owe it to us to ensure that we get the best service possible for our dollar. I am sure that Recology runs its own business that way with respect to materials, rent, personnel, vehicles, etc. That, of course, means competitive bidding. And no, the contract should not just be automatically awarded to the lowest bidder. That is fool's play. Again, it is the best service for our dollar we are looking for. In the course of due diligence, that should be something we can ascertain. If Recology wins out in that process, great. This is how it rolls in the world of business.

Anonymous said...

Refuse disposal is one of the hallmarks of civilization.

Anonymous said...

Now as to what the City needs in terms of legal assistance is this:
We should hire a full time paralegal whose job is to research legal issues, answer legal questions for City officials and manage and deploy attorney assistance on a need be basis, working from a pool of proven and reasonably priced specialists. As previously mentioned, former City Attorney Cecilia Quick never litigated anything and acted completely in broker/middle-man mode in her capacity. The other problem with having a full time attorney on board, as was evidenced by Quick, is that they pretty much end up running the City. This was clearly the case with Quick who was hired because of her extreme environmental leanings. Not hard for an attorney to slant their recommendations/advice based upon personal bias. I lost count of the number of times that CA Quick and Council members Vreeland, DeJarnatt, Digre and Lancelle worked in concert to give us a predetermined outcome.

Anonymous said...

Chris Porter and Jim Wagner along with Courtney Conlon led the Chamber of Commerce to its current greatness from 2012 to 2015

Pacifica Chamber wouldn't be where it is today without Chris, Courtney, or Jim, and I thank both you guys for that.

With that in mind, I'm sure we'll all agree buying Girl Scout's cookies and sponsoring a booth at Fogfest doesn't give you a license to overcharge for recycling. How much does HMB pay and how many years have we been being overcharged 10%?

If Recology got caught cheating customers, I say we take new bids on the contract and let them compete like everyone else.

Kathy Meeh said...

8:15, - 9.37% RATE REDUCTION next year, calendar year 2016. Any other service giving you a rate reduction for next year? The 20 gallon trash can is affordable.
What I appreciated about Recology is their pick-up and care dependability, wonderful customer service, website and brochure information, no employee strikes (cross fingers), and continued attempt to educate the dumbest of us about recycling.
Plus Chris Porter is their General Manager, and with her guidance Recology has also been a very "good neighbor" to this City.
But if it make you feel better, the proposed 2016 fee increase for Montara is about 50%. Pricing is adjusted according to the cost of delivering services. See Half Moon Bay Review, 11/5/15.
As I recall, this City charges Recology a franchise fee which amounts to something like 14%, (And I believe there are some other services provided by Recology to the City "free", (as you may remember, there really is no "free", someone pays).

Anonymous said...


Is that why neither of the 3 are currently on the chamber or run the chamber?

Chris Porter, General Manager of Recology of the Coast said...

11/6 at 8:15 pm The reason there is a 10% rate reduction is due to reduced costs and not overcharging. Recology has been in operation for five years so are depreciated assets have mostly been satisfied. Fuel went down as did the rent at the recycling yard after a new lease was negotiated with the new owners by management of ROTC. The hours at the yard were reduced due to reduced customer participation and reallocated to the additional curbside bulky item pickups. Routes have been realigned for efficiency. Recycling is part of your service and you do not pay specifically for recycling but as part of the overall service. HMB does not have a recycling yard, three curbside bulky pickups or compost recycling (food in the greenwaste). Seems this service isn't close to what Pacificans receive. Under Recology Pacifica has one of the highest diversion rates in the State of California. We have worked very hard on these programs and educating the public on how to reduce their individual garbage service payment rates by recycling. I will repeat again that anyone using a 20 gallon cart (50% of our customer base) because they were able to reduce from a 32 gallon cart because of all our programs is paying less now than they did in 2009! You people who continually rant and rave about overcharging are completely misguided or continue to hold grudges from the Coastside Scavenger days.

I stepped down from the Chamber Board after my illness but I will say I was the founder of the Taste of Pacifica and will take credit for the success of that endeavor. Whatever problems you have with the Chamber, keep Jim and I out of them.

I post to the blogs using my name and title. I have worked in this community for 31 years and am always open for discussion on all topics. I have friends on both sides of the issues and we agree to disagree at times but leave showing respect for each other. You anonymous people know where I am and if you have bad experiences you can call me at 355-9000 at about 10 hours each working day. If you don't feel like you can use your name to state your positions about the company I represent in this town on the blogs then call me directly.

Anonymous said...

Chris, Recology is an easy target and it's about as simple as that. Don't make yourself sick over people who are either on a crusade or just bitching to bitch.

Anonymous said...

Recology's services have gotten worse and worse as the years go by.

Every year its another price increase, and from the day they moved into town to this day we pay the highest recycling rates in the area.

This company has to got to go. They are preying on the average Pacifican and no one is watching out for us!

City Council, end this contract and put it up for competitive bid!

Kathy Meeh said...

Chris 1249, later today or tomorrow, I'll plan to put up the Recology related first part of your comment as an article. Good information summary! (That part of the comment could be good for the Tribune too.)

135, your big trash pile complaint about Recology bears no explanation, and begins with a false statement, "... another price increase...". A 10% cost reduction is a price increase? Really, really??? Hey, maybe go "prey" elsewhere, frogs are listening.

Chris Porter, General Manager Recology of the Coast said...

Did a quick review from when Recology purchased Coastside Scavenger from then owner Louie Picardo in 2/2010. Twenty gallon cart price was as follows with no compost and
3 crate style recycling bins:
20 gallon cart $19.28
Food waste composting begins with 64 gallon compost cart and large 96 gallon cart with much improved recycling
20 gallon cart $20.24
2012 20 gallon cart $22.95
2013 & 2014 20 gallon cart $23.38
2015 20 gallon cart $23.82

2016 20 gallon cart $21.59

Do a comparison of our programs to Daly City. Oh, I forgot, they don't even offer a 20 gallon cart.

Kathy Meeh said...

Chris 421, let's add these comments to the information article I mentioned at 215.
The new plan is to post the article separately, below the Monday, 11/9/15 City Council meeting reminder. Anything else, additional comments/thoughts/objections let me know.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Chris, are these 10% reductions unprompted and voluntarily by Recology or something the City audited and required Recology to do?

I'm sure you'll agree there's a big difference.
Just doesn't make sense that you'd ask for all those increases over and over again then voluntarily reduce rates about a year later?

Anonymous said...

Hated those old crates for recycling. What a mess.

Anonymous said...

None of you said a word when Louie and Coastside Scavengers were ripping off the city not paying franchise fees.

Steve Sinai said...

Not true, 7:19. A lot of people, including me, were very critical of Coastside Scavenger for all kinds of reasons.

Chris Porter said...

11/7 at 4:56pm Read my post at 11/7 at 12:49 pm to understand why the increase came about. We submit a budget to the City every year with an audited financial statement of our previous year's income and expenses. The numbers add up to what we need, an increase, a decrease or a breakeven point. As I stated, many of the expenses either went away or were reduced. Hope that helps you understand the process.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, Recology sucks a lot less than Comcast.

That is one company the city needs to dump asap!

Anonymous said...

I say we dump all the utilities that are ripping off Pacificans.

My Recology bill has tripled in the last ten years. That's not all wage increases to Union drivers.

Does every resident of Pacifica really need to socialize Union driver wage rates?

I'd rather pay these guys $30 an hour and cut our bill in half.

Kathy Meeh said...

4:26, if you use a 20 gallon trash can, your Recology bill has not increased much in at least six (6) years. See 11/7/15, 4:41 pm, Chris Porter comment (above).
That said, maybe you throw-away more trash now.

Anonymous said...

Why does my bill not match those rates Chris posted?
It is much higher.
Is there any way to have my specific bill audited?

Anonymous said...

My bill doesnt jibe with that fee schedule either.

Check your bill does anyones match that schedule?

Gene the Pool said...

I once heard a wise man say "people are dumb". This stream proves that. "My bill is a billion times higher than before". "Socialize drivers"? What exactly does that mean? "I want my bill audited!" Have you asked? "My bill doesn't match". Uh, call Chris. She invited you to. "I say we dump all utilities". That might be the most moronic statement ever made on this blog. Congrats. We should have an award for people like you. I believe we do, it's called the Darwin Awards. Of course for that award you have to have been killed by your stupidity. Well, keep it up, you're well on your way to being memorialized in that award nobility.

Steve Sinai said...

My bill is about $74 for two months. I don't use the 20 gallon can, though.

Anonymous said...

Don't you get tired lecturing people? And if you are going to use quotes, how about being accurate, e.g., "billion times"? The only question is, "Why do you choose to hang out with us morons?" Does it make you feel superior? You seem to know a lot about the Darwin Awards. Former recipient?

Anonymous said...

@Gene, I think they mean that Recology customers have to pay higher rates because it uses Union drivers and that rates would be lower with non Union drivers.

Maybe they could offer a split rate where customers who wanted a union garbage driver could pay a little more and customers who wanted the cheapest price would pay a little less, just like PG&E does for the greenies with sustainable electricity.

Me, I prefer the extra safety and cleanliness a union driver provides and I like the fact that they wheel the cans back to the front of my garage and don't just leave them in the street to get run over like some non union drivers do.

I would like the City to require that all homeowners hide their garbage cans during the week by law though. Its just ugly when you drive down the street and see all the green and blue. We should make sure our candidate is behind that idea in the future.

Anonymous said...

7:22 said: "I would like the City to require that all homeowners hide their garbage cans during the week by law though. Its just ugly when you drive down the street and see all the green and blue. We should make sure our candidate is behind that idea in the future."

Hey genius, did it ever occur to you that some of us don't have any place to hide the three big honking cans? Oh, I've got an idea you might like. Why don't we undesirables take the garbage out of the cans and camouflage the cans with it? And if you run a candidate that supports your brilliant idea, please let me know who it is so I will be sure not to vote for them.

Anonymous said...


And I want to date GiGi Hadid!

Anonymous said...

1019 Please, no common sense from you. Let the Masters of the Universe and friends talk politics and candidates and platform issues. Please, 1019, let them talk.

Chris Porter said...

Hello..There is a City ordinance that states the carts must be removed from the street within 12 hours. The ordinance has been in force for at least ten years

Anonymous said...

Chris, Apparently this would not be good enough for some of Pacifica's more aesthetically sensitive residents. They want the cans gone from sight!

Duh! said...

Hiding the trash cans is really easy. Follow these simple steps:

1) take your gray trash bin and put it inside your green waste bin.

2) put the green waste bin inside your blue recycle bin.

3) put your blue recycle bin in your gray trash bin.

Voila! No containers to be seen because each one is inside the other.

Anonymous said...

I use all services provided by our local garbage company. I have always respected Chris Porter's business ethics and managing style. I just don't get it with some people. Always looking for a fight. If I have a problem I go to the source, speak with respect and the problem is solved, immediately. But then I rarely have issue. I use and fill up my garbage bins. I like the three bins that are provided. And when it was Scavengers I never had problems. They have always been professional. Stop whining. Go move to a third world or NYC and you will see garbage all over the street. Better, go to SF Mission District.

Anonymous said...


Brilliant! I knew one of the great minds out there would come up with something. BTW, I understand Washington uses a similar technique with the allocation and accountability of our tax money.