Friday, December 4, 2009

Coastside to Recology

i've know chris a long time and bashing her is unwarranted. coastside has been here a lot longer than most of us and has contributed generously to many of our local charities and offered free services to many of their fund raising events. look at the attached staff report to council. page 2, #2 is interesting for what it says. it's pretty clear to me that the city has an opportunity to transition to a new company relatively painlessly. with all our bitching about studies, consultants, and attorney costs, you think there would be a few kudos for not spending over 100k on a report that will put you right where you are today, at no cost. negotiations will still go on. demands for added service are still on the table. put your gripes on paper and ship them to the city manager. i'm sure there are old battles still being fought with coastside. i would suggest putting those aside and focusing on making sure your concerns are addressed during these negotiations.

jim wagner

Coastside sale to Recology Staff Report


Anonymous said...

Jim Wagner said:
"i've know chris a long time and bashing her is unwarranted"

I reread the comments and didn't see anyone bashing her. If bashing Coastside means bashing her (personally), so be it. But that is a quantum leap. I must say, however, that she did bash one of the commenters personally by channeling her father and calling them an A-hole. Funny way of showing a willingness to listen to customer complaints.

I don't accept your contention that a report/RFP should cost the taxpayers anything, let alone $100k! We have "experienced" staff that should be able to handle this as part of their job duties. I find the Coastside apologists to be quite the hypocrites on this issue. Next time, you might want to cut the Council some slack when you loosely throw around the accusation "friends of the Council".

Kathy Meeh said...

The City Council Agenda Report states the cost, the link is above-- someone pays. If the cost is embedded in the contract, we pay. If the cost is paid by the city, we pay. For the HFH consultant in analyzing and negotiating the contract, we pay.

Maybe consider the lower cost "RFP? NFP!!!" 3rd party bid, posted by R. Roads, scroll down, video, 11/30. The RFP, NFP should work well for this city. Don't want to scroll down, here's the link:

MerryBrown said...

Chris Porter (and Coastside) have been extremely generous to Pacifica and
supportive of many local organizations. Under Chris's management, Coastside supplied and emptied public garbage cans all over the city. Coastside often does this work when they are not on the clock or when they are not getting paid for it.
They have supplied garbage cans and recycling for Cleaning up Beaches and during the Fogfest. Usually they do this free or at a reduced rate.
Chris spearheaded Taste of Pacifica to promote restaurants in town. She logged countless hours as the President of the Chamber. Before that she was on the board, and she has served on many other boards of charitable organizations in town.
The city Council of Pacifica, has created a serious problem because of how high they set the franchise fee. The City attorney, in her infinite wisdom, decided they could no longer put the delinquent customers on the tax rolls for so-called legal reasons, (even though most other cities do) and that made it hard for them to collect on the money people owed them. It's not fair that some of us pay our bills and others just say, "make me".
The other reason for the higher garbage fees in this town has a lot more to do with a lack of a commercial base than anything else. Contrary to what a lot of people believe they are not pulling it in hand over fist, and Chris has to work very hard to keep things running properly there. We owe her our support through
this transition.
She has managed to keep things smooth and is working to help as many people keep their jobs as she can.

Lionel Emde said...

"The City Council Agenda Report states the cost, the link is above-- someone pays. If the cost is embedded in the contract, we pay. If the cost is paid by the city, we pay. For the HFH consultant in analyzing and negotiating the contract, we pay."
Kathy, Why you persist in making statements that are not true is a mystery.
The city can negotiate that the winning party of an RFP process will pay all costs, including possibly the unpaid franchise fees which Coastside, in its fiscal mismanagement, is apparently unable to pay.
Without an RFP process, you might be right in that we don't get the best deal. Why are you opposed to that? Perhaps some personal friendship that's getting in the way of objective analysis?

The Ghost of Grace Hopper said...

You know what they say about RFPs, Lionel, "Garbage in, garbage out".

Kathy Meeh said...

Lionel, "get real" the bottom line is "we pay" one way or another, if not a) no service or really inadequate service, b) the city screws-over its vendor (which is probably what happened through hostile actions toward Coastside), c) the vendor defaults, goes out-of-business and creates a real mess.

My statement was not a fiction, its a description of how business works, "fee for service" rather than "free" for service. You have a business, I'm not sure why you can't figure-out this equation.

The city hired a negotiator and that negotiator consultant is being paid $55,000; the city is not necessarily your friend Lionel citizen, their interest is or has been in gaining lots of "free" services and high franchise fees). On the other hand, Recology is a big business and has less to lose a) because of the situation, and b) because there is their profit margins may be more flexible than that of a small business. It is doubtful that Recology will get "jerked around" by the city. That's reality.

In the best of all ideal worlds the RFP outside quoting process would be preferred, the problem is this situation is far less than ideal-- the city must have figure this out since they seem to be most cooperative.

Mary Brown and Jim Wagner have each mentioned that Chris and Coastside have done a lot of good for this city and this community. Let's get through it.

Scotty said...

Re: The Ghost of Grace Hopper said...

Dear Mister Multi-Alias Poster,
As one of the few people (presumably) who knew who you were referencing without googling the name, I've got to say that some of your little notes are clever. However, to keep a little balance with those of us who are actually trying to discuss things in a non-sophomoric fashion, could you try and keep it under 25 fakes posts per day?

Mister Multi-Alias Poster said...


Scotty said...

Kathy, again you reference that Coastside is somehow harmed because the city is "gaining lots of "free" services and high franchise fees", and again I ask "Did Coastside not read the contract before they signed it?"

There's a phrase to describe companies that enter into agreements and then complain about the terms of that agreement: "poorly run companies". That is not an indictment of Chris Porter or any of the good people at Coastside. Hell, I'd love it if more business people and less ecological volunteer organizations were represented on our Bizarro World Chamber of Commerce. A business can't legitimately complain about the rules after they signed up for them, though.

Scotty said...

re: "No."

Dear Mister Multi-Alias Poster,
That's your choice. I just hope you don't whine like a little child (again) and pathetically beg people to keep posting like you did after you ruined the Topix forum for the Trib.

Mister Multi-Alias Poster said...

still no...

MMAP said...

Hey Scotty:
Aren't you the guy who turned tail and ran from Riptide?

Lance said...

Anyone want to post the Coastside contract so we can see what it says? Might clear up a lot of questins. Or, is that too easy? Let's see what's free and what Coastside is donating.

chris porter said...

When we signed the contract, we were allowed to put delinquent customers on the tax rolls. The City Attonrye changed that about three and a half years ago stating she felt it was now not legal due to new legislation. Other attorneys chimed in to say it was legal but she would not change her mind so the bottom line is people can have service, not pay and there is nothing we can do about it..not stop service, not put in on the tax rolls and in the economic atmosphere in the last three years, this is tough! We have apartment buildings that owe us over $15,000 and restaurants that owe over $10,000. Our over 90 days is a over $200,000. I really take offense at fiscal mismanagement and "gougemasters" but I consider the source. Our city services have increased drastically over the years when then City Manager Joe Tanner asked us to help "the public works dept" and start picking up the parks, pier and trails for "awhile". Awhile is still going on and and any new development is usually required to have a park and these stops get added on. With the decline in the economy the recycling prices have gone way down with paper being zero for months. This had never happened before in the 26 years I have been here. That on top of our limitted businesses being slow, their service was reduced also cutting revenues. Ox Mountain in HMB has increased their gate rate per ton by $1.50 a year so we don't make up the money from decreased tonnage so believe me, I have no money to mismanage. Honestly folks,I am trying as hard as I can and RECOLOGY will pay the delinquent franchise fees plus late fees.

Steve Sinai said...

I always wondered why the ability to use tax liens to go after delinquent accounts was taken away. Looks like another "brilliant" legal analysis from our city attorney. (Did she get a law degree from a correspondence school?)

Last year I was talking to a guy from NorCal about Coastside's financial problems and the garbage situation in Pacifica. He didn't seem too sympathetic to Coastside's problems, and mentioned that tax liens could be placed on delinquent customers. He looked stunned when I told him the city had taken that power away.

Rocky Golub said...

Chris, please clear this up for me because I wonder if Coastside explored all of their options:

1. If City Attorney Quick changed the terms of the contract mid-stream, and other attorneys disagreed with her interpretation of the legislation, why didn't Coastside sue the City in order to enforce the terms of the contract as originally written? With collection revenue being a critical component in the solvency of your business, you certainly had a right as well as a fiduciary responsibility to protect the interests of the company and its owners/investors/shareholders.

2. Alternatively, it may not be the easy route, but I cannot think of anything which precluded Coastside from taking the deadbeats to Small Claims Court. Once a judgment was obtained, I believe a lien could have been placed upon the property without violating any conceivable legislative intent. I have seen other businesses send a representative to court on one day and have all of their cases heard in one block so as to save the business employee's time. Certainly, the word would have gotten out that deadbeats do not get a free pass and this could have been an effective deterrent.

Did Coastside consider either of these possible courses of action?

Lionel Emde said...

You told me a large part of Coastside's problem was delinquent accounts because people knew they could stop paying and still have their garbage picked up.
Do you really think people know that?
I don't think so.

I'll repeat it again for those who can't seem to get it: We need an RFP process, which, if negotiated correctly, will be paid for by the winning party. The ratepayers need protection from the gouging parties involved, and the city should be closely watched as it works out a "deal" with those who've screwed us in the past. This "deal" should not extend beyond the end of the contract in 2012 and an RFP should begin in 2011.

I'm amazed that the cronyism in this town never seems to go away: "Oh,PLEASE, charge me MORE, I LOVE you!"
Jeez, what idiocy.

chris porter said...

When customers are not paying and still getting their garbage picked up, do you think it takes a rocket scientist for them to know that they don't have to pay and can still get service? We are talking about people who owe over $1,000 on residential service..You do the math! Lionel, how many times can I tell you that there will be no price increase for a minimum of 12 months? Who told you the winning party can pay for the RFP? That was said by SSF Scavenger at a hearing that you could request the winning party to pay for the RFP but not that it was ever done and you should be smart enough to know if the winning party was paying for the RFP, somehow the customers would be paying for it in the rate structure. You continue to say gouging and overcharged but you have been told for years that their is NO COMMERICAL BASE in this town to cover the charges so the residents pay more and that the City is GUARANTEED an 11% franchise fee. The owner is NOT GUARANTEED a return. He can get as much as 8% but it is NOT GUARANTEED. Talk about have continued to give incorrect info to whoever will listen to you for years. This has nothing to do with cronyism and more to do with the correct facts...Rocky..We hired an outside collection firm last year (CBA) at a cost of 25% of money owed per individual collection. They have taken people to small claims court already and yes there is an additional charge for that. Suing people costs money and with the large amount we were charged (and never sited for by the City, County or State) for legal fees for supposedly illegally dumping greenwaste (after it was OKed by then City Manager David Carmany and at a reduced rate to our rate payers) on Picardo Ranch, we could not afford more large legal bills. Talk about selective prosecution...Look what is going on at Millwood Ranch now (old Picardo Ranch) and I don't see any hearings going on.

Scotty said...

It seems like an RFP would be the most fair and optimal process for everyone. Now that you've learned the problems with the past contract, Chris, you (and other vendors) could negotiate either terms that make the process viable for the vendor (e.g. whatever you think is required for collections) or an increase in fees to cover that cost. If the vendor can't get terms that make business sense, they are completely free to tell the city to take a hike.

The talk of who pays for the RFP is silly, though. In the end, we (the residents) will pay for it, but it's a cost of doing business that should already be factored into the company's expenses. An open RFP process will make those costs and expenses more visible to everyone.

Anonymous said...

People who work for government should not be on our City Council, they do not know what they are doing.

People who are activists should not be on our City Council, they do not know what they are doing.

We need experienced people who know business and books. Someone who can also Govern the People. Our current City Council has truly been a disaster for Pacifica. They have completely ruined a good Pacifica Business by forcing it into bankruptcy. Despicable and evil.

Jeffrey W Simons said...


I know we don't see eye to eye on this subject, but I do appreciate your point of view. So I have a question for you that I hope can stir some debate on the topic.

You seem very insistent that we have an RFP for our garbage collection (I actually agree with you in principle, but under the current circumstances I think the deal with Recology might actually save the city and the ratepayers some money. Its not ideal, and there is plenty of blame to go around in my opinion).

However, I have to ask why this focus on Coastside? You did a great job exposing the hypocrisy of City Council for their raises and proposed "cuts", but in terms of real dollar savings its pretty small as well.

For instance, wouldn't the city see a greater financial benefit to developing the OWWTP site than renegotiating a new garbage contract, in terms of raw tax dollars? Why is so much energy and attention drawn to Coastside (and I agree the energy and attention has merit) when the city should be prioritizing an RFP for developing the OWWTP, and negotiating in good faith on the development of the Quarry?

You have a lot of great insight and attention to detail on the garbage collection, what if those talents were focused on bigger picture items?

Jeffrey W Simons said...

let me go one step further . . . City Council "approved" a sewer budget that includes $4 million over the next 2 years for "plant replacement costs" (ostensibly to start making up for all the neglect from the last 10 years).

While I agree we need to perform upgrades so we have a functioning sewer system, and can avoid future $2.3 million fines, I have a real problem with the City Council authorizing the taking of this money during the biggest recession and job loss in 80 years. That's $4 million in wealth when homeowners and businesses need it the most.

$4 million is far more significant than any money that might be saved for the ratepayers on our garbage bills, so why was I the only person to publicly object to this expense?

Scotty said...

Why does it have to be either/or, Jeff? I agree that the council salaries are a drop in the bucket (albeit symbolically important). The garbage concession, on the other hand, is not.

I don't think anyone is "out to get" Coastside,and most of the people here (multi-aliased juvenile excepted) seem to appreciate the hard work Chris does. I think everyone also understands that you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a company that has problems in this economy. However, the city is in desperate financial straits, and the reality is that Coastside is the one that owes the city money -- hence "why this focus on Coastside".

Jeffrey W Simons said...


good point, it shouldn't be an "either/or", but it seems like a lot of attention and energy is focused on Coastside, when I would estimate it is probably 5th down on the list of financial priorities, and #1 - #4 aren't getting any attention at all.

Jeffrey W Simons said...

The problem with your argument, Steve, is that the sale to Recology doesn't cost the city a dime. That's one of the reasons I like it!!

This isn't a "sweet deal" for anyone, its a deal of necessity at this point. Either the city spends money on an RFP that may or may not yield the result they want and may or may not recover the money Coastside owes, or it takes what it on the table. You know what they say about cash in hand . . . I'm not sure where the charge of hypocrisy comes in.

Steve Sinai said...

Oops - I edited my response while Jeffy was posting his response, this this will look out of order.

I'll hop in and say that I don't have anything against Coastside, either. The issue is simply about no-bid contracts being handed out in-lieu of RFPs.

The Coastside sale to Recology could be the least-worst solution to a bad situation, but the people who are defending the sale are coming off as very hypocritical when it comes to the way the city spends money. Arguments like "Chris works hard" are irrelevant justifications for wasted money, and arguments like "it's the city's fault" come off as reflexive accusations by people who go overboard in trying to blame absolutely all the city's problems on the council.

To me the underlying message from the defenders of the current situation seems to be - wasted city money on sweet deals for hippies is bad...wasted city money on sweet deals for our friends is good.