Saturday, December 3, 2011

City managing a sewage system - better to fake it than fix it?

For whatever its worth, at a recent city council meeting I heard Councilmember DeJarnatt say "they (city council) knew the next day this was a sewage spill".

Sewer spill closed beaches 1/28/08
From Pacifica Tribune Letters-to-the-Editor, 11/29/11, "Most of the blame is on ourselves". "Tod Schlesinger's letter regarding the sewer lateral point of sale ordinance passed by the City Council was right on the mark. Tod once again showed a great grasp on the facts and history of the actions of some of our city council members.

Our so-called state of the art waste water treatment plant has never worked properly due to a variety of reasons, one of them being mismanagement by some of our city council members. Money was granted to the city when the old plant was decommissioned, that money did not go to the new plant or to a future fund for the plant but went to our General Fund and spent on other items.  

The spill in 2008 of over 7.5 million gallons of sewage water was claimed by two city council members to be "tar balls." They went so far as to call out a San Mateo Times reporter and claimed that the reporter had the facts wrong. Turns out it wasn't so. These council members went on to propose to build a biodiesel plant that was to be attached to the very same waste water treatment plant, even after the 7.5 million gallon spill. So our current city council had to pass this ordinance or face a fine for not doing "something" to negate the results of a poorly designed plant that has never operated as proposed and to offset the actions of these council members.

The longest members of the council have continuously diverted resources, time and money to pet projects of their own instead of necessities that our city needs. Again, the homeowners get to pay for these council members co actions and/or lack of actions.

Try emailing them, but wait — two of them do not even give out their email addresses. Care to imagine which ones? Tod pointed out a few weeks ago, it is our fault as voters, or non-voters, that we have allowed some of our council members to be reelected over and over. We are reelecting these individuals mainly by not paying attention to what is going on."  

Reference on blog:  Pacifica Tribune "My Turn" article, 11/23/11, by Tod Schlesinger. 

Frank Vella

Posted by Kathy Meeh


"sneaky" Pete Dejarnatt said...

Hahaha I fooled the tools in Pacifica once again. I called this sewer spill tar balls, and me and my good buddy Jimmy Vreeland, got away with it again.

How bout promising that dog park, I don't even like them foul animals but it got me re-elected.

It rules to be "Sneaky" Pete!

mike bell said...

Hey Sneaky Pete,
What happened to that $7,000,000 surplus you lied to us about to get yourself re-elected?

Anonymous said...

Surplus, what surplus? Stupid gringo, we got no stinking surplus.

Anonymous said...

Dog park? Dog park? I thought it was a frog park.
Oh that's why we need the fences and the sound buffers. I thought they were maybe some kinda big foreign frogs you know. Thanks for clearing that up. You see I'm gone so much that I miss some of the details on these freakin' projects you idiots bring before us. Well if it's dogs instead of frogs I'm going to need another 7 years to mull the whole thing over. Staff report!!

sneaky pete said...

It was 7 dollars Mr Bell

I wasn't ever good at math

But it did get me re-elected didn't it?

Anonymous said...

Yes it did, Petey. And I don't want you to worry about your future in politics because we're so broke now, thank you very much, that you can now actually claim a 7 dollar surplus and probably not only be re-elected but be telling the truth. And how wonderful is that?

todd bray said...

City manager Steve Rhodes took responsibility for the mis-quote by saying he mis-spoke. Not Pete but Steve Rhodes. Mike your allegiance to our city manager is misplaced.

Steve Sinai said...

DeJarnatt touted the $7+ million surplus during his campaign. We were all on Pete's back because we knew it was bull, which it was.

Rhodes was saying that Pete misspoke. That's nicer than saying Pete lied.

Kathy Meeh said...

"Sneaky Pete...$7,000,000 surplus you lied"

Todd (806), the "$7 million surplus" was a several times repeated quote from councilmember DeJarnatt over the past few years. The total sum probably represented: 1) $5.5 million moneys returned from the North Pacifica lawsuit; plus 2) $1.5 million not yet spent from the city general Fund (surplus). Total $7 million. (Classifying return of money from a lawsuit "surplus" seems somewhat questionable).

City manager Steve Rhodes would have heard $7 million re-Peted-- not true, but re-Peted (same problem with propaganda). Then, recently at city council when city manager Rhodes made that error, he corrected himself, which is more than re-Pete has ever done.

Remember it was also Pete who thanked city attorney Cecilia Quick for return of the $5.5 million dollars, and called that "our city savings account". Net North Pacifica lawsuit return: 1) ill-will with ABAG, 2) loss of $1.5 million (or more) over 9 years, 3) loss of city revenue from the development, residential taxes and commerce, 4) another development exploded. Another NIMBY win, win, win, win. For the rest of us and our city: loss, loss, loss, loss.

Anonymous said...

Where'd that number come from? More importantly, can city staff produce accurate financials? Not if the crap they hand out at meetings is any indicator. And that includes the Financing City Services Task Force meetings. Incompetence? Indifference? Low professional standards? And I guess the Admin Services Director's qualude drone is supposed to lull us into a sense of well-being. Probably get better numbers off a Ouija Board.

Anonymous said...

I was at that city council meeting.

First of all Todd Bray, was not in attendance!

Second Pete did say that.

Quit shilling for council Bray!

Term limits is Pacifica's way of saying.

No more "Sneaky" Pete, Jimmy V and Sue & Julie

todd bray said...

Steve, Kathy et al, staff generate all the data/info/numbers council members quote. If a council member quoted a specific umber it's because senior staff gave that member the number.

It's unfortunate and humorous you think council members are so omnipotent but they are not. One or two who are very proactive for causes they believe in like trying to tax home owners to maintain public employee wages in a shrinking economy or doing veneer projects like strong arming one or two property owners into underselling they personal assets for trails is about as fair as council members can go... and we all know how those things worked out.

All these "problems" you create in your heads that you attribute to council are acts of senior staff. Council is not in the divers seat, ever, council at best is merely a noisy back seat driver to senior staff.

You want change... change senior staff. Having a city manager that finger points to all others to avoid accountability should have you all enraged. That you are all duped, and so passionately, says to me you are not interested in fixing things but in some sort of personal payback.

Staff are our employee's not our bosses. If you had an employee that placed blame on all others would that not be a red flag for you as a manager or business owner?

council shill has spoken said...

Bray show the letter from Peebles attorney

The Cease and Desist Letter

Steve Sinai said...

"It's unfortunate and humorous you think council members are so omnipotent but they are not."

Lame excuse, Todd. The figures were publicly available, and it was obvious to those of us who went through the numbers that the claimed surplus was bogus. We repeatedly said so at the time.

Either DeJarnatt was guilty of incredible ignorance and incompetence, or he decided to blatantly lie about the city's financial condition to make himself look good to voters. The latter is more believable.

Kathy Meeh said...

"...council at best is merely a noisy back seat driver to senior staff."

Do I believe this? No. 3 votes on city council rule and affect this city, including what happens to employees, development, level of supportive infrastructure. The "vision" and the power rises and falls with them.

Anonymous said...

During his campaign, sneaky pete said the city had a big surplus.

Right after the election, sneaky pete started warning us that the city was headed for financial trouble.

We report. You decide.

"sneaky" Pete said...

I also said there was so much mold in city hall it was a danger to the health of city employees and we needed a Jimmy Vreeland City Hall at the old waste water treatment plant!

"Sneaky" Pete Dejarnatt said...

You bas*ards got me to recluse my self on the assisted living senior center on Oddstad.

Ooops one of you you you people dug up the deed that said my mom owned the house on Toledo Court.

Mind your own damned Business


"We have a surplus snekay pete dejarnatt

Lionel Emde said...

"Either DeJarnatt was guilty of incredible ignorance and incompetence, or he decided to blatantly lie about the city's financial condition to make himself look good to voters. The latter is more believable."

Steve, I guess you are referring to the famous $7 million reserve that Pete DeJ. talked about. I sat in a meeting (Stechbart heard this as well) and listened to Steve Rhodes say that Pete "misspoke."

But in looking at the reporting since then, Pete may well have been right at the moment that he said those words. Trouble is, the city started burning through the reserves shortly after that, because of all the generous contracts handed out to city employees in 2007-8. They've burned through all of it save about $900,000 as of last spring.

Fantastically irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

Senior city staff has enormous power and influence over Council but Council certainly can get rid of them. It's happened before. Some got it during regime change, became fall guys/gals, some were sacrificial lambs, others grew or already had a backbone, all kinds of reasons. The current city manager has no reason to stay much longer. His departure would open the door to all kinds of mischief in house. Scary.

Anonymous said...

Timing is everything. DeJarnatt was not far off at the time he spoke those now famous words. The city, particulary Council, would not want to hear questions about where that money went, and why it was spent so quickly, etc. because that discussion would be the real eye opener. Of course this being Pathetica we'd rather play gotcha! with a remark of now limited political value and one that time has made meaningless rather than ask where the money went and who is responsible--count to 5, any 5. Why fret. We can get all the gory details in the bankruptcy filing.