Sep 102020
 

When your intrepid blogger took up the case of the Western Placer Waste Management Authority, little did I know I’d literally set off a dumpster fire.

We got a lot of responses from a lot of people. Insiders believe it appears that solid fiscal management is going to reign. Quoting our first piece on this issue:

20 years ago was the last time the WPWMA went out to bid. At that time, they hired NORTEC waste to manage the Athens Ave Dump.

In the 20 years the facilities have been operated by Nortech, they have made no substantial investments in modernization or innovation. Put bluntly, the operation is outdated. After over 20 years of having one contractor running the waste and landfill operations (two separate contracts) it appears that even in the in the face of serious reservations on the part of Mayor Allard and Councilmember Bill Halldin, there seems to be a concerted effort to award a sole-source, no bid contact to the same provider.

Based on comments at WPWMA board meetings, it appears that this effort to keep a sole source contract is being fueled by secret negotiations with the current operator, Nortech.

John Allard and Bill Halldin have both led the charge to get the WPWMA to go out to an RFP (aka bid) for services. By accounts it now appears that all of the board members are on board with the concept of soliciting new bids for the 20 year old contract that was last bid in Y2K (remember that hysteria)?

I’ve also been told that Supervisors Bonnie Gore and Robert Weygant support doing due diligence as well after a lot of discussions related to the shortcomings of the current circumstances were vetted. As fiscal conservatives, both supervisors appear to be interested in significant technology upgrades and the like. This means that the message about the current provider’s obsolete technology has been received loud and clear.

If indeed the board of directors for the WPWMA chooses to go to an RFP (Request for Proposal, as in soliciting a bid) this will be a clear mandate for governmental transparency and a desire to explore alternatives to landfilling, which has been the status quo for entirely too long. Furthermore, the rate payers will be the over winners when then gain the opportunity to get state of the art services possibly at a lower cost.

As the board meeting is 9-17, we are thanking them in advance for doing the right thing.

Aug 142020
 

Ahem – for those of you in to acronyms, it is called the WPWMA. Western Placer Waste Management Agency.

It is a dumpster fire.

Let’s get in to the dump for a bit as it is a microcosm of government in general.

20 years ago was the last time the WPWMA went out to bid. At that time, they hired NORTEC waste to manage the Athens Ave Dump.

In the 20 years the facilities have been operated by Nortech, they have made no substantial investments in modernization or innovation. Put bluntly, the operation is outdated. After over 20 years of having one contractor running the waste and landfill operations (two separate contracts) it appears that even in the in the face of serious reservations on the part of Mayor Allard and Councilmember Bill Halldin, there seems to be a concerted effort to award a sole-source, no bid contact to the same provider.

Based on comments at WPWMA board meetings, it appears that this effort to keep a sole source contract is being fueled by secret negotiations with the current operator, Nortech.

Why would the staff of the WPWMA be negotiating in secret with someone who would likely respond to a public bidding process? Doesn’t that give them an unfair advantage?

Here is the rub – it appears as if four out of the five board members want to put the project out to bid, but there’s still a concerted effort by others to prevent that. A Bid is called an RFP in government bureaucrat terms. (Request for Proposal)

At the same time, at previous meetings some board members and staff talked about the “great work” Nortech has been doing and seemed to allude to promises of big things to come if they are granted a no-bid multi-decade extensionHow often do promises made by government ever come true? Why are the staffers working so hard behind the scenes?

Bill Halldin and John Allard both rightly pointed out that the proper place for these types of proposals is through a public bidding process. Not only should Nortech be able to demonstrate what they can do, but so should all the other companies that do this work throughout the state.

Now, if the staffers get their way, what incentive is there for Nortech to sharpen their pencils and provide the best pricing if there is no competition?

This is key, the city of Roseville has taken a very strong position that this contract “must” go out to bid. Roseville is the largest single customer, sending 49% of the material to the operation. Shouldn’t they listen to their largest, most important customer? (I am still not sure why Roseville does not get 49% of the vote on that board)

As a follow up, we will be looking in to that “great service,” I’ve heard the current operator hasn’t been meeting their diversion targets – and they may have even received some violation notices. This is something I will be digging into perhaps with Public Records Requests and reviews of minutes and staff reports. (Diversion targets are state mandates to reclaim certain percentages of waste in various categories)

Yes folks, we’ve been writing about virtual dumpster fires in politics for years – now we may actually have one! (IN Placer County!)

Sep 112018
 

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First Off – I support Bill Halldin for Rocklin City Council. Halldin has been one of my most loyal friends in politics. I really don’t need to mention his log service record to local charities, local government, his support of William Jessup, service on the Sierra College Board, his faith, his values, his successful business of almost 20 years and the long list of respected members of the community that support thim – but I digress.

I also support Susan Halldin for Rocklin School Board. Note the last name.

Rocklin Measure A – I opposed the last renewal of the Park Tax in 2009. A lot has changed in the last 10 years in California, and not in a good way. If I had a vote on Measure A today, I’d leave my ballot blank.

Congratulations to Scott Huber and Andrew Tagg for being re-elected to Roseville High School Board by Acclamation. (The Roseville City School Board and Dry Creek School District also ended up not on the ballot)

In the Eureka USD, I support Andy Sheehy for Re-Election. He is a former Democrat turned DTS due to a variety of reasons, but he has also been dead right on regarding almost all of the issues of the district. Similar to my support of Democrats Paige Stauss or Scott Alvord because they have been largely aligned with my values on the issues before their board(s), I support Sheehy. There have been few viable Republican alternatives in the interim.

In Lincoln – It looks like Dan Cross is the choice there. We are still looking for more info on Alyssa Silhi.

Western Placer School Board Member Damian Armitage drew two opponents. Re-Elect Damian.

In Loomis, they have a 4 for 3 race for Town Council. Pick Brian Baker, Jeff Duncan and Jan Clark Crets (Rep, DTS, Dem) and make sure “Physics Professor” David Ring is rung back in to the classroom.

(Note the lack of Republican Candidates for many offices)

… which brings me to Roseville

No on Measure B. The revenues of the City of Roseville have exceeded population growth in the last 10 years, no matter how you slice it. I am not convinced that the City Councilmembers did enough to outsource services or pay down anticipated future pension / healthcare obligations to warrant going back to the well. Even by their numbers if Measure B raises $18MM in new money every year (remember tax increases always underperform their estimates because people change their behavior to avoid the tax) they admit that the City of Roseville will be back in the red 3-5 years down the road. My answer is to make all of the tough decisions now and stop the “kick the can down the road” that has occurred in many cases.

Once this is addressed, then we can look at a tax increase to maintain services.

City Council –

Let me start off by applauding outgoing council-member Tim Herman. I was a staunch opponent of his when he first ran. I can think of few if anything I have disagreed with him on. (See above for one of the few items)

Susan Rohan (also Term Limited), John Allard (not on the ballot) and Pauline Rocucci (running again after a two year hiatus) have been on the Roseville City Council 6 or 8 of the last 10 years referenced above in my opposition to Measure B. All three support Measure B.

This matters as I am taking a break from usually supporting the above when juxtaposed against the background of the circumstances precipitating Measure B. I voted for Susan Rohan several times, Allard several times (including helping his Assembly Campaign) and supported Scott Alvord in 2016. This is not personal by any stretch, it is a difference of opinion on critical matters of the city and thus the divergence. Despite my opposition to Measure B, I will be voting to re-elect John Allard and am inclined to vote for Scott Alvord (despite his being a dem) in 2020.

I am supporting Stephanie Dement for Roseville City Council in 2018. At the time of posting this blog, I am only supporting Stephanie Dement. She has an extensive background in accounting and is a solid conservative on every issue. She seems to be the only viable choice for those of us that feel overtaxed.

There are other candidates:

Krista Bernasconi – she is touted as the heir apparent. She has a lot of the establishment supporting her. She is supporting Measure B

Pauline Roccucci – a Roccucci had been in office in Roseville since the time I moved to Roseville in 1997. 2016 broke that string. Could this be the swan song for the Roccucci dynasty? Roccucci appears to have a lot of the same support as Krista Bernasconi, and is publicly supporting Measure B, likely the nexus for her endorsement by the Roseville Chamber of Commerce.

Both Bernasconi and Roccucci are very liberal Republicans. The Roccucci’s are close to most of the local democrat activists and not so with the local GOP.

Bruce Houdesheldt is a Roseville Planning Commissioner. While a Registered Republican, he is also more towards the independent middle/left than the Conservative Right. Until I saw several well-known members of the establishment supporting Roccucci, I’d have thought that Houdesheldt was the second annointee with Krista Bernasconi. He appears to have drawn the short straw. Houdesheldt, Along with Krista Bernasconi support the SB1 Gas and Car Tax. (and Measure B)

It appears that Houdesheldt is being held in abeyance to be appointed to fill Bonnie Gore’s vacancy when she has to resign in December to be sworn in as a supervisor.

Rounding out the field is leftist liberal democrat re-tread David Larson who may not realize that his support base from previous runs is gone and a Sherish Kahn, a non-profit director.

Look for follow up information on Stephanie Dement as we make our case for her City Council Campaign here on the RightonDaily Blog.

 

Aug 082016
 

This was printed in the Sierra Sun – the local progressive rag in the Tahoe-Truckee Area. It kind of says it all.

Recently I read the Sierra Sun opinion column, “Lake Tahoe is in need of progressive change — and soon,” dated May 30 about the need for progressive change in our region.

I could not agree more. Many of the issues mentioned by Heidi Hill Drum (of the Tahoe Prosperity Center) and Darcie Goodman Collins (of the League to Save Lake Tahoe) apply to the Village at Squaw Valley redevelopment project.

These two community leaders said: “Redevelopment — the effort to rebuild and renovate in the already-developed urban centers of each of Tahoe’s communities — can foster the conditions for businesses that provide year-round jobs at better wages and better housing in more attractive neighborhoods.”

I support well-designed and thought out redevelopment. I believe the Village at Squaw Valley project is a plan we as a community should support.

Over 90 percent of the Village is in-fill redevelopment on existing asphalt parking lots. That asphalt is the first “filter” for water going into the Squaw Valley aquifer — certainly we can do better than that.

The Village plan includes installation of best management practices that will begin to treat stormwater from the minute it hits the roofs. New wells in Squaw Valley will ensure reliable water supplies, the rehabilitation of Squaw Creek is a great idea, and the park and bike trails are needed amenities we’ll all enjoy.

While we might not agree on how many lodging units is the correct number, we should support new, updated, energy-efficient lodging that will attract visitors — those same visitors many of us are dependent upon for our livelihood.

I think most of us would agree that the significant investment in transit and transportation improvements promised with the new Village works toward a new way to experience our region. Not any one redevelopment will solve our transit woes, but each and every improvement will help.

I’ve watched the changes in the plan over the years it’s been in the process, and I think we’re now at a place that’s just about right for our region.

I urge the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors to approve the Village at Squaw Valley and move it forward. It’s time to accelerate environmental redevelopment and understand the status quo is threatening the viability of our future.

Alex Mourelatos is a Tahoe Vista resident and partner at Mourelatos Lakeshore Resort, and someone who considers himself a champion for responsible redevelopment in our region.

Recently, the Placer County Planning Commission was intimidated in to declining another project that was far more broad than just a redevelopment of an existing area. There may be more to the story about the opposition to that project – but the extreme nature of the opposition to anything that will bring economic development is clinical.

Don’t forget – they tried to incorporate a city to stop this, then threatened lawsuits – and now they are emptying the hippee commune in Nevada County and bringing more of Fred Ilfeld’s friends down from Nevada in an attempt to bully Placer County Government in to declining a project that has already been vetted environmentally and planning wise.

Ever wonder why companies don’t build in California? IF you can make it up the hill on Thursday to help support good people with a good project – please leave a comment. It won’t display publicly and I will get back to you.

(10AM Thur, the Planning Commission meets in Tahoe City)