Category: Managed Competition
Below is the city's legislative program. This is what the city council says are policies it wants to pursue in Sacromento and D.C.
According to the city's chief contact with Capri and Clay, the city has no record that would allow the public to determine how and what parts of this program Capri and Clay have been working on. Is it possible to figure out?
Follow up email question to city staff (Mcseveny):
Can that information be established by a review of any set of public records?
"No, we do not receive this information from Carpi & Clay."
Last night the council voted 4-1(Barth) to give Capri and Clay another three year contract. Once again the city's staff report was very thin on all the things these lobbyists have been doing for their $84,000/year contract.
At the state level very recent parks funding lobbying has been given to Capri and Clay. This is all that is mentioned in the staff report. At the national level the city points to a bunch of federal funding, but makes no case that Capri and Clay have done work over the last three years on these projects and are responsible for the funding.
Nothing is mentioned in the staff report regarding the core areas that Capri and Clay have been charged with doing. Are we to assume they have made no progress? There is no evidence they have even done anything to promote the city's legislative program in the staff report.
The staff report is the place for that to be documented.
Sure, sure, maybe the council has been keeping an eye on their progress and just don't want the record in the agenda archives. The majority of the council could not point to recent progress that was being made by Capri and Clay.
Last week, West Coast Arborists were given a new contract for city tree trimming. This is a $140k/year contract. For years, their contract has been administratively (behind closed doors) and non-competitively renewed. Recently, members of the public have been inspecting their work and requirements of their contract (including council candidate Tony Kranz). West Coast's work has been questioned by professional arborists and it appears that West Coast has been deficient in meeting the requirements of their contract, which prohibits the City from renewing the contract administratively.
Here is staff's canned answer to Mayor Dalager about West Coast's work.
A public records request filed after those statements were made reveal that there are zero written records of the inspections. None exist.
Looking to renew West Coast Arborist's contract, Staff asked West Coast to bring the City a contract that they could piggyback. This approach to contracting effectively blocks out any competitors from getting the City's contract. Here is the discussion about piggybacking:
WCA beat out only a single competitor for the Rosemead contract. They also got the original Encinitas contract (10 years ago) without Encinitas issuing an open call for proposals.
With the exception of Barth, the contracting approach went unchallenged by the council and WCA was given a new contract.
Deborah Ellis describes five reasons for poor tree service:
1. They don’t know how to prune trees properly
2. They don’t care about pruning trees properly
3. They want to remove as much from the tree as possible so that they can get as much money for pruning the tree as possible. More branches on the ground = the more work I did = the more I get paid (?)
4. Their client insists on this type of pruning, because they have seen it so much before, and they think this is the right way to prune trees.
5. Tree services that do improper pruning as a part of their business are often much cheaper than tree services that do proper pruning – perhaps in the short term – but not in the long term!
From the white paper:
Caption reads, "This poor Chinese elm was stripped of just about every single leaf last year. Apparently, leaves are a bad thing to have on
trees, and so are most of the branches as well. Maybe the tree service thinks they can fertilize the tree to feed it. Obviously they don’t understand that it is the leaves that make food for the tree."
At last week's council meeting, local arborists pleaded with the council to stop the over prunning of our city trees. Dalager, Houlihan, Stocks, and Bond voted to renew the WCA contract which provides monetary incentives for poor care of our city's trees. Barth objected, but did offer middle ground with a motion to extend WCA's contract one year which would culminate in a review of their work. No one seconded her motion.
On November 4, the Encinitas City Council voted to continue funding the Chamber of Commerce's visitor center. The council did not request or initiate an independent investigation. This is counter to the ETA's request.
In a circulated email from Council Member Barth, she wrote:
The video of Monday nights council meeting is now on the city's website. The final 3-2 vote was really a vote to "sweep the problem" under the rug. I voted against the motion because it didn't direct the subcommittee to look into alleged past misuse of funds and Jerome voted against it because he wanted to cancel the current contract.
Mr. Glenn Sabine
City of Encinitas
Mr. Phil Cotton
City of Encinitas
Messrs. Sabine and Cotton:
The turmoil at the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce in recent months has been no secret. The inner squabbles of this organization would be of no concern to the general public or the Encinitas Taxpayers Association (ETA) were it not for the fact that the chamber has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from city coffers over the past several years. The stated purpose of this money was to operate the city?s tourist information center.
The first hint of problems at the chamber surfaced earlier this year when some, most prominently Council Members Maggie Houlihan and Teresa Barth, openly questioned the chamber?s basic ability to fulfill its contractual obligations to the city. It was these misgivings that led the city to request an audit from the chamber earlier this year.
Since that request was made, the chamber has witnessed some high-profile departures and hired a new chief executive officer who ordered a broader investigation into possible financial irregularities committed under the previous management.
The findings of their investigation have now been released in the form of a financial review, the details of which raise serious concerns about the use of public monies by the chamber.
Given this state of affairs, the ETA strongly urges the city of Encinitas to conduct its own investigation into the activities of the chamber, its former management, and key employees over the past several years, in particular 2007 and 2008. That effort should include a full accounting of every dollar in taxpayer money given to the chamber since 2005, when the first city-chamber contract was entered into.
Furthermore, if there is any truth to charges of malfeasance at the chamber, this incident would suggest that the city has few if any effective mechanisms for overseeing the various grants, contracts, and subsidies it administers. As part of its own investigation, we would expect the city to offer remedies to this deficiency by proposing reforms that will strengthen its ability to safeguard public funds.
As a result of these allegations, the city?s ability to oversee taxpayer money is in question and the public trust has been shaken. The only way to restore that trust is through an independent investigation to determine whether these accusations are completely without merit, a simple case of poor accounting, or something graver.
If it is either of the latter two possibilities, the city must then take steps to prevent future abuses.
Encinitas Taxpayers Association
Hon. Teresa Barth
Hon. James Bond
Hon. Danny Dalager
Hon. Maggie Houlihan
Hon. Jerome Stocks