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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WILL THE SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION HAVE THE RIGHT LEADERSHIP IN PLACE TO LAY THE FOUNDATION AND DELIVER THE SEWER SYSTEM IMPROVEMENT PROJECT?

In the first round the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission some years ago promised the voters of San Francisco to upgrade the Sewer System and the Water System - issuing a Bond Measure some $2.4 Billion the largest ever then - but then - again failed; to keep its promise and dropped the Sewer System upgrades - that directly impacted the Bayview Hunters Point and a radius of three miles.


The San Francisco voters passed the $2.4  billion bond measure.


The Regional partners added another $2 billion only for the Clean Water - as far as they were concerned.


The SF Public Utilities Commission - at one of the its initial workshops years ago - gave a new name to its project - it called it the Water System Improvement Project (WSIP) - and just like that dropped any notion - to upgrade the Sewer System.


Some of us fondly remember the former ambassador to war torn Bosnia who helped that Nation's Infrastructure and was a SF Public Utilities Commissioner. He has since passed away. His name Richard Skylar. He put his best foot forward when he was a SFPU Commissioner.


Another SFPUC Commissioner worth his salt - was Dennis Normandy who served for many terms - because of his experience - he was done away - making room for the current SF Public Utilities Commission - that has been found wanting in many areas. 


The Water System Improvement Project (WSIP) is now at its tail end.


There have been some major problems - but, most of the welding mishaps, brand new valves bursting and flooding areas, other mostly technical issues - have been kept under wraps.


Millions of dollars were expanded - in so called "outreach" - linked to the WSIP program and millions wasted.


The entire work was divided basically among three Primes - and each one of them when they came abroad - to initiate their project   - had to do their own outreach from the scratch. 


Literally each one of them re-inventing the wheel and doing great injustice to the San Francisco and Regional Area - and in the bargain wasting - millions of dollars.


The WSIP critical project is the Calavares Dam.


This project is just now being attended to. Some minor areas - hill side slopes need to be sliced - on an existing hill - first encountered some major problems - but, suddenly some expert stated - that was not the case.


In the mean time some contractor will be making millions.

His work doubled hauling dirt in the millions of tons - just because of likely possibility of a major slide.


Such gimmick are always in the plan - and only those astute and with proven experience can avoid them.


Those Project Managers - who are shallow, inept, not open to ideas - like have their own way - are mostly defensive get away with murder in broad - daylight.


If we DO have a major earthquake - and the Calavares dam is impacted - the entire Fremont area could suffer adverse impacts with large areas inundated with water from the dam - and other very serious consequences.


The Sewer System Improvement Project (SSIP) will be done within the San Francisco Area. An over $6 Billion project.


Major replacement of our Digestors - that are creating a stink - and spew all sorts of chemical fumes in the environment - mostly affecting the Bayview Hunters Point.


Some time ago - hundreds of gallons of Clorex was used to eliminate the smell - chemicals that landed in the Bay - until someone brought this to the attention of the authorities - and stopped the on going - nonsense.


The Phelps Raw Sewage Plant is very old - and situated stark naked in the middle of the Bayview Hunters Point.


Previous SF Public Utilities Commissioners, the Mayors of San Francisco, the SF Board of Supervisors, the SF Health Department, the City Attorney, the City Administrators, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District  - have not cared to do anything.


In reality hundreds of Notice of Violations - should have been issued to the SFPUC - but because the people are not mostly White - this blatant discrimination continues.


When visitors come to visit the Bayview and if they are within three miles from the Phelps Raw Sewage Treatment Plant - they notice the putrid stench.


When told where the source of the "stench" emits from - they find it difficult to believe in San Francisco - such Environmental Atrocities - can be committed - and that folks can get away with murder - in broad daylight.


The WEIRS that hold the treated sewage also know as secondary effluents - are mostly worn out, damaged, and must be replaced.


So are the pipes that carry the sewage all over our City some over 1000 miles of sewage pipes - most over 80 years old - leaking and polluting the water shed - and need urgent - replacement.


We have a Force Main that was compromised - when some idiots permitted some other idiots - to tunnel under the Force Main that send over 300 million gallons of secondary effluents - into the Bay by Pier 80. No one wants to talk about the compromised Force Main.

No one one wants to talk about the Muwekma Ohlone Sanctuary and Park - that was compromised. No one wants to do right - but - some of these SFPUC authorities - will carry on discriminatory - practices and think - nothing of it.


Some areas as we see from time to time the area around Folsom Street in the Mission - the Delancy Complex closer to the Ferry Building - get flooded when we have heavy rains.


Our San Francisco Sewer system is a "dual system" carrying not only raw sewage but the run off from the rain - thus impacting some low laying areas - where the pipes and holding tanks cannot hold the access water and thus the severe - flooding.


The Phelps Raw Sewage Plant has seen its days - and must be replaced.


The Digestors all replaced for sure - the pumps, the other essential components of the Sewage Treatment Plant - now comes under the jurisdiction for all operational purposes by Mr. Tommy Moala. The Project Manager - Karen Kubic.


At the meeting held on July 24, 2012 most of the SSIP work was doled out to the various contractors - in the presence of the the Primes who won the SSIP contract AECOM/Parsons.


As I stated earlier - San Franciscans were hoodwinked with the WSIP - anyway you look at it - linked to good jobs and community benefits.


San Franciscans will NOT be hoodwinked with the Sewer System Improvement Project (SSIP).


The SF Public Utilities Commissioners the old ones - know some history - the likes of Anson B. Moran was once the Manager of SFPUC and currently holds the position of Chair of the SF Public Utilities Commission.


Ann Moller Caen has been on the SFPU Commission for a long time and has seen the ups and down - the many shenanigans, ploys and machinations. Her recent remarks about the on going sago with excess Real Estate speak volumes - more, to the folks in charge of Real Estate at the SFPUC.


Art Torres is a retired Sacramento Senator - who thinks he knows some - but has a lot to learn - and will learn as long he wants to have a open mind - and listen to the constituents of San Francisco and our Regional customers. 


Francesca Vietor purports to be an Environmentalist and there are many in the Bay Area - dime a dozen - who claim to be some paper certified Environmentalists.


The Bayview Hunters Point from the early 1960s have produced front line Environmentalists - Nationally recognized  - that the SF Public Utilities Commission has listened to - but NOT paid attention to. Time will tell.


Vince Courtney represent the UNION - and has so far not helped the community much - except on some occasion to make some general statements - but no real commitment to serving the community at large.


The many Project Labor Agreements - are defective - and most of them done behind close doors - many years before the WSIP and now the SSIP - begins and the WSIP - began.


In past years the SFPUC has been looked upon as a Racist City Department and it still now looked upon with - disdain.


The SFPUC - is trying to change its image - but the rotten seeds that were planted a long time ago - have grown into trees - and some of them are bearing bad fruit.


Anyway you look at the SSIP it is there to be fixed, fine tuned, and model put in place to be executed with accountability and transparency. More with standards - because the San Francisco - tax payer is footing the bill - some $6 billion plus for a project that should - be completed in ten years if not more.


The laymen has been kept in the dark - now and then some "dog and pony" shows are held - things said and within a couple of months - the entire project - takes another turn - and those that thought they had heard something, thought something would happen - are stunned - to hear the changes - later and this keeps on going. One has to be vigilant - and if one is not vigilant the new crooks hired and those like Dwayne Jones - take it all - lock, stock and barrel.


Yesterday, July 24, 2012 we had several presenters - and most of them with their Conceptual Plans - some of them - hiding large amounts of expenses - all in the name that this was just an initial phase - more a draft - conceptual plan.


Conceptual Plans are mostly like a dream - you wake up - and it could be your worst nightmare.


The presentation by Dan Donague who is a Pre-Constuction Technical Advisor was excellent and closer to the information I have attained over 35 years.


Over the years Surindejeet Bajwa the Deputy Director of Pre-Construction from the SFPUC has been witnessing the charades - but we who know - also are keenly aware of the role that he plays behind the scenes - to put things on track.


I met one of the Senior Management linked to AECOM and hope to meet him at a meeting - that should  - happen soon.


We have some unsavory characters like Dwayne Jones who works for Platinum Consultants who has now decided not to show his mug at public meeting but conduct the devil's work - behind the scences.


We also know a lackey that formerly worked for the SF Redevelopment Agency - who moved to New York - has been brought to San Francisco and hired - once again aiding and abetting corrupt entities like Platinum Consultants - by placing a mole right in their midst.


The SSIP has attracted Vultures from all over - right here in our back yard - all to make money. Some call them Primes. These Primes do not care about local hire, they do not care about given opportunities to create Career Jobs - all the care at the San Francisco tax payers expense - is making a fast - buck.


No one spoke about workforce - no one spoke about local hire - no one spoke about - meaningful dialog with the community where the new digestors will be placed.


The many operations linked to Raw Sewage Treatment Plant - the impacts of the broken down weirs - the compromised Force Main by Pier 80, the adverse impacts of the brand new Force Main by Executive Park without any meaningful dialog with the community at large.


Millions of dollars are spent and some wasted - but little if nothing is spent on the community impacted - to bring new ideas, save our youth from the on going killing and shooting - all because for years - no opportunities have been given to the  impacted community.


Ed Harrington the current Manager was to retire in August, 2012 but now the word is out - that it will be September, 2012.


Soon, it may be December, 2012 - I would not mind if he stayed on for two years - just to lay the foundation linked the SSIP - and prevent the many debacles of the WSIP.


Enjoy some of the photographs from the July 24, 2012 meeting:


http://www.flickr.com/photos/franciscodacosta/sets/72157630742605378/show/