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Wednesday, February 27, 2013


They say you cannot teach an old dog new tricks - this may be a cliche.

On another moot point but a reality and a fact  - many a time - when the conditions are right for "fungi" to grow and infest quickly -  if the root problem is not addressed - the "fungi" will grow - and continue to invade and adversely impact the surroundings.

Some time ago; the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission built a State of the Art Building at 525 Golden Gate Avenue. It remains to see that within this complex - if those that inhabit this building - will step up and deliver - innovative projects - bring progress and not stick to the old way - that hinder - progress.

The building a new state of the art building - given a Platinum Certificate - linked to been "green" and "sustainable" - that has won kudos and praise - far and wide. And rightly so - where there is a will - there is a way.

With this state of the art building - methods must be created - with a heart - to help restore confidence, stop harassment, bring about an environment of decency, fortitude, and speak to the TRUTH.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) leadership - has been one that can be best described as - nonchalant - in past years. 

Recently, the windows and door have been opened - the cobwebs of old - have been swept aside. But, what is needs - is a through clean up - lot of water - to wash away the stains of the past - and keep the surface and the surroundings - absolutely - spotlessly - clean.

The many General Managers - have used the cockpit of General Manager - to  foster a philosophy that best meets their hidden agenda. Wheeling and dealing with corrupt politicians - and all that must stop - now.

We may start with Pat Martel, then Susan Leal, then Ed Harrington, and now Harlan Kelly.

In large and small measure - I have known each of them - and with them the many San Francisco Public Utilities Commissioners that come with the equation -  and the many hundreds of employees.

The single one I had a good understanding with was the former  SFPU Commissioner - Richard Sklar. A great man and scholar - a man who did what was right.

Mr. Richard Sklar - now diseased - a former General Manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) from 1979 to 1983 - and former Ambassador to war torn - Bosnia. His contribution to the SFPUC was just and always and to the point.

It pays to attend the many workshops that the SFPUC has a tendency to put on facade - trying to hoodwink the public - while trying on the side; behind close doors - a hidden agenda.

If one just sticks to studying the issues - linked to what the SFPUC purports to address - anyone; who is astute, educated, has qualified experience - more patience - can stick to the facts, be on track - address the issues in a forthright manner - and make good things happen.

Subjectively speaking when the SFPUC first decided to have its BOND MEASURE - passed by the tax payers of San Francisco - some $2.4 Billion. The SFPUC bear the moral responsibility to adhere to that language - but failed miserably.

The Bond clearly mentioned - addressing the aging infrastructure - the Waste Water Treatment Plants and the aging Treatment Plants at North Point and the Southeast East Phelps Waste Water Plant that especially that need - urgent - attention.

It also addressed the Clean Water - the aging pipes coming from Yosemite - the Hetch Hetchy system all the way to San Francisco the University Mound Reservoir and the Sunset Reservoir - and all the other huge facilities and the many areas that store water - such as Calavares and Crystal Springs and more.

The SFPU Commission often talks the talks but fails to walk the walk.

For sure some eleven years ago - the SFPU Commission dropped the ball - when it categorically decided not to address the then Waste Water Treatment issues. It with intent shafted the constituents of the Bayview Hunters Point and all San Franciscans.

The SFPUC chose to stick with the Clean Water issues - named the Water System Improvement Project (WSIP) that is nearing its last projects - most of them near Calavares.

Again this was done by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission - not by anyone else.

The clean water issues came to be known as the Water System Improvement Project (WSIP) that failed to provide Community Benefits to all San Franciscans and less to those in the Southeast Sector - District 9, 10, and 11 - in all the that project - now at its tail end - costing some $4.6 Billion - San Francisco's share $2.4 Billion and that of the Regional partners $2.2 and counting.

Another $2.2 Billion dollars was sought from the Regional Partners   - better known as BAWSCA - bringing the grand total to $4.6 Billion.

Without any public approval - the SFPUC on its own decided to steer clear of the mission and objective of the Bond Measure - step far away from the aspirations of what San Franciscans had in mind - and stick with the Clean Water issues and called the program a fancy name - Water System Improvement Project (WSIP). The rest is history.

The WSIP is a boondoggle - is at its tail end - and the Calavares Dam and related issues - have been creating added problems.

The Calavares Dam had to be addressed - five years ago - an Earthen Dam - that was required and mandated to - reduce its capacity by the Pulgas Temple in Sunol - land of the Ohlone.

The Calavares Dam has two large faults passing in very close proximity and if the Big One strikes in the next two years - and the dams give way - the entire Fremont Area - will be under water.

This project that has not been studied well - and high risks taken by inept engineers - will come to haunt those that until now - have been having a wild ride.

Good engineers are few and far between - an the one in charge of the WSIP right now -  is full of fluff and painting a rosy picture. Time will tell.

The SFPU Commissioners dropped the ball some eleven years ago - depriving the Bayview Hunters Point from having new Disgestors - those large holding tanks - that adversely impact the lives of those that live in closer proximity - and others within a three mile radii. 

Methane gas, other toxic elements spew into the air.

Some time ago - thousands of gallons of Clorax was used - a kind of bleach - poured into the digestors - that adversely impacted the Bay.

The shenanigans going on at the Phelps Waste Water Treatment Plant are many - suffice to say - right now - three of the six old, digestors (holding tanks) are not in operation.

God forbid the Big One strikes - an entire area - will be an instant cesspool.

The residents truly do not comprehend the issue at hand - an less have the ability to articulate the many hurdles they face - filthy environmental conditions, West Nile virus, Methane Gas ( one ton of Methane Gas equals twenty two tons of Carbon Dioxide), the stench from the digestors can be smelled for miles around - it all depends on the wind - and in the Bayview - it is darn windy.

Those in charge of Communication at the very top - with the fake title of Assistant General Manager - have not addressed this issue on a War Footing - because they do not have the "heart". They are occupied addressing issues such as those linked with the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) - with fake surveys - and passing our tax payers money to entities that are dubious in nature - corrupt consultants.

In recent years - one purporting to be the Assistant General Manager of Internal Affairs - who has no qualified experience when is comes to Federal, State, and Local issues linked to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Privacy Act, the Brown Act - other important protocols - that bring about standards, have morals and standards in place - has been caught in a web of lying.

When asked to tell the truth to journalists - and release the facts - she has chosen to hide the facts.

Inept to do her job - she has hired with intent folks from Oakland and the East bay - from the Non-Profit world - and thinks she can - pull a fast one - each day that passes - she is digging her grave.

When power goes to one's head - one must stop - pause - and take a - "reality check".

The Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act - can make or break you - I specialize in this field - having been Sixth Army and Presidio of San Francisco's last Congressional Liaison - serving the twelve Western States. Interacting with Congresspersons and Senators - too many to name - and many today hold top positions.

Too many reports are coming my way - of people being ticked off - by one that smiles on your face and stabs you in the back.

In recent months - positions have been filled at the SFPUC - by some inept candidates - the Benefits Manager for example - she comes from the East Bay - from the non-profit sector - and has no clue about San Francisco and San Franciscans.

At a recent committee meeting - she got a mouthful - and was aghast at her own ignorance - using words in her written statement that she read - without paying attention to the detrimental and adverse impacts - to those that were hurt - listening to her remarks.

So, when Chris Jackson - a Trustee from City College - pointed this to her -  she was nonchalant and apologized - tongue in cheek.

Nepotism and favoritism must NOT be tolerated. This fungi must be address and if it is cancerous - removed.

The new Assistant General Manager in charge of Infrastructure is on board - but has miles to go - before he can achieve some real goals.

His drab experience at the Metropolitan Transportation Agency, the TransBay Project, and other dismal escapades - may have favored his status; surrounded by those that went with the flow -  but this one will be challenging to say the least.

The Central Subway is a JOKE.

Started with $600 million budget and now has reached $1.7 Billion.

Emilio may not know this - there are several court cases - and hundreds of people that have been affected by the Central Subway - shenanigans. The small businesses have been adversely affected and unlike the Third Street Light Rail - that cost $700 million starts at Fourth and King and ends in the middle to nowhere - Visitation Valley.

With the Third Street Light Rail construction over 84% of the small businesses folded - and Willie L Brown the - "thug Mayor" - wanted to have Third Street named Willie L. Brown Jr. Street - think about it - that is the high of corruption and abject, evil - power that has gone astray.

The Central Sub- way has long sought a solution to deal with the Tunnel Machine - and with many meetings - a solution has been found. It will cost MTA thousands but a solution has been found.The latest solution; the Pagoda Temple in the center of the solution found; now known as a sore sight - with some machination of sorts - it will be the future home of the Tunneling Machine.

 MTA is a joke - with 50% of its cameras on the MUNI buses not working - and the example he gave about dust control - is a Joke.
Very little good comes from the Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA).

MTA has done a poor job - when it comes to dust and noise control - and more treating the Public at Large with disdain.

The Digestors at the Phelps Treatment Plant - must be addressed on a War Footing and there are two companies that can put their best foot forward and do the job.

The problem is SFPUC has a habit of dragging its legs. There is not a single project that can be put in place - without endless talking, more talking, more hand pressing, more this, that, and the other - thing.

I planned two "niche" projects and had many more to deliver. Any project that is explained in detail - is taken to a length that will put anyone is dire stress - and in the end - some idiots who have nothing to do with the planning - try to jump on the bandwagon to control the projects. I have seen this again, and again, and again.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission - its leadership must take control of its destiny - steer clear of Nepotism, blatant corruption, and get back on track and leave a legacy.