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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

AT LAST AFTER THREE FULL YEARS SOME OF US WHO HOPED THAT A CONTRACTORS' HUB WOULD PLAY A STELLAR ROLE IN OUR COMMUNITY SAW THE LIGHT OF DAY WITH CITY OFFICIALS AND HUNDREDS INVITED IN ATTENDANCE.

Nothing ever happens in our City quickly - even when you give the City detail plans.

Walk them step by step - the City literally crawls like a snail. In this case the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

 So, when the Contractors'  Assistance Center that I like to call "hub" - was opened with much fun fare - Monday - December 16, 2013 - I thought I would dress myself  up- much to the chagrin of my good friends - who attended the event.

Some 3 years ago; some of us were fed up with the crooks in the community who were given free plans where contractors could have gone and used the plans and benefited the community at large.

On the contrary when contractors and others interested went to these crooked individuals they charged them for the plans.

The City heads of department knew about this - but did nothing about them. Some to this day still receive the plans - and some still abuse the system. No accountability and less transparency.

At that time some of us saw the utter failure of the Water System Improvement Project and how over $1 million was wasted when it came to Benefits to the community.

We spoke up and told ourselves when it came to the Sewer System Improvement Project - we could and we would do better. 

Hence the initial seeds were planted to create a Contractors' Hub - with tons of information - more digital - and training for our youth and young adults - leading to CAREER JOBS.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has a way with fluff - and can wiggle itself from any situation - by expressing itself with half truths and facts that do not match - any standards.

Over the years we have learned to read between the lines - and clear the good seeds from the chaff. Recently the Green For All fiasco - stunned many but not some of us - who know of the inherent corruption, bullying, and vying for positions within the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC).

Three Primes shared the Benefits Program - reinventing the Program - linked to the Water System Improvement Project - and each time failing to do due diligence.

So when it came to the Sewer System Improvement Project - we started working with then Assistant General Manager  for Infrastructure Harlan Kelly and explained to him our plan.

I knew Harlan Kelly from the days of Pat Martel and before - had never visited his office. Did not have any solid reason to do so.

I did that two years ago to explain to him - how vital a Contractors' Assistance Center was needed in the Southeast Sector of San Francisco. More to offer our youth and young adults - both men and women career jobs.

Since we already had an office at Executive Park, 5 Thomas Mellon Circle - and since we knew the owner - we drew up a detail plan to make it easy for Harlan Kelly and those he chose to work with us. The process took us a long, long, long - time.

After over two years the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission signed a two year lease with the owner of 5 Thomas Mellon Circle.

Recently; the building was sold to Ocean Landing LLC and we really do not know what their intention is - short term or long term - because these folks are not from San Francisco and for sure not from the community.

The soft opening for the Contractors' Assistance Center which was the official name chosen some months ago - had its Soft Opening in August, 2013.

Then on December 16, 2013 - it finally had its official hard opening - or whatever folks like to call it. Over 250 people were in attendance - a very good turn out.

Those of us behind the concept to open and have a Contractors' Hub - that I prefer to call it - the primary goal was to accommodate the Primes who already have got the billion dollar contracts. Work with them to provide good training, offer good jobs, more career jobs and address Quality of Life issues.

Brown and Caldwell who are designing the Digestors - that will hold the millions of gallons of treated sewage - known as secondary effluents - and flush it down the newer sewage pipes and into the Bay - and busy doing just that - working with experts to design a State of the Art - in sync with contemporary technology - a one of a kind - Disgestor system that we are all looking forward, to.

AECOM who have received billions as a PRIME in contracts linked to the Sewer System Improvement Project (SSIP)  must provide training - leading to Career Jobs in our community. So far we have seen little of such actions - and we will prod, and cajole and may be see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The Phase 1 with the Digestors - will take 18 months but really speaking about 20 months.

The design process really started  four months ago.

The Design and Planning stage is just that - the experts involved with state of the art - engineering and design concepts.

If all goes well the newer - state of the art Digestors - will last us 100 years.

The ones we have now are Smithsonian - foul smelling - and have adversely impacted the community for over 60 years.

With Climate Change knocking at our doors - and salt water making its way into our treatment plant in the Southeast Sector on Phelps Street - if that calamity happens - the entire plant - will shut down - and there will be very, very - serious consequences.

The Contractors' Hub was initially conceived by advocates and others who wanted to give the Community especially the Bayview Community career jobs.

Address the mitigation and abatement factors - and bring about holistic changes. San Francisco Public Utilities Commission had failed the community - favoring the proposition to address the Water System Improvement Project and shunning the Sewer System Improvement Project. Time would tell.

We the community - who attend the many SF Public Utilities Commission meetings - have not seen an iota of enthusiasm putting in place training right now -  training that leads to Career Jobs.

So that when the time comes - those that were NOT given opportunities - get opportunities with skills in hand - but the training must begin and begin in earnest.

The remarks made at the opening of the Contractors' Assistance Center - were far fetched.

 I felt I was on another planet - with talk and diatribe that did not meet standards - and had very little to do with what the original  plans and standards the founders of this Contractors' Hub had in mind.

None of the original founders worked for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission  -  what they initiated took months to sell - and finally when it was sold - took years more years to implement. 

Since the Contractors' Hub has opened its doors LENNAR a rouge developer has invaded the Contractors' Hub and had three  workshops and two meetings - that have nothing to do with what we envisioned - and absolutely nothing to do with the SSIP  for FREE.

Two workshops have been held - relevant to what we had in mind - linked to the Sewer System Improvement Project.

The Contractors' Hub now comes under Emilio Cruz - the new Assistant General Manager of Infrastructure - who has a team who are trying their best to fulfill some aspirations.

The two employed at the HUB - are not from the community but are striving to learn as best they can - more as the days turn to weeks and to months.

We the community from the Southeast want this Contractors' Assistance Center to succeed - not with fluff - but very high standards.

You cannot have standards without a viable Blue Print that has been vetted by the community at large.

Some focused outreach has been done and some focused community meetings held. One general meeting was held with the General Manager - Harlan Kelly with key stakeholders - present. 

Another with Karen Kubick the Project Manager - and the key personnel working on this Contractors' Assistance Center - some working for SF Public Utilities Commission and the many so called consultants - many of who are given free access to anything they want.

Southeast Sector Community Development Corporation invested hundreds of volunteer hours - for which we never asked any compensation. 

We continue to help those at the Contractors' Assistance Centers when they need help and on occasion have guided them in the right direction.

I Francisco Da Costa listened to the remarks made by Mayor Edwin Lee and General Manager Harlan Kelly.

At some point we need to revisit the original Blue Print and the standards we had set. 

We the community should benefit from the Sewer System Improvement Project  (SSIP) - this is a given - and we are watching the "fluff deliberations" - like a hawk.

We the community want our women and men to have career jobs.

We want upward mobility at the Phelps Sewage Treatment Plant - and are looking to invite the Department of Labor and other Regulatory Agencies to investigate - why there is so much stagnation when it comes to upward - mobility.

"Your #2 is my #1" is a fitting description of the Management now - with pride such slogans seem to enthuse those that have got caught in the sludge - in the shenanigans of the moment.

Much like I heard a sub contractor at the opening - who does not have a stellar record.

Has accused others who have helped him before - who himself has a record that is dubious in nature - make remarks that will come to haunt the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.

I wonder why Miguel Galarza was missing in action - who runs Yerba Buena - whose company was given millions of dollars of contracts and still has many in the pipe-line.

We the community will be watching the Contract Monitoring Committee where for the longest time Miguel Galarza sat and guided the folks around him.

This committee substituted what once the Human Right Commission - use to do.

Here is the paradox the compliance officers working for the Human Rights Commission - has a policy making making entity in charge - the Human Rights Commissioners.

The new Contract Monitoring Committee - by itself is everything - who is fooling whom? The have no Commission no "policy making" entity worth the salt.

We look forward to the Contract Monitoring Committee playing a key role at the Contractors' Assistance Center - in the near future - after it get some legal validity.

We look forward to future focused meetings with the community  - with focus on "upward mobility" and career jobs.

We look forward to a vetted Blue Print that meets standards - where the many years that the community suffered from - is addressed in a holistic manner.

We look forward to the Mayor Edwin Lee - providing assistance to Community Engagement where decisions are made to benefit the community - all segments of the community.

We look forward to harmony and addressing Quality of Life issues.

Right now we are addressing Violence Prevention and Intervention on a shoe string budget. We have reduced crime in some areas - using the best aspects of Community Policing.

We aspire to have contractors both Primes and sub-contractors work in an environment where they do not have to deal with killings and shootings.

The San Francisco Public Utilities in miles away from understanding this one fact - there is only so much fluff that can one can tolerate.

The many tirades come from those that are fed up - with the many shenanigans, ploys, and machinations.

We know what Linda Richardson, Dwayne Jones, Al Williams, Doris Vincent, Angelo King, James Bryant and others have done to our community and continue to do.

We know those entities that will go unnamed who get contracts to do outreach - whatever that means but do not live in our community.

We are watching every single move - like the eternal hawk.

As the Mayor walked out - I approached the Mayor and asked him to visit George Yerby who is ailing - just sold 5 Thomas Mellon Circle.

The Mayor complied - he has a heart - and I know that.

That was a singular moment of the event - in that room where for over 30 years George Yerby - tried to do something but fell prey to the economy.

The few in the room understood what really was happening here - the passing of the torch - to outsiders - who will dictate to us - citizens of  the United States - what they want to dictate - not comprehending our Founding Fathers and the values we stand for in the United States of America.

Mary Dalton who served as the Property Manager for over 22 years was terminated. People got a shock. Mary was told that she could no long work - but could be invited now and then to act as a consultant  - she refused.

With a heavy heart some of us gave her a farewell - much like we are concerned about our future.

The tax payers pay for everything - including the people we pay high salaries over $300,000 to oversee and do right - and they do wrong because they are not educated on issues.

I met many including Kay Fernandez we exchanged greetings - and she knows where I come from.

I do not tolerate  corruption and less arrogance that abounds in some areas at 525 Golden Gate Avenue.

It took us 3 years to bring to fruition the Contractors' Assistance Center - that SFPUC signed a contract for two years. One year has gone by - and soon the next will.

Our community has over 10,000 small businesses - we are surrounded by an industrial zone - in a three miles zone surrounding the Contractors' Assistant Center - Production, Development, Repair  designation or whatever fancy name - the SF Planning conjures.

Our window of opportunity for the community is narrow - in 8 years over $8 Billion will be expanded.

The present Mayor will have been long gone - others making big money and talking fluff - will have long gone - the community will be holding the empty bag - if the goods are not delivered.

For too long have we been led astray - the sell outs that I have named and must name for others to know.

They all have done us harm with intent. 

Lennar poisoned our children and continues to invade our safe havens - when they have done nothing for our community.

Other sell outs visit the Contractors' Assistance Center not to help but to seek favors.

Always favor - always been the perennial leech - sucking whatever the get - that pariah dog with fleas - at the expense of the community.

We have one year to go to make the Contractors' Assistance Center work. 

We gave the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission the plan for free - lock, stock and barrel.

 So far - we have get to see the SFPUC produce the training that will produce " Career Jobs".

We are requesting -  the Primes to step up.

We do not see a small sub-contractor with a tarnished record -  like Empire - doing anything much for our community.

We look forward to another niche program in cooperation with Local 261 doing fine things.

More so - now that we have Commissioner Vince Courtney from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission - who is the President on board.

That program is just going north - to San Ramon - so says the little bird on the tree. We work hard, and hope - but waiting for Godot - that irks us all. Aho.

Contract Assistance offered by the SFPUC:

http://www.sfwater.org/index.aspx?page=111