BREAKING THROUGH A CEMENT ROADBLOCK AND FINDING THE SMOKING GUN ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL NIGHTMARE THAT IS THE CEMENT FACTORY.


By Stephen Hallett

I submitted a request for Public Records under the Public Records Act for communication between VTM/ORCEM (those behind the proposed cement plant/port) and the City of Vallejo regarding port fees and the roads on Lemon Street. After 24 days, I received a letter (link) saying that many of the documents were protected by the Attorney-Client privilege and the Deliberative Process Privilege.

Now I am sure that most people reading this are thinking “What on earth is the Deliberative Process Privilege?” Well, that is exactly what I thought. So I looked it up. Essentially, the Deliberative Process Privilege states that records do not have to be disclosed if by disclosing the records, the Government official would not receive the information. People would be less candid if they knew the records were subject to the Public Records Act. Another way of putting that is to say that the City did not want to disclose the records because they did not want the Citizens of Vallejo to see them.

The California Public Records Act favors disclosure and the burden is on the Government to show why the records should not be disclosed. Also, the City was really going to claim that they did not want us to see what they had because of how we would react to it? I quickly shot back an email (link) over to the City decrying the use of the Deliberative process privilege and asking what decisions have been made that would allow the Deliberative process privilege to be invoked.

A few days after my email, I received a call from an Assistant City Attorney (who was very nice and helpful) saying that, after internal discussion, the City decided NOT to claim the Deliberative process privilege. The emails reveal why this project is a disaster and it becomes clear why the City didn’t want us to see them.

ed. note: I have referenced the page number for each document cited in the source documents which can be found in Stephen’s 74 page PRA request HERE or at the bottom of the page.

There is an email from Matt Fettig (from Vallejo Marine Terminal) asking the City to obtain a grant for the roads and rail issues (rather than his company pay for it). [SEE PAGE 9] There is an email from Lisa Plowman (she is contracted with the City to oversee this project) saying that Lemon Street was no longer a designated truck route because of the damage done to the roads by the trucks and the city’s lack of maintenance funding (the trucks will still destroy the roads and we still don’t have money for maintenance)  [SEE PAGE 14, 17] but that the Public Works Director supports redesignating Lemon St. [SEE PAGE 21]

There is an email  stating that there is a memo from the Public Works Director (I have submitted a request for this document and will hopefully receive it) that led some city staff to believe the redesignation of Lemon Street as a truck route did not have to be in the Draft Environmental Impact Report (it’s not in there). There are also multiple emails stating that Lemon Street is not a good place for all these trucks. To the credit of Economic Development Director Andrea Ouse, she was clear in her belief that Lemon Street was not the place for these trucks and told the applicants so.

Based on the emails, I asked why Lemon Street’s designation was not in the Draft Environmental Impact Report and asked that the final Environmental Impact Report address this issue. These questions are now on the record and must be answered in the final Environmental Impact Report. I have submitted more requests under the California Public Records Act and I should be provided with more documents.

There is still time to get your comments in to the Economic Development Director and have them included in the official record. I urge every single Vallejoan to put comments on the record opposing the Cement Factory. If you ask a question, it must be addressed in the Final Environmental Impact Report. You have until November 2 to get your comments in to Andrea Ouse. You can email her assistant Leslie Trybull at leslie.trybull@cityofvallejo.net. Please let them know that you want your questions/comments included in the Final Environmental Impact Report.

View all the documents in Stephen’s Public Records request with the links below:

Full 74 page Public Records Request

 

 

Second extension letter from COV claiming “Deliberative Process”

 

Reply from Hallett re: COV Deliberative Process Claims

 

 


'BREAKING THROUGH A CEMENT ROADBLOCK AND FINDING THE SMOKING GUN ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL NIGHTMARE THAT IS THE CEMENT FACTORY.' have 29 comments

  1. November 1, 2015 @ 2:29 pm Wanda

    Why is 30% of the pages blank? There really isn’t 74 pages of communication, lots of repitition. Still, some very interesting nuggets, like Mr. orcem meeting with City Council? Orcem hiring a consultant to conduct outreach in the community? Vallejo’s public works director stating that he supported the redesignation of Lemon St. To a truck route? Lisa Plowman stating that she would wrap the redesignation of Lemon St. Into the Entitlement Package being considered by the Planning Commission & the City Council? Again, Ms. Plowman stated that the VMT will utilize PG&E’s method of preventing nesting Osprey’s during any construction phase? What about when they are in full operation? Will they be stopping their operations when they come back and nest every year after?? What is the “Development Agreement” ? Where can the public find it? Where is the John Riley memo or email that was referred to in one of the emails? Where can the public find it? The city’s transparency is as clear as the slag dust that will be causing ashma in our babies lungs.

    Reply

  2. November 1, 2015 @ 3:34 pm anon

    Lemon St. has always been a commercial route. It is a problem that can be fixed. This not a “smoking gun”.

    Reply

  3. November 1, 2015 @ 5:15 pm wharf rat

    WOW finaly some sunshine ! wonder who id paying for all this ?

    Reply

  4. November 1, 2015 @ 6:04 pm Anon

    The most prolific use of Lemon St. by a single user would be Wilers Tow. If they think there business will be negatively impacted by the increased use, you might have a point? Otherwise this is a red herring and not a smoking gun.

    Reply

  5. November 1, 2015 @ 7:22 pm Port Parroit

    Talk about traffic, the pot shop on the corner of Sonoma/Lemon is slamming busy. They seem to be so overwhelmed with “patients” that they have quite the private security presence. If they have 3,000 registered card carrying medical pot patients, which is not unusual for a medical clinic, think of the traffic. They are as busy as a mini Kaiser clinic, only without adequate parking. I never did read the EIR on the traffic impact on that project. When I sit idling at the light watching the almost none stop foot traffic of patients going to get their medicine, I often glance at the signage indicating that a left hand turn will get me to 780. Then I am reminded that Lemon St. is a CalTrans-designated “connector” road. And because I am high (medicated) it blows my mind that Caltrans would do such a thing.

    Reply

  6. November 1, 2015 @ 8:53 pm John_K

    The first message in the doc, from Robert Schussel makes an interesting point. Too bad the Word doc attachment isn’t there. Though the DEIR acknowledges the existence of low-level inversions for the San Francisco Bay Area Air Basin, I don’t think it considers the local impact of accumulation and build-up of diesel exhaust to the people in the neighborhoods surrounding the VMT-Orcem facility. Berthed ships may be running diesels for many consecutive hours during the off-loading of GBFS and other imported materials, and the diesel exhaust could contribute to bad air quality, especially during temperature inversions and on frequent “Spare The Air” days.

    Per the California Air Resources Board, the At-Berth Regulation for the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, and Hueneme provides vessel fleet operators visiting these ports two options to reduce at-berth emissions from auxiliary engines: 1) turn off auxiliary engines and connect the vessel to some other source of power, most likely grid-based shore power; or 2) use alternative control technique(s) that achieve equivalent emission reductions.

    How could VMT say shore power is not feasible?

    Reply

  7. November 1, 2015 @ 9:35 pm Parrot parroirt

    So if you wanted to pollute, you couldn’t pollute. tell that to VW.

    Reply

  8. November 1, 2015 @ 11:43 pm tramky

    Lemon Street seems to be the weak part of this proposal. There is some residential property between Curtola and Sonoma, but the potential amount of truck traffic strikes me as problematic.

    But the industrial uses along Lemon Street and the location of the grain mill have been there for a LONG time. It is a significant move to deem off limits to industrial use land that has been in industrial use for a hundred years. Its like putting a wall around part of the city’s economy.

    The oppoents of this proposal bring NOTHING to the table as an alternative. Oh, statements like “well, somebody can do this or that there” jusrt don’t cut it. Geez, SOMEBODY can come into Vallejo with $4 billion of free money and anxious to spend it on park space and bike lanes, but NO, that ain’t happenin’. Reminder–park space is a municipal hole into which you pour money, ALWAYS taxpayer money; that is, YOUR money.

    The opposition is quite frantic and clearly overwrought about this, trying VERY hard to bulldoze the City and its taxpayers with loud blasts of noise. It is the typical and predictable liberal Progressive nonsense. Oh, there is SOME validity to SOME of their complaints, but on balance it doesn’t swing the balance or take the day.

    Reply

    • November 2, 2015 @ 7:31 am Doug

      Tramky, the DEIR is to bring alternatives, city staff is too bring alternatives, the community is not required to bring alternatives. If this project is not strong enough to cut the mustard of a concerned community than so be it. If this project “is” so wonderful and glowing with money falling from the skies as you seem to portray, than it will pass the test. Who more important than Residents of this community to stand for or against? If you think this is such a great project than get out there and support it! But don’t chastise a concerned community for having concerns for their future. Vallejo is entering into a possible 65 year commitment of heavy industrial use on our waterfront that has a multitude of problems associated with it. People and company’s like VMT can too often “buy there way” into the minds and pockets of others. If it takes a community to bulldoze City Hall to be sure our community is best served, than so be it, “Long Live the Community”

      Reply

      • November 2, 2015 @ 7:55 am Anon

        The “alternatives” that the DEIR and Staff are suppose to provide are possible alternatives that could achieve the project’s objectives and not land use alternatives.

        Reply

    • November 2, 2015 @ 8:13 am wharf rat

      Tramky : if you did your homework (read the emails in Hallets article) , you would see the gifts and subsidies the VMT applicants expect to recieve , they wany us to spend our tax money to mittigate their impacts ! in addition to the huge staff costs to date expended on this ”private enterprise” this use and exclusive access to our city government verges on ”criminal” in addition the secret meetings with Council members and staff email chains suggest ”entitelemants” and a bought and paid access that no small business could ever achieve let alone any Citezen ! .
      On the homework theme , once again if researched you would discover that parks generate a net positive economic contribution as do quality schools , functional and equitable City Government is the final ingrediant towards a first class community . So yes if the old mill site became a quality recreational and public facility , compared to all the nagative impacts and costs to our City it probably would be revenue superior to the proposed VMT project .

      Reply

    • Monica

      November 3, 2015 @ 11:37 am Monica

      There is not enough benefit to the citizens of Vallejo to justify the risks. Thirty jobs that may or may not be filled by Vallejo residents changes the lives of .00026% of our population! $350,000 per year of taxes sounds good, until the property values plummet due to the presence of heavy industry, putting the last nail in coffin of quality of life in Vallejo, and reducing the overall net income to the city. Those who argue otherwise probably no longer have a mortgage, have retired from jobs on MI, and see nothing wrong with continuing the practices of the past. They are, according to the 2010 census (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/0681666.html), 12% of the current population.

      The health impacts of this project are permanent. If you think your COPD is bad now, wait until all the diesel fumes and dust blow over South and East Vallejo 24/7. If you think our infrastructure is a mess now, wait until we must choose between public services and public safety again (how quickly we forget). The fact that this parcel has been “industrial for 100 years” is an argument that does not consider economic, health, or environmental implications.

      Heavy industry is a thing of the past. This proposal is yet another 19th Century solution for 21st Century problems. And for those who wrote about a lack of alternatives, let them be reminded that the tech industry, one of cornerstones of modern economics, especially here in California, didn’t even come into its own until after the shipyard closed in 1996 (http://www.oecd.org/sti/sci-tech/1913021.pdf). Just because an alternative use isn’t here now, doesn’t mean it isn’t on the horizon. Looking to the future is looking for forward motion; that is, progress. We would do well to remember that the word progressive has meanings other than the political epithet that it has become for some.

      Reply

      • November 4, 2015 @ 11:20 am The onw who knows

        Oh Monica — You just don’t get it. Your argument now is that the there isn’t “enough” benefit to the citizens of Vallejo? So are you saying there are benefits, just not “enough”. Can you quantify what “enough” would be for you? It doesn’t employ “enough”? Are we suppose to be impressed with your outstanding ability to show the stat of “.00026% of our population”? Let’s just go with the number 30.

        Is it worth anything to bring in a business that provides 30 direct jobs to the area? Is it worth it to have a business that will provide a payroll of ~$3 Mil? And what about the indirect jobs? Will any of those 30 people spend money at our local businesses such as restaurants, gas stations or grocery stores? And what about the indirect jobs? All of those trucks have a truck driver. Even if they could make 4 trips per day per driver, that’s 75 drivers that will be employed every day. Assuming that they don’t work 7 days a week, that’s at least 100 drivers that are employed.

        As for “health impacts” – Are you saying we live in a mountain forest with crisp clean air? What’s “wafting” over the city now? How many Big Rigs drive through our town every day on I-80 spewing fumes and dust? 5,000? 10,000? And how many 100’s of thousands of vehicles add to that? Do you really think 300 more trucks will destroy our quality of life?

        The fact that this parcel has been an Industrial site for over 100 years IS a perfect argument for wanting to use it again as an Industrial site. No one will clean that site up enough to reclassify for as residential use. Just like Lennar can’t convert the Mare Island Industrial site into Residential. Sometimes, you just have to accept that the best use of a former Industrial Site is to keep it Industrial. If you don’t like the Industry, find a new one that can take advantage of the values of the property (Rail Lines to the site, close proximity to two Interstate Freeways, AND a pier that is capable of accepting large ships).

        Heavy Industry is not a “thing of the past”. Someone needs to “make” goods, not just provide services. You are really saying that Blue Collar workers are a “thing of the past” because YOU are incapable of performing that type of work. Our city is filled with people capable of working Blue Collar jobs.

        I find it extremely humorous that you think the Tech Industry didn’t “come into its own” until after 1996. I guess businesses like Apple, HP, IBM, Sun, Oracle, AMD and Silicon Valley didn’t exist in 1996? Is that based on one document from 1996 presented in France to a group of economists explains everything that has happened over the 19 years AFTER it was presented? When did you graduate High School?

        There is nothing wrong with a better future, and better progress focusing on what you and your ilk feel are businesses that “fit” into your ideal world. And if I ran one of those businesses, that Flour Mill site is the LAST place I would consider if I wanted to come to Vallejo. How about you see if you can find some businesses to locate in the area that the Vallejo Waterfront Coalition fought for? You know, Downtown Vallejo and the area down by the Ferry Terminal? Fill THAT up, and you just might find an “ideal” futuristic business that would want to move south of the Sewage Treatment Plant. Maybe. Probably not.

        Reply

        • January 1, 2016 @ 9:45 am Bob Bancroft

          Until Mare Island Naval Yard shut down in 1996, all private industrial use of the river had to be on the east bank. Now that the waterfront of Mare Island is available, why not put industry next to industry? Would you want to live next to a 24/7 industrial site? This project was presented as “green”, but that apparently only refers to its use of fly ash. Every other detail of the project seems to ask for the public to subsidize maintenance of infrastructure, and accept particularly egregious, constant and toxic pollution. Comparing the existing traffic on I-80 (whose diesel trucks must meet standards that ships are currently exempt from) to the toxic dust that Orcem wants to introduce into what is now a residential area is the usual “pro business” ignorance of very real problems. Requiring that all options be explored and real impacts be considered is not “anti business”. It is common sense.

          Reply

  9. November 2, 2015 @ 1:52 pm carol

    a quick scan of the 72 page report revealed some shockers, among which: lisa plowman’s letter of feb. 11th. in which she states that “night-time trains might help traffic but be terrible for noise.” presumably that noise would be acceptable during day time.
    the best for me is in the april 15th. letter, where it’s noted that lemon street had been declared unusable as a truck route back in 2010 because of all the truck damage it had received, and which would not be fixed because there was no money for that, BUT our (prize-winning) PW director now says he would support changing the statute to use lemon street as a truck route again. i’m not sure but i think that means the city would pay for repairs now that ORCEM/VMT needs it for business.
    cruel, cruel world!
    reading these letters makes me feel sick. they paint an ugly picture of the perpetrators & inner workings of the worst characteristics of the crony-capitalist system. what else could come up the with concept of “significant & unavoidable” to describe the harmful impacts on humans & the environment?

    Reply

  10. November 2, 2015 @ 2:39 pm wharf rat

    I believe a truck route recieves state and or federal gas tax monies for maintenence work, Cities love this as they can bill otherwise general fund money to these , the VMT applicants want all the grants they get , and expect our staff to accomodate them in this pursuit (as seen in the emails) so screw up a neighbourhood and get grants of public funds to do so ? .

    Reply

  11. November 2, 2015 @ 8:47 pm tramky

    Lemon Street, as said before, seems to a significant issue with this proposal. And for an operation that includes both maritime and rail elements, what appears to be a great dependence on trucks running on an unexceptional city street seems overdone.

    A great deal of what has been commented upon here is hypothetical, or worst-case scenarios, or assumptions pushed to and beyond a limit. What is the future reality? Not so easy to know.

    No, it is not incumbent upon opponents of this or any public project to literally bring in alternative uses and users. On the other hand, the use of phrases like “well, somebody could . . .” is NOT a viable, real alternative. Yes, SOMEBODY could . . .. Somebody could do WHAT? No business is required to establish itself HERE of anywhere.

    How long has the grain mill been empty and idle? How many decades? The line of proposals for using that site must be long and impressive! No? Consider Mare Island, which has been closed for almost 20 years. Not a single new building–other than houses–has been built out there. Mare Island was financially sequestered from the rest of Vallejo a number of years ago. It has hardly been inspirational as City-owned buildings have gone derelict over the last 7 years, burned down, broken, stripped. In spite of it all the City has been approached with a number of proposals for the north Island, none of which have become reality, most officially denied by the City. This town has attributes and potential, but actual experience suggests that Vallejo’s primary capability is saying “No”. Fine and dandy. And the grain mill may remain idle and empty for another 20 years. Perhaps that IS the better Vallejo. Go for it.

    Reply

  12. November 3, 2015 @ 3:51 pm Publicus

    Sometimes the “NO PROJECT” alternative is the environmentally preferable one. Yes, you are right, it would not meet the Project Objective of making a lot of money for Orcem and VMT investors. But, the health and the lives of real people always trumps mere money. I am surprised that the DEIR did not add all the jobs in the health care industry that would be added to Vallejo”s economy
    due to this Project. Sorry this is one Project that we do not need.

    Reply

    • November 3, 2015 @ 9:40 pm tramky

      The don’t have the courage of their convictions to state this in public, but environmental zealots would suggest that what is most environmentally friendly is the total abolition of all human beings on Earth, by whatever means. Cows, too. Well, total abolition except for them.

      The outcome of this proposal is unknown. There are two or three basic arguments in play:
      – something is better than nothing
      – nothing is better than THIS
      – this is better than something else

      For far too long, nothing has been the preferred option in this town. Perhaps it’s time to get off the pot.

      Reply

  13. November 4, 2015 @ 12:12 am Pu blicus

    Vallejo is in the center of the most powerful global economy in the world. It runs from San Jose and Silicon Valley up to Davis/Sacramento. Intersections of three major freeways, ferry and rail. A global tourism industry in San Francisco and another in the Napa Valley. But somehow Vallejo continues to look like Detroit in the rust belt. Something is really wrong here and it is not the folks that envision something better than dirty polluting industry. Some serious interests have their boot on Vallejo’s neck. Is it the Public Safety Unions using their linchpin status as the bellweather for all California’s Public Safety Unions who can keep their contracts the highest so everybody else gets the same raise? Is it the building trades industry that only benefits from the big public contracts of the past who yearn for the days when they could go off and take a nap in their trucks on Mare Island? Is it the subsidized housing investors and the real estate interests that benefit from the Vallejo’s “farming the poor” industry? Is it all the Democratic politicians that get into office using Union money and the complete lack of viable Republican politicians? Is it the unethical employees who pull down obscene salaries while pandering to anybody who comes in with projects no other city would entertain because they expect to make a few permit dollars? Is it the scuzzy developers who are looking for rubes so they can make a fast buck? Is it the influence of our cynical neighbors that are only too willing to “externalize their poor and social rejects” to Vallejo? Or all of the above. It is NOT, however, because Vallejo citizens are organizing to neutralize those that would profit while damaging the health of our people and the livability of our neighborhoods.

    Reply

    • November 4, 2015 @ 7:43 am Chris

      As the hyperbole and vitriol escalate to ‘smoking gun’ and ‘ nightmare’ proportions, it is worth reminding everyone that the city of Vallejo exists because of its role as an industrial center. In fact, the U.S. Navy–the Federal government–established Mare Island as a naval shipyard, and with that comes the heaviest forms of industrial production directly engaged by the Federal government. Mare Island had its own power plants, foundries for casting and fabricating iron, steel, brass; enormous shops housing enormous machines and thousands of industrial workers. Mare Island, and by extension Vallejo, was at the center of rare and unique industrial capabilities, a sovereign capital resource of enormous importance to this nation. Mare Island Naval Shipyard built 17 nuclear submarines, perhaps the most complex devices ever conceived and built by man.

      This is a history that many in this town seek to denigrate and obliterate. Perhaps that is progress, perhaps it is something else less benign. But the history of this town is what it is, and to ignore history and the resources established here throughout that history is to be missing something important.

      Reply

      • November 4, 2015 @ 8:10 am anon

        Good points Chris. While that military industrial complex was operating we (Vallejo) were bordered on our southern flank by 6 oil refineries and a commercial waterway (Carquinez Straight) that provides transit for large container vessels headed for the ports of Sacramento, Stockton and the Contra Costa oil refineries. All the while, none of the current complainers gave one iota of indignation about the air quality or possible affect on property values. Now they are up in arms regarding an industrial operation that will be more regulated than anything seen during the halcyon days of the 50’s and 60’s. How did we ever survive without their diligence? Oh!, they were not complaining back then, because, no one was manufacturing a “crisis”.

        Reply

  14. November 4, 2015 @ 10:25 am Publicus

    Spoken like true Jumpers yearning to Jump Vallejo backwards into a polluting dirty industry past rather than taking advantage of the future global economy. The current San Francisco Bay Global Economy is based on clean tech…. not dirty industries. Other cities, like Portland, have reached past their old economy successfully. In Portland, the line of paper and lumber mills that once lined the their waterfront and dumped so much pollution into the water that it stunk are gone. Portland is thriving beyond belief. The waterfront is lined with parks and high rise residential towers. But, you are right, the line of polluting industries along the Carquinez Straits remains along with the “cancer cluster” and cumulative effects of air pollution causing asthma and other respiratory ailments that need to be taken into account in the DEIR for the VMT/Orcem Project. The siting of all that polluting industry adds another bad actor with its boot on the neck of Vallejo….the political will of the Big Four in Imperial San Francisco who made sure air pollution would be downwind of their mansions on the hills. Their heirs are still running things. Thank you for amending the list. I am sure the “sensitive receptors” along the Carquinez Straits including Richmond would prefer that dirty, polluting industries be someplace else. For example, the US would still have a steel industry that might have been able to produce bolts that would not fracture for the new Bay Bridge. But American steel producers could not compete with the cheap stuff from China and all of that great machinery that you cite on Mare Island moved to Asia too. Better import fees would have allowed American steel to stay here along with the jobs as long as they cleaned up their act. There are no controls on pollution in Asia and people work for a fraction of the wages American workers might get. The air in some Chinese cities is so bad that people go around in their daily lives with masks on their faces. Global capitalism is the problem, not the solution. I will assure you. Mother Nature is pretty mad and unless we all agree to move past dirty industries. she will beat the ….out of us.

    Reply

  15. November 4, 2015 @ 12:08 pm wharf rat

    Mare island did have an incredible Industrial complex , however what really kept it going through the 50’s to 2:PM March 31 1996 ”the formal end of Command / transfer of mission” was the NRC licence the Command
    had maintained by almost superhuman efforts for all this time .
    Admiral Rickover (possibly one of the most fanatical – genius – manic – characters of that century) built a system both ”brilliant and orwellian” , His insistence that a Civilian controlled Commission regulate and licence the Nuclear Navy propulsion program probably led to it’s global dominance . The MI NRC licence as a Nuclear refuelling Ship Yard is what guaranteed it’s existence and strategic status in the Pacific Fleet and beyond .

    The politics that ensued post BRAC formation were just that POLITICS, post base closure the coveted licence did not go away , it transferred to Bremerton Wa Naval base on the above date in a formal ceremony
    steeped in tradition, Vallejo lost the multi Billion dollar meal ticket of the century with nary a whimper .
    Vallejo’s political impotence lives on today as County Government subsumes our little wealth while insisting the crumbs left us are benevolent and generous if not charity , all while Vallejo Administration laps up their six figures while building a bureaucracy to justify their existence and bloated compensation as if an economic engine throbbed 24/7 as in the long distant past .

    We continue to throw revenue at Administrative widgets and create moving parts that spin in place – as if by rote, towards the self defeating, visionless, diss-organisation We have become . If our City recovered a small percentage of the over six figure compensation packages then dedicated that to contracting with lobbyists and talented legal council we might recover much of the wealth leakage we now experience , the property tax distribution ratio (County to City) is criminal and cause to re-think Administrative structures and City charter . The recent VMT Orcem proposed development screams for a re-invention of the Administrative regime , policy , standards and consistency of objectives and responsibilities , Propel Vallejo is useless rhetoric / jargon , ”Preservation Vallejo” might be more meaningful .

    Starting with revenue recovery and the Neighbourhoods that produce that revenue ! ”remember Bureaucracy’s do not generate revenue they simply spend it ! (Dan Keen 2014). We ”spend way too much to spend” our paltry crumbs- left over” . So the moral of this story is , it was not the demise of Mare island that led to the economic down fall of Vallejo , it was a wholesale lack of reality based Governance , vision , voter apathy and disastrous political failures . Much of these problems can be fixed in one Council term ! ”it can be done”lets hope 2016 is the bellwether year many yearn for ! recent events suggest a major change is in the wind.

    Reply

  16. November 4, 2015 @ 12:15 pm Anonymous

    The Bay Area was once the location of whale processing plants, turning meat and blubber into lamp oil and animal feed. Shall we go all the way back to the 1800s and celebrate our glorious history? Maybe Sea World will help subsidize this effort?

    Reply

  17. November 4, 2015 @ 6:31 pm Kb

    In February 2015, when I was thinking of moving to Vallejo, there were two main questions I had. Is the air quality healthy in Vallejo and is there good quality drinking water. These two things sold me on Vallejo as a healthy place to live. In April 2015, I moved here from Long Beach in Los Angeles County.

    I lived in downtown Long Beach next to the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles and numerous factories. This area is also called Cancer Alley. The rate of lung cancer and respiratory ailments is one of the highest in the nation due to the port activity, diesel ships, diesel trucks and toxic factories. In the four years I lived in Long Beach I developed COPD. This is permanent damage to my lungs. I will most likely die of it in the future.

    There are several things going on here:

    Regarding the transportation
    1. The ships and trucks run on diesel fuel. The diesel fuel soot and smell drifts into your house. The oily soot is hard to get rid of once it is in your living area. It gets into the carpets, on the walls, on your dishes, in your bedding, and in your clothing, etc. Breathing it in gets lodged in your lungs and you can never ever get rid of it. Remember, homes need to have windows open to circulate fresh air.

    Question. Will the cement factory owners be willing to install in every Vallejo home a filtering system to clean the toxic air coming in from the windows?

    2. Most of the jobs at the ports and factories are union jobs, these workers make good money. It turns out most port workers do not live in Long beach, because it is too toxic. They don’t want their children exposed to the toxins. They live in other surrounding areas where you don’t have the TOXIC DRIFT. And they don’t spend their money in Long Beach.

    Regarding the cement factory
    1. The cement factory will have a toxic drift over all of Vallejo. As with Long Beach, the City of Vallejo and the cement company will be plagued with continuous lawsuits for decades to come.

    Question. Will the cement factory owners be willing to install in every Vallejo home a filtering system to clean the toxic air coming in from the windows?

    2. Once you allow a toxic factory in the neighborhood, then there will be a flood of other toxic industries that will want to be in Vallejo. Is this what you want? Really? Really?

    3. The people of Vallejo will have ongoing lung damage. City of Vallejo will need to set up special Respiratory Clinics for the residents of Vallejo.

    4. Don’t be too set on locals getting these jobs. A high degree of the Vallejo young adults do not graduate from high school. There is a high degree of young adults that are not proficient in basic skills. Even factory workers need some basic skills.

    5. The residents will be angry and will vote out all city officials that are in favor of this cement factory and other projects like this. And with that change, city employees who are in favor of toxic industries will be replaced with environmentally sensitive employees.

    For those that don’t know, many city council members and city employees in favor of toxic industries don’t even live in Vallejo. So, why would they care about YOUR AIR?

    6. This cement factory and other toxic industries like this will condemn Vallejo real estate values F O R E V E R from reaching their full bay area potential.

    TRUST ME, THIS WILL NOT END WELL.

    My questions for those making decision for me and you:
    How will the air quality be monitored?
    What organization will be in charge of air quality monitoring?
    Will residents be part of supervising the air quality organization?
    Will residents have a 50% or more representation in this air quality organization?
    Who is going to pay for the monitoring of air quality?
    What will happen if monitored result is less than acceptable?
    If the air quality is not acceptable, what is the process to shut down industries that pollute our air?
    In this shutting down process, will city officials represent the citizens of Vallejo or the toxic industries?

    Reply

    • November 5, 2015 @ 11:37 am The one who knows

      Many of the answers to your questions can be found at http://www.baaqmd.gov/

      Air Quality is monitored by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD). They have and will fine polluting businesses. They perform initial tests prior to opening production with set levels for CO2 and NOx. New businesses have higher emission standards than existing ones, so I don’t know the exact numbers.

      The Air District’s Board of Directors is made up of 22 locally elected representatives from 9 Bay Area counties. Each county’s population determines the number of representatives on the Board, as follows:
      Marin, Napa, and Solano: 1 representative each
      Sonoma and San Mateo: 2 representatives each
      San Francisco: 3 representatives
      Alameda, Contra Costa, and Santa Clara: 4 representatives each

      So, no, “we” (Solano County) have 1 elected rep out of 22 (less than 5% representation). No “citizens”.

      BAAQMD has the authority to perform unscheduled emission checks for any business. If they exceed the max PPM, the business is fined.

      Continued violations can close a business, and all of the details are available on the BAAQMD website.

      Reply

      • November 5, 2015 @ 4:48 pm Publicus

        Same old “trust the experts, they will take care of you” argument. Doesn’t work. We in west Vallejo, are being covered with dust and debris from Mid Mare Island Shipyard. They sand blast all night so in the morning my car is covered with the stuff and I am experiencing respiratory distress … never had it before. Many of my neighbors are similarly affected. I am just across the river from the sandblasting operation. So we all called BAAQMA and what do you think happened? NOTHING. The nice bureaucrat explained that they have to catch them in the act but they don’t work nights. I suggested I scrape a sample off my windshield for analysis. NOPE. The nice guy said they do not have a lab. So the argument that BAAQMA would make sure that Orcem and VMT operated safely is pure….

        Reply

    • November 5, 2015 @ 1:49 pm tramky

      City staffers can NOT be replaced. They are in those jobs as civil service jobs under the laws of California. The are in there for their entire careers, then they get those cool CalPers pensions and retiree health care. That never goes away. City staff actually run the City; they can and do obstruct changes that are not in keeping with the vision of their various public unions–and they are ALL part of some union or other. Anyone who thinks that those city, unionized employees can be gotten rid of is delusional or misinformed.

      Reply


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