Vallejo Independent Bulletin https://vibvallejo.com The Voice of an Unsilent Majority Tue, 28 Jun 2016 07:48:08 +0000 en hourly 1 Vallejo Gay Pride Picnic 2016 — Video Coverage https://vibvallejo.com/uncategorized/vallejo-gay-pride-picnic-2016-video-coverage/ https://vibvallejo.com/uncategorized/vallejo-gay-pride-picnic-2016-video-coverage/#respond Tue, 14 Jun 2016 05:19:12 +0000 https://vibvallejo.com/?p=176231 Here is coverage of comments from the Vallejo Gay Pride Picnic held June 12 in Alden Park on Mare Island. Comments from Congressman Mike Thompson, Councilmembers Bob Sampayan, Katy Miessner, members of Vallejo’s Islamic Center and others.

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Faraday Electric Cars Headed to Mare Island https://vibvallejo.com/uncategorized/faraday-electric-cars-headed-to-mare-island/ https://vibvallejo.com/uncategorized/faraday-electric-cars-headed-to-mare-island/#respond Tue, 24 May 2016 20:37:24 +0000 https://vibvallejo.com/?p=175008 http://vallejo.hosted.civiclive.com/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=3962534

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The News Today — Confessions of A Macroneurotic https://vibvallejo.com/editorial/the-news-today-confessions-of-a-macroneurotic/ https://vibvallejo.com/editorial/the-news-today-confessions-of-a-macroneurotic/#comments Sun, 15 May 2016 00:01:46 +0000 https://vibvallejo.com/?p=174333 By Carol Pearlman

May 14, 2016

Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.
Rumi

HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa

Carol

WAITING FOR A PARK

Still waiting for fiber optics? You can relax now. Your very own Macroneurotic is launching a new business — venture capitalists please take note. This will be a carrier pigeon service, AKA Carol’s Cold-Blooded Carriers (CC-BC). Our service is designed for people carrying on illicit love affairs, secret committee meetings, and/or engaged in private conversations with politicians, wink wink.

Our pigeons deliver messages anywhere on land, on sea, or in the air. Whatever message you want kept secret, we can handle it. Our birds are swift and tell no tales, even when tortured by the likes of Donald Trump.

The CC-BC fleet can fly over the highest walls & through barbed wire fences; they carry no viruses nor can they be hacked. Our secret revolutionary encryption method (© ™®) is simple: we break your message into three parts and use three pigeons flying three different routes, so even if they get one bird, what are the chances of catching all three?

How about that!

Ladies & gentlemen: this is the most secure secret message transmission method that exists today; better than Apple, who by their own admission could create a back door if they wanted to. Our pigeons have no back doors; they’ve got wings and tails and they know how to fly. Best of all, they reach destinations without use of the internet or PG&E.

Please ask about our soon-to-be-released highly skilled trained flock of drone pigeons who carry remote controlled cameras & other surveillance appliances – latest technology, of course.

Our pigeons will always nod in agreement; they are proud to please.

OLD NEWS (JANUARY) BUT GOOD HISTORY – MEA CULPA

NOT GUILTY! What did I say about entertainment in Vallejo? You just can’t beat a Tuesday night special meeting of the City Council for high drama. On one of those nights earlier this year, in the raw painful wake of exposing MISDC (secret committee for helping Orcem & VMT dredge the river), I watched a series of events that could have been lifted right out of a Hollywood movie.

Here’s how it went: a certain ex-vice mayor committed a lengthy tearful reverse-auto-da-fe, denying guilt over and over, all the while refusing to apologize, pleading with the peanut gallery to feel sorry for him, telling us we could not possibly imagine what it feels like to sit up on that stage and be publicly vilified for more than four and a half hours, for something of which he is completely innocent.

I felt no pity for the fellow, and besides, nobody asked him. His tirade showed up at the start of the meeting like a bat out of hell; out of order and off the wall, but no one stopped him. He simply had to get it off his chest. He’ll probably play that monologue in his mind for a long long time. I wonder if late at night he watches re-runs of that meeting when the citizens of Vallejo accused him of wrong-doing, over & over like strokes of a whip. Does he feel like Capt. Queeg?

Nor was I moved by the blonde at the end of the table who also elicits pity; she’s really so sweet, and her golden locks sparkle under the spotlights. What I imagine about her is she just does what she’s told. Anyone out there get a different impression?

Best of all, for me, Miss Katie, who took the same ethics course for Public Officials that I did, and repeated the words I’d directed at the mayor only one week before: the perception of wrong doing in the eyes of the people is enough to make you guilty. Whatever he’d done to make so many people mad enough to come down to city hall on a cold blustery night in the middle of winter and tell him about it, is wrong and he should not do it even if he thinks it’s right. That ethics course, incidentally, taught that the consequences of such wrong-doing could be fines, jail time, and public humiliation, but there was no talk of the first two in our city hall under the watchful eye of our legal hawk.

Then the public spoke: a homeless mother of six addressed the council; claimed a city employee hung up on her when she asked for help. No one knew what to say. As she walked back to her seat the silence in the house was deafening.

Things got worse. The lover of cement factories on precious waterfront property put in his two cents, and it was all we could do to remain in our seats. He accused us of being against business, and not interested in what’s good for Vallejo. I bowed my head and hissed. Yes, I did.

Our own brilliant AC, the best, most eloquent, intelligent & informed citizen activist in town, and my own personal heroine, was vilified for characterizing Filipino people as being “respectful of the law,” a quality she found lacking in a council woman who’s ever-changing lipstick colors I always find stunning.

There was a well-spoken MMD owner who told the council that the secret committee meetings had destroyed all her respect for our government and they had lost the trust of the people.

Somebody got up & told the Vallejo City Council we the people were fed up seeing the same 4 – 3 votes on motions; time and time again, the same people voting together the same way. We also don’t like that they don’t get along among themselves, let alone with the likes of us.

McConnell, who should have been vice-mayor but lost in a 4-3 vote, suggested the council create an ad-hoc committee and hold open discussions about the recent debacle in order to learn how to do better and try to regain the public’s trust. The mayor said it would be wasting time making new rules & regulations when we already had perfectly good ones in place. When it was pointed out that he himself had broken the rules he called that “a mistake,” and even excused the blond at the end of the table for making the same mistake.

That’s what my ex-husband called it when I caught him cheating. A mistake.

But the city manager advised the mayor to do what the good councilman suggested, which must have really bugged his honor big time seeing as how he and the white-haired knight are always duking it out up there on the dais in front of the hoi-polloi. I wonder how they behave when we’re not around.

I was embarrassed when our legal eagle corrected one of our most outspoken activists, who’d given the impression that his website, exposing the secret committee, had been pulled by the city staff when it had not. I’m not happy with him because I want us to be better than that. Ditto about the recall efforts, which I’m glad to see have come to an end – for whatever reason. There was something insidious about that movement & I’m glad it’s over. And who could ever forget screaming like a banshee at the mayor. Puleeze!

We’ve got to be better than that. We’re on the side of right and must maintain the high standards we require of our leaders. Here I am bashing my friends and colleagues so I need to say something about myself to cut me down to size & put me in my place. OK. I confess to a weakness for bad boys; smart ones; preferable sharp dressers. Nuff said.

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CEMENT PLANT WILL MOSTLY IMPACT VALLEJO’S POOR SAYS ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE REPORT https://vibvallejo.com/news/cement-plant-will-mostly-impact-vallejos-poor-says-environmental-justice-report/ https://vibvallejo.com/news/cement-plant-will-mostly-impact-vallejos-poor-says-environmental-justice-report/#comments Thu, 28 Apr 2016 20:57:36 +0000 https://vibvallejo.com/?p=173514 An Environmental Justice Analysis prepared by Land Economics Consultants, LLC for DUDEK, the consultants hired by The City of Vallejo for the environmental impact report on the ORCEM cement plant and industrial port proposed for South Vallejo has just been released. The report indicates that, “significant and unavoidable” cumulative environmental impacts would result should the plan go forward. Projected Nitrogen Dioxide levels from the cement plant are projected to exceed Bay Area Air Quality Management District thresholds resulting in, “adverse human health effects,” and a “risk to public health,” according to the report.

The report concludes that emissions from the cement plant would, “create an adverse and disproportionate impact on the low-income populations of area A,”* although it stops short of indicating that minority populations would be disproportionately impacted in the context of the diverse population mix in Vallejo.

It is worth noting that this report has been completed well past the period of public comment on this project leaving no opportunity for Vallejo residents to make public comment.

Here is the report in its entirety for you to examine:

http://www.cityofvallejo.net/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=3613716

*South Vallejo

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VMT/ORCEM PROJECT INCONSISTENT WITH BAY PLAN says BCDC https://vibvallejo.com/news/vmtorcem-project-inconsistent-with-bay-plan-says-bcdc/ https://vibvallejo.com/news/vmtorcem-project-inconsistent-with-bay-plan-says-bcdc/#comments Tue, 05 Apr 2016 16:01:10 +0000 https://vibvallejo.com/?p=172169 4/5/16 —  In a just released letter dated March 25, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission has laid out  strong opposition to phase one of the Vallejo Marine Terminal Project: The Orcem Cement Plant.

The BCDC letter makes it clear that the agency will stand as a roadblock to the project as it is currently proposed. The main objection is the potential use of the site as a hub for shipping various undetermined materials not related to cement production.

 

You can read the letter in its entirety below:


 

BCDC response to VMT that only 40% of materials will be used by a water related industry--Orcem

 

BCDC response to VMT that only 40_2

 

BCDC response to VMT that only 40_3

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Moving the ball forward! — WITH HIGH SPEED FIBER OPTICS https://vibvallejo.com/editorial/moving-the-ball-forward-with-high-speed-fiber-optics/ https://vibvallejo.com/editorial/moving-the-ball-forward-with-high-speed-fiber-optics/#comments Sat, 06 Feb 2016 07:35:39 +0000 https://vibvallejo.com/?p=168265 By Chris Platzer

The City Council identified a City high-speed fiber optic network as a priority in March 2014. City staff began to explore possible strategies to leverage and/or expand Vallejo’s existing fiber traffic signal network, including engaging an advisory board of community stakeholders. As a member of that advisory board I am happy to report that we have put the ball on the 20 yard line. While the gears at City Hall do not move swiftly, they do move. With the full backing of the City Manager, Staff and Council, we are on the brink of something monumental. As laid out in the CTC proposal that will be presented to Council on February 23 we can make it happen. Council will be asked to make an infrastructure investment to take us to the next level. Capitalizing on our high-speed ferry connection to San Francisco, low commercial rents in the downtown and the soon to be announced development on North Mare Island, we are at a key crossroads. Please review this proposal and share your thoughts.

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE:  LINK

 

 

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VCAT Interview — Peter Brooks speaks on ORCEM https://vibvallejo.com/uncategorized/vcat-interview-peter-brooks-speaks-on-orcem/ https://vibvallejo.com/uncategorized/vcat-interview-peter-brooks-speaks-on-orcem/#comments Sat, 06 Feb 2016 06:26:45 +0000 https://vibvallejo.com/?p=168200

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CONFESSIONS OF A MACRONEUROTIC https://vibvallejo.com/editorial/confessions-of-a-macroneurotic-2/ https://vibvallejo.com/editorial/confessions-of-a-macroneurotic-2/#comments Wed, 03 Feb 2016 04:50:20 +0000 https://vibvallejo.com/?p=168015 By Carol Pearlman

February 2, 2016

Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.
Rumi

HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHa HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa

Carol

PLAN GENERAL THE

To those who warned me not to trust the Mayor I say this: throughout all the time we worked together on what I’d come to believe was “our” park, mine & the mayor’s, Osby Davis behaved honorably, kept his word, and fulfilled every promise he gave me about beautifying the patch of land known as Independence Park (which is currently being used as a giant bird bath).

Yes, he did!

If you have any doubts, please take a look at Item E under section # 8 of the Action Calendar of the city council meeting on January 26th. “REQUEST FROM MAYOR DAVIS TO PLACE THE FOLLOWING ITEM ON A FUTURE CITY COUNCIL AGENDA: PRESENTATION ON A WATERFRONT ART WALK PROPOSAL Recommendation: City Council to consider request from Mayor Davis to schedule a presentation on a Waterfront Art Walk proposal on a future City Council agenda.”

This small item is proof he means business.

From the outset, Mayor Davis told me his intention was to get that park done before he leaves office, or at least get it to the point where there was no going back, and that’s exactly what he’s doing. I was right to believe him and work with him, as far as we could go. I can only applaud his efforts.

The problem is he’s going full speed ahead without me now. He’s found an artist who wants to fill the entire waterfront, from my house all the way up to the bridge and on the streets as well, with sculpture that will depict & glorify the history of Vallejo. He brings mighty sponsorship with him. This artist is a nice fellow; I’d like to sit down & have a glass of wine with him, but his style of work is not to my taste and I think it’s wrong for Vallejo. I related these thoughts to my friend, the Mayor, who no longer returns my calls.

Oh, the ironies of life are cruel. I will get a park, but it won’t be my park. I yodeled that tune when it was taken over by PB, and I’m howling it again now that the Mayor has taken it over. Yet, it’s not done yet; we’ve yet to hear from the fat lady.

I recently took part in the development of an “arts element” to be included in the Next General Plan, and that element foretells the reconstitution of the much needed Vallejo Commission for Arts & Culture. And, it’s my opinion that it should be the Vallejo Arts & Culture Commission that takes up the question of whether an artist’s work meets their criteria for art in public places of our fair city. Until the commission is established no permanent Art should be installed on our waterfront, Parks or other public spaces. That’s my two cents. Otherwise, it’s a free-for-all, or so it appears to me when I walk out in the streets of Laredo, I mean Vallejo.

I’ve got a lot to learn. I never participated in city government before I came to Vallejo. I don’t know how things work. In the old days my activism was grandiose intellectual coffee-house BS. Now I flap around like a stranded seal, trying this and that, always working for truth & justice; at least I’m on the right side – ain’t I? The good thing is the game is accessible in Vallejo; even I can say my piece, as though it might do any good. I’ve got a front row seat at City Hall where I get to watch political crime & corruption in 3-D & living color nearly every Tuesday night. It’s history in the making; the finest entertainment in town (beside the Empress Theatre, of course), and the best teacher if pay attention.

Listening to our untutored councilors try to figure out rules for cultivating & delivering marijuana made me think I was back in the old world, eavesdropping on a bunch of rabbis arguing some obscure Talmudic point. The mountain of considerations for each decision for each rule is huge. How many inches a baby plant may be before it can be moved from its mother? What is the precise size of the growing area allowed for a vender? Where may it be? Fortunately, the lawyer for the dispensary gang set everyone straight when he said, let’s be real, it has to grow somewhere.

As I see it, city staff runs the whole show. I took part in the citizens workshops that led to the creation of the new General Plan, aka Propel Vallejo, which has been snatched from its cradle by our legal staff because a “certain applicant has spent thousands of dollars” (her words) on his project of putting a deep water port & cement factory on the waterfront that we, the citizens have rightfully claimed to be ours in our new General Plan, & we had better not say anything about it because that’s against the law.

They’re fixing the pipes & water storage tanks in the parking lot across the street from my complex. The report claims that “Rerouting the surface storm water flow will also reduce the risk of flooding of the lower levels in the event of a strong storm coupled with a power outage.”

Man, that scares me. Will the river overflow? How long can the power be out? I get oxygen from a machine that runs on electric power. In case that storm and outage come to my house, I have 4 auxiliary tanks on my patio that hold 72 hours of oxygen, so they say, and that’s it. I’ve asked neighbors to help me if the juice stops. And if you’re around, please come over & help.

One of the first storms of the year knocked my only tomato plant over, breaking the pot & strewing earth on the patio. I had to get rid of the plant but managed to save about 15 marble sized green orbs. What could I do with them? You can’t eat them, they’re no good to cook, but I didn’t want to throw them out, so I pickled them. Got the recipe from the nice pickle vendor at Moschetti’s on Saturday morning. Those babies were so delicious I want to pickle everything in sight.

One of the most interesting things I ever learned about self-defense is when you tear up lettuce leaves they produce more anti-oxidents, so always tear your lettuce when you make a salad.

My memoir is still for sale: www.flatbushprincess.com.

Happy New Year, & all that.

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CITY USES STRONGARM TACTIC TO SILENCE CITIZEN WEBSITE https://vibvallejo.com/editorial/city-uses-strongarm-tactic-to-silence-citizen-website/ https://vibvallejo.com/editorial/city-uses-strongarm-tactic-to-silence-citizen-website/#comments Tue, 26 Jan 2016 05:07:04 +0000 https://vibvallejo.com/?p=167487 Editor’s Note: The below article was published by Jevoices_website_downff Carlson co-founder and writer on the website voicesofvallejo.com — As a result of actions taken by the Vallejo City Attorney in communications with the site’s provider Voices of Vallejo has been shut down at this time.

Documents described in connection with the article were apparently originally given as a communication from the city attorney to the General Plan Working Group. The documents outline a number of possible legal issues regarding conflicts between the proposed General Plan and the Orcem/VMT cement plant project application. The wording of the documents seem to indicate the possibility that the entire proposed $3.1 million General Plan could be voided.

Carlson’s article includes an overview.

 

 

Planning in the Dark

 

By Jeff Carlson

A remarkable citizen-driven planning effort that took two years and more than three million dollars in consultant fees and City staff time recently culminated in a preferred scenario intended to guide a General Plan update.  (See River City.)  The participants, including  a number of city commissioners, unanimously approved the final form of their vision for future waterfront development on November 23.  It  will go to the City Council for its stamp of approval next, tentatively scheduled for February 11.

 

Now the City Attorney’s Office has informed the participants that their preferred scenario can’t be implemented because of legal constraints on waterfront properties within the area the General Plan Working Group focused on.  The attorney’s opinion bears directly on a question that comes up repeatedly around the VMT/Orcem project with regard to bias on the part of Councilmembers.  While fairness would dictate that there should be no bias shown in advance either for or against a project, that isn’t the legal interpretation.

 

The Nasha case that the City Attorney refers to in the following note is only about showing bias against a project.  An applicant like Orcem who has already invested heavily in the application process has a right to a fair hearing in front of the decision making body, or they may be able to sue to recover  their investment.  The public has no corresponding right to insist decision makers not show bias in favor a project in advance, for a number of reasons.  For one thing the public ecompasses diverse opinions and interests, including those who think heavy industry is a great idea for our waterfront.

 

Our protection comes through the ballot box where we get to choose the decision makers.  Obviously we need to start making better choices.   The Attorney’s Office is also warning against the legal hazards of ‘downzoning’ properties, the idea being that if the new zoning resulted in lower property values the owners could sue to recover damages under the takings clause.

 

Here’s how the City Attorney is thinking about this issue.

 

Voices Note –  We received the following request from the City Attorney’s office after publishing the Attorney’s Note verbatim.  The copy in wide circulation is no longer marked confidential.

 

“Name Donna Mooney, Chief Assistant City Attorney

Subject Removal of attorney-client privileged material

Message To Whom it May Concern,

Please immediately remove confidential attorney-client privileged material that has been posted on your website. The material originated from the City of Vallejo City Attorney’s Office on December 3 and was sent to recipients with the following label : **CONFIDENTIAL / ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGED COMMUNICATION** (Please do not forward this email.)

 

The City Council, the highest decisionmaking body of the City of Vallejo and client for purposes of the attorney-client relationship, did not authorize waiver of the privilege, including waiver through dissemination of the material beyond the named recipients. The material is presently at www.voicesofvallejo.com/#!planning-in-the-dark/dpgxt beginning with the subhead “City Attorney’s Note to Commissioners” and ending with a dotted line.

 

Thank you in advance for your prompt action so that the City of Vallejo may preserve its attorney-client privilege over the material. If you have any questions, I can be reached at the telephone number listed below. Donna Mooney, Esq. Chief Assistant City Attorney City of Vallejo 707-648-4548 Donna.Mooney@Cityofvallejo.net”

Voices:  Since we can’t reproduce the City Attorney’s Note as written, we will paraphrase each paragraph and present the main points.

 

CITY ATTORNEY’S NOTE TO COMMISSIONERS (paraphrased version):
The General Plan Working Group, Economic Vitality Commission, and Planning Commission conducted a joint meeting on November 23.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and approve a Preferred Future Scenario, the culmination of a two year planning effort.  An updated General Plan Map and Zoning Map will be based on the proposed land use designations shown on the Preferred Scenario map approved by the Working Group and Commissioners.

The Attorney’s Office heard that the designation of the former General Mills site was discussed at the meeting along with some others where the owners have a land use application already in process.  They understand that one of the Vallejo Marine Terminal principals addressed the meeting along with members of the public.

The discussion resulted in a “Light Industrial” zoning designation for the General Mills site.  It is the opinion of the City Attorney that a heavy industry use of the site would likely not conform with a “Light Industrial” designation, even though the classification is still in the concept stage without a detailed list of the uses that would be allowed.

 

The proposed VMT/Orcem project requires a Major Use Permit and the City Attorney considers it to be “heavy industry.”  The City is currently writing the final EIR and Responses to Comments to the draft version.   They’re projecting a public hearing on the project in January before the Planning Commission with a City Council hearing shortly after.

The City Attorney expressed concern that the City could incur legal liability with the results of the November 23rd meeting, and that the actions taken could negatively affect the decision-making process when the VMT/Orcem project comes up for review.  The Attorney’s  Office points out that by approving the Preferred Scenario map the Council would be indicating a general support for the zoning designations.  That can be enough to impact property values when prospective financial investors look to City documents for indications of future zoning designations.

When zoning changes to a General Plan may cause a loss in property values, a property owner can make a legal “takings” claim against a City.  The Attorney urges great care be taken any time this type of change is even discussed by a public entity.  These legal actions tend to be expensive for all parties and the City Attorney’s Office should be consulted any time “downzoning” of a property will be discussed.

Changes to the zoning designation of a site where applicantions like the VMT/Orcem project are in process are a particular source of worry for the City Attorney.  The applicants have spent a considerable amount of money to develop a project that depends on existing zoning designations.  They principals would have greater incentive to sue for significant damages.

The City Attorney points to the Nasha v. City of Los Angeles legal precedent where a member of a Planning Commission made public statements that could be interpreted as an indication of bias against a project ahead of a public hearing.  Project applicants have a right to a hearing before fair and impartial decision-makers.   Public statements in advance opposing the project or land uses that it would allow can indicate disqualifying bias.  Expressing the desire to change the zoning in a way that would shut out a proposed project may be enough to demonstrate an unacceptable probability of bias that would disqualify an official from participating in the decision.

The Attorney’s Office concludes by stating that they believe the November 23rd discussion representing the culmination of a two year, three million dollar planning effort was “potentially inappropriate,” and would you please stop talking about it before we get sued.  They recommend that the map that resulted from the citizen driven planning process simply be changed now to reflect the sites with pending applications on the version that goes to the City Council.  While they say the ideas illustrated in the Preferred Scenario map would be shared with the Council and public, some would not be included in staff recommedations, and it can all be reconsidered once all those applications are processed.

They give assurances that the City Attorney’s Office will be working closely with the General Plan team “moving forward,” to figure out where there might be legal constrants not accounted for in the Preferred Scenario map.

Moving  forward?  Maybe someone should have thought of that before spending three plus million dollars and all that time coming up with a vision that they now say can’t be implemented because of the legal and site constraints.  Those constraints were in place when the General Plan update process started.  It’s not like these things suddenly popped up.  We need to figure out where this communication disconnect happens and fix it.

Apparently the City Attorney thinks any commissioner who voted to approve the preferred  River and Bay City vision will have to recuse themselves when VMT/Orcem comes before them.  Voting to approve a zoning map that would exclude the project certainly could be interpreted as bias against the project.  Expect Ms. Quintana to explain, though, how the Nasha case doesn’t apply to expressions of bias in favor when VMT/Orcem comes before Mr. Malgapo and company for approval.

The General Plan Working Group is looking for ways to keep their vision and the results of all that hard work alive, even if it can’t be adopted in the short term.  There will be a presentation ready for the February meeting with the City Council and they will need our show of support.  Here’s a sampling of some of the initial reactions from the Group to the news that the staff intended to make changes to the results of their years long planning process:

–  “If the Attorney’s interpretation and advice are to be taken into consideration, there would be no alternative other that postponing any further approvals of the General Plan Update and its Preferred Scenario until all matters are resolved one way or another.
Furthermore, all planning commissioners present have already expressed support for the Vision that conflicts with the VMT-ORCEM application, so all would theoretically have to be recused from further voting. To assume that commissioners tasked with developing and approving a long-term vision for Vallejo have somehow crossed the line by showing bias, and supporting a vision that may not align with a current land use application is difficult to comprehend.

If the threat of litigation is so great that honest work to develop an update to a general plan for the city might interfere with a developer’s rights, then all progress on the general plan must be stopped immediately and a blanket moratorium must be declared on all future land use applications until a general plan with zoning updates is fully approved.”

–  “The city staff, following the advice of legal counsel, is attempting to alter and suppress the vision of the citizens of Vallejo, as represented by the General Plan Working Group, the Economic Vitality Commission and the Planning Commission. All three commissions discussed and approved the Preferred Scenario for Vallejo referred to as “The River and Bay City” scenario at a joint meeting on November 23rd at the Mare Island conference center.
Much discussion and review took place during the meeting with an outcome approving the scenario as presented by the consultants together with additional notes and an accompanying colored land use map. The proposed land use map included in the approval was also the topic of in-depth discussion, showing continuous waterfront public access with trails and open areas along the entire waterfront from the downtown Brinkman’s boat launch to Sandy Beach Road in South Vallejo.

Members of the General Plan Working Group have been advised verbally, followed by a written legal opinion from the City Attorney’s office that the vision and land use indicated on the map cannot be presented as the commissions voted on because it may interfere with the rights of the applicant for the Vallejo Marine Terminal. This decision totally favors the applicant at the expense of suppressing the vision for the waterfront as expressed and voted upon by the members of the three commissions.

Should it be determined that the Vision of the GPWG cannot be accurately conveyed graphically on a land use map and in written documentation, the general plan approval process should be paused and not presented to the City Council until the conflict of interests can be settled one way or another, including potential court decisions. Otherwise it would be permissible to simply indicate on the preferred scenario land use map that there is a potential conflict in the area of the old Sperry flour mill site that might result in limited access along the waterfront or elsewhere on the property. In any case the vision, and unanimous vote, of the commissioners representing the citizens of Vallejo must be accurately depicted in documents and maps.”

–  “…you informed me that modifications were being made to the plan and/or map that was previously presented at the joint meeting of the General Plan Working Group, the Economic Vitality Commission and the Planning Commission on the 23rd  of November. All three bodies approved the plan including the documentation and colored map as presented by the consultants along with the accompanied comments which were to be incorporated into the document.

If changes to the approved scenario plan or its accompanying map are being proposed subsequent to the vote on November 23rd that already approved the scenario, then it needs to be presented once again for consideration and a new vote.

I am referring to the overwhelming desire, of practically everyone present, expressed verbally by several participants, concerning the long-term vision for Vallejo to transform the entire waterfront from the Brinkman’s boat launch to Sandy Beach road, enabling public water access and beautification with trails and public spaces.

The benefits of such a plan are unquestionably sound and needed:

1) Continuity of the San Francisco Bay Trail along the bay.

2) Connection of the California Maritime Academy to the downtown enabling a safe and efficient way for cadets to go and from the downtown on bicycles.

3) Connect South Vallejo residents to the downtown, enabling a safe and easy access by foot or bicycle to the downtown area.

This aspect of the “River & Bay City” scenario was by far the most sought-after element in all the workshops throughout the city in the recent months.

It is imperative that those concerned meet and discuss the ramifications of altering that which was presented to the General Plan Working Group.

If there is a perceived conflict with a current project application that conflicts with the long-term vision of the residents of Vallejo that has been so clearly stated, then it can be done with an asterisk and a footnote on the map, if need be.”

–  “As a General Plan Working Group Member, I see the need for planning for the waterfront regardless of the Orcem VMT project.  As Andrea has often said, this project is not a done deal.  What if the project is not approved?  The citizens of Vallejo and the GPWG members need to be able to plan for that circumstance.  Clearly, the vision expressed at the November 23rd Joint Meeting for Vallejo’s waterfront is different from what is currently in the works.  That vision needs to be kept as a possibility and the only way to do that is to plan for it.

Therefore, we need to find a way to maintain the results of the November 23rd meeting.  What if council was to hold off on voting for the preferred scenario until after the Orcem VMT approval vote?  That way the council would not be showing a bias towards a different scenario from Orcem VMT.  Remember, we are planning for the future of Vallejo, not simply fighting for or against a particular project.”

–  “…I reflected on the main piece of information …, namely that the Draft Preferred Scenario Map cannot be considered as authoritative because it shows a narrow green band of “Open Space” along the east side of the Mare Island Straight.  That particular ‘feature’ was the subject of specific discussion at the meeting, and — in my opinion — its existence figured importantly in the GPWG’s vote to accept the document for forwarding the City Council.
The change to the map in that area… described as being necessary because of previous arrangements between the City and private interests effectively nullifies the GPWG’s action.  I believe that at the next meeting the matter needs to be reviewed and re-voted upon by the General Plan Working Group, the Economic Vitality Commission, and by the Planning Commission. I expect that the ‘imperative’ of the schedule may be cited as preventing this but if necessary the schedule must by adjusted!”
–  “At the last GPWG joint meeting members were told that the comments we made as a group would be incorporated into the “Draft Future Scenario Notes and Map”  going to Council for approval on Dec 22? (the day after our next GPWG meeting?). We were told that the map and notes would be updated to incorporate comments. At the conclusion of the meeting the GPWG, the Planning Commission and the Economic Vitality Commission voted to approve the document with comments and map changes made during the meeting.
Today, Jan 2, … called to alert me to the following:

a) Continuous public access along the waterfront would not be shown on the map going to council but in another section of the final plan

b) Industrial uses would be shown adjacent to the waterfront on at least two sites, (the location of the 65 yr Kiewit lease and the site of the pending VMT/Orcem Project).

Showing this development pattern as the GPWG approved “Draft Future Scenario Notes and Map”  is not only an inaccurate reflection of comments and map changes requested at the meeting,  but  is entirely inconsistent with the long range development of the Eastern side of Vallejo Straight as a mixed use, publically accessible waterfront which GPWG members and the general public has envisioned throughout the 2 year planning process. (Non conforming leases or pending projects cannot be allowed to shape a long range vision for the City).
Given that the map and comments are apparently not consistent with the version approved at the 11/27/2015 meeting (as reported … today) , the final version needs to be reviewed and voted on again at our next meeting.

The process for approval of the “Draft Future Scenario Notes and Map”  has the taint of being rushed through by staff with “unseemly haste” and sent to council for a final vote.  It would better to have an approval  firmly grounded in the knowledge that council appointed decision making bodies have fully vetted and agree with the document they are approving.

Vallejo needs to focus on its major amenity and follow the model of many older cities which have successfully renewed their downtowns and aging industrial waterfronts by encouraging recreation oriented public and mixed use housing/commercial/educational development.”

These people have worked hard to create an alternative vision to the heavy industry port model that the VMT/Orcem project represents.  When this comes up for a hearing in front of the City Council, we need to show up and voice our support.  Right now that meeting is tenatively scheduled for February 11 at 6PM, and we’ll post when the date is confirmed.

 

 

 

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OBVIOUS BIAS ON ORCEM– AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CITY ATTORNEY https://vibvallejo.com/editorial/obvious-bias-on-orcem-an-open-letter-to-the-city-attorney/ https://vibvallejo.com/editorial/obvious-bias-on-orcem-an-open-letter-to-the-city-attorney/#comments Mon, 04 Jan 2016 17:45:38 +0000 https://vibvallejo.com/?p=166318 Ed. Note: The following email was sent to City Attorney Claudia Quintana and members of city council etc. by Vallejo resident John Osborne

Mare Island Straits Economic Development Committee Cure and Correct

Hello Ms. Quintana (Claudia)

Since our last conversation I have given a great deal of thought to the upcoming Special Meeting of the City Council, to the remedies for the probable Brown Act violation, and the implications of related information that continues to surface in the news and from community activists searching for information on the Mare Island Straits Economic Development Committee. I am pleased that you share my concern over the appearance of a possible Brown Act violation related to the activities of the MISEDC.  My initial suggestion that this committee be brought to light, authorized and the work shared was intended as a step towards trying to restore public trust in our City Council as well as collegial trust with those Council members who had no knowledge of this committee.

In light of information that has recently surfaced I remain more than ever concerned about bias of the MISEDC Council members towards the VMT/ORCEM project, but also bias against the Propel Vallejo preferred scenario that now looks to be far more significant than just a possible Brown Act violation. Vice Mayor Malgapo and the MISEDC used this committee to justify a resumption of federal maintenance dredging to the Army Corps of Engineers and appear to be working on a port scenario at direct odds with the city’s General Plan update.  From his statements in a recent Times Herald article, any thought that Mr. Malgapo still has an open mind on these issues no longer looks credible.  The level of staff involvement with a committee that had no formal sanction requires a detailed explanation and accounting, as does the lack of communication from staff and those Council members to the General Plan Working Group regarding obvious conflicts between the Propel Vallejo process and the goals of the MISEDC.

These issues would not be addressed by the Brown Act cure that you have suggested.  However, it appears from an April 30, 2014 MISEDC agenda – attached here in case you have not seen it – that the Mayor was briefed about the MISEDC from its inception, and was aware of its initial goal regarding dredging.  Given the subsequent talk he gave on May 20, 2015 at a MISEDC meeting, there is the appearance of serial meetings by a Council quorum to further the MISEDC goal as it applies to dredging.  I know that you were present at a recent City Council meeting when Mayor Davis stated with certainty that the MISEDC was about dredging, further indicating his familiarity with the committee and its goals.

If you intend to implement a cure for this particular, likely Brown violation it should certainly be to undo the one official action taken as a result of that violation: the November 17, 2014 City letter requesting a Section 216 Initial Appraisal from the Army Corps of Engineers to study the resumption of maintenance dredging operations.  That formal request demonstrably resulted from the extensive work of the MISEDC without the knowledge of three Council members, but with the likely knowledge of four.

The authorization for writing this letter appeared as the tenth and last item on a City Council special meeting’s consent agenda and on page 375 of a 377 page staff report.  That request letter should be withdrawn along with any commitments that resulted from it because informed official consent was never given.  The relevant information and its possible implications were intentionally withheld from some on the Council, while a quorum knew of the extensive research and lobbying already done in the City’s name.  Rescinding that action and withdrawing the request to consider maintenance dredging would be an appropriate cure for what is certainly a Brown Act violation.

It is difficult to see how a vote to legitimize the MISEDC at this point could resolve the questions raised by the release of documents related to the committee.  Mr. Malgapo would obviously be biased in voting to authorize his own committee, as would a majority of the City Council. If the four who knew about the MISEDC were required to recuse, the committee will certainly be disclaimed.  If it does gets authorized on a four to three vote, how is that going to look?  Even if it were to be authorized now, that would not address the fact that our City staff has been working on detailed projects for a committee with no formal approval, to advance a set of goals that conflict directly with the Propel Vallejo preferred scenario.

These are issues that need to be addressed and are not likely to be satisfied at a public hearing limited to the question of possible Brown Act violations. It now has become obvious that the MISEDC members and City staff very deliberately tried to work around their fellow Council members, the public and the Brown Act. Related information continues to surface and your suggested solution now appears inadequate to address all the questions raised by what we now already know about the activities of this ad hoc committee.

One cannot help but question the impact of the MISEDC on numerous votes of the Council, for example the Council Goals where the MISEDC goals were inserted without acknowledgement or discussion; the extension of the City Manager’s contract when three City Council members were unaware of his role enabling the MISEDC; the recommendation to hire additional staff for the City Manager’s office when it was not known how staff time was being diverted to this unauthorized committee; the hire of the current Community & Economic Development Director who heads the Propel Vallejo citizen’s initiative for the General Plan Update, while also being a member of the MISEDC working towards an altogether different plan. One has to wonder at the departure of the previous Community & Economic Development Director as we now know he questioned the MISEDC around the time of his departure.

Clear evidence may yet emerge of the extent of the Mayor’s knowledge of the MISEDC activity which would confirm a Brown Act violation and the appropriate cure.  Trying to resolve the situation before all of the facts are known might look like an attempt to cover things up at a time when transparency and trust are at issue in the minds of the public.

I know that you share these concerns and that you will try to address them in an appropriate manner.

Thank you for your consideration,

Donald E. Osborne

P.S. – Stephen Hallett has posted nearly 250 items received in response to Freedom of Information requests regarding the MISEDC. On the chance you may not have seen all of these postings, I include a link to them here. All of these items have a direct bearing on what we will consider Tuesday evening: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B7FJgfdDxemvWVliaUpvRUUyT28&usp=sharing

 

Note: All opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Vallejo Independent Bulletin.

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