Nov 232021
 

I did not mince words in that title. FCC, the Waste provider recommended by the staff of that district has a lot of explaining to do. I just can’t clear the rumors about the junket to Spain that some of the staff are dreaming about after the anticipated adoption of the contract. There has to be an explanation about the grotesque lack of due diligence.

Well, allow your intrepid blogger to continue…

On October 22, Banks called a brief press conference at City Hall to discuss the charges brought against him by Pickett.

He said that Pickett did try to bribe him, but the bribe was for his support on the FCC Environmental Services contract.

Earlier this year, the mayor attempted to bring on FCC to replace Waste Management. However, the council twice voted down the proposal on a 3-4 vote. In either case, had Banks reversed his decision, the contract would have been approved.

“Pickett tried to bribe me into voting for the FCC contract the second time it was brought before the council,” Banks said at the time. “I do not know why he has the facts wrong, but let me clear: the offer was to bribe me for the FCC contract.”

Banks said at the press conference that Pickett was to receive $500,000 from FCC and had worked out a deal to help the company build out its Jackson headquarters.

This is from Jackson Mississippi ON 11-2-2021!!! Read more here.

Then there is the curious case of Bribery in Panama.

The billionaire contract was awarded to the Spanish construction company Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC) , the Brazilian group Odebrecht and the French Alstom Group, which also operates in Switzerland with its transport division.

According to documents to which the newspaper SonntagsZeitung had access: 82 million euros were paid in bribes, through a Swiss bank, to obtain the contract. This is the result of the ruling of the Federal Criminal Court, in mid-May.

Ouch. Then on 10-30-2019 FCC got lit up by the Supreme Court of Spain (I wonder if that is on the list of venues for the upcoming tour…) with an indictment for corruption and money laundering. WHERE IS THE STAFF OF THE DISTRICT???

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s High Court on Wednesday charged Spanish building and infrastructure company FCC FCC.MC with corruption and money laundering in connection with 82 million euros ($91 million) in payments made in Panama.

The High Court’s investigative judges said FCC paid bribes to obtain metro and hospital contracts in the central American country between 2010 and 2014.

FCC declined to comment. It now has the opportunity to defend itself or appeal against the charges, before the judges decide whether to send the case to trial. The process could take months.

FCC is now controlled by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim, who took a 25% stake in 2014 and gained control of the board in 2016.

There is also this gem – that speaks to the irregularities in how they appear to bid contracts, this time in the polar opposite direction:

Documents published by the court on Wednesday show its investigation centered on allegations that FCC overcharged for steel in construction projects with a consortium including Brazilian company Odebrecht, using the funds obtained to pay bribes to officials in Panama.

When you are so bad that even the World Bank, known for its’ corruption blasts you, it is really awful:

WASHINGTON, September 16, 2020— The World Bank Group today announced the two-year debarment of FCC Construcción S.A., a Spain-based company that specializes in civil works construction, in connection with fraudulent and collusive practices during two bidding processes under the Río Bogotá Environmental Recuperation and Flood Control Project in Colombia.

Wait a minute – this is in Colombia and not Panama, meaning we have alleged fraud in Colombia and jerked off bidding and then in Panama (and maybe Jackson Mississippi) we have Bribery? WHERE IS THE STAFF OF THE DISTRICT???

FCC Construcción S.A. participated in the bidding processes under two World Bank-financed contracts under the project. In the first bidding process, the company arranged with public officials, through a subcontractor and a commercial agent, to have a competitor disqualified, which is a collusive practice, and the company misrepresented the use of the contract’s advance payment, which is a fraudulent practice. In the second bidding process, FCC Construcción S.A. knowingly misrepresented the composition and the roles of three companies within a consortium that would execute the contract, which is a fraudulent practice. The consortium that ultimately won the contract does not include FCC Construcción S.A..

and now the Staff of the Western Placer Waste Management Authority jammed out a biased report late on Friday before a holiday week in an attempt to ram down a contact for these folks? I am not one to buy conspiracy theories, but this is really making me wonder.

Alleged Bribery in Jackson Mississippi.

Alleged Bribery in Panama

Alleged Bid-Rigging and Fraud in Colombia

But Wait, there’s more… if you sign up with FCC you can get sued when they decide they are done playing!

Tensions between Panama and Spain’s Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas (FCC) are intensifying over construction delays of the US$554mn Ciudad de la Salud health complex, which was awarded to the company in 2011.

President Laurentino Cortizo told local media on Thursday that the US$65mn compensation the firm is demanding for the five years of halted works is “inconceivable” and a “joke.”

“It is inconceivable to me that Panama owes FCC an amount when we know of irregularities that took place in previous governments and administrations,” he said, referring to an investigation that started in 2017 over alleged bribes for another project. 

The company, owned by Mexico’s Carlos Slim, is also under investigation in Spain for alleged links to the Odebrechtcorruption scandal.

“It is important to talk to FCC head-on to insist that there is a process that must be followed,” the president said.

Aside from the compensation, FCC filed a lawsuit against Panama’s social security agency CSS before the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, according to media reports.

The firm is seeking to end its contract with the agency and avoid a US$55mn fine CSS could demand for not completing the project, according to local news site La Celosía.

When FCC couldn’t deliver, they sued Panama!

I took note of the mentions of Carlos Slim.

Who is Carlos Slim? There is a fascinating expose here. Slim owns the New York Times and is one of the richest men in the world with a net worth equal to about 6% of the GDP of Mexico. I’d imagine this is why the articles about FCC include mention of him.

It is time for the Staff of the Western Placer Waste Management Authority to come clean about how they arrived at their report. Was it as simple as price fixation? Who did the research? How was it done? What conversations happened with FCC? Were promises made? What else happened?

Did FCC comply with the RFP requirements to disclose all unethical, illegal, civil, and criminal history? If so, did staff just ignore this? I found all of this with a simple Google search, so surely they must know…

But, then how would they see Christmas in Spain (https://www.idealista.com/en/news/lifestyle-spain/2019/12/04/7113-10-places-celebrate-christmas-spain)

In the next segment of our expose’ on the “recommended” provider of Waste Management – let’s return to America for more fun facts.

BLOGGER’S FOOTNOTE: Please note that RFP refers to government lingo for Requests For Proposal – aka the bidding process. The overriding issue with the apparent refusal or failure of the Staff of the district follows in the fine print of most every contract, but in the case of this one follows:

Proposal Section 10 – Legal Compliance and History

State with particularity how and why the Proposal complies with applicable public contracting laws, including, without limitation, the specific California statutory provision(s) that Proposer is relying on for that determination.

Describe all civil legal actions with government agencies or current/former facility owners now pending or which have occurred in the past ten (10) years with the potential liability or actual damages greater than $50,000; any actions involving allegations or findings of bribery or public corruption; and all criminal legal actions now pending or that have occurred in the past ten (10) years against the entity submitting the RFP and any parent or affiliated company for actions filed in the United States.

<<<SNIP>>>

Western Placer Waste Management Authority

Request for Proposals for Recovery Facilities Conceptual Designs and Operational Services

Describe any illegal or unethical practices discovered within the Proposer’s firm in the last ten (10) years and describe actions taken to eliminate these practices. Include a corporate resolution or ethics code that demonstrates the prospective Proposer’s commitment to ethical and legal business practices. 

This clip of the contract thingy should help the readers of this blog better understand why all of this stuff matters.

Nov 222021
 

Your intrepid blogger has been interested in the upcoming Placer County Waste / Trash / Dump contract. After exposing the attempts of the staff to give the current provider a no-bid 20 year contract for services – despite the mismanagement and substandard services they provided, it appears that the staff of the Western Placer Waste Management Authority are up to their tricks again. Fortunately, the level-headed WPWMA insisted staff put the contract out to bid. And it’s good thing they did – the current provider’s bid came in dead last when compared to others.

Undaunted by the previous exposure – they are trying to ram down a contract with a provider that has a history of screw ups, underbidding, fines, poor service and that is just some of what a google search reveals. Read on…

Then, a few days ago – this missile hit my text message threads.

A top Roseville wastewater official has been charged with five felony counts of diverting public funds to personal use, including two counts alleging he used money from the South Placer Wastewater Authority to pay for the moving expenses and law school tuition for a woman he arranged to have hired, The Sacramento Bee has learned.

Kenneth James Glotzbach, 54, Roseville’s assistant director of wastewater utilities and the executive director of the wastewater authority, was charged in Superior Court on Nov. 8 by Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire’s office and an arrest warrant was issued, court files say. He was arrested at his Carmichael home Friday and booked into the South Placer Jail before being released on $20,000 bail, Roseville police spokesman Rob Baquera said.

Glotzbach is accused of arranging to hire Marisa Tricas, a 32-year-old U.S. Environmental Protection Agency worker he met at a conference, without permission from the city and eventually of having her hired in 2018 by a consulting firm paid with city, county and utility funds, court records say.

He allegedly arranged for more than $300,000 in public funds to be used to pay Tricas, funded her moving expenses from Washington, D.C., by putting them on his city credit card and had the city pay for her tuition at Lincoln Law School, court records say.

It looks like Placer County Staff across departments has ongoing issues beyond those I have written about for years. While a lot of people working for Placer County are great people, one of the most consistent issues with County or any government staff is their proclivity to try to run the government by proxy.

It appears that Placer County Staff pulled a classic trick – they put out a detailed report recommending a flawed, substandard provider for services. IT appears they were looking at price only without doing due diligence on the voracity of the provider. (Or perhaps daydreams of a Christmas junket to the headquarters of the preferred vendor in Spain are indeed true and a factor in the recommendation. Conozco que Espana es tanto bonita en la invierna!)

WORSE – THEY PUT THE REPORT OUT AT 4PM ON A FRIDAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING WEEK… WITH THE MEETING TO VOTE ON THE ISSUE IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THANKSGIVING WEEK!!! This is unethical at best and MAY be indicative of some undue influence or out of control egos inside the bowels of government.

On The Monday following Thanksgiving – the 5 member Western Placer Waste Management Authority board is going to vote on a contract between “FCC” and “Green Waste”. It is the opinion of this blogger that FCC is a disaster and is a substandard provider. The FCC company is like Three Mile Island in a google search.

The first thing that pops out to me is on a major contract with the City of Dallas – this provider appears to have UNDERBID the contract. This is common – especially when coupled with a nearly immediate request for a cost increase. IT appears they Bid about $71 a ton and within a year went for a “Variable” per ton rate increase. There was another bidder within $3 a ton when FCC won the contract. You tell me what this looks like? See their initial bid here. See the request to jack the price here. In layman’s terms, when you ask for a variable market based fee increase, it means your current prices are under the market – as in you underbid and are not charging enough.

Do note that my understanding of California Law is that underbidding a contract is illegal. Bidding a contract at cost is also illegal. Given the pattern of FCC you have to wonder if this is at play here.

Secondly, it appears that FCC is a pretty big provider – but amazingly has no experience in California. Given the EXTREME regulatory environment in California and virtually non-existent regulations in Texas – how are the staff of the district going to look at a scandal-plagued and fine-plagued provider seriously? (It can’t be as simple as a taxpayer funded trip to Spain, is it?)

According to another source, FCC will be using a composting system called the “Gore System”. (More like AlGore and not Supervisor Gore of Placer County)  You could literally say that FCC and their partner “Gore System” are piles of s–t. Just ask Utah.

AMERICAN FORK, Utah (AP) – Several Utah County cities and businesses are raising a stink over compost piles made from human waste at a sewage treatment plant, saying it’s no way to treat the neighbors.

They filed a $425 million lawsuit against the Timpanogos Special Service District in American Fork seeking relief.

“As the foul odor permeates the surrounding areas, it regularly causes physical illness among residents, workers and visitors,” says the complaint in 4th District Court. It was filed earlier this week by American Fork, neighboring Pleasant Grove, the American Fork Chamber of Commerce and businesses including a BMW dealership and an RV park.

So – do you want this coming to Roseville?

Third – these people have failed to perform. In Orange County Florida, they got massive fines for blowing chunks on their contracts.

FCC proposes to use the same old “Gore System” that is fraught with issues – we will get in to that more in a bit – but suffice to say where was the staff of the Waste District when I was able to find a TON of stuff with a simple google search:

The county slapped fines totaling $19,400 on the hauler, Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas or FCC, which provides sanitation services for about 85,000 residential customers in unincorporated Orange County.

That may not seem like much – but wait, there’s more:

FCC customers registered more than half the 1,135 service complaints received by the solid waste division in the final two weeks of February, when the county started assessing fines for missed pickups and other missteps.

That is a lot of screw ups in a two-week period.

So – The Staff of the Western Placer Waste Management Authority appear to be attempting to Jam Down a contract for FCC.

FCC is based in Spain. Green Waste, the competitor is based in California.

FCC has never done business in California.

FCC literally got sued over piles of s–t in Utah.

FCC literally got fined for hundreds of screw ups in Orange County Florida.

and it appears that FCC has a history of under-bidding contracts and then going back to the well for more.

Is this what Placer County Wants? But wait -there’s more…

Sep 102020
 

When your intrepid blogger took up the case of the Western Placer Waste Management Authority, little did I know I’d literally set off a dumpster fire.

We got a lot of responses from a lot of people. Insiders believe it appears that solid fiscal management is going to reign. Quoting our first piece on this issue:

20 years ago was the last time the WPWMA went out to bid. At that time, they hired NORTEC waste to manage the Athens Ave Dump.

In the 20 years the facilities have been operated by Nortech, they have made no substantial investments in modernization or innovation. Put bluntly, the operation is outdated. After over 20 years of having one contractor running the waste and landfill operations (two separate contracts) it appears that even in the in the face of serious reservations on the part of Mayor Allard and Councilmember Bill Halldin, there seems to be a concerted effort to award a sole-source, no bid contact to the same provider.

Based on comments at WPWMA board meetings, it appears that this effort to keep a sole source contract is being fueled by secret negotiations with the current operator, Nortech.

John Allard and Bill Halldin have both led the charge to get the WPWMA to go out to an RFP (aka bid) for services. By accounts it now appears that all of the board members are on board with the concept of soliciting new bids for the 20 year old contract that was last bid in Y2K (remember that hysteria)?

I’ve also been told that Supervisors Bonnie Gore and Robert Weygant support doing due diligence as well after a lot of discussions related to the shortcomings of the current circumstances were vetted. As fiscal conservatives, both supervisors appear to be interested in significant technology upgrades and the like. This means that the message about the current provider’s obsolete technology has been received loud and clear.

If indeed the board of directors for the WPWMA chooses to go to an RFP (Request for Proposal, as in soliciting a bid) this will be a clear mandate for governmental transparency and a desire to explore alternatives to landfilling, which has been the status quo for entirely too long. Furthermore, the rate payers will be the over winners when then gain the opportunity to get state of the art services possibly at a lower cost.

As the board meeting is 9-17, we are thanking them in advance for doing the right thing.

Aug 142020
 

Ahem – for those of you in to acronyms, it is called the WPWMA. Western Placer Waste Management Agency.

It is a dumpster fire.

Let’s get in to the dump for a bit as it is a microcosm of government in general.

20 years ago was the last time the WPWMA went out to bid. At that time, they hired NORTEC waste to manage the Athens Ave Dump.

In the 20 years the facilities have been operated by Nortech, they have made no substantial investments in modernization or innovation. Put bluntly, the operation is outdated. After over 20 years of having one contractor running the waste and landfill operations (two separate contracts) it appears that even in the in the face of serious reservations on the part of Mayor Allard and Councilmember Bill Halldin, there seems to be a concerted effort to award a sole-source, no bid contact to the same provider.

Based on comments at WPWMA board meetings, it appears that this effort to keep a sole source contract is being fueled by secret negotiations with the current operator, Nortech.

Why would the staff of the WPWMA be negotiating in secret with someone who would likely respond to a public bidding process? Doesn’t that give them an unfair advantage?

Here is the rub – it appears as if four out of the five board members want to put the project out to bid, but there’s still a concerted effort by others to prevent that. A Bid is called an RFP in government bureaucrat terms. (Request for Proposal)

At the same time, at previous meetings some board members and staff talked about the “great work” Nortech has been doing and seemed to allude to promises of big things to come if they are granted a no-bid multi-decade extensionHow often do promises made by government ever come true? Why are the staffers working so hard behind the scenes?

Bill Halldin and John Allard both rightly pointed out that the proper place for these types of proposals is through a public bidding process. Not only should Nortech be able to demonstrate what they can do, but so should all the other companies that do this work throughout the state.

Now, if the staffers get their way, what incentive is there for Nortech to sharpen their pencils and provide the best pricing if there is no competition?

This is key, the city of Roseville has taken a very strong position that this contract “must” go out to bid. Roseville is the largest single customer, sending 49% of the material to the operation. Shouldn’t they listen to their largest, most important customer? (I am still not sure why Roseville does not get 49% of the vote on that board)

As a follow up, we will be looking in to that “great service,” I’ve heard the current operator hasn’t been meeting their diversion targets – and they may have even received some violation notices. This is something I will be digging into perhaps with Public Records Requests and reviews of minutes and staff reports. (Diversion targets are state mandates to reclaim certain percentages of waste in various categories)

Yes folks, we’ve been writing about virtual dumpster fires in politics for years – now we may actually have one! (IN Placer County!)

Sep 112018
 

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First Off – I support Bill Halldin for Rocklin City Council. Halldin has been one of my most loyal friends in politics. I really don’t need to mention his log service record to local charities, local government, his support of William Jessup, service on the Sierra College Board, his faith, his values, his successful business of almost 20 years and the long list of respected members of the community that support thim – but I digress.

I also support Susan Halldin for Rocklin School Board. Note the last name.

Rocklin Measure A – I opposed the last renewal of the Park Tax in 2009. A lot has changed in the last 10 years in California, and not in a good way. If I had a vote on Measure A today, I’d leave my ballot blank.

Congratulations to Scott Huber and Andrew Tagg for being re-elected to Roseville High School Board by Acclamation. (The Roseville City School Board and Dry Creek School District also ended up not on the ballot)

In the Eureka USD, I support Andy Sheehy for Re-Election. He is a former Democrat turned DTS due to a variety of reasons, but he has also been dead right on regarding almost all of the issues of the district. Similar to my support of Democrats Paige Stauss or Scott Alvord because they have been largely aligned with my values on the issues before their board(s), I support Sheehy. There have been few viable Republican alternatives in the interim.

In Lincoln – It looks like Dan Cross is the choice there. We are still looking for more info on Alyssa Silhi.

Western Placer School Board Member Damian Armitage drew two opponents. Re-Elect Damian.

In Loomis, they have a 4 for 3 race for Town Council. Pick Brian Baker, Jeff Duncan and Jan Clark Crets (Rep, DTS, Dem) and make sure “Physics Professor” David Ring is rung back in to the classroom.

(Note the lack of Republican Candidates for many offices)

… which brings me to Roseville

No on Measure B. The revenues of the City of Roseville have exceeded population growth in the last 10 years, no matter how you slice it. I am not convinced that the City Councilmembers did enough to outsource services or pay down anticipated future pension / healthcare obligations to warrant going back to the well. Even by their numbers if Measure B raises $18MM in new money every year (remember tax increases always underperform their estimates because people change their behavior to avoid the tax) they admit that the City of Roseville will be back in the red 3-5 years down the road. My answer is to make all of the tough decisions now and stop the “kick the can down the road” that has occurred in many cases.

Once this is addressed, then we can look at a tax increase to maintain services.

City Council –

Let me start off by applauding outgoing council-member Tim Herman. I was a staunch opponent of his when he first ran. I can think of few if anything I have disagreed with him on. (See above for one of the few items)

Susan Rohan (also Term Limited), John Allard (not on the ballot) and Pauline Rocucci (running again after a two year hiatus) have been on the Roseville City Council 6 or 8 of the last 10 years referenced above in my opposition to Measure B. All three support Measure B.

This matters as I am taking a break from usually supporting the above when juxtaposed against the background of the circumstances precipitating Measure B. I voted for Susan Rohan several times, Allard several times (including helping his Assembly Campaign) and supported Scott Alvord in 2016. This is not personal by any stretch, it is a difference of opinion on critical matters of the city and thus the divergence. Despite my opposition to Measure B, I will be voting to re-elect John Allard and am inclined to vote for Scott Alvord (despite his being a dem) in 2020.

I am supporting Stephanie Dement for Roseville City Council in 2018. At the time of posting this blog, I am only supporting Stephanie Dement. She has an extensive background in accounting and is a solid conservative on every issue. She seems to be the only viable choice for those of us that feel overtaxed.

There are other candidates:

Krista Bernasconi – she is touted as the heir apparent. She has a lot of the establishment supporting her. She is supporting Measure B

Pauline Roccucci – a Roccucci had been in office in Roseville since the time I moved to Roseville in 1997. 2016 broke that string. Could this be the swan song for the Roccucci dynasty? Roccucci appears to have a lot of the same support as Krista Bernasconi, and is publicly supporting Measure B, likely the nexus for her endorsement by the Roseville Chamber of Commerce.

Both Bernasconi and Roccucci are very liberal Republicans. The Roccucci’s are close to most of the local democrat activists and not so with the local GOP.

Bruce Houdesheldt is a Roseville Planning Commissioner. While a Registered Republican, he is also more towards the independent middle/left than the Conservative Right. Until I saw several well-known members of the establishment supporting Roccucci, I’d have thought that Houdesheldt was the second annointee with Krista Bernasconi. He appears to have drawn the short straw. Houdesheldt, Along with Krista Bernasconi support the SB1 Gas and Car Tax. (and Measure B)

It appears that Houdesheldt is being held in abeyance to be appointed to fill Bonnie Gore’s vacancy when she has to resign in December to be sworn in as a supervisor.

Rounding out the field is leftist liberal democrat re-tread David Larson who may not realize that his support base from previous runs is gone and a Sherish Kahn, a non-profit director.

Look for follow up information on Stephanie Dement as we make our case for her City Council Campaign here on the RightonDaily Blog.