Fix Our Harbors

San Mateo County Harbor District

The Half Moon Bay fishing, boating and surfing community would like facilities modernized at Pillar Point Harbor. It's time to fix crumbling infurtructure, chronic water pollution, dangerous working conditions on Johnson Pier, unsafe docks, inadequate public restrooms, outdated visitor serving facilities, poor wifi connectivity and compromised trail access.

Filtering by Tag: Don Horsley

LAFCO executive director meddled in lawsuit against Harbor District—Three Captains lost in court

Attn: SMC Civil Grand Jury,

March 5, 2015 — Email from LAFCO Executive Director Martha Poyatos requesting the Harbor District provide a letter from Three Captains attorney Mark Scheer.

March 13, 2015 — LAFCO Executive Director Martha Poyatos has email correspondence with to Three Captains attorney Mark Scheer.  Ms. Poyatos sends attachment/s, a link to a newspaper article about the Harbor District and requests Mr. Scheer provide information about campaign contributions for Harbor Commissioners.

May 21, 2015 — LAFCO Executive Director Martha Poyatos emails attachments to Three Captains attorney Mark Scheer.

June 2, 2015 — Three Captains Sea Products Complaint (lawsuit)

Dec 17, 2015 — San Mateo County Superior Judge George A. Miram ordered Three Captains to pay the Harbor District  $38,000 in legal fees for an Anti-SLAPP motion. This came after the District earlier prevailed in a motion to dismiss one of the Plaintiff’s two causes of action (the Anti-SLAPP motion).

Feb 25, 2016 — Three Captains dropped their lawsuit against the Harbor District. They formally dismissed their writ petition against the Harbor District. This on top of winning the anti-SLAPP motion and $38,000 in attorney’s fees was good news for the Harbor District.

Why didn't South City notify the Harbor District that it was interested in becoming the successor agency?

Based on the email exchange below; we're wondering about a cozy relationship between SMC LAFCo and the City of South San Francsico.

Jim Steele South San Francisco City Manager

Our first impression is that South City clearly went behind the Harbor District's back in order to lobby Martha Poyatos, LAFCo Director to be the successor agency.

Whether SSF Assistant City Manager Jim Steele is acting on his own or representing the council is unclear, but knowing the South City Council we doubt he's doing this without the foreknowledge of at least some others on the council.

Based on the email exchange below it appears that South City was thinking, "If the Harbor District is dissolved then we want the property tax for ourselves, how do we get the money?" — that little bit about Martha researching different types of appointed boards is interesting. Apparently Martha thinks her job description includes doing research for Jim Steele and SSF Manager Mike Futrell.

Why didn't South City notify the Harbor District that it was inquiring into potentially becoming a successor agency, and if not South City, why didn't Martha/LAFCo let the Harbor District know?

This looks shady to us!

Mike McHenry's Letter published in the San Mateo County Times

Mike and Kim McHenry published this full page ad in the San Mateo County Times on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.

Please join with the McHenry family and vote for change.

What's up with Peter Grenell's Bank Club?

It appears that Peter Grenell authorized the Harbor District web designer Georgia Wright to do work (web design and brochure design) for the California Maritime Infrastructure
Bank and Authority (CMIB/A).  During the Aug. 6th board meeting Grenell stated that Ms. Wright's company Market Web Consulting had never invoiced CMIB/A or been paid by CMIB/A.  He also said that Market Web Consulting had worked for the CMIB/A for about 8 or 9 years.

It appears that the San Mate County Harbor District may have been paying Market Web Consulting for CMIB/A work/billable hours.  Peter Grenell may have authorized spending Harbor District funds on the CMIB/A website and marketing materials.  Georgia Wright may have been told to bill the Harbor District for her time/work for the CMIB/A and told not to include the CMIB/A billable hours as a line item on Market Web Consulting invoices to the SMCHD.  Its possible that Ms. Wright lumped her CMIB/A hours in with her Harbor District hours and invoiced the Harbor District for both.

It's unusual that Peter Grenell invited Brian Foss, CMIB/A Board Member and past President and David Hull, CMIB/A Executive Director to be on the Harbor District committee to interview candidates for the Harbormaster position.  

At Aug. 6, 2014 Harbor District meeting Peter Grenell said that for about 9 years the Harbor District web design consulting firm Web Market Consulting had also been providing web design for the CMIB/A.  Read the Web Market Consulting Invoice.

During the same meeting Commissioner Brennan asked Peter Grenell if Web Market Consulting was paid to design and update the CMIB/A website. Peter Grenell said, "Number one, they don't get paid, they've never invoiced for their services. So there's no money changing hands. Number two, It seemed a matter of convenience to have Web Market Consulting pickup the rather minimal website needs of CMIA, that's how that happened." 

Commissioner Brennan asked if any SMC Harbor District staff, employees or consultants have engaged in any CMIB/A activities?   Peter Grenell said, "No."  2:10:12

Commissioner Brennan asked if any SMC Harbor District employees of Harbor Commissioners have attended any CMIB/A events or meetings?  2:10:42  

Peter Grenell said, "Harbormaster Scott Grindy attended the Northern California seminar, a one day thing in San Francisco."

Questions

  • Who was on the interview committee when Scott Grindy was interviewed by Harbor District?  Read the PRA email below. 
  • The email indicates that Brian Foss, CMIB/A Board Member and past President and David Hull, CMIB/A Executive Director may have been on the interview committee or in some way involved with the interview process. 
  • Were any Harbor Commissioners on the interview committee?
  • Did the SMCHD pay Web Market Consulting for any work for the CMIB/A?

CMIB/A Website Emails

Grenell's Email About Harbor District Interview Committee

Grand Jury gives Harbor Commission a shellacking

The Civil Grand Jury ripped into the San Mateo County Harbor Commission in a new report titled, "What is the Price of Dysfunction?" The report was released to the public on July 9, 2014.

The report says, "It is impossible for the Grand Jury to ignore the negative public comments that the District’s general manager frequently receives. He is most often the public face of the Harbor District. However, it should be noted that the general manager serves at the pleasure of the Harbor Commission with whom final oversight resides."

Ladies and Gentleman we give you President Pietro Parravano

At the June 18, 2014 Harbor District meeting Pietro Parravano was elected president of the board of Harbor Commissioners.

Pier Pressure

This cartoon from the Half Moon Bay Review pretty much sums it up.

   

   

Harbor District will be broke & screwed by 2018

From:     John Ullom 

Subject:     The best evidence yet that the San Mateo County Harbor District will be broke and screwed by 2018

Date:     May 25, 2014 6:41:04 AM 

To:     Mark Noack 

Cc:     Robert Bernardo <rbernardo@smharbor.com>, pparravano@smharbor.com, jtucker@smharbor.com, Sabrina Brennan <sbrennan@smharbor.com>, wholsinger@smharbor.com, Dave Pine <dpine@smcgov.org>, cgroom@smcgov.org, dhorsley@smcgov.org, wslocum@smcgov.org, ATissier@smcgov.org, council@ssf.net, citycouncil@dalycity.org, Peter Grenell <pgrenell@smharbor.com>, M. Harris <mharris@smharbor.com>, nihartm@ci.pacifica.ca.us, ErvinK@ci.pacifica.ca.us, digres@ci.pacifica.ca.us, LenStonePacifica@gmail.com, O'Neillm@ci.pacifica.ca.us, jgee@redwoodcity.org, rfoust@redwoodcity.org, aaguirre@redwoodcity.org, ibain@redwoodcity.org, dhoward@redwoodcity.org, bpierce@redwoodcity.org, jseybert@redwoodcity.org, rross@cityofsanmateo.org, mfreschet@cityofsanmateo.org, jgoethals@cityofsanmateo.org, dlim@cityofsanmateo.org, jmatthews@cityofsanmateo.org, cbronitsky@fostercity.org, akiesel@fostercity.org, sokamoto@fostercity.org, hperez@fostercity.org, gpollard@fostercity.org, RDMueller@menlopark.org, ccarlton@menlopark.org, racline@menlopark.org, kkeith@menlopark.org, piohtaki@menlopark.org, mbrownrigg@burlingame.org, tnagel@burlingame.org, jdeal@burlingame.org, akeighran@burlingame.org, rortiz@burlingame.org, CityCouncil@belmont.gov, jruane-web@sanbruno.ca.gov, ioconnell-web@sanbruno.ca.gov, kibarra-web@sanbruno.ca.gov, rmedina-web@sanbruno.ca.gov, msalazar-web@sanbruno.ca.gov

Hi Mark,

I hope you are enjoying this fine weekend.

Here is the TOTAL reserves projection from the Districts 2014-2015 budget presentation:

April 16, 2014 Harbor District FY 14/15 budget meeting slide

Notice that by 2016, they project only 6.5 million, (at most) in TOTAL RESERVES. But that 6. 5 million needs two adjustments.

1)  Subtract 1.8 million that they are spending on the building in El Granada.

2)  Subtract 1.7 million for the DBW loan collateral. This is the only restricted fund that they admit is restricted.

I come up with only 3 million dollars in TOTAL available reserves by 2016.

That means by 2016, the SMCHD plans to spend all of its Emergency Reserves, all of its Capital Projects Reserves, all of its Customer Deposits, and have only 3 million left which is supposed to be reserved for the payment of post termination benefit liabilities, that the district expects it will accrue. I am unclear how the Unions and Employees at the SMCHD will feel about the plan to raid their post employment benefits when there is no plan to pay them back.

Here is a link to a four minute video clip where Peter Grenell describes his plan to finance operations out of formerly restricted reserves: https://www.youtube.com/v/UVHmCREdsgA?version=3&start=4171&end=4400&autoplay=1

So that leaves the district pretty much out of money by the end of the 2016-2017 budget cycle. The district will be broke and in debt to its employees  for the 3 million dollars plus any increase in liability that occurs between then and now. Here is the chart that Debra Galarza used to show the projected increase in liability the district expects to incur.

April 16, 2014 Harbor District FY 14/15 budget meeting slide

Notice that by 2018, when the district projects it will run out of money, it will have a liability of at least 3.8 million dollars and will have spent most if not all of its reserves.

Here is the slide that the Fiscal Director presented to the Board of Directors that makes it abundantly clear what the problems are:

April 16, 2014 Harbor District FY 14/15 budget meeting slide

The middle reason is babble but the other two are undeniable facts. The facilities at the harbor are getting old and showing the signs of years of deferred maintenance due to more than a decade of structural budget deficits. The district has historically, since at least 2004, spent 20% to 30% more than it takes in. 

There is no denying the above data. It comes directly from the SMCHD Budget Presentation that can be found on the SMCHD website: http://www.smharbor.com/harbordistrict/FY_14_15_budg_workshop.pdf

I can not explain to you why Peter Grenell, Robert Bernardo, and Jim Tucker deny there is a problem with the fiscal situation at the SMCHD. No organization can sustain a budget deficit of over 20% forever. The District's own Fiscal Director has done her level best to make it clear to the Commissioners yet except for Commissioner Brennan, they either do not get it or choose not to. 

As you can see from their own charts, it does not matter how they define or redefine what they mean by restricted reserves. Even if they spend every last dime, they still can't make it past 2018.

Do what you will with this information.

Enjoy your weekend!

John Charles Ullom

Pillar Point Harbor comments on DJ Op-ed

Response to Daily Journal Op-ed

Dear John Mc Dowell,

Thanks for writing about a few of the problems with the San Mateo County Harbor District. 

We have a couple corrections for you. You said, "A former harbor commissioner received $18,348 in benefits, and she’s dead. Lifetime benefits for commissioners require payment to her son, who is on her health insurance policy until he is 26". Deceased Harbor Commissioner Sally Campbell's grandson (not her son) receives those benefits. Commissioner Campbell adopted her grandson so he would be eligible for generous benefits from the Harbor District. 

Also, in your editorial you did not make it clear that both Commissioner Will Holsinger and Commissioner Pietro Parravano are taking advantage of extravagant benefits offered by the Harbor District. Commissioner Jim Tucker takes a cash payout instead of the benefits. We assume the extra cash covers Commissioner Tucker's monthly Mercedes payments. 

Will Holsinger has been a candidate for the Harbor District twice and lost twice, he also applied for appointment twice and was appointed by the board majority twice. 

Problems with the Harbor District are deep and require replacing the board majority and hiring new management. Commissioner Robert Bernardo, Port of Oakland PR manager/public employee does his best to put a smily face on the Harbor Districts problems. Unfortunately he's in over his head. Commissioner Sabrina Brennan, small business owner/community advocate may be tough as nails but she's outgunned by Commissioner Tucker, Commissioner Holsinger, Commissioner Parravano and management.

We hope the County Board of Supervisors and other elected reps will think carefully about endorsements for Harbor District this Nov. This election will be the first time in two decades that real change is possible for the hardworking men and women who risk their lives making a living fishing off the coast of San Mateo County. The commercial fishing families of Pillar Point Harbor want and need change. 

We hope voters will take action this November and vote out the incumbents.

Pillar Point Harbor, San Mateo County

It's time Jim Tucker was put out to pasture

Toxic Jim Tucker gives the evil eye
Jim Tucker Harbor Commissioner Karyl Matsumoto South San Francisco
Jim Tucker Pillar Point Harbor Parking Lot

"Destruction of Records" letter from George Muteff

January 14, 2014

SMC Harbor District
Attn: Harbor Commission President Bernardo (sent via email)

RE: Item 6 of the 01-15-2014 Harbor District Board meeting - Records Management: Destruction of Records

Dear President Bernardo (et all),

I am writing this to express my deep concern with recent actions taken by the Harbor Board (Board) over the course of the last year, culminating (so far) with this, Item 6, on the 01-15-2014 Harbor District (HD) Agenda; Destruction of Records.

As much as Iʼd like to attend and present the Board with my concerns personally, I will unfortunately not be able to attend, hence this communication. It is my hope that you and your fellow Commissioners heed the request that myself and others are proposing; please pull Item 6 from this Agenda - please do not take action on this matter at this time. Following is the background and supporting data to justify removing Item 6 from the 01-15-14 Agenda at this time.

You may remember me from my comments suggesting that the vacated HB seat (due to death) should go to the voters as opposed to being appointed by the Board (Comfort Inn meeting). You may also remember that my argument, to place the seat on the ballot at the earliest convenient time was based on the fact that the vacated term was as close to the full term as it could have been (almost the full 4 years) and that the Board should be made up of elected officials as opposed to appointed (by the Board). Your predecessor, Mr Tucker was Board President at the time.

Over the recent months the HD has set several disturbing Policies that have gotten the attention of the electorate (and others). Taken singularly, each one is cause for concern; but collectively, they certainly appear very damning. With your permission, Iʼll be blunt in my recantation, from my perspective: First, pitch a fit about a Board member asking questions and shut that down / next, curtail public input / next, curtail member input / next, cease all video recordings of the Agency meetings / next, move to Action Minutes (veiling Item discussion) - and now, for the cherry on the cake, destroy Agency records. Certainly you can clearly see cause for concern from those your Board serves. It is abundantly clear to the public that the Board is circling the wagons against its constituents. It should be equally obvious to this Board that this Boardʼs actions have created a breach of trust with your constituents. The more than obvious question is - Why? What is it that this Board is working so feverishly to hide &/or protect?

When one further considers the recent questionable financial discoveries, the benefits package Board members enjoy, and the rancor both with the public and between your own Commissioners, one can clearly understand the the erosion of faith by the electorate and that the HB has some major issues that need to be dealt with.

I am and always have been an advocate for transparency, thereby creating a genuine partnership between governing boards and their constituents. Transparency is a lot more than a word found under T in Websterʼs. It is a mindset, a core value, a necessity in good governance for achieving the best results for all. Every governing board for every district should work with those they represent, not at odds with them and most certainly not in a vacuum. It is the public, after all, whose funding pays for every stitch of everything the governing boards claim and use. If nothing else, transparency should be a good example of governing boards respecting the public that funded their district and elected the members. Honesty is the key - both between the public and its elected and between the elected and the public.

I am requesting that Item 6 be pulled from the 01-15-14 meeting Agenda. Further, and I realize how critical document management can be, this Item should be publicly vetted at both HD meeting locations, casting the net as broadly as possible to collect all the public input possible Before action is taken on this matter. I would tag it as ʻdue diligenceʼ on the part of the District.

Please understand; I am grateful for the concept, efforts and intent of most governing boards, even in disagreement; but when public perception of bad practices by their board(s) coupled with the specific actions of this HD (described above) are combined, as they are here, it would be my suggestion that fixing that set of issues takes precedent over all HD business, as opposed to furthering the hole you seem to find yourselves in.

How can a Board be effective in doing their charge when they are too busy circling their wagons and dealing with damage control?

As you will note, I am ccʼing your peers, all SMC Board of Supervisors and our local press. It has been my experience that folks seem to be more careful when others are looking over their shoulder. I am truly sorry it has come to this and wish you all only the best, but I am doing here what I feel is the right thing to do and what I feel I have to do.

It is my fervent hope that you and your peers take the same posture. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully submitted,

George Muteff
Half Moon Bay

Copy:

Harbor Board Commissioners;

  • Robert Bernardo - smcharborcommissioner@yahoo.com
  • William Holsinger - william.holsinger@me.com 
  • Jim Tucker - jamestucker17@comcast.net
  • Pietro Parravano - fish3ifr@mindspring.com
  • Sabrina Brennan - Sabrina@DFM.com

San Mateo Board of Supervisors members;

  • President of the SMC BOS Dave Pine - dpine@smcgov.org
  • Don Horsley - dhorsley@smcgov.org
  • Warren Slocum - wslocum@smcgov.org
  • Carole Groom - cgroom@smcgov.org
  • Adrienne Tissier - atissier@smcgov.org

Local news;

  • HMB Review reporter Mark Noack - mark@hmbreview.com
  • Christa Bigue, HMB Patch Editor - christa.bigue@patch.com

Email Response from Robert Bernardo to George Muteff 1-15-14:

Dear Mr. Muteff,

On behalf of the San Mateo County Harbor Commission, thank you for writing and sharing your concerns about Consent Agenda Item #6 related to the Harbor District's records management and disposal policy.

As you may know, it's a common practice for most government agencies to have a records management and disposal policy. The Harbor District's policy comes from a Board resolution adopted back in July 17, 1996 (Resolution #01-14) which provides a formal procedure for proper records disposal. 

Records disposal is a routine activity, and the Harbor District reviews its documents about every couple of years, with the most recent being in 2007 and 2010. The ultimate goal of this policy is to dispose of records which are no longer useful in conducting the District's day-to-day business. We contract with a professional shredding company to handle proper disposal. 

Per our policy, some documents that are never destroyed include: Board minutes, Board agendas and personnel files. The California Government Code (Sec. 34090) requires that all public records be retained for 2 years. We are in compliance with legal mandates such as this one. 

At tomorrow's (1/15) meeting, the Board will review and consider the list of items slated for disposal. Those specific items are listed in the Board packet (also available on the District's Web site) for members of the public to review as well. 

I hope this better explains our policy and the need to dispose of documents periodically. 

As always, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and insights with the Harbor District. 

Warmest regards,

Robert Bernardo, President

San Mateo County Harbor Commission

Tel. 650-794-1810

Email Response from George Muteff to Robert Bernardo 1-15-14:

Mr Bernardo,                                                                                                      

I appreciate your enthusiasm in response and the recognition that that response provides, however I am a bit struck by the content.

With all due respect, it appears that your response to my submission is a canned auto response that was provided without even reading what I wrote. Maybe, had you just stopped after the opening line it may have worked better, but once past that open, it is line after line after line of what appears to say “trust me” (which is no substitute for open dialog). Had you read my input, you would have seen that it is my opinion that your Board has violated my trust. Using phrases like “breach of trust” clearly indicates that  problem, yet you just gloss over it - as if you never saw it.

I am much more interested in the reading and understanding of what I wrote by those I wrote to then I am etiquette and posture. It is important, considering the gravity of the actions already taken by this Board, that you and your peers think this latest matter through before you act. Take your time, vet it as thoroughly as possible at both District meeting locations. Help us understand your perspective and let us help you understand ours; then, after listening to your constituents, take the action that serves best.

In reading your staff report on this Item, it appears to me that this rapid move on “Record Destruction” is all predicated on saving the District the need to purchase filing cabinets, thereby saving the District money. That is absolutely absurd and is another example of why the perception of the Harbor Board has such a black eye to the public.

If I may, I’d like to make a suggestion; please take the time to read what is sent to you by your constituents. Try your best to understand the points made and the reason behind it - or better stated, the perception of you and the Board by the author on the issues raised. I believe that if you do that and truly consider what you are reading, your opportunity to do a better job will grow exponentially, which will only benefit us all. 

Thank you for your time and service. It is my hope that you not only take pride in your work, but that you hold the integrity of your Board to the highest standard for the benefit of those you serve and yourself. After all, your name is on the line.

With that in mind, I hope that you understand that my comments here should not be viewed as disrespectful (they are not meant that way), but rather as constructive criticism in an effort to help you and your peers do a better job. That requires listening and communicating in earnest and honesty on each and every issue faced.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Respectfully submitted, 

George Muteff

Email Response from Robert Bernardo to George Muteff 1-15-14:

Dear Mr. Muteff,

My sincere apologies if I have offended you in any way. It was not my intention. My goal was to provide the same background information that I provided another community member who asked a very similar question. 

With regards to agenda item #6 related to records disposal, Harbor staff have reviewed each of the file boxes again and I have learned that the items slated for disposal in Box #26 are in fact,  "duplicate" documents. In other words, the original documents will be preserved in perpetuity. These documents include items such as Board resolutions, agendas, minutes, and leases.

Please rest assure that the Commission will no doubt have an in-depth discussion tonight regarding these policy decisions where we will address issues of transparency, best practices and protocols.

I hope this answers your question. 

Thank you,

Robert Bernardo

 

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