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chronic water pollution, dangerous working conditions on Johnson Pier, unsafe docks, inadequate public restrooms, outdated visitor serving facilities, poor wifi connectivity and compromised trail access.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: James J. Tucker

Grenell charges District $14,856.25 for personal attorney Mark Watson

Did Peter Grenell force Jean Savaree out so he could hire his own attorney?  

Peter Grenell (AKA The Ole Beardo) created a sexually charged drawing of an  administrative employee who worked at the Harbor District. Peter Grenell was the employees boss at the time. The drawing depicts the female employee  nude, lying in bed,  partially covered by a sheet.  Grenell  presented the   employee with his artwork at the Harbor District office.

Peter Grenell (AKA The Ole Beardo) created a sexually charged drawing of an administrative employee who worked at the Harbor District. Peter Grenell was the employees boss at the time. The drawing depicts the female employee nude, lying in bed, partially covered by a sheet. Grenell presented the employee with his artwork at the Harbor District office.

Why did Peter Grenell recommend his personal attorney Mark C. Watson as a suitable replacement for Jean Savaree of Aaronson, Dickerson, Cohn & Lanzone?  

Why didn't Mark C. Watson disclose his attorney-client relationship with Peter Grenell in advance of his interview with the board of Harbor Commissioners?  Why didn't Mr. Watson disclose to Commissioner Brennan that he was representing Peter Grenell regarding a pending sexual orientation and gender harassment complaint she made against Grenell?

Mark C. Watson is  Peter Grenell's personal attorney

Mark C. Watson is Peter Grenell's personal attorney

May  21, 2014

Six law firm responded to a RFP, three of the six firms were recommended by Peter Grenell, and all three recommended firms were interviewed by Harbor Commissioners.

  • Mark C. Watson  $185.00 per hour  (Peter Grenell's personal attorney)
  • BBK, Christopher J. Diaz  $275.00 per hour
  • Hanson Bridgett, Steven Miller, Partner  $345.00 per hour

June 4, 2014

Harbor Commissioners met with Peter Grenell to hire a law firm to replace Aaronson, Dickerson, Cohn & Lanzone.  Commissioner Brennan left closed session early.  Nothing was reported out of closed session.  

 June 18, 2014

Harbor Commissioners voted in open session to hire Steven Miller of Hanson Bridgett.

  • Agenda Item 5—Selection of Law Firm Hanson Bridgett LLP to Provide Legal Counsel Services & Approval of Contract  18:00
  • Commissioner comments  19:48

Aug. 20, 2014

The board of Harbor Commissioners approved Peter Grenell's request for reimbursement for his personal attorney Mark C. Watson.

Read the $14,856.25 invoice

Why did Mr. Watson charge his client Peter Grenell a higher rate ($425.00 per hour) than the $185.00 hourly rate he proposed the Harbor District pay if Commissioners agreed to hire him to replace Jean Savaree?

If Mr. Watson had been awarded a job as the District's new legal counsel would Grenell have requested reimbursement?  

Birthday card artwork by Peter Grenell (AKA The Ole Beardo).  Mark C. Watson is Peter Grenell's personal attorney.

"Cash is Cash," said Realtor Jan Gray

Is the Harbor District considering selling property to a company with links to organized crime?

When Peter Nguyen and Kara Chau were told to vacate Pier 45 in San Francisco it was because their company Next Seafood owed $143,172.20 in back rent and $77,881.25 in attorney fees to the Port of San Francisco. The seafood wholesalers continued their business under a new company name, Global Quality Foods located in Hayward.

Harbor District realtor Jan Gray confirmed that she recived a cash offer from Global Quality Foods for a 2.5-acre property in El Granada known as the the Obispo lot next to the Post Office.  An article published in the  Half Moon Bay Review on Nov. 20, 2014 said the following:

The company indicated it could pay for the land in cash without the need for loans. The company later sent proof of funds, Jan Gray said.

“Cash is cash, and they’ve proven they have the cash,” Gray said.

Jim Tucker harbor commissioner money laundering scheme.jpg

The Harbor District has owned the land since the 1950s, when it was donated to the District by two women in memory of their fishermen husbands. News of the offer has commercial seafood business owners and commercial fishermen concerned that Harbor Commissioners might enable a money laundering scheme if an offer that included ill-gotten gains was accepted. 

It's been alleged that Dzunt (Peter) Nguyen and Kara Chau have been involved with racketeering and corruption. In 2014 the couple testified that $150,000. was paid for an ice machine in three sacks containing $50,000. each. 

Some in the fishing community are under the impression that Harbor Commissioner Jim Tucker may have a connection to Next Seafood/Global Quality Foods through one of his campaign donors.

Inquiring minds want to know if Commissioners Jim Tucker and Will Holsinger are counting on "sacks of cash" when a  deal on the Obispo lot in El Granada moves forward at their final board meeting on Dec. 3, 2014?

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

Pietro Parravano was removed from the Roots of Change Stewardship Council in 2011

We're delighted to learn that Pietro Parravano was removed from the Roots of Change Stewardship Council in 2011. It's good to know that the citizen initiative to broaden awareness about this crooked commissioner is successful.

Michael Dimock, President of Roots of Change tweeted the correction below on June 26, 2014. 

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.

Jean Savaree severs ties with Harbor Commissioner Will Holsinger

Click this image to watch the video.

Click this image to watch the video.

In June 2014, Jean B. Savaree, attorney with Aaronson, Dickerson, Cohn & Lanzone, ended a 25 year engagement with the San Mateo County Harbor District.

In March 2014, Jean Savaree informed the board of Harbor Commissioners that her firm would not renew its contract with the District. The announcement followed a heated meeting where Commissioner Will Holsinger accused Savaree of "poor legal scholarship" and disagreed with her findings. Read about the "research" Will Holsinger disagreed with and his repeated harassment of the only woman member of the Harbor Commission. 

Aaronson, Dickerson, Cohn & Lanzone first engaged to serve as Harbor District legal counsel with the appointment of Kenneth M. Dickerson in 1989, and he was succeeded by Marc L. Zafferano in 1998, and by Jean B. Savaree in 2011.

William-Holsinger-harbor-commissioner-bully-Jim-Tucker-Robert-Bernardo

We confront bullying and aggression head on.  Harbor Commissioner William Holsinger has crossed the line too many times.  The unacceptable bullying must stop now.

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

Irate fisherman wait four hours to speak

At the May 21, 2014 Harbor District meeting Commercial Fisherman Steve Fitz waited 4 hours to speak to the board of Harbor Commissioners for 3 minutes.

At 10:00pm when President Robert Bernardo called Captain Fitz for public comment Commissioners Jim Tucker and Will Holsinger responded by ordering an immediate end to the meeting. This was after Captain Fitz waited 4 hours while the board dilly dallied in closed session for 3 hour, leaving only 1 hour to cover a 21 item agenda.

It was at the point that members of the public began yelling at the board to let Captain Fitz speak. Commissioner Brennan urged President Bernardo to extend the meeting by five minutes. Commissioner Tucker got out of his chair and was about to walk out when President Bernardo agreed to allow one last public speaker.  

Captain Fitz read aloud a letter to the US Department of Transportation from the Half Moon Bay Seafood Marketing Association. The letter requested the Harbor District be denied a federal Tiger Grant.

Highlights from the letter include a lack of faith in harbor management's ability to administer the federal grant appropriately and a vote of no confidence in the board of Harbor Commissioners.

Excerpt from the HMBSMA letter:

"We have made numerous attempts to participate in the public process with SMC Harbor District to no avail, therefore, due to the current climate within the SMCHD and because our lives depend on the changes made to our harbor, we cannot support the SMCHD Tiger Grant application at this time. We are simply not comfortable with public grant funds being provided for further changes to our port, that the local commercial fishing industry will not have a voice in."

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