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chronic water pollution, dangerous working conditions on Johnson Pier, unsafe docks, inadequate public restrooms, outdated visitor serving facilities, poor wifi connectivity and compromised trail access.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

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."


  • 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. 

Scott Grindy is "Big Brother"

Owen Lei / KING 5 News - August 15, 2009

Link to VIDEO

EVERETT, Wash. - Rucker Hill gives you one of the oldest and most scenic views of the Everett waterfront, but it's not a personal driving range, said officials from the Port of Everett.

The port has filed a police report against whoever is hitting golf balls -- 30 to 50 of them over the past few months, almost 20 in the past two days alone - down towards shipping containers below.

So far, no one has been injured, said post communications administrator Lisa Lefeber, but a golf ball did damage one longshoreman's truck.

Neighbors we spoke with say they don't know who the mystery golfer is, but what he or she is doing is not a smart idea.

"We have disagreements with the port," said homeowner David Mascarenas. "But we would never do that, to injure anybody, particularly any of our longshoremen."

"A golf ball flying that far and hitting somebody down at the port would certainly be a deadly affair," said neighbor Win Miller. "And something needs to be done."

The problem is, these homeowners don't like what's being done either.

Port security is invoking a privilege granted originally for anti-terrorist reasons after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, said Lefeber. When faced with a potential threat, they can point the port's normally-fixed surveillance cameras to look for the source of the threat. In this case, that means up towards the homes.

"They don't have the right to spy on us, they don't have the right to do any of that without telling us," said Mascarenas, who added that the port has since informed them of their intentions. " Giving up my rights for a bunch of containers? It's not right."

Port officials say they're only moving the cameras after a golf ball incident happens, and after 24 hours, they're repositioning the cameras to point back towards the terminal. They add that they understand the residents' concerns, and that they have no plans to do anything with archived footage that is irrelevant to the case.

Everett police say they are investigating the incidents. Depending on the severity of the damage, charges could range from Malicious Mischief to Reckless Endangerment to Assault, though nothing that severe has happened yet, said Sergeant Robert Goetz.

Adds Mascarenas: "Hey whoever's doing it, please stop! Go out to a driving range somewhere."

Will Holsinger is the man on the tarmac tossing grenades

Commissioner Will Holsinger's verbal attacks on women and bullying of women must stop.  Vote him out of office in November 2014. 

Daily Post . July 10, 2014

          Click to see fullscreen newspaper clipping.

Daily Post article published on July 10, 2014

Make your voice heard: Thursday, July 10 at 6:30pm Oceano Hotel


Lisa Wise Consulting is facilitating the Pillar Point Harbor planning workshop.


  • Thursday, July 10th - 6:30pm 
  • Oceano Hotel, Princeton by-the-sea
  • Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 6:30pm

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.

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."

Political Payback at Pillar Point Harbor

Commercial fishermen at Pillar Point Harbor believe a new hoist location at Pillar Point Harbor/Johnson Pier is a quid pro quo gift from Harbor District General Manager Peter Grenell that favors one commercial fish buying company.

Jim Tucker discovers his true nature

“I feel like a horse’s patootie.” —Jim Tucker, San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner

Sewage leak coverup at Pillar Point Harbor

December 19, 2012 email from Harbor Patrol staff to Scott Grindy, Harbormaster informing him about a sewage leak under Johnson Pier. The email said, "I believe this whole system needs to be replaced as it is rotten."  Peter Grenell, General Manager was copied on the email.  

Why didn't the General Manager or the Harbormaster report the leaking pipe?

Johnson Pier  |  Pillar Point Harbor

For more info read this email thread, click the email to enlarge:

Robert Bernardo brags about screwing fishermen

President Bernardo's response to John Ullom. Later General Manager Peter Grenell confirmed that the "2006 market study" Commissioner Bernardo referenced in his email below was never produced.

From: Robert Bernardo

Subject: Echos of Mosquito and Vector Control District Mismanagement and Harbor District Manager Peter Grenell Obfuscation

Date: Dec. 16, 2013 

To: John Ullom

Cc:  Don Horsley, Dave Pine, Carole Groom, Warren Slocum, Adrienne Tissier, Peter Grenell, James Tucker, William Holsinger, Pietro Parravano, Sabrina Brennan, Jean B. Savaree, Mark Noack, Aaron Kinney, Thomas Peele, Jon Mays, Samantha Weigel, Michelle Durand

Hello Mr. Ullom,

Thanks for writing the San Mateo County Harbor District.

I know that the District's General Manager, Peter Grenell has already been working with you on your Public Records Act (PRA) requests. Please continue to work with him directly.

With all due respect, I find it deeply offensive that you have compared our San Mateo County Harbor District to the Mosquito and Vector Control District because it implies that my fellow Commissioners (Sabrina Brennan, Jim Tucker, Pietro Parravano, Will Holsinger) and I have done something improper or illegal.

Since you have raised the issue of finances, let's talk about numbers:

In 2000, the SMC Harbor District borrowed $19.7 million from the State Department of Boating and Waterways (now a division of CA State Parks) for key infrastructure projects. By 2013, we have reduced that debt amount to $7.1 million.  Additionally, we are on track to pay off the remaining debt amount one year early (in 2018). 

How did we accomplish this?

In 2006, there was a market study that showed how our leases were undervalued and that the District was providing generous long-term leases to our tenants. Basically, we weren’t charging enough consistent with the San Francisco Bay Area's very high cost of living.

So, when tenant leases came up for renewal, we modified each of them to maximize District revenues. For example, we've raised monthly ground rents for our Pillar Point fish buyer tenants and we have added a new revenue stream by collecting unloading fees from fish buyers--which had not been done previously. That translates into $50,000 of new revenues from the just the period between April – October 2013!

When the South San Francisco Commuter Ferry terminal was created, General Manager Grenell got the Water Emergency Transit Authority to give $3.6 million to the Dept. of Boating and Waterways to cover a projected loss of revenue for the removal of 2 docks. This $3.6 million went to help retire our debt principle even further. Plus,San Mateo County benefitted by receiving another commute option: a regular ferry service to the East Bay.

Additionally, we have set aside a restricted fund of $1.5 million--which cannot be touched by the District--toward paying off our debt principle.

These are just some examples of how the San Mateo County Harbor District has shown effective leadership and strong fiscal management over the years. I have not even mentioned the superior search and rescue work that our harbor patrol does on a daily basis (On October 30, 2013, the California Association of Harbor Masters and Port Captains recently bestowed their 2013 Distinguished Service Award to three of our deputies for rescuing 2 people trapped by incoming tides in a coastal cave).

We continue to be both fiscal and environmental stewards (NOTE: We were recently bestowed the status of "2013 Clean Marina" by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

We’ve accomplished all of the above through strong adherence to governmental accounting standards and best practices. Last month, an independent auditors’ report (JJACPA, Inc.) stated that our finances are in “accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America” (see page 2 of the auditor’s report).

I am proud to serve as the Harbor District’s president this year, and therefore, I do take strong offense at any attempt to discredit the great work that Harbor staff has been doing over the years—and continues to do.

As always, thanks for your continued interest in our Harbor finances and operations. Happy holidays to you and yours.

Warmest regards,

Robert Bernardo

President, San Mateo County Harbor Commission 

On Sunday, December 15, 2013 9:27 PM, John Ullom wrote:

Hello All,

I hope this one finds you all well. Now some facts that to me indicate a huge mess. The following numbers are derived from the San Mateo County Harbor District Audits.

In fiscal year 2008-2009 Harbor District Revenue Operating Revenue were 3,461,953 and Receivables were 12,408.

In fiscal year 2009-20010 Harbor District Revenue Operating Revenue were 3,286,209 and Receivables were 19,582. 

In fiscal year 2010-2011 Harbor District Revenue Operating Revenue were 3,406,534 and Receivables were 64,259.

In fiscal year 2011-2012 Harbor District Revenue Operating Revenue were 3,524,119 and Receivables were 104,174.

In fiscal year 2012-2013 Harbor District Revenue Operating Revenue were 3,428.764 and Receivables were 175,665.

As can easily seen, even though revenue has been static over that 5 year period, Receivables are up by a factor 14 and some change.

So I asked for the AR Reports. What I got didn't make sense. There are tens of thousands of dollars in negative balances on the AR Reports that represent liabilities to the Harbor District. When I first asked about them at a District meeting, I was told that those negative balances represented deposits. I was told that when people leave the Marinas, they often leave their deposits behind. I pointed out that some of the those negative balances were for 5000 and 10,000 dollars. "Who," I asked, "Would leave a 10,000 dollar deposit behind as they sailed off into the sunset?"

Their story changed. Now they are asserting that those large negative balances represent "Prepayments". I figured if that was the case, I'd be able to track the prepayments and see the balances reduced from month to month. But, that does not appear to be the case.

Here is the problem. I can't definitively say what is going on because Grenell has ordered staff to redact both the customer names and customer ID's from the report. Thus I can't compare totals from month to month.

Next I asked Mr. Grenell to supply the AR Reports with Account ID's unredacted. First he said this:

Re: your #1: You were previously provided with the unredacted AR Reports from Jan. 2012 to present to inspect at the District Administration office. When you were in the Admin office you chose not to look at these reports. -- Peter Grenell

I never got the chance to see any of the data that day as two staff members berated me, accused me of slander, and threatened to file harassment charges against me. And that was in the first five minutes! Here is how staff reacts to questions: -- LINK

The thing to notice is that Mr. Grenell told me that his staff had given me access to unredacted AR Reports.

Now compare what I was told by Mr. Grenell a couple of days later:

For your information and understanding, Government Code Section 6254 (c) of the Public Records Act provides that disclosure of certain personnel information would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. The AR reports you request contain individuals’ names and account numbers which can link to their tenant information which can include social security numbers and driver license numbers which are confidential. Hence the requested reports are again redacted.

Got that folks? First Grenell says I blew my chance to see the unredacted AR Reports then he cites a California law that per his logic, proves that his staff violated personal privacy laws.

So here is where I am at. The accounts receivable have increased 14 fold even though revenue has remained flat. There are tens of thousands of dollars in negative balances on the AR Reports. The story has changed as to what those balances represent. I can't verify the new story with the redacted data I have been supplied. Grenell's excuse for not providing unredacted reports keeps changing and appears to be contradictory.

Some of you may be aware of what happened at the Mosquito Control and Vector District. The parallels between the Harbor District and the Bug and Rat District become more obvious each day: --  LINK

Notice that in the above story, the District Trustees and Manager were blamed for enabling the embezzlement. A contention bolstered by the fact that the Board's Insurance Company declined to pay for the fraud. The Board Members themselves may very well end up paying restitution.

Here is more background on the scandal that was exposed only after a board member asked some questions of staff and then the attorney for the board: --  LINK

Is there anything any of you can do to help me get that unredacted AR Reports without having to resort to a Public Records Act lawsuit?


John Charles Ullom


"Destruction of Records" letter from Harvey Rarback

Jan. 20, 2014

Re: SMCHD Record Destruction

President Bernardo,

I'm a Director of the Coastside Fire Protection District, but I am writing to you as a private citizen.

I am very concerned about the imminent destruction of some Harbor District documents and records.  I was unable to attend the January 15 meeting where the item was on the agenda, but thanks to the private group CitizenAccess.TV I was able to see a video of the meeting.  As I have mentioned in public comment, the decision of the HD to stop the video taping of your meetings was another step in reducing the transparency of your agency and causing the public to wonder what you have to hide.  The public needs to trust in the integrity and transparency of its agencies.  An expensive and divisive recall election was the result of the public's lack of trust in the Fire Protection District.

The decision to destroy some of your records is suspicious, especially in light of the ongoing Civil Grand Jury investigation and the large number of outstanding PRA requests.  I urge you to refrain from destroying any non-duplicated records or documents until the Grand Jury issues its reports and the PRA requests are fulfilled.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. 

Harvey Rarback
Half Moon Bay

"Always tell the truth that way you don't have to keep track."  -Pogo

"Destruction of Records" letter from Dr. Mary Larenas

San Mateo County board of Harbor Commissioners

January 15, 2014

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

Dear President Bernardo, Harbor Commissioners, Board of Supervisors, members of the public and other elected officials,

I respectfully request that the following email content be read into the public record.

I am Dr. Mary Larenas and unfortunately, as a working professional, I will not be able to attend the Harbor Commission meeting tonight in South San Francisco. Therefore I would like to use this correspondence as a means to express my deep concerns with a pattern of behavior by certain Harbor Commissioners and staff.

Throughout 2013, there has been a progressive attempt to limit and restrict public comment, curtail the efforts of certain Harbor Commissioners who attempt reform, access to Harbor Commission meetings and information about the inner workings of the harbor management. To date there have been motions adopted by particular Harbor Commissioners and staff which curtail public comment, restrict Commissioner questions and actions, end video recordings of meetings (critical to those of us who cannot attend all of the meetings), hide financial records, and now an attempt to destroy records (Item 6) that may shed light on harbor activities. One only needs to review past videos of meetings to view the progress of these behaviors and restrictive actions - unless these are among the records to be destroyed.

These actions to limit, curtail, restrict, hide, serve to only deepen my concern with the direction the Harbor Commission and harbor staff is heading, which is towards a total lack of transparency.

Therefore I am asking that Item 6, on the 01-15-2014 Harbor District (HD) Agenda; Destruction of Records be pulled and no action taken on this matter until further investigation.

Respectfully submitted,

Dr. Mary Larenas

Moss Beach, CA

Email Response from Robert Bernardo to Dr. Mary Larenas 1-15-14:

Dear Dr. Larenas,

On behalf of the San Mateo County Harbor District, thank you for your email and for sharing your concerns. 

This serves as an acknowledgement that I have received your message and intend to read your letter at tonight's meeting for the public record.

Please note that with regards to agenda item #6 related to records disposal, Harbor staff have reviewed each of the file boxes again have found that two items are in fact, duplicates.  They are copies of originals, so they may be disposed of.  The original items remain in the District’s archives for permanent retention.  One other item has been removed from the list for disposal. All other items on the list remain eligible for disposal.

Thank you, 

Robert Bernardo


San Mateo County Harbor Commission

Tel. 650-794-1810

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