January 13, 2014 Questions

You can find the agenda these questions and suggestions refer to at http://www.epackets.net/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=1864&doctype=AGENDA. I’ve noted the agenda item number in parentheses.

  • (8f, 10d) Since we’re being asked to approve several (modest) increases to the budget it’d be appropriate for staff to comment, in general, on where we stand vis a vis the overall budget. Are we ahead or behind or otherwise roughly on track?
  • (8g) The long-term trash reduction plan seems heavily focused on “intervention after the fact” (i.e., cleaning up trash already on the streets). Why can’t we do more to reduce trash at the source? For example, why can’t we require businesses whose customers generate significant trash loads to take actions to reduce trash?
  • (8g) Also, there’s a reliance on volunteer clean-ups. That doesn’t seem sustainable to me. What’s the experience with that approach in other, similar communities?
  • (8k) Regarding the landmark hotel Request for Proposals, why shouldn’t we require bidders to submit justification for what they believe the prevailing wage premium to be? There’s a risk this results in higher numbers, and could foster de facto collusion among the bidders. But we aren’t bound by what they tell us, and overall I’d like to hear what they have to say. I’d want them to submit not just an assertion, but an analysis backed up by empirical data.
  • (8k) I am considering bringing up a “labor neutrality requirement” for when the hotel(s) are being operated. This is an agreement which constrains the hotel operator as to what behind-the-scenes efforts they make to oppose unionization efforts (a mutually acceptable 3rd party “mediator” is used to monitor the neutrality agreement). I think companies are supposed to take that stance, by law, already…but there’s a big gap between law and practice. I’d like some expert input on the issue of company shenanigans in this area, and what can be done to limit them. It would be helpful if I could speak to our labor law consultant on this before this evening.
  • (10a) Does the PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) Safety Retirement amendment save us money? The staff report implies it’s a wash, but I thought by doing this we either saved money elsewhere, or reduced the risk/likelihood that our expenses elsewhere would increase.
  • (10a) I found it difficult to parse the proposed PERS Safety Retirement amendment, as it wholesale eliminates and replaces language. Is there a finer-grained redline available? What are the main provisions which are being changed?
  • (10b) I’d like confirmation that our 2013 approval of SBSA/SVCWA (South Bayside System Authority/Silicon Valley Clean Water Authority; the recently-renamed joint powers authority that operates the sewage treatment facility we use) bonds has expired, or is otherwise no longer in effect. I’m sure that’s the case…but I don’t want to be on the hook for the debt financing twice, as it were.
  • (10b) I don’t understand why the % of SBSA/SVCWA debt we’re on the hook for is undefined in the Financing Agreement. Several other provisions which I think should also be known today are also blank. I’m not comfortable approving a document with things like “what % of the debt do we owe” being undefined.
  • (10b) Are we jointly and severally responsible for SBSA/SVCWA debt service? Or just responsible for our portion? What happens if, say, West Bay Sanitary District fails to pay its share? Do the lenders have recourse to us for payment? Can they hold the facility hostage (i.e., take control of it) and thereby pressure us to cover another agency’s obligation?
  • (10b) I read language in the SBSA/SVCWA Financing Agreement which limits or prohibits the City from issuing other obligations. How does that interact with financings like the one we’re pursuing for our landmark hotel property purchase? Is it speaking only to the sewer fund monies?
  • (10c) Have we ever appointed an individual to two commissions simultaneously?
  • (10d) Based on the history and outlook described in the Neil Martin & Associates item, it seems like we have a long-term, and ongoing, need for more planning staff resources. Is that the case? If that’s the case, what is the cost/benefit trade-off of using Neil Martin as opposed to hiring more staff? I support using contractors for dealing with peak/valley issues, but it seems like we’re not expecting valleys.

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