Piedmont Neighborhood News

What's happening in Piedmont, CA

3 on Council Cave, Cough Up the Cash for Undergrounding

Posted by Len Gilbert on February 6, 2010

Correction: After publishing this last night, I was informed the actual vote on the appropriations was 3-2, with council members Keating and Fujioka casting no votes and mayor Friedman, and council members Barbieri, and Chiang in favor. I watched the vote live on TV and again on video, but missed the no votes. My apologies.

The city council met for 6 1/2 hours in open session Saturday and ended up raiding the CIP reserves to cover an additional $1,150,000 to complete the PHUD undergrounding project. This comes after the raid of the general fund in December for $1,004,000.

That’s $2.154 million dollars of public taxpayer funds that will be spent to complete undergrounding for the residents of PHUD.

Piedmont's existing and proposed undergrounding districts

The bailout of the undergrounding district comes at the expense of many public projects that were already on hold. It’s amazing that money that was held back because of these uncertain economic times is suddenly available for an undergrounding project. The money could have been used for the community pool, pedestrian path signage, the Ronada-Ramona intersection safety redesign, Community Hall painting, Beach Access landscape plan (two large trees removed, now no money to fix the area), Dracena drainage and turf improvements, Ricardo-York stairway, Rose-Kingston improvements. Those projects clearly would benefit the majority of Piedmont residents and are dispersed all over town. Now all that money is funneled into the 144  PHUD residents undergrounding. (source: Council Agenda Report, December 12, 2009, Exhibit C p12)

Points go to Margaret Fujioka for her attempt to get a compromise with the PHUD residents to put in another $500k, the contractor to reduce profits, and the city to pay the difference. But as expected, the PHUD and contractor won’t budge. They want the city to pay.  Which means we pay. And the council voted 3-2 to pay out $1,060,000. (corrected from my earlier post of a unanimous vote for $1,125,000)

On the plus side, the council did approve a motion to add at least one member of the public to a audit review subcommittee and to start the public notice process to enact a moratorium on future undergrounding projects.

Watch the meeting on KCOM repeats or watch online. Read more about this issue.  Leave a comment or vote in our poll below.

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One Response to “3 on Council Cave, Cough Up the Cash for Undergrounding”

  1. trood said

    CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT CODE
    54950. In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares
    that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other
    public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the
    people’s business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be
    taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.
    The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the
    agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do
    not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for
    the people to know and what is not good for them to know.
    The people
    insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over
    the instruments they have created.

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