HMB approves $15 million bond, but not without acrimony

By on Wed, June 17, 2009

The Half Moon Bay City Council has approved a $15 million bond issue to pay off its settlement with developer Chop Keenan. The Review has an account of the acrimony at last night’s meeting, following council member Jim Grady’s lone vote against the bond and his expressed disapproval of the city’s April, 2008 settlement with Keenan.

"We weren’t responsible for this. Jim, you want this city to go down," she said, raising her voice. "I know you don’t want to pay this guy the money, but this was a judgment against us."

"Don’t sit here and lecture me, Naomi," Grady responded, citing his disgust with the settlement negotiations.

"I will lecture you," she shot back

The mayor banged his gavel repeatedly, calling a recess to the City Council meeting.

The Mercury News describes the measure approved by the city.

The city will pay the remaining $3 million out of a one-time fund provided by the Association of Bay Area Governments. In reality, though, the $15 million bond sale is projected to cost the city $32 million to $35 million, including payments of interest at a fixed rate of approximately 6 percent over the next 30 years.

Half Moon Bay owes $18 million to Peninsula developer Charles "Chop" Keenan by the end of August if it is to avoid paying large monthly penalties specified by the terms of the settlement. Keenan won a $41 million U.S. District Court decision in December 2007 after being denied the right to build a certain number of homes on a locally infamous 24-acre piece of property known as Beachwood. The city will own the property in return for payment.

It is a tough pill to swallow for a city with an annual budget of about $10 million. The City Council already has approved cuts of more than $1.75 million this fiscal year just to stay afloat and prepare for the widely dreaded possibility that the city will have to issue the bonds without any outside help.


The majority voting bloc since the 1990 have been responsible for this fiasco for voting in incompetent special interest politicians that were not looking our for the general welfare of HMB. The politicians that created and appointed the planning commissions are even more responsible for this fiasco. 

There is plenty of groupthink to go around the city limits and their hired hands in the form of attorneys and other specialists.  Even your civil servants haven’t performed well and are clearly responsible in their application of the misplaced plans that were developed.

It is time to rethink your General Plan, appoint new expert planners and commissioners and dump the city council and manager - the HMB citizens have probably moved a few out, but it is going to take some more house cleaning including your state representatives, old “Gridlock” Hill, the expert of local SMC/BOS gridlock who was promoted, and Senator Yee, a mouthpiece for SF’s Sanctuary City practices and SMC’s de facto illegal immigration practices.  They are the gridlock and doing business as usual.

The state budget and the various commissions and propositions were never meant by the voter to pay out money in lawsuits, but good old Hill bought in pretty fast to petty politics with a head start as a member BOS who complained that the number 1 problem in politics is gridlock!  Hill is the poster politician for not speaking out more robustly to “stop all this…wiggle room [that] is created with loose language in legislation, semantic manipulations, backroom horse trading, and convenient butt-covering ‘forgetfulness.” 

Forget about your next election Hill/Yee!  Make waves to break the gridlock and elect the best, balanced set of politicians on the same page that can simplify and accomplishes something for the general welfare and not the special interests such as HMB or LA or the welfare dregs that are uncommitted to sustainable solutions to their own problems, and who really are not the truly disadvantaged in a vegetative state.

Now, lets see how long it takes HMB to build that Beechwood Park!  Now doubt - it will be years in the completion, but you were willing to use back-room horse trading for years as an excuse for getting money from the I-Bank to pay off Keenan and look where you are at today!

I tnink somebody needs to “lecture” Naomi Patridge on the concept of fiscal responsibility. Last night, she voted for a [25 percent pay raise for the City Manager at 10:30 pm after everyone had gone home.

This action follows just weeks after Patridge voted to lay-off City employees to save money in the City’s budget.

By the way, how many years has Patridge been on the HMB City Council? Is it twenty years? How much money has she solicited in anonymous donations for her pet projects? How many political favors has she granted to her Old Guard friends over these many years?

Patridge is Exhibit A for why we need term limits for the HMB City Council. I am really hoping she has the good grace and humility to finally stand down and not run for her upteenth re-election in Fall 2009. But don’t bet on it, She’s likes being the “Godmother” of HMB.


Just to make the number really clear, the “interim” city manager got an increase of $48,000. That’s just an increase from his base salary.  That isn’t the only increase given to our “contract” employees at the last City Council meeting at the last minute.

I wish I had the numbers the city saved when they laid off all of those city hall employees a few months ago. Remember, the people who live in this town and now have no jobs?
The last city mananger received an increase also, the day before she quit. What is up with this job, besides being very lucrative?

The rudeness displayed by some of our Councilmembers is really embarrassing and should not be tolerated.  The comment made by Naomi Patridge doesn’t even make any sense.

Thanks Jim Grady for understanding math and voting against fiscal mismanagement.

Another disturbing aspect of the City Council’s action was the seemingly great effort that was made to hide the City Manager’s big raise from the public view.

Here’s the cryptic title given on the City Council Agenda for Item #6:

“Retention of Interim Management Staff (City Manager, Finance Manager/City Treasurer and Human Resources/Administrative Officer)”

Why not say “Consideration of an Increase in Compensation and Benefits for City Manager, etc…”? Oh no, that would be too truthful.

The item was placed on the “Consent Agenda” which means it would have been automatically approved with no public discussion if Grady had not objected as he did.

If any member of the public was curious enough to actually read through the staff report of Item #6, then they would have needed to go all the way back to page 7 before there is any mention of changing the City Manager’s salary.

On page 7, the report lists the new salary as $15,500 per month plus $3,500 per month in expenses. But the report doesn’t give the old salary, which serves to hide the huge percentage increase that the City Council is handing out. Oh and by the way, this salary is for 3-1/2 days per week in City Hall—another piece of information not in the report.

In 2005, both Patridge and McClung ran on a platform of “Transparency in Government.” This is their idea of transparency.