County Times explains the issues in the demise of AB650

Posted by on Wed, June 24, 2009

Julia Scott’s article about the death of AB650 does an unusually good job (for daily journalism) of laying out the subtext of the city’s failure to get relief from the state.

A year ago, City Council members were frequently quoted as saying they feared for their city’s solvency if forced to pay the entire $18 million debt. But the city ultimately earned a better bond rating than the state itself and, after some painful staffing cuts, is projecting a narrow budget surplus for the next few years.

The "collective actions of the City Council" at last week’s meeting refers to a controversial 4-1 vote to give the city manager a 25 percent raise just a few weeks after the city cut or froze 15 staff positions to save money. Mayor John Muller defended the vote, which also awarded a raise for the interim finance director, because they were contract positions already up for renewal and because both men were deserving of a raise.

Councilman Jim Grady voted against the raises, just as he cast the lone vote against settling with Keenan in 2007 and against issuing the bonds to pay him in the end.

The political schism wrought by the first Half Moon Bay bill, AB 1991, still resonates in this town, and the divisive rhetoric employed by city lobbyists at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe still makes Grady cringe.

"We vilified the Coastal Commission," said Grady. "And I think trying to exempt Beachwood from the Coastal Act was a mistake.

The article goes on to note that the city accused the Coastal Commission of making "false and misleading" statements, and that the city will have to work with the Coastal Commission to get the maximum value out of the parcel.

I’ve recently wrote about AB650 as well.

Here’s a link to it on my Examiner column.

Julia Scott’s article nicely connects the dots.

Regardless of what you think about Judge Walker’s Beachwood decision, Naomi Patridge & Co. torpedoed the City’s chances for state financial assistance when they decided to hand out big pay raises to the Police Chief and the City Manager a few months ago, and then later voted to lay-off numerous low-level employees.

Then, to really nail the coffin shut, they handed out another pay raise to the City Manager last week.

And don’t forget that Naomi Patridge & Co. have spent lots of City money lobbying for state financial assistance, apparently hoping that nobody in Sacramento would notice the irresponsible pay raises.

Even Half Moon Review Editor Clay Lambert, who usually trys to defend Naomi Patridge & Co, rips into them for the irresponsible pay raises in today’s editorial.

We need term limits to kick out entrenched Old Guard City Council members who have become backroom deal makers.