Open letter to Planning Director Jim Eggemeyer: We’re losing patience with your secrecy on Big Wave


By on Wed, April 28, 2010

NOTE: An open letter from Darin Boville to Jim Eggemeyer, Interim Director of San Mateo County’s Planning Department. Jim recently took over as acting head of the department after the resignation of Lisa Grote.

Dear Jim Eggemeyer,

At a Planning Commission meeting in late March of this year you made the startling announcement that you would be allowing Big Wave to help complete its own environmental report and that your staff would assist in this effort. This was necessary, you said, since Big Wave was unable to pay the independent consultant to answer the hundreds of questions submitted by citizens upset with the scale of the Big Wave project and with the secretive-seeming process by which it was being moved forward.

You did not explain how a project budgeted at over ninety million dollars could have run out of money so early in the process.

You made this announcement on a highly controversial topic with no notice to the public—there was no agenda item concerning Big Wave at the Redwood City meeting.

Since the resignation of Director Lisa Grote and since your assumption of duties as Interm Director, your office has become unresponsive to public inquiries. This is unfortunate since as a public servant you have an obligation to serve in your position, however temporary, in a way that meets the standards of good government.

Immediately after your announcement Montara Fog submitted five questions to you. Since then I have received a few e-mails from your staff assuring me that the answers were on the way, that you were busy, that the questions were under legal review.

That was one month ago and still no answers.

It is reaching the point now, Jim, where Big Wave will be finished with its controversial review of itself before the public even knows what is happening or why. This is a poor example of open government.

Here are the five questions:

1)  The arrangement with Big Wave to help answer the public questions without a consultant seems unusual. Has this arrangement ever been used by your office in the past? If so what were the projects and dates?

2)  This arrangement regarding Big Wave was announced by Eggemeyer last week—but it seems to have already been in progress. When was this arrangement agreed to? When did the work begin?

3)  Scott Holmes, of Big Wave, is saying that he expects to answer only 10-15 of the questions. Is that your understanding as well?

4)  If so, who will be answering the remainder of the 245+ questions? County staff? If so, how many hours of staff time is that expected to take?

5)  Will there be any indication to the public on who answered which questions?

If you choose to answer I will happily print your responses here.

Darin Boville
Publisher, Montara Fog