RATE FAIRNESS BOARD
The Rate Fairness Board was created under Proposition E to advise San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) on utility rates. At this time the Chair of the Rate Fairness Board is Matt Adams. Soon he will leave to assume the responsibility of Operations of Hyatt Regency worldwide operations. His loss will be missed and the other Rate Fairness Board members will have to step up and address the glaring issues facing the constituents of San Francisco.
The General Manager of SFPUC is Susan Leal. As far as I am concerned this woman is not educated on the pertinent issues that the Rate Fairness Board has been tasked with. Susan Leal is now putting faith in the Citizens Advisory Board that she backs because this body also is not educated on issues. In fact considering the hours spent on some issues linked with the sewage system and the clean drinking water system - the Rate Fairness Board is better informed.
The last time around the Rate Fairness Board held some Public Meetings. While the constituents of San Francisco got an opportunity to address the Rate Fairness Board the SFPUC gave the constituents a shaft when they with intent chose to increase the Sewer Rate by 11%. Right now the SFPUC is poised to increase the rate by another 11%. Most educated constituents put NO faith in the SFPUC. The SFPUC knows this and so has chosen to appoint some cronies on the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to push the hidden agenda of the SFPUC.
Tony Winnicker the Director of SFPUC Communication Department is trying to push for the best outreach to the Public at Large. I wish him the very best. He can be reached at (415) 934-5733. You can reach him by e-mail too - Twinnicker@sfwater.org
I have been involved with our City's Infrastructure System for over 25 years. I have been involved deeply in the Infrastructure Issues since 1992. The last 10 years I have met with the experts and visited most of the sites that matter - linked to our Raw Sewage Treatment Plants in the City and County of San Francisco. Also the Clean Drinking Water System - all the way from Hetch Hetchy to the various Bay Area operational facilities. I have attended many meetings at every level where experts and officials from the SFPUC have tried to explain how SFPUC really works.
The fact of the matter is that differed maintenance has failed the system - the over 900 miles - over 60% are over 70 years old. Mayor Diane Feinstein and others chose to dip into the General Fund and not do the required maintenance. Among the culprits Susan Leal when she headed the Finance Committee as Supervisor and Richard Sklar who was involved with SFPUC and is now a sitting SFPUC - Commissioner.
For years our City has not done what is right because most of the leaders as I have pointed out - took a chance. Now we know if we do have a major earthquake we all will suffer - most of the aging system will come to a halt. The Capital Improvement Project (CIP) linked to Hetch Hetchy is having some progress with the Clean Drinking Water Supply. Every aspect of that operation - pumping facilities, treatment facilities, reservoirs, large aging pipes that move the clean drinking water at about 35 miles by gravity, old tunnels that a prone to a major earthquake, and the other facilities - too many to mention.
We have about 900 miles of pipes in the City that needs repair. Many of these pipes are leaking millions of sewer and clean drinking water. This is a shame because the adverse impact is that our Watershed is polluted. Our City does not give a hoot. SFPUC does not give a hoot. In fact SFPUC is so arrogant that they did not participated in the recent survey on Riparian Bluffs. Every major city and county in the Bayarea did. It is such mentality that defies logic that I think personally Susan Leal has no idea about. Once she reads this simple document which I have sent Paula Kehoe, Manager of Water Resources Planning perhaps she will understand.
I represent the Muwekma Ohlone of the issues that I have described above. Once this area we call San Francisco was pristine. See what we have done to it. It is a crime to force and demand that the constituents conserve clean drink water and flush less - when million of gallons of raw sewage and clean drinking water - leak and seep daily causing untold damage and pollution to the Earth. At the Presidio of San Francisco millions of gallons of Hetch Hetchy water is being used to water lawns. Millions of gallons leak because of poor and differed maintenance. Millions of run off water goes into the bay untreated. I say this to give an overall picture of what is happening on this Federal Property. Our City should not give the Presidio water at a lower rate. We should revisit the Raiker Act and make the required changes - with the quasi-governmental Presidio Trust now controlling Area B at the Presidio. The National Park Service controls the coastline. The Presidio of San Francisco is over 1480 acres.
Millions of gallons of water leak at the San Francisco Port Authority. Millions of gallons leak at the San Francisco Unified School District in old - ill-maintained facilities. Hundreds of facilities managed by Recreation and Park, Department of Public Works, Health and Human Services - have facilities where clean drinking water is wasted.
At Islais Creek we have the Force Main which takes 80% of the City and County Raw Sewage. That includes the Presidio of San Francisco. It also takes raw sewage from Colma, Burlingame, Brisbane, and Daly City. This is not mentioned to the constituents of San Francisco. I am requesting the Budget Analyst to look into the repairs now been conducted on the Force Main.
The Force Main at Islais Creek is damaged. It has been damaged for the last 4 years. It was damaged because SFPUC permitted MUNI to dig 3 conduits or large tunnels under the Force Main thus damaging the Force Main - which carries over 180 million gallons of secondary effluents - every single day. More when it rains.
There are a number of documents that the Rate Fairness Board should study. The first document the Grand Jury Report linked to Clean Water and dated March 2003. The second the Phase I Management Audit of the SFPUC - Clean Water Enterprise Fund and prepared by the San Francisco Budget Analyst - dated September 27, 2004.
Copies of these two documents and summary reports of the Workshop four of them conducted by the SFPUC should be available to the constituents of San Francisco. In this case the taxpayer is paying for everything and should have a say in any Rate Increase linked to Clean Drinking Water and Raw Sewage. It is wrong for folks like Jean Mariani the SFPUC Finance Director to hoodwink the public and spew her diatribe at times. She should be aware that she should do a better job or return back to SMUD where ineptness may be a norm.
In a couple of months the Public will get the opportunity to comment before the SFPUC and the Rate Fairness Board. They will NOT comment if the SFPUC does not win their trust. The last time the constituents put a freeze on rate increases through a City Proposition and the system as a whole failed.
Finally we should have in place not crooks, not inept leaders, but well educated leaders. We should look at the whole system in a holistic manner. Gone are the days when inept folks like Susan Leal can force mandates on the people - the constituents of San Francisco will not stand for that nonsense anymore.
I encourage the San Francisco Budget Analyst to finish the remaining Audits Phase 2, 3, and 4. I would like to study all the documents and I am sure many other educated and true constituents of San Francisco would too. The Muwekma Ohlone do not appreciate this once pristine land - polluted by fools that cannot respect Mother Earth because of GREED.