George Briggeman Jr. to head Valley Vista Cypress/OC trash operations

money-from-heaven(Cypress, CA 8/26/2014)  At last night’s regular meeting the Cypress City Council voted 3 – 2 to instruct staff to finalize a ten year Solid Waste Disposal Franchise with Valley Vista Services.

Valley Vista was one of the two firms the City’s consultant, Sloan-Vasquez, considered the best, even though a third firm, WDCO,  offered over seven million dollars in ratepayer savings over the ten years of the contract as well as over a million dollars in discretionary fees paid to the City.

During the discussion last night, the consultant was asked how VVS could be rated first  in experience (125 of 125 possible points) when they had zero experience in Orange County.

The response was that George Briggeman, Jr., with 35 years local experience, was heading up the team that prepared VVS’ proposal and would be the General Manager for VVS’ Cypress and Continue reading

High surf, temps & traffic as kids head back to school

(West Orange County, CA, 8/26/2014)   If you were thinking about taking the kiddies to the beach today before school starts tomorrow, you might want to skip Seal or Huntington and head to Mother’s Beach or Alamitos Bay in Long Beach.

If you don’t have kids but commute to work from Los Alamitos, Rossmoor,  Seal Beach or Cypress, you may want to set your alarm a little earlier before going to bed tonight.

And if you live in Rossmoor, be prepared for new traffic patterns and congestion around Rossmoor Elementary, beginning this afternoon.

Now for the details:

Back to School in West OC: Continue reading

Cypress City Council votes 4-1 to extend thoroughbred season

Think the Council would want residents concerns addressed before adding more daytime thoroughbred racing dates? Think again!

(Cypress, 8/25/2014) At tonight’s Meeting, Cypress’ City Council heard about five residents express concerns about noise and traffic issues resulting from daytime thoroughbred racing at Los Alamitos Race Course. . . then voted 4 – 1 to add more dates to this year’s thoroughbred schedule.

Even more surprising was the response when Council Member Narian made a motion stipulating for city staff to investigate noise concerns related to nearby elementary and preschool children and then revisit the issue in six months.  Surprisingly, not one other Council Member would second that motion, so it died.

As of 8:55 Continue reading

Why Sloan Vasquez recommendations may cost Cypress $7,250,000

Sloan Vazquez is a 2014 sponsor of the Garbageman's Invitational Golf Tournament at Penchaga

Sloan Vazquez is a 2014 sponsor of the Garbageman’s Invitational Golf Tournament at Pechanga

(Cypress, 8/25/2014)  As we explained in our last post, Sloan Vasquez has made a couple improvements from the days when their system cost Los Al residents and businesses ten million bucks in higher fees.

In Cypess case, it only looks like they’ll cost Cypress ratepayers seven and a quarter million dollars, if Cypress  Council Members pick Edco, one of Sloan-Vasquez’s two recommended firms.

If the Council Members go with VVS, S-V’s other favorite, the good news is that will only cost ratepayers a measly one and a half million dollars.

Of course, one and a half million dollars is still a lot of money, so the question I’ve got to ask is…

Why pay more?

Basically, Sloan Vasquez’s evaluation system places minimal emphasis on cost to the ratepayer and major emphasis on highly subjective and possibly Continue reading

Sloan Vazquez recommends VVS or EDCO for Cypress trash contract


Going with consultant Sloan-Vazquez’ recommendation could cost Cypress residents and businesses 1.5 to 5 million dollars!

8/24 update summary:  Cypress is to be commended for putting the trash franchise out to bid for the first time in decades, and their Consultant, Sloan-Vasquez, has made some improvements since their fiasco in Los Alamitos.  However, S-V’s evaluation, as modified by the Cypress City Council, only gives 30% to pricing and the balance to highly subjective categories that have questionable relevance for picking up trash, and could cost the City and ratepayers millions of dollars.  And not specifying requirements in advance turns an objective bidding process into a subjective game.

(8/23/2014, Cypress, CA) At this Monday’s 7 pm Regular Meeting the Cypress City Council will consider and quite likely act on their consultant’s recommendations for the City’s  Solid Waste Franchise for the next ten years.

Last spring Cypress’ City Council selected as their trash franchise selection consultant Sloan Vazquez even though City Management had twice ranked Sloan Vazquez last of the five consulting firms which had replied to Cypress’ Request for Proposals to serve as Consultants.  Shortly after, Cypress long time City Manager was abruptly dismissed without cause, costing Cypress taxpayers about $300,000.

S-V, you may recall, was the consultant that helped steer neighboring Los Alamitos into years of divisive litigation by recommending Los Al go with Republic/Consolidated Disposal, the second highest bidder, costing Los Al residents and businesses millions of dollars.

Well guess what? Continue reading

HG: Draw Your Own Conclusions

Our Thursday columnist reveals pay packages at all levels of Los Alamitos City jobs.

(Los Alamitos, 8/21/2014)  by Highlands Guy:  The following data was extracted from the website, ‘”  It reflects information supplied by the City of Los Alamitos for the 2012 fiscal year.

I offer it just as food for thought, without any political point of view. This actually means I don’t know yet how it fits in with my thoughts of what is appropriate or necessary or the desired level of pay to run our city.

[Editors comment from Dave E:  Very interesting reading.  The list appears to be ranked by total annual pay and benefits, from the greatest to the least.  Every employee appears to be ranked separately. Part Time employees have PT  after their job description.

I'm guessing that pension costs are not included, but haven't been able to verify that as yet.  Straight comparisons to your own monthly salary let alone monthly take-home pay should be avoided unless you include your employer's costs for your medical and other benefits, including their half of your Social Security (FICO).

You may enjoy, as I did, going to the Transparent California website and comparing with other cities and districts.  For example, our School District has 4 Superintendents who make more than Los Al's City Manager, and ten who made more than Los Al PD's Captain or Los Al's Community Development Director  Total pay & benefits for the District's highest paid teacher in 2013 was $131,660.]

You make the call. Please note that the pay scale has increased a couple of times since the publication of the data: Continue reading