Cypress Council set to ratify new trash contract Monday, 9/22

(Cypress, 9/21/2014)  The good news is that Cypress did negotiate additional concessions from the Council majority’s preferred trash franchisee, Valley Vista Services.

The bad news is the bottom line for the City still would have been better had the City Council chosen to go with the lowest qualified bidder, WDCO.  And we’ll never know how much lower WDCO might have gone had the Council majority followed the common sense negotiating approach just about every ethical Realtor I know uses & negotiated with at least two of the firms submitting proposals, as Mayor Mills and Council Member Nahrain wanted.

The bottom line is that Valley Vista’s revised Proposal now is somewhat closer to WDCO’s lowest bid for cost to ratepayers and about 40% closer to WDCO’s total annual payments back to Cypress.  That’s a good start, but WDCO still appears to be the lowest total bidder and also will pay the City almost a million dollars more over the ten year term of the contract.

If this were a real estate transaction & I was still a broker & was representing the City, at this point I’d recommend going back to at least two of the 7 bidders, including low bidder WDCO and request a “best and final offer.”

One would hope the Cypress City Council would at least “sharpen Continue reading

HG: The Dichotomy of A Planning and Development Department

Today our Thursday columnist offers a simple solution to a challenging dilemma.  (Los Alamitos, 9/18/2014)  by “Highlands Guy:”  

The temple precinct of Gilgamesh: Summerian city planning, 1300 B.C.

Urban planning has been happening for thousands of years. Archaeologists have concluded that early Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations of the third millennium BC are examples of deliberately planned and managed cities.

In the ‘Epic of Gilgarmesh’ tablets, written over 2,000 years ago, for the city of Uruk, the Counselors laid out a one square mile city, with one square mile of orchards, one square mile of claypits, and open ground for a temple.

Classical and Medieval Europe city-states were laid out with precision and purposeful forethought.

As soon as a whole bunch of folks began to live in close proximity to each other and leave the agricultural chores to others, they had to “develop” the place they lived in, in order to sustain day to day life. This aspect of a city soon expanded to include things not just for survival but places to spend disposable income.

Thus, the beginning of book stores, and furniture stores, and even a local Continue reading

Cypress shouldn’t overpay for trash service!

Cypress’ City Council is about to ratify a franchise agreement with Valley Vista Services that could cost the City $1.4 million and ratepayers an additional $1.5 million

(Cypress, CA 9/17/2014) This is a slightly modified and expanded version of the letter to the editor that appeared in today’s News Enterprise.

The Cypress City Council is to vote this Monday to approve a ten year trash contract that will cost Cypress residents and businesses over one and a half million dollars more than the lowest responsible bidder would have charged.

Valley Vista Services, the firm the Council plans to approve on Monday, will charge Cypress residents and businesses $1,501,692 more than the lowest bidder (WDCO).

Is George Briggeman, Jr:  better than $3 million?

Surprisingly, Cypress’ Trash Consultant recommended Valley Vista essentially because V.V. promised to hire George Briggeman, Jr.! Mr. Briggeman and his firms also happen to be campaign contributors to at least two of the three Cypress’ City Council Members who voted to negotiate exclusively with Valley Vista.

Low bidder WDCO wasn’t even considered seriously because of Sloan Vasquez’s Continue reading

Los Alamitos City Council Special Meeting at 5 pm Monday

There's still room for you on the City's "Fun Commission."

There’s still room for you on the City’s “Fun Commission.”

(Los Alamitos, 9/15/2014)  In addition to September’s regular meeting at 6 pm tonight, the Los Alamitos City Council will meet at 5 pm tonight in special session for two items:

  1. Interview and possibly appoint two Commissioners to fill three vacancies on the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Commission.
  2. Review the Draft Individual Joint Use Agreement for McAuliffe & Oak Fields & the Draft Master Joint Use Agreement with the LAUSD & Discuss future individual joint use agreements.

Parks & Rec:

Applications have been received for the City’s “Fun Commission” from 32 year Los Al resident James Main and long time Rossmoor resident and two year Los Al resident Emil Jorge, who has served for 12 years on the Casa Youth Shelter Board, three years as President.

Sounds like a couple of well-qualified residents, but  Continue reading

Election 2014: Members of the Assembly

With the Los Alamitos City Council election completed it’s time to look at the other races on the ticket that affect you, the voter. I will make every attempt to NOT get into the red/blue controversy. If you vote by party preference, then chances are you won’t want to read these analysis’ since I am ignoring the party of the person unless it has to do with the bigger picture of what they will, or will not, be able to accomplish in the office for which they ran. For instance, it is considered a plus for a Democrat in the CA Senate and Assembly since the majorities are clear and as a member of the clear majority party they would have more “pull” to get things accomplished. But that is generally only ONE SMALL piece of the bigger picture.

Los Alamitos/Rossmoor/Seal Beach:  Assembly District 72 

So, let’s get this rolling with State offices. In this case the two Assembly Districts that cover the wider Los Alamitos area (I’m clearly including Cypress here, which is in a different Assembly District).

Continue reading

HG: Detritus (water, power, banners, AstroTurf, and local government)

Los Al Astroturf(Los Alamitos, 9/11/2014) Today our favorite Thursday columnist puts on his Andy Rooney hat as he touches on a variety of subjects.  by Highlands Guy:  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had encounters with a bunch of folks from all sorts of socio-economic and geographic environments. For the most part they all seemed to have a similar understanding and expectations from various levels of government.

Additionally, almost to a person, they were not only a bit jaded as to the effectiveness of individuals who served as their representatives, but with their fellow voters as well. Through our conversations, it was apparent that they agreed with the overwhelming importance of an educated populace that vote with their heads instead of their hearts.

Couple this with my backlog of stuff to ponder and write about, and I found that I better put some of these things down in black and white before they leave my consciousness forever.

I offer these observations as fodder that you guys can use when you next chat with your local representative. And remember their responses, for some of them will be putting rules in place that will proscribe how we will live for years to come.


Yes, I get it, we don’t have enough water for the ever burgeoning, unfettered, California population.  And those who dole it out are telling us what we can and cannot do with it, from shorter showers to how to wash our cars. And yet as I go about my daily business I see all around me that some of us seem to be less affected by the same rules. The restrictions imposed by governmental and monopolistic semi-governmental  utilities are Continue reading