WeePeeCeePee

Last week, the City Council moved forward with an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the water pollution control plant often referred to verbally as “weepeeceepee” (WPCP).  The plant and the land are jointly owned by San Jose and the City of Santa Clara.

There are competing interests on what to do with the area surrounding the plant. Some would like all of open space land preserved for natural habitat for the burrowing owl and other animals. Others would like to the area devoted to large parks with trail connectivity. Still others look to this as an area where San Jose could add office and retail opportunities to increase the tax base.

A permanent decision will most likely not be made until the EIR is completed in a couple years. However, what we do know now is that we must spend some money on updating the WPCP so that it continues to work and comply with federal regulations.

Perhaps with such a great land mass, there might be something for everyone?  Would it be possible to have land for jobs, open space and a park?  Do we try to please everyone or choose one option and stick with it?

Speakers from Alviso spoke about their concerns regarding added traffic to their area and shared concerns that any new retail would take away from the limited existing retail that is currently in Alviso.

This area is also where the advanced water treatment plant is being built that will take waste water and turn into clean potable water. Actually, this water will be cleaner than current tap water and certainly bottled water. This simple fact is important in the education process of consumers in water consumption. It is expected to open in June 2012.

Staff shared an extensive power point at the council meeting that I have placed on my council website as I have done with other staff presentations for you to view. The presentation is more visual and perhaps easier to understand than a long report so I encourage you to click on this link: City of San Jose District 6 Staff Presentations. From there, click on Water Pollution Control Plant Master Plan: April 19, 2011 to view and learn more.  This power point is the bulk of this weeks blog. Appreciate any comments you can provide from what you discern on the power point presentation.

On another topic, the District 1 and 3 budget meetings had comments from actual residents this week. To summarize, people wanted the council to fix the structural budget problem so we can restore services in the future. A woman at the District 3 meeting, who is a volunteer at a community center, said she and her neighbors understand that the City has no money and to “Just do your best and God bless.”

100 Comments

  1. It’s nice that they took out a $1bn dollar loan to rebuild the plant.  Nothing like every man, woman, and child in San Jose owing another hefty debt.

    Let’s also not forget that we paid an artist $62k to walk around and take photographs.

    SJ is still that annoying little brother to SF and OAK that tries hard to be like their older sibling, but always manages to miss the mark because they’re a bit misguided.

    • Oh yeah, we want to be just like SF or Oakland. SF with its streets awash in urine and decaying infrastructure that will cost billions to repair, or Oakland, the murder capital of the West Coast. San Jose may be boring but it has a functioning city and it isn’t overrun with special interest groups more concerned with the homeless or trying to institute the teaching of eubonics in the schools. Perhaps Cortese would rather buy a house in SF’s Mission or West Oakland and see how long it takes before he either gets shot or robbed. Yup, SJ wants to be just like them smaller, corrupt and poorly managed cities.

      • “San Jose may be boring but it has a functioning city and it isn’t overrun with special interest groups more concerned with the homeless…” 

        Really? Are you sure we’re talking about the same city? Sure, San Jose isn’t quite as bad as either SF or Oakland, but it’s not going to win any prizes for being a ‘functional city’; it’s kind of hard to make that argument with a rolling structural deficit year after year. And, as far as the influence of special interests goes, perhaps you missed the news pieces about the inclusion of all the whiny little advocacy groups like de-bug on the police chief’s citizens’ advisory board?

        I’d say the management and function of SJ is every bit as dysfunctional in its own ways as our neighbors to the North

        • >>Really? Are you sure we’re talking about the same city?

          Funny because that was my first reaction too OD..  Still waiting mod approval smile

          There’s a white elephant in the room coming…  The bart extension into Berryessa is going to give the problems of the NW and NE bays easy access to us, essentially making those cities problems ours.

          Nobody ever says it, but I wonder how many others think about it.

      • >>Perhaps Cortese would rather buy a house in SF’s Mission or West Oakland..

        Pretty happy where my house is in D9, but if you think SJ is free from corruption and is under a glass bubble free from crime and public urination you’re crazy.

        I weekly chase bums and panhandlers away from 7b.  They try to sneak in and steal drinks, they piss in the alleyway, and this is just Japantown.  Downtown is much, much worse.

        Let’s not forget that some meth bums have setup permanent encampments next to every freeway ramp so they can go to “work” daily by holding up signs that say, “PLEASE GIVE ME MONEY!”

        Scandal, crime, and corruption?  Do I really need to list all the shady stuff that’s gone down in the last 20-30 years?!?

        Not sure what city you live in, so far away from this kind of stuff, but I can assure you it’s not San Jose.

        • I think it is so charming that you consider some homeless panhandling bums to be a crime problem.  It is so cute.  They are a public health and traffic risk.  And I too am tired of trash that is left by the tiny alcohol bottles in my park strip, but crime and corruption?  There are not condoms and needles in every gutter. Our downtown does not smell like a public toilet. I do not constantly worry about being stabbed, mugged or raped. I take my child to festivals without a leash because I do not worry about him being snatched in the crowd. Our politicians are not openly for sale. These things happen in San jose, but they are rare, not daily occurrences. The last major scandal (trash contract) did not even involve a financial payoff.
          However, this all will change quickly if we eliminate the highly successful gang prevention programs and cut public safety spending to the bone. I do not understand why raising taxes seems to be tabu.

    • Robert my dear man, I believe your vision is slightly short-sighted regarding this project.

      Lucky for you, San Jose did hire an artist to document the plant, as they will be using those photographs to educate people such as yourself on what happens with everything you put down that drain and why the plant rebuilding needs to happen.

      I see spending a paltry $62k for a year-long documentary on the plant as representing the best ROI of any other such investment in this project. The photographs and notes from Robert Dawson will serve to educate future generations on what happens with their waste, and why it is important to think before you flush, wash, or otherwise put more unnecessary junk down that drain. It’s an education tool that can potentially save the plant millions of dollars in the future, not to mention the general environmental awareness it will create throughout the world (Dawson is a globally recognized water conservancy photographer and educator) over the next few decades.

      I say, give Dawson MORE money to put Santa Clara County on the map and to make sure this “art” project has the best possible impact on residents of Santa Clara County and beyond.

      • I don’t care if it was Robert Dawson, or Antoine Dodsen.  Hide Your budget, hide your taxes, cause they’re raping everyone out here.

        Do we *REALLY* need a picture to remind folks about what happens when you don’t think before you flush? Aren’t those “Flows to the bay” signs next to all our storm drains enough?  You know it’s all the PCB’s and other nasty contaminants from the circuit board industry that killed the bay.

        In fact, I have a story that I can fit in here..

        At Lockheed NASA/AMES they manufacture a lot of stuff on site.  They have pollution alarms on their wastewater pipes that discharge into the bay.  Word on the street is everytime an alarm goes off, the employees flush every toilet and run every sink to “dilute” the water going past the alarm.

        Same amount going into the bay, just diluted.

        Back to 62k on pictures…

        I saw Dawsons pics and frankly wasn’t that impressed.  Clouds reflecting in a poop pond?  Yes, looking at clouds reflected in a pond is going to make my mind say, “Oh yea, I should think about not flushing paint thinner down the toilet!” 

        You need to get your heads out of the clouds. 

        You think people WANT to go to the poop plant just because they spent $62k on pictures?  Oh ya, lemme run that by my wife real quick.  Her mom was a RN, they’re both a bit hypochondriacs.

        me:  “Hey babe, they got this really famous artist to take pictures of the waste treatment plant, wanna go?  Kids will love it, all these machines and pipes everywhere..  It’ll totally be educational for them”

        wife: “Oh?  Which gallery?”

        me: “That’s the great part!  It’s AT the treatment plant!  We can show the kids what happens when they do a “Bye Bye Caca!”

        wife: “Wait… You mean you want to go where the shit flows in San Jose?”

        me: “Uhm.. In a nutshell ya.”

        Wife: “You know how many diseases are out there?  The kids could catch hepetitis!”

        me: “No babe, they totally treat that stuff!  They gas it with chlorine, they have microbes eat it, and the only way you could catch something is if you touch it”

        Wife: “OK, what if a bird drinks the turd water, and then hops on a handrail, and the kids touch it?”

        me: “Babe, you’re totally missing the point, it’s the new zero-g wastewater plant, it’s totally sterile!  We spent $1b on it, let’s go see it!”

        wife: “Nah that’s ok, you go on ahead, me and the kids are going to stay here and fold laundry”

        Yup, total tourist attraction that needs $62k in art James.  Maybe we can do like Great America does and sell season tickets.

        ——

        Here’s a hint to the officials.  Next time you want pretty pictures of anything, there’s no shortage of amateur photographers with photoshop that would have done the same thing for free if you had just put the word out there.

        1.  Ask the public to take picture of location X.
        2. Ask the public to release the pictures under the creative commons license.
        3.  Have public submit pictures to an email address “[email protected]————-.gov”

        I guarantee you’ll have no shortage of free pics as long as you give credit to the photographer.

        • Hey Robert, keep thinking outside the box!
          That is a great idea. People love having an excuse to use their digital cameras. These days there’s no good reason to be spending money on a professional photographer.
          Unfortunately, there are many people in administrative positions who would have nothing to do if they weren’t dreaming up new ways of spending our money.

        • Hey John,

          Was looking through my facebook albums and I came across this…

          http://stashbox.org/1111175/52995_457859195215_532775215_6113216_2583527_o.jpg

          I took that with my cell phone, in Alviso, not far from the plant at the new boat ramp.  Doesn’t look far off from the photo heading this SJI article now does it smile

          Not a single bit of photoshop, just there at the right time of day, the right kind of wind (you want 0 wind so the water reflects like glass) Note, I took this photo way before this article came out, the date is right there.

    • Don’t forget, staff purposely sublimates NIMBYs. And the reason for all the seagull deaths, which are called vectors, is due to the location of the landfill, in which these birds enjoy snacking on toxic food waste.  Also plastic gets into their stomachs and can not be digested, this basicaly causes them to starve to death.

  2. I agree we need to update our infastructure for the city but do we need to spend scarce city money in the amounts of 6 million dollars on “ART” for a sewage plant? Lets use some common sense please.

  3. STOP spending our taxes on non essential projects and nice to have art when San Jose can not pay for adequate public safety and city services

  4. Pierluigi,

    GOV Brown has cut the number of state cars and is cutting Legislature car allowance to $300

    Will San Jose do the same ?

    What is current City Council and City staff car allowances ?

    Does city pay for Council’s insurance, gas and maintenance costs lik they do for city staff ? 

    We see lots of city employees drive cars, trucks and motorcycles home

    How many city employee have city vehicles they drive home ?

    Thanks PO

      • Um, excuse me Mr. Pinochio Olivario, but in your own city council survey it was exposed that you are receiving $600 per month car allowance, and not $110.

    • The mayor has no common sense 24 million spent on research for a’s
      25 million Indy cart races   62k on art work the airport $$$ 
      How about the double dipper counsel member collecting 60-80% retirement
      90k as counsel member the above money was spent in the last 3-5 yrs
      Now mr greed relocated some water pollution admin empoyees downtown so he can use esd money to pay for office space I guess the city of milpitas will be happy to hear there rate increase is paying for office space why did the mayor & co continue to spend
      Money like fools oh( chuck e mr non union)  did you know MLB An the players are union so you spent 24 million for nothing

      • Chuck “I Know Everything” Greed is an Idiot…  Well spoken on the waste of our tax dollars. 

        Greed uses all of the City’s assets for his personal gain.  You should see the “shady characters” come and go into his office, he’s glad handing them entire time with promises, as I hear the discussions coming from his office. 

        The Mailers that were sent out tell only the truth about what is happening within our city and to it’s employees.  The days of a congruent relationship between the City Admins and the “ACTUAL WORKING EMPLOYEES” are gone. 

        Reed has bastardized the employees to the point of calling them a “CANCER”.  Who in the hell does asshole think he is?  You folks think Wiener Gate is something?  I’m sure that I could dig up illicit activity on good old Chucky. 

        Every politician has dirt in his closet and I’m sure he has plenty to hide from the unions, employees, the citizens of San Jose.  Shame on all of you folks who think this guy is on the up and up about everything. 

        San Jose Mayor and City Council is CORRUPT plain and simple.  Why “dilly-dally” around with all the Council Crap on who’s doing what.  They are all CORRUPT.  I should know I am a very long time City Employee slated for layoff as of end of pay period Saturday June 25,2011 Thanks Mr. Greed you jack ass!

  5. Doesn’t San Jose already have a piece of public art that would be appropriate for a sewage plant?  For example, the Fallon statue, or something similar.

    • What could be a more compatible piece of public art for the sewage treatment plant than the giant turd known as Quetlcoatl?  Save the $6million.  How much could it cost to move it?  It would complement the sewage treatment plant, and remove an eyesore from DTSJ.

      • Even more appropriate, establish a “gang of thieves” gallery, featuring portraits of past and present mayors and councilmembers.

  6. My vote is for keeping the land adjacent to WPCP as open space.
    Building yet more retail or a business park on the surrounding land in order to ‘increase the tax base’ would be a shame. Is San Jose only about development, commerce, materialism, and revenue? Is that all there is? Once it’s built that’s another rare pocket of open space that’s gone for good.
    There’s a lot of natural beauty in this valley. Let’s recognize it and preserve it when we have opportunities like this.

  7. Art Smart, Ben & Neighbor,

    The decision on 1% or less for art will be in couple of years as it is tied to capital projects. When there was a cost overrun at the Police Substation I voted to reduce the budget for art.

    Pierluigi

    • Cost overrun at the Police Substation.  You mean the station that was approved by the voters and built.  Then along came you and the rest of council.  Cut police services cut police pay cut police benefits.
          Who cares if we had an overcost.  The city was never going to staff it anyways.  I see a trade off with the council and the county.  “We will give you another building never used for another idiotic decision we made”  Let’s see Old City Hall and a new Police building.  What a deal!

  8. Interesting things are afoot on the shores of Alviso.  In terms of toilet to tap and all the rest of cool space age technology…Orange County did it years ago and it does give you an advantage in drought years to be able to divert treated water from runoff to aquifer recharge – which is a water district thing.  Maybe you could have leveraged more out of those folks on the parcel tax side / bond measure side of public financing…because it sounds like your method of financing this with huge increases in user fees is bad…really…really bad to hit people in a tight economy with massive increases to a mandatory bill like this.

    As far as what you do with the adjacent land, I’m reminded of Reid-Hillview Aiport that was surrounded by a nice buffer of open space and a mall.  Some bright folks decided we needed more housing subdivisions built right up next to the airport.  Then of course the folks moved in and demanded that the nuisance of the airport be removed.  I’d rather see the land used for a public use (parks, equipment yards for the city and county, etc.)  Anything other than putting housing there or industrial uses that will be backdoored into housing later.  Planning was supposed to be all about segregated obnoxious land uses from residential, but new age planning and mixed use leaves the door open for anything up to and including a condo and shopping complex built next to an airport, jail or sewage treatment plant.  Where common sense argues otherwise, wealthy developers are willing to present countervailing arguements in the form of checks and cash to politicians who can argue for additional tax base expansion when they are really screwing us again.

    That’s all.

  9. The WPCP restructure and expansion is important and necessary to this region.  Through the use of the expertise of artists, the work that they provide will add aesthetics to the functional utility of the plant, and expand concepts for existing resources and habitat.  Through this approach the public can be informed and inspired to accept their role as stewards and foster an ethic of civic responsibility.  The budget for art, a high estimate only, will be implemented over a 30 year period during the construction of the plant.  The annual expenditure is relatively small. Dawson’s photo work is a part of the educational tools to be used on the website, in brochures, and signage, etc.  I encourage those of you, who have not seen these photos to go to the plant or view the exhibit on South Fourth St.,  You will see the plant in a different perspective.  A good example of art enhancing functional utility is the “Hands” wall around the new parking structure at the airport, which used construction dollars and changed a barrier into an attraction.

    • Patricia, I’m sorry, but after reading your post I wanted to bash my head on my desk. I suspect I’ll be reading ‘querty’ backwards in the mirror tomorrow as I shave.

      While a public work such as the treatment facility in question can be *designed* to be aesthetically pleasing, it is not the place of government to directly support art or artists in any way. (And yes, I am dead against government support of the NEA.) Particularly in times requiring fiscal discipline, I challenge anyone to explain how public financing of art is in any way responsible. Further, it is not the place of government to instill in citizens ‘an ethic of civic responsibility’. Rather, it is the role of government to reflect and enforce the citizens’ ethics of civil responsibility.

      Lastly: “A good example of art enhancing functional utility is the “Hands” wall around the new parking structure at the airport, which used construction dollars and changed a barrier into an attraction.”

      I’m sorry, but that particular display is just creepy. I drive by it regularly and I’ve never had any reaction to it other than ‘willies’. And therein lies the rub of publicly funded art: one person’s masterpiece is another person’s pile of pet dookie. And, I guarantee you that the latter person is going to feel some resentment over the fact that his tax dollars – however few – were responsible for placing that pile of dookie where everyone can see.

  10. While the sewage plants needs to be updated, over a billion dollars seems pretty pricey.

    Also, it is ironic that the live streaming feature from the city council meeting was not working today, on the day the commission recommending city council salaries is to be presented. Probably just a big coincidence.

  11. $6 Million for public art at the Sewage Treatment Plant? I cannot wait until it is done so I can take my kids there for a picnic and look at the Art? Should be real fun. I wonder if there will enough room to see art and sewage together? Lets see $6 million for art or lay off Hundreds of Cops and Firefighters? Hmmmm?? Come on people it’s time for change of Mayor and Council!!

    • I Agee these people have know idea what there doing have you notice they have lost millions of dollars on every project fire stations police sub staion airport I think the people of san Jose should have the final say not the mayor 62k for pictures not artwork
      How about the 200k they spent on call a nurse. They must go along with the city manager

  12. Art or no art, the water treatment project is just one of the spendy—and it appears untouchable—items in the city’s OTHER budget buckets outside of the General Fund: namely the Capital Funds and Special Funds portion of the budget (which together make up 71% of the city’s total budget). Notice how these go untouched. There are all kinds of nice-to-haves tucked in there and not just for bureaucrats.

  13. Does anyone want to comment on the planned “Hovercraft Port” for Alviso? this is true! ask Pierluigi.

    Let’s see now:

    —$6 million for “artwork” at the Sewage Plant

    —Hovercraft docking at the “famous” Port of Alviso

    Gotta love how they spend our taxpayers money!

    NOTE: I work at the Sewage Plant. I am a City of San Jose employee. Ask anyone at the Plant how they would spend the $6 million, not on art! the only people who like this art idea are the top level managers in the top-management heavy (5 levels of management between the lowest worker and the top) City’s Environmental Services Department. They love to dream, or as they call it “visioning”.

  14. A good example of art enhancing functional utility is the “Hands” wall around the new parking structure at the airport, which used construction dollars and changed a barrier into an attraction.

    Look out!!! Now you have done it.  You just threw red meat to the SJI fuddy-duddies.  Ruuuunnnn!!!!

  15. Lest we forget that the funds earmarked for the San Jose/Santa Water Pollution Control Plant (Plant)ALSO SUPPORT:

    – The City’s “Green Vision” (including Green Building and Solar Initiatives throughout the City, not just at the Plant).

    – The City is transferring all the Fiscal Staff from the Plant to City Hall, then charging the Plant Fund $4,000/mo per person (actually per cubicle space). They estimate this will raise $500,000 for the General Fund.

    What a racket! The City Manager, Mayor, and Council have always considered the Plant to be an ATM machine for pet projects.

    • They laid off all our janitors that drove electric carts in their course of duty, and replaced them with low paid contractors that haul everything around in the trucks of their fossil fuel burning personal cars…. Well, so much for being “green”.

    • They can’t take money from esd (special fund) an use it for some other project
      That money funds esd watertreatment plant it’s not there money i’ll contact the proper people have them investigated they raised the rates in milpitas the reason we need to rebuild the plant

  16. A dose of reality here:

    There is no $6M budgeted for art at the Plant That is nothing more than the calculation of how much would be spent on art under the current City policy over a 30 year period. It was just a reporter in search of a big headline.  Council can change the policy at any time.  Also, the art policy only applies to new projects, and most Plant projects are renovation. 

    Also, there is no $1billion loan.  The Plant operates on a pay-as-you-go budget and the capital program is already mostly funded at the current rates.  Small rate increases are needed to make it fully funded.  Sewer fees by State law can only be used for sewer-related purposes.  The Sewer Fund is solvent.

    Finally, the cost to rebuild and renovate the Plant, which would cost about $3 billion to replace from scratch, is quite in line with other plants around the country.  They were all built 30 to 50 years ago with mostly federal money, and they need to be rebuilt with 100% local funding.

  17. While it may seem crazy, the reality is that dedicating a portion of capital funds to art has in effect no impact on the monies available for or the process to establish employee compensation.

  18. While we do have beautiful photographs of the various process areas here at the SJC wastewater plant. It would have been money well spent on increasing the operations staff with an increase in wages. The department has been trying to hire new Operators here at the plant for the past year but the City of SJ is considered poison for our specialized job skills and potential Operators are finding “greener pastures” elsewhere.
    The current avg. Operator experience time at this plant is running about six years. This plant is very complicated with 8 major process areas. When I first started it was a minimum of 12 years to be competent in the overall operation of the plant.
    As the city keeps cutting wages we are seeing an exodus of skilled Operators going to higher paying jobs within the state and retiring. Until wages are increased, the department will find that it can be very risky with an inexperienced staff with the constant local emergencies that are routine for a system this complicated.
    For those of you who lived in San Jose in the 1979 you would only have to remember when the plant had a major spill into the South Bay which again was caused by a combination of an overloaded system and inexperienced minimum staffing. The est. release of partially treated sewage was close to 4 billion gallons.

  19. I just received notices in the mail of “proposed” rate increases for garbage, water, and storm sewer.  This stuff happens every year.  Have until June 14th to file a written protest.  For 3 of the past 4 years I have sent letters protesting rate increases.  One year I did not because it is a waste of time – the city is going to raise rates anyway.  Why on earth does the city want to know if there are protests, when the city is going to raise the rates yet again.

    The city council needs to learn how to cut expenses, not constantly raise rates.

    • State law requires the mailing of the notices.  Council receives a report on the protests and then makes the decision on rates.

      The primary reason for the rate increases is the need to rebuild the Plant.  The O&M costs have been stable and even decreasing in many areas at the Plant.  However, the rates need to support both the O&M of the Plant, as they have for decades, and now, for the first time ever, the rates also have to cover the cost of replacing the tanks, pumps, valves, engines, blowers, pipes, etc. that are 30 to 50 years old and have reached the end of their useful life.

      • Working with the state on some projects I learned about revenue bonds.  These allow you to leverage a large amount of money up front tied to a revenue stream that could service the bonds.

        I’m wondering if the City of San Jose has worked all its options in terms of protecting its ratepayers from huge increases.  As a mandatory fee, this is really a regressive tax that hits folks hard (think fixed incomes, retired folks, working poor, etc.)

        I believe the city staff and council can and should do better in the financing of this project.  Just because they can stick it to rate payers with huge increases doesn’t mean they should.  The easy way is not always the right way.  A little more work could mean better customer/constituent service.

        • The Plant used revenue bonds in the 90’s for the recycled water system, and they will be paid off in 2018-2020.  Rebuilding the Plant is being accomplished under about 200 separate projects over 25 to 30 years.  It is possible that this can be done entirely on a pay-as-you-go basis. If and when we have a need for more than about $80 million in capital funds annually, we can issue revenue bonds.  However, bonds actually increase the cost of the projects because they have to be paid back with interest. 

          With respect to the issue of regressivity, California law requires that everyone pay their share of utility costs.  The practical implication of this is that the residential portion of costs is shared by all households, and businesses pay their share based on the nature and quantity of their discharge into the sewer system.

    • I would think with the constant wage decreases we in operations and maintenence staff have been subjected to. That money should be returned to the ratepayers as a bonus to our wage cuts. But wait, that money goes to the reserves and our plant manager “s” have found that instead of taking a paycut they just go ahead and reclassify themselves to get a bigger payraise. In fact, what was the role for one plant manager now has been increased to two. How’s that for cronyism? Besides which, the person who retired was brought back as a hired retiree to advise the 2 plant managers on how to do the job one did.

      Stay tuned there is so much under the table dealings with your money and how it’s distributed. There ought to be a law against it. Well maybe there is it’s called misappropriation of funds..
      It would be a very good move if TPAC demanded and audit and some house cleaning.

      • This is true, The so called “Plant Manager” is double dipping as they call it, and I would say bhe was back all of 2 months when he showed up in his new $50,000.00 car. RUBBED it in every bodies noses after the cuts last year, NICE PLANT MANAGER. Mean while if you go to him with a problem its” Im only here 6 months ” OK THEN DO WHAT YOUR BEING PAYED TO DO” take care of the problems in house otherwise here we are! Last but not least, the CITY says they can bring a retired person back for a 6 month tour in a year, but what it really is the last six months of 2010 and the first six months of 2011. Any way I am a kicked in the balls mutiple times by management operator who for some reason has more loyalty to the job than the city and we all pray every day we go home safe and there isnt a spill that occures but when they put OITs in operating situations that they have no clue about, GOOD LUCK! And OIT stands for ” OPERATOR IN TRAINING” but they are left alone in a section that they cant be held acountable if something happens, it falls back on Operators and Shift Supervisors. HHMMMMM, something to look forward to City of San Jose.

  20. Plant Manager:

    I hope you are not surfing this website using Ciy time as indicated in your date/time stamps. You are violating the Internet policy use of the City if San Jose. Ask a former manager who got busted surfing on eHarhony and Match.com dating websites on City time.

    • Scrutiny of public employees is a good thing for which you are to be applauded.  However, I would suggest three distinctions here:

      1). An important job responsibility of a public manager is to disseminate accurate information about his/her operation to the public whether in the traditional media, such as by talking to a reporter, or in the new media, such as in blogs.

      2). For a salaried manager in a 24/7 operation, the hours of 8-5 M-F are completely irrelevant.  The job is days, evenings, weekends, often 60-70 hours per week, whatever is needed.

      3). For what it’s worth, no use of City equipment is involved.

      • Inside info assets told me that the Plant Manager of the Plant retired last March and back again hired as a consultant. Talked about “double-dipping” and screwing the CSJ taxpayers!…

        Talking about corruption, ask the workers at the Plant how they feel about the “New Headworks”: More than $90 million spent for a piece of non-working junk!!! …and what about the ‘licensed and patented” BNR technology the City paid for about more than $100K that was all BASED ON FALSE MADE-UP DATA!!!. The said BNR technology was developed outside by a consultant (now a Plant senior engineer overseeing the fakery of his patented technology at the Plant, fired years ago but was rehired because he was a friend of the Plant Manager but actually done on City (Plant time and Plant City Resouces)time and resources.

        Talked about RMS Titanic and pillaging of the village named WeePeeCeePee. Are you the Plant Manager?

  21. Deep Throat is correct. I work at the Plant. Everything he says is 100% true! I wish the Mercury News would pick up and do a piece on these shenanigans. Mercury News, hello! here is a good story!

  22. I prefer to keep to issues on public blogs. 

    With respect to outside employment and rehiring retirees, the City has clear policies that allow both as long as certain rules are followed.

    With regard to the Headworks, which were designed about ten years ago under the previous administration, the lessons learned were that it is important to have highly qualified City staff managing consultant design, and to have Plant operations and maintenance staff involved in design efforts.

    • “the lessons learned were that it is important to have highly qualified City staff”

      What feral marijuana plants growing at the Plant buffer lands are you smoking?

      Try the smell of sewage in the morning and in graveyard shift and have some sense of appreciation of the plant workers WHO MAKE THIS PLANT RUN !!!

      Engineers at the Plant are mere paper pushers and shufflers for outside contractor contracts…I think I know that disease: CONSULTITIS…

      NEED A CONSULTANT? I have an app for that!

  23. What Plant Manager fails to mention is that the very same City Engineers who screwed up the New Headworks Project still work at the Plant! They should all have been fired a long time ago. I know in the Private Sector, you make a $90 million mistake and your fired! I work with these Engineers in question, they are the most incompetent bunch of clowns and I cannot believe they have Engineering Degrees!

  24. Although I’m not an employee of this same facility, I do have intimate knowledge of current and past activities.
    Often times, within any organization, you witness employees rally and protest the values and direction that the current leadership is manifesting.  I believe this to be the case here. When the employees are ready to scream and shout through any means necessary, about what they perceive to be unethical spending and questionable actions of their leadership, my experience tells me it’s time to listen.  This is ever more critical in the case of the public sector.

    I know, as fact, that many of these rank-and-file personnel are caring and dedicated professionals who have developed their knowledge and skills over many years to obtain the licenses and expertise that allows them to provide residents this most critical of public health services.  Laugh and giggle as you may at the name of the facility, but make no mistake of the threat to residents and the Bay should this facility fail to perform its sole mission.

    And here, through this most public of forums, we see these same employees expressing their concerns as both civil servants and fellow tax payers.  Unfortunately, “Plant Manager” does no service to the employees nor the public, to whom they should be held responsible, when they respond with logical fallacies such as we read here in these sweeping and hasty generalizations.  These employees, and other taxpayers, appear to be raising reasonable questions that need to be addressed and not dismissed with some kindergarten style spinning of facts.
    If, “Plant Manager”  as you say, that you prefer to keep to issues on public blogs, then let us debate, fact by fact, dollar by dollar, and memo by memo.

    With regards to the, “Headworks,” let us focus NOT on what may have been the missteps of the “pervious administration,” but on what is likely the root of employee frustration today: the fact that when construction was completed and the facility was not operable, employees were coerced and manipulated to keep these issues secret and hidden.  This was even to the point of warning employees that such a leak of this lack of operability of the facility; after Council and other authorities were told it was working, could be detrimental in the hands of the media.

    With this in mind, I turn and point to the memo to Council dated 10/20/2009, #2.8 and I ask, is this the means in which funds were misappropriated, and Council mislead, in order to secretly repair this same “Headworks?”
    Goodnight, it’s past my bedtime.

    • Well said Master Jedi.

      Now let’s open the Plant books and talk to current and past employees of the Plant and start purging all these managers who manipulated and covered up their lies. One word I remember: ENRON with their “creative accounting”

      I agree there need to be open dialogues with the media involved and FBI federal investigations since monies involved spent on these projects have some federal funding.

      Btw,an example of spending lavish spending of taxpayers OPM (other people’s money)…$6,000.00 spent on a Viking/Bosch top-of-the-line, stainless-steel, french double-door refrigerator for a lunch ref at ESB lunch room building? I can donate my Whirlpool $600.00 refrigerator for them for free.

      If you happen to visit the Plant (we conduct free Plant tours), take notice on the three 55-inch Samsung LCD flat screens at the lobby. Management bought these flat screens and installed them the at the lobby…seriously!!!…one is okay…Plant workers call it the WeePeeCeePee Sportsbar!!!

    • THANK YOU Bonzo,
      Finally some one that understands our frustration!
      The Morale out here is so bad that employees are leaving left and right, why, because management hasnt, wont, and are inept to doing any thing but kicking us in the Balls. they do a great job at beating us down and told to like it. Please any one reading this web site listen to Bonzo, this means you Bill BOZO Pounders,
      You have sucked this City dry of your double dipping and your do nothing attitude, you bee bop around like your the greatest guy when you are a well I think by reading this site you know how we feel, but the number one problem out here is Bryan Berdeen, Bill Pounders side kick. Bryan is a retalitory individual who has had the State called on him, he has had HR called on him, but wait lets promote him, now this individual is in charge of the Computer Room, Where process change is made. But he could never relieve a Computer room Senior Operator for a 15 min. break, why, because he doesnt know how to operate, but hey lets put him in charge of this specific area that he knows nothing about. I hope this City, Santa Clara, Monte Sereno, Los Gatos, Saratoga, and Milpitas is ready for a spill, and at about on avg. of 125 MILLION GALLONS of RAW SEWAGE a day comes through here and these are the Idiots we have in chaerge.

  25. How’s this one:

    In 1996, the City was told by the Regional Water Quality Control Board to build a Recycled Water System (see the SF Bay Regional Water Board’s website and search for WQ90-5 as a start). They built the system, it is running fine, but at the same time they also decided to build a Fiber Optic Network with it. Well, turns out the they put in the plastic pipes for the Fiber Optic but no Fiber Optic. How much did this cost? where did the money come from? why was Fiber Optic never installed?

    I am surprised that will all these facts people are listing here, the Mercury News is not on top of this.

    • Hey Plant Insider,
      I hate to tell you this but there is a Mercury News office inside City Hall. Hows that for being in the Mayors pocket, This is why you dont read any of this in that newspaper! they have to go to the top floor of City Hall and ok it with the ” EDITOR ” first so I guess the old say ” The buck stops here” is realy true!

  26. Mad Russian, yes, you’re correct, the majority of Engineers who work at the Plant are indeed simple Contract Managers. 99% of the Engineering work is contracted out at the Plant. All the Plant Engineers do is oversee the contracts. This is likely due to them not having the capability or qualifications to do the actual engineering work. Most were hired as friends and favors under the last Plant administration (NOTE: The person in question who did this and oversaw the New Headworks “White Elephant” retired and now sits on the Board of the Santa Clara Valley Water District). They do very little Engineering work. Makes you wonder why the Plant needs to have high paid Engineers when they can simply hire clerical staff to oversee the contracts.

  27. Let’s make a list of all the money mis-spent at the Plant:

    1) A Fiber Optic Infrastructure installed at the same time at the South Bay Water Recycling Project that was never used. Note to others: The order mandating the City construct a recycled water utility from the SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board never said anything about Fiber Optic. COST: $$$,$$$? who knows.

    2) A New Headworks that does not work. Plant staff were told to keep quiet and not tell anyone. The Engineers who designed it still work at the Plant. City Council was lied to by Plant staff saying it works fine. COST: $90 million. (just wait until you see how much it will cost fix this error! it’s in the works as we speak)

    3) A New Refrigerator and LCD TVs: COST: $6,000 just for the Fridge.

    4) Use of a Patented Process for Biological Nutrient Removal, overseen by the Patent “Owner/Inventor” who also works as a City employee and as a Consultant to the City. The process has been deemed a failure by all Plant Operations and Maintenance staff. COST: $,$$$,$$$ who knows?

    5) Millions of dollars in Plant 513 Funds diverted to other non-Plant related projects in the City of San Jose that should be General Funded. Can anyone say “Green Vision”? COST: $,$$$,$$$ who knows?

    This is what happens when the Tributary Agencies let the City of San Jose, the majority partner in the Treatment Plant Authority, manage the Plant. Is it time for the Plant to become a separate entity? divorce itself from the City of San Jose and become a Special District? most workers at the Plant would say YES!

    • Wake up Santa Clara, Burbank, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Saratoga, Sunol and West Valley !!! TPAC (Treatment Plant Authority Committee)members!!!

      With San Jose’s established corruption, this is the time for the other contributary agencies to audit the Plant’s books and start creating a separate entity: a sanitary district free from San Jose’s corrupt politicians and management who use the Plant as their piggy banks for their useless pet projects. Imagine the future $1.5 billion Master Plan project for the Plant…the politicians and their cronies are salivating !!!

      Santa Clara Water Quality District SCWQD or South Bay Water Quality District SDWQD. I prefer not to use SANITARY or SEWAGE district…the words do not help in dating scenes.

      Another idea for generating extra Plant revenue: naming rights – “Ipoo Plant”, free water conservation low flow flush toilets- “Ipoods”…Are you reading this Cupertino, you can talk to Apples’s Steve Jobs!!!

      BTW, what’s with the organization chart for Plant Operations staff?…a threesome or a twosome at the top? Whoa!!!

    • I don’t know if BNR as implemented at WPCP is a failure or not, but it is nothing new and there are numerous texts regarding it. I don’t see why the plant hired someone that was given the option to resign for using city funds to further his business except that he was a buddy of the plant manger that just retired and was just recently rehired. Now our fine PhD has a staff to further his outside business that directly benefits from his current position. It amazes me how often our group of PhD’s have to consult with other PhD’s to figure out what has been published and regarded as fact for years. This should be criminal. Check out the link see what you think about Ekster and Associates.
      http://srtcontrol.com/

  28. I hope the Tributary Agencies (TPAC) demand an audit! after all the dirty laundry aired on these posts, someone needs to tell them to send in the Auditors and see how the City of San Jose is using the Plant as a personal ATM to help offset this City’s General Fund deficit, plus the City meddles so much in the Plant that it is now impacting safety! The City of San Jose is screwing the Plant and TPAC deserves to know about it. Hello, auditors? anybody there?

  29. Did anyone mention that the higher level Plant Managers, the ones at the top of the food chain on the new Plant Organization Chart just released last week, they are never seen, you never see them in their offices. They waltz in and out working maybe 2 hours a day. I have carefully watched most of them over the years, most come in maybe once or twice a week. Where are they? Talk about taking advantage of the system!

  30. The corruption at the WPCP is staggering.
    Here are some details regarding the items mentioned in the above responses.
    The New Headworks construction was completed in the fall of 2007. It first failed due to design criteria that was was not needed. The Plant Manager’s claim that the lessons learned was to “highly qualified City staff managing consultant design, and to have Plant operations and maintenance staff involved in design efforts.” implies that this did not happen. Partly false because operations and maintenance were involved in design but ignored. When the Senior Operator in charge of that area complained he was re-assigned to an area that was not in his filed of expertise.
    The failed New Headworks cost initially $82 million.
    The Plant Manager signed off on the New Headworks as a working facility. It sat in rusting in place for almost three years while they spent more money trying to put a band aid on the flaws. Meanwhile the warranties ran out so that any other failures would come at the cost of the tax payers.
    The Plant Managers then went before the City Council and requested millions of dollars more to repair a portion of the New Headwork’s flaws under the disguise of “Energy Improvements”. This was fraud and the support staff was a aware of the fraud and spread the word to others at the plant. Meanwhile for over three years the plant relied on the old headworks.
    There are so many design flaws that some have not yet come to light do to the discover of other failures. For example the initial flaws was the overloading of rag washers (Why clean rags with clean water that are then dumped?) The New Headworks uses 400 Gallons Per Minute of clean water to carry the rags 70 feet. Then the now dirty water is pumped to be cleaned again. Costing more money and energy. The old headworks system of moving rags uses a conveyor belt that uses a small motor and has failedd six times in over 30 years. The New Headworks was failing six times a shift. The Plant Managers then install a belt conveyor but only over 2 out of three screens. (Band aid). This then goes to a “wet bin” that goes to a dump with over the minimum moisture content.
    The New Headworks now has 1/2 of the rag washers modified to handle the design flaw. Meanwhile more failures show up. It has now been discovered that a critical part that opens and closes that large gates that are used daily to control the area are under designed and will need to be replaced at at ignoramus cost.
    These items normally would fall under warranty but that lapsed 3 years ago. Meanwhile there are three large Main Raw sewage pumps that have not been used in normal process sitting there with the bearings becoming flat from non use. In addition it has now been discovered that the elevations for the New Headworks are off and the design to flood an emergency basin will actually flood the plant before the the emergency basin.

    Regarding the conflict of interest with the process engineer it is also staggering. He was discovered to have engaged in a conflict of interest and asked to resign. He was then invited back when the new Plant Manager was promoted. He was given the reigns to control process and implemented a “Energy Savings” process he claims to have invented before returning to work for the City of San Jose. However he did not file for the patent until after he returned to the City and after the plant started to try the process.
    His process changes cost the taxpayers money in chemicals and manpower while he claimed saving in energy. Meanwhile the plant would come close to violation of NPDES permits on 12-2-2008 and find the need to reverse the process and finally cancel the process for six months. Meanwhile PG&E pay the plant for $500,000 in energy savings some of which goes into the pocket of the process engineer who claims the patent. The PUC is informed that the plant is not using the energy saving process and hires a auditor to investigate. The auditor tours the plant in June 2009 and the plant management then admits to staff that it has been caught and will need to restart the process or they might have to return the money. They order the process be re-stared the next day.
    Then the plant lab starts to report that the plant is now failing a critical and routine toxicology test and fails to accept the toxic failings on the process change implemented by the process engineer. The operations staff starts to report septic sewage in the aeration basins where the process modification has been used. The failure of the toxicology test forces the lab to re-test and spends tens of thousands of dollars to verify the tests.

    Regarding the re-org chart statement above it is puzzling why the plant need to directors when for over 50 years it needed one. In addition they also created to Operations Division Managers (AKA Chief Plant Operator) when thy also only needed one for the same period. In addition to that the City has hired the previous Plant manager and the previous Chief Plant Operator to assist them with learning the new jobs. Is the financial crisis real?

    It also appears the City of San Jose is using the Enterprise 513 funds to steal money and services from it’s TPAC members. When the City started to lay off people that were funded from the general fuond they quickly found jobs at the plant. With the mving of staff downtown to be back charges for their work by the 513 funds.

    As a City of San Jose taxpayer and plant employee I call for a grand jury investigation and prosecution of these claims.
    The whole place stinks and it’s not the sewage.

    • Are you reading these posts? All the plant workers mentioned are 100% true?

      Plant Management will blow wind to these accusations and will say “BRING IT ON!!!!!!!!SUCKAS”

      Then they (Plant management will send one of their special minions who look exactly in this link

      (http://www.pulsarwallpapers.com/r_funny_wallpapers_1053_despicable_me_wallpaper_64579.html)

      to hunt down the rebel rousers. Their only sins (if it’s a sin) are to expose the corruption inside the Plant.

      Btw, notes on the past Council Meeting minutes indicated that the “Dawson pictures” of the Plant brought improved morale to the Plant workers? He must be on the Planet Vulcan with Spock and not on Planet WeepeeCeepee.

      Please put an end to the corruption and madness.

      The horror…the horrror!(Apocaplyse Now)

      • Maybe if you list specific names of those involved in the $82 million mistake, in other words, hold the media (who might be reading this site) by the hand. If no names are mentioned, then how are they supposed to get to the source, plus the Grand Jury investigation that will result from these posts will also need some help. Seems all the media cares about are Layoffs of Firefighters and Police Officers, closing of Libraries, Parks, and Community Centers. Who cares about corruption and coverup and general nefarious intrigues at a sewage treatment plant? Heck, what is $82 million for a mistake? when the Plant is spending $1 billion or more over the next 20 years, this $82 million is pocket change.

        • “Who cares about corruption and coverup and general nefarious intrigues at a sewage treatment plant?”

          Oh! do not get me starting!
          There are lots more intrigues at the WeePeeCeePee better than the plot lines in those Spanish Telenovelas and Bollywood sexual movies.

    • If the New Headworks is such a failure, how in the heck did the City Council, Treatment Plant Advisory Committee (TPAC) members, and the public, never find out? The Environmental Services Department and Plant must have some good managers who really know how to hide the truth.

      I am under the impression that the reason why the media does not care about this fiasco is because it is not General Fund money, not as sexy as “Layoffs of Firefighters and Police Officers”…maybe? plus no one really knows or understands what the heck a Headworks does anyway, hence why should the media care.

      • “I am under the impression that the reason why the media does not care about this fiasco is because it is not General Fund money, not as sexy as “Layoffs of Firefighters and Police Officers”…maybe? plus no one really knows or understands what the heck a Headworks does anyway, hence why should the media care.”

        Partly true. The last fired Plant Manager was so good at that. Doing the Jekyll and Hyde ego stuff. He tell his famous email letters to Plant workers “Hello Team !” (TQM: Total Quality Management- TQM speak) about Big Brother monitoring of Internet use while he in fact was so busy looking at dating websites during City time! (mind you his wife has terminal illness). Talking about hypocrisy and doing the John Edwards and Newt Gingrich stuff including Arnold Schwarzenegger mistress fiasco stuff*(see below).

        Plant Management already knew the psychology and the mindsets of the City Council and TPAC members as well as the general media. For example, make a PowerPoint slide presentation so technical and convoluted and ask some members or media “Do you understand this sir/mam? Natural reaction for the lowly technically deficient Council or TPAC member/media is to lie and pretend to say, “YES, I do understand”. Typical case of subliminal and monarch mind programming used in campaign media and poll studies.

        You gave me a revenue generating idea for the Plant in lieu of the Mayor’s budget and salary cutbacks: Pictorial Spread – The Men/Women/LGBT of WeePeeCeePee. Chief photographer is that guy on $62K retainer for that employee morale boosting Plant pictures. Any volunteers?

        Plant workers here are always in the hidden in the background when it comes to news regarding with Police and Fire pay issues. Say the Plant have the “Eyew, Yuch, Wait, I’ll gag and vomit” factor or the Rodney Dangerfield “No Respect” factor.

        One Plant management body parts meeting (FYI, the Plant has more than 5 layers of upper management from the bottom rank excluding the threesome and twosome at the top):

        One day the different parts of the body were having an argument to see which should be in charge:

        The brain said “I do all the thinking so I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”

        The eyes said “I see everything and let the rest of you know where we are, so I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”

        The hands said: “Without me we wouldn’t be able to pick anything up or move anything. So I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”

        The stomach said: “I turn the food we eat into energy for the rest of you. Without me, we’d starve. So I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”

        The legs said: “Without me we wouldn’t be able to move anywhere. I’m the most important and I should be in charge.”

        Then the rectum said: “I think I should be in charge.”
        All the rest of the parts said: YOU?!!
        You don’t do anything! You’re not as important as we are, surely!
        You can’t be in charge!”

        So the rectum closed up…
        After a few days, the legs were all wobbly,
        the stomach was all queasy,
        the hands were all shaky,
        the eyes were all watery,
        and the brain was all cloudy.
        They all agreed that they couldn’t take any more of this and agreed to put the rectum in charge.

        The moral of the story?
        You don’t have to be the most important to be in charge….
        just an asshole!

        So the in retrospect, the Plant workers(who are generally critical thinkers)are the assholes of the City services. Plant Workers are much more important than the Police and Fire!!!

        ——-*

        Ahnold: “Maria, before I leave for my mistress, I’d like you to know that I will be part of a Broadway Show in New York” featuring the life of a famous classical composer.”

        Maria: ” Ahnold, will you be playing Mozart or Beethoven?”

        Ahnold: No dear, I’ll be BACH.

  31. The corruption at the WPCP is staggering.
    Here are some details regarding the items mentioned in the above responses.
    The New Headworks construction was completed in the fall of 2007. It first failed due to design criteria that was was not needed. The Plant Manager’s claim that the lessons learned was to “highly qualified City staff managing consultant design, and to have Plant operations and maintenance staff involved in design efforts.” implies that this did not happen. Partly false because operations and maintenance were involved in design but ignored. When the Senior Operator in charge of that area complained he was re-assigned to an area that was not in his filed of expertise.
    The failed New Headworks cost initially $82 million.
    The Plant Manager signed off on the New Headworks as a working facility. It sat in rusting in place for almost three years while they spent more money trying to put a band aid on the flaws. Meanwhile the warranties ran out so that any other failures would come at the cost of the tax payers.
    The Plant Managers then went before the City Council and requested millions of dollars more to repair a portion of the New Headwork’s flaws under the disguise of “Energy Improvements”. This was fraud and the support staff was a aware of the fraud and spread the word to others at the plant. Meanwhile for over three years the plant relied on the old headworks.
    There are so many design flaws that some have not yet come to light do to the discover of other failures. For example the initial flaws was the overloading of rag washers (Why clean rags with clean water that are then dumped?) The New Headworks uses 400 Gallons Per Minute of clean water to carry the rags 70 feet. Then the now dirty water is pumped to be cleaned again. Costing more money and energy. The old headworks system of moving rags uses a conveyor belt that uses a small motor and has failed six times in over 30 years. The New Headworks was failing six times a shift. The Plant Managers then install a belt conveyor but only over 2 out of three screens. (Band aid). This then goes to a “wet bin” that goes to a dump with over the minimum moisture content.
    The New Headworks now has 1/2 of the rag washers modified to handle the design flaw. Meanwhile more failures show up. It has now been discovered that a critical part that opens and closes that large gates that are used daily to control the area are under designed and will need to be replaced at at ignoramus cost.
    These items normally would fall under warranty but that lapsed 3 years ago. Meanwhile there are three large Main Raw sewage pumps that have not been used in normal process sitting there with the bearings becoming flat from non use. In addition it has now been discovered that the elevations for the New Headworks are off and the design to flood an emergency basin will actually flood the plant before the the emergency basin.

    • I can hardly comprehend half of what you say here.  Isn’t there somebody you can hand the reigns over to that is more qualified to handle this so you can get back to work?

  32. Regarding the conflict of interest with the process engineer it is also staggering. He was discovered to have engaged in a conflict of interest and asked to resign. He was then invited back when the new Plant Manager was promoted. He was given the reigns to control process and implemented a “Energy Savings” process he claims to have invented before returning to work for the City of San Jose. However he did not file for the patent until after he returned to the City and after the plant started to try the process.
    His process changes cost the taxpayers money in chemicals and manpower while he claimed saving in energy. Meanwhile the plant would come close to violation of NPDES permits on 12-2-2008 and find the need to reverse the process and finally cancel the process for six months. Meanwhile PG&E pay the plant for $500,000 in energy savings some of which goes into the pocket of the process engineer who claims the patent. The PUC is informed that the plant is not using the energy saving process and hires a auditor to investigate. The auditor tours the plant in June 2009 and the plant management then admits to staff that it has been caught and will need to restart the process or they might have to return the money. They order the process be re-stared the next day.
    Then the plant lab starts to report that the plant is now failing a critical and routine toxicology test and fails to accept the toxic failings on the process change implemented by the process engineer. The operations staff starts to report septic sewage in the aeration basins where the process modification has been used. The failure of the toxicology test forces the lab to re-test and spends tens of thousands of dollars to verify the tests.

    Regarding the re-org chart statement above it is puzzling why the plant need to directors when for over 50 years it needed one. In addition they also created to Operations Division Managers (AKA Chief Plant Operator) when thy also only needed one for the same period. In addition to that the City has hired the previous Plant manager and the previous Chief Plant Operator to assist them with learning the new jobs. Is the financial crisis real?

    It also appears the City of San Jose is using the Enterprise 513 funds to steal money and services from it’s TPAC members. When the City started to lay off people that were funded from the general fuond they quickly found jobs at the plant. With the mving of staff downtown to be back charges for their work by the 513 funds.

    As a City of San Jose taxpayer and plant employee I call for a grand jury investigation and prosecution of these claims.
    The whole place stinks and it’s not the sewage.

    • If the New Headworks was an $82 million failure, then why are the Engineers who designed it still working at the Plant? I know one was demoted, but that is a simple slap on the wrist for an $82 million mistake using Taxpayers money.

      • The designers were and external engineering firm. Carollo Engineering. They are guided by the CIP dept. The Manager of Capitol Improvement Projects fraudulently signed off on the project as a working facility. Now she is one of the new dual directors. There has never been accountability with failed design or construction that I have seen. The most common trait is to just accept a failed project. Then wait and either repair or modify it in house or wait till the term limits are up on the majority of City Counsel members and go request more money.
        It is the scale and audacity of the corruption that has the staff shocked. There was a Operator who went to the Mercury News’s John Woolfolk with e-mails, Blueprints, memos, photos and other evidence of this failure. The stack of documents was over a foot high.
        Mr. Woolfolk refused to run the story because his office is in the City Hall. He claimed he was over ruled by the editor. If this ever gets to a grand jury he will testify to his whistle blowing.

        • Tell that person to call, stop by, or e-mail the Grand Jury. Check the Santa Clara County website for contact info. You can do it anonymously.

          There is also a Whistleblower Hotline number posted in the Admin Bldg on the wall near the Break Room.

        • I was told Kiewit (http://www.kiewit.com/) screwed up the New Headworks. It was never the fault of CIP or Carrollo. Heck, talking to the CIP Engineers at the time, they praised Kiewit as the best thing since sliced bread. Of course, I have never seen any evidence regarding this. All I see everyday I work at the Plant is a very clean, New Headworks that cost $82 million and does not work. It’s been sitting almost idle for 5+ years now.

          How could Carollo Engineering screw things up? I thought our CIP Engineers were tip top in overseeing this project? the best in the industry, that is what the former Plant Manager who now sits on the Water District’s Board told me. He specifically told me he hired his friends into CIP because they are the best engineers.

          By the way, I heard from the top the other day at a meeting that we will need to build a whole new Headworks, scrap the current New Headworks. Toss the $82 million in the toilet.

  33. Let’s have yet another dose of reality.

    1) It was not a $6,000 fridge, it was 2 @ $3,000.  This was absolutley necessary due to the stone tile floor that was put in as a change order without going to TPAC.  Can you imagine a break room with a beautiful stone tile floor, and ugly refrigerator?  You must realize as I stated before, a public managers job is to get things done at any cost and anytime of the day.  That’s why the change order for the flooring was written as being for the lab, but in reality it was for the break room, and $250K flooring would look really lame without awesome side-by-side refrigerators.

    2)Some of you keep referring to the BNR and patent technology use by a former worker who had previously been caught running a consulting firm out of his cube.  This is misleading.  What happened was that this person had lobbied to return as a sub-contractor for a non-competitive bid for energy incentives savings under the PUC program.  This happened as the CALPOP program where the worker worked with employees to develop a “savings” change to the process and at the same time he returned as an employee and them claimed he had never worked on this to share the PUC rebate with the contractor, although he is still working as a consultant on city time.

    3) Some of you have been referring to the pending biosolids sculpture as wasteful art.  This is also misleading.  It is an interpretive mound of one days worth of treated excrement.  There is really nothing that could top this one by having our wives and daughters excrement formed into an interpretive piece of art on plant grounds.  This is not technically a statue, it’s art.

    • FYI trivia on Item 3 for art using our wives and daughters excrement:

      “Our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate up to 100 grams of fiber a day and had an average stool weight of 2 pounds,” says Mark Hyman, MD, the editor of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine and author of The UltraSimple Diet (Pocket Books, 2007).

      “Today, the average American eats less than 8 grams of fiber a day, and the average bowel movement is a puny 4 ounces.” That’s a problem, he says, because the bowels are key to the body’s elimination process. When traffic is backed up, toxins from the bowel leach back into the body and can cause a multitude of inflammation-based health problems in everything from your digestion and skin to your heart and brain. They can also disrupt hormonal balance and immunity. The bottom line, Hyman says: “If stools are hard and hard to pass, you’ve got a problem.”

      I say Santa Clara valley residents need to match our pre-historic ancestors poop output to make a viable art sculpture for the Plant

  34. instead of working in this corrupted why don’t you get a job elsewhere (your position is underpaid by at least 20%). Everybody who was worth something has already left. Can’t? Not employable? May be you are not worth even what you are paid.

    Or better write non-science fiction novels. All your twisted facts have been investigated (only God knows how much money was wasted on this). And these investigations initiated by your numerous anonymous complaints to various authorities and newspapers showed that other than twisting the facts you can’t even write a science fiction.

    And, btw, we all know who you are, so be men, bring your concerns to the open, learn the real facts, not the twisted ones, decide for yourself whether you want to continue to work here or leave, if you are worth something. Otherwise, continue to leave in non-science fiction world of lie and twisted facts and misguided anger.

    • I dont know what your a veteran in, except shoveling shit to the public, turning this on the workers who ACTUALLY run this place, Im sure you know where you can go, so why dont you MAN up and tell us who you are. But your not. probably a spineless jellyfish like Bill Pounders who is sucking what is the pay for two operators and he has done nothing but create more hate out here. You could say Bill pounders is a good ole boy and his little cronies are just as corupt and YOU know WHO YOU are. VETERAN whatever. Your in management and you know it.

  35. People, people, people.  First of all, on behalf of management and “veteran” I want to apologize for his mindless ranting.  He obviously forgot his meds last week and his posting is clearly a manifestion of his mental state without meds.

    Although, I must admit, his use of poor spelling, grammar, verb agreement, run-on sentences, and non-sequiturs, are irony at its best.

    And, I know what you’re all thinking, how can a manager in the 21st Century still call out employees to, “be men.”  I know, it’s awkward,(God only knows
    how much money we’ve spent on his senstivity and equality trainings).  And I know what you’re going to say next, “how can he say be a man when he is posting
    in the same anonomous manner?”  Our only answer is: meds and hypocrosy of course.  In veteran’s defense, we are under a lot of stress, especially with these Mercury News investitations covering topics already mentioned in this blog.  I know from my own experience that when the reporter called me
    for an intervew, I was scared, I was petriried, I wondered what was the last non-science fiction book I read, kept thinking I could never live without another lie for the headworks, and then, when the reporter asked about the $75K in evergy rebates recevied for the headworks pumps that we never even use during the past several years, I knew the goose was cooked.  And so, in these stressfull times, we do what we can to survive and sometimes forget to take our ongoing medication.

    Now, Mr. Veteran, I need to mention that we must be very careful when we say that incidents have been reported and been found to be groudless as you indicate. This is very dangerous in that such reports would be public information and the Mercury News, (or anyone), could request a list of the complaints
    and the responses.  This of course would be determintal to us as an organization so please keep that one under your hat.  Perhaps it would be better
    if you could draft a presentation of all the rumors and falsehoods that have been reported and make a presentation to the employees so that we can put all of this behind us without having to further berate and insult the very people you are supposed to be leading?

    In closing, I want to make two things clear: Non-fiction is writing that presents the truth, somewhat like articles dealing with the headworks and CALPOP fiascos. Fiction is the make believe things, like
    Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Poopy Pants Pete, or most of the claimed education, experience and knowledges listed on our fellow managers resumes.  I understand never having graduated from the 13th grade is a difficult cross to bare, but, well, it sucks to be you.

    • “I understand never having graduated from the 13th grade is a difficult cross to bare, but, well, it sucks to be you.”

      …Ouch!!! Like a double edge exacto knife slit around the guts! 5x around and 10x vertical slits!!!  Like a parrot, using and repeating high falutin words just to impress others that you know something..mind you, you don’t know sh*t!

      I can see this person’s head fuming red and huffing a like wolf and blow these people down with a chin-e-chin chin.

      So Mr. veteran, better practice seppuku. This is the best and honorable act you can do for the Plant!

      I am always in your meeting…the one habitually looking at the ceiling…due to your BS!

  36. Plant Manager X,

    YOU are criticizing someone elses spelling?
    A quick perusal of your amusing post revealed the following misspelled words:

    non-sequiturs
    senstivity
    hypocrosy
    anonomous
    investitations
    intervew
    petriried
    evergy
    recevied
    stressfull
    groudless
    determintal
    bare (as in cross to bare)

    Obviously you’re a fairly poor speller yourself.
    (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

    • Thank you, Mr.Galt. You are hereby designated as the official typo/spelling error/content monitor/guardian/quality controller. We need a lot of gatekeepers here in the Plant.

      I prefer the contents of the messages in this blog.

      You must be a bean counter or a knitter in your previous life. A very detailed oriented fellow indeed. Just like some of our very hard working Plant workers here.

      Well, it’s nice to have people like you. Sure we like you to be part of the Plant to monitor and audit the capital expenditures (and the cronyisms) in the Plant.

  37.     This Jones Day Report from the City Manager & City Attorney’s Office was produced after I had submitted an entire package, as an Executor Board Member of MEF, around 3 months before I retired in January 2008 and prior to Les White’s retirement.  I had pressed Debra Figone who had taken over from Les White’s management.  I had discovered after I had submitted my package (a very large one concering Vested Rights, Contractual Agreement (s), Constitutionally tried cases in both the U.S. Supreme and State Supreme Courts that P&F had also submitted something from their retained legal counsel; interesting that in the City Attorney’s hired gun (Jones Day – Independent Law Firm) 50 page report that it cites the very same cases we provided.)   We did not get word of the Legal Independent Study until after.

        The Independent Study was in response to both my & P &F’s submittals regarding these same issues to get an outside legal opinion.  I had made formal demand for the Legal Opinion result from their Independent Law Firm right prior to my retirement, and finally we received a formal response, but were not provided the actual Legal Opinion itself.  It was produced after my Retirement.  We were given a Memo that stated that the City Manager & City Attorney were mostly in general agreement with us with only a few minor differences as to legal opinion.  At that time they seemed to admit that they were incorrect in their assumptions that they could make willy-nilly type changes to Retirement Benefits after the fact and change the games rules after the game is almost over.  It appeared that they were telling us that they weren’t going to pursue any political moves and drew back from those vain political thoughts.  It now seems that they are using the if’s, maybe’s, possible legal curves & corners of the Independent Study upon which to premise their pursuit of ‘changes’ to the current Retirement Benefit & System for both present Retirees and Active Employees.  I believe this is the basis of their strategy.

        The Study needs to be heavily analyzed.  As with most Attorney’s their premises and assumptions are based on the possibilites that a Court / Judge might be swayed at this difficult economic time and according to their deficits and their claimed ‘emergency fiscal’ status and need for ‘reform.’  However, it seems to be clear from this Study that our rights, which we claimed were untouchable and not open to negotiation, was correct, with very minor exception – the exception being that they have to replace a benefit taken away with a benefit elsewhere that makes up for one we give up and only if we want to give it up, or that they want to change.

        However, if you read the Independent Study Report it repeatedly states that our rights are protected, and the terms and conditions that existed at the time of our employment, as well as meeting the criteria and qualifications at the time of our actual retirement qualified/s us for the benefits we expected, earned, merited, and deserve, as well as were promised to us, and that were used to entice us for employment in the first place as well as were used as incentive to keep us working as a long time career public employee for the City of San Jose.  They cannot change, eliminate, reduce, or remove a benefit without replacement of a beneficial equal to or better than the one they offered to us, and it is up to us to accept or reject.  It is also an illegal act for the Union or City Council to negotiate away our constitutionally protected pension & healthcare benefits after we have earned them, vested and retired.  I believe both the City Council as well as the Union [if the Union begins or enters into any official negotiations with the City of San Jose regarding our Retirement Benefits (of Retirees) is illegal] can be sued.

  38. Zoran, what the heck are you babbling on about? is this related to the City cutting the retirement benefits of Plant staff? If we were a special district (like the Water District), then we would be released from being chained the dead corpse that is the City of San Jose. We could have our own “Golden Spigot” as they say at the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

    • I believe the babble you are referring to is an explaination from the cities own attorney’s that what Chuck, Deb, and their posse of sycophants AKA the city council (well, except for 3 of them) are trying to ram down our throats is totally illegal, which makes me wonder why I even get my panties all up in a bunch over their empty threats, I guess it’s cuz’ I’m such a people person, and I care so much(lol).
          As soon as our “dear leader” declares martial law, um’ I mean “emergency fiscal powers”, his dictatorial regime will get pimp slapped by a judge issuing multiple injunctions against his actions and costing the tax payers a rediculous amount of money to defend their position, end of story.

        And you are correct, becoming a water district would save us from constant pillaging of the coffers of TPAC by the city of san jose, and besides that, we would no longer be a dumping ground for downtown employees that get “bumped” into positions they know little or nothing about, simply because they are in the good graces of upper management.

  39. Seems to me that by moving ESD staff out of the plant, and into city hall, and using TPAC money to pay the rent at city hall when there’s empty offices at the plant, yes they can take money from ESD, its just a roundabout way of doing it, amongst other questionable schemes currently in progress.