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Origin of landfill fire may never be known

Original post made on Jul 25, 2008

The fire that burned for almost a day this week at the Palo Alto landfill compost area may have been started by something that was unloaded in the area, but city officials may never know for certain what actually started the fire.
Related stories:
  • Firefighetrs watch for hot spots in landfill fire

  • Firefighters battle smoky dump fire all night

    Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 25, 2008, 11:09 AM
  • Comments (48)

     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Hose Public Works
    a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Jul 25, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    This is not the first time a statement from Public Works has been so dead wrong.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Stop The Composting!
    a resident of Professorville
    on Jul 25, 2008 at 5:02 pm


    The composting facility is a massive and dangerous operation which should not be allowed near here.

    The breakdown of the organic components produces highly flammable methane gas.

    Methane is a huge contributor to green house gas.

    Compost piles need to be turned often to expose them to the air and cool them down. The anaerobic breakdown of the organics generates tremendous heat deep inside the pile. A probe is needed to test the internal temperature of the pile to make sure that an accident like this (spontaneous combustion) does not happen.

    This area is over the old city dump which emits methane gas from the ground. Other toxic and flammable volatiles also degas through the soils of old dumps.

    Let's move this operation out of Palo Alto.


    After this accident, perhaps we should consider giving our climate change award back to Mr. Keene and Mr.. Benest.

    We don't deserve it.



     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Resident
    a resident of Professorville
    on Jul 25, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    For more information about spontaneous combustion in compost piles from the State of California, please read the following:


    Web Link


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Too Much GHG Methane
    a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Jul 26, 2008 at 1:50 am

    I don't think many people would be burning firewood, or Presto Logs on a weekday, in the middle of summer, as Mr. Roberts suggests.

    We have a burn ban advisory with general poor air quality this summer.
    Most people would not be burning fires, and put it into their weekday trash pick up.

    This sounds like Public Works is trying to blame this on citizens, when the maintenance of the operation is likely at fault.

    It's not the first time Public Works has said something untrue, to try and save themselves.

    Read more about methanogenesis and the decay of organic material. Methane is a huge contributor to green house gas (GHG) with a global warming potential 25 times greater than carbon dioxide.
    CO2 + 4 H2 CH4 + 2H2O

    CH3COOH CH4 + CO2

    Web Link

    Please ask council to close the composting operation ASAP.

    Composting sounds "Green", but this massive industrial operation is nothing like your backyard compost pile (which is a good thing).


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Ignorance--Thy Name Is Palo Alto City Government
    a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
    on Jul 26, 2008 at 9:08 am

    Web Link

    Spontaneous combustion of compost heaps
    The phenomena of spontaneous ignition due to internal heating in bulk solids such as coal, grain, hay, wool wastes etc. can be described by thermal explosion theory as developed by Semenov and Frank-Kamenetskii (Frank-Kamenetskii, 1969; Bowes, 1984). In such models heat release is usually represented by a single Arrhenius reaction and combustion is initiated when heat-loss is unable to balance heat generation by the internal heating of the bulk material. However in industrial processes involving large volumes of bulk organic materials there are two sources of heat-generation: a low-temperature process involving the growth and respiration of micro-organisms, such as aerobic mould-fungi and bacteria, and a high-temperature process due to oxidation of cellulosic materials. We are investigating simple models to predict the thermal behaviour of cellulosic materials in the presence of micro-organisms (biomass) undergoing exothermic reactions.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by CHnCider
    a resident of Downtown North
    on Jul 26, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    Who said the sources were limited to fireplace materials? Ever heard of a barbeque?

    Right - Nobody ever uses charcoal briquets in the summer time, and certainly no Palo Alto resident would ever throw them in the trash. Tell me another fairy tale - or maybe you'd just rather continue with your self rightous government bashing?


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Did Fire Descend From Heaven or Ascend From Hell?
    a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
    on Jul 26, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    > Nobody ever uses charcoal briquets in the summer time, and
    > certainly no Palo Alto resident would ever throw them in the trash

    Leaving BBQ coals still burning in a park is certainly possible. But putting them in a green waste container, and haul them to the dump, still burning, so quickly that the coals don't burn themselves out .. please .. why not just claim that "the devil did it" .. that would be more believable ..

    Now .. back to your regularly scheduled program ..


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by CHnCider
    a resident of Downtown North
    on Jul 26, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    Bedeviled by the facts, are you? Here's a suggestion for ya, Bubba - try reading the waste composition study on the Palo Alto waste stream that was performed by an independent consultant in order to develop the goals for the Zero Waste program. See what it says about residual materials such as fireplace logs, presto logs, charcoal briquettes, etc.

    What's that you say - too busy, can't be bothered, not sure if it's available (it is a public document), can't believe it anyway since we know those consultants are all just schills for incompetent city officials, they planted the info in the report since they knew this kind of event would happen some day, yada, yada, yada............

    Never let the facts get in the way of a good preconceived notion and bias, that's your motto! Believe what you want; it won't change the truth. If you have any interest in finding out what that might be, do a little real world research before you spout off with your pseudo intellectual drivel.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by anti-nimby
    a resident of Barron Park
    on Jul 26, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Note that the problem was in the green waste (pre-process) pile- not the compost (post-process), so stop blaming the compost. It is not a villain.

    If anyone of you has ever visited the area where the green waste gets placed you would see that contractors and the people you all hire on the cheap to clean your yards, dump all kinds of stuff that doesn't belong in the green waste pile. It is cheaper to dump green waste than garbage so people bury garbage under their green waste to get through the gate cheaper.

    This is a fact every day out there and I have reported people when I have seen them do it. I have seen garbage, oily rags, paints and solvents. It is surprising fire does not happen more often. The staff can only do so much and they aren't about to risk their safety over arguing with people- they say they have been spit at, cursed at, physically threatened, etc. and suddenly lots of people feign to not be able to speak english when city staff try to communicate with them.

    How illogical of some of you to think that if the compost moves somewhere else it doesn't make GHG. If the compost operation goes elsewhere it will make the same amount of GHG PLUS we'll make more transporting it and shipping it back to us to use on city projects.

    The landfill will be closed soon enough and the recycling center will get smaller. Hope you all enjoy the drive to Sunnyvale. Something you can put on your list to whine over later.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Resident
    a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Jul 26, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Anti-Nimby-

    The dump and composting facility are clearly out of control - I'm glad you can see that.

    It is time to close the facility and let others who are more knowledgeable about compost and dump fires (from toxic fumes), take control of this.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Liar Liar Compost on Fire
    a resident of Professorville
    on Jul 26, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    CHnCider-

    According to the first article. The fire was in the composting area.

    "The fire was limited to a 2-acre area where composting is done, Barbara Cimino, emergency manager for the city, said.

    Cimino said the fire was started after a PASCO truck delivered a load of raw green waste that "contained some combustible elements."

    Hmm...PASCO - therefore not a private citizen.

    "The burning material included natural vegetation and sawdust. No hazardous materials burned."

    With all the toxic GHG producing stuff out at the dump, you would think that some of that smoke was toxic, but guaranteed use citizens will never hear the truth about that.

    Public Works will likely find some way to paint a "Green" picture of this disaster.

    "Large amounts of smoke and smoke odor were present in south Palo Alto and Mountain View because of the fire"

    Neighboring cities and commuters know we added enormous amounts of particulates into the air, noxious odors, and GHG emissions.

    It seems that only the Public Works department will downplay the seriousness of this incident, blame it on a private resident, and use a consultant's report to back them up.

    Good luck with this one.

    Also mentioned in the Weekly's article,

    "This was a deep-seated fire in the huge compost/wood chip piles, a type of fire that is very difficult to extinguish," Fire Incident Commander Don Dudak said. "It requires a long and methodical sifting process by crews to safely remove many tons of organic material to reach the hot spots and burning embers underneath the pile, and then saturate with water to extinguish them."


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Schneider
    a resident of Downtown North
    on Jul 26, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Hey "Liar" -

    My, my, aptly self titled now, aren't we? Did ya ever stop to think (evidently not!) that the generalized dscription of the "composting area" in the article includes both the green waste drop off and processing areas? Duh! And where do you think the PASCO trucks pick up the green waste from - Mars? Or maybe it comes from Palo Alto residences.......... You and "Fire" seem to have a lot in common - maybe you're both Dianna Diamond under cover?


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by An Employee
    a resident of The Greenhouse
    on Jul 27, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    I want to know why. CHnCider, quit avoiding the question and trying to throw the blame on the Resisdents and Pasco.
    Why was the required equipment (The Landfills Water Truck)not on the site when the fire was spotted?


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Resident
    a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Jul 27, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    The photos from Freeman Bradford appear like the fire was in the compost pile.

    Web Link


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Senor Blogger
    a resident of Palo Verde
    on Jul 28, 2008 at 8:02 am

    Folks:

    I have ab idea....

    Why doesn't the City commission a $75,000 study to determine the source of the ffire?

    SB


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Concerned Resident
    a resident of Barron Park
    on Jul 28, 2008 at 10:56 am

    The truth of the matter is that the fire would have never happened if the water truck was on site. I do not want these fumes intoxicating my grandchildren. Sure we are told just stay in your house and you will be ok. I found out that the water truck was at the garage. I also found out that the water truck is very old with a severe leak in the tank that renders it useless. So residents prepare to stay in your house more often because this was not the first fire. Who is in charge of replacing our cities vehicles? We also have old fire trucks. I spoke to a young fire fighter when a fire truck broke down once and he said he thought the truck was 25 years old. Is the same Manager responsible for our fire trucks replacment? I hope these same fire trucks are not the ones going to put out these toxic fires.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Long Time Resident
    a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Jul 28, 2008 at 11:51 am

    I think that the city would rather spend the money on a consulant's report to prove it was not their fault (to avoid a possible citation), rather than on the purchase of a new water truck.

    Any "New" water truck will likely be a used (reconditioned) water truck. With a limited warranty..

    This happens a lot with used the used equipment that the city purchases.

    Money is better spent on consultant's to hide the truth.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Composter
    a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
    on Jul 28, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Resident writes: "It is time to close the facility and let others who are more knowledgeable about compost and dump fires (from toxic fumes), take control of this. "

    Because you know those operations in the Central Valley are run by people who are way smarter than Palo Altans. Remember the Tracy tire fire? Yes, the Central Valley is a very nice place to dump our wastes.
    _______________
    Sarcasm aside, I am glad to see that the vast majority of Palo Alto Online Readers want to keep a composting operation in town. Here is the current pole from the front page (and the percentages haven't changed since the fire):

    Should Palo Alto keep its composting operation in the baylands or relocate it out of town when the dump closes in 2011?

    Keep it in the baylands: 80.46%

    Relocate it out of town: 19.54%

    Total votes: 691


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by ferd
    a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Jul 28, 2008 at 9:05 pm

    maybe if this fleet manager has been so delinquint on this water truck replacement that there maybe other vehicles like fire trucks and other emergency vehicles have fallen in to his little ring of lazeness and its time someone woke him up like his boss glenn
    roberts or city council.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Baylands Lover
    a resident of Stanford
    on Jul 28, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Our family loves the Baylands. Our children studied about the wildlife and ecology of the baylands.

    The composting facility is not ecologically friendly.
    When we visit, the earth moving equipment make it noisy and upsetting to nesting birds, burrowing animals, and the little salt marsh harvest mouse.

    The word "composting" sounds like an organic thing to do, but this is far from it.

    This fire enlightened us to the dangers associated with spontaneous combustion that happens in compost piles. When we were last out there the compost mountain was enormous. It is no wonder why there was a fire. It was a very hot summer day.

    One of the bloggers mentioned that barbequeing was to blame.
    Most people are refraining from using their barbeques since air pollution has been a problem this summer with all of the fires.
    I tend to agree that this excuse is rather far fetched. Spontaneous combusion seems more likely.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Resident
    a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Jul 28, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    Ferd -

    I don't blame the hard working employees as much as I blame the head honcho of that department - that Roberts guy. Based on past disasters, he often finds a way to put the blame on someone else except himself. If the guys were doing their job but had broken equipment, whose fault would that be?


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Past Employee
    a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Jul 29, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Keith Lahaie is the Fleet Manager who has neglected to replace the water truck. He is the same person who has neglected to replace all the fire trucks. And yes the fire trucks are 25 plus years old and they break down everyday. If you live in Palo Alto I would suggest having very good fire insurance and a good garden hose. You have some of the best fire fighters in your town but they NEED new trucks. It is not the landfill employee's fault that the water truck breaks down every few days. The comment someone made about the truck having a bad leak is true. The employee's have asked for a new truck for many years now because they said by the time you fill it up it seems like it is going empty. Does Keith care? No, he refers to his budget (tax payers money) as monopoly money. So as long as you resident's keep giving him monopoly money and do not ask questions he will continue to use your money improperly.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Hose Public Works
    a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Jul 29, 2008 at 10:42 pm

    So what's the latest story that y'all have agreed upon?

    The first answer is usually the truth -

    The second is typically an excuse -

    The third is to point the blame -

    And the Fleet Manager works for who?

    This was the first answer...

    "This was a deep-seated fire in the huge compost/wood chip piles, a type of fire that is very difficult to extinguish," Fire Incident Commander Don Dudak said. "It requires a long and methodical sifting process by crews to safely remove many tons of organic material to reach the hot spots and burning embers underneath the pile, and then saturate with water to extinguish them."


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Keith LaHaie
    a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 9:41 am

    No CHnCider is not the Fleet Manager, I am. I think it would probably be better to get the facts from the source (me) rather than from anonymous posters who obviously have an axe to grind. My phone and email address are public record. I will not use this forum for the discussion of official City business.

    Keith LaHaie
    Fleet Manager
    City of Palo Alto


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by An Employee
    a resident of The Greenhouse
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 10:38 am

    To The Fleet Manager,

    The facts are that you are not doing your job.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Palo Parent
    a resident of Greenmeadow
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 10:52 am

    fireman/Employee: What part of: "I will not use this forum for the discussion of official City business." did you not comprehend?


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Concerned Resident
    a resident of Barron Park
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    To the Fleet Manager,

    I appreciate you coming forward and letting us know your name and that you are the one responsible for what is happening in our city. I would like you to post your phone number so I can call you to ask more questions.
    Many people on this blog have questions they need answers to. Here are three simple yes and no questions.
    1. Are our fire trucks past due for replacment?
    2. Is this water truck past due for replacment?
    3. Could this toxic fire been resolved better with a functional water truck?
    And to say that offical city buisness will not be discussed here is saying that you do not want the public to know more information about this.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by An Employee
    a resident of The Greenhouse
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    Palo parent,

    What part of: "I will not use this forum for the discussion of official City business." did you not comprehend?

    I dont comprehend any of since He is is a Public Employee and like me we work for you and the other residents of are fine city but like you I am a parent and safety is my main concern when it comes to my family. My axe to grind is for the truth to come out, the real truth
    not made up stories. This is a good place to have a discussion. and I would like to see more people post there concerns.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Palo Parent
    a resident of Greenmeadow
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    What part of: "I will not use this forum for the discussion of official City business." did you not comprehend?

    There, I slowed it down for you. Does it make sense now? Just because some forum exists that is run by a private company does not compel anyone, city employee or not, to answer to it. There is a proper oversight protocol for management of city employees. If this is so important to you, run for office or apply for those management jobs and stop blathering on about something that is out of your control.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by An Employee
    a resident of The Greenhouse
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Thank You,

    Palo Parent,Keith,CHnCider and what ever Character you are trying to Portray, Maybe it is time to except your fault, you have just about run out of Employees to blame, now accept your guilt and close a work order or maybe you should attend a meeting or finish the fuel Island or even replace some of junkie equipment which you where hired to do.
    Just do it.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Palo Parent
    a resident of Greenmeadow
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    fireman/An Employee: Your spelling is giving you up. Except/Accept the truth.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by An Employee
    a resident of The Greenhouse
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Thank you fireman and really Thank you for all you do, I am already caught so there is no more to be lost. Those that work with me know that I have taken a stand, it is a stand that needs to be taken.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Baylands Lover
    a resident of Stanford
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Have there been other fires like this at the composting facility?
    I am concerned about this. I am concerned about the wildlife, and the pollution from the smoke, and the noise of the equipment.
    I would like to get involved in this to have this operation stopped.
    Do I write to the mayor or the city manager or this department manager?


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by An Employee
    a resident of The Greenhouse
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    Do I write to the mayor or the city manager or this department manager?
    Posted by Baylands Lover, a resident of Stanford

    At this point I do not know. sorry


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Resident
    a resident of Professorville
    on Jul 30, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    If the fire trucks are 25 years old as reported, we need new ones.
    If we need a new water truck, we must buy one immediately.
    This is absolutely necessary for the safety of the employees and citizens. It doesn't seem fair that the guys making the decisions can sit safetly on their duffs in city hall while hard working employees risk their lives with dangerous sub standard equipment.

    If the composting and dump are closed, we can give the water truck to the tree watering department-if it is not too mucked up from the dump.




     +   Like this comment
    Posted by New Employee
    a resident of Charleston Gardens
    on Jul 31, 2008 at 10:46 am

    I am new to the City of Palo Alto. I am not new to a City work enviroment. I have been to the garage for granted fuel access and I think Keith is not a bad person.
    I do not work in Public Works. I know Keith is reading these posts and I just want to say that I dont think anyone in here wants to just bash you. What they are trying to say is there are alot of outdated vehicles/fire trucks/tractors/heavy duty type of equipment in this City.
    When the workers start to get blamed for not doing their job correctly because they do not have operation equipment then the focus becomes the person who is supposed to provide the operational equipment. In my department we have old outdated vehicles. I have only been here for 2 months and people in my department have already told me that you will not replace the vehicles even though they keep breaking down. They told me they email and call you but do not get a responce. Im sure you are busy but you should try and repsond. Other departments should speak up on here also but do not bash Keith try and help him. Tell him why you are upset.
    The posting from the Baylands lover asked who do I write to have this operation stopped. You can speak to other residents and have a petition filled out and submit it to council. The compost/dump is projected to close in the next few years. The way things work as far as petitions and coucil agenda it may take longer than a few years if you started now.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Roberts
    a resident of Midtown
    on Jul 31, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    The Lahaie 9000s CP Processor does not support Human interaction but thanks for the comment.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Resident
    a resident of Professorville
    on Jul 31, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    Good evidence photos from Freeman.
    The photos on day 1 show the fire in the compost pile.
    The pile clearly looms above the equipment. According to the Law Enforcement Agency (LEA) memo from the State of California, this is clearly above the safety limit, and could cause a combustion fire.

    The fire occurred on a record hot weekday.

    Additionally, the photos from day 1 show no water truck on site.

    The photos from day 2 show a rental water truck dousing the pile.

    Maybe it is less expensive to pay for a monthly rental on a reliable water truck, tractors, and other needed equipment rather than buy our own.

    The phone numbers and email addresses of people in the state are on the above link.

    Residents can email their concerns to the state about what has happened here.

    Do it!


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Resident
    a resident of Professorville
    on Aug 1, 2008 at 12:10 am

    I forgot to mention the address of the California Integrated Waste Management Board for the rules and regulations regarding compost operations in our state.

    If you wish to report what has happened here, please see this link Web Link

    The Mercury News reported that the compost piles were 15 feet tall.
    Web Link


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Baylands Lover
    a resident of Stanford
    on Aug 1, 2008 at 11:47 am

    After reading the link to the article in The Mercury News, it seems like the city does not care about the pollution or the damage to our environment. The article has a quote from an employee which says "It probably cost more in the time of people fighting the fire than it did in any damage itself", Roberts said.

    This is upsetting since this fire clearly added to our air pollution problems. The particulate matter in the air made it hard for many to breathe. I thought that we (like other cities) were trying to cut down on our green house gas production.

    My children were concerned about the wildlife out at the Baylands.
    Their habitat would be impacted by the fire, smoke, and disturbed by the additional equipment needed out there to make sure the fire was out.

    It would seem that dump fires would likely produce toxic fumes, and for this reason we are staying away from this area until the winter.

    The statement by this employee makes it seems that our city simply does not care. :(




     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Herb Borock
    a resident of Professorville
    on Aug 1, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    Agenda Item #7 on the City Council's August 4, 2008, agenda's Consent Calendar is for approval of a purchase order for several trucks, including a 3,600 gallon water truck.

    The city staff report is at Web Link

    The attachment to the staff report, including the previously approved Capital Improvement Project (CIP) is at Web Link

    According to the staff report, the 3,600 gallon water truck priced at $205,650 in the recommended bid was already included in the CIP, but the same water truck is not included in the significant purchases itemized in the CIP with values ranging from $165,000 to $780,000.

    Those of you who are not City employees and are interested in getting more detail may want to accept the Fleet Manager's offer to discuss any concerns you may have about the water truck replacement.

    I can understand why an anonymous employee on this thread might not want to disclose his or her name.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Thanks Herb
    a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Aug 1, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Dear Mr. Borock -

    Thanks for this information


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Concerned
    a resident of JLS Middle School
    on Aug 1, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Mr. Herb Borock,

    I and others, I am sure choose to remain anonymous Due to the retaliation factor, please do not take this the wrong way. I fear that my Job and others could be put in Jeopardy if I were to post my real name. I and others are concerned with how the City has handled recent events namely the Fire at the landfill, as Employee,s and residents of Palo Alto and sorrouding areas we do care. We care that are Landfill Crews do not have the proper equipment to handle daily occurences Safely, are Fire Department Heroes to have the state of the art Technology, as well as all the Employees through out the city. This is for our safety as well as yours.

    Just another Employee that is concerned


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Another Employee
    a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Aug 6, 2008 at 11:42 am

    TO Herb Borock (Keith Lahaie or Glenn Roberts)

    You are posting information stating that there are new trucks on order.

    No one is questioning that you may have new trucks on order.

    The concern is this SHOULD have been done years ago. So listen to your departments and employee's when it comes to equipment needing replacment. As you can see it affects the resident's.

    [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

    Maybe a reporter from this newspaper would like to further investigate the water truck situation?


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Even Another Employee
    a resident of Downtown North
    on Aug 6, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    To whom it may concern,
    Many a problem has been brought to the present Fleet Managers attention, this includes Vehicle issues, Training for workers, and Worker Safety. Anybody who questioned,complained, or dissagreed, was made to look like the problem, and eventualy was forced to quit there position or to transfer to a different position in the City. This is true ask for the Employee turnover rates for the MSC Garage workers were not listened to by The Fleet Manager or Human Resorces, or Glenn Roberts. Check this out for yourselves.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Concerned Resident
    a resident of Jordan Middle School
    on Aug 11, 2008 at 11:30 am

    I hope that the city ordered at least one new water truck for the composting operation.

    I hope that the State notified their county inspectors to reassess the situation out at the Baylands (which was clearly out of control),
    and come up with detailed site mitigation plans.

    Violations occurred which endangered city employees, residents, wildlife, and our environment.

    The State regulations were NOT being followed.

    We were lucky that no firefighters or other employees were seriously injured.

    I hope that this incident will raise awareness to the dangers of this operation.

    Perhaps council will consider closing the composting facility and move it to a less populated area.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Jay Reynolds
    a resident of Old Palo Alto
    on Aug 13, 2008 at 11:23 am

    My name is Jay Reynolds and I am a concerned Resident. First I was concerned with only the composting location fire. After reading this thread I feel there is much larger concern with City Management. It is clear that the fire could have been avoided and I do not want to just sit back and read about the next catastrophe. We (the residents) deserve an explination Mr Lahiae, Mr Roberts, and I understand there is a Mr Reiser that maybe responible also. To state I will not conduct City buisness on this website is perpostrous. If none of you care to respond to this then I would like the Chief Editor of the weekly to please post his contact information.


     +   Like this comment
    Posted by Not An Employee
    a resident of Jordan Middle School
    on Aug 13, 2008 at 1:43 pm


    Jay -

    This violation has been reported to the state and county.
    They were able to view the photos from both threads on this online forum.

    There is not much they can do about our internal (city management) problems. In this case, it is now with Public Works.

    Residents must write to council members or speak at council meetings to alert them to the problems within this department.

    Residents (who are not employees) have nothing to fear - The Director of Public Works and his senior staff cannot take action against citizens for making suggestions regarding needed equipment, and other issues regarding the safety of our city employees.

    This forum is a good way for city employees to let (us) residents know about problems (all of them), and what equipment is needed to continue safe operations within the city.

    After reading this forum, perhaps residents will feel compelled to write to their council members.


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