Palo Alto, fired library contractor exchange 'cover up' accusations

City says Flintco failed to turn over documents relating to Mitchell Park Library construction

The court battle between the City of Palo Alto and the contractor it has accused of badly botching the long-delayed construction of the Mitchell Park Library and Community Center has taken on clandestine elements over the past month, with each side accusing the other of illegally hiding crucial documents.

In letters exchanged between attorneys for the city and its former contractor, Flintco Pacific, the two sides have levied fresh accusations at each other over construction documents relating to Mitchell Park. The city has alleged that Flintco is violating its contract by not turning over documents that are required for the new building to obtain LEED Platinum certification, a high achievement in green building. These documents relate to the "source and specific type of materials incorporated into the project, methodologies employed by the contractor to reduce waste and impact, and a significant number of other requirements," according to a June 23 letter that the city's retained attorney, David Ginn, sent to Flintco.

According to the letter, the city has been trying to get these documents from Flintco for some time, without much success. After a June 16 conversation between the two parties, Flintco allegedly indicated that all of the documents in its construction trailer are now available to the city and that these documents are responsive to all the deliverables identified in the construction contract.

Yet Assistant City Attorney Cara Silver found that while Flintco made the trailer documents available, "very little of the LEED documentation appear to be present." The letter suggests that the company may have intentionally removed these documents before granting the city access to the trailer.

"Ms. Silver observed that there was a large volume of documents that were removed by Flintco contemporaneous with its termination, and those documents have never been returned to the Project trailer or provided to the City," Ginn wrote.

Also in question is Flintco's electronic database, which includes project files that Flintco has asked for as part of a broad public-records request. While Flintco maintained that it did not keep a copy of the electronic database used during construction, Ginn's letter calls this allegation "doubtful based on the City's observation at the time of termination." Palo Alto fired the company in January after months of allegations of mistakes, delays, mismanagement and an insufficient work force.

"Your client went to extraordinary efforts to remove its documents from the Project trailer in a surreptitious manner," Ginn wrote to Flincto's attorney, Arthur Woodward of Sacramento firm Downey Brand LLP. "Your client spent days following its termination with several employees at multiple computers, all working feverishly. It seems doubtful that Flintco 'forgot' to make its own copy of the electronic project files."

Ginn said the city will "look into providing" Flintco with the electronic documents.

Flintco has vigorously denied withholding the LEED documents and called the city's accusations "unfounded and ill-informed." In a June 27 letter to Ginn, Woodward argued that the surety for the project and Big D, the company hired to finish Flintco's work, have a LEED consultant whose job it is to confirm that the project complies with all the necessary green criteria. To date, Flintco has not received any requests from the surety, Big D, or the consultant for the company to return LEED documents to the trailer.

"Flintco will not devote its resources explaining LEED documentation and compliance to the City, nor will not provide documents already in the city's possession or which are in the Project trailer," Woodward wrote. "Flintco no longer has access to the Project trailer or the Project. It was terminated."

Flintco's attorney also argues that Silver's observation that the company removed a "large volume of documents" from the trailer at the time of termination is "incorrect and implies that Flintco's intentions were malicious." The project, according to Flintco, was "97 percent complete" when the company was fired and it is "standard and customary industry practice" for a contractor to remove its documents and tools as the project nears completion. The company also denied that it removed the documents "in a surreptitious manner."

"When left to the imagination, your language implies that Flintco hired a special operation team to repel from the tree tops to the roof of the trailer who then removed documents through rooftop hatches under the stealth of the night," Woodward wrote. "The truth of the matter is that Flintco employees lawfully removed boxes of Flintco's documents and some of their personal property from the Project trailer in broad daylight."

He noted that the city had sent security guards to the trailer on Jan. 10, the day Flintco was fired, to confront the company's employees. Woodward alludes to the guards' "threatening manner" and claims that the city would "not even allow Flintco's employees to remove their own personal property."

Flintco has consistently argued that its firing was unnecessary and improper and has accused the city of fraud and breach of contract. It has blamed the failure to complete the project on shoddy plans and mistakes made by the city and its architects. Flintco has also claimed that the city's conduct "interfered with and hindered Flintco's progress and its good faith efforts to complete the Project in a timely and workmanlike manner."

To bolster its case, Flintco has been trying to obtain from the city reams of documents relating to the construction. In its claim, Woodward wrote that Flintco is seeking "millions of dollars," though it purposely does not include a dollar amount in its claim, according to Woodward. It is also arguing that the city is not turning over all the records Flintco has requested.

"The City is plainly trying to hide as much as it possibly can about the myriad of missteps it made at the beginning of the Project and throughout the entire construction process," Woodward wrote.

In a separate letter sent on July 9, Woodward accuses the city of a "cover up" that continued throughout the course of the construction.

"The City perpetuated its cover up through numerous staff reports to the City Council and numerous press releases that blamed Flintco for responsibility for the Project's problems," the letter states. "The City's cover ups continued through and after the termination of Flintco in press releases designed to perpetuate the cover up and conceal the true reasons for the Project delays and cost increases."

According to the June 27 letter, Flintco had submitted its public records request to the city in February and "has yet to receive an adequate production from the City."

"The Public Records Act mandates that the City produce documents in a timely manner," Woodward wrote. "Five months is patently untimely. Flintco has already waited much too long and will not wait any longer for the City to fulfill its mandatory statutory duty."

The June letter notified the city that Flintco will seek the court's assistance in obtaining the documents if it does not receive them by July 3.

Two weeks later, the company filed a lawsuit with the Santa Clara County Superior Court asking the court to declare that the city is violating the California Public Records Act and to command the city to produce all records relating to Flintco's information request.

The request includes 49 categories of documents, including all documents and correspondence between city employees regarding the project; all correspondence between employees and the City Council; and all documents relating to communication between the city, its architect (Group 4 Architects) and its construction manager, Turner Construction Company.

While the city has provided some documents in response, it has alleged in its response that many of the documents sought by Flintco are privileged and are not subject to disclosure. Flintco contests this claim and alleges in its lawsuit that the city "has improperly refused to allow Flintco access to public documents for which no privilege or exemption applies, as required by the CPRA."

"The City has failed to met its burden with regard to any of the claimed privileges or exemptions," Woodward wrote in the July 17 petition to the court. "As such, Flintco respectfully requests that the Court issue a writ of mandate commanding the City to produce all records responsive to the Request, without limitation."

The city expects the construction of Mitchell Park and Community Center to be completed at the end of this year.

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Posted by Morley
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 24, 2014 at 10:26 am

I guess I missed something, but this story says that the city and Flintco are litigating. The first paragraph starts, "The court battle between the City of Palo Alto and the contractor ... " When did this go to court? When did the city sue Flintco? Or Flintco sue the city? (I see in this morning's Daily Post that Flintco sued the city on July 17 over the city's failure to produce certain records in the case. But it doesn't seem as if that suit is about the problems with the project, just the city's alleged failure to comply with the Open Records Act.) And I've seen previously that one of the subcontractors sued Flintco. But when did the litigation over the project itself began? Am I missing something?

I ask because I've suspected since this controversy erupted that both sides were so embarrassed that they wouldn't fight in open court but would opt for a private forum to settle their dispute, something like arbitration or mediation, to keep it out of the public eye.

But Gennady if this is a court battle, as you say, then when did it begin? I'd like to read the complaint.

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Posted by randy albin
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 24, 2014 at 10:36 am

so now the stomach turns for one more day. why don't you get off of this kind of reporting? who cares about this? feel lucky that there are the libraries that are used. these guys should fight this out somewhere else

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Posted by courts are online
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 10:47 am

Web Link.

flintco sued palo alto

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Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 24, 2014 at 10:57 am

So when is the library due to open? And when is the former "Main" library due to open?

I'm SO tired of trying to reserve books only to find on they're still in storage.

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Posted by KP
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:01 am

There has been a whole neighborhood with a grocery store (which has opened, closed and opened again) and a Starbucks, built, along with a WHOLE KAISER HOSPITAL in RWC built, in less time than this library is taking.
This just make our city look so dumb, stupid, idiotic...pick one or all!!

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Posted by M Anderson
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:06 am

It's the City's project delivery process that's broken and most Cities and School Districts must accept low bid contracts from firm's that aren't properly qualified. It's the law they have to abide by, the one we as citizens have bound their hands with. Private Company's and Institutions aren't bound by these laws and rarely have these sort of blow ups. Stanford University, one of the areas largest purveyors of architectural/engineering and contracting services pre-qualifies contractors and engages the entire team at once. Disputes are handled as a team and I've rarely ever seen it get to a point where attorneys are engaged. As long as we hold municipalities and school districts to restrictive, outdated, low bid wins, no matter what the qualifications, requirements, this will always be the consequence.

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Posted by Judith Wasserman
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:09 am

to Silly - Mitchell Park is scheduled to open in November. Main Library (aka Rinconada) is on schedule, with 6 months to go.

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Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:11 am

Thanks, Judith. Let's hope so.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:12 am

A City our size having so many library branches makes very little sense, but the ballot question was never asked if we wanted them, just if we wanted to remodel Mitchell Park. The question never even asked what type of remodel we wanted.

This is what happens, we now have two unusable libraries and the children who we were told to think about, are now graduating high school!

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Posted by Lets-Give-The-City-Manager-Another-Raise!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:15 am

The United States fought, and won, World War II in less time it has taken this City Manager, and his vaunted Public Works staff, to build one little, ugly, building.

What a gigantic waste of time and money!

Guess it's time to give the City Manager and raise--he clearly is doing such a bang up job!

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Posted by Lets-Give-The-City-Manager-Another-Raise!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:18 am

> the children who we were told to think about,
> are now graduating high school

There are 17 school libraries in Palo Alto, which hold about as many books as the Palo Alto library did before this god-awful renovation was started. Moreover, there are millions of books on-line, which children have access to--as well as anyone else who is interested in getting a book on-line.

The children are not an issue here. They never were!

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Posted by The Shadow knows...........
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:18 am

There was a pre qualification process for the Library project, which was vetted by the offices of the then City Attorney, City Auditor, and City Manager. It was established within the criteria allowable under the State contracting codes applicable to municipal government agencies. Flintco met all of those criteria, and passed the pre qualification process.

The then City Attorney ruled that the City had no grounds for not accepting Flintco's low bid, and would in fact be liable for expenses incurred in preparing the bid and anticipated profit.

M Andersen is correct - the City's hands were tied by State law.

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Posted by Let's-Give-The-City-Manager-A-Raise!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:30 am

> city’s hands are tied by public law ..

Maybe, maybe not .. since Palo Alto is a Charter City, it has some leeway that general law cities do not. Take the following snippet about this latitude, for instance, when it comes to the bidding process for public works projects—

Web Link

However, the Public Contract Code provisions are narrowly construed so, unless a particular public entity is specifically subject to its provision, the Public Contract Code will not apply. For example, several California courts have held that charter cities are not subject to various provisions of the Public Contract Code competitive bidding provisions.246 However, the Code now states that if a charter city wishes to depart from the Public Contract Code, it must specifically set forth its alternative rules and procedures in its Charter.

So .. Palo Alto could modify its Charter in order to set higher qualifications for its public works projects.

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Posted by The Shadow knows.......
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:32 am

PS -

Some well known local contractors declined to participate in the pre- qualification process because they did not want to disclose their financial statements........... Therefore, they were not eligible to bid on the project.

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Posted by The Shadow knows......
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:38 am


So, why don't you initiate a Charter amendment (no small task, that!) to change Palo Alto's contracting requirements in a way that you think would have prevented the Flintco problem?

Perhaps you could spell that out here for us first?

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Posted by The Shadow knows.......
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:45 am


I said "The City's hands WERE tied by state law"

You misquoted me as saying "are tied".

It is clear that what I said is correct at the time the project was bid and awarded.

Your problematic potential solution is prospective at best.

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Posted by Let's-Give-The-City_Manager-A-Raise!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:58 am

> why don't you initiate a Charter amendment (no small task, that!

Perhpas I will .. but then again--why don't you, or perhaps the highly paid and overly underachieving City Manager, or the City Attorney or the City Council--they all claim to be professionals, or at least in the case of the Council members, our political betters.

By the way, there was an election within the last year, or so, to change the Charter so that the Fire Department employees would no longer be able to sandbag the City over salary negotiations using arbetration. That wasn't all that hard, as I remember.

The issue here is that with a lot of infrastructure spending on the horizon it would make sense to fully take advantage of the Chater's power to insure that the best, and most qualified, candidates are selected for these future public works projects.

As to the past, the City had the power to recognize this problem before they got into the Flintco contract. They also had the power under the current Charter to say "no thanks" to those bidding, and start over.

Yes, it's true that at the time, the City Manager and his minions used the process that was in place--but they were not restricted by State Law from changing the Charter prior to setting this proces in motion. (Let's not forget that lawyers will often claim: "You either knew, or should have known ..". The City Manager and his team are sitting on the hot seat when it comes to managing this project.")

BTW--this is an election year. What do you want to bet that none of the incumbents will be willing to talka about anything to do with this project, or any future public works projects?

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Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 24, 2014 at 12:09 pm

If the candidates don't address the problem, they've lost my vote. The media owe it to us to push the candidates for specific answers, not platitudes.

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Posted by Morley
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 24, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Dear "Courts are Online", the link you provided goes to the lawsuit over the production of open records filed July 17. It's not a lawsuit over the project itself, but is isolated to the records issue.

What I'm asking is: Did the city or Flintco file a suit over the project itself? Gennady seems to think so, but I haven't found the lawsuit.

My theory is that both the city and Flintco want to keep the dispute over the project out of court. It's too embarrassing to both parties.

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Posted by Terrence
a resident of University South
on Jul 24, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Lets-Give-The-City-Manager-Another-Raise!, it is not the library renovation that is godawful. The city's handling of the process is what is godawful. Who in the city government is responsible for babysitting this project? Are they still working for the city? If so, then why have they not been replaced with someone able to do the job?

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Posted by Time for A Clean Up
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Who's in charge at City Hall? Where is the competent leadership of the Department of Public Works? Is the City Council asleep? Time to clean up Palo Alto City Hall!

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Posted by courts online
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 24, 2014 at 3:33 pm


Only court case in Santa Clara involving Flintco and PA. The search is online.

start here.

Web Link

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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 4:55 pm

The Mitchell Park Library is hideous beyond belief, oversized, and in complete poor taste. What a waste of money for taxpayers. The incompetent city manager should be fired over this disastrous project. Palo Alto is getting uglier by the day.

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Posted by The Shadow knows........
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 5:07 pm

Not that there's any love lost for the current City Manager, but -

To be fair about all this, the decisions as to Library program/ # of branches, conceptual design, architectural design, and construction documents all were made before he arrived on the scene. Those decisions were made by prior City Councils and advised by several citizen panels.

His administration has been responsible for the contract award and construction management process.....

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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 24, 2014 at 5:38 pm

Another aspect to this suit will be change orders in order to pass building department inspections... Flintco will be using these specific change orders to support their case of inadequate plans being provided. And the fact that the city hired a project manager to manage the general contractor...

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Posted by The Shadow knows.........
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 6:39 pm

@ Common Sense:

Bingo! Rumor has it that the biggest single issue of a change order that started this whole mess was a combination of an error in the plans that left out structural steel in a shear wall, along with a Library Department request for a scope change/additional work after the project had been designed, bid, and awarded. That resulted in cost increases and schedule delays.

Flintco may very well have a legitimate basis for at least part of their claims. OTOH, Flintco's management of their subcontractors and suppliers was abominably bad, resulting in yet further delays and cost increases.. That is why the City retained a private project manger, to do what Flintco should have been doing in the first place.

Neither party is without fault here.

BTW, the errors in the plans were the responsibility of the private sector architect and structural engineer who prepared the construction drawings. There may well be a third party in all this litigation.

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Posted by purple
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 24, 2014 at 8:18 pm

[Post removed.]

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Posted by Bert
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 24, 2014 at 9:12 pm

This is shaping up to be a poor sequel to Dumb and Dumber, literally.

The city some how managed to fire the contractor. It's time to can the city manager and his entourage in city hall for escorting the still unfinished Library renovation contract to its bungling, costly, and long overdue conclusion.

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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2014 at 10:13 pm

This is what we get for demanding the lowest bid and producing vague construction plans.There is a saying in Spanish "Mas barato es mas caro."

Translation; More cheap is more expensive.

Let this be a lesson learned. The hard way.

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Posted by JS
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 9:52 am

Many, many bad things going on with Mitchell Park Library:

1. Seriously UGLY design - a horribly conceived mishmash of materials, colors, etc. (what were they thinking with that yellow plastic picketing feature?).

Blame architect as well as any City oversight of design (particularly ARB). This reminds me of the Emperor's New Clothes story.

2. Bad City Design-Construct Process. Thee are thousands and even millions of public projects have been completed WITHOUT the problems and delays encountered on this project. The process was set-up to derive the lowest cost going in to the project. The process assumes that the lowest cost will be intact at the end of the project. A better perspective to consider is attaining the best value at the end of the project. The chosen City design/construction process combined with both the construction management and the dispute resolution has NOT yielded the best value for this project.

Blame City staff (Public Works and City Attorney) and City's Construction Manager (Turner)

3. Incomplete, Incorrect and/or Uncoordinated Construction Documents.

Blame Design Team and City's Construction Manager for not slowing down the process to scrutinize the construction documents prior to releasing for contractor bidding. Garbage In = Garbage Out

4. Construction Incompetence.

Blame City for not creating a design/construction process that would have allowed the City to screen potential contractors. This was a huge mistake by City.

Blame Flintco for any incompetence associated with their staffing/management of the project. Blame Flintco subcontractors associated with staffing/management of their respective elements of the project as well as for quality control.

Blame Construction Manager (Turner) for not working more to assist contracting team to perform. Construction Manager role is greater than just being the policing party that cites the contracting parties for non-conformance with contract provisions.

5. Legal Dispute.

Blame both City and Flintco. The City created all the documents, process and contracts for the project, hired a contract enforcer (Turner) and tried to play hardball with the contracting side from Day 1. The City could have settled the various issues that are now cited (missing steel elements, added scope of work, etc.) for a fraction of the cost that this mess has grown into. The magnitude of these disputed issues is PETTY and it is mind numbing to hear that the dispute has grown to HUGE proportions when the dispute is only centered around a number of petty items. When one plays hardball, one better expect that the other side will play hardball back at you. We are seeing that hardball contest right now and neither side is going to back down until all the issues are decided by someone else (i.e. the Court system). Both parties seem to think that continuing the dispute into the legal arena will ultimately save face for themselves - neither side can save face in this mess.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 10:38 am

It's long past time for the records of this project to be made public. That's the basis of this law suit. One poster claims: "rumor has it" .. well, time to put an end to the rumors and to create a project timeline which includs all of the change orders, as well as the responses from all parties concerned.

What's really frightening is the possibility that the City will somehow refuse to make this information available to the public, so that only people willing to initiate litigation against the City will be able to see what really went on.

And then there is the possibility that the City will convince the Court to seal the records, and/or it will settle any lawsuits with a promise of confidentiality relative to all of the settlement points--including the records turned over by the City to the litigants.

This project is clearly well into its coverup phase.

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Posted by Time for a Clean Up
a resident of another community
on Jul 25, 2014 at 11:20 am

The culture of Palo Alto City Hall must change. Lack of transparency, finger-pointing, absence of accountability, toadying, incompetence, bloated egos and more are staples of this dysfunctional culture. People come and go, scandals erupt and die out, fumbles abound, and the same mess endures year after year. The entire City Council needs to be replaced. The entire top echelon of the City Management needs to be given their walking papers. That's the only way to change this failed organizational culture.

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 12:07 pm

Palo Alto does have an architectural review board and planning department. Perhaps they could explain why the Mitchell Park library plans were inadequate and the building is so ugly.

Web Link

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 12:15 pm

And let's not forget the Libary Commission and the Library Bond Oversight Committee -- all of which are populated with people who claim to be experts on anything, and everything, that they care to opine about.

Interesting that we have heard much from these people on what happened, and why it's "not my fault!"

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Ooopps .. should have been--

Interesting that we have NOT heard much

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Posted by Jill
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 25, 2014 at 12:49 pm

1) Give the city manager the boot!
2) Get rid of the flunky Architectural Review Board members
3) Vote out the current corrupt, arrogant, and out of touch city council members
4) We need a clean sweep at city hall.

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Posted by Ooops!
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2014 at 10:35 am

My dogs and I used to walk by this site twice a day...

Now, we avoid the area on foot, bike and car... I am at a loss, for this is a current example of the quality of management and the lack of wisdom and good governing in Palo Alto.

Like the JCC a few blocks away, in our rush to have this library, we choose to make many choices that with time have been shown to be poor choices.

Surely, our city, its managers, appointed / elected officials bear at least some of the responsibility for the state of this project.

As do we, who live here.

To cloak ourselves in blame, excuses, and stories will only prolong this project and create more opportunities for us to make the same mistakes again.

Finish this project. Drop the lawsuits. Take responsibility for our choices, our decisions, investigate our actions that created this, and commit to changing what needs to change to prevent this from happening again!

If not, I'm grateful for my time in this community and the equity I have in my home. I am grateful that I have the ability and opportunity to relocate to another community that ideally practices better management and government.

I used to get irritated at my friends when they comment that I live in "Shallow Alto." Now, I just smile...

Thanks to all and to all a good night!

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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Lawsuits are old news:

10/14/11: Palo Alto mulls lawsuit over Mitchell Park Library
City Council to hold closed session Monday to discuss legal action over $41 million project Web Link

3/9/12: Cost of new Mitchell Park Library continues to climb “… the high number of change orders … prompted closed-door discussions among city officials about who is responsible for the rising costs and whether any legal action from the city is justified.” Web Link

6/28/13: How the Mitchell Park Library construction went terribly wrong
“Long after the grand opening, the city will remain entangled in a legal mess involving its construction company, Flintco Pacific; its construction manager, Turner Construction; and the project architects, Group 4 Architecture. More public funds will be spent on legal assistance and construction consultants, whose jobs will be to help resolve the complicated and rancorous blame game that has come to characterize the project.” Web Link

4/26/14: “Palo Alto has also brought on board seven different consulting firms, including engineers, attorneys and construction ‘forensic’ experts, to sort out potential disputes between Palo Alto and the contractors involved in building the 56,000-square-foot facility.” Web Link

> The city's handling of the process is what is godawful.

Absolutely. Keene may not have been onboard when the library bond was approved in 2008. But he was certainly in town for the groundbreaking in June 2010.

To show the man has a sense of irony – and chutzpah – he listed this as one of his “Key Achievements” for 2013: “Completed 75% of the construction on Mitchell Park Library and Community Center.” Yet he still got 2 fat raises.

No one is ever held accountable for the problems and cost overruns on just about every city project from the Homer Tunnel to the CA Ave fountain to the proposed $4.5M City Hall remodel, which started out as $1.29M back in 2012 and is now going to be constructed by the ONE qualified bidder on the project, whose bid was 19% higher than the construction cost estimate. Web Link

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Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 27, 2014 at 9:47 am

SteveU is a registered user.

Please, leave 'Ugly Design' out of this discussion. There were Public Meetings before the plans were released. This is about the Flintco suit.

Plans approved by the Building Department that would not later pass the Building Inspections? Not good.

User (the Library staff) Change orders are a normal part of a building process. Did the change requests Major (time consuming) rip-outs or delays?

Palo Alto replaced a Contractor that was seriously behind schedule.
Did Palo Alto cause the majority of lack of performance?
That is the question.

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2014 at 9:57 am

> There were Public Meetings before the plans were released.

While this is true—anyone who attended these meetings who had issues with the design found that there were no avenues available to him/her to really stage objects that would have led to any changes. The architect (Group 4) was convinced that they were “in charge”, and there didn’t seem to be any evidence at these meetings that they weren’t.

Claiming that all history of this project should be “off-limits” for discussion seems typical of those on the “left” who always want to control discussion, and even the topics to be discussed.

As to your points—yes, those are central to the discussion, and Flintco’s lawsuit.

Since you always seem to be pro “big government” and opposed to transparency in government—what excuse do you have for the City’s holding back on this information, to both Fiintco, and the public? You will have to admit that all “change orders” were provided in a written format, so there should be a complete paper trail documenting the changes, wouldn’t you?

So—why shouldn’t that paper trail be readily available at this late date?

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Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 28, 2014 at 6:34 am

SteveU is a registered user.

Pro Big Government? Absolutely NOT!
Big G has way too many hands in our pockets. Way too much say on what we can't do these days. Same with the neighbors imposing their tastes.
If you live in an area with no CC&R's. taste should NOT be mandated, only Health and Safety (because those violations can extend beyond your property line).

I agree that the 'paper trail' should be available.

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Posted by JS
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2014 at 11:24 am

From July 26 San Jose Mercury Article... a recent letter to Senior Assistant City Attorney Cara Silver, Woodward (Flintco Attorney) claimed that the city owes Flintco "millions" in part because it misrepresented the accuracy and completeness of plans and specifications for the project when it released them for bidding in 2010.

"Flintco expects the evidence will show that the city's actions were intended to shift blame for project cost overruns and delays to Flintco while covering up the fact that the plans and specifications were incomplete and inaccurate," he wrote.

According to the letter, the city issued more than 2,000 clarifications of the contract documents and more than 200 architect's supplemental instructions. In response, Flintco submitted nearly 500 change-order requests, or CORs, for more time and money but they were denied by the city.

"Due to the city's improper denial of CORs, Flintco financed a significant portion of the extra work performed on the project in a good faith effort to complete the project," wrote Woodward, adding that the total cost to Flintco and its subcontractors exceeded $10 million more than the approved contract.

Flintco was hired to rebuild the library and community center for $24.4 million but the cost has since climbed to $28 million.

Stump (Palo Alto City Attorney) said the city will respond to the claim in mid-August. In the meantime, Big-D Pacific Builders, the general contractor brought in to finish the job, is making good progress.

"Flintco has begun a series of legal maneuvers to try to shift the costs of the problems onto the city, and even get more money out of the city," she said. "We will vigorously oppose these efforts, and in fact it's our position that they owe us. These things will play out in the legal arena over many months, but will not interrupt the completion and opening of the library by the end of this year."

INCOMPLETE, INCORRECT AND UNCOORDINATED PROJECTS DOCUMENTS are the root of the problem which stem from a poor design/construction process.

The building is UGLY. The selected architect was given too much leeway and NO ONE in any position of authority knew how to recognize UGLY.

Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 28, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Yep, looks like a bunch of shipping containers stacked on top of one another.
Reminiscent of the Port of Oakland or Long Beach. U-G-L-Y the library has no alibi it is just plain UGLY!

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