Investigative report finds Valley Water director bullied staff | November 4, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 4, 2022

Investigative report finds Valley Water director bullied staff

Incumbent candidate Gary Kremen did not sexually harass a staffer, report found

by Sue Dremann

A summary investigative report into the alleged misconduct of Santa Clara Valley Water District Director Gary Kremen absolved him of sexual harassment but did find evidence of bullying.

This story contains 1188 words.

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Email Staff Writer Sue Dremann at [email protected]

Comments

Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2022 at 9:19 am

resident3 is a registered user.

“The interaction allegedly brought the employee to tears and it was reported to Callender, who reportedly admonished Kremen for his conduct. “

Kremen’s supporters like @FixtheCreek have revealed high toxicity and disdain for democracy, beyond rehabilitation.


Posted by Interested Reader
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 4, 2022 at 12:17 pm

Interested Reader is a registered user.

@resident3 - You wanna talk about toxicity and disdain? Rebecca Eisenberg is openly and publicly abusive during public comment at meetings!

Just look at the Jan 25th 2021 City Council meeting at minute marker 3:25:01 Web Link where she accuses Jonathan Lait (Head of Planning for the City) of lying and says he can sue her. She calls Jonathan the piss boy for Stanford. Compares Stanford receiving gifts to mob extortion. Claims that Stanford’s action is illegal in every other city in California that is well run. (The mayor admonishes Rebecca after she speaks to be respectful of staff. )

Here's a partial transcript: "Well, thank you, Aaron, for those points and I'm happy to answer that question is that Jonathan Lait is lying. He's lying to the City Council, he's lying to the public and he's engaging in deceitful, you know, acts and if his, you know, buddy, Commissioner Alcheck comes on you can count on Alcheck to be equally dishonest. First of all, Jonathan Lait had no reason to withhold the name of the owner, Stanford University, from his report other than to hide the fact that this owner, Stanford, has been engaging in an intentional action of buying up every single college terrace home as it hits the market and I'm sure Jonathan Lait, who has been very successfully acting as the piss boy for Stanford, my alma mater, who I love but who needs to, who is, is used to hearing no from everyone else other than Palo Alto. Anyways, Jonathan Lait has withheld from you, which is very material is that this is not just some sort of one-off remodel nor is this a remodel or building that is actually going to add to the housing inventory. As you know I believe in housing inventory what Stanford has done in in College Terrace and I know they got these as a gift. But Stanford gets gifts the way that grocers pay the mob for protection. ... (there's more but ran out of space - see the video!)


Posted by Sameoldthing
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 4, 2022 at 12:34 pm

Sameoldthing is a registered user.

He was investigated by a firm of his cronies chosing, they found he did harass people and you say she "well shucks, she is worse?" Who cares? HE was under investigation, not her. HE was found to have brought people to tears. As LaDoris Cordell said:

On October 24, 2022, following an investigation into 21
allegations of misconduct by SC Valley Water District Board
member Gary Kremen who is seeking re-election, the Renne
Public Law Group (RPG) issued its findings.
The RPG determined that Kremen verbally assaulted a
district employee, engaged in abusive conduct that included
using profanity against another employee, and threatened to
"tear up" yet another employee. Several district employees
opted to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation by
Kremen.
It is clear to anyone with an ounce of common sense that
Kremen's bullying and harassing behavior has contributed to
a hostile work environment at the district. Now, he wants to
be re-elected? Even more confounding is the fact that some
Paio Alto City Council members have endorsed Kremen. Shame on them.
I call on these elected officials to immediately withdraw their
endorsements of Kremen.
The Honorable LaDoris H. Cordell
Former Palo Alto City Council Member
Santa Clara County Superior Court
Judge (Retired)


Posted by peppered
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 4, 2022 at 12:38 pm

peppered is a registered user.

I've worked with Gary Kremen. I would never support him. I've met Rebecca Eisenberg.
I'll be voting for her.


Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2022 at 12:38 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

@ Interested reader,

"You wanna talk about toxicity and disdain? Rebecca Eisenberg is openly and publicly abusive during public comment at meetings!"

There is a big difference between abuse of power and politics. Kremen's actions happened when he was sitting in office.


Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 4, 2022 at 1:24 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

As for having "disdain" for Mr Lait and the Planning Dept, they are not blameless since they always seem to have their thumbs on the scale favoring development and the deep-pocketed among us like Casti. Having watched the Casti nonsense during itx 6+ painfully long years, one might "disdain" planners who failed to ask the tough questions like why should we trust Casti's traffic promising and who's going to pay for the monitoring until neighbors FINALLY forced him to address those major questions that should have been asked at the beginning.

He also wasted taxpayer dollars on the conversion of Town & Country Shopping Center to "medical/research" WITHOUT bothering to define what that meant because the landlord got Ms. Cormack to pitch his proposal just as the pandemic lockdown was ending.

Regardless of what one thinks of Ms Eisenberg and how she expresses herself, fair-minded people have to give her credit for asking many of the right questions that our "leaders" keep refusing to even address!


Posted by Jake Gittes
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 4, 2022 at 2:05 pm

Jake Gittes is a registered user.

Interested Reader, more like Reader with A Personal Interest in having Gary Kremen win. Listen to people who have worked with Kremen, they are voting for Ms. Eisenberg. This whole attempt distract people from the truth, i.e. that Kremen was found to be an abusive bully, is ridiculous. I'm voting for Ms. Eisenberg


Posted by Interested Reader
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 4, 2022 at 3:03 pm

Interested Reader is a registered user.

@resident3 - And Rebecca's comments are when she has only 2-3 minutes to address the City in public comment. Getting to the point of public insults when you have limited time is a good indicator of what she'd be like if she had full access to a microphone.

When she lost her bid for Council in 2020 - she went on a rampage making public comments starting in Jan 2021.

Here she is at a Council meeting related to the HRC on 1/19/21 at the 3:56:57 mark Web Link making comments as though there is a caste system in the City. "Here we are. A mostly lower caste group of residents pleading our case to the almost entirely dominant caste individuals that serve in elected office. This is year 2021, and it's shameful even that this is happening.”

She is completely clueless as to how to be effective and/or appropriate - and is another good indication of what she'd be like in office if elected.


Posted by Jake Gittes
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 4, 2022 at 5:07 pm

Jake Gittes is a registered user.

Interested Reader, I listened to the clip you mention and Ms. Eisenberg sounds very calm. Don't we want someone who will ask all the right questions. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Patty
a resident of Ventura
on Nov 4, 2022 at 10:24 pm

Patty is a registered user.

Eisenberg has not been endorsed by one current or recent school board or city council member. Consider her email Web Link “Dear Finance Committee and Finance Department, Ed Shikada,Tom,Greg,and Liz:I would apologize for the tone of this letter, but in truth, you deserve a scolding for your bad behavior. I watched your irresponsible actions and arrogant remarks at the Finance Committee tonight and I wonder whom you represent… Due to your poor choices, sooner or later, the city is very likely to be put in receivership. I won't be happy about that. I continue to try my hardest to help you.But how can I help a group of people who keep trying the same actions over and over again, expecting a different result?Our community deserves better than you.Happy Holidays!” And “Bad things to expect at the Palo Alto City Council Meeting: 1-25-21” Web Link Bizarrely: “5:30 Consent Calendar,Now comes the most infuriating part of a Palo Alto City Council meeting: the part of the meeting where the City Manager and City Attorney break the law every week by putting items on the consent agenda…” And “[Pat Burt has a] conflict of interest in taking over Alison Cormack’s spot on two water-related regional boards, in order to direct the Tuolumne River away from communities that need it, and towards the power plants that he has an interest in. (Yes this is true, and Pat Burt has not disputed any of it. He knows that most Palo Altans don’t care about corruption, so why hide it?)” No person has a financial interest in City of SF owned power plants on the Toulumne River and Cormack still serves on BAWSCA that oversees the water received from the Toulumne. How can anyone who aspires to public office be repeatedly so reckless, false, and defamatory?


Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2022 at 10:49 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

@Patty,

“Eisenberg has not been endorsed by one current or recent school board or city council member.”

Eisenberg is supported by Palo Alto residents as noted in a related article about money raised and she is endorsed by an impressive group of people from Valley Water district directors, to SJ Mercury news, Los Altos Town Crier.


Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 5, 2022 at 1:06 am

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

Thank you resident3 ! My partial endorsements list is here: Web Link


Posted by Patty
a resident of Ventura
on Nov 5, 2022 at 2:03 am

Patty is a registered user.

@resident3 I appreciate your earnest support for your candidate but Eisenberg’s very short list is no match for Kremen’s very long list of endorsers at all levels including state, county, and city officials and four Water District Trustees to Eisenberg’s two. As Kremen says on his endorsement page, “I would not be able to do this job without the support of many of my colleagues in elected office.” And that is precisely why he has such widespread support. He understands the need to work together to get things done.

Contrast this to Eisenberg’s public comments at the city council retreat on January 30, 2021. Eisenberg seems unable to grasp what it looks like when a board or council strives to work together for the community good and she fails to grasp that purpose of the council retreat. Listen here: Web Link

“Thank you. I filled out your survey, but anyone who has taken
even just statistics 101 could tell you how flawed that survey was.

By far the biggest challenge facing the city today is the lack of
effective leadership. Everything said today has been said hundreds of thousands
of times before, yet the problems increase, not decrease. This morning you
chose to waste three hours of the community's time to walk us through a
presentation to teach you the skills that you all claimed you have already how
to lead during challenging circumstances. This by itself demonstrates a lack of
good judgment. Leadership involves courage and integrity, not top down,
totalitarianism, silencing of the community…

You lack a parliamentarian to advocate on behalf of community
interest and an ombudsperson with whom residents can complain about your own
malfeasance and corruption with a broken system. Broken results follow. Learn
to lead. Or maybe step down. Thank you for your time.”


Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 5, 2022 at 7:13 am

Annette is a registered user.

I am wishing we had the option to cast negative votes that are deducted from a candidate's total.


Posted by Jake Gittes
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 5, 2022 at 10:18 am

Jake Gittes is a registered user.

Gary Kremen was found to have harassed and bullied people in his own commission. He used his power to belittle, humiliate and destroy people's self esteem. Those are the facts that have been established by a law firm that Kremen and his cronies chose. They weren't even going to release the report until it became politically untenable for them not to. These are facts. Now, he is attempting to do so here to Ms. Eisenberg.

Please don't buy into reality distortion field Kremen is trying to create. If you want to see why Kremen has so many endorsements Web Link and Web Link you will see Marc Berman $1550 this year, and multiple previous years, Josh Becker at least 4700, Evan Low, Fiona Ma and the list goes on. I ask all those that are considering the attempt to cast Ms. Eisenberg in a negative light to look into WHY people are endorsing him (money) and why there is a negative campaign against Ms. Eisenberg (i.e. there is a terrible report about Kremen in the paper), and vote for Ms. Eisenberg


Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 5, 2022 at 7:19 pm

Annette is a registered user.

I watch CC most weeks and Rebecca Eisenberg comments most weeks, often more than once. It is frustrating that her delivery often detracts from her message because she asks hard questions, challenges wrong doing, and makes good observations. Example: her comments about effective leadership during her Jan 30 comments to CC which Patty posted above. I agree with her that our model is broken; CC is supposed to give direction to the CM, but here the CM controls what comes before CC. And he stays apart from residents and their concerns, making himself available primarily through carefully scripted comments and reports. I'd like to see 20 minutes of each CC meeting dedicated to an "Ask the CM" session during which residents could directly address the CM. I also think Eisenberg's comment about an ombudsman is correct. We shouldn't need one, but we do. And probably will until the CM/CC dynamic is corrected.



Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 5, 2022 at 8:37 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

" CC is supposed to give direction to the CM, but here the CM controls what comes before CC. And he stays apart from residents and their concerns, making himself available primarily through carefully scripted comments and reports. I'd like to see 20 minutes of each CC meeting dedicated to an "Ask the CM" session during which residents could directly address the CM. I also think Eisenberg's comment about an ombudsman is correct. We shouldn't need one, but we do. And probably will until the CM/CC dynamic is corrected."

I'm in total agreement with Annette about the need for an "As the City Manager Session" because answers are long over-due when too many resident-taxpayters are being ignored because we're not considered "stakeholders" on the decision-making process.

Reporters, publishers and bloggers have all complained about the stonewalling at City Hall.
"


Posted by Palo Alto native
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 6, 2022 at 6:01 am

Palo Alto native is a registered user.

I have listened to more than a few CC Meetings. Rebecca Eisenberg has asked insightful questions and stood up for many of staff shortcomings . She has the facts and knowledge to back up her positions and has shown courage and strength in her advocacy on issues before the CC. Kremen has been shown to bully staff under him. This is unacceptable behavior from an elected official. All citizenry need to condemn this and vote him out of office. I’m voting for Rebecca Eisenberg .


Posted by PaloAltoVoter
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 6, 2022 at 7:49 am

PaloAltoVoter is a registered user.

Ms Eisenberg seems unable to make a point without attacking the personal character of those she’s trying to get to change their mind. I really hope the voters do their homework on this one. Electing Eisenberg would be a huge mistake.


Posted by StephenM
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 6, 2022 at 6:04 pm

StephenM is a registered user.

The back and forth name calling and innuendo is not very helpful. How about we note that we have two very qualified candidates for the position, both of whom are willing to spend a substantial amount of their time working for the public good.
We could focus on their positions on relevant issues, which as best as I can see are:
(1) Pacheco dam - Eisenberg is opposed and Kremen is in favor. Several water/fisheries folks I know, ones who are strongly conservation inclined and have decades of experience with CA water and Bay/Delta policy, think the Pacheco dam is a rare example of a dam that is worth building.
(2) The Delta tunnel: Eisenberg is opposed and Kremen is in favor. Most of the Bay/Delta science, engineering, and policy folks I know think that the tunnel is not worth the cost and may have some signficant environmental downsides. Palo Alto's involvement in this issue comes about because SCVWA (but not Palo Alto) gets State Water Project water. Kremen makes a reasonable argument that there are equity issues involved in ensuring a stable water supply, perhaps the most important reason (according to its supporters) for building the tunnel.
(3) Water reuse - both support this, although it appears that Eisenberg is a stronger proponent of doing so than is Kremen.
(4) San Francisquito Creek - I am told that Kremen has been a strong proponent for the flood control project that would include replacing the Pope-Chaucer bridge (only 25 years after the 1998 flood). I couldn't find anything to indicate Eisenberg's views on the Creek.
So how about we focus on the issues here?


Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 6, 2022 at 9:17 pm

Annette is a registered user.

@Stephen M - it would be nice to focus only on the issues. Unfortunately, in this race, each candidate has some serious baggage. The smart move might be to vote for neither so that whoever wins doesn't get so many votes that he or she concludes that the community isn't paying attention and deportment doesn't matter. We really should be able to expect a higher level of civility from those we elect.


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