Editorial: Palo Alto utilities need closer watch | September 19, 2007 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |


Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - September 19, 2007

Editorial: Palo Alto utilities need closer watch

Despite reform efforts, city-owned Utilities Department has a deep culture of negative behaviors and needs annual monitoring

No greater or more concentrated effort to change a huge component of Palo Alto city government has ever been made than in the past two years in the city's vast Utilities Department.

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Posted by Willitz
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 20, 2007 at 4:39 pm

Palo Alto utilities isn't the only place that needs closer oversite- how about that agency that is supposed to watch over San Francisquito Creek. They've had [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] for years and little has been done about it on any level.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 20, 2007 at 5:59 pm

We need to dump this green foolishness and get back to what a utility is all about. Ms. Fong is all sizzle and no steak. It is time for the Tumbrils to roll. It is not all Fong's or Frank's fault, it is foolish directives by a council with stars in their eyes and lead in their butts. I see nothing better in the new candidates, alas.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 20, 2007 at 9:52 pm

It would be prudent for Council to at least *consider* a sale of the utility. It might not be a good idea, but it also *might* generate enough capital to insure a municipal revenue trust that would deliver just as much to the General Fund as the utility does, with enough left over to pay for some badly needed infrastructure and a substantial solar retrofir of a significant (if not all) of our community.

Just imagine:

1.Steady General Fund revenue

2.Infrastructure paid for (roads, library/rec center, public safety building, etc

3.*Additional* income genreated from Palo Alto homes that feed surplus electricity back to the grid

Like this comment
Posted by Hire more employees
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 20, 2007 at 10:53 pm

Sell the utilities and do what we do best. Hire more city employees. Give bigger pensions to hard working city employees - they deserve it.


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Posted by His name is Ulrich
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2007 at 12:13 am

Seems Mr Wallis has forgotten the name of the long time Utilities manager who oversaw all the corruption and abuse. John Ulrich was the "golden boy" of the city manager. Everyone stood at attention when he spoke. His name is John Ulrich, Mr Wallis, in case you have forgotten.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 21, 2007 at 6:38 am

Ulrich was then, Fong is now. My criticism of Ulrich when he was relevant is a matter of record. Our oh so green council has not seen fit to respond to an earlier suggestion of mine, that they lead the nation in substituting teleconferencing for the out of town meetings that take up so much management time. Look for them to, instead, start buying carbon offsets for official travel. At least we know they will insist on genuine organic offsets. I sometimes think the entrances to the city need Golden Arches.

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Posted by pete
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 21, 2007 at 2:40 pm

It seems from anecdotal stories and recent reported incidents that Ms. Fong is unable to "root out the culture of lax management..." to quote the PAW editorial. The vast majority of employees deserve better than they've been given. Mr. Benest, Ms. Harrison, and Mr. Yeats where is your oversight?

The union should take substantial responsibility for "...the deeply rooted culture". It defends a few bad apple employees and ignores the interests of the many who work in a "prison-like hostile work environment".