FOREfront People of Roseville

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					FOREfront                                                                                                      Working for the
                                                                                                               People of Roseville
    "I know of no safe depository of the powers of society but the people themselves.' '" Thomas Jefferson

 Volume 13 Issue 3                                              Thirteen Year Issue                                            September 2009


                           These are hard times for both the City of Roseville and its residents. For the city, revenue is
                           down, business and residential vacancies are up, and growth has come to a screeching halt. For
                           residents, homes have been lost along with jobs. Many city employees have been asked to take
                           early retirement and some have been laid off. However, city manager Craig Robinson has yet
Private                    to take a reduction on his $273,817.00 salary. His responses have been insincere, at best. At
matter                     a May 6, 2009 council meeting, FORE chairman Phil Ozenick asked Robinson if he intended
                           to show solidarity with the city employees by taking a pay cut. Robinson bristled at the question
                           and that his salary was a "private matter". He then continued on to say that when staff salary
                           reductions were made, he would be "leading the charge". That was four months ago, and
                           despite city employee job losses and salary cuts, he has yet to make good on his promise. For
                           the record, Mr. Robinson is a public employee. His salary is being paid with our tax dollars.
                           What he earns is public information, and citizens have every right to ask such questions without
                           being pubHcly reprimanded by him, or members of the city council.

                           FORE has come into a more thorough examination of the city manager's salary and perks. This
                           document discloses not only Robinson's generous salary, but also his lavish benefits. For
Jigs                       Instance, Mr Robinson receives a car allowance of $9,000 a year even though the use of a car
up                         is not part of his job description. He receives several different PERS, one of which is paid by
                           the city, and adds to his take home pay. He also gets sizable deferred compensation packages
                           in addition to PERS. Additionally, he has a very generous medical benefits and insurance
                           package. Added together, the total is nearly double his base salary. In truth, city manager Craig
                           Robinson costs the city of Roseville, and its residents, a whopping $423,110 a year!
                                                                                      """ ' ''''.'
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  ,shiu"        "o~llicm   Title
                                                          1~1II1'11"'l'" NUll!                            III    T"mp III':       I·TI ._____ . Sal;II ·.~      "S_'_ _ _ ('ost

           ObjC('l:   4000 . SA LA R I ES
           015001240       CITY MANAGEIl                  IWBINSON. W. CRAIG                         1:00103           12        I.(k . :         27U17.02            27J.S17.02
                                                                                 TOTA L FOI! SALAIlIESI\\'AGE.. ;:
                                                                                                              <                  I.(I/X!          273.817 .02         273.817.02
                   ~060· CAR ALLOWANCE
                 . 4100 - PERS· CITY
                                                                                                                                                                       44 .092.52
                   4101 - PERS· EMPLOYEE                                                                                                                               23 .057. 79
                   4102 - PERS (IN·LlEU)
                                                                                                                                                                        8.214 .51
                   4105 - DEFERRED COMPENSATION                                                                                                                         8.214 .5 1
                   4106 - 40lA PLAN                                                                                                                                    33.204.72
                   4110· CITY PAID MEDICAL PACKAGE                                                                                                                     14.106.00
                   41 II - DENTAL INSURANCE                                                                                                                             1.776.00
                   4112 - VISION INSURANCE                                                                                                                                 240.00
                   4115 - LIFE INSURANCE                                                                                                                                   834.65
                   4120 - CITY PAID LTD                                                                                                                                 1.040.50
                   4200 - MEDICARE
                   4215 - STATE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE                                                                                                                     342.27
                                                                                           TOTA L FOR BENEFITS:                  0000                        0.00     149.293.82

                                                      TOTAL FOR CITY MANAGER· ADMINISTRATION:                                    1.000            273.817 .02         423.110.84
           Continued from page 1
           At a special city council meeting on August 11, 2009, the council voted to amend the
           management/confidential agreement, which includes Craig Robinson. Unlike other employees,
           he is taking a one'year cut of 6% only on the previously increased portion of his salary, and the
Cutting    city's contribution to his deferred compensation retirement fund. The city claims it will not be
w hat?     re,instated in 2011, but we believe otherwise. Regardless, reducing retirement benefits
           temporarily is not the sane thing as taking a permanent cut in take,home pay At a special city
           council meeting on August 11,2009, the council voted to amend the managementlconfidential
           agreement, which includes Craig Robinson. Unlike other employees, he is taking a one,year
           cut of 6% only on the previously increased portion of his salary, and the city's contribution to his
           deferred compensation retirement fund. The city claims it will not be re,instated in 2011, but
           we believe otherwise. Regardless, reducing retirement benefits temporarily is not the sane thing
           as taking a permanent cut in take,home pay.

           However, Robinson has cost the City of Roseville more than that, in terms of questionable
           decisions that has left Roseville taxpayers holding the bag. One example is his insistence on
           forming public, private "partnerships" with developers. One such partnership was made several
Bad        years ago with Kobra Properties. Many will recall Kobra's recent bankruptcy, and the havoc
de a I s   it has wreaked on the commercial landscape in Roseville. In 2005, the city and Kobra entered
           into a partnership to build a municipal parking garage and adjacent office building on the comer
           of Oak and Grant, across from the civic center. The agreement was that the city would finance
           the garage for about $ 7 million and that Kobra, under the name of Pacific Partners, would
           privately finance the office complex for about $12 million. As part of the bargain, the city gave
           the comer building site free of charge. Initially, there was some secrecy surrounding the true
           identity of the city's partn er, but eventually it was revealed to be Kobra properties. Also
           uncovered was the fact that the city had granted Kobra a no,bid contract, in violation of state
           law. When this was brought to light by member of FORE, the city reversed course and opened
           the project up for bids, but still awarded the contract to Kobra. The city completed their end
           of the bargain, finishing the parking garage in 2007. But the office building was lagging far
           behind. At first, the excuse was that Kobra was waiting for the city to complete the garage, in
           order to minimize the impact on traffic, businesses, etc. When Kobra's bankruptcy was publicly
           revealed in the fall of 2008, the city pretended to be caught unawares. Both Robinson and his
           staff claimed ignorance in the press, and continued to make excuses as to why work had stopped
           at the building site. Is it the city manager's job to provide. cover for a developer facing dire
           financial circumstances? Perhaps it is if you had made decisions that have tied the city to a
           sinking ship. Currently, the four,story office building sits half finished, surrounded by weeds
           and debris" an eyesore on what was supposed to be the centerpiece of downtown development.

           This wasn't the only project between Kobra and the city that went awry. In 2006, plans were
           formulated to build a hotel and regional conference center near the Galleria mall. The city was
F r e e    to bank roll Kobra with a $10 million no interest} O,year loan to build the center and Kobra
money      was to build the hotel from which a fee would be charged room renters to be used to repay the
           loan. The loan amount was increased to $20 million and was reflected in the Strategic
           Improvement Fund. The money entry is not reflected in the current budget. It has
           disappeared, probably into another account as the city has many pots of money where money
           is shifted in the hide,the,pea game.

           The former J.C. Penney building on Vernon Street is another example of the city acting like a
           for,profit developer. The two,story building was most recently an antique store.
           Continued on page 3
              Continued from page 2                                                                         3
               In early 2005, the building's owner, without warning, raised the rent sky high. This forced the
              antique store owner to relocate and the property owner put the building up for sale. The city
              purchased it for $1,000,000 million. Some questioned this purchase, since the city was taking
Another       property off the tax rolls, not to mention the lost of interest on $1,000,000 dollars. However,
de a l?       it was soon revealed that the city had other plans. As part of their downtown revitalization
              effort, the city sold it to the development group KMS LLC, for $650,000 in 2008, taking a big
              loss. Not only that, but the money used to purchase the building was a 30,year 4% interest loan
              with the city. An unwise and costly decision by the city.

              Perhaps the most outrageous scheme, in terms of present and future costs that Mr Robinson
              concocted, the debacle known as Victoria Station(formerly Church Street Station). Not only
              did it prove to be tremendously costly to the city, but it also cast the city in an unflattering light
 Greed        - greedy and irresponsible. Back in 2004, a developer asked the city to re,zone property on
              Church Street, which is in an older area of Roseville, very near the rail yard. This vacant land
              was designated as light industrial, but the property owners wanted a zoning change so they could
              build townhouses. These homes were to be targeted at low, income buyers as affordabl&homes
              in a then,high priced housing market. However, the city council received several letters
              protesting such a zoning change from Union Pacific Railroad, the Placer County Air Resources
              Board, and the California Air Resources Board. They cited conditions that were incompatible
              with residential units, such as noise from train horns, idling engines, noxious fumes and odors,
              and strobe lights. CARB had nearly completed a one,of,a kind, two,year study on the Roseville
              rail yard that would determine the pollution levels caused by diesel particulate matter, a known
              carcinogen. They urged the city to wait a few weeks until the study was released before making
              a decision, but the city manger ignored their advise, and the city council voted to re,zone the
              land and grant the developer permission to build housing on this potentiaUy dangerous site.
              The CARB study was released a few weeks later and found that the air pollution is at dangerous
              levels near the rail yard, and because of wind direction, especially on Church Street.
              Subsequent studies have reinforced these findings.

              A couple of years later, the project ended up in front of the city council again, this time as
              Victoria Station. The developer was going bankrupt and had not sold one of the homes.
              Initially, the homes were priced dose to $400,000, which contradicted the notion that these
 Rea l        were to be "affordable homes" a supposedly selling point for the council who voted to approve
 estate       the re,zone. Rather than have more crumbling and abandoned real estate in that area, the city
 mes s        decided to step in and II rescue" the project. They set aside a number of the units and
              designated them as affordable housing for purchase. To sweeten the deal for prospective buyers
              the city ran ads advertising 2 nd mortgages for $1000,000 with no interest for 45 years. This
              amounts to a city subsidy or bail, out for the developer, as well as questionable lending practices
              reminiscent of the real estate mess at the federal level. Furthermore, it raises the question of
              whether the city should even be in the lending business when they have been burned before
              doing virtually the same thing. In the 1990's the city subsidized a development of low,income
              homes, and was left with a lot of defaulted loans. City officials vowed never to get involved in
              the home loan business again, yet here we are, a decade later, doing it again.

              However, nothing sums up the city's overreaching ambition and arrogance under Mr Robinson's
              leadership like the now, defunct city slogan, IIAlways Amazing". This embarrassing, pompous
 A l way s    epithet was mercifully eliminated two years after it was adopted. The city spent nearly
 a m a zing's $100,000 on an advertising agency to come up with the slogan, which they promptly plastered
 de a t h a n over city buses and vehicles. After receiving considerable criticism from the public, the city
              quietly dropped the motto. Continued of page 4
                 Continued from page 3
                 This exercise in stupidity ended up costing the city a sizeable amount of money and making
                 them look very foolish.

          FORE asked if Roseville can really afford a city manager like Craig Robinson. He's one of the
          highest paid city managers in the state of California, yet he has made decisions that are
 Parks    worrisome, and has cost the city millions. Has he been a good steward of the public trust? He
 a-plenty certainty has been a good friend of developers, forming partnerships, and enabling re-zones and
          annexations to please them. In an effort to help developers attract new home buyers to the
          community, the city has built 61 parks, which need constant maintenance. We can already see
          from the last budget that this has become a strain on the city coffers. The city has also gone
          millions of dollars over- budget on several projects, like the Mahany Park Library complex. The
          city claims to be "green" because it is currently fashionable, but it has not followed a green
          agenda. Its projects and infrastructure are unsustainable, and the growth it has envisioned will
          only create more traffic, pollution, and use of limited resources, such as water.

                 "The good times don't last forever/" It's a well-worn phrase commonly heard from the older and
                 wiser segment of our population. However, it's one adage that rings true for Roseville, now
 Out             more than ever. Faced with an uncertain economic future, the city and its residents need a less­
                 costly city manager whose main concern is the long-term public welfare, not empire building.


                 The Veteran's Memorial Park off of Crocker Ranch Road and Blue Oaks Boulevard is one of
                 61 Roseville parks which gets no more or no less attention from the parks department. The
 Walk of         park is unique because it represents all veterans who served in the United States military. The
 Honor           uniqueness is exemplified by a "Walk of Honor". It is so named because a common cement
                 walkway is lined with red memorial bricks that are imprinted with the names of veterans, their
                 service or other data. Those red bricks are laid next to the walkway while dirt or grass make
                 up the outer side. The grass and or dirt line is uneven leaving a poor impression on visitors.

                 To improve the appearance of the Walk of Honor, seventeen-year old Ryan Junnila, a Roseville
                 boy scout, took on a project for an Eagle Scout award of improving the appearance of the
                 walkway by adding a concrete mowing strip next to the bricks. His project also calls for crushed
                 granite where future bricks will be laid. That would make the area easier to maintain and keep
                 it looking clean and neat.

          Scout Junnila felt that the Walk of Honor should be "tidied- up" to honor those who served to
Tidied-up defend America. The completed project will encourage additional veterans to have their names
          (bricks) added to the vacant area at the end of the present line of bricks.

                 As one would guess, nothing is simple. In this case the irrigation system needed to be moved ..
                 another expense that was not figured into the initial cost of the strip which was estimated to be
 Sal e s
                 about $1,700.00. But that is another story. Being the resourceful scout, Junnila got permission
                 from the Parks and Recreations Department to work on the project; and, to raise money he
                 went before Roseville veteran organizations and other entities with an "Eagle Project Outline"
                 seeking money to help fund the project. Continued on page 5

"There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your mean." Calvin Coolidge
             Continued from page 4                                                                          5
             The project will benefit veterans, the veteran organizations of Roseville, City of Roseville and
             the Roseville Historical Society.

             Ryan Junnila, the son of Lisa and Daryl Junnila, plans to become a civil engineer. Who knows,
Surprises    he may attend a military academy, become a military member and a veteran. Life is full of


             In July, the City of Roseville's Environmental Utilities Department conducted two "scoping
             meetings" regarding the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the city's Aquifer Storage ·
             and Recovery (ASR) program. About 100 Sun City residents attended the meeting in the
             Timber Creek Lodge

             Derrick Whitehead, Director, and Terri Shirhall, Administrative Analyst, presented an
             overview of the program, answered questions, and solicited public comment regarding issues
             that should be included in the EIR. They explained the nature and purpose of the ASR
S a Ie s     program. It is to store excess treated water during wet years in an underground aquifer and
pit c h      extract ground water from the aquifer during dry years to maintain adequate city-water
             supplies. The water wiU be injected into and extracted from the aquifer via four existing
             plus seven proposed wells located primarily in West Roseville

             Sun City residents pointed out several issues they thought should be included in the EIR's
             analysis including the following.

             •	       An analysis of alternatives to the ASR program, specially, the comparative cost of
                      installing above-ground surface water storage facilities.

              Many residents have personal experience with the ground water delivered through ASR,
              since Phase II of development of the ASR program involved extracting ground water from
              the aquifer via the Diamond Creek Well and delivering it through the city's drinking water
Alternattves 	infrastructure to Sun City homes. From November 2007 through February 2008, many Sun
              City residents experienced a wide variety of adverse effects from hard water that was
              delivered during that period. Some of these residents want to know if the city has
              adequately explored and considered alternatives to the ASR approach that would deliver
              water of better Quality.

             •	   An analysis of "pin hole" leaks that occurred in under ground pipes at about the time
                  ASR water was delivered to Sun City.

             Some Sun City residents think that the hard water that was delivered to Sun City caused
             tiny leaks in underground copper piping. They want an analysis of that issue.

             • 	 An analysis of the potential health effects of the high sodium level of ground water in
                  the aquifer.

             The city's 2008 water quality report shows that there is nearly 15 times as much sodium in
Sodium       the water from the Diamond Creek Well as in the surface water from Folsom Lake.
             Although sodium levels are not regulated by the EPA and the amount present in the aquifer
             Continued on page 6
              Continued from page 5
              water is well below the level suggested for people on sodium diets, people are still concerned.

              • 	 The effort on wastewater of water,softening laundry additives that people will have to
                  use when coping with the hard water from the aquifer.

              The water from the Diamond Creek Well was reported on the city's 2008 drinking water
              quality report to have an average total dissolved solids (TDS) level of 429 ppm, a level that
Hard          classifies the water as "hard", and is more than 8 times harder than the water from F01som
w ate r       Lake. (Water with TSD levels of 320 to 530 ppm is considered "hard", and water with IDS
              levels of 530 permiUion or more is considered "very hard".

          Anyone who has lived with hard water knows that laundry additives containing phosphates
          are needed to get clothes clean and to remove all of the soap out of laundry. Many people,
          particularly among the elderly and the very young, have skin that is sensitive to residual soap
Sensitive left in the laundry. Therefore, people will have to add these additives to their laundry when
skin      the city delivers this hard water to their homes (Roseville bans water softeners). These
          additives would add phosphates to the wastewater, which would decrease the quality of the
          wastewater and cause the wastewater to support undesirable eutrophication in effluent water
          bodies. This reduced wastewater quality might adversely affect the city's wastewater
          reclamation projects.

             The draft EIR for the proposed ASR project will be available for public review and comment
             in September, and the Roseville City Council will consider the Final EIR and ASR Project in
       -- - -November.          -	                   ­


             The summer 2009 edition of the "Business Partners", the newsletter of Roseville Electric (RE) ,
             brought us the ominous headline: "Roseville Electric faces deficit, considers rate action". We
             knew that this would mean another rate increase - hardly happy news for both residential and
             business customers. According to Roseville Electric Utility Director, Tom Habashi, "The
             energy markets and the economy are causing us quite a bit of havoc. The choices will be tough,
             but are necessary to maintain the utility's fiscal integrity and reliability." And in his report to
             the Roseville city council on May 20, 2009, Habashi said that many electric utilities are facing
             similar challenges. Sounds reasonable, right? Not so fast!

             In the case of Roseville Electric, a projected $90 mHlion shortfall over the next five years ­
             although in large part due to a failing economy - is seriously compounded by the utility's errors
Hedging 	    in judgement, miss teps, and just plain poor management. In 2007, its management staff engaged
             in hedging of natural gas prices, locking in a rate for about half of the power plant needs, from
             July 2008 through June 2010. Currently, natural gas is selling for less than half of the locked,in
             rate, bringing about a $4 minion shortfall during the past year. Due to locked,in prices, these
             losses will undoubtedly continue.

             Roseville electric again found itself on the losing end, this time on the maintenance contract
Out,         for its power plant. By failing to protect itself from the result of the devaluation of the U.S.
smarted      dollar, in the contract, Roseville electric must now pay $7 million more to the European
             contractor, who clearly outsmarted our Roseville Electric negotiating Team. Con't on page 7
                Continued from page 6                                                                                  7
        Roseville Electric, relying on its own far too optimistic five,year forecast from 2007, was also
        "overly ambitious in the purchase of power", and now needs to "sell that excess power on the
Promise open market at a loss", says Richard Roccucci, fonner Roseville mayor and council member.
        Finally, higher cost of financing for the power plant has added to the woe. Weren't we promised
        by RoseviHe Electric that building our own power plant would help stabilize rates?

                What is next? Once again, we Rosevillians are facing an increase in electric rates - a hefty
                increase at that. Roseville electric is proposing three 6.2% increases in six month increments
Hold            from 2010 to 2011, for a hefty increase of 19.7%, compounded. If approved, Roseville electric
your hat        customers on average will pay approximately $11.00 more per month than those of SMUD , an
                entity always described to us by city staff as more expensive than our own utility.

          The issue of the almost 20% rate increase came before the Roseville Utility Commission on July
          24,2009.What might have ben a fairly short meeting and approval turned into one lasting more
          than three hours, brought about, we think, by a memo submitted to the commission by Richard
          Roccucci. It contained a number of probing questions regarding the enonnous losses by the
Questions utility, as well as discussions about possible actions to prevent such future bleeding of funds.
          The Commission was not satisfied with the answers from Roseville Electric staff. Rather than
          approving the entire increase, only the first of the three 6.2% increments was voted upon, 3
          to 1, with a request for much more information before further action. The rate increases were
          to be heard by the city council at its September meeting. This has now been moved forward for
          a month to allow RE staff to submit the requested infonnation at the August 25thcommission
          meeting. It should be an interesting one!

          In the meantime, the pride in all the accomplishments of Roseville Electric seems to have given
          way to great disappointment, well described by the Director of the Roseville Chamber of
Dim min g Commerce, Wendy Gerig, who lamented at the July 28 th meeting that Roseville Electric "used
s tar     to be our shining star". Well, the "shining star" lost its luster, don't you agree?

                  FORE. Friends of Roseville, 1334 Ridgerun
                  Drive, Roseville, is.a non-profit,
 FRIENDS OF ROSEVILLE (FORE)                    non-political tax exempt organization
                                                working for the people of Roseville.
  Why FORE? Because we provide a public 

   education and scholarship program to 
            Roseville residents. 

                                                MONDAY AT LYMAN LEAK COMMUNITY CENTER
         We fill an information void 

                                                7 P. M. lO23 GABRELLI DR BEHIND FIRESTATION
       between the city and the public. 

                                                ON CIRBY WAY. The public is welcome
     Money from your donation stays in 

                                                Call 783-9891 or 786,5228
    Roseville and is used for your benefit. 

    Cars, Trucks, R Vs, Trailers, Boats, 

   Motorcycles - Old junkers to high·end 
                - - - - - - - - - cut here - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ­
    newer vehicles to classics accepted! 
                       Member Renewal & New Member Application
        We do the paperwork. FREE Tow!                    Individual, $15_         Couple, $25__
...-........... Seven days a week customer
                                                          Low income: Individual, $3_ Couple, $5_ _
                         care staffing.
                    Talk with a real rerson.                                 Donation: $_ _ - ­
                       TAX DEDUCTIBLE!             ~      Member(s) name(s) ____________
                            CALL:                 .....
                                                   8      Addr~: _______________________________
                     783..9891                            Pbone:_______~_email_ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
                                                          Send to: FORE, 1334 Ridgerun Drive
                                                                   Roseville, CA 95747,7648 Tax deductible
FORE SCHOLARSHIP AWARDED - FORE awarded two $1,000.00 scholarships for the 2009~ 10 academic
school year. The recipients are Allison E. Eklund and MacKenzie O. Lipps. Ms Eklund a 2008 Granite Bay
High School graduate is presently a sophomore at the California State University, Chico, where she is
majoring in Political Science. Mr Lipps, a 2008 graduate of Oakmont High School has been admitted to
Brigham Young University as a Political Science major. Both are wished success as they pursue their degrees.

By Jeannette Warden*

Re "Aid slump steers school districts to a parcel tax" (Capitol & California, June 16): There is something
inherently wrong about voting by mail.

A few years back, Roseville voted by mail for mosquito abatement. Ballots were sent to only some of the
registered voters. In my family, I was the only one to receive the ballot. The issue passed, not surprisingly.
How were the ones to receive the ballots selected? Was thee any oversight in the counting of the votes?

When people are sent ballots to raise their taxes by as much as $2,000 a year and the majority, in a recession
vote for it, there are some serious questions that need to be asked. Who received those ballots? Was enough
notice given that the opposition could organize? Were all property owners, who must pay this tax, able to

In my opinion, voting by mail gives peop, e favoring the issue a lopsided chance of passing the tax, with limited 

opposition from those who must pay it. 

*This letter appeared in the Sacramento Bee June 20, 2009, and reprinted with Ms Warden's permission . 

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