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Your Board of Supervisors have seemed to forgotten who they work for — you and I. The board seems to think they work for themselves and staff and apparently think they are there to justify the ends to the means. The animal shelter hearing was another prime example that was similar to their poor Mental Health decision a couple of months ago to lease the problem-plagued Logan Building.
While the audience was a little less rowdy and Chairman Ron Briggs didn’t have to threaten to have the Sheriff arrest anyone, staff told a bunch of untruths relating to how 100 potential sites were reviewed and the site selection was whittled down to one best site in the back of Park West as the most suitable building location, and the board members seemed fall all over themselves to validate the staff. If that were true, why did the county Facilities Department try to put Mental Health in the same building on Capitol Avenue in Park West first?
The reality is the last six property owners were pitted against each other as the county staff and Russ Fackrell, an accountant, sought to achieve the lowest price by beating property owners down against each other in a poor economy. The whole site selection was based on where the county could purchase the cheapest building and which property owner the county could beat up the most on price — nothing else. Then there is the dubious question of the county’s uncontracted real estate agent, Scott Kingston, whose decision steered the county to that building based not necessarily on what was in the best interest of the county but what was in the best interest of his pocket book based upon the huge brokerage commission he would receive.
The new Grand Jury needs to look into this huge legal violation and conflict of interest as county leases and acquisitions are being steered not on the best suitable location for the county but on the best commission for the real estate agent, and there is a potential for kickbacks to county officials. Yes, your Board of Supervisors know about this and are holding hands with the CAO on this one and looking the other way regarding this huge conflict of interest. The newly formed county Facilities Department is being led by a bunch of incompetent hacks who know very little about what they are doing other than cutting side deals for themselves and outsourcing just about everything for additional cost — some to companies they have a financial interest in.
I heard nothing but leading questions from board members who already knew the answers to questions they asked to justify the site acquisition decision, and eagerly sought to put a rubber stamp of approval on the ongoing animal shelter debacle to put the issue to bed despite the abominable impacts it will cause to neighbors. I heard many unresolved questions asked of staff by concerned neighbors and staff scuttling to say “oh, state law requires us to do that, or we’ll make sure that doesn’t happen, and hey, we’re the county, you know where to find us to complain.” The audience was then told that the county doesn’t have to comply with its own zoning code — isn’t that reassuring. Citizens were then told that the horses can be fed super insecticide food that eliminates flies, that the smell from the animal incinerator will smell just like BBQ and that urine flowing across their property in drainage ditches will smell like a sweet stream of nectar. With all these unmitigated environmental factors and the board’s eagerness to rubber stamp the approval, I started to wonder if this wasn’t the future Briggs justice center project.
The reality is staff did not do an adequate job mitigating the environmental problems, and who would trust a biased Negative Declaration prepared by county staff as being impartial, unbiased and independent? The county-prepared Negative Declaration presents a huge conflict of interest and leaves the county with wide open legal exposure, especially since so many environmental issues weren’t addressed, were addressed inadequately or were incorrectly rubber stamped, “No Impact.” Neighbors need to hire a good environmental attorney.