June 11th Sunnyvale Garbage Rate Hike Vote_Council Conflict of Interest?

Courtesy: Pat Meyering Sunnyvale City Council member – Seat 5 

On Tuesday, June 11, 2013, Sunnyvale city council will vote to increase your garbage rates. About 50% of the increase is to fund payment of an added $1,517,500.00 to the garbage company. Some Sunnyvale councilmembers have received financial contributions from the company owner. Subsequently the majority of councilmembers approved payment of the additional $1,517,500.00.

This payment comes while a valid and binding contract between the city and the garbage company, providing for a lower payment is in effect. The city and its residents get nothing in return for transferring the extra money to the councilmembers’ donor. The original garbage processing contract was awarded through a competitive bidding process. The benefits to Sunnyvale residents of using a low bid procedure are being undone by the city council paying more than the originally agreed contract price. 

The council’s action increases the profit for the private company and disadvantages Sunnyvale residents. The recipients of campaign contributions have awarded a unilateral benefit to their donor. There is a conflict of interest on the part of councilmembers who received financial contributions from the garbage company owner.

CLICK HERE for the authority on ethical requirements for local government officials is Santa Clara University. Scroll down to the 9th paragraph where the rule is stated that: It is not sufficient for government officials to make conflicts public. They must take themselves out of the decision-making process altogether.

Among the ‘yes’ voters for the additional $1,517,500.00 payment, are those councilmembers who also took money from the downtown developer and then voted to approve an unusual development agreement. The developer was excused from the standard requirement of purchasing and posting an overall performance bond. That developer delayed and then walked away from the downtown project, wanting to bid in the subsequent foreclosure procedure, pennies on the dollar for the city’s downtown land. As a result, Sunnyvale’s downtown has been and will remain a broken fiasco for years into the future.

The same councilmembers, who took money from the downtown developer are now blocking legal action by the city to acquire title to the downtown property. Those councilmembers say they want to maintain amicable relations with the parties, one of whom is their donor. Among the ‘yes’ voters for the additional $1,517,500.00 payment to the garbage contractor, are councilmembers who have also taken thousands of dollars from areal estate developers’ political action committee and then repeatedly voted to approve high density, multistory condo and office towers for those developers,while waiving the multiple violations of the city’s General Plan and Municipal Code contained in those developers’ new projects.

Money is given to councilmembers because of their seat on the city council – because of their ability to affect city government decisions. No money is given by the donors to Sunnyvale residents, who are not on the city council. Decisions unfavorable to residents, but favorable to donors, are made by the city council after receiving money from those donors. This method of governing and lack of ethics disadvantages Sunnyvale residents.

Police protection, sidewalk/street repair, job match services at the Senior Center for residents aged 50 or more, red curb painting, and other services to residents have been cut because the fees and taxes you pay have been steered by councilmembers to extra payments to their political donors.

Meanwhile nothing is being done by the council to create a public transit system to deal with the worsening traffic congestion,to provide more park space in an increasingly crowded community, or to find are replacement for the emergency homeless shelter the city is letting close. City government will only operate as efficiently and as ethically as you demand.

Come to Sunnyvale City Hall, at 456 W. Olive Ave. (between Mathilda and Pastoria Ave.) on Tuesday June 11th at 7:00 p.m. and explain to councilmembers:

  1. How you want your $285 million/year city government to operate, and
  2. Your opinion about the garbage rate increase.

Pat Meyering Sunnyvale City Council member – Seat 5


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s