Friday, May 31, 2013

Mass Transit and Population Density - 3.a.

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I wish to correct a previous inaccuracy.  The current projected cost of the CA HSR is no longer $64B (up from the $33B originally put to the voters).  It is now $98.5B.  It is still projected to be cheaper than the projected alternatives because those alternatives have been continuously revised upwards to ensure that the HSR is projected to be cost effective.  Also Oceania is now at war with Eurasia and always has been.
I'm sorry - I just can't keep up - I mean I try, I really do, but there are only so many times you can keep checking.  They should stream the updated projections so we don't have to keep checking back all the time.  Or maybe have some running-count billboard like for the National Debt (which is bigger than the cost of the HSR, so far).  The HSR cost apparently goes up in discrete quanta of $33B every year so projecting the projections (projections squared, I suppose) leads one to conclude that by the time it is built, it will come to $1 Trillion allowing for inflation.  That will be okay, because by then the usage projections will have everyone in Northern and Southern California switching places daily.

This $98B revision comes courtesy of the LA Times which has the following articles:

quote: (the traffic) "claim is based on such exaggerated estimates, misleading statements and erroneous assumptions that it is 'divorced from any reality.'"

"the rail authority has rebuffed offers to have UC Berkeley, UC Irvine and UC Davis, which have among the top five university transportation departments in the nation, help analyze the bullet-train system."  (from a representative of Burlingame near SFO)

"Instead, the rail authority has relied heavily on New York-based Parsons Brinckerhoff, a contractor that helped fund the political campaign for the $9.9-billion bond measure passed by voters in 2008. Although the rail authority has more than two dozen employees, Parsons controls 108 people working on the project."
So a funder of the proposition is in charge of making projections that will keep him in business working on the project.  Sometimes conflict-of-interest goes beyond mere sordid corruption to become an art form.  This is one of those truly awe-inspiring times.  We are witness to new innovations in conflict of interest.  But fear not!  The HSR project has a special manager to ensure the accuracy of the estimates:

"Frank S. Koppelman, who was hired by the California High-Speed Rail Authority to ensure the accuracy of ridership and revenue forecasts, worked on projects for the company providing the estimates."

"transportation experts at UC Berkeley [...] concluded last July that the patronage models were so unreliable that they could not accurately predict whether the train would be profitable or run severe deficits"

Wherein Quentin Kopp (former head of the California High-Speed Rail Authority) opposes current HSR plans saying "I want to kill this iteration of it because it betrays the representations to the voters in November 2008"
And lots more like that there stuff.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Mass Transit and Population Density - 3

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A zombie idea is a brain-dead idea that continues to walk around being treated as if it has life when there is no intelligence behind it.

The zombie idea I would like to destroy here and in subsequent posts is the "Trains & Buses are Good - Cars & Planes are Bad" in terms of fuel efficiency, carbon footprint, and tax use.

The basic laws of physics say that "Work = Force times Distance".  So it takes the same amount of work to move a human from Sunnyvale to San Diego by train, bus, plane, or car.  The question then is which modes are more efficient and have a lower carbon footprint.

The standard argument against cars is that they run on oil and trains run on electricity so if the electricity is generated cleanly (say by wind or solar) then the train is better.  There are two problems with this.
Problem 1:  Electricity is NOT generated cleanly for 87.5% of the power.  It is generated mostly by coal (45%), natural gas (20%), and nuclear (21%).  The 12.5% clean power is mostly old fashioned hydroelectric (8%) with some wind (3%).  Solar (photo-voltaic) is 0.04%.  (If Solar PV grows 1,000% it will roughly equal wind.  In 2001-2011 solar grew 30% annually.)  So every time you see an electric train or bus just imagine it belching out big black clouds of coal smoke, some blue flames of gas, and lots of very, VERY long-lasting radioactive particles that no one wants stored in their state.  Also some dead fish (dams) and dead birds (windmills).  (Ewww!  Gross, huh?)
 ( Consumption for electricity generation)

Problem 2:  We have electric cars now (we had them in 1867 but ...).  Anything that you can postulate about how "if only...", or "when..." we get large amounts of clean electricity to justify electric trains can also be used to justify electric cars.  Like the Tesla.

The proposed CA High Speed Rail will cost $68B (it was going to be half of that so $68B if there are no MORE 100% cost overruns) just to build - not counting maintenance and ongoing operational expenses. How much would it cost to set up an electric-car equivalent that would allow everyone who now flies from SJ to LA to pick up an electric car, have a Google self-driving robot take them on I-5 and drop them off at some station?

It turns out to cost about $100M for 1,000 electric Teslas and charging stations and another $1.8B to expand I-5 - under $2B.  And as clean as an electric train.  (detailed calculations below)

Still like High Speed Rail?
(to be continued)

Here's the calculation:

A GE Durastation Level 2 30-Amp car charging station is for sale at Lowe's for $5,500.  A Tesla Model S with 300 mile range costs $72,400 and seats 7 (call it 6 - no sense in feeling squeezed.)  There were 1.12M passengers flying from SFO to LAX in 2009, or about 3,000/day.  500 Teslas would carry those 3,000 passengers but let's allow for holiday traffic and buy 1,000 Teslas for $72M.  We'll put 1,000 charging stations at each endpoint and at the halfway point for another $15M and we aren't even up to $100M, much less $1B.  We will need to add a lane to I-5 in each direction at about $1.5M-$3M per mile so (300 miles x 2 lanes x $3M) = $1.8B.  So I'm just too damn cheap!  Ok!  Everyone gets their own Tesla!  With a Google robot driver to take them from SJ to LA and we're out $250M for the setup cost plus $1.8B for I-5 expansion = $2B.  Sorry, that's the best I can do.


Cupertino Middle School Proposed Changes - 2

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On May 23, 2013, The Sunnyvale City Council discussed the request by CUSD to modify the Open Space Agreement.  First the City Staff discussed the effect on the open space for Sunnyvale for 5 minutes.  Councilman Whittum asked a few questions about environmental and traffic impacts.  Councilman Davis then asked some questions.

It was thrown open to the public.  There were 20 people submitting public comment cards.  The School board representative went first. (At 8:00 minute mark on video below).  Councilman Griffith asked some questions at the 12 minute mark followed by CM Whittum at the 18:15 minute mark and CM Davis at the 20 minute mark.

Public Comments began at the 21:10 minute mark.  The CUSD represetative returned to answer some questions at the 1:21:15 minute mark.  The vote was taken to NOT approve the modification and passed 7-0 at the 1:57 mark.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mass Transit and Population Density - 2

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Optimal transportation planning relies heavily on "spoke and hub" configurations.   They resemble a bicycle wheel with a central hub and spokes coming out of it.  This is considered optimal whether you are distributing packages (Fed Ex) or people (Delta Airlines).  This keeps costs low since it ensures that all vehicles will be operating as close to capacity as possible.  Exceptions are heavy traffic areas like the NYC-Washington or Tokyo-Osaka corridors which can keep planes, trains and buses full and use direct flights.  For most situations, like the Bay Area, hub-spoke is optimal.

The current development of Sunnyvale is going to create the worst possible situation leading to more congestion, pollution, fuel INefficiency, and higher transportation costs all around.  It will produce a lot of little mini-centers scattered around with no central transportation system connecting them in any logical way.  We will become like LA, with no center and everyone commuting from everywhere to everywhere.

Here is why:  consider 7 points (P1, P2, ...P7) that need connecting. If you try to connect every point directly, you need to connect P1 to each of the 6 other points, P2 to each of the 5 remaining points (not counting P1-P2 which was previously connected), etc.  So you have to make 6+5+4+3+2+1 = 21 connections - roads, rail systems, bus routes, whatever.  If you use a hub-spoke system, you need only 7 connections to the hub and you are done - 1/3 as many connections.  If there are 9 points, 38 direct connections are needed but with only 9 spokes on the hub the ratio of connections needed goes from 1:3 to over 1:4. 

Hubs are workplaces like San Francisco and San Jose.  The spokes go out to living places.  Create a lot of hubs because every little town likes the low maintenance high revenue workplaces and you end up with a lot of point-to-point roads and severely underused (and therefore inefficient) buses.

If everyone is driving a car you need to build and maintain 21 roads connecting mini-centers.  Building, maintaining, and expanding roads is not free but it is nowhere nearly as expansive as inefficient public transportation.  If you want to install a public transportation system, you need to consider the cost of running a partly empty bus, plane, or rail car.  Running a bus over each of the 21 direct connections compared to the 7 hub-spoke connections is going to mean only 1/3 the ridership on each bus.  A bus needs an average of 9-18 riders to be as efficient as a Toyota Prius.  The average car fuel economy in the US will exceed that of the most efficient Prius within 25 years.
Of the $218 Billion (with a B) to be spent on transportation in the Bay Area over the next 25 years, 30% is to maintain roads, 65% is for public transportation, and 5% is for road expansion.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mass Transit and Population Density - 1

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There are some well meaning people who believe that increasing the population density of Sunnyvale is a good thing because among other things it will increase ridership of mass transit in the area.  This will lead supposedly to a virtuous cycle of greater mass transit use leading to greater availability leading to even greater use of mass transit leading to ever less pollution, less congestion, and therefore more walkable, bike-friendly cities, etc., etc.

I share the goal of better mass transit but the problem here is in the numbers.

Consider the NY Subway system (see picture of a subway station below).

The NYC Subway system is one of the most successful mass transit systems in the world - #7 in the world in terms of ridership, (just below Guangzhou and just above Mexico City) and #1 in the Western Hemisphere. 
c.f. .  

It has over twice the ridership of the next 14 urban heavy rail transit systems in the US COMBINED!

AND - those next 14 include 2 based in NYC - one in Staten Island and the other for the NY-NJ commuter area.

So any data you read about how wonderful mass transit systems are has to include NYC to make sense.  Take out NYC and all the data about cost-effectiveness and congestion relief goes to heck. Next time someone tells you numbers supporting mass transit ask if those numbers include NYC and what they would be with NYC factored out.

So what about energy efficiency?  Even if you don't accept the idea of global warming, surely it is better to not have all those polluting cars on the road?  Well, the NYC Subway system consumes 2289 kJ(kilo-Joules)/passenger-km in 1995 vs 2427 kJ/passenger-km  for automobile travel.  (Joules are the metric unit for energy)

So the most successful mass transit system in the Western Hemisphere uses 94% of the energy of cars.  If you DO accept global warming the issue is clouded by where those Joules come from.  If a Joule of electricity is generated by coal (42% of US electricity production) it is far, far dirtier than the pollution coming from petroleum based cars.  An all-electric car like the Nissan Leaf has the carbon footprint of a 33 MPG car like the Honda Fit in Colorado, better in other parts of the country with hydro and gas powered plants like California, worse in heavily coal-dependent areas like TX and PA.  In 2006, more Watts of power were generated by coal in the US than in China.

There is, of course, no way that the Bay Area will ever achieve the population density of the NY metro area.  Even places like Chicago that would welcome the honor can't achieve it.

There are other forms of mass transit and other virtues to mass transit besides energy efficiency and carbon footprint.  It is inconceivable that NYC could work as well as it does without their subway system.  BART does wonders to relieve congestion on the Bay Bridge and I have been strongly in favor of "BART around the Bay" (BARB) since I moved here in 1982. 

I was horrified to read the former mayor of San Jose say they stopped BARB because San Jose's business community was afraid everyone would just take BART to go to SF so SJ would never develop a meaningful downtown.  The way to grow a city is to make it hard to get to?  Stupidity on that order is just breathtaking.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cupertino Middle School Proposed Changes - 1

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On Tuesday May 7, 2013, a representative of Cupertino Union School District presented to the Sunnyvale City Council a proposed Open Space Master Plan Revision.  Several on the City Council spoke against the proposal.  CM Moylan made a suggestion that 6th graders could be moved to grade schools that had space.  He pointed out that 6th graders used to be in grade school, a very few years ago.  CM Davis then mentioned some suggestions from residents he had heard at earlier meetings. CM Whittum said that essentially losing open space was not a good thing and suggested the CUSD demographer was wrong about a small increase in student population - that Sunnyvale was going to be required to add many more housing units. Before moving on to the consent calender, CM Moylan seconded CM Whittum's comments and desire for a joint meeting with the CUSD board.

This 35 minute video requires Microsoft's Silverlight to be viewable.  That software is available here:

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Evolution and Political Partisanship

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The recent discussion of the Censure of Pat Meyering suggested a sub-context to the differing views.  I have been thinking how that came out of human evolution. 

Evolution:  Go back several million years to our early ancestors.  They were more likely to be prey than predator.  Hominid's almost unique ability to see the color red probably comes from the fact that new tree leaves (sweeter and less acidic than mature leaves) have red veins - suggesting mostly vegetarian life.  Our ancestors were likely small (more like Capuchin monkeys than Great Apes) and like most species found the trees safer than the ground.  If you are swinging from tree to tree by your hands you really need 3-D depth perception or you'll be falling a lot.  (If you are throwing your entire body at a tree like a squirrel, you can afford to be off a little bit, as long as you have sharp claws to catch onto the tree.) 

This implies hominid eyes have to be facing mostly to the front to allow enough vision overlap for each eye to provide 3-D depth perception.  But individual prey animals want as close to a 360 degree vision as possible (like rabbits) to enable them to spot predators.  

Hominids gave up the 360 degree vision for the depth perception.  In order to compensate, hominids formed tribes so what one couldn't see, the others in the tribe could.  So if the tribe is the guarantor of your safety, then you owe your life to the tribe and must do everything to support it.  And that means you cannot compromise with another tribe over territory because to do so would mean less food for your tribe.

Now tribes become political parties and one is committed to that system of beliefs.  You cannot concede that the other party/tribe might be even partly right about some areas because to do so would appear to abandon your entire system of beliefs.  There is always the danger the other tribe would yell something like "HA!  You admit we were at least partly right about one thing so you must concede we might be right about other things!"  So partisanship has people contorting themselves in mental and verbal knots to
not admit the possibility of any weakness, or error in anyone or anything in their tribe.

As to the City Council, CM Moylan and CM Griffith are Democrats, while CM Whittum is a Libertarian.  So loyal Democrats feel the need to support their tribe,regardless of how they feel about campaign contributions on the national level.

But for Sunnyvale, this is silly.  A Libertarian majority is not going to put Sunnyvale on the Gold Standard and a Democratic majority isn't going to nationalize the steel industry. 

I voted for both Moylan and Whittum and overall, I am glad I did.  They both seem to work together towards mutually shared goals I support and both sometimes make mistakes.  I.e., anything I disagree with is by definition, an error (but I am a forgiving sort).  City governement is about garbage collection and parks and paving streets and such.  National political alignment has little to do with any of that.  So it is possible to concede your guy is wrong in one thing while being right about most other things.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

City Council & Campaign Reform - 3

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The proposed change in voting procedure to "preferential voting system" has been known to elect political leaders who are not always up to snuff.  Can we say that the current "plurality wins" system has always chosen models of civic virtue and those with the wisdom of Solomon in running the state?  I'm guessing that is a "not exactly, but..." forming in your mind.  (Article on preferential voting here: )

I have worked with my sons on AP US History two times now and I, at least, have learned quite a bit.  My reading of the reasons behind the American Revolution were NOT "you guys are incompetent - get better management and we'll be fine."  It was more along the lines , of "we want to be able to make our own decisions and choose our own leaders - for better or worse."

The single most important factor in maintaining a stable and effective government is assent of the governed.  Take that away, and you have at best cynical corruption and ineffectiveness, at worst, revolution.  It would be NICE to have the most competent people win but we don't know how to decide that - yet.  (Maybe there will be an iPhone App for that soon - c'mon Apple! - You screwed up maps and now we can't get perfect government?  What the heck, guys - if only Steve Jobs were still around, he'd fix it.)

In a 3-way contest between A, B, and C, if A wins with 40% of the vote while B & C were mostly alike in their views, you have 60% of the populace who feel disenfranchised and resentful.  If B wins as the 1st or 2nd choice of a majority, those voting for C can say, "well, she wasn't my first choice but it is better than having A in office".  Similarly those voting for A can say, "well, the voters have spoken, and I lost - at least C didn't get in".  More importantly, the positions most similar to those of 60% of the population are represented and if they don't turn out, those voting for the position know on some level that their views were put to the test and did not succeed.  An important step in getting a better government.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

City Council & Campaign Reform - 2

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(see also:   )

Another step forward in City electoral reform would be "preferential voting". and

This is also called "instant run-off" and is used in a number of countries (including Australia) and several cities in the US, including San Francisco and Oakland.  For example, in a 3-way contest between candidates A,B, & C, each voter has the opportunity to vote for one candidate AND indicate a second preference.  If, for example, candidate C gets the lowest number of votes, those who voted for C and indicated a 2nd preference would have their votes counted toward that candidate.  This enables two candidates with similar views to to run against a single candidate of opposing views without worrying about splitting the vote.  It saves the expense of run-off elections which can further drain the funds of the candidates and make them even more dependent on big contributors, or tilt towards those with the most money.

I am told that both CM Whittum and CM Moylan have tried to get the county to provide the software so Santa Clara County cities can implement this.  I think more pressure needs to be applied, and if Sunnyvale voted to go to this method, it would pretty much force the county voting registrar to get the software that Oakland and San Francisco use.

City Council & Campaign Reform - 1

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(see also: )

The City Council voted 4-3 tonight (May 21, 2013) against my proposal (not original to me, I assure you) that the City provide matching funds for those who promise not to spend more than a certain amount (I suggested $20,000 total, up to half matching funds). It was a proposal to put it on the ballot this November, along with some related issues to reward and encourage (you can't require) candidates to limit their expenditures. That it was one vote short of passing suggests we might get campaign finance reform next year. I hope it will be a campaign issue this November. Voting for it were Meyering, Whittum, and Moylan.

Those with lots of money can drown out most voices but I disagree that the $ amounts in Sunnyvale are piddly.

This is a small electorate and with a few small campaign contributions from average citizens' contributions and the candidate's own money, it is hard to go above raising $10,000. That pays for maybe one cheap copy paper flyer and some yard signs. In this small pond, $50,000 is overwhelming, in terms of the number of mailers and glossy flyers. I can see spending $10,000 of your own money like Pat Meyering and Dave Whittum did, but very few could convince themselves (and their spouse) to spend $50,000 of their own money.

Over $110K like Mayor Spitaleri raised is essentially buying the election. Most people will decide not to run against that kind of money, and we are all left with fewer candidates to choose from.  

I am only too aware of the problems with "independent" PACs spending more but we should "not let the best be the enemy of the good."  The proposal is modeled on the public $ matching laws for the US Presidency.  Steven Colbert has had a lot of fun and made some very serious points showing how the "Citizen's United" decision by the Supremes let large amounts of unattributable money in.  Nothing can stop that short of a constitutional amendment which is what the Democratic Party platform of 2012 proposed.

This proposal would only begin to even the field, not achieve perfection.  Candidates could decide not to limit themselves as both Romney and Obama didn't this last campaign.  The claim by Obama campaign is that the amounts Romney wanted to spend were so huge that it would have been suicidal for Obama to agree to it.  Both raised record amounts of money, but the amounts that the 501(c) PACs spent were essentially useless after the primaries.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Meyering Censure Summary

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(Edit 1/25/2014:  Sunnyvale is using a new version of video recording presentation which is incompatible with their old version so I am directing everyone to the YouTube versions here:
End edit of 1/25/2014)

The following links contain most of the relevant videos for the City Council Censure motion:

Part 0: Initial Disagreement and Motion to Put a Censure Measure on the Agenda 
(Update 5/23/13: A $1M+ payment to Sunnyvale's waste management firm to replace equipment that did not do what was intended comes up.  CM Meyering asserts that several members have received campaign contributions from the co. and should recuse themselves and that the deal is overly generous to the co.  CM Griffith moves to put a censure motion on the following meeting's agenda.16 minute video)

Part 1:Public Comments on the Day of the Censure Vote:
(Update 5/23/13: 12 minute video of 4 residents speaking about the previous meeting's incident.)

Part 2:Reading of  Charges Against Pat Meyering: (10 minute video)

Part 3:Pat Meyering's Defense and counter accusation: (17 minute video)

Part 4 - Further Public Comment before the vote (very interesting)  (Update 5/23/13: About 33 minutes video.  Most spoke in opposition to the censure - several from their own unsatisfactory experience with Sunnyvale and other cities.)

Part 5 - CC Members speak and vote: 33 minute video - motion passed 5-1, CM Whittum opposed, CM Meyering abstained.


A.  Referred to several time by Pat Meyering and other City Council Members is the incident where
CM Meyering ceded his time to speak to the Mayor and then a motion was made and quickly passed to cut off debate before CM Meyering could speak:

B.  Were allegations true?  It was not immediately clear to whom CM Meyering was referring when he stated that Council Members had received contributions form waste management.  The Sunnyvale Sun initially said there were none.  The Sun later corrected their error.

see also:

C.  Earlier discussion of Conflict of Interest.  Steve Hoffman raised the subject during public comments.  CM Moylan spoke strongly against him.  CM Meyering noted that there was a difference of opinion.

D.  The original debate was over a waste collection contract.  CM Whittum later obliquely referred to issues related to waste management.  Collected here are some professionally done videos and reports on civic corruption and waste management:

E.  Moral and Legal implications - is the motion being considered fairly?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Censure of Pat Meyering: CC Members Speak - May 5th, 2013 - part 5

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(Edit 1/25/2014:  Sunnyvale is using a new version of video recording presentation which is incompatible with their old version so I am directing everyone to the YouTube versions here:
End edit of 1/25/2014)

After the public comments, Vice Mayor J. Griffith spoke (the beginning of this excerpt, 4:26 on the city tape) in favor of the motion to which CM Meyering replied at 4:30 on the excerpt below.  CM Meyering alluded to an attempt he beleives was intended to trick him out of being able to speak.  This incident is referred to later by CM Whittum (who expresses regret) and CM Moylan who denies it was a trick and insists it was a valid motion.  The incident of 9/18/2012 may be viewed at


Then CM D. Whittum spoke (6:52 on the following excerpt) expressing regret for his role in trying to close debate at an earlier meeting (incident of 9/18/2012, see links above) and expressed the desire that things de-escalate.  He also said that the issue of the garbage contract was important and CM Meyering's comments relevant.

CM Moylan then spoke (12:19 below) in favor of the motion reciting various incidents in which he said CM Meyering had violated ethics.  One of the items was related to the former acting City Attorney, whom I understand to have been a former City Attorney temporarily filling-in while the City tried find a permanent City Attorney.  CM Moylan also spoke to the accusation that he conspired with other City Council members to trick CM Meyering so that CM Meyering would not be allowed to speak to the issue.  CM Moylan said he did not conspire and that it was a valid motion. (Incident of 9/18/2012 see the two links above.)

CM Davis (29:15 below) then spoke briefly in favor of the motion.

Then a vote was taken (32:30) resulting in passage of the motion 5-1, CM Whittum opposing, CM Meyering abstaining.  The CC then moved on to other business.

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Corruption & Garbage Collection

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The issue that was being debated at the time Vice Mayor Griffith moved to put a motion to censure CM Meyering on the agenda was related to a garbage collection contract.  In the debate on the censure motion, Councilman Whittum alluded to issues that have arisen in other cities related to garbage collection. Cf:
Here are a few items related to crime and garbage collection:

1.  YouTube - Smithsonian Institute - 2 minutes on Mafia control of garbage collection in NYC:
"Trashopolis - Waste Disposal Means Mafia"

2.  "Waste Management World" - Article (2013) starting with "Twelve members of three New York crime families have been charged with racketeering conspiracy in the waste industry after multi-year investigation. ... A further 17 defendants are facing charges."  Contains 3 links to articles detailing similar problems around the world.

3.  "Waste Management World" - Article (2012) titled: "Crime Magnet: New Jersey's Waste & Recycling Industry"

4.  Waste management company "Service Corporation of America" and it's crime connections are outlined in the Wikipedia article here:

5.   Slate magazine article: "Why the Mafia Loves Garbage"

6.  A discussion on the issue here:

7.  Chicago Tribune - 1986
"The grand jury alleged Kelley received at least $6,500 of a $10,000 payoff to help Waste Management obtain an option to purchase property"

8.  Small town of Forsyth (pop 3800)

Censure of Pat Meyering: More Comments - May 5th, 2013 - part 4

Public Comment Before the Agenda Item is Discussed by the City Council

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(Edit 1/25/2014:  Sunnyvale is using a new version of video recording presentation which is incompatible with their old version so I am directing everyone to the YouTube versions here:
End edit of 1/25/2014)

The video excerpt below starts at 3:53:15 on the May 07, 2013 video available at

After CM Meyering spoke in his defense, the general public was able to speak for up to 3 minutes per person.

1.  Sandra Pacheco spoke first in favor of Pat Meyering.  She cited her personal observations of how city business was conducted in San Carlos.

2.  Terry Fowler then spoke in favor of the censure motion (3:10 on the selection here).  In response to a question by Mr. Meyering, Mr. Fowler said he voted for Mr. Meyering although as CFO of the Sunnyvale Democratic Club he might logically have been expected to support Democratic Club member Bo Chang who ran against Mr. Meyering.

3.  Tap Merrick (running for City Council against CM J. Griffith) then spoke in favor of Mr. Meyering (8:02 here).  He mentioned that he had previously endorsed and supported Mr. Spitaleri in his last run for City Council.

4.  Andrew Maloney then spoke in favor of Mr. Meyering and in opposition to the motion.   (11:29 mark here).  He also mentioned his own experience of ten years ago trying to get the downtown plan modified to be a financially viable effort and the frustration he felt contending against a CC aligned with the developers.

5.  Mei-Ling Stefan then spoke very eloquently in opposition to the motion. (14:40 here).

6.  Andy Frazer (running for City Council against Mr. Gustav Larsson) spoke in opposition to the motion and for a meeting of reconciliation. (17:05 here). 

7.  Ray Johnson (19:35 on the video selection below) spoke for Pat Meyering.

8.  Barbara Fukumoto then spoke in favor of the motion against Mr. Meyering. (23:15 on the selection here).

9.  Larry Alba spoke on behalf  (26:28) of Pat Meyering.

10.  Steve Hoffman (running for City Council against Mr. Hendricks) then spoke in favor of Pat Meyering, urging the citizens of Sunnyvale to vote on the issue of Conflict of Interest in November.  (29:48 below).

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Censure of Pat Meyering: Defense - May 5th, 2013 - part 3

Pat Meyering's Defense:

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Pat Meyering spoke in his defense immediately after Mayor Spitaleri read the censure motion. 
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The incident of being silenced he refers to at minute 12:40 can be found excerpted at:


Censure of Pat Meyering: Charges - May 5th, 2013 - part 2

Reading of  Charges Against Pat Meyering

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(Edit 1/25/2014:  Sunnyvale is using a new version of video recording presentation which is incompatible with their old version so I am directing everyone to the YouTube versions here:
End edit of 1/25/2014)

The agenda item of whether to censure  Councilman Pat Meyering came up at the May 5th meeting at time 3:26:38 on the video available at

The motion was read by Mayor Spitaleri:

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Censure of Pat Meyering: Public Comments - May 5th, 2013 - part 1

Public Comments on the Day of the Censure Vote:

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(Edit 1/25/2014:  Sunnyvale is using a new version of video recording presentation which is incompatible with their old version so I am directing everyone to the YouTube versions here:
End edit of 1/25/2014)

Early in the meeting, several people spoke during the public comments section, when anyone may speak for 3 minutes about any topic not on the agenda.  Several spoke about the previous meeting's vote to take put the issue of the censure of Pat Meyering on the agenda for the May 5th meeting.

First was Tap Merrick, who intends to run for City Council against incumbent Jim Griffith.  He was followed by Michael Goldman (me - not running for anything), then by Steve Hoffman who is also running for City Council, and then by Andrew Maloney, (private citizen).

(this excerpt starts at 1:24 on the video of the May 5th meeting available for download or viewing at

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Campaign Contributions & Conflict of Interest - I

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Several people have claimed that Councilman Pat Meyering was making false accusations when he said that council members had received campaign donations.

This is not correct.  There were at least two contributions from "Specialty Solid Waste" to members of the City Council.  The owner of Specialty Waste is Jerry Nabhan as seen at: 

He has at least two direct contributions to CC members campaigns.

One is Nabhan's contribution of $200 to CM Moylan 
as seen in this PDF of a filing with the CA Fair Political Practices Committee (FPPC) for January through June of 2009.

and the other is $300 to Mayor Spitaleri.

Mayor Spitaleri tried to stop CM Meyering from speaking and Moylan voted for the censure of Meyering for mentioning this.

You can also see Moylan, Spitaleri, and others trying to silence Meyering at an earlier meeting here:

In that last post, it is Meyering's turn to speak, Mayor Spitaleri asks Meyering if he can go first, Meyering pleasantly agrees, then Moylan makes a motion to cut off debate right after Spitaleri speaks.  It is shameful bullying of Meyering by Moylan, Spitaleri, and others.  Meyering is more sinned against than sinning.