Category Archives: Tax Payer’s Advocate

FEMA & BCDC Bullying Foster City, Why?

This is a Great Question, “Why aren’t communities throughout the entire Bay Area being mandated to do this?” 

Guest perspective: Foster City levee issue May 22, 2017, 05:00 AM By Linda Koelling 

The city of Foster City is confronted with upgrading sections of the levee to bring the current structure into Federal Emergency Management Agency compliance. The claim by FEMA is that a change in the sea wall or levee height is necessary to protect the ci­ty from flooding from future speculated storm surges. The correction is mandatory or the homeowners of Foster City will risk classification as being in a designated FEMA flood zone and required to pay flood insurance.

A recent guest perspective in the Daily Journal by T. Jack Foster questions the timing of this requirement. He states that Foster City’s lagoon system was designed to take care of excess water due to storm surges if they were ever to occur. Every winter the Public Works Department reduces the level of the lagoons to contain any excess rain or storm surge so the lagoon pumping system can move any excess water back into the Bay. The lagoon system was designed and well thought out to take care of any excess water incursion into the city both now and into the future.

Our levees are accredited for the 100-year flood level requirement. According to Mr. Foster’s guest perspective, the speculated rate of increase of Bay waters is calculated to be 1 inch per decade. Therefore the need to deal with concerns of water surge or sea level rise is years away if ever. So what are the real facts behind the need to comply with the very high cost to each of the citizens of Foster City for raising the levee now? What other Bayfront communities are being faced with this mandate to spend potentially $75 million or more.

Our city has withstood earthquakes when others thought we would sink into the Bay; we withstood recent high rain conditions without flooding when other nearby cities were not so lucky. My point is that Foster City is very well designed and maintained, and the lagoon systems and pumping capacities are not being taken into account by FEMA in calculating their worst-case, 100-year scenarios.

If FEMA were not enough to deal with, the Bay Conservation Development Commission, an agency created to protect the Bay, decided to get into the act. In addition to the calculation of storm surge possibilities by FEMA, BCDC has calculated that a sea rise for 2050 and 2100 will require that the city begin building a sea wall around our city now.

Interested citizens should look at the artist renderings of the solutions pending for Foster City. I think you will be appalled at the potential for this new enclosure of our city from the Bay waters. Why aren’t communities throughout the entire Bay Area being mandated to do this? Wouldn’t it make sense that the sea rise they have calculated also involve neighboring waterfront communities?

I believe there are important questions that need to be answered before we are bullied by FEMA or BCDC to meet a requirement that has little to no basis in currently collected data to support any immediate need to spend an enormous amount of money.

In 2011, as mayor, I received a letter indicating that regional governing bodies like BCDC were considering plans for the Bay Area that would significantly curtail city and county control over land use decisions in communities like ours. I saw at that time the drawings of a projected “great wall” around the entire Bay Area to protect against the anticipated sea level rise of epic proportions in a time far into the future.

It’s time the people recognize that these regional governing bodies composed of special districts, joint powers authorities, etc., lack the checks and balances of our government system and few people know who these non-elected board members are who make these broad stroked decisions. Little by little these regional boards and agencies have continued to amass power to usurp local control.

The residents of Foster City are faced with a hefty cost if we are strong-armed into moving forward with this project demanded by FEMA and now BCDC. City officials should ask more questions and provide the citizens of Foster City more answers. In particular, who funds this unfunded mandate? Should it be entirely on the backs of the residents? Should funding come from grants from the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority whom voters gave additional property tax money to for the next 25 years to save the Bay?

The residents of Foster City need to know the answers to these questions before writing the check for something that none of us will be able to prove whether we needed to do this now or not.

Linda Koelling is the former mayor of Foster City.

More Background

Here is the Letter by T. Jack Foster.

OP-ED: Is Foster City really in danger of floods?
May 02, 2017, 05:00 AM By T. Jack Foster 

 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is requiring Foster City to spend $75 million to raise their levees so that the city won’t be declared a flood zone. Such a designation would make it necessary for homes in Foster City with mortgages insured by a federal agency to acquire flood insurance. I’ve seen nothing that tells me how many such homes there are, but I would venture that there are very few. I’ve also seen nothing regarding the cost of the insurance. Since Foster City has been well-protected from floods by a system that has proved itself for over 50 years, I can’t imagine that such insurance is very expensive. So raising the levees would only save a few people from paying that insurance, at the cost of $75 million from homeowners.

Flooding has been the single biggest issue impacting the infrastructure of the city since the beginning. Not because of flooding from the Bay, since the levees have been in place since 1900. Rather, the problem was that the levees helped to trap the rainwater that fell on the land. The county’s engineer was concerned enough that he suggested the fill of the land should be raised high enough that rainwater would drain directly into the Bay. Aside from the economics of this idea, it was physically impossible. The soft underlying soil would not be able to support the weight of the fill.

The solution that was finally implemented was the lagoon system, which collects the rainwater, which then pumps out to the Bay when needed during rainy seasons. The holding basin of the system can hold over an inch of rain, though the pumps work as the rain falls.

This is the system which exists in FEMA’s so-called “flood zone.” FEMA’s fear comes from a potential rise in water levels of the Bay. At its current rate of increase, about 1 inch per decade, the need to deal with this matter is years away. When we do need to deal with it, it will be at high tide only, and only in small quantities of water. This water will run into the storm drain system and into the lagoon, where the pumping system will take care of excess water. Certainly, it is possible that this system can be overwhelmed by too much water. Good notice of this will be provided as the issue evolves, and we can raise the levees at that time, with a better view of the extent of the work needed.

T. Jack Foster Jr., along with his father and brothers, developed Foster City

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Filed under BCDC, FEMA, Foster City, Letters to Editors, Plan Bay Area, T. Jack Foster, Tax Payer's Advocate

SMC Open House by MTC & ABAG Meeting May 4, 2017

San Mateo County Open House Sequoia High School

Multi-Purpose Room

1201 Brewster Avenue

Redwood City

Thursday, May 4

6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

San Mateo Daily Journal Article

MTC

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Filed under ABAG, MTC, Plan Bay Area, San Mateo County, San Mateo County News, Tax Payer's Advocate, Those Who Matter, Victim's Advocate

Where does a Senior apply for San Mateo County’s affordable Housing?

According to the Yes on K. Neighbors for Affordability and Quality of Life with major funding by Seton Medical Center and MidPen Housing Corp. FPPC#1387689 flyer.

County of San Mateo Measure K

To ensure San Mateo County Quality of life by retaining/improving critical facilities/services such as: Providing affordable homes for Seniors.

Where do Seniors apply? Not online on the County’s website, Why?

Do you just have to be a Senior?

Who is the contact person responsible for the applications? What is the qualification process?

I asked Supervisor Dave Pine these questions, He referred me to Michelle Durand Chief Spokesperson for San Mateo County, she answered

“The County does not have a waiting list for affordable housing.”

Here is a list of hoops to jump through.

Affordable Senior Housing

How to Find Affordable Senior Housing in San Mateo County

You may be eligible for affordable senior housing if you are at least 62 years old (or almost 62), can live independently, and are on a fixed income or have an annual income that is no more than 80% of the current Area Median Income.

1) Get a Complete List of Affordable Senior Housing

Find the list of “Affordable Rental Housing” from the Department of Housing (DOH) and look for developments that are listed as senior housing. 

2) Expect to Join Waiting Lists

Because there is not enough affordable housing for all the seniors in the County, you may need to join waiting lists instead of finding housing immediately. You may join as many waiting lists as you want, however, the more lists you join, the higher the chance that you will find something sooner rather than later. 

3) Make Lots of Phone Calls
  1. Using the list of affordable housing in the County, call the contacts (usually the property manager) for senior housing developments that you are interested in to find out about their eligibility requirements and waiting lists. 
  2. Call affordable housing developers who have senior developments in San Mateo County. Ask them if they have any open waiting lists at their existing properties; ask if they are building any new projects that will be accepting applications in the future; also ask about joining their “keep informed” list for future projects. 
  3. Call city housing staff to ask if they know of any new senior developments in their city that might be accepting applications in the future; also ask if it is possible to be put on a “keep informed” list for future projects. 
4) Consider other Options
  • ƒHousing Authority Programs – The Department of Housing home page (www.smchousing.org) contains the most up to date information.  Visit often to find out waiting list information or other housing opportunities. 
  • Shared Housing – One of the programs funded by DOH is a home-sharing program through HIP Housing that matches home providers that have an extra room or a separate unit available to a home seeker who is looking for a place to live. Click here for more information on the home sharing program.  

Waiting List Closed

San Mateo County Website

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Filed under Board of Supervisors, Carole Groom, Dave Canepa, Dave Pine, Don Horsley, John Beiers, John Maltbie, San Mateo County, San Mateo County Clerk to Supervisors, San Mateo County Manager, San Mateo County News, Tax Payer's Advocate, Those Who Matter, Warren Slocum

San Mateo County Measure A Oversight Committee Meeting Tonight 6:30

San Mateo County Measure A Oversight Committee

Thursday, December 1, 2016, 6:30 p.m.

College of San Mateo, College Heights Conference Room, Building 10, Room 468

1700 West Hillsdale Boulevard, San Mateo, CA 94402

Here are the minutes from the last meeting which was almost 1 year ago and only lasted 12 minutes.

Meeting 

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Filed under Board of Supervisors, San Mateo County, San Mateo County Manager, San Mateo County News, San Mateo County Sheriff Department, Tax Payer's Advocate, Those Who Matter

San Mateo County Supervisors are in the Real Estate Lending Business, Why?

$10,000,000 loan of Measure A money to be approved November 15, 2016

If you object to this contact your Supervisor and let them know. Measure A funds for Mid Pen housing (a financial donor for Yes on K) to purchase an apartment complex. Why don’t they just go to a lender. Is it because they get a better deal from our Supervisors.

MidPen Housing Corp 09/20/2016 donated $30,000.00 to the Yes on K Neighbors for Affordability and Quality of Life with Major Funding by Seton Medical Center.

San Mateo County Supervisors 

Agenda Item 34 Measure A: Resolution regarding acquisition of Atherton Court Apartments:

COUNTY OF SAN MATEO

Inter-Departmental Correspondence Department of Housing

Date: Board Meeting Date: Special Notice / Hearing: Vote Required:

To: Honorable Board of Supervisors

October 6, 2016 November 15, 2016 None
Majority

  1. A)  Authorizing a loan to MidPen Housing of $5,883,211 for the acquisition of real property located at 3752-3770 Rolison Road, also known as Atherton Court, in Redwood City; and
  2. B)  Authorizing the Director of the Department of Housing, or the Director’s designee, to execute a loan agreement with MidPen Housing for the acquisition of Atherton Court in Redwood City, as approved by County Counsel.

BACKGROUND:

On June 28, 2016 the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution to allocate $10 million in Measure A funding to establish a program to fund the acquisition and to preserve the affordability of apartment buildings rented at below-market rents in San Mateo County. The Board of Supervisors established the Affordable Rental Acquisition and Preservation Program (ARAPP) in recognition of the negative effects on low- and moderate-income households when the sale of existing apartment buildings results in rent increases and displacement.

In an effort to preserve existing, naturally occurring affordable housing, the San Mateo County Department of Housing has provided loan funds to two projects including a nine- unit project located at 168 Pacific Avenue in Pacifica acquired by MidPen Housing and a sixteen unit project located at 1110 Cypress in the City of San Mateo acquired by HIP Housing.

. . .

In early 2016, MidPen Housing, working in partnership with Abode Services, became aware that Atherton Court, a property located at 3752-3770 Rolison Road in Redwood City was being offered for sale. In order to preserve these 55 units of naturally-occurring affordable housing, MidPen Housing submitted an offer to purchase Atherton Court. MidPen Housing has worked closely with the San Mateo County Department of Housing to structure the acquisition and long term operation of Atherton Court to comply with the requirements of the ARAPP loan program.

DISCUSSION:

MidPen Housing applied for funding under ARAPP to support the acquisition of Atherton Court in Redwood City. This property is made up of three buildings with a total of 55 apartments, including 53 studios and two one-bedroom apartments. In negotiating the purchase of this property, MidPen Housing and Abode Services, a service provider working with many of the existing tenants at Atherton Court, became aware of pending offers on the property in which the proposed buyers were seeking to purchase the property fully vacant, which would result in the displacement of 100% of the existing tenants. Because of the need to move quickly to provide funding for the purchase of Atherton Court, the Department of Housing has been working closely with MidPen Housing and has completed underwriting on the project.

Currently at least 47% of the households living at Atherton Court receive some type of rental assistance through either Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, HUD VASH Vouchers, or rental assistance from LifeMoves or from Abode Services. MidPen Housing proposes to acquire Atherton Court and complete all health and safety repairs, rent the current vacant units, and any units that become vacant, to tenants at or below 60% AMI. MidPen has also agreed to accept existing holders of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers to fill vacant units. Once MidPen has acquired Atherton Court, it plans to restructure the project financing and apply for Low Income Housing Tax Credits and other permanent affordable housing financing. MidPen intends to conduct a comprehensive property needs assessment to identify all the deferred maintenance and property upgrades needed to create a healthy and safe living environment for the tenants and to extend the useful life of the property. MidPen will maintain a rent schedule that results in long term affordability for tenants at or below 80% AMI, in line with the requirements of the ARAPP. MidPen has agreed to set aside units targeted to households with incomes at or below 30% AMI and to offer housing options to San Mateo County clients including homeless and special needs populations.

As proposed, the acquisition and rehabilitation of Atherton Court meets all of the goals established by the Measure A-funded ARAPP loan program including preservation of naturally affordable rental housing, conversion of unsubsidized rental housing to long term, rent-restricted rental housing serving low, very-low, and special needs populations, and minimizing the displacement and potential homelessness of existing residents. Furthermore this project will improve the quality and condition of 55 units of existing rental housing by addressing deferred maintenance and obsolete systems. The project will also leverage other private and public funding including (a) owner’s equity, (b) other public funds, and (c) private and public debt.

RESOLUTION NO. .
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, COUNTY OF SAN MATEO, STATE OF CALIFORNIA

******
RESOLUTION: A) AUTHORIZING A LOAN TO MIDPEN HOUSING OF $5,883,211 FOR THE ACQUISITION OF REAL PROPERTY LOCATED AT 3752-3770 ROLISON ROAD, ALSO KNOWN AS ATHERTON COURT, IN REDWOOD CITY; AND B) AUTHORIZING THE DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING, OR THE DIRECTOR’S DESIGNEE, TO EXECUTE A LOAN AGREEMENT WITH MIDPEN HOUSING FOR THE ACQUISITION OF ATHERTON COURT IN REDWOOD CITY, AS APPROVED BY COUNTY COUNSEL. ______________________________________________________________

RESOLVED, by the Board of Supervisors of the County of San Mateo, State of California, that

WHEREAS, the Board recognizes the negative effects on low- and moderate- income households caused by the sale of apartments with affordable, below-market rate rents, which can result in rent increases, displacement and potential homelessness; and

WHEREAS, the Board established a program, as part of the Affordable Housing Fund (AHF), to provide funding for the acquisition and preservation of apartment buildings rented at below-market rates in San Mateo County; and

WHEREAS, the Board allocated $10 million in Measure A funds to the Affordable Rental Acquisition and Preservation Program (ARAPP); and

WHEREAS, MidPen Housing has identified property located at 3752-3770 Rolison Road in Redwood City that currently provides fifty-five units of below-market rate rental housing, including housing for a number of tenants that receive rental assistance through Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, HUD VASH Vouchers, and rental assistance from LifeMoves or from Abode Services; and

WHEREAS, the property located at 3752-3770 Rolison Road in Redwood City is also known as Atherton Court and was at risk of being sold to a private sector investor, potentially displacing 100% of the existing residents; and

WHEREAS, MidPen Housing has requested $5,883,211 in funding from the San Mateo County ARAPP to acquire and to preserve the affordability of Atherton Court in Redwood City; and

WHEREAS, MidPen Housing will leverage the San Mateo County loan of $5,883,211 with other public and private sector funding for the acquisition of Atherton Court, with a total acquisition price of $17.1 million and will preserve fifty-five units of affordable rental housing in San Mateo County; and

NOW THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY DETERMINED AND ORDERED that the

Board of Supervisors hereby adopt this Resolution A) authorizing a loan to MidPen Housing of $5,883,211 for the acquisition of real property located at 3752-3770 Rolison Road, also known as Atherton Court in Redwood City; and B) authorizing the Director of the Department of Housing, or the Director’s designee, to execute a loan agreement with MidPen Housing for the acquisition of Atherton Court in Redwood City, as approved by County Counsel.

******

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Filed under Adrienne Tissier, Board of Supervisors, Carole Groom, Dave Pine, Don Horsley, John Beiers, John Maltbie, Sabrina Brennan, San Mateo County, San Mateo County Clerk to Supervisors, San Mateo County Manager, San Mateo County News, Tax Payer's Advocate, Warren Slocum

Keeping an oath in San Mateo County

We have many elected officials in our county  that lie under oath, take them and not follow thru with their promises… can we start enforcing the law of oaths and keeping them? Or do we not care about oaths anymore, should we just get rid of them all together?

Here I will start making a scoreboard of who has been lying and breaking oaths.

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Carole Groom False Statement about Prosecutorial Misconduct.

Atherton Almanac thread

Supervisor Carole Groom

“I don’t know how many folks in our county know the promise you kept to the Biletnikoff family, after the first case was dismissed or overthrown and you promised that family that you’d come back and re-prosecute and you did, and he was found guilty again and I just think that’s just another example of what your office does.”

I don’t how many folks in our county know (including Supervisor Carole Groom) that Steve Wagstaffe was personally responsible for the murder conviction to be reversed in the first place,  Three Judges from the Ninth District Court ruled his behavior was racially motivated, she doesn’t mention that.

I support San Mateo County re-trying him, he was guilty, I did not support the idea of Mr. Wagstaffe being the prosecutor in the second trial, and I am sorry the Biletnikoff family had to go through another trial.

I think Supervisor Carole Groom’s public description of this event was less than honest.

I sent her and the other Supervisors this e-mail on July 3rd, and to date no response…

Dear Carole,
      I recently saw your public statement to Steve Wagstaffe during a budget hearing on June 21st, 2012. I have to say I was caught completely by surprise at your praise of him keeping a promise to the Biletnikoff family, which was to reprosecute Mr. Ali.  Now, I fully support the second trial and I am pleased with the results, but I did not support Wagstaffe personally prosecuting the case a second time, for this reason. The 9th district court reversed the conviction based on Wagstaffe’s personal behavior.
“The prosecutor’s willingness to make up nonracial reasons for striking [three minority jurors] makes it even harder to believe that his resons for striking [a fourth juror] were race-neutral.”
” We therefore reverse the judgment of the district court and remand with directions to issue a conditional writ of habeas corpus requiring Ali’s release from custody”
 So, while you are praising a man for keeping a promise he is the sole cause for two trials in SMC. At this time, I am requesting you to find out from the DA’s office, how much did both of those trials cost the tax payer’s of San Mateo County?
 Thank you,
 Michael G. Stogner

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Filed under Board of Supervisors, Prosecutorial Misconduct, Steve Wagstaffe, Tax Payer's Advocate