Lawyer seeks answers to airport issues
by Jon Mendelson
Sep 20, 2012 | 3631 views | 38 38 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A local lawyer is looking for answers regarding the source of a lingering problem with the main runway at Tracy Municipal Airport.

On Tuesday, Sept. 18, attorney Steve Nicolau addressed the City Council and requested an investigation regarding a paving job on the airport’s main runway that pilots and an earlier inquiry determined was poorly done.

He alleges the city was alerted to defects in the paving the same year the work was started, but that nothing was done until after the warranty on the work had expired.

Nicolau is seeking answers about what happened and who was responsible.

“We are now looking at the very real possibility of more taxpayer money being spent to correct problems that should’ve been corrected on the contractor’s dime, not ours,” he told the council during Tuesday’s public comment session.

In 2007, the city contracted with California Pavement Maintenance Inc. to repave the airport’s main runway, which runs northwest to southeast. Ninety percent of the nearly $598,000 cost was picked up by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to previous Press reports, while 8 percent came from the state and 2 percent came from the city.

The contract between the city and CPM, a copy of which was provided to the Press by Nicolau this week, stipulated that the city had one year after the work’s completion to identify any work that was inadequate.

The work was acknowledged as completed Feb. 5, 2008, according to a document signed by Mayor Brent Ives, and the city released CPM in a document dated Feb. 11, 2010.

However, an email provided by Nicolau that was sent by airport coordinator Bruce Ludeman to then-Parks and Recreation Director Rod Buchanan suggests that people at the airport identified problems before the work was accepted as finished.

“I have voiced our concerns in recent weeks about the quality of the work being performed at Tracy Municipal Airport,” states Ludeman’s email, dated Sept. 13, 2007. “… In summary: There are huge areas of the airport that need further application of material to ‘glue’ down the loose aggregate, and a solution needs to be found to make sure that we don’t continue to have paint coming loose and lifting up the underlying slurry mixture. … We have an uneven crumbling slurry layer that is also being pulled apart by the paint.”

City Manager Leon Churchill acknowledged Nicolau’s concerns later in the week.

“I think we had some project management issues at the time that, if we had the chance, we would do differently and do better,” he said Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Problems with the pavement at the airport continue to be reported.

Several pilots told the Press in February 2011 that loose bits of the resurfaced runway were damaging propellers and posed a safety risk to pilots.

Donald Huag, aviation safety officer for the California Department of Transportation Division of Aeronautics, penned a letter dated Feb. 28, 2011, documenting the “progressive disintegration of the slurry seal layer” at the Tracy airport, according to a previous Press report.

John Favors, the president of the Tracy Airport Association, said this week that the repaving in 2007 also shortened the main runway from its designated 4,002 feet to 3,996 feet.

The difference of 6 feet is huge, he said, because many insurance companies only cover planes to touch down on runways longer than 4,000 feet.

Favors said the result is that many jet-turbine planes no longer land at the airport, putting a dent in fuel sales and prompting a hike in Tracy’s typically cheaper-than-average fuel prices.

“When we had the 4,000-foot runway, … we had a lot of jet traffic,” Favors said. "There was always a line at the gas pumps. Now, there’s nothing.”

Churchill said city staff has received clear direction from the City Council to ensure that the runway’s length is restored to longer than 4,000 feet and that the quality of the surface is improved.

“The next part of this issue is we need to make it right,” he said. “We’re going to make it right.”

Churchill said the city is seeking a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration that would largely pay for the Tracy airport’s runway to be repaved. He said the city’s chance of landing the grant was “pretty good.”

Churchill added that even if the 2007 slurry job had been perfect, the lifespan of such a seal is only about five years.

Comments
(38)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Realintracy
|
September 25, 2012
Hey Ornely,

Your generally take the city's side on everything, the the citizens side, the administrations side. You challenge facts, demand proof, demean other people and them pontificate your "facts.". If you pay attention at the city council meetings, research the TP website, or use some common sense you might be accurate. Btw: Why don't you, as threatened, notify the FAA of the condition of the runway. Let them close it and then the city will be in the hook to fix it properly.
RedHotChilliPeppers
|
September 25, 2012
If the FAA closed the runway, it would remain closed. The majority of the citizens do not even know where the runway is.

Let's facediscuss it. The airport is not shakin it's money maker.

And the New Jerusalem airport would have a better chance.

This airport does not even have a tower to tear down. No city water and that is why the restaurant never materialized.
dcose
|
September 26, 2012
Daring to challenge "factoids", demanding proof, using the Tracy Press' website as relevant information, add shunning common sense.

Add another clueless, ignorant poster to the multitude. Why are people reasoning things out, denigrated ?

UnRealintracy, somewhere along the way, either no one taught you critical thinking or you've lost the ability. That type of problem extends throughout state and federal government.

Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 26, 2012
Realintracy

Do you really want me to tell the FAA somethang I don't really believe simply because you believe it? I do pay attention at city council meetins an do my research accordingly. I don't depend on TP as a sole source of information because, given thair history, they are often wrong an extremely biased.

First of all, th airport an it's maintenance is out of th jurisdiction of th City, with respect ta extensions an if it stays open as an operational airport. Thair is th allegation that because th paved portion of th runway is four feet shorter an th surfacin of it is substandard, meanin that it is a safety issue yet to my knowledge th FAA apparently don't feel it's so unsafe that it needs ta be closed. An if it's unsafe, fer th safety of th pilots an thair passengers, it rightfully should be closed.

So, how BIG is this problem really? Apparently it only really exists in th minds of th writers of TP who's main goal is ta attract readers so that they see th advertisements in th paper an generally speakin ya don't accomplish that in tadays media without negative journalism.

Point in fact, good news don't sell print an it never has.

cont

Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 26, 2012
Realintracy

It's one reason why all media taday shouldn't be trusted as sole source information because often what they are reportin on is sensationalized with half truths in order ta titillate readers an encourage them ta come back an read more of th story they have concocted.

In TP's case not only is it guilty of that style of presentin th news on numerous occasions, they also heavily bias what they write with thair own political notions, aspirations an political affiliations.

I notice that even though I have posed th question regardin th cost of repavin th last six feet of runway that no one has stepped up ta th plate with a logical an sound answer.

What I have heard is that $600K has been wasted but ta date no cost estimate ta finish th job or even redo th entire job. Why?

Thank ya can answer that simple question? Or are ya gonna continue ta make this a stupid political issue over somethang th majority of the citizens have proven over an over they don't really care about an many would just as soon see go away?

Case in point, th acrobatic box th FAA has set up over th quarries ta th south an east that many continuously complain ta th city about yet th city can't do much about it because it falls under th jurisdiction of th FAA an is thair for all pilots in this section of th country ta use fer acrobatic flyin.

This box has been thair fer a long time yet people stupidly buy thair houses next ta it an then complain about it.

Over th years of complaints th box is still thair, th City ain't responsible fer it an th FAA don't seem ta be inclined ta shut it down. Why?

If th current condition of th airport IS unsafe then logically sensible pilots wouldn't land thair an th FAA would shut th place down. Why is it still open an why do pilots still use it if it's so unsafe?

But, as ya wish, I'll be happy ta let th FAA know somethang that I have no doubt they already know.

Common sense? That's sweet. Check it out frum yer TP article that ya are placin so much faith in fer accuracy.

“I have voiced our concerns in recent weeks about the quality of the work being performed at Tracy Municipal Airport,” states Ludeman’s email, dated Sept. 13, 2007" Recall Ludeman is or was th "Airport Coordinator."

Now pay attention ta th date of that statement.

Then in th same article we read, "The work was acknowledged as completed Feb. 5, 2008, according to a document signed by Mayor Brent Ives, and the city released CPM in a document dated Feb. 11, 2010."

Again, note th date this document was signed versus when th work was completed?

Question, what happened at th airport on this particular issue between February 5, 2008 when an FAA inspector should have personally been lookin inta th issue, an September 13, 2007 when th complaint about loose material was initially raised? What happened in those 5 months? Why, if this was a significant problem, weren't Ludeman an his airport "friends" not more persistent in gettin th problem resolved?

Then we have a press article allegin "Donald Huag, aviation safety officer for the California Department of Transportation Division of Aeronautics, penned a letter dated Feb. 28, 2011, documenting the “progressive disintegration of the slurry seal layer” at the Tracy airport."

If this was a significant problem then, why is th airport still in operation? Huag is not a Tracy Citizen an is employed by th Calif DOT division of Aeronautics, meaning that he should be th expert an if th problem was all that bad HE should have shut th place down.

Note th date of that letter that was sent three years an half a month AFTER th job was signed off as completed by th mayor.

Now th burnin question that demands an answer.

If this is really th big deal that ya an others are makin it out ta be, why then has it taken so long fer th community ta learn about it? Was TP remiss in coverin such an important issue? Or could it possibly be because this is an election period an an ideal time ta toss around th ole political football?

An again, I note, if this "safety" issue is really a safety issue then why has th airport remained in operation plain all th people that use it an who live around it at risk?

Who has th jurisdiction an authority ta shut th airport down, th City or th FAA? If ya look closely only th FAA has that authority.

Th common sense answer ta this issue, somethang ya claim I don't possess, is that it ain't really all that big of a deal. Ergo, it's nothin more than a political football tossed about by th machinations of TP an thair continued affiliation with a lawyer makin his money off th backs of Tracy Citizens as suit after suit is brought against th City because it doesn't conform ta his perfect idealization of how th city should be run.

Finally, slurry seals only last fer about 5 years anyway.

Since th completion date of th job was signed off way back on February 5, 2008, usin a bit of common sense, logically it should be due fer another slurry seal in another 5 months. Given that short period of time, considerin how long this "problem" has been goin on, it will be corrected then an th original $598,000, of which citizens of Tracy directly paid $11,600 out of thair collected taxes fer in th first place, or about 41 cents fer one year based on an average household of three, was in fact NOT WASTED cus ya got yer money's worth.

In fact, if ya prorate th entire cost over th time since th job is completed, an wanted ta calculate "waste" fer th remainin period of 5 months, ya MIGHT have wasted $48,333.33 money 2% of which, or $966.66, broken down ta th average house hold paid tax of less than a penny. Talk about makin a mountain out of a molehill.

Ta hear th yammerin many here complain about ya would thank yer out of pocket costs was in th hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

An ain't this all, sudden "fury" mighty convenient as this utterly nonsensical issue is now presented ta th public by th TP so close ta a major election?

I don't follow th thankin of most people because I have learned that most people don't possess cognitive thinkin skills an are only interested in knee jerk reactions with little ta no verification of th factoids presented to them by th TP.

Common sense dictates that ya verify what ya have been told instead of just blindly acceptin it as fact.



Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 23, 2012
Got ta thankin about th title of this article, "Lawyer seeks answers to airport issues." Perhaps it should read "Lawyers magnify airport issues beyond common sense to enable them to grift more taxpayer monies out of City coffers." After all, if ya have been payin attention that is exactly what has historically happened every election period.
behonestguys
|
September 23, 2012
Hey Ornley:

So are you saying it was okay for the City to pay $600k of taxpayer money to a contractor for poor work, knowing it was poor, and not going after the contractor on its warranty in a timely manner, so now the City has to spend another $600k to repair substandard work that should've been repaired, as Nicolau said, on its dime as opposed to ours, the taxpayers? Even Churchill, in his City-speak, admitted the City screwed up on this one. Stop being an apologist for Les, Ives and Maciel, er I mean the City, and start looking at how this is another example of government waste. The only people who would defend such waste would be those who profit form it.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 24, 2012
Hey behonestguys

Do ya actually thank that resurfacin th final four feet of runway is gonna cost $600K when that was th amount spent ta resurface th other 3,996 feet previously?

How about ya come up with th realistic cost ta complete th job.

An be warned, if ya come back an tell me that th other 3,996 feet of runway is now substandard I shall send a notice to FAA ta have th facility completely shut down until it meets th necessary specifications.

Let's be a little realistic here an supply some common sense ta th problem.

No, it's not OK that this happened, but lets not make it worse an more expensive than it already is with a stupid politically motivated finger pointing contest shall we?

And face it, that is exactly what this whole debacle is about. If th runway is not meeting th necessary requirements ta safely land an aircraft it should be shut down.

But noooooooooooooo, we still wanna fly our airplanes don't we?

Let's stop this spend a dollar ta save a dime foolishness an get on with what needs ta be done.

Ya don't like how th city's bein run at present. Fine, ya gotta chance ta vote differently this November. But if others don't agree with ya don't get all pushed outa shape about it. Or do ya thank that only ya know what needs ta be done an th majority don't know what thair doin.

Hey, that's th very same thang ya say th city is doin ta ya ain't it? You make all th decisions an everyone else is wrong. They make all th decisions cause they thank everyone else is wrong. What's th difference?
RedHotChilliPeppers
|
September 24, 2012
Having read all the below comments. I believe it would have been frivolous to launch an investigation to spend money that the FAA will be spending on their jurisdiction.

Magnify? Yes Iit belive so. People have been, unsuccessfully trying to use the airport as a political football field.

Their argument invariably goes something like this; why does not the city spend MORE money on the airport. And they sprinkle their argument with, Les, not "more", to make it sound somewhat pallatable to the tax payer.

Anyway, where was the lawyer when they launched a car from the end of this very same runway?

Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 24, 2012
RHCP

Finally, someone that understands th real problem at hand. Well said.
RedHotChilliPeppers
|
September 24, 2012
Thank you, Ornley_Gumfudgen!

That one was VERY well put.

Too bad Winston Churchill isn't around to appreciate it.
RedHotChilliPeppers
|
September 24, 2012
The 3rd paragraph.
Realintracy
|
September 22, 2012
Fact: The city had 3 million dollars in the aquatics fund. Serpa was to pay for the design of the aquatics center according to his agreement with the city.

Fact: The city paid for the design, about a million dollars.

Fact: The aquatics center, as proposed would be built in three phases. Phase 1- 15-18 million, phase 2 (the actual pool that started this whole thing) 10-15 million, and phase 3-9 million. Total costs 30 million on the low side.

Fact: The annual cost of staffing, maintenance, insurance has not been disclosed, if it is even known.

Fact: The mayor admitted we would not even be considering Serpa's proposal were it not for the swim center.

Fact: We do not have the money to build this albatross, let alone operate it, especially if the city cant manage a simple re-paving job at the airport.

Fact: The airport could make money and did before the city sabotaged it and wasted 600k.

Fact: Serpa has city staff on payroll. When staff works on his project, Serpa pays for their services.

Fact: The city has no current market study on projected revenues. The aquatics center is an unfunded liability, that if were ever to be built would be a drain on the general fund.

Opinion: Ives and Maciel are beholding to Serpa, and the public is getting short changed. Blaming poor project management to deflect a call for accountability, is pathetic.

Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 24, 2012
Facts do not become facts because you say they are facts. They only become facts when ya provide th necessary proof that makes em factual. So, whair is yer proof? Sorry, idle speculation don't count.

"Fact: The city had 3 million dollars in the aquatics fund. Serpa was to pay for the design of the aquatics center according to his agreement with the city."

This is a fact an one that's verifiable.

"Fact: The city paid for the design, about a million dollars."

This is an error, the city has ta work on all designs submitted by anyone. This is a city bill an th cost of an engineerin design review an it's done fer everythang th city works with frum parks, ta roads, ta canals an developer plans.

"Fact: The aquatics center, as proposed would be built in three phases. Phase 1- 15-18 million, phase 2 (the actual pool that started this whole thing) 10-15 million, and phase 3-9 million. Total costs 30 million on the low side."

This is true an th longer ya dilly dally around makin up yer minds about this th cost is gonna rapidly go up. So let's wait another 20 years an then determine what it's gonna cost.

"Fact: The annual cost of staffing, maintenance, insurance has not been disclosed, if it is even known."

Not true or even close ta bein true. Go down ta th City Finance Office an ask ta see th books. It was also presented ta th city in a public forum. Apparently ya missed it. I don't remember what it was but do remember it bein mentioned.

"Fact: The mayor admitted we would not even be considering Serpa's proposal were it not for the swim center."

An why not, isn't th swim center what is wanted by th entire community an not just another housin development? No other developer ta my knowledge has done this so why wouldn't that attract th mayor's attention?

"Fact: We do not have the money to build this albatross, let alone operate it, especially if the city cant manage a simple re-paving job at the airport."

An ya have th factual information ta prove yer statement? How can ya when ya claimed earlier th information ain't available ta th public? An ya impugn I am an insider in cahoots with th city? Whair do ya get yer information?

"Fact: The airport could make money and did before the city sabotaged it and wasted 600k."

Th heyday of th airport ended when th housin development just north of Linne road was put in years ago an had nothin ta do with Serpa an th development that was proposed.

Had citizens of Tracy had th insight ta develop thair airport back in th early 1980s thangs would look much different than they look taday.

Tracy has a second chance ta develop an airport at th New Jerusalem airport but thair gonna let that golden, once in a lifetime opportunity, pass em by. Patterson's Dixon Landin will probably be th future large regional airport fer this area an Tracy's airport is gonna stay at 4,000 feet until it' eventually closed down.

"Fact: Serpa has city staff on payroll. When staff works on his project, Serpa pays for their services."

Serpa pays his staff ta work with city personnel on his project. Would you work on somethang like this an not expect ta be paid fer it? Are they city staff? Can ya prove it? Provide names so we can verify what ya say is true if ya will.

"Fact: The city has no current market study on projected revenues. The aquatics center is an unfunded liability, that if were ever to be built would be a drain on the general fund."

Not exactly true. It depends on how ya view th word "current." Also, ya don't fund a liability ya don't currently have so yer second sentence here is simply a restatement of what is already known. How do ya know it would be a drain on th general fund if it ain't funded? Whair is your crystal ball that tells ya these thangs?

Opinion: Ives and Maciel are beholding to Serpa, and the public is getting short changed. Blaming poor project management to deflect a call for accountability, is pathetic.

Ya got yer opinion an others have thairs. Just remember, opinions are somewhat like an unflattering part of th human anatomy; everyone's got one an they all stink. :)

Look, if yer gonna post facts have th decency ta provide th source so they can be verified. Simply statin that somethang is a fact don't make it factual.

Realintracy
|
September 22, 2012
Fact: Measure "A" is law and was approved by the voters.

Fact: Serpa committed to 20 million dollars for an aquatics center and 16 acres in exchange for the City's cooperation so he could build 2250 homes.

Fact: Serpa was to be granted 2250 housing permits but the development agreement did not specify he had to build on the Ellis site or when he had to build.

Fact: Connely told the Mayor and City Council the development agreement was illegal and if they continued, he would sue them.

Fact: The Mayor, City Council and Serpa pressed the issue and Connely, took them to court and won. The court agreed with Connely and handed him a judgment for 300k for his efforts.

Fact: Serpa and the City sought and appeal. They then negotiated an amendment to the development agreement.

Fact: Serpa now would have to give the city 16 acres, 2 million dollars to start the project, and progress payment, over the next several years, provided the acquatic center project is started within two years,if not Serpa gets the land back and pays nothing further.

Fact: Serpa will get 8 million dollars in water and sewage allotments under the new amended agreement. So, the city will only realize a 2 million dollar benefit.

Fact: The airport stands in the way of Serpa's project. If it isn't there, no problem. If it can be reclassified as small, less of a problem. If it expands, big problem.

Fact: The City wants the airports impact on Serpa's project minimized. The runway was covered with a non approved slurry seal and it was shortened. When the pilots and airport officials complained, they were ignored. 600k wasted, or was it?
Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 24, 2012
"Fact: Measure "A" is law and was approved by the voters."

True, Measure A written by th lawyer that continually makes money frum suin th city was passed an approved by th voters. Whether or not it was a good idea remains ta be seen an I am of th opinion that most people who voted fer it would now vote against it considerin what it has done ta th community as a whole.

Ya might even say th same thang about this comin presidential election too but that's a different problem than this.

"Fact: Serpa committed to 20 million dollars for an aquatics center and 16 acres in exchange for the City's cooperation so he could build 2250 homes."

So? An Serpa didn't do this, th people who he works fer agreed this is what they wanted ta do. They did so fer thair own business related reasons. Are ya now gonna start runnin people's businesses an tell em how they should finance em?

"Fact: Serpa was to be granted 2250 housing permits but the development agreement did not specify he had to build on the Ellis site or when he had to build."

Again, So? Are ya runnin that business or do th people who finance it run it? Th longer it takes em th more it's gonna cost. Seems ya don't wanna see it be built. So why are ya worried an seeminly tryin ta rush them inta buildin? Don't make any sense ta me but guess it does ta ya.

"Fact: Connely told the Mayor and City Council the development agreement was illegal and if they continued, he would sue them."

So let him sue. If he prevails it was illegal. If he don't it was legal. Simply bring forth a suit don't make things illegal. Sayin someone broke th law ain't factual until ya prove it in a court of law an not in th court of uninformed public opinion.

"Fact: The Mayor, City Council and Serpa pressed the issue and Connely, took them to court and won. The court agreed with Connely and handed him a judgment for 300k for his efforts."

A half truth. They awarded him expense damages because some thangs were not in line with what is legal. But th court didn't stop em from continuin ta attempt ta develop th place.

"Fact: Serpa and the City sought and appeal. They then negotiated an amendment to the development agreement."

That is true, it was cheaper ta do that than fight it out in court. Perhaps that's what should happen with th airport runway. Cut th cost an get th problem solved instead of yammerin on an on about it.

"Fact: Serpa now would have to give the city 16 acres, 2 million dollars to start the project, and progress payment, over the next several years, provided the acquatic center project is started within two years,if not Serpa gets the land back and pays nothing further."

Different negotiations based on a new set of circumstances. Did ya expect it ta be th same as th old one?

"Fact: Serpa will get 8 million dollars in water and sewage allotments under the new amended agreement. So, the city will only realize a 2 million dollar benefit."

Probably should have went with th first deal. Yer cryin over spilled milk here.

"Fact: The airport stands in the way of Serpa's project. If it isn't there, no problem. If it can be reclassified as small, less of a problem. If it expands, big problem."

Moot point. It can never be expanded. NEVER. Encroachment on airport property, since th early 1980's, sealed it's fate. It will remain this size unless you tear up existin housin.

"Fact: The City wants the airports impact on Serpa's project minimized. The runway was covered with a non approved slurry seal and it was shortened. When the pilots and airport officials complained, they were ignored. 600k wasted, or was it?"

If it was "wasted" an "non-approved" then obviously it ain't safe an fer safety sake it should be closed down until th problem is mitigated. Don't see no rush ta do that so I am of th opinion it's really a non-problem an just bein used as a political football. Call th FAA an see what they have ta say about it. It's thair jurisdiction, not th City of Tracy or Tracy Citizens.

Any more non-facts ya wanna discuss taday?
Realintracy
|
September 22, 2012
Rosa, your criticism of the situation is spot on. It appears that this matter,as is oft times the case in Tracy, was/is a diaster.

Ives and the City Council knew about this, allowed it to occur, and did nothing to fix the many issues at the airport. Well, the airport, the gang problems, the former police chief, the personnel director, downtown, the mall, boarded up houses, continuing lawsuits (Connely keeps winning....

Well anyway, we do have the most beautiful train station in San Joaquin County, one that will never see a train, but doubles as the most expensive bus stop in town, if the buses can get around that outstanding piece of 3 million dollar circular art that interrupts traffic. Terrific use of public funds!

The Mayor and City Council have 2 employees, the City Manager and the City Attorney. It is the Mayor and City Council set policy and it is up to their employees, to carry out their mandates.

It appears they did. Let's put the responsibility where it belongs, The Mayor and Maciel, the only two on the Council when this whole thing started.

Time for a change! Not double talk, not excuses, now is the time for action and solutions.
rosa62
|
September 22, 2012
Let's look at this from a realistic point of view.

In 2007 the Parks & Recreation Director (Rod Buchanan) had a non-FAA compliant surface placed on the Tracy Airport runway. This has resulted in damage to several private planes as well as a loss in revenue for fuel sales since that time.

In 2008 the Parks & Recreation Director approved the work, which was signed off by a City Inspector "NOT" an FAA Inspector.

In Feb 2010 the Mayor and Council approved a release of the contractor from his liability, through a City Council action. (Remember, the Mayor can not sign a contract without approval from the Council). This agenda item must have been submitted to the Council by Mr. Buchanan, who oversaw the work and knew it was unsatisfactory, based on information he received from his Airport Manager.

This was confirmed by Mr. Haug, the Safety Officer from the Cal DOT and from the Airport Association. To which Mr. Churchill's response is; "I guess we had some project management problems back then." "Give the chance to redo it we would do it differently."

At what point is someone in Tracy going to start holding the City Staff accountable for their ineptitude? (Continued)
rosa62
|
September 22, 2012
Mr. Churchill is beginning to sound like President Obama.

"I know things are worse than ever but just give me four more years and I promise you I can fix things."

Signs of his inability to manage the City are everywhere and yet our Mayor and Council do not want to see them or hear about them.

A failed police chief (Janet Thiessen);

A Parks & Recreation Director who can not manage a simple repaving project, and who was recently rewarded by being given responsibility for Management of the Public Works Department;

A Human Resources Director who was sued by employees more than 10 times for bullying, discrimination etc...;

And a budget defecit that has yet to be corrected.

Yet the Mayor and City Council continue to increase his pay and benefits.

At what point is the public going to say enough is enough. It is clear the City Manager "CAN NOT" manage anything.

Maybe it's time for a new City Manager.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 22, 2012
$600K? How much does it cost ta pave four feet of runway when th support base is already there?

Petition the FAA ta close th field fer a day, so that notices ta aviation can be issued, close th field for that day an have public works do the last four feet. You don't have ta repave th entire surface an ya can go ta dozens of airports around th country where th fields have been patched fer maintenance.

By th time ya go through th courts an political processes t find out what went wrong ya will have spent that $600K yer talkin about.

Just do it, getter done an move on. Don't ya folks realize it's th lawyers an politics that drive up th costs of these thangs?
rosa62
|
September 22, 2012
Mr. Gumfudgeon I believe you are missing the point. It appears from the story that your suggestions are exactly what got the City Manager, the Public Works Director (Former Parks & Recreation Director) and the City Attorney into this mess.

In order to meet specific FAA requirements you can not just contract this type of work out to anyone. You have to have certified and licenses contractors to work on runways.

You must either be completely uneducated or live under a rock somewhere. Either way, you're beginning to sound like some of our City Council members or the City Manager, Public Works Director (Former Parks & Recreation Director) or the City Attorney.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 23, 2012
So contract someone that is licensed an certified ta work on th runway already. It ain't gonna cost $600K ta pave four feet an that's th main point here.

Yer gonna spend more than that an waste a lot more time on th witch hunt an finger pointin. But that's th drama that folks like ta watch so they have somethang more ta complain about.

Licensed an certified eh? Anyone check th language of th contract th city entered inta with th licensed an certified contractor that did th job? If it said they were ta resurface 4,000 feet an only did 3,996 feet that's a contractual non-performance issue an has nothin what so ever ta do with warranty. If th work was contracted, paid fer an not done that's a breach of contract an th contractor not only can an could be held liable but stand ta loose his license and certification in th process.

Nah, that's no fun, no drama thair fer people ta entertain themselves while wastin yet more money an accomplishin very litte. Makes sense don't it?
Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 23, 2012
Oh, forgot ta ask, why is it that when people disagree with other people an desire ta take a more common sense approach ta fixin th problem, IE addin th additional four feet of runway necessary ta get on with th business of landin aircraft that require that length of runway, does th person suggestin a common sense approach ta quickly fixin th problem an movin on suddenly is accused of bein completely uneducated or live under a rock somewhere, sound like some of our City Council members or the City Manager, Public Works Director (Former Parks & Recreation Director) or the City Attorney?

First of all Rosa, if yer all that good perhaps ya should run fer City Council yerself an then let half of th community love ya while th other half hates ya. That's politics an that's why we spend so much money spinnin our wheels while goin nowhare fast. It's why yer youth sports park ain't built, why ya don't have a swimmin facility an why yer airport is havin th trouble it is. An it's been that way for virtually th last 20 years. Frum th looks of it it's gonna be that way fer another 20 or even more. No one, includin City Council, is sayin thair ain't a problem. So fix th problem already an quit droanin on an on about it tryin ta appease everyone. That 100% appeasement ain't gonna happen an it's foolish ta thank it will.

Realintracy
|
September 21, 2012
In the private sector wasting 600k would be lead to termination, especially if that material breech of duty, exposed their company to ongoing liability.

Why didn't the City Attorney pursue remedies under the warranty? Why was this situation allowed to occur. If, as indicated, the Mayor and City Council were noticed of the defective work, why didn't they do something about it? How can a runway be shortened when an "overlay" is applied? What City employee inspected the work and certified it? Why has the City petitioned the FAA to designate our airport as a "small" airport instead of it's previous "medium" airport designation. How could the Mayor and City Council raise the rents at the airport recently knowing all these issues were present?

Does anyone really believe that the Feds are going to grant us another 600k to do repairs again, after the City wasted taxpayer money. If the Feds don't come up with money, the City will have too, and we the local taxpayers, will foot the bill.

Fiscal responsibility,accountability and honesty is sorely needed in our government. An investigation needs to be done to determine who was responsible for this and see that it is fixed and never happens again.

November is coming up, Ives is running unopposed, so not can be done about him by the voters, but Maciel has competition, and it's time we replace him with someone that understands business and will do the People's work!
behonestguys
|
September 21, 2012
Realintracy:

I saw Mr. Nicolau's presentation on t.v. on Channel 26. He was right on when he said it is situations like these where $600k gets wasted and the city does nothing about it that causes people to have no faith in government to do the right thing. Time to get rid of Maciel (can't do anything about Ives unless someone mounts a write-in candidacy)and put people on the council from the real world who didn't get publicly funded paychecks or retirement checks.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 23, 2012
Ever wonder why Ives is runnin unopposed?

Since ya don't like him, why didn't you run against him?

All th people here that agree with ya, like Rosa here, would vote fer ya.

Or is it that only th complainers make noise cus thair unhappy, board or what ever an thair ain't enough of em that would see ya successfully win th mayor's seat. Ya seem ta be more than qualified. So why didn't ya run fer th seat?

Complain - Th appearance of makin progress while goin nowhare.
Realintracy
|
September 21, 2012
Tracy is responsible to maintain the airport in perpetuity. The federal government gave them a 600k grant. The city contracted with a contractor that failed to accomplish the work properly and shortened the runway. The pilots, and the airport director knew the work was improper and told the city, who did nothing to remedy the situation. The Mayor and City Council did not make the contractor correct the work, in fact, the Mayor released their bond. The Mayor and City Council hazarded the pilots, their planes and devalued the airport. The city has exposed the taxpayer to liability, squandered taxpayer money, and now 5 years later, is being forced to confront issues that they previously ignored.

A shortened runway benefits the Ellis project by allowing a smaller safety zone. So once again Ives and Maciel have shown where their allegiances lie, not with the public interests, not in properly managing tax money, not with public safety (pilots and airport employees are citizens), and not with improving the city and using the airport as a valuable tool for economic development.

me-here
|
September 21, 2012
Thank you Steve Nicolau and Mark Connolly for your involvement on the Airport issue. As a citizen of Tracy, I want our 4002 feet back on the runway no matter WHAT about the City. I understand the new paving would go only the 3996 which does NOT set well with me.

The airport is an unutilized jewel because the Council and staff don't have planes and can see the value because they are so in love with Serpa and Souza. Remember this November 6th.
me-here
|
September 21, 2012
that should have been "cannot" see the value.

Need more coffee this morning.....
RedHotChilliPeppers
|
September 24, 2012
I actually believe that lawyers are blatantly USING the airport for both political and financial gain.

If you believe the airport to be a "jewel", then why are lawyers the only people making money off of the airport?

If people were flocking, like the "jewel" you claim it to be, then wouldn't they have installed more than just port-a-potties?
Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 24, 2012
RHCP

Don't know why my reply ta ya didn't go through but it seems ya understand th real problem. I agree, th only people makin money off th airport, an Serpa's development, are th only people makin money. Somethang ta thank about ain't it?
RedHotChilliPeppers
|
September 24, 2012
You're right Ornley_Gumfudgen.

Thing that ponders me is, I don't believe the Tracy Press does not write ANYTHING about what is good for Tracy, anymore. Except for Sam.

I think they have some pathetic desire to see obstructionism take place at what they now termed a "grass roots" level.

I sometimes have pondered if the lawyer(s) still have some leftover TUsD high sschool school grudge against Les.

If so, doesn't the Tracy Press resemble more of a high school yearbook (staffed by tweens getting their buddies "props") than a serious newspaper?
Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 26, 2012
RHCP

Let's not paint with such a wide brush shall we? Thair are times when TP does an excellent job at presentin news stories without personal bias although frum comparison those seem ta be th exceptions an not th rule.

Thair is a three fold reason fer what's going on at present.

1. Th press don't make any money by basically presentin "good news" so they have a tenancy ta spice it up ta titillate thair readers who they know won't really check th facts.

2. Thair also heavily affiliated, via business an long standin personal friendships, with th lawyers not beatin this drum. These types of lawyers don't make any money unless they can convince others thair is a problem, which TP seems happy ta create with them.

3. An this is why it's bein brought ta light at present, is th fact this is an election year an no doubt TP and th lawyers have their own favorite candidate they would like ta see ensconced on City Council.

If this group gets control of City Council they can write their own ticket an Tracy WILL conform an develop according to their will an not th will of the Community that elected em.

If ya have followed Tracy Politics, as I have, since before Dan was th mayor you should have a better understandin of Tracy's political spectrum an what these people are really all about.

Meanwhile th average Tracy Citizen is pretty much ambivalent to what goes on in Tracy an simply vote "knee jerk" based on the heavily slanted political information they source from TP because they lack th time or don't have th inclination to factually verify th information provided by TP an this scenario has happened every election year since I moved ta Tracy back in 1979.

When Sam was at th helm of th Masthead, this didn't go on. But since he is no longer in control of th helm th situation has gotten worse over th years.

OK TP, ya can now block my post as ya have done in th past because it spoke against ya. Actually that might be a blessin as I waste a lot of personal time dealin with this particular issue.
RedHotChilliPeppers
|
September 26, 2012
Ornley_Gumfudgen,

Thanks for sharing your perspective here. And it is a very good advice not to paint with too wide a brush.

But you need to know I attended council meetings years back. And submitted a paper to a local college.

However, there is some validity to what both of us are saying. I may have painted with a somewhat wide brush, because they did win an award for the Sandra Cantu reporting.

But even taking that as an example, it was sad to see the thrust of their reporting focused on the negative.

I did not see much about the impact to the community. How were people affected? Did they pull together, or fall apart. Some of them did fall apart and went after the chief. Did they pull together? Volunteer? Where are their stories, years later.

Maybe Sam can write it, someday, I dont think anybody else there could.

Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 26, 2012
RHCP

I can't fault TP entirely for only going after the negative.

It falls under th thought "give th people what they want", an frankly today we live in a negative society.

Th fact of th matter is, like sex, negativity sells print. People seem ta be hungry for adversity even though this is the wealthiest nation, per capita, in th world an even the poorest among us are ridiculously wealthy compared ta th population of the rest of th world.

An fer all th blessins an great thangs our nation stands for people tend ta focus only on th negative instead of th positive.

Perhaps this stems frum th fact that a comparative few ever travel outside our nation an those that do never really experience what other citizens in th world experience on a daily basis simply fer th fact they remain in th tourist areas whair their hotels are an thus only see what they are supposed ta see. Such people are relatively easy to delude. After all, they have "seen" it but in reality have only seen what they were supposed ta see.

Early on in my life I had th opportunity ta live in several nations fer extended periods of time that allowed me ta venture outside of th sanitized tourist areas to actually witness fer myself how th common citizens of those countries live an what they have ta contend with on a daily basis.

Th sad fact is that th majority of humanity on this planet live well below what we consider ta be th poverty level.

Most of our nation will proudly boast of their compassion fer th rest of humanity but when it comes ta actually spendin any money an physically donin somethang about it very few will take action.

No, sadly, we have become a nation of chronic complainers an generally that's what ya see here in these comment sections.

As an illustration, next time ya go down ta a nursin home just listen ta th conversations fer awhile.

Th majority of th time all ya hear is complanin an it occupies thair entire day. Why they even complain about th fact thair always complainin.

Don't like nursin homes? Then go ta yer local bar or coffee shop an ya will hear th same thang. People don't spend much time on th positive but will hang on ta th negative like a dog playin tug of war with ya on th other end of a sock. Taday most in our society seems ta mentally thrive on th negative. At least those that frequent these comment sections.

I have larned that life is what ya make of it. Ya can sit around all day long an complain about everythang in th world an when th sun sets what have ya really accomplished?

However I have found that with a positive approach an actually gettin off my butt an doin somethang positive I am generally happer than if I just sit around an carp about everythang.

But that requires somethang called EFFORT an sadly that seems ta be somethang few people are willin ta put forth. Let's face it, it's just easier ta ruminate on th negative thangs that have been presented ta ya by our media without ever once botherin ta verify what was presented is actually factually true.

Now before someone gets thair shorts in a wad this is not everyone an thair are a lot of people out thair makin a positive difference. Ya just don't hear about em because that's positive an it's negativity that sells print. It's a physiological game really.

For instance, if th tobacco an alcohol companies really told ya th truth about thair products ya wouldn't use em. But they will gleefully entice ya ta buy an use their products by showin ya healthy, fit, beautiful an allegedly smart ACTORS usin thair products with th false but unspoken claim that if ya use thair products that magically they will transform you inta a young, smart, beautiful person havin th time of thair live.

It seems that people really don't wanna hear th truth an would much rather be lied ta. An when they find out thair bein lied ta they feed th beast with even more complaints an negativity when in fact they are th one's that betrayed themselves.

On th flip side of th coin are th people that feed on th negatively of alcohol an tobacco products an make matters worse by takin it out on those who use those products. See th polarization this breeds in a society. One side against th other? Does it really accomplish any good? Or does it further alienate people by categorizing each side as bad?

Borrowing frum th lyrics of a song sang by Sammy Davis called "That's Life." "Ya gotta accentuate th positive, eliminate th negative an don't bother with th in between."

Sage advice but advice that's not heard by everyone as stupid thangs like race, wealth an religion come inta play.

Somethang ta thank about anyway.
walkingtall
|
September 20, 2012
The City just didn't care enough. Had there been a city official that had a plane at the airport, it would have been fixed quickly for sure. I can see that Leon Churchill has an excuse like usual. Things won't change till Leon gets the boot, but then the city wouldn't do that because he would turn around and find a way to sue the city like many other ex city employees.
RedHotChilliPeppers
|
September 24, 2012
You mean they have to store one in a hanger to count?

Also, does a powered parachute NOT count either?

Just asking.

And, if I'm just fying from SFO my opinion on local airport issues does not count? Right?

Ornley_Gumfudgen
|
September 24, 2012
walkingtall

An yer absolutely 100% certain that no city official has a plane or has had a plane at th airport? Seem ta recall that a one time parks an community services "official" had a aircraft out thair or frequently used th field. Do ya personally know everyone that uses th field or has an aircraft parked out thair?


We encourage readers to share online comments in this forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a space for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Comments that stray from the topic of the story or are found to contain abusive language are subject to removal at the Press’ discretion, and the writer responsible will be subject to being blocked from making further comments and have their past comments deleted. Readers may report inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at tpnews@tracypress.com.