Friday, September 21, 2012

Law Firms are Literally Beating Down the Doors at Sierra Madre City Hall

I don't know if you spend much time with the City Manager's Report on the City of Sierra Madre website [click here], but I heartily recommend you check it out when you get the chance. I do, and there are all sorts of interesting things to be found there. In the past this worthy document was circulated only amongst the elected and upper managerial types downtown, but since state law now dictates that all such things must be made available to the public, you too can access all of the latest information straight from the very hub of our local municipal power.

Or, if you prefer otherwise, you could just come here and I'll eventually fill you in. It is no problem whatsoever, I really enjoy doing it. And the feedback I get in exchange is a priceless gift.

The big excitement this week is that word is quickly getting around legal circles about Sierra Madre's Request for Proposals (RFP) for City Attorney services. And apparently eager pin-striped pettifoggers are stampeding right past that oddly proportioned little kid with the fishing pole statue and straight through City Hall's storied mechanical doors. You'd think it was the gold rush times or something. And who knows, perhaps it is. Here is how this news of our RFP is shared in the City Manager's Report:

City Attorney RFP's - This week, the City's notice that we were accepting proposals for City Attorney services appeared in the Daily Journal. As of today, I have received fifteen (15) requests for copies of the proposal. Here is a list of firms requesting proposals as of today:

Woodruff, Spradlin & Smart
Richards, Watson & Gershon
Vandeventer Black, LLP
The DeArmas Law Firm
Kimbirk Law
Viterbo L. Valera, Esq.
Aleshire & Wynder, LLP
Graves & King, LLP
Martin & Martin, LLP
Burke, Williams & Sorenson, LLP
Lynberg & Watkins
Colantuono & Levin, PC
Meyers Nave
Thomas Hrouda, Attorney at Law
Randall A. Spencer, Attorney at Law

Some of these names are quite uniquely impressive. As an example, and I don't know what his resume' looks like or whether he has ever actually won anything in Court, but can you imagine the incredible responsibility of having to go through life with a name as grand as Viterbo? That is one of those quickly achieve greatness in life or succumb early to the infinite wrath of the meanest kids on the playground kind of names. Or at least it would have been where I grew up. I'll bet he is one tough dude.

The Daily Journal [click here], which appears to be the place where legal beagles go to look for new opportunities to ply their trade, is available to us on-line. I found the ad that the City of Sierra Madre ran there for the first time this week, and it reads thusly:

Notice Inviting Request for Proposals for City Attorney Services, Sierra Madre, California. The City Council invites interested municipal law firms and attorneys to submit written proposals to provide City Attorney services. Sealed proposals will be received in the office of the City Manager up to 5:30 pm on December 10, 2012. For a copy of the RFP and proposal requirements, email EAguilar@cityofsierramadre.com

My $5,000 bill for posting this notice will be mailed out to the City of Sierra Madre sometime today. I do have to wonder why it hasn't also run in the Mountain Views News. Can it be that our legal notices are now being shifted over to the Daily Journal? Are we looking at a possible breach of contract here? Celebrated attorney-at-law Susan Henderson may wish to investigate this matter. Or who knows, perhaps she should just apply for the job of City Attorney instead.

(A heads up to interested attorneys: Advertising on the Sierra Madre Tattler is a recognized method of getting noticed at City Hall. For your convenience our motivated rates are listed in the right hand column of this page.)

It has been noted by those in the know that this is quite a flood of interest at so early a stage. And that by December we could be looking at literally dozens of applicants for the honor of being Sierra Madre's City Attorney. Couple this flood of interest with a down market for legal services right now and I think we could be looking at quite a bidding war. Hopefully it will get to the point where they will actually pay us for the privilege of working with Sierra Madre. We are interesting and colorful people after all.

One more observation. It is intriguing to note the inclusion of Colantuono & Levin on this list of early potential applicants. Can it be that perhaps they will be bidding against their old rates when they apply for what has been their job for the last decade or so? I would hope that if they do beat their current prices they will reimburse us for the years of overcharges.

Of course, C&L already has one vote in their pocket. Nancy Walsh, as you must recall, voted against our going through this RFP process. Which means that when (or if) Nancy runs for a second term on the City Council, she will have to explain why she was opposed to saving the taxpayers some dough.

But who knows, maybe she just didn't make that connection.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

50 comments:

  1. Nancy probably doesn't make any connections to what she is saying at any point in time - notably her "lookie here" speech and her past reports on the COG meetings where she had no clue what was going on. I wonder, will she and Moran have to recuse themselves due to their being smoozed by C & L regardless of what they talked about?

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    1. Anyone have any idea on how to truly reform the council members' reports?
      They need to be trained on how to give them.
      It is not an opportunity for PR.
      I have suggested before, and will again, that if they were slotted for the end of the meeting, it sure would tighten things up.

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  2. Nancy does whatever John Buchanan tells her to, at least to the best of her ability. Buchanan must be having knots in his briefs over the possibility of Michael and Ms. Levin going bye bye. You can onoy wonder what instructions he is issuing to Josh and nancy for Tuesday.

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    Replies
    1. Ah that's true - to the best of her ability, she carries out her instructions. It's just not going to work past the first moment though, because she's not prepped for it. Maybe an earpiece, like the newscasters use? "This just in. I've been told to agree then after a five minute impromptu speech, disagree."

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    2. That was exactly Buchanan's style, 9:39.
      But impromptu speeches are not in Walsh's skill set.

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    3. It will be very interesting to observe Walsh and Moran acting out their orders. We'll see the initial coherence fail, to be followed by a grasping at ideas, and in both cases, there's a possibility of personal vindictiveness bursting forth. Interesting.

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  3. I am thrilled with the headline to this article!
    We knew it, didn't we.

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  4. C & L will be working it to stay. They will not lower rates, oh no, but they will massage every ego they see, and they will lug out every state and city gumint association they have.

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    Replies
    1. Maybe they should take 3 or 4 council members out to dinner.

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    2. My guess is that it will come more in the form of a tete a tete, with a ploy to collegial respect and recognition of the brilliance of said council people. "Gee you're so smart," "How brilliant and good you are," "How much you teach me." Only more subtle.

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    3. "Do you really want to do business with strangers? We have all gotten to know each other over the years, and a certain level of comfort and trust now exists between us. What is a couple of dollars when you take all of that into account?"

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    4. 9:53 knows a thing or two about sales!

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    5. 9:43, do you think C&L took Josh & Nancy out to dinner at the latest San Diego League of Cities junket? That would make it 2 years in a row!

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    6. The way to Nancy's vote is through her stomach.

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    7. The lawyerly seduction is all the more reason to make sure we vote for mature people who do not have fragile egos.

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  5. Any chance that our former Mayor Zimmerman would be interested in representing the city? He has done so much good for Sierra Madre.

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  6. Colantuono and Levin always sold themselves as being very necessary to the welfare of this town and it's city government. We are beginning to see that this was a lot of baloney.

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    1. Much more pricey than bologna. It was a lot of filet mignon.

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    2. Filet Mignon, with only some councilmembers invited to dine.

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    3. I object heartily to people spending so much money on these meetings. I'd like to see it demonstrated that attendance does any damn good, in the first place, and then I'd really like to see frugality in all the practicalities. Pretend it's your own money, stay at whatever is equivalent to a Motel 6, buy your meals at a local market - ya know, live on a budget.

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    4. 2:58, you just don't get it.
      Frugality is not a concept that is ever actualized in city hall.
      They know the word, but the actions that go along with it still elude their comprehension.

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    5. Their business model is to spend. And then when the money runs out they go to the public and demand more. How do you think we ended up with the highest UUT rate in the state of California?

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  7. Now we have to look sharp for a good contract. No coming in at a good price, then jacking it up in a year.

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  8. A hearty Thanks to councilman Koerber for getting the ball rolling.

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    1. Amen to that. Imagine, rather than constantly pressuring to raise taxes and fees, we now have a couple of councilmen who are actually looking at cutting substantial costs out of the city budget. Please give us more of that!!

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    2. Getting rid of Colantuono and Levin would be the fiscal equivalent of liposuction.

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    3. Disagree. Liposuction is cosmetic. We need real intervention to keep the heart of the city healthy.

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    4. True, though the metaphor of "sucking out the fat" is not totally inaccurate.

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  9. Does the Council need to be friends with the City's law firm? Its supposed to be attorney-client, not a love fest.

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    1. In the best of all worlds, the council representatives tell the attorneys what the residents want.
      Or you can do it the C & L way, and do what the developers want.

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    2. We'll be broke if we keep doing things that way. That way of doing things doesn;t work anymore.

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    3. Yes, one great discovery from these difficult times: government should not be in the development business.

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    4. Or Redevelopment business.

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  10. WE NEED TEXAS WALKER RANGER TO RESOLVE THESE ISSUES!!

    Well...

    This is my opinion, what’s yours"?

    IF YOU WERE A LICENSED CONTRACTOR, WHAT WOULD YOU THINK IF THIS WERE TO HAPPEN TO YOU?

    What if "THE CITY OF SIERRA MADRE'S "RFP - Process" - was a scam...?


    QUESTION -
    1. WHO IS GOING TO REVIEW THE "RFP - BIDS" FOR THE NEW CITY ATTORNEY... C & L?

    _____________________________________

    This example seems just like the one I overheard heard in Kerston Court...

    1. the city engineer makes the / recommendations, / prepares the "RFP - documents" for future city work...

    2. "THE City of Sierra Madre PUBLIC WORKS DIRECTOR" reviews the city engineers "RFP - documents..."

    3. "OUR SIERRA MADRE - CITY MANAGER" approves / signs off the "RFP - documents"

    4. the city manager states that the city attorney & city council must approve the "RFP" bids , prior to awarding all work...

    5. The "RFP - documents" are mailed off for advertising...

    6. Our city engineer & public works dept "Review the bids"

    < & the city engineer submits his own "Personal Bid" ...>

    (please refer to the City of Sierra Madre's AGENDA REPORT - noting who the bids were received from"

    7. Lets get real ... "THAT'S A CONFLICT OF INTEREST",
    > you got a city engineer bidding on the same city work & reviewing the same "RFP" bids... which those licensed contractors provided the city?

    8. If the “Licensed Contractors” who spent those endless hours, reviewing the city scope of work requirements, who submitted those bids - and had the knowledge that there was no chance to obtain the bid / the city work, those contractors would have never wasted there time with the City of Sierra Madre's "RFP Process"...

    9. Therefor - Its my opinion that the City of Sierra Madre is not getting competitive bids... > therefor it appears that the city residents are overpaying for those city services provided...

    10. This sounds just like the water & sewer rate process ...

    > WHERE IS THE CITY RESIDENTS MONEY GOING...?

    >> DOES ANYONE OUT THERE WANT TO PAY MORE FOR WATER & SEWER SERVICES?

    >>> THERE IS NO INCENTIVE'S FOR ANY LICENSED CONTRACTOR TO WASTE IT’S TIME AND PROVIDE BIDS TO A CITY WHO IS REFUSING TO LISTEN...?

    _________________________________________

    QUESTIONS

    1. WHAT ARE THE RESIDENTS COMMENTS...

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    Replies
    1. It has already been decided that Koerber and Harabedian will be on the review team, unfortunately with the city manager. But I trust Chris K and John H to hold their own with Aguilar.
      You can see the discussion on the playbacks of the last council meeting.

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    2. This is _ull _hit!

      The residents need to revolt!

      I am tired of the city miss spending my money!

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    3. NO NEED TO YELL. We can hear you.

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    4. MR. ALL CAPS is very demonstrative.

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    5. Mr. All Caps is clearly frustrated, and I don't blame him.

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    6. Ahh... The glories of anonymous Internet etiquette.

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    7. You seem to be enjoying the very thing you condemn, 5:24.

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  11. This is what local government looks like when the people take control. The Doyle-Buchanan era is dead. Long live Sierra Madre!!

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    1. Don't just talk about it - vote out big-spending incumbents on November 6th!!

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    2. Ballot propositions are like drugs. Just say NO.

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    3. Vote YES on Prop 32 - stop the union funded politicians who have our California legislature in a stranglehold.

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    4. The only thing worse than union money buying elections is developer money buying elections. And you know they'll vote yes on 32.

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  12. Dateline 2015: Mayor Koerber, enjoying the support of his new slate of unanimously likeminded city council members, receives a public records request for all unredacted billing statements of the council's unanimously selected city attorney. Thought experiment: Should the Mayor and council instruct their unanimously selected city manager to tell the city attorney to turn over all billing statement without redaction?

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