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Lee Duboc: Who is speaking for the taxpayer?

Original post made on Jan 25, 2009

On Friday, former Menlo Park councilwoman Lee Duboc sent out the message below on the topic of rising public employee salaries and benefits. The e-mail was sent to those who subscribe to her posts on [Web Link Web Link]
==BI Related posts:==
[Web Link City manager responds to sergeants' pay critics]
[Web Link Menlo Park OKs 30 percent pay hike for sergeants]
[Web Link Mayor defends council's decision on pay raise]

Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, January 24, 2009, 10:24 AM

Comments (36)

Posted by no double standard, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 25, 2009 at 8:59 am

Excuse me, Lee, but aren't the negotiators working at the direction of the Council? If the negotiators aren't representing the taxpayer, then it is the Council's responsibility to fix that by giving them different parameters or putting different people into the negotiations. Or didn't you grasp that when you were on the Council?

I do expect the current Council to hold the line better because taxpayers are suffering, and agree that it makes sense to look at some alternatives. However, I do recall that you felt the benefit structure was beyond the control of the local council, and that it was the duty of others at the state level. So please tell us how you think it can be done now that others are in office when you yourself abdicated on this issue.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 26, 2009 at 1:35 pm

How can we trust a Council that approved of a raise for Glen Rojas, the city manager? A raise for a person making a quarter of a million dollars a year?

There is no accountability here.

Posted by odd, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 26, 2009 at 2:29 pm

The comparison to private industry just doesn't hold water, unless of course you have very little insight into that private industry. A comparable salary to the city manager would be a ceo of a mid-sized organization. Assume 25 years of experience and you can bet that CEO makes a hell of lot more than $250K (don't even get me started on the value of those shares).

Either you were a small fish in a big pond in the private sector (and you have no clue what execs make these days) or you worked in a sector in decline.

$250K is really not that much in Bay Area and tech industry terms.

Posted by Mrs. Spade, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 26, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I think the underlying idea is that only people too stupid to succeed in the private sector choose to work in the public sector. According to this wisdom, public employees are therefore worth a fraction of the price of their private-industry counterparts.

A corollary to this is the idea that public employment is a sort of community-minded volunteer work, thus public employees don't need or expect to earn a living because they are donating their time and talent to the public good.

I don't think it's possible to have a rational discussion on public employee benefits and salaries unless these two prejudices are exposed and dealt with.

Posted by tight-fisted, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 26, 2009 at 4:24 pm

The then-junior Council decided to hire a very experienced City Manager. Such experience should receive fair compensation. I do question the Council's decision to pay comparably to what Rojas used to get because a) that was a much bigger job, b) there are other ways to compensate for the higher cost of living in MP, c) he wanted to move here. I would not have authorized as high a salary because it was out of line with comparables (no - we don't have to pay top dollar to get someone to come to our city).
Now that he's here, the Council needs to make sure he earns his pay. I think they can hold his feet to the fire more to improve the budget situation.

Posted by desdemona, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 26, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Does anyone else find it amusing that Lee DuBoc -- whose deer-in-the-headlight stance did not serve her well during her four horrendous years on council -- now presumes to be the voice of wisdom? If she knows so much, why did she fail so abysmally when she had the power to do something? Most of MP's current problems result from her council's failures. The current council has spent the last 2 years trying to recover from a string of disastrous decisions and continuous waffling that happened under her watch.

I hope this barrage of emails indicates that she is planning to run for council next year. Should be an easy race for her opponents.

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 27, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Duboc, Winkler & Jellins did a great Job for Menlo Park. They got rid of the proposed $7 Million Taj Majal Child care center with 7 kitchens that encroached upon our green space and approved the Rosewood Hotel. If those 4 years were so horrible, then please state what horrible things were done. What happened is that the High Priestess in concert with the SEIU started a scurrilous campaign against Duboc, Winkler & Boyle that would have made Goebbels envious. Duboc and Winkler's crime is that they did not genuflect before the SEIU and abrogate their fiduciary responsiblity to the residents of Menlo Park. We should be thankful for their service. Now we have four Union stewards who are looking out for the SEIU instead of the residents. When the SEIU had interviews with Robinson and Cline I was banned from witnessing the proceedings. So they made their faustian pact with the SEIU behind closed doors and for the last two years have promoted Union's interest above the residents'.

Posted by 2 Shay Hank!, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jan 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm

I am also getting tired of reading the constant barrage about Duboc, specifically. There is NEVER any substance to the negative, foul, rhetoric that is thrown up by 2-3 individuals on these blogs. It's the same people over and over again, I think they're trained to hit Lee whenever, and wherever they possibly can. Lee was successful in getting the Derry Project approved, only to have it snuffed out by "the other side". Lee was successful in getting the pool privatized, which SAVED the city $500K. And the bottom-line is, Lee is HIGHLY successful in exposing the ridiculous spending habits of the Fabulous Fiscal Failure Four!(Robinson, Cline, Ferguson and Cohen) SEIU should be embarrassed for being so transparent with the support of these four!!

Posted by Reality Check, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 27, 2009 at 4:38 pm

Hank and 2Shay, You really can support Duboc's position on this matter without trying to rewrite history. Personally, I applaud her for taking on this matter, though I wish she had begun her effort while still on the council.

Hank, you ask what horrible things she did as a council woman. For those who don't share your apparent belief that city-operated child care is a left-wing assault on American virtue, her disregard of the will of Measure T voters and of the public process in derailing a new children's center is high on the list.

Higher on the list, in my opinion, is the privatization of the $7 million pool center with shockingly little public process, and a lack of fiduciary responsibility that bordered on malfeasance -- i.e. no competitive bidding process, no staff analysis of whether the city could have come up with a more cost-effective operational plan, no fee charged to the for-profit Sheeper company for use of the brand-new, publicly financed center.

And 2Shay, please stop your revisionist history. Your claim that the city saved $500K by privating the pool is unsupported by any data. The council majority at the time didn't demand the financial data from city staff, and a real analysis wasn't done.

And back to the list, let's add the attempt at sidestepping the public process to develop Bayfront Park, and the sheer arrogance she (and her two buddies) displayed toward Fergussen, Cohen and the public during meetings.

Lee is doing more good off the council in her attempt to wave the red flag about a very dangerous situation that needs to be addressed. But as a council member, she failed the public.

Posted by Ken Kesey, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Jan 27, 2009 at 8:20 pm

Wow Reality Check you have been drinking Gail's Kool Aid. My favorite is Strawberry Fields followed by Purple Haze. Yeah Lee's a baddie. We could have had the first culinary arts child care center in the nation. With those seven kitchens our children could have had a brilliant career flipping burgers at McDonalds. And the encroachment of the green space. No price is too big to pay to further our leftist agenda. I don't like Lee because she yanked the funds from the preceding council to put a statue of me by the Burgess Gym. And she made them stop putting Gail's Kool Aid in the Duck Pond. Now the ducks don't have any fun. What a Bummer!!!

Posted by Reality Check??????, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 27, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Ok, thanks "Reality Check" for that extremely LONG list of......ahhhh, I guess. She really failed the public by privitizing a public entity so that it would no longer be a drain on the city's budget - the pool, she attempted to develop less than 20% of Bayfront "aka old county dump" for kids ballparks, and let's see, she allowed the free market to run its course and not let the city get in deeper with child, what an "arrogant", "dangerous", "horrible", mean person she is, out with her, out with her I say, throw her in the train and send her to Siberia comrades! Don't worry "Reality Check" you and your comrades have done a very good job in allowing this city to slowly become a socialist state, we're almost there, just keep pushing that hardcore left agenda, before long we'll be broke, still have abandon lots all over our commercial district, and the, very soon to be implemented, utilities tax. Can't wait for that one!

Posted by desdemona, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 27, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Tim Sheeper offered to pay rent for the pool, but Lee & co insisted on giving it to him rent-free. So whatever other figures you can present (or dispute -- and it's a fact that other local cities run their aquatics centers profitably), the council left a chunk of money on the table there.

I don't think Lee is a horrible mean person. I think she's not very bright, and that she really wants to be liked, a dangerous combination that results in poor decisions made for the wrong reasons.

Posted by Reality Check, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 27, 2009 at 11:31 pm

Ken Kesey and Reality Check?????????? My how you go on with your hysterical allusions to communism/socialism/left-wing/hippie agendas. (That you, Hank?)

Shall we get serious now, children? Try to learn from the posts of those who agree with you and those who disagree with you, but who are using adult methods of discourse in making their points. If you have real arguments to make to refute my argument, make them. If you can't get past your "Siberia comrade" "Strawberry Fields" "socialist state" silliness, you really ought to take up knitting or Solitaire or crossword puzzles and stop boring people who value rational discourse.

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 28, 2009 at 9:24 am

Desdemona and the rest of the High Priestess' Cult must have been drinking the Electric Kool Aid. It would have cost the city $500,000 per year to operate the pool according to the City staff. Tim Sheeper paid all the operations and maintenance costs for the pool. Tim Sheeper never offered to pay the City rent. That is a fiction. The City of Menlo Park wisely chose to go with a proven professional who has demonstrated the highest quality of service at a savings of a half a Million dollars per year. A public entity was not privatized. We did not give the pool to Sheeper. The City has done what thousands of municipal governments have done and that is to have a GOCO (Government Owned Contractor Operated). And Most GOCOs have to pay the operator. We did not have to pay Tim Sheeper! Title to the pool did not transfer. The City of Menlo Park owns the pool. Capisce? What the High Priestess' lemmings are upset about is that the less efficient, less effective and far more expensive SEIU employees were denied the opportunity to increase their base. Too bad. The City's responsibility is to the residents. The employees are there to provide service to the residents. The residents are not supposed to be financial slaves to the employees. The four Union Stewards masquerading as City Council Members need to be replaced.

Posted by Diana, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 28, 2009 at 10:21 am

Hank, take a deep breath... calm down. There now, breathe deeply... There, there...

Now that you've calmed yourself, do you think you can remove the rabid anti-union/anti-High Priestess (whoever the hell that is) filter from your mind and expand your thinking a bit? Are you even willing to consider what others are saying -- really saying, without the taint of your filter?

So tell us, where does the $500,000 figure come from? Cite the document. Show us a thorough staff review of options the city council could have chosen from, complete with financial analysis, and the conclusion that the cheapest option the city had if it chose to continue operating the pool would have cost the taxpayer $500,000. I dare you.

Posted by Hank's Right, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 28, 2009 at 11:16 am

"Diana" we know where your request is going, it's going right back to trying to get the pool under an SEIU contract. You do not have a genuine interest in finding out where the $500K number came from, c'mon! If you need to know, ask The Almanac, that number has been bantered about in it's paper, since the change to Sheeper. In addition, Andy Cohen quoted this number several times, once during his election speech, which I listened too. So, someone must have calculated this at some point. In any case, regardless of this ridiculous discussion, Sheeper is who the council went with, and it is Tim Sheeper that has managed this property like a darn Walt Disney property, impeccable! He should receive an award and a thank you for what he has done over there, but instead all he hears is how people like you and [portion removed] "Reality Check" want it to go back to the SEIU, so that we can pay more for less. This make NO analytical, or common, sense.

Posted by desdemona, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 28, 2009 at 12:10 pm

How many of you have read the report that city staff prepared for the council that compares local swim facilities and programs? I have. Other cities typically break even or run a small profit/loss. That $500k figure is hearsay at best. Moreover, historic operating costs pertain to an old pool that was constantly breaking down; the brand new facility has not needed extraordinary maintenance.

As for the rent issue: a quick google search indicates that Sheeper was willing to pay Redwood City a percentage of proceeds. Web Link There is no comparable document for Menlo Park because the council made it clear that they were fine without rent. Lee just wanted to get out of the pool business. She was scared, and that's not a good negotiating stance.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the unions. I believe that the city should have third party providers run many of its programs, starting with child care! But the judicious way to proceed is to open a competitive bidding process and to negotiate from a position of strength. Instead, Lee and Mickie handed the pool over to Sheeper before anyone other than Sheeper's club members knew what was going on!

That is just one example of Lee's poor stewardship. As I said, I don't see her as evil at all, just as very limited in her ability to comprehend what was happening in the city. Speaking of which, want to guess who is ghosting those emails?

Posted by "Why Are We Discussing Pools"?, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 28, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Why do these blogs go on, and on, and on about an individual that for over 2 years has not been on council, or a pool that currently is not a problem for the city? Let's talk about the ridiculous salary hike of the police department, +30% during an economic downturn, the continued blight on El Camino Real, the theater gang graffiti, the future expenditures on the theory of global warming for a city of 30K people that won't put a dent in a piece of coal, and the subsidizing of the child care facility. These are ALL real costs, real expenditures, and all decisions this inept council has done nothing with, at the current time. My hope is that these REAL issues will be discussed, and something will be done, in the near future.

Posted by desdemona, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 28, 2009 at 6:09 pm

This thread is about Lee Duboc. There are plenty of threads on salary hikes and economic issues, so you should post on those if you don't think this topic merits your time.

Lee may have been out of office for 2 years but she is still inundating many residents with emails. So even if most of us would like her to get out of our lives, she's insisting on staying involved.

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 28, 2009 at 8:51 pm

If you are a union employee I don't blame you for not liking Lee Duboc. She understands that the purpose of employees is to serve the interests of the residents of Menlo Park not the other way around. However if you are a resident and care about fiscal responsibility and acountability to a budget and to give fair compensation to employees but not give them egregious raises at the expense of the citizens of Menlo Park then Lee Duboc is your best friend.

The far left have mounted a distortion campaign that would make Putin proud. They have portrayed Lee as an iniquitous villain when in fact she is looking out for the best interests of the residents of Menlo Park. Our operating budget is being squeezed by overly generous retirements and benefits that are way in excess of what the private sector receives.

If the trend continues unabated, within 10 years there will be less money for the operating budget then there will be for retirements. Quality of service will plummet and we will be supporting a Union plutocracy courtesy of Heyward Robinson, Richard Cline, Kelly Fergusson, and Andy Cohen. We will have potholes, cracked sewer pipes, and rotting trees that can't be attended to because we don't have enought money in the budget. Lee stands for fiscal responsibility. That is something that the Feck Four simply do not understand.

Posted by Hanky panky, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 28, 2009 at 9:25 pm

[Post removed; see terms of use]

Posted by desdemona, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Jan 28, 2009 at 11:16 pm

My my, some of this name-calling is straight out of the 1950s. Joe McCarthy fan, Hank? [Portion removed; see terms of use] Don't forget that Lee was on the council during healthier economic times, and still managed to rack up a major deficit...or was there a deficit? The council was so ineptly run that no one could be sure, but they put the UUT on the ballot anyway!

Following is the beginning of an article that the SJ Mercury News ran in November 2006 in which they recount a rather amusing anecdote about the outgoing council members. Note the well-chosen and properly devastating adjectives. Any former council members who are considering running in 2010 should be aware that memories in this town run deep. Enjoy!

"Mickie Winkler finished in last place in this month's Menlo Park City Council race. Lee Duboc came in second to last. And these were the incumbents. In just four years, Duboc and Winkler fell fast and fell hard.

Along with the suave Nicholas Jellins -- who, perhaps wisely, decided
not to run again -- the trio enraged many Menlo Park residents. Their
my-way-or-the-highway attitude and snotty manners during public meetings seem to have caught up with them. "

Posted by Not so fast, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jan 28, 2009 at 11:32 pm

Hank says:

"Tim Sheeper never offered to pay the City rent. That is a fiction."

But in July 2003:

"Mr. Sheeper says his organization's members have raised about a quarter-million dollars to help defray the added construction costs of a larger pool. The group plans to raise $500,000 and would pay annual rent of $100,000 to $150,000 to the city for the use of the pool, he said."

Web Link

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 29, 2009 at 12:22 am

Ah the power of disinformation of the left! Mr. Sheeper offered to pay rent on an olympic size pool as that would have brought in more revenue. But the City Council did not approve an olympic size pool that the offer was contingent upon. Nice try. Poor lie. Have another glass of the High Priestess' Electric Kool Aid. Perhaps the powers of the Kool Aid will make the swimming pool seem olympic size.

By the way Robert F. Kennedy, you know the one that was President John F Kennedy's brother, worked side-by-side with McCarthy during the hearings.

Posted by Yea Unions!, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jan 29, 2009 at 11:43 am

Unions are great for this nation!

Steel Industry Unions = No steel industry to speak of left.
Auto Industry Unions = Soon to be no auto industry to speak of left.
Farm Unions = Now we resort to illegal immigrants who actually DO work, for a good wage.
Textile Unions = Are there any textile manufacturers left in America?
Government Unions = Huge budget shortfalls everywhere, every state.
Teacher Unions = One of the worst education systems on the globe.

So, please tell me again, why Lee Duboc is bad when she calls out the unions????

Posted by Motown Mabel, a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Jan 29, 2009 at 12:13 pm

I suppose the auto workers unions designed crappy American cars, decided that bigger is better and fuel-efficiency be damned? Is there a CEO union behind these idiotic decisions? I think not.

Don't blame the men and women on the assembly line for the failures of the executive fools who made the decisions.

Posted by Yea Unions!, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Jan 29, 2009 at 12:50 pm

It's EXTREMELY easy to blame the men and women working on assembly lines that, thru their unions, demand astronomical wages and pension plans that are sometimes 50% to 100% more than the competition in Japan. These dollars could have been invested in more R&D, better marketing, less expensive cars, and other ways to promote the business, rather than overpaying for a none deserving worker that believes they're entitled to make thousands of dollars because they show up to work. You obviously, have never started a business or run a business. OSHA is all the workers need, Unions have been outdated since the turn of LAST century, it's killing our manufacturing jobs, and killing entire industries.

Posted by Big Daddy, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 29, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Stupidy, greed and sense of entitlement are killing our manufacturing jobs and entire industries, and topping the list of the stupid, the greedy and the entitled are CEOs who claim they're worth the multimillions of dollars they make, regardless of whether their company is profitable. To blame union members -- who make one one-hundreth or less of what the top exec who's running the company into the ground makes -- for a company's failure would be laughable if it weren't so disgusting.

Posted by desdemona, a resident of Menlo Park: Fair Oaks
on Jan 29, 2009 at 1:39 pm

Lee Duboc received donations from at least one union and many realtors and developers. During her term in office, she ignored the general plan and allowed developers to rezone whatever parcels they requested for their own profit. Conflict of interest, anyone?

If the unions truly are a problem in Menlo Park, why didn't Lee & company do anything to minimize their influence? Lee had four years as a member of a council majority, plenty of time to accomplish something. Instead, the trio merely managed to irritate every local union with their high-handed tactics, which explains why the unions were so determined to boot them out of office.

Remember: developers made millions thanks to Lee, Mickie, Nick's laissez faire attitude toward residents and overt lack of concern for maintaining the quality of life in the city. Meanwhile, the people who keep our parks clean and teach our kids gymnastics -- the union members -- benefited to the tune of maybe a few hundred dollars a year? Please. I don't know anyone who belongs to a union, and I have a lot of issues with unions, but it's hard to give Lee a grade higher than a D- on her personnel management skills.

Posted by PLEASE!!!, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 29, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Once again, just a bunch of bad mouthing, name calling and accusing. Absolutely no facts or data to support your claim. Lee's a lightening rod because she speaks AGAINST unions, period. No one ever has done this, nor will do this. That's all this is all about. I realize most of you think CEO's make up their own compensation programs, and that realtors are really bad people, and that developers have built huge 10 story tenement housing structures in our city, but I think this is the city that you guys fantasize about........this just is not going on in Menlo Park. Your scare tactics have worked, but I think people are starting to get a true understanding now that you guys have never created anything, never invested in anything, never managed anything, never tried to improve's just all about more surveys, more consultants, spend money on frivolous things, because it's someone else's money. It's getting old, very, very old.

Posted by Diana, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 29, 2009 at 4:16 pm

"Absolutely no facts or data to support your claim."

" guys have never created anything, never invested in anything, never managed anything, never tried to improve anything..."

Dear PLEASE!!!!
Would you please cite the facts and data to support the claim that posters on this thread who disagree with you "have never created anything, never invested in anything, never managed anything, never tried to improve anything"? I would be most grateful.

Posted by Reality Check Two, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 29, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Just to enlighten new comers here:

Mr. Lawrence is the well-known resident super-Libertarian who lent his name and energies to DuBoc's and Winkler's election campaigns.

Further, he once stated in a city council meeting that he believed we should privitize both police and fire services and that MP "government" should exist solely as an informational website run by a private entity (I kid you not!).

I also would guess that he is responsible for many of the posts here that do not bear his name.

Posted by accountant, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Jan 29, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Sounds like Lee Duboc's usual constipated comments.

But she does have a point. The problem with her suggestion is that if you see how voters at the state level approve proprositions that put the budget on auto pilot regardless of revenue is partially responsible for the state's mess. There is nothing to suggest that throwing open pension benefits to a city wide vote would solve the problem if indeed, voters vote that way.

Posted by Robert Williams, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 29, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Hey, "Reality Check", excellent job in calling someone out by name, description and being hyper critical. Especially when you don't have the integrity, character or strength to use your own name. Very typical of people without a speck of the same traits mentioned above. Leave Hank alone, unless you use your own name, that's not how this blog should be used.
Better yet, please move!

Posted by last laugh, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jan 29, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Hey, "Robert Williams," I think Reality Check did an excellent job of encapsulating Hank's character. And who are you to dictate how "this blog should be used?" And to suggest that people with whom you disagree should move?!? Come on, Hank, you know you'd be lonely if everyone else in town left just because you don't like us!

Posted by Hank Lawrence, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Jan 29, 2009 at 9:55 pm

Reality Check 2 has been drinking the High Prietess' Koolaid. [Portion removed] I made no comments regarding the fire department because it is safely out of reach from the incompetent clutches of Heyward, Richard, Kelly & Andy. I did say that the city should make each department compete against outside private providers with the exception of the sworn officers in the police department. I said in a city council public comment that the sworn officers should be Menlo Park employees. There is nothing seriously wrong with the Menlo Park police department. They are supposed to ask for everything they think they can get during negotiations. The problem is with the City Council who rolled over and played dead. They did no negotiation. [Portion removed; see terms of use] The Feck Four are an embarassment. They should be recalled and replaced with people who actually care about the residents of Menlo Park.

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