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City wasting our money again -- Green house offset

Original post made by disgusting on Mar 22, 2008

On Tuesday the City is going to consider purchasing offset credit for purchasing Green House Gas Emissions.....

What a waste of funds. In my opinion any council member who supports this deserves to be recalled. What non-sense. $15000.00 at least down the sewer.

I hope at least one council member will have the guts to say no. Quite the is Fergusson and Robinson completely out of control. We can get rid of Fergusson this fall; maybe then Robinson would wake up.


Comments (25)

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 23, 2008 at 10:06 am

The people of MP spoke out against the Park Theater scam... maybe they will speak out against this ridiculous use of our tax money.

Unjustified high salaries, largess building plans and now this??

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 23, 2008 at 4:49 pm

What salary specifically is unjustified? Explain please or add detail. Joanna has already been proven to lie in this forum as nauseum about salaries, city stats, political ethics and anything else "she" can get her paws on.

But the comment from disgusting? You are as clueless as anyone I have seen in this ridiculous anonymous forum. I won't even comment on your inability to spell much less your obfuscation regarding what the council is actually doing or why.

I will give you all this. You are consistently off base and off color.

So you have that going for you, which is nice.

Posted by Concerned Citizen, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Mar 24, 2008 at 9:42 am

This proposed "offset" purchase is the biggest scam that PG&E has ever promoted. Why would we pay additional money on top of our required utility bill? PG&E can pay this out of their own profits.

Please urge your council memebers to vote no on this scam.

Posted by Tom, a resident of another community
on Mar 24, 2008 at 2:16 pm

If you haven't done so,I would encourage you to read the staff report on this subject in the MP City Council Agenda for 03/25. Local politics aside and even putting the issue of whether or not global warming is real or contrived on hold for a moment, I feel compelled to state my opinion of any program involving "offset credits". Such programs exist for traffic mitgation, for low income housing, air polution, and now for green house gases. I'll keep on doing what I'm doing, but I'll spend a little green so therefore I can claim to be green-hate the idea. What is really surprising to me in this instance are two points mentioned in the City Staff Report. (1) There have only been four (4)--thats right 4--cities in the entire state dumb enough to fall for this and let PG&E take the "credits", and (2) read the report carefully, thats where the credits really accrue--PG&E.

How about we all just work a little harder at being a little cleaner.

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 24, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Tom, where were you when they voted for the Derry project and then agreed to ask for nothing in return for zoning concessions? This is a $10K investment, that was a $2M disaster? Where were you? And "Concerned Citizen" where were you when they wanted to spend $18M to build fields on Bayfront? Where were you? Millions of dollars of mistakes corrected with one election. And now all the anti-greens come out to scream over $10K.

Posted by Concerned Citizen, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Mar 24, 2008 at 5:38 pm

I'm sorry, after reading Kelly's letter in the staff report I didn't realize that this was a moral issue and not a fiscal issue. I guess if we tithe to PG&E we will have repented for all past and future sins. Go ahead - spend the money - as a matter of fact, let's pay more and account for all of our malicious emmissions since the founding of Menlo Park, for certainly we have been polluting since that time. I propose that the $2M that we get from the new Derry deal should be immediately transferred to PG&E.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 24, 2008 at 5:58 pm


This $10k investment is *less* than what the City Manager, Mr. Rojas, makes a month. Keep that in mind.

I agree that the offset idea is a scam in that PG&E should take the burden.

We paid for your trip to Seattle for the mayor and environment meeting. This is what we get back?

You are right though. We rolled over for the golf course and Derry. But we have to start somewhere. Spending our money on this is not wise.

Posted by GreenGiant, a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 24, 2008 at 6:38 pm

The PG&E offset deal is a program conceived by former MP mayor/councilmember and current PG&EE attorney Gail Slocum. The voluntary tithing in your utility bills is Gail's idea.

Interesting that the net effect if appropriation of state grants to cities by PG&E.

Posted by odd geezer, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 24, 2008 at 11:35 pm

It's Slocum's attempt to give protege Kelly some traction for re election after the Park Theatre pork barrel fiasco.
Any suggestions for Cohen's preferred running mate besides Kelly?
I am really impressed with Bressler's issue focus and outspoken leadership on the P.C. We really need someone besides KF to get past all the political posturing and get to the issues confronting the city.
He has name recognition from the last election and just lost to Boyle by 120 votes in '06. He strikes me as refreshingly apolitical.
Would make a nice change from past years of "Developer supported candidate" vs. "Residentialist supported candidate"(read Slocum protege!)

Posted by Gail Slocum, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 25, 2008 at 9:58 am

The offer from PG&E ClimateSmart is that if the City signs up now, there will be matching funding that will go to outreach this year to our residences and businesses with info on energy efficiency rebates and renewables incentives, as well as ClimateSmart option for folks citywide. This outreach is worth over $15,000 because No city staff time is needed to participate, either. PG&E will partner with the City to get it done.

Therefore it's a good deal for the City to sign up for to take advantage of this limited time special matching offer.
There is no long term obligation. The City can drop ClimateSmart if it wants for 2009.

Any coucnilmember who votes NO now is letting go of $15,000 in help our city needs to address climate change and help people SAVE money on their bills through energy efficiency etc.

Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 25, 2008 at 12:17 pm

Joanna, thanks for considering me for council. I will pass. I am satisfied just making sure you keep it factual for your thousands of readers.

Posted by Concerned Citizen, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Mar 25, 2008 at 7:32 pm

Only a politician like Gail would think that paying $20K is the same as turning down $15K. We don't need the PG&E matching funds and we don't need Gail Slocum.

Posted by disgusting, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 26, 2008 at 8:21 am

Well anyone who bothered to observe the council meeting, knows that only John Boyle had the guts to say no to this waste of City Funds. This is about the only time I agreed with a decision on his part, but he was surely right about this one.

The "greenies" have surely taken over the council. It should make for an interesting fall election. Boyle mentioned the City is apparently facing a budget deficit next year. At the meeting next Tuesday we should learn much more about that. One must wonder if Gail Slocum is now due for a promotion at her job at PG&E, since she seemed to be the driving force behind this effort.

I even bothered to watch the fiasco that the previous council has led us into regrading the bonds in the Redevelopment Agency. We're talking real money here folks. Rather than take this problem head on, they have decided to use a stop gap measure again, and bet on the come, that market conditions will improve.

One question that was never asked at that discussion, was just how much is Piper Jaffray making in commissions or mark ups by the daily churning of our bonds.

With Wall Street now in such a tizzy, who can you believe. One thing is for sure, the City made a big mistake in re-financing the bonds. They could have, as was pointed out, re-financed with long term bonds and saved millions, and not had the headaches and possibly much worse, which the present picture now paints.

Even Boyle, who has the best financial background on the council, doesn't understand what is going on here. He kept focusing on the default provisions of the agreement, which is important, but which misses the problem. Of course, he must try to protect the old majority of Jellins, Winkler and DuBoc.


Posted by truth, a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 26, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Disgusting, I agree the bond discussion was a real eye opener. The city tried to cut a deal to save money and the strategy backfired. Last night Cline was asking the question to review that decision and then he just stopped probing. I just don't know why they didn't press this guy.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 26, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Slocum is going to do a heck of a lot more if he thinks he can help Kelly.

There is NO way the Park Theater will be overlooked. Now or if she has the audacity to run for Supervisor.

I can't wait!


Yes, the bond timing was horrible and we will be feeling the effects for a looong time. I don't think such decisions should be made by companies who would benefit from a change that they suggest. This was definitely done quietly.


The offset scheme is really taking our attention from something important... budget deficits! In today's SF Chronicle, San Francisco is considering axing jobs of those who make more than $150k. They aren't talking across the board and they aren't addressing the important jobs... just the gravy-sweet jobs that pay ever so well for nothing. Maybe we should look at ourselves before we consider making token steps such as offset credits.

Posted by A-gassed, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 26, 2008 at 1:56 pm


If the city thinks that planting trees is the answer to greenhouse gas emissions why don't we spend the money to plant some trees along El Camino where the emissions are happening and where we need some beautification rather than sending money to PG&E. It is not the amount of the "donation" I object to, it is the principle.

Also, shocking to me that in the same meeting Kelly and Heyward were advocating removing all the citizen advisers from the city's Climate Action Committee so that it could be exempt from the Brown Act and hold meetings in private. Didn't they campaign on open government?

Amazing how power corrupts. Its time for another change.

Posted by Ms. Sheehee, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Mar 26, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Joanna: Gail Slocum is a she, not a he.

Posted by Pro Green but Not Stupid, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 26, 2008 at 5:22 pm

This green thing has gotten out of control. What is this a competition to see which city is the greenest? We don't need any more education or outreach about global warming. We already know the score; we just don't want to do much about it.
There is way to much choir music and too little actual council action to truly reduce our carbon foot print. I am so sick of Fergusson's mass email broadcasts announcing green speakers and get-togethers. Can this council just get down to the nuts and bolts of governing?
News Bulletin: we have a very outdated General Plan and we will someday be sued by a developer because of the zoning confusion that exists.
Forget the $15K payment to PG&E and throw some solar panels up on the administration building.
Insofar as finding a candidate to run against Fergusson, find another candidate so we can get rid of our cranky mayor.
PS, someone tell us what the big cheese people at PG&E make, including Slocum. Probably even more than our part time assistant city manager makes. Now, that's a scandal!

Posted by True Green, a resident of Hillview Middle School
on Mar 26, 2008 at 9:27 pm

I'm disappointed that the council is spending so much time on pledges, insider task forces, and feel-good gifts to our power company. These "actions" seem to be more motivated by some political agenda than by actually doing something about global warming or related local problems like traffic congestion.

Most of our controllable greenhouse gases come from cars. Where were our city leaders when the school district was considering busing? Why aren't we working cooperatively to implement school buses for the middle schools and high school to reduce car trips and traffic congestion?

Of course it will be a complex and perhaps expensive proposition, but if we are not prepared to take some aggressive actions, why did we bother taking the cool cities pledge.

Posted by Roxie, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Mar 27, 2008 at 12:13 am

I agree with True Green's point about "actions" that do little about global warming or related problems.

Coucilmember Fergusson should be fighting the hard fight for mass transit if she really wants to help the environment. At a bare minimum our city should support the construction of grade separations so that the current caltrains system can run more effeciently, our intersections will be safer, and automobiles will no longer waste gas sitting at railroad crossings.

Posted by Truthful, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 27, 2008 at 9:29 am

Gail's argument that by donating $20k to PG&E we are somehow saving money is almost humorous. Her "limited time offer" sounds like something that you would hear on late night television.

And for what - paying PG&E to send Menlo Park citizens junk mail offering them the opportunity to donate to Climate Smart? Has anyone checked whether Climate Smart is carbon neutral? Sounds like lots of paper and mailing for a program geared towards improving PG&E's image without cleaning up their power plants.

I don't hear anyone on this blog complaining about the city trying to reduce its carbon footprint. What I hear is people justifiably complaining about the council, and in particular our ex-mayor, being more focused on appearances and her pet projects than on actually tackling some tough problems.

$20k worth of solar panels on the new police annex would have at least been a step in the right direction and would have paid for itself over the life of the building. Why wasn't that on the council agenda?

Lets drop the "us-them" rhetoric and get to work on the tough issues.

Posted by ATrueBlueAmerican, a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 27, 2008 at 11:03 am


How DARE you suggest that we actually do something tangible (like putting up solar panels) instead of making an empty grand gesture that amounts to nothing more than a political payoff to both a local insider (Ms. Slocum) AND a huge corporation already awash in profits and - tee-hee - one that is actually responsible for the problem in the first place (PG&E).

Truthful, you are obviously a dangerous radical who hates America. Therefore, I call on the Almanac to immediately erase your postings and ban you from further posting on there website!

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 27, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Ms. Sheehee. Got it. But I was referring to Kelly. She had better not think of running in Menlo Park and/or San Mateo.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 27, 2008 at 12:54 pm

I agree with True Green, Roxie, Truthful and TrueBlueAmerican.

We need tangible results and not gestures. The school bus issue had so much potential. I believe that Kelly, Slocum and the rest of the crew are trying to address many issues with this empty gesture... and the last and the least of them is the environment... if at all.

Posted by Joanna, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 28, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Wait!! Did you say, "wasting our money again?"

Read this...

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