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Debunking the Child Care Facility Savings Myth

Original post made by Student, Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park, on Nov 6, 2006

I hope my text formatting works.

The overstated child care savings, repeated frequently by Winkler, and then again below by Dick Poe (who exaggerates still more) is exposed below.

The actual savings of the "police station remodel" (which includes a portable) is about $1M over the 30-year span of the facility.

Winkler's $3M in savings actually includes two huge errors. She counts $750,000 in "sunk costs" for the design of the new facility as a "savings" even Menlo Park spent this money. And secondly, few people know that the remodeled police station provided less than half as much space as the propose new facility. To add more space required a modular, whose rental cost is $48,000/year. The 30-year rental cost of the modular is "hidden" as a yearly operational cost rather than shown as an up-front capital cost.

If you make a Net Present Value ("NPV") calculuation on a 30-year payment of $48,000/year it comes to $1.2M.

Hence, Winkler's $3M "savings" includes a $750,000 mistake, and hides $1.2 current value of the 30-year rental costs. That's about $2M that won't really be saved.

A capital savings of $1M over a 30-year period is not very much, and if you look at the space, a new facility provided $13,700 square feet versus 9100 square feet provided by the police station + modular.

Finally, the new facility accommodates more students at a higher space per student.

In every way, the decision to remodel the police station was a bad decision that iconifies all that is wrong with Winkler and Duboc's decision-making.



"Police Station + Modular" Costs New Facility


Sunk Wasted $0.75 $0.75 Design Costs Sunk

New Remodel Costs $3.4 $5.5 Build new costs New
Modular Rental (NPV) $1.2 $0.0 Modular Rental (NPV)
Total New Costs $4.6 $5.5 Total New Costs

Total Sunk + New $5.4 $6.2 Total Sunk + New


"Usable Space(square feet)"


Police Station 5900 13700 New Facility
Modular 3200 -
Total 9100 13700


Students


Police Station 103 180 New Facility
Modular 60 0
Total 163 180 Total


"Quality(square feet/student)"

Police Station 57 76 Police Station
Modular 53 0
Average 56 76 Average

Comments (5)

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Posted by Student
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 6, 2006 at 6:09 pm

Oh well. The text formatting is a huge jumble. Sorry about that.

The bottom line is that Winkler's $3M alleged savings includes a $750,000 mistake, the "sunk" cost was not saved, and it hides the 30-year rental cost of the modular which is equivalent to an up-front cost of $1.2M


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Posted by Dick Poe
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 7, 2006 at 11:47 am

I wish those who would express such strident opinions would have the courage of their convictions and use their real names. Should voters believe anything from "Anonymous Student?" Could it be that this is part of the Big Labor / Stealth Surrogate / attack, misrepresent and smear campaign which has been waged by Bressler, Cline and Robinson, and that these postings are coming from one of their eight campaign organizations rather than from a real "Student?"

Let's take a look at substance. Student is wrong about a purported "modular" rental. It happens to be a permanent installation and part of the Child Care Center. It was merely a modular construction technique (another of countless Bressler-Cline-Robinson misrepresentations using their surrogates as messengers). If the word "modular" bothers you, pay a visit to the luxury Northstar Village sales office near Lake Tahoe. It is entirely "modular."

Then there's the argument about the size of the gorgeous new Child Care Center. Together with a professional child care center operator, I examined the floor plans of the earlier $6M+ "Taj Mahal" design proposed by the discredited City Council prior to 2002. (Those are the guys who led us into a 50% decline in sales tax revenues). Half the space in this overblown monster was allocated to Staff (read union member) offices. As an aside, I note that the Almanac reported today that the Bressler-Cline-Robinson organizations have been showered with over $22,000 in union money in this election. I have no doubt that the final total will be far greater and that "in-kind" services like the outsiders walking our streets to drop literature will be massive.

In any event, the child care center expert told me that his ratios are 80% space for kids, 20% for staff offices. Anonymous Student has failed to disclose that one of the keys to the massive savings achieved by Lee Duboc and Mickie Winkler in connection with the new Child Care Center was to cut down on cushy digs for Staff who should be spending their time with our kids anyway.

Instead of $6M+ and rising (the Taj Mahal for Staff probably would have had final price tag of $over $7M - remember the City Hall redesign which ballooned from $5 to $10M under the pre-2002 Council????), Duboc and Winkler brought in the new Child Care Center on schedule and on budget for about $3.5M.

By the way, anonymous Student, is the new Center too small to accommodate the kids? I haven't heard that one from anybody - although I'm sure that's not a claim that shadowy Bressler-Cline-Robinson surrogates are above making.


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Posted by Down boy
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Nov 7, 2006 at 12:21 pm

Dick, why not come clean and admit that the "professional child care center operator" was Chuck Bernstein, who supports the challengers. You sure you want to cite his expertise? You're also confusing capital costs with operating costs, which suggests to me that you might want to take your foot out of your mouth and move on to another topic that you can mangle.

I'm sure you don't want to overlook the fact that your incumbent slate has accepted tens of thousands of dollars from developer interests, most of them from outside Menlo Park, and has hired people to distribute its literature as well as a professional campaign manager. Guess you can't find enough volunteers to man your sinking ship? (For some reason, I'm reminded of the old saying about pointing a finger at someone else and having four fingers point back at you.)

The union has donated very little money to the candidates it supports. The union is free to mail out its own pieces, and it has done so. At least the union identifies itself on its mailings, unlike your mailings which purport to be from the Republican/Democrat/Peace&Freedom/fill-in-the-blank parties.

Note also that the challengers are not a slate but independent candidates. Vince Bressler in particular is not identified with any party and has not been endorsed by the union.

So sorry Dick, but given that there's no dearth of corrupt politicians, I'm sure you'll be able to find a new home with someone who's looking for a lap dog (or do you fancy yourself more as a snarling pit bull?)


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Posted by ChildcareWatcher
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 7, 2006 at 12:43 pm

Mr. Poe:

As a matter of fact, the new childcare center IS too small to accomodate the kids. As reported in The Almanac this summer, the toddler program (which filled one of the three rooms in the old facility) is no more as there is insufficient space to accomodate that program in the "new" building.

Also, under the original design for a true NEW building, many MORE kids could have been accomodated - thereby serving many more working families in MP. Thanks to Winkler and Duboc, that's no longer possible.

So to say, as you have, that Winkler and Duboc are great for kids is patently absurd - and don't throw the Measure J junk back - everyone knows they're just pandering for cheap votes that way! (What was it that they wanted to build there in the first place? Oh, that's right - A GOLF COURSE!)


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Posted by Student
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 8, 2006 at 7:12 pm

I think Dick Poe tried to change the subject. Winkler's $3M alleged savings was wrong by $2M because

1.) Winkler included the $750k "sunk costs" of the design and architectural work associated with the new facility. That money was never saved. It was spent.

2.) The "modular" or "portable" or "whatever you call it" even though its affixed to the ground, has a yearly operating cost, not a capital cost. It rents for $48k per year, a fact that is not denied by Poe. Converting its 30-year operating cost to a net present capital cost-- 30 years at $48k/year is 1.2M dollars.


Here's a reference on the $48k/year rental cost:

Web Link

"In addition, 5,900 square feet of child-care space can serve only 103 children. To accommodate the remaining 60 children currently enrolled at the Civic Center, the 3,100-square-foot portable building now being used would have to be moved to a parking lot near the former police station. The city rents this building for $48,000 a year, but this cost is not included in the $2.7 million estimate."


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