Blair Park battle wasn't necessary
At the Sept. 16 Piedmont City Council meeting, the Council decided in closed session that the city would "absorb" any amounts still owed it by the Piedmont Recreation Facilities Organization. Lost in the forgiveness of PRFO's debt to the city is the full financial cost of the failed attempt to put a football-size soccer field in Blair Park.
Mark Bichsel, former City Finance Director, prepared several schedules summarizing expenditures made by the City of Piedmont from the inception of project costs on Oct. 2, 2008, through Dec. 31, 2012. In this period, the city expended $838,689. Much of this was reimbursed by PRFO, more than $500,000 by my calculations.
Friends of Moraga Canyon spent more than $70,000 in its opposition to the project and in addition received a $15,000 settlement to pay outstanding legal fees. I am not privy to what costs PRFO paid on its own behalf, but it is safe to say that collectively the city of Piedmont, PRFO and FOMC spent close to $1 million in pursuit of the Blair Park project. This does not even count the financial costs of untold hours spent by city staff on this ill-advised project.
I believe the Blair Park proposal resulted in an appalling misuse of city and private funds. My plea is for the council to take seriously the need to: establish and follow risk-management policies, as recommended by the Piedmont League of Women Voters; listen to and acknowledge competing interests; and perhaps most importantly, work out resolutions to controversial issues that bring the community together rather than divide.
Only then will the City Council represent the best interests of the entire town.
Support our A's, AL West champs
Hey, Bay Area, the A's are doing it.
Time to go green -- lights, banners, flags, T-shirts. Go A's.
Something fishy about CalPERS
Reading the September issue of the newsletter California State Retiree, I am scratching my head at the statement by a member of CalPERS' Long-Term Care insurance program that: "The only good news regarding the 85 percent increase in monthly premiums for Long-term Care insurance is that 26 percent of its members facing this steep premium increase converted to lesser plans that could result in savings in the entire program."
Expectations that 10 percent of covered members, some since the '90s, would migrate to less expensive plans covering three, six or 10 years were miscalculated. LTC members affected by this unconscionable increase aren't smiling. Their faith in the board and administrators of the LTC program has been shaken to the core.
Three law firms have filed a lawsuit alleging CalPERS misled policy holders with promises of solvency and stability of coverage but did not manage the funds efficiently, leading to a grand shortfall. So go figure why, for the first time in several years, CalPERS LTC will begin accepting applications for new members in December? Something fishy in Denmark?
Linda S. Messick
Cal supporters let their team down
After 20 years of anger management classes, my psychiatrist downgraded my "road rage" to "road irritation."
I thought I had finally made progress in controlling my temper. But after the Ohio State Buckeyes showed up at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 14, I was transformed into a raging and ranting Mr. Hyde!
I would like to make one thing perfectly clear, my seething cauldron of rage was not directed toward the score, coach Sonny Dykes or my beloved Cal Bears. Nor was it aimed at the Ohio State team and its Buckeye fans. No, my anger is directed at the Cal alumni and supporters.
It seemed like a home game for the Ohio State Buckeyes. And that is utterly unacceptable. The Old Blues were drowned in an ocean of red. Cal alumni let Dykes and the new-era Golden Bears down. Cal supporters did not show up.
If Cal alumni can't come out and support their team and their university, then this is the sorriest day ever. Ironically, Memorial Stadium cost more than $300 million. And Cal supporters can't afford a $60 ticket? Bull!
It's a little fishy that 60,000 Buckeye fans decided to take a weekend trip to Berkeley (2,423 miles) to watch their football team play. Or do 60,000 Ohio fans live here in the Bay Area?
Cal alumnus Berkeley
Seniors, don't let banks rip you off
I just got a letter from a bank in which I have an account telling me they are now going to charge my senior account $25 per month if I have less than $5,000 in it.
Can you imagine all the seniors with direct deposit Social Security and pension checks using that bank and being charged $25 charge each month?
I can get a senior account at Mechanics Bank, which is free for those 55 and older. I can use any ATM anywhere, and get a debit card and checks -- all free of charge. It will take me awhile to open a new account and change my direct deposit, but it is worth it.
If you are a veteran, Chase will give you a free account. And credit unions offer free accounts as well.