Consultant prematurely mails stormwater election flyers

The nearly 30 people who testified Tuesday before the Contra Costa Board of  Supervisors against a proposed new stormwater fee  arrived home later in the day to find an unpleasant surprise: A fold-out mailer promoting the countywide fee election that had been approved just a few hours earlier.

Critics immediately called the public hearing on the Contra Costa Community Clean Water Initiative a sham and started phoning supervisors’ offices.

It looks bad. The mailers were clearly prepared and mailed before the supervisors voted on whether to proceed with the election.

But the county says an outside consulting firm mistakenly and prematurely sent out the mailers during a staff changeover.

Supervisors and County Administrator David Twa are very displeased with SCI Consulting Group, which has a $1.1 million contract to help the county and its 19 cities put together the stormwater fee election.

“We did convey to (SCI) that this did a great deal of harm to the entire process and only adds to the belief that government fails to provide meaningful opportunities for the public to be heard,” Twa told me in an email.

See the mailer below.


Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Reality Checker

    I wonder what would have happened if all of the Supervisors would have voted against this, instead of just Supervisor Piepho. Interesting…


  • Elwood

    It will be a cold day in hell when I vote for this and I’m sure many others feel the same way.

    The goals are completely unreasonable and the dollar amount was pulled out of the air, both according to the program manager, Don Freitas.

    Isn’t it funny how when something like this happens, it’s always the consultant who screwed up, not the government bureaucracy?

  • Publius

    Tax and spend. Tax and spend. When will the people of this county elect politicians that care about protecting the tax payer? I do not share your enthusiasm Elwood, measure C passed with no problem and Ca. voted for a bullet train to Modesto……

  • Reality Checker

    The county board of supervisors on Tuesday voted 3-1 in favor of triggering an election on behalf of the county and its 19 cities after a hearing at which a majority of property owners failed to protest it. Supervisor Mary Nejedly Piepho of Discovery Bay voted no. Supervisor Gayle Uilkema of Lafayette was absent.

  • Elwood

    “a majority of property owners failed to protest it”

    A majority of the property owners would be approximately 154,000.

    Exactly where they would put them in the supervisor’s chambers I do not know.

  • Reality Checker

    @ Elwood,

    As I understand it, written protests via mail are allowed and counted.

  • rew

    Nice story by Lisa. In so far as this 1.1 million dollar contract that went to this consulting firm any good graphic artists could whip up mailers like this in a couple of hours, might take a day to write the thing. I think journalism students at local community colleges could whip up stuff like this, so I don’t think public bodies should be squandering money on “consultants” for PR campaigns.

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Keep in mind, the $1.1 million paid for a great deal more than just this single mailer. The firm did polling, prepared other materials and advised the county on the process.

  • Publius

    Just another $1.1 million wasted by our local government. Couldn’t we have saved that money to pay for bloated public pensions?

  • John W.

    Re #9

    Drum roll please. Great comment!

  • Elwood

    @ #8 Lisa

    It’s still tax dollars down a rat hole.

  • Truthclubber
  • RR, Senile Columnist

    We ain’t got much storm water to worry about this year.