Tom Butt 
Member since Nov 15, 2008


Stats

Favorite Places

  • None.
Find places »

Saved Events

  • Nada.
Find events »

Saved Stories

  • Nope.
Find stories »

Custom Lists

  • Zip.

Friends

  • No friends yet.
Become My Friend Find friends »

Recent Comments

Re: “Company Illegally Dumps Toxic Dirt Piles in Richmond, Riles Residents

Here is what the Water Board says;

Tom,

Thanks for bringing this situation to our attention. When I asked my staff about it, they said they have looped back to you this afternoon and indicated that this offsite temporary contaminated soil stockpiling was never authorized by the Water Board, nor has the Water Board yet approved of the reuse of this soil onsite in Emeryville. PCBs remain one of our highest priority pollutants to control, so we plan to drill down on this situation to make sure this doesn’t happen again. Let me know if you have further questions or concerns.

Thanks!

Bruce H. Wolfe, Executive Officer
SF Bay Regional Water Board
1515 Clay St., Suite 1400
Oakland, CA 94612-1482

510-622-2314 / 510-622-2460 - fax

Posted by Tom Butt on 09/30/2016 at 7:11 PM

Re: “Austerity's Champion

The following East Bay Express article, “Austerity’s Champion,” fails to pass the East Bay Express’ usual high standards for investigative journalism.
Starting with the title, “Austerity’s Champion,” Borenstein’s obsession is not about austerity at all, it’s about sustainability. Borenstein is the Al Gore of fiscal sustainability, pounding us with the inconvenient truth that we are enjoying today’s benefits of below-cost public services on a credit card while passing the bill on to future generations. The parallel to climate change and global warming is stark.
Why liberals/progressives embrace environmental sustainability as the basis for mitigating global warming while eschewing fiscal sustainability as a plot by evil business and conservative interests is baffling.
Unfunded pension and OPEB (Other post-Employment Benefits) obligations are the fossil fuels of government employment. Enjoy the benefits today and pass the consequences on to our children and grandchildren.
Borenstein is not saying public employees are overpaid or should be paid less; he is simply saying that whatever we are paying them should be paid now by us, not decades later by future generation that derive no benefit from their services.
Instead of focusing on the math of unsustainable benefits, the authors, BondGraham and Tavares, invoke the widening income gap and villainization of public employees (“ Moreover, austerity measures like pension-cutting have been shown to not only widen the gap between the wealthy and the middle class, but also have helped villainize public employees, while ignoring the broader political and economic factors that have caused local governments to run up retirement system debts in the first place”). Neither are unfunded liabilities an issue of trying to “paint a portrait of public employees as fat cats.”
BondGraham and Tavares even admit pensions are underfunded but quote Dean Baker as saying the underfunding is “manageable,” and “is less than 0.2 percent of projected gross state product over the next 30 years for most states." In Richmond, the unfunded liability is nearly half a billion dollars and growing. BondGraham and Tavares have no advice about how we should “manage” that future obligation we are passing on for our kids to pay; they just think it’s okay to ignore it.
They also fall into the trap of citing the fact that “The average CalPERS pension benefit for a public employee is just $33,408 annually.” They conveniently omit the more important facts that the $33,408 average includes those who retired before benefit level increases began in 2000 and combines those who worked five years with those who put in more than 30. The average is 19.9. In contrast, Social Security, for example, calculates benefits based on a working career of 35 years. A CalPERS career-worker starting pension is $59,700/year. (FY 2013-14, 30+ years of service) Source: CalPERS CAFR, Page 155).
BondGraham and Travers continue to characterize this as a labor issue, (“But his proposals almost always mean forcing employees to shoulder more of the cost, or cutting government services, such as police, fire, street paving, libraries, and parks to pay more into the pension systems”) and quote Monique Morrissey who “views the torrent of reporting on unfunded pension liabilities between 2008 and the present in the context of a wider assault on working families and unions by conservative interests that seek to offload more of the cost of government onto workers.”
This is not a labor issue at all or an assault on unions; it is a greed issue for all of us. We want the benefits without the cost. In a competitive labor market, which is certainly with us today in the Bay Area, we, the public, are going to have to pay competitive compensation to get the type of public employees we want to provide the services we desire. We can’t unilaterally ratchet down the cost by forcing them to pay more for pensions and OPEB. They will simply go somewhere else.
I have no criticism of public employee unions for advocating for compensation and benefits; and they martialed their considerable political power to have been wildly successful over the last two decades. What I wish they had also done was to use the same political power to compel elected officials to assume the true cost instead of pushing it off on future generations.
Tom Butt, Mayor
Richmond, CA

35 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Tom Butt on 06/18/2015 at 11:51 AM

Re: “Rossmoor vs. Woodpeckers

Based on the photo in the November 14 San Francisco Chronicle (page B4), the part of the buildings the woodpeckers are drilling is either an expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) trim on a stucco wall or an entire wall system known as EIFS (exterior insulation and finish system), which is essentially EPS with a 1/16 inch coat of latex modified cement mortar and fiberglass mesh on the surface – sometimes called synthetic stucco.

The material has seen widespread use over the last 15 years or so because it is cheap and easy to create articulations that look like cement plaster (stucco). One of the downsides of EIFS is that is that it has low durability, a property the woodpeckers seem to have discovered and exploited. There is no doubt that the woodpeckers would not be drilling holes in real stucco.

What we have here is not a woodpecker problem but a design and construction problem – the use of a building materials insufficiently durable to withstand the environment (including woodpeckers).

The people of Rossmoor should be shooting their architects, contractors and developers, not innocent woodpeckers.

Posted by Tom Butt on 11/15/2008 at 6:58 PM

Readers' Favorites

Most Popular Stories

  • Highland Hospital Surveillance Stirs Concerns

    The county's main hospital in Oakland has a camera that reads license plates and shares that information with federal law enforcement, including ICE.
  • Davis Dysfunction Dooms Raiders Again

    Mark Davis’ head-scratching decision to move the team to Las Vegas has proven to be a major distraction for the team.
  • Why Oakland Should Cut Off ICE

    Federal immigration officials say they've been investigating "human trafficking" in the city. But in the past decade, they have not imprisoned anyone from Oakland for that crime.
  • The Wrong Path?

    Paideia helped turn Oakland Tech into the best public high school in the city. But some teachers and parents are worried about the future of the acclaimed humanities program.
  • The Saap Avenue Marries Lao Food and Cocktails

    The Chai Thai Noodles family expands with a hip restaurant on Piedmont Avenue.

© 2017 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation