By Guest Columnist Michael Ceremello; former Vice-mayor/councilman from the City of Dixon
How is it some of us go through life, we are taught right from wrong according to a Judeo-Christian belief system, and yet we can’t seem to put this moral value system into play on a consistent basis? We warp our perceptions of right and wrong based on our interactions with many groups of people. Many of these groups have ideologies quite different from those which form the basis of our Constitution as well as our justice system. Moral perversions such as communism, which justifies stealing from others on the basis of being a “have” or “have not” cannot change the fact that theft is exactly that.
Add to this not so difficult conundrum the influence of union bias based on a common good for those within the union, and you have the confluence of comradeship and communism. Some of this is disguised, based on an aristocratic attitude within governmental bodies. Designed to promote the goals of those in power, there is little concern as to what is right or that which is wrong. Enter Jerry Castañon, Sr. and Jack Batchelor, Jr. as two prime examples of a moral society gone awry. While I will forgo the obvious, that Scat Pederson and Steve Bird are little better, these two kept their mouth shut but still voted on the side of violating their oaths of office.
I have been attempting to figure out how a governmental agency can legally design a request for proposal in such a manner as to eliminate a specific bidder from the competition. While our city liar, I mean lawyer, is no better than our previous city liar on this subject; he sits silent as this council knowingly violates the law. I simply did not know the term or the specific Act prohibiting it.
I was speaking with my neighbors, Ralph and Greg, when Greg mentioned the term “bid rigging” after I explained the ongoing situation to him. That seemed to fit the situation so I decided to look it up to verify its exact meaning.
Wikipedia defines it thusly:
Bid rigging is a form of fraud in which a commercial contract is promised to one party even though for the sake of appearance several other parties also present a bid. This form of collusion is illegal in most countries. It is a form of price fixing and market allocation, often practiced where contracts are determined by a call for bids, for example in the case of government construction contracts.
Bid rigging almost always results in economic harm to the agency which is seeking the bids, and to the public, who ultimately bear the costs as taxpayers or consumers.
The final paragraph is correct as to the financial depredation on the taxpaying citizen of Dixon. However, the fraud as defined, is collusion between two bidders, not the local governmental agency and one bidder. So this technically does not fit our situation and this moved me to do additional research.
Also from Wikipedia, Drafting the specifications and the terms of reference (TOR) is a stage of the public procurement cycle which is vulnerable to bias, fraud and corruption. Specifications/TOR should be designed in
a way to avoid bias and should be clear and comprehensive but not discriminatory. They should,
as a general rule, focus on functional performance, namely on what is to be achieved rather than how it is to be done.
In the United States, bid rigging is a felony criminal offense under Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Even so, bid rigging is still rampant in the construction industry, auto sale auctions, and foreclosed home auctions. In Canada, it is an indictable criminal offence under Section 47 of the Competition Act.
Now we are getting closer to the true criminal act which Castañon the Lesser and Batchelor the Bad Old Boy continue to portray as normal business procedure. Remember, this is costing the city money. Money which you pay in as taxes.
While this is not technically bid rigging as I stated before, by designing the “specifications”, which the city and city liar did, to intentionally eliminate one bidder, the Independent Voice is discriminatory on its face. It does not “focus on functional performance” such as whether the paper is delivered timely and dependably or to the greatest number of citizens, but focuses on where it is published and how many times a week it is produced even though the legal advertisement is only published once per week. To compound this mess and definitively demonstrate Castañon’s feeble mind, he had the audacity to publicly state “there is no way I want this paper to get any money from the city.”
According to the former city liar, Michael Dean, the law prohibits elected officials from coming to public meetings with their minds made up on the subject matter. If you can’t be neutral or at least open to compelling arguments, then you have no business making decisions for the rest of us, Jerry. Maybe this works fine in the carpenter’s union but it doesn’t work for the rest of us.
Jerry took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Apparently he is ignorant of the freedom of the press and how it is applied. I attempted to explain it but none of these dunderheads can fathom the obvious.
Further research gives me additional resources to pursue elimination of this type of corruption from city hall. From Robert Wechsler, Director of Research, City Ethics, speaking on the issue of “Contract Games”
I am always surprised how little people seem to (and act as if they) understand the games that can be played with contracts to ensure the bid goes not to the bidder best for the public, but rather to the bidder best for the officials involved. Here’s a list from the Birmingham FBI office:
Contract corruption usually involves the payment of bribes or kickbacks to local or state officials in exchange for favorable treatment on government contracts. Potential subjects are private contractors, anyone acting on their behalf, and public officials involved in the contracting process (procurement officers, purchasing agents, city councilpersons, and county commissioners). Favorable treatment includes: improper disclosure of bid information; narrow tailoring of contracts to benefit a certain company (sole source contracts); improper disqualification of competitors from the bid process; support or voting for the bribing contractor; and approval of false invoices, improper change orders, or cost overruns on behalf of the bribing contractor.
I don’t know about you but narrow tailoring of contracts to benefit a certain company certainly fits this case. Even if the Vacaville Repeater was to place a bid, the specifications design is unjustified except as an attempt to eliminate this paper, the Independent Voice.
Perhaps you missed it in all of the information. That was a list emanating from a local FBI office. We have a grand jury but I don’t know whose pocket they are in this term. Our grand juries have generally been packed with those supporting those who ask them to serve rather than providing the intended oversight. But the FBI shouldn’t be in Jack’s or Jerry’s pocket. Hmmm …
Right and wrong. Simple concept. Wonder if the local FBI office understands it …
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I found it rather interesting that no one had anything to say about the train station fiasco at this council meeting. Staff pretty much told the council they would have to wait and see what the Feds decision is on the appropriateness of collecting $12 per year on a building which should rent for well over $1000 per month. Compounding this is the fact that the city promised to staff the building with their own transit personnel rather than benefitting their sycophantic buddies in the chamber of crony capitalism.
I heard that the Chamber sold their building on South First Street. If this is true, it might have been a wrong move. I am sure the corrupt council and corrupt mayor will find some other spot the chamber can occupy if they get kicked out. Maybe they should be placed in a room with a pot. Given their inadequate performance of stimulating as well as preserving business, their production of nothing more than back slapping should be put in a chamber pot.
Again, it is disgraceful and despicable to attempt to justify your wrong actions simply because you got caught with your hand in the cookie jar. Giving those cookies to your friends doesn’t make it right.
The staff failed to address the misuse of over $800,000 of Federal money. Are you telling me they actually think what they did was correct?
As I have said, and I will repeat, city hall is full of vermin, cock roaches, and other insults to the lesser critter kingdom. It needs to be fumigated. Sometimes nothing else will solve the problem less a complete turnover of personnel …
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One final subject is the initiative to roll back the sewer rates and the litigation against the citizens of Dixon who want their voices heard. The initiative is heading down to the county registrar of voters for signature verification this week. While the election code provides thirty days to certify the validity of the signatures, normally the registrar does a statistical sampling, defined as either 500 signatures or 3% of the total submitted whichever is larger. It has never taken thirty days to verify signatures before and this time should be no different. In addition, I personally asked the city clerk if the city was going to ask for a full count as they did last time and her answer was “no”.
What this means is that this initiative will be certified by our city clerk as being sufficient and then the council must take action to place the initiative on a special ballot within 88 days of its submittal. Gee, thanks Jack and Jerry, along with Dodo Bird and Scat “I want the people to vote but I don’t want them to vote” Pederson. You have just cost the citizens another $100,000.
Maybe they will give the firm of Churchwell and White another $200 grand to sue the citizens once again. The argument of this specific initiative being unconstitutional because it “may” result in another vindictive fine by Pamela Creedon of the State Water Board is flimsy at best. If the city’s attorneys were so concerned, they would be pushing the city council to direct staff to come up with options to activated sludge as a precursor for tertiary treatment.
Rather than accepting that modern methods are economically feasible and more proactive in being environmentally friendly, these people continue down the path of disgraceful deception and despicable deeds costly to all of us.
Simply not speaking to the council at council meetings is not a solution despite what your advisors advise. “Silence is taciturn agreement” as the saying goes.
Evidently it is time to turn up the volume rather than turning the critical commentary off …