Sunday Commentary: City Erred on Neg Dec But Lawsuit Isn’t Necessary

Michael Harrington addresses council in September at Public Comment
Michael Harrington addresses council in September at Public Comment

Michael Harrington says he has nothing against the Hotel Conference Center proposed on the corner of Richards Boulevard and Olive Drive, he simply wants to see proper process followed. However, this week’s closed session shows two current lawsuits filed by Mr. Harrington, with a potential third one looming, depending on what the city does with Nishi.

For their part, the city believes they did not need to do a full EIR (Environmental Impact Report) to evaluate the traffic impacts of the Hotel Conference Center at the already-impacted Richards Blvd. corridor. Traffic is bad now, and traffic will be bad with the Hotel Conference Center.

The peak flow traffic, they believe – and with some justification, won’t be heavily impacted by the new development because people are likely to arrive at the hotel during off-peak hours. But the city relies heavily on the notion that people will park at the hotel and then walk downtown rather than drive. Even if the hotel implements some sort of cost for doing that, it seems problematic.

As someone who has worked on F and Second Streets as well as D and Second Streets, I can probably count the number of times I have walked to Caffé Italia for lunch or dinner on one hand. That’s over a four-year period and I’m a relatively healthy person and Caffé Italia is a shorter walk than most of the downtown restaurants would be from the new hotel.

It is not that we disagree with the city necessarily on the traffic impacts, however, the land use people the Vanguard has talked with believe that, while the city may be legally justified in going the Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) route, it was a politically foolhardy approach.

According to our sources, the city should have engaged in a Focused EIR. It would have taken no more time than a negative declaration, but would have insulated the city from this lawsuit.

Caught in the middle on this is the applicant – Royal Guest Hotels and Ashok Patel. Sources have told the Vanguard that the applicant believed that they should have done some sort of EIR, but was overruled by the city. This was partially confirmed by Katherine Hess herself, who told the Vanguard it was the city’s call on how to scope the project, not the applicants’.

For what it’s worth, while guarded due to the lawsuit, Ms. Hess insisted that she hasn’t seen anything to cause her to doubt that finding.

Perhaps from a land use and legal perspective she is right. But our source tells us that a city should never do an MND if there is a threat of a lawsuit.

The city probably did not see this coming. One theory is that the city felt it was cheaper and easier to do an MND and probably believed no one would challenge it.

That all changed on August 25 when Michael Harrington, one hour before the council meeting, wrote an email declaring, “I would like to register my objections to the City proceeding with this large project without the full EIR analysis that I believe is required by CEQA.”

“I do not believe that the short cut version of the traffic study is enough,” he said, adding, “I do not believe it is appropriate to simply waive a planning wand and say that future projects and future funding might find solutions to the growing traffic jams at the Olive/Richards intersection, and the back up of cars in the Richards Subway Tunnel.”

That should have been seen as a credible threat. Mr. Harrington had already sued the city on the water project, forcing an expensive settlement last year and he is engaged in a protracted battle over a Conditional Use Permit provided by the city to his neighbor.

The lawsuit puts both the city and applicant in a precarious position. A lawsuit could delay the project by a year and a half or more if it ends up going to trial because the city believes that they are legally correct in issuing a negative declaration. That would effectively put the project on hold – a project that the applicant has been heavily invested in for years and that the city hopes, when built, will generate half a million a year in revenue through the transit occupancy tax and enhance property taxes.

For a city sorely needing tax revenue, this project could be a huge boon.

The city has already asked the applicant to provide for legal defenses, even as the city itself seems to have enormous culpability in failing to foresee the potential lawsuit and failing to act in September to avoid litigation.

From our perspective, while the plaintiff has touted the public process issue, in our view, the key issue of the Richards Blvd. corridor is going to have to be addressed regardless of any lawsuits. The Nishi-Gateway project is likely to go on the ballot sometime in 2016, barring litigation that would hold it up.

In September, the council already had some discussion on the notion the Vanguard brought up with regard to some of the traffic flow problems – namely that UC Davis faculty, staff and students are using the Richards Blvd. exit as their main access point to UC Davis.

That causes the traffic to back up on Richards Blvd., turn left at 1st Street and then either enter the campus by way of A Street, or head north on B St and then West onto Russell to enter on the north side of campus.

It would not take much to redirect traffic to use the UC Davis dedicated off-ramp on I-80 or the Hutchison or Russell Blvd. exits off Highway 113. That would resolve a lot of the traffic flow problems.

There is an additional problem – that the light at Richards, E St., and 1st St. is not synched up well to the light at 1st and D. That causes traffic flow problems in both directions with traffic backing up from the light at D St. back under the Richards Underpass while eastbound traffic backs up to B St. during peak hours in the other direction.

Better light sequencing and redirecting traffic could alleviate most of the problem without expensive engineering.

Efforts to widen the underpass two decades ago would have proven futile. It simply would have shifted the congestion point from the underpass to the downtown. And the real problem isn’t actually the underpass, it’s the flow through the two traffic lights that is causing the back up.

None of this needed a lawsuit to require the city to fix it. The Vanguard was told that at one point the downtown wanted that traffic flow through Richards, believing it would help the downtown, but the view now is that the congestion is a hindrance to business, not a help.

The public is not going to approve Nishi unless the circulation issue is adequately addressed. Therefore, regardless of the merits of the case in technical legal terms, we believe the lawsuit was unnecessary and that the resultant delays to a hotel are likely only to have marginal impacts on traffic, and will only harm the city.

The city, however, bears responsibility in failing to anticipate a lawsuit and insulating themselves. Moreover, the city has allowed this traffic flow problem to continue for 20 years, even as its engineers understood there were ways to alleviate some of the congestion.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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66 Comments

      1. Frankly

        My business works directly with federal agencies.

        These federal agencies have reams of regulations and rules that my business must follow.

        Frequently the rules should not be made to apply to specific transactions or projects because of the unique criteria within the transaction or project.

        It is always attorneys that are responsible for these rules that more often do not work well.

        And it always requires attorneys to make the final decision for an exception.

        The rank and file government employee – those that know better what should apply or not – are risk-averse because of the power these attorneys wield to get them fired even for making decisions that make complete business sense.

        So I call a bit of BS on this point of yours unless you support an existence where we cast out common sense and business sense and just demand that everyone follow every damn rule concocted by every damn attorney so that they, the damn attorneys, can rule their fiefdom and leverage the law for power and coin.

        If there is overwhelming evidence that the EIR would not change a thing other than delay and increase costs, why spend the time and money doing it?

        1. Davis Progressive

          why?  because it insulates you from the lawsuit and the delays.  it’s not clear that the time and money would have been more for a focused eir.

        2. Tia Will

          Frankly

          for making decisions that make complete business sense.”

          If you define “business sense” as the basis for how we should define laws and regulations, we would be inviting economically driven anarchy. There is a very fine line in my mind between what you just said and saying business concerns should drive what is legal.

          It would seem to me that you just made a pitch for a regulation ( aka law ) free society. You seem to be ignoring the fact that most laws, like most regulations are made by those who either are, or are heavily influenced by, lawyers.

        3. Frankly

          because it insulates you from the lawsuit and the delays.

          Sure.  That was the point I was making.  Laws made by attorneys to be used by attorneys to extort money when someone does not follow one no matter how illogical the application of the rule is.

          There are very few optimized black vs. white application of rules for complex transactions.  Most things are shades of gray.  But attorneys that file law suits over the black and white interpretation of the application of rules are generally only benefiting themselves or their agenda over the expense of everyone and everything else.

        4. Frankly

          If you define “business sense” as the basis for how we should define laws and regulations

          In this case “business” was a more ubiquitous term.

          For example, the business of governing a city.  The business of city planning and development.  The business of providing health care services.  The business of a family.

          It implies a focus on cost-benefit, risk-return… and trade-off analysis.

          We can just make up an endless book of rules and then demand everyone just follow them.  And then we don’t accomplish enough because the cost of compliance causes more things to not pencil out, and a percentage of what should be feasible and useful projects cannot proceed because of the rules.

          Business analysis and business sense should rule the rules most of the time if we are to make adequate progress.

        5. Jim Frame

          Business analysis and business sense should rule the rules most of the time if we are to make adequate progress.

           

          Great idea!  But we’ll need a system to determine *which* business analysis makes the most sense; we’ll call this system “government.”  It’ll be based on a fundamental set of rules that we’ll call the Constitution, and will be composed of three branches that we’ll call the legislative, executive and judicial.  The legislative branch will make rules that regulate business activity, the executive branch will implement those rules, and the judicial branch will ensure that the rules comport with the Constitution, as well as resolve disputes regarding the interpretation of the rules.

          Or were you thinking of a system more along the lines of “whatever Frankly wants”?

    1. Matt Williams

      ryan, if the City takes the time to actually implement a process that complies with CEQA, then there will not be any legal basis for a lawsuit.

      hpierce has argued that the City would have rendered itself lawsuit proof (under the provisions of CEQA) in the Hotel Conference Center situation if they had done a Focused EIR rather than declared a Mitigated Negative Declaration. We have been told that the project applicant asked for a Focused EIR, but that Staff unilaterally overruled that request.

      Staff also made the decision not to present the traffic/safety study findings to the Bicycling, Transportation, and Street Safety Commission (BTSSC) before scheduling the two project hearings by the Planning Commission. I have argued that that too was a process mistake. If the BTSSC had conducted a public meeting with a review of the traffic/safety study findings on the agenda, and then forwarded an advisory report of the BTSSC’s findings to the Planning Commission, the City would have rendered itself much more lawsuit proof.

      If the City fixes its processes it will not place itself in the kind of vulnerable position that invites lawsuits.

        1. Matt Williams

          ryan, you have hit the nail on the head when you have said “some other fault.” There needs to be an actual, arguable fault in the execution of the process. If no such fault exists then the plaintiff’s two choices are (1) not to sue, or (2) actually sue and have the judge determine that there is no legitimate fault that is the basis for the plaintiff’s suit and fine the plaintiff for filing a frivolous lawsuit.

          Compliance with process is a two-way street. It applies to all the parties in a legal matter.

      1. Tia Will

        Matt

        I agree. I still do not see the perceived advantage to the city of not doing the targeted EIR. Can you or someone else explain to me what the staff rationale may have been for taking this route over the request of the applicant ?

      2. hpierce

        Matt (and all)…

        “hpierce has argued that the City would have rendered itself lawsuit proof (under the provisions of CEQA)…”  Don’t think I would have said that, as it is patently untrue.  May have used “bullet-proof” as a term, but anyone can sue over anything.  The point I was making that it would be extremely unlikely that the City would LOSE a lawsuit over a ‘focussed EIR’, when what is being challenged currently is PROCESS, NOT FACTS.  And it is, I believe, from what we have seen so far, that it is likely the City will prevail if the current lawsuit goes to court, as facts stand.  

        Worst I see is being directed to have a “do-over” on the type of document used.  I doubt a re-study (new data gathering, analysis, etc.) would be required although City might choose to augment some data and/or analysis.

        Hope that clarifies what I tried to convey previously.

      3. CalAg

        If the City fixes its processes it will not place itself in the kind of vulnerable position that invites lawsuits @ Matt Williams

        I agree. So take it to the next step. How does the City fix its processes?

        In the real world this involves an analysis of the failure, recommendations for corrective action, and implementation.

        1. hpierce

          In my opinion (see, not using the initials Tia), this was not a failure of a process, but rather an error (charitable), lapse (somewhat less charitable), or failure in the use of professional judgement as to what process was appropriate.  Or, a “brain spasm” (medical term), or “brain fart” (vulgar).

          In land use matters, professional judgement is huge.  So many “what ifs”.

        2. Matt Williams

          Great question CalAg. That question is at the very heart of why I am running for City Council. If you are willing to complain, you have to be willing to contribute. I believe the root cause of so many of our problems is broken processes. I hope to contribute to the fixing of those broken processes. With that said, there is no shortage of opportunity for analysis of failure; however analysis alone will not be enough. We need to commit ourselves to not only fixing the broken/abandoned processes, but also we need to be reliable and consistent in implementing and abiding by those fixes.

          The failure of the hotel/conference center process is because political considerations have trumped a careful consideration of the evidence pertinent to the project. We need more evidence-based decision-making, and less political calculation. To accomplish that we need to look for, and honor, the evidence that supports Fiscal Responsibility. To accomplish that we need to look for, and honor, the evidence that makes our community sustainable … economically sustainable, environmentally sustainable, and fiscally sustainable. If we seek out and honor that evidence, our government will be a voice for all the people, not just the selected groups of people who are paying attention.

          68 years of age is way to late too launch a political career. It is never too late to be passionate about Davis’ PRESENT and its FUTURE. I’ll never be a politician … only a public servant.

        3. hpierce

          Will disagree with you Matt…  I believe the HCenter is not a “failure”… more like “road rash”… but as if an ambulance chaser is involved…  like a kidney stone, this too shall pass… patient is expected to recover nicely.  Some “pain” in the meantime.

          1. Matt Williams

            pierce, late this afternoon you said, “In my opinion (see, not using the initials Tia), this was not a failure of a process, but rather an error (charitable), lapse (somewhat less charitable), or failure in the use of professional judgement as to what process was appropriate. Or, a “brain spasm” (medical term), or “brain fart” (vulgar). In land use matters, professional judgement is huge. So many “what ifs”.

            In those words you are saying that the CEQA process itself isn’t flawed, but rather that in this case the human application of that CEQA process was flawed enough to qualify as a brain spasm or brain fart.

            How can you see that application of a process as being anything other than a process application failure? It has caused significant avoidable expense. It has caused significant avoidable delay. It has added one more chapter to this city’s long history of distrust of how process is selectively applied.

            If that isn’t a failure of the application of a process, then what is it? A successful application of process?

            I think you are dancing on the head of a pin on this one.

  1. Davis Progressive

    first of all, if harrington did lose, he would have to pay attorney fees.  but the problem is he’s not going to lose.  (a) he’s probably right and (b) and more importantly, the applicants are not going to delay their project to take it to trial, so they’ll settle, he’ll get his technical victory and get attorney fees.  it’s how he makes money.

  2. Barack Palin

    I wish we as a community could somehow put a stop to needless lawsuits.  Every local taxpayer is having money taken right out of their wallet.

    I feel lawsuits should carry a risk for both parties.  If the plaintiff loses they should not only lose their own attorney fees and costs but should also have to make the accused whole again.  That would stop most spurious or borderline lawsuits from ever being filed.

    1. CalAg

      BP: Brazil should have seen this lawsuit coming from a mile away. If a City is dumb enough to proceed with indefensible environmental documents on controversial projects, it’s going to get sued. That’s how the system works. There’s very little risk to Harrington because the staff screwed up so badly.

  3. Tia Will

    BP

    I wish we as a community could somehow put a stop to needless lawsuits.”

    I am sure that there are many who agree with you ( I may be amongst them depending on the definition of “needless”). However, I am wondering if you extend this only to lawsuits against the city or whether you believe that it should also apply to “frivolous” lawsuits against doctors and other professionals or business people.

    My favorite example is my “wrongful life” lawsuit from a patient who chose a tubal ligation, completely aware of the failure rate that I had quoted and provided in writing prior to the procedure, who chose to continue her ensuing pregnancy using me as her obstetrician because she “trusted me” and then after the birth of her child sued me ( or more pertinently, Kaiser) for the failure of her tubal ligation. Should she have to pay not only her own attorney but also the cost of Kaiser’s attorneys and pay for my time on an hourly basis for the time I spent reviewing and providing information on the case at my hourly wage ?  Should she have to bear the additional cost even though both she and I had done our absolute best to prevent the pregnancy in question when she is obviously only suing because of her economic inability to provide for the child which was exploited by her attorney in a case that was doomed to failure. Where would “justice” lie in this case in your view ?

    1. ryankelly

      Not even a similar situation, Tia. Harrington has suffered no harm, has not paid a dime for any expected result.  He is [edited] sucking money out of the City because he no longer has political power.
      [moderator] No name-calling, please.

    2. Barack Palin

      Tia, in your example I say yes, the plaintiff should have to pay Kaiser’s costs.  As you stated you explained to her the risks and she still “chose a tubal ligation, completely aware of the failure rate that I had quoted and provided in writing prior to the procedure”. 

      My daughter was in a minor car accident when she was 17.  She was exiting a freeway and a guy made an illegal U-turn right in front of her and they side swiped each other.  Nobody was hurt but a year later I was served at my front door and the guy claimed he couldn’t work, had nervous system damage and a loss of strength of all things from the accident.  I told my insurance what BS this was and wanted them to fight it while pointing to laws that showed it was the guy’s fault.  About 6 months later I receive a letter from my insurance saying they settled with him and that since the accident wasn’t my daughter’s fault they weren’t going to assign her any points on my insurance.  They said it was cheaper to settle than fight it.

      You see this all the time, fake trips in dept. stores, fake slips on wet floors, etc.  and in most cases the corporations just settle instead of fighting it.  Now if the plaintiff brought lawsuits of these kinds and knew if they lost that they had to pay the accused their costs most of this BS would stop.

      But, all said, I get your point where someone of little means has what might be considered a legit lawsuit and doesn’t file because they can’t afford to pay the other party’s fees if they were to lose.

  4. Tia Will

    BP

    Thanks for taking the time to respond with such a thoughtful post.

    Just one more point about who pays for the lawsuits. If we impose a rule where the plaintiff has to pay the costs, what we are actually saying is that we, the taxpayers are going to have to pay the costs but will not be aware because they will be hidden in the form of various government programs to support this women and her child.

    Now if we were to say that the attorney who encourages a plaintiff to pursue a frivolous lawsuit, one with no hope of winning because the risks, consent, and applicable law are so clear, and then abandons the case after the plaintiff has payed their initial fees ( a practice I have seen multiple times), we would have gone a long way towards prevention of frivolous suits.

  5. Anon

    The city, however, bears responsibility in failing to anticipate a lawsuit and insulating themselves.

    So the city should conduct its business based on what Harrington might do?  WHO is running this town?

  6. Tia Will

    Anon

    So the city should conduct its business based on what Harrington might do?  WHO is running this town?”

    I see and agree with your point. However, I also do not think that we can close our collective eyes to the deleterious nature of our litigious society. I am sure that I don’t have to tell you how much this costs patients ( and the society in general ) in the medical realm with private and small group doctors over ordering tests not because they believe that their patient’s symptoms are related to that rare condition that they have never ( and probably will never ) see in their career, but rather because they are afraid that they will be sued if they don’t rule it out.

    1. Anon

      The city should conduct its business, not on what Harrington might do, but however it thinks is best, and let the chips fall where they may.  If Harrington chooses to sue, then fight it out in court – don’t settle.  It may be more costly in the SHORT TERM, but not in the LONG RUN.  Otherwise, Harrington is running the city, not the city…

      1. Matt Williams

        Anon, if the City were the only party to the situation, then I would agree with you; however, the applicant may not want to, or be in a position to, take that kind of long term approach.

    2. Anon

      Tia, I know you like to interject examples from medicine, but they are inapposite here.  We have a very peculiar situation w Harrington et al, unlike no other.   Referendums and lawsuits are used to threaten proper process, so that a small minority can “rule the roost” and majority rule and the normal processes be damned.

    1. Bob Schneider

      agreed, Jim. The bar for challenging a MND is very low. An EIR has a much higher bar for defense. While it is possible the city might prevail the risk and time delays are significant. Ashok Patel is trying to do a good project for Davis. The city needs to backtrack, do it right and not subject the city and Ashok to further delay. The traffic impacts are real and cannot be wished away. Just look at the problems created buy the Dutch Coffee traffic.

      1. Davis Progressive

        it’s hard to ignore bob schneider’s comment here.  i think people are judging the merits based on their assessment of harrington rather than the merits of his claim.

        1. hpierce

          Actually, Bob Schneider’s comments bolster mine.  We worded it differently, focussed somewhat differently, but the message is basically the same.  Bob is absolutely correct.

      2. hpierce

        Anon… although your statement is factually true, it ignores the fact that under CEQA, you have to disclose that a project will incrementally, no matter how slightly, make matters worse.  No matter how bad they are.  That doesn’t mean you can’t choose to accept that, but it does mean you have to analyse and disclose it.

        CEQA is a DISCLOSURE process.  For INFORMED decision making.  CEQA does not require a particular decision.

        Under CEQA, there are (primarily) only two bases for challenge… PROCESS (which is what is being challenged), and insufficient study/analysis (which as far as I can see is NOT being challenged).

  7. Tia Will

    Anon

    It is true that I tend to understand the world best within the framework of my area of expertise. So leaving medicine out of this entirely, I believe that there is still a broader point to be addressed. As long as we choose to embrace a legal system in which there are no substantive disadvantages to an attorney for at least initiating a law suit in which anyone can sue anyone else at any time, we will continue to have individuals who exploit the system for their own gain. I do not believe that the city should be the sole opponent of the excesses of our adversarial system. This is an issue that should be of concern to all as it has the potential for affecting all.

      1. Davis Progressive

        the problem is that harrington has an articulable and credible complaint here.  the city handed him this.  to me this stems from having a city manager with no land use experience.

        1. hpierce

          The decision was 95% most likely made on Pinkerton’s watch.  But not sure if that is where you are pointing your finger.  BTW, VERY few CM’s who have served Davis have had little or significant “land use experience”.  Bill Emlen is the only one I can think of (since 1972) who had credible land use experience.  Perhaps Antonen, but that would have been in another state.

          And, in any case, it was extremely likely a recommendation made by a senior Planning staff member, and affirmed by the Planning Director.  It is VERY unlikely the CM ‘made the call’.

          If the Environmental Checklist, signed and dated, is available, that will point you to how the decision was made, and by whom.

          If someone can point me to the PC meeting agenda, and/or CC meeting agenda, I can probably find it, as could anyone.  For Neg Decs, the environmental checklist is almost invariably in the packet.

          1. David Greenwald

            hpierce: I will share that when I asked Mr. Pinkerton about the MND, he had a remarkably similar take to you. The traffic report didn’t get concluded until June. The checklist was signed off by Katherine Hess this summer. And Pinkerton hasn’t been city manager since May 2014 – nearly 18 months ago.

        2. Davis Progressive

          when was the eir process initiated, pinkerton hasn’t been city manager in a year and a half.  given that the 45 day period ended in august and it went to the planning commission in may, it seems unlikely it would have taken a year for a neg to occur.  but you would know better than me.

        3. hpierce

          DP… I have reason to believe that the traffic study work was authorized years ago.  Initial work no later than 2011.  The “scope of work” for that effort would have to been known when that contract was executed.

          The “45-day” period only occurs after all the legwork is done.  Only Planning staff can answer as to when the “call” was made as to the document.

          But in any event, it really doesn’t matter which CM reigned.

          I reiterate:  “And, in any case, it was extremely likely a recommendation made by a senior Planning staff member, and affirmed by the Planning Director.  It is VERY unlikely the CM ‘made the call’.”

           

  8. CalAg

    (1)  “It would not take much to redirect traffic to use the UC Davis dedicated off-ramp on I-80 or the Hutchison or Russell Blvd. exits off Highway 113. That would resolve a lot of the traffic flow problems.” @ David Greenwald

    (2)  “Better light sequencing and redirecting traffic could alleviate most of the problem without expensive engineering.” @ David Greenwald

    (3)  “the city has allowed this traffic flow problem to continue for 20 years, even as its engineers understood there were ways to alleviate some of the congestion.” @ David Greenwald

    What was the motivation for Staff and Council to leave us poor shmucks that drive the Richards corridor to suffer for 20 years? Why won’t Public Works and UCD immediately implement your no-pain solutions for fixing the Richards problem and save us all a bunch of commute time and unnecessary GHG emissions?

    This looks to me like hand waving to try and minimize the serious traffic issues that are going to be a big problem with the proposed Nishi annexation.

  9. Michael Harrington

    Traffic will be a total nightmare on the two intersections with the Subway in the middle.  All of you know it’s close now.

    I have our initial traffic report for Nishi, and the draft study by the city is completely inadequate.

    We have been ready to discuss the EIR and MND for the HCC since before the 9/15 final approval.  I even paid a lot of money for a traffic report.  No one wanted to talk to us.

    I’ve been  asking the City and the applicant to enter into good faith settlement negotiations for about a week.

    This Tuesday night the CC will consider the case in closed session.  I’ll be at public comments before they start their session, and I encourage all of you to turn out and tell the CC and the applicant what you think about the situation.

    1. Matt Williams

      Mike Harrington said … “Traffic will be a total nightmare on the two intersections with the Subway in the middle. All of you know it’s close now.”

      While there is a kernel of truth in what Mike has said, his statement takes the realities of very specific short duration traffic windows and applies those focused realities to the whole picture. In addition, Mike does not look independently look at the traffic picture from the northbound flow separate from the southbound flow. What we are hearing from Mike in his post is “Your honor, it is our belief …” with the argument carefully crafted to maximize the points that support his side and minimize the points that support the other side.

      With that said, if his points about the process being inadequate are correct as he asserts, then I’m having a hard time figuring what the content of “good faith settlement negotiations” are going to be. Perhaps he can enlighten us on how he believes a flawed process can be “settled.”

    2. ryankelly

      Did you read the headline, Mike?

      Let us know what steps you took to alleviate the problems you identify when you were on the City Council. 

      Since you are suing the City, I’d say your comments can only be taken as self-serving.

  10. Michael Harrington

    Tonight We filed our Nishi traffic report with the City.

    The City’s traffic report reads like a preliminary draft, barely more than an outline.  Tim Ruff is stuck with that bill from the expert? And the city staff billing him while telling him it’s a great report, pass the check, please?

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