Our Coalition has communicated extensively for three years the unfavorable financial impact of decisions by our unregulated utility monopolies:
VIA’s “Modern Streetcar” was sold to a naive City Council in 2011 by Pat DiGiovanni, City Manager Sheryl Sculley’s Deputy, who never answered the question, “How much more will it cost to own and operate streetcars than the buses they would replace?” The LetThePeopleVote Coalition, with your petition signature, stopped the streetcar project. Mayor Taylor approved the project but during her election campaign declared VIA’s streetcar project “wasteful.”
CPS’ Lead Attorney Carolyn Shellman said the CPS Smart Grid project would generate a $145 million positive cash flow over 20 years, but refused to explain CPS errors and omissions that, when restored, changed the financial outlook to a $2.36 BILLION negative 20-year impact on our citizenry. Sculley’s CFO Ben Gorzell endorsed Ms. Shellman’s response: “We are confident that our AMI investment will provide a net financial benefit…” Just talk, no numbers.
SAWS CEO Robert Puente persuaded a financially unsophisticated City Council on December 7th to grant the utility’s rate increases for both 2018 and 2019 without sharing cost/ benefit analyses for their major projects, AMI Smart Meters and Vista Ridge. Neither Sheryl Sculley nor any of her managers questioned Puente. Our naive City Council bought a pig in a poke.
Financial fraud by these bureaucracies, the responsibility of Sheryl Sculley, is not addressed by our accountable City Council regulators because they cannot or will not manage Ms. Sculley. City government corruption (“dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power”) escalated on December 23 when a Sculley department head acted to threaten our lives.
Recall the fourteen intelligence agencies which failed to cooperate to protect us from the 9/11 disaster. The Homeland Security response coordinated these “intelligence silos.” But SAPD Chief McManus, accountable to Deputy City Manager Erik Walsh who, in turn, is accountable to City Manager Sculley, relegated us again to an intelligence silo, as noted in quotes from January 4th and 5th Express-News reporting:
“In an unusual move, police launched a recent human smuggling investigation without the help of federal immigration authorities…Detectives interviewed the 12 people found in the truck, who were suspected of being in the country illegally, then released them…” (Twelve people? How many undocumented immigrants fled the 18-wheeler trailer before a citizen flagged a police cruiser?)
“Mike Helle, the president of the union representing San Antonio police officers, said an agent with Homeland Security Investigations…works out of police headquarters and was on his way to the scene when McManus decided to refer the case to the district attorney…At police headquarters detectives were told not to check the witnesses’ names against federal and state criminal databases …”
Serving a corrupt city government, rather than our people, Chief McManus:
Took police action in support of a political agenda; “San Antonio is part of a lawsuit challenging the new Texas law on so-called sanctuary cities…” (The Chief acted to support the City’s position in a lawsuit still being litigated);
Scoffed at Homeland Security by applying a State human smuggling law;
Declared optional the enforcement of the new State law by his officers; “The city’s new policy simply makes it clear to officers that immigration enforcement is not a priority.” (The City acts as a sanctuary city while avoiding federal financial penalties that accompany declared sanctuary city status);
Corrupted his subordinate detectives by ordering them not to consult federal and state criminal databases concerning smuggled non-citizens.
This incident, part of a pattern of corruption emanating from unregulated utilities, confirms survey findings that the propagation of corruption is contagious; the level of corruption (in a bureaucracy) is largely dependent on the level of corruption (in other bureaucracies). When Chief McManus ignores the law to further a political agenda and isolates our town from the intelligence resources of State and federal governments, he jeopardizes our safety. Unelected city bureaucracies led by Sheryl Sculley now threaten both our wealth and our lives.
Meanwhile, our elected Mayor and Council, our only hope for gaining control of our unelected bureaucracies, continue to be manipulated by a city staff which abets their neglect of financial discipline, for which they are accountable but ill-equipped.
Stan Mitchell works at the intersection of politics and economics focusing on the lack of financial justification for major project spending by San Antonio unelected bureaucracies (MBA from Harvard Business School in 1955, focused by private sector experience financially analyzing major capital spending projects for an S&P 200 multi-national corporation) led him to becoming “the numbers guy” supporting the LetThePeopleVote Coalition that stopped VIA’s ill-advised streetcar project; he migrated to similar work for the SAMBA (San Antonio Making Bureaucracies Accountable) Coalition.