Morro Bay commissioner under fire

April 12, 2011

UPDATE: The Morro Bay City Council voted 4-1 to force Planning Commissioner John Diodati out if his absences continue on Tuesday.

The council’s vote to change the meetings from Mondays to Wednesdays created a conflict for Diodati who coaches his son’s little league team on Wednesdays.

Diodati said the children, who he has coached for two years, come first.

ORIGINAL: By JACK MCCURDY

John Diodati, who chaired the Morro Bay City Planning Commission when it unanimously voted against the city’s proposed wastewater treatment plant project in December, is being targeted for removal from the Commission by Carla Borchard, a member of the Morro Bay City Council, which is scheduled to vote on her proposed firing of Diodati tonight (Tuesday).

She is seeking to remove him for missing Commission meetings in order to meet his commitments to coach Little League, which were made prior to the Council changing the days of the Commission meetings from Mondays to Wednesday last February without consulting members of the Commission. She claims he violated city rules on attendance at meetings of city advisory bodies. But he says she is wrong.

Borchard’s move against Diodati comes in the wake of mayor Bill Yates’s effort last January to fire that entire, same Commission, which Diodati chaired. Yates’s move failed when opposition from other Council members at the Council meeting, including Borchard, showed he did not have enough votes to approve his motion to fire the Commission. He then withdrew the motion.

The California Coastal Commission rejected the city’s wastewater treatment project for many of the same reasons that the Planning Commission did.

In her resolution on the Council’s agenda Borchard states that the Commission’s bylaws say the “absence of four meetings in a consecutive 12-month period will constitute resignation of the absent member.” Therefore, the Council should either require Diodati to “meet the attendance requirement or declare the position vacant.”

However, Diodati says the Commission does not have bylaws but is governed by the city’s Municipal Code, which allows any member of the Commission to miss Commission meetings if that member obtains advance approval of fellow Commissioners, which he said he did on March 16. They approved his planned absences unanimously, he said.

City attorney Rob Schultz reportedly concurred that the Commission does not have bylaws, in which case, Diodati says, the Municipal Code governs absences of Commission members. Schultz apparently did not approve the resolution since the box on the resolution reserved for his initials is empty. It is not known whether he reviewed it.

Diodati said he requested permission from his fellow Commissioners to miss five meetings, although he said it would most likely be fewer, and his plan now is to miss four meetings.

The Council meeting starts at 6 tonight and can be viewed at http://www.slo-span.org/mbchannel20.php.


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racket

Sounds like the Council is going to stick to its guns in requiring Diodati to participate in the meetings.


Upon my further reflection, I believe that is the correct course of action. If Diodati cannot perform the functions of the job, he should be replaced. I think it’s great that he coaches little league, and I think it’s great that he is willing to devote his time and energy to the commission. But for him, like all of us, something has got to give.


And I am beginning to think he should “man up” and organize his life correctly, rather than forcing the City Council to make the hard decisions for him.


Kevin Rice

Quote: “John Diodati…is being targeted for removal from the Commission by Carla Borchard”


What a lie! I finally set about reading the agenda item, and it says no such thing. And no such thing was uttered by Carla at tonight’s meeting either! This whole opinion piece is just a bunch of divisive hogwash. Jack McCurdy is intent on stirring up animosity and dividing the city because his picks lost the election.


snowyplover

Hogwash is wasting almost two hours of a civic meeting on this trivia. Borchard’s choice of venue. Target hit. People will remember this. There are a lot of places to eat breakfast.


brook

Neither Carla, Yates or Johnson are going to come right out and say they want Diodati off the Planning Commission for heaven’s sake. Yet the whole town knows they do – and why they do.


You are either an agent of their agenda or ….what?


Kevin Rice

What a silly allegation. People have opinions, as do you. So, if I disagree I’m an “agent” and if someone agrees they are clearly grass-roots concerned citizens, right? Is that how the rules for spin and denigrating your opponents work? Yeah, I thought so.


You write “the whole town” as if everyone clearly agrees with you. Well, they don’t, and trying to posture and frame the situation with fallacious presumptions is simply false argumentation.


The Council easily had the ability to remove Diodati if they had wanted to. No such motion was made. Even yet, you still state what didn’t happen as if it were fact. They did not remove Diodati and there was no motion to do so. It is so clear that you have your own unending prejudice against the Council that nothing will make you happy even when they vote your way. Why don’t you run for Council next time? Or, are you one of those that didn’t win?


TheRazor

I don’t know if the allegation is all that silly. People, including Lynette Tornatzky (Mythbuster, see below), have also said, “People have opinions, as do you,” but those opinions are doing nothing but pummel other people for having an opinion that differs than their own. Sadly, this is the Internet: “My opinion is that your opinion sucks.” The great thing about the Internet is that everyone has a voice. The problem is that everyone has a voice.


I get a kick out of CalCoastNews’ voting system, but it emphasizes my point. “I’m down-voting everything you say because I don’t like you!”


Disagreement is for civilized people.


It’s not disagreement if you attack McCurdy on every article he contributes to CalCoastNews, It’s not disagreement when you copy and paste the same allegations over and over again on multiple articles, multiple aliases day after day as a form of cyberstalking. The only way to explain it is to consider the following scenarios: (1) you’re working for someone and you don’t want the truth out there or (2) you’re obsessive, and need to get a life.


Kevin Rice

I attack McCurdy for his phoney reporting and posing as a journalist. McCurdy is a rampant activist over this very issue. McCurdy prominently writes the same derisiveness in the pages of the Sierra Club newsletter–another one-sided non-journalistic special interest.


One might term McCurdy… “obsessive”? Is that the new derogatory buzz-word for people who get involved? Are you “obsessive”? You’ve got a whole blog site opining many issues? Remarkably hypocritical comment for you to make.


Be intellectually honest at least. This is politics. McCurdy is painting a disingenuous picture and you are in disagreement with that being pointed out.


Have you read McCurdy’s web site? Does he not attack MB Council “on every article” there and which he contributes to CCN? Again, hypocritical, my friend.


mbactivist1

When the corrupt people hate you, you have to be doing something very right (in this case, shining a light on the corruption. Nice work, Jack!


vergonha

Jack McCurdy is an excellent Journalist, he is brilliant in his profession!


TheRazor

I disagree, and here’s why.


I heard you say McCurdy’s reporting is “phoney” and he’s “posing as a journalist,” but you never explained why. He’s a “phoney journalist” because…? Where’s the punchline? Don’t deprive the readers of an explanation. Without an explanation, it does seem like an outright attack from someone with an agenda.


Yes, I have a site — and you have a site. Isn’t it great? We have the ability to air our views on our own sites, so we don’t have to resort to daily mud-slinging on other people’s sites. You have a site: you have a perfectly legitimate way to express yourself, but you’ve opted to ambiguously attack McCurdy’s character on other sites than your own — and that’s disingenuous.


Yes, I’ve read SLO Coast Journal, and I believe that it’s very informative, painstakingly well-researched and thoughtful. A person who is intellectually honest will look at what the opposing view is writing about, and will not stop themselves from reading merely because the writer is “biased” or “writes for the Sierra Club.” You’re absolutely right when you said, “This is politics,” but don’t constantly dismiss someone because of their “politics.”


Communities like Los Osos and Morro Bay have been unable to find consensus because of that dismissive attitude. Because of that attitude, Los Osos is now getting a sewer that will displace thousands of homeowners, and Morro Bay residents are on the hook for paying millions of dollars because their city council dismissed the Coastal Commission’s recommendations. Learn from their mistakes, and break the cycle.


Kevin Rice

Never explained it? Did you read my very first posting?


Yes, we all have web sites and opinions. I don’t pose as a journalist, especially on issues for which I have a demonstrable interest.


TheRazor

I’ve read many of your posts, including the one you’re referring to.


McCurdy did cite Borchard properly. In his article, he linked to the April 12, 2011 staff report. Once you open the PDF, go to page 223. Look at the top where it says:


TO: MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL

DATE: APRIL 4, 2011

FROM: COUNCILMEMBER BORCHARD

SUBJECT: Discussion of Policies and Procedures Regarding Absences from Planning Commission


Can you tell me if that’s a lie? Was it also a lie when The Tribune published an editorial that made the exact same claim?


That “silly allegation” was made by brook because it seemed like you glossed over this detail in order to sustain your attack on McCurdy. Do you see it now?


Kevin Rice

Yes, McCurdy pushes a lie here. Where in the staff report does it say Diodati is being targeted for removal? It does not, nor was there any such discussion by council. It’s a bold-face lie made my McCurdy to trump up division among citizens.


TheRazor

Kevin, are you looking at pg. 223? Look under “Discussion.”


“At the March 16th Planning Commission meeting a request was made and granted to Mr. Diodati to be excused for the next five Planning Commission meetings. In that discussion, Mr. Diodati indicated that while he might be able to attend some of those meetings, he would arrive late.”


Just had to scroll down. At this point, I think you have a personal axe to grind with McCurdy. Mr. Diodati was, in fact, targeted in the staff report for arriving late, thus raising concerns from Borchard. The evidence is indisputable. To deny it, at this point, would be absurd.


MaryMalone

SloReader, ad hominem attacks (“agent”) are the refuge of the weak debater.


TheRazor

Diodati has been in charge of getting loans and grants for the LOWWP. When residents asked him for information regarding the USDA and SRF loans, he rarely replied, and when he did, he often put people through a long, grueling public records request process. It was Diodati’s job to secure “disadvantaged community” interest rates, which he didn’t, and it was his job to update the community on developments as soon as they happened. He didn’t do that.


He can attend all the Little League games he wants. He already struck out with taxpayers.


Mythbuster

That is you opinion. He has not struck out with the vast majority of taxpayers, only those that believe in magical thinking that we don’t need a sewer in Los Osos, that there is some mythical cheaper project, that the County is evil incarnate. He got the best possible rates for us; you just don’t want to pay.


TheRazor

Get a life, Lynette. Stop writing to me on every site I write on.


RU4Real

You’re right, Razor, Diodotti fell down on his job BIG TIME! Unfortunately, like many of his “well connected cronies”, he does have his “supporters” within SLO County Government…


Kevin Rice

JACK MCCURDY is really, really ethically compromised and should not be posing as a journalist on Morro Bay city issues. McCurdy is a loud and outspoken activist in Morro Bay, a vile detractor of Mayor Yates, and his political motives for keeping Diodati on the Planning Commission are well known.


McCurdy fills the pages of his SLO Coast Journal (.com) with one-sided rhetoric that demonstrates his solid bias.


It is simply IMPOSSIBLE for McCurdy to write credible news on this topic which is so near and dear to his objectives and is utterly unethical as well.


This article has absolutely no journalistic integrity–it is “opinion”.


mbactivist1

I find it fascinating and amusing to see how terrified the Yates people are of Jack. They should be. The truth and the facts about their activities are being publicized in news sources free of the corruption that controls much of the so-called news in this County. If you want to know what really goes on around here, read the Cal Coast News and the SLO Coast Journal


mbactivist1

And for you Los Osos readers, the Rock of the Coast tells it like it is.


brook

Jack McCurdy is the epitome of ethical. He thoroughly researches everything he writes and sticks to the facts. That’s what enrages certain people so much. The current Mayor and Council in Morro Bay present a rich target as they pursue their own agenda, ignoring the desires of the citizens on issues large and small.


Carla Borchard carried the water last night – taking the pressure off of Yates so he could pretend to be concerned. If this kind of scenario persists, I suggest poker lessons. Their ‘tells’ are rather obvious.


TheRazor

I like McCurdy’s work.


Quite a few people in South County have this narrow-minded view of journalism. They criticize the writer, but not his work. Really, it’s the other way around. Read what the writer wrote, and analyze from there. Like Mrs. Olson’s articles, McCurdy’s articles are very informative, thoughtful, and expandable: giving readers the ability to do their own research, check the sources, and form their own conclusions. Unlike many local writers in the area, he dives into the issue, and makes sure that you fully understand the subject matter without feeling overwhelmed by technical aspects.


vergonha

Journalist Jack McCurdy is the Thomas Friedman (NY TIMES) of our local newspapers

SLO COAST JOURNAL/CAL COAST NEWS. Jack McCurdy get right to the core of the issue.

How lucky we are to have Jack living in Morro Bay as our local top journalist. Jack is the greatest!!!


snowyplover

Maybe it’s all the motel rooms available, but how can anyone be closer to MWH than the MB city staff who used to work for MWH and are calling the shots on the sewer from the inside? Diodati is under fire FROM the ’embedded’. If you look at his MB sewer work, Diodati’s hardly a supporter of the MWH plan that the Coastal Commission sank. He was thankfully a vocal opponent.


‘Thing’ indeed. Borchard is after a popular person, and over his kid’s baseball coaching? More at work here than there is at the surface. She knew enough to not dismiss Diodati at Yates’ behest in December, but it looks like he’s handed her the hatchet for this round. Sorry to see her do that- it’s her loss of credibility.


SLOChuck

Wait… How is Wallace Group tied to this one? And better yet, why is it that half the corruption in this county is being traced back to Wallace?

When is HE going to get thrown in jail?


mbactivist1

The City of Morro Bay hired Dennis Delzeit AND his Wallace Group buddies to manage the wastewater treatment project .


rallyraid

Interesting Delzeit would work with the Wallace group after he and Pismo got a taste of the Wallace groups tactics when Miller of Wallace ran the Addie street project years ago. Sources told us Miller and Wallace were thrown off the job for repeat screw ups and run overs which is a Wallace specialty. Their low hourly rate is great if the job dosent take 10 times as long as it should which eventually cost far more then a competent firm would. Wallace is well known for hiring inexperienced engineers and paying them the lowest pay in the county, turn over is terrible and its not uncommon to have a different engineer every few weeks or months on your job. We’ll all get to see just what a bargain their services are when the Regional Water Quality Control Board sends another violation and fines for the massive sewage spill they let happen in December in Oceano.


MaryMalone

For the Love of God, NO.


After what Wallace and his Group has done to the Oceano WWT plant?


Good luck getting rid of him.


mbactivist1

This Council action might give us a means to get our corrupt WWTP project into bigger news sources. I am mailing the following to all the big newspapers and TV networks I can think of. Little League and cute little kids and mean old City Council members picking on their coach could be a great “in”. I suggest others send something similar to every news source they can think of. How cool would it be to use the Council’s despicable (and not very smart) action to bring the truth about their motives to a broader audience. Whatever you think of Diodati, this is a potential opportunity not to be missed.

—————————————————————————————————-


Here is a human interest story – with deeper implications regarding allegations of political corruption behind a seemingly-unrelated action.


In Morro Bay, California, the City Council Majority voted on April 12 to fire popular Little League coach/Planning Commissioner John Diodati if he is late to any more Council meetings (he has been late to two of them on game days, something that his fellow Planning Commissioners previously discussed and approved unanimously). The Council, for reasons some consider suspect, changed the Planning Commission meeting day from Monday to Wednesday AFTER Diodati had made his commitment to coach on Wednesday nights.


The April 12 Council meeting was attended by a swarm of Diodati supporters, including a number of cute little kids in their Little League uniforms. All but one spoke in favor of Diodati, but the Council was unmoved. They voted to consider lateness an absence, so that it would fall under the Municipal Code’s rule that three or more absences of a Planning Commissioner would result in removal from the Commission.


So, other than the priorities of the Morro Bay City Council, why is this a big deal? Here’s why. It appears to many that the Little League situation is merely a ploy concocted by the Council to get rid of a Commissioner who does not support their plans for a controversial and allegedly corrupt local public works project.


The Council majority has supported construction of an overly-expensive new wastewater treatment plant on a site that lies right on the beach in a tsunami zone AND a flood plain, adjacent to a recreational area and a high school, AND right in the middle of sacred Native American burial and archaeological sites. The entire Planning Commission, including Diodati, voted against that location. The Mayor and Council majority then threatened to fire them all. Some residents believe that the Council’s position has to do with illegal infrastructure at their desired site and/or clandestine development plans.


Some of Commissioners recently left because their terms were over, leaving Diodati a target for the Council’s wrath. He remains an outspoken advocate for moving the plant to a safer and more appropriate location, and for a more modern design that would reclaim and re-use water – critical given the city’s precarious water supply. The California Coastal Commission wrote a 12-page report condemning the project for the same reasons Diodati and his fellow Planning Commissioners rejected it. They have now taken over the project permitting process. Diodati, however remains a target.


So, there you have it, a nice-looking, intelligent, educated, sincere young man dedicated to community service – both to the local kids and his town, under attack by a Council majority whose members could not, according to many locals, be said to exhibit any of the same qualities.


For more information on the allegedly-corrupt project, see slocoastjournal.com – a local online news source free from the influence of the local political machine. In fact, the chief reporter is retired (or at least he used to be) Pulitzer Prize-winning LA Times reporter Jack McCurdy, who came out of retirement to fight the rampant corruption in local government


Videos of the Council meeting can be obtained from AGP Video in Morro Bay – http://www.agpvideo.com/


MaryMalone

When the County quits supporting him? Just a guess…


kitten

Miller is still a free man? Sources say criminal charges are being pursued against Miller as well as others at the Wallace Group for illegal activity in several of their projects in this county.


racket

Clearly Borchard has a “thing” for Diodati. Seems to me a public smackdown for coaching Little League might blow up in Borchard’s face.


I thought the commissioners served at the pleasure of the Council. Therefore couldn’t Borchard have more-expediently dispatched him by simply calling for his removal without going into details?


RU4Real

It’s way past time for Diodotti to go! I pity the people of Morro Bay if they are unable or unwilling to get rid of him. He did nothing for Los Osos, except add to the problems with his CLOSE & COZY association with Paavo Ogren, Bruce Gibson & the rest of the County’s corrupt good old boy network. It’s well known that he’s also VERY TIGHT with Rob Miller of the Wallace Group & Steve Hyland of MWH….both VERY BAD.