Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Not Just on Marco Island - Again EPA Refuses to Release Documents
Secret EPA Report on Libby Clean-Up Sparks Lawsuit
Early Test of Obama/Holder Doctrine on Freedom of Information Act Openness
WASHINGTON - April 2, 2010 - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is improperly withholding a long-sought report on whether the agency's clean-up of Libby, Montana is adequate to protect the residents of that beleaguered community, according to a lawsuit filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The lawsuit will test pledges by President Obama and Attorney General Holder of a new openness and presumption of disclosure in administering the Freedom of Information Act.
PEER is seeking the release of a 2006 report by EPA Office of Inspector General (IG) investigator Cory Rumple concerning the safety and completeness of EPA's removal of deadly vermiculite from the town of Libby. The report assesses the public health implications of the manner in which EPA conducted the clean-up in Libby, where an estimated 200 people have already died and hundreds more sickened by exposure to this virulent form of asbestos, as well as the culpability of responsible EPA officials.
During the past two years, PEER has repeatedly requested the document's release. In 2007, EPA contended that the report could not be disclosed because it was part of an active law enforcement investigation. In 2008, the agency dropped that rationale but asserted that even the factual portions of the report, as opposed to Agent's Rumple's conclusions, were so sensitive that a redacted report could not be released. In a July 28, 2008 letter to PEER, Associate Deputy IG Mark Bialek wrote that releasing only the "summary of information and concerns of various EPA employees and private individuals on technical/scientific issues regarding EPA's residential cleanup program in Libby" reported by Rumple would still reveal the agency's "deliberative process".
Following President Obama's January 21, 2009 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) directive that "The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears", PEER again requested the Rumple report. After EPA indicated that it would take six months to make even an initial determination as to whether to release it (far longer than the 20 working day FOIA deadline), PEER filed a formal appeal. After that appeal drew no response, PEER today filed a FOIA lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
"The people in Libby deserve to know whether EPA kept its promises to them and performed the removal in the most protective fashion," stated PEER Staff Counsel Christine Erickson, who prepared the complaint, noting that according its website later this year "EPA will transition from emergency Removal Activity to the Remedial Process" in Libby. "There is no record of EPA conducting a risk assessment on its own clean-up plan; the Rumple report explores the consequences of that omission."
On March 19, 2009, Attorney General Holder issued a directive that the Justice Department will defend FOIA lawsuits only when "disclosure would harm an interest protected by one of the statutory exemptions". The PEER suit will provide an early test on the scope of this new pro-disclosure policy.
"EPA's rationale for keeping this report from the public will not withstand scrutiny," Erickson concluded.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Doesn’t Read Like “Fiberglass” to Us
So, after denigrating everyone and anyone that suggested there was asbestos on or in the myriad sites on the island, the City Manager, City Public Works Director, City Attorneys and City Council knew about the asbestos dumping and cleanup all along.
Or perhaps all of these people transmogrified "asbestos" into "fiberglass" as the city public works director now contents in a sworn affidavit to the feds.
Can anyone find the word "fiberglass" in these documents?
But there is proof that the other environmental calamity caused health effects. It seems that after breathing the plumes of toxic levels of hydrogen sulfide that engulfed entire neighborhoods, nearly everyone in the city staff, council, and of course everyone in the Florida Department of Environmental "Protection" is suffering from Dissociative Fugue as to asbestos.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Divorce Quality Enterprises
As Chairman Recker prepares for the negotiations with the United States Environmental Protection Agency regarding the unlawful handling and initial improper disposing of asbestos by Quality Enterprises (QE), it would behoove the City of Marco Island that it divorce itself from any collaboration, cooperation and coordination with this outfit.
Though QE has experience in being on the wrong side of things when having to deal with the feds – CLICK HERE FOR PROOF – clearly we need to finally and forever disassociate ourselves from this organization.
While QE can argue that it was being implicitly managed by Moss-Joel and there was oversight by Tucker-Trotter-Minozzi , and that we don't have a clue as to what Councilors Popoff and DiSciullo were doing (though now they emote the Sergeant Schultz line of "I KNOW NOTHING"), we must move on alone.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
By Karen Glaub
Former Council Chairman Popoff was quoted in the article about City Manager Thompson's firing as saying that he would have liked to have been there to speak if he had known it was going to be discussed. In fact he said that he would have run for council again because "it's just so unjust". Well, how interesting that this is your response after the way you ran the City Council Meeting of January 4th, this year. You advertised an agenda item for discussion of how to proceed in naming city owned facilities and then when the discussion started you allowed Councilor Gibson to make a motion to take action, to name our city hall for E. Glenn Tucker. You then began discussion of the merits of why he deserved this and completed your presentation with a vote by all councilors after a parade of Mr. Tuckers friends and associates on the island, who normally do not attend, but were mysteriously present that night.
There were many islanders who no doubt would have liked to have had notice about this action you took in order to speak about it, but you denied them that right by pushing this through at the end of the meeting. You not only falsely advertised that agenda item, you took action on it even after my husband, Robert Glaub made a hurried trip there to be able to be at least one person to speak against it. He informed you and the whole council that it was wrong for you to take this item from discussion to action without public notice and you continued anyway. He also informed you that many others would have been there to speak if you had advertised that you were going to do what you did. Thus, you had many opportunities at that time to stop your actions and do the right thing, but you did not.
You do not seem to understand that the firing of City Manager Steve Thompson was not a politically motivated move on Chairman Recker's part. Many of us have called for transparency, openness, and accountability from our city government for years. Indeed, this council has publicly stated their intent to provide that to we, the people. If, in order to accomplish that, swift action must be taken at times, then so be it. Many documents have surfaced recently which indicate that our council was taking action on issues without being fully informed and there were some ongoing issues which they said were not aware of at all. With our city's financial future at risk of paying large fines for being involved in some dubious past actions, this council had every right to insist, that they had a "right to know".
I remember the meeting in which City Manager Thompson was told that if he was in doubt about whether to inform them, he was to err on the side of disclosure. He did not do this, but chose to use his own judgment instead. This is incompatible with the intent of this council under Chairman Recker's leadership. Many of the islanders applaud his attempt to provide this for the people. The council members who supported him, erred on the side of their constituents and can be proud of stepping up. There was nothing personal about this. City leaders and staff have to be accountable for their actions and their inactions when it is called for and they choose not to act.
Editor's Note: Ex-councilor Popoff now whines that if only he was there for the city manager's firing … so exactly where was then Councilor Popoff when he knew that asbestos was being dumped and pulverized, and toxic hydrogen sulfide was being dumped into the waterways? Did he ACT then to expose the destruction of the environment and the danger to our health? Better still, the latest version of the EPA correspondence started when then Councilor Popoff was the chairman – what exactly was he doing then? Let's see what he says when he realizes that government sovereign immunity does not apply in these cases. Utterly amazing – "If I only knew" – YOU KNEW – you chose to play along at the whim of the syndicate while feigning concern.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Now is the Time
Now is one of those rare times in a democracy where We the People can prevail over the stolid bureaucracy.
Now on Marco Island it has been identified, demonstrated and shared with the public the chronic abuse of trust by the current city management as inherited from the former city management. Beyond abuse of trust, there is outright deception, gross mismanagement and even conspiracy as related to the environmental crimes.
Now on Marco Island we have in Dr. Recker a councilor that is standing on principle in that these abuses cannot be tolerated. His reported initiates demand that we all support him.
Anyone that does not support the removal of those that took part directly or indirectly in corruption, mismanagement, conspiracy or environmental contamination, are just as guilty as those that commit the corruption, mismanagement, conspiracy and environmental contamination.
If there is one councilor that votes against any initiative to terminate the city manager and the city public works director – at this time with all of the proof and with the threat of federal prosecution – then now is the time to let go of the American dream.
When alliances and anxiety and interminable patience are employed to conceal the lack of resolve for fear that any action will alienate someone or some group, there is clearly no hope.
We see these kinds of sell-outs daily in Washington and decry how those politicians are out of touch with America. But if the sell-out happens in the smallest community, then what is left?
Convictions start at the community level, for that is the foundation of a republic. If the elected stand up openly and vote for something as obvious as flushing out corruption and mismanagement from the very bodies that are supposed to be "serving the public", then there exists the basis for saving the republic at the national level.
But if the local elected officials whine and wail and derive every imaginable excuse for not ridding our city of the proven abuses, then they have no conscience, and they, and not Obama or Reid or Pelosi or the unions or the "far left" are what is wrong with America. It is the local elected officials that refuse to act with moral and intellectual certitude that have corrupted the process that makes the Washington of Obama and Reid and Pelosi and unions and the "far left".
How many years have we waited for someone like Dr. Recker to even consider what was self-evident? How many years have we tolerated the Minozzi-Tucker-Popoff abuses of our civil rights by not even being allowed to mention at the podium the now proven abuses? What did it take for the EPA to act, and after how many years after the city management and the city council pulverized concrete infused with asbestos spreading clouds of fine asbestos-dust over parts of this island including two schools? What did it take for the EPA to act, and after how many years after the city management and the city council dumped millions of gallons of untreated effluent into the swales and Gulf of Mexico while lying to the public and the EPA as to what permit they had?
And now, when we can put these things behind us, we have councilors that are not going to purge the very people that committed these abuses? What exactly as these vacillators now waiting for?
America is running out of Reagans and Reckers. And that is not because they just don't exist, or because we can't find anyone that we agree with on everything, it is simply because you don't want them to exist. And don't hold your hopes up with GOOH or with Tea Parties or with 9/12'ers because it is not a group that creates or saves or turns an empire, but it is through the actions of single individuals of courage. It took but a few men to make America, and but five men to topple the richest nation on earth.
So when the next sign on the road to socialism comes from Washington, don't send out emails with caricatures of Obama or Reid or Pelosi, but of those local city councilors that allowed themselves to be compromised by coercion or by fear or by anything other than proceeding openly and expeditiously with upholding the public trusts.
For the Authorities (and for Posterity)
More legal bills - we continue to unearth the extent of the deception by the syndicate.
Care must be exercised in reviewing these documents as some of the pages/charges refer to the CARES lawsuit and to unrelated matters (e.g., the water plant) – which have nothing to do with the attempted cover-up of the violations of the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
And the Hits Just Keep on Coming
So it appears that after myriad denials by Moss, Reinke, Joel, Tucker, Minozzi, Trotter and their comrades in the syndicate, the city was using outside attorneys to address EPA "issues" and queries by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The syndicate was so effective in keeping this cover-up … covered up, that the city clerk and the city attorney legitimately had no knowledge of these activities in a January 2010 public records request.
Oh, and exactly what were the other two-and-a half councilors doing when all of this was going on?
While the FDEP was (and is) complicit in the city's violations of the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act, the EPA wasn't (and isn't) – so one wonders how long did the city expect to keep these matters under wraps as soon as the feds got involved.
CLICK HERE FOR THE LEGAL BILLS (some charges are for non-violations)
Last question: and exactly why should the citizens of Marco Island have to pay for these charges?
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
What is Going On?
The City "staff" seems to be having issues in terms of meeting their obligations.
Last week we were treated to the news that the on-going investigation by the EPA was not communicated to the non-aligned councilors.
Now, the City's own auditing firm is taking the "staff" to task for not responding to repeated requests for documents and cooperation. For an auditing firm to write such a letter is striking.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
City Botches Inspections with Incompetent Inspectors: Distresses Yet Another Family, Contempt Ensues
Letter To the Editor:
Am sure by now many of you are aware of the situation regarding the construction of our home and the inspection process associated with it hence it is not my point to belabor those issues but address ones associated with them.
Certainly many of you realize that this past weekend there were numerous open houses hoping to showcase properties for sale and the corresponding reason for the banner we hung at our home. It was not our intent to discourage prospective buyers from either building or buying a home as we remember the excitement we felt deciding to build our retirement home on an island we had come to love; after meeting and being welcomed as friends by so many wonderful people we are still proud to call Marco Island home.
It is imperative, however, that we urge people to be careful on Marco Island and frankly exhibit caution in all of Florida when either building or buying your dream home. Please be open to the following:
1 If building a home consider hiring private inspectors as opposed to utilizing local building departments; the Florida legislature has implemented this change as of 2004. It is clear from the dismissal of our lawsuit based strictly on the concept of sovereign immunity that not only negligence in the inspection process itself is forgiven but that protection is extended to negligent hiring, training, and supervision. It seems this refers back to English law which basically states the king can do no wrong; we think you will also will be as confused and disturbed by this reasoning as we are if you study the legal ramifications of our hearing.
2 If buying a home demand the accompanying inspection reports associated with construction and depending on the property you might want to negotiate that the seller provide you with a current inspection report that will note code violations or construction defects should any be present. In an initial DBPR hearing probable cause was found noting the failure to document inspections made and passed. Obviously we have requested the DBPR to reconsider this case on the grounds initially of sheer logic; as examples how can missing flashing, insulation, roof vents, and shower pans be written off as clerical errors. Other inspections not noted as completed are explained as quirks in the software program. The reports prepared by the expert hired by the DBPR do not concur with all the concerns expressed in the report prepared by Mr. Franklin but find Mr. Mahar in violation of Florida Statutes related to ensuring that our home was built to applicable code and licensing issues as well. The CD we have obtained from the tape of that hearing not only reiterates those concerns but supports our contention that a CO should never have been issued. The hearing to reconsider this case on 4/14/10 should reflect these facts.
3 If you would be open to reading the material that Dr. Sanchez has offered to post at my request on his website in order to facilitate access to these documents. Once you review these we believe you will understand our frustration with both our city council and city management and disbelief at how they have chosen to respond to our situation. Our hope is still that an amicable and fair resolution can be found as it would appear is occurring with the recent seawall sinking and shell driveway controversies. Neither Tim or I ever wanted initially or do we now want to personally cause harm to any individual associated with our city nor do we wish to be the reason for any more negativity cast upon the city we all call home but quite frankly we are appalled that we felt compelled to initiate legal action when all other attempts on our part to seek a resolution were rebuffed. The fact is though that if necessary we are committed to an appeal of the court case and continued complaints with the DBPR to change the way Florida law is construed and implemented not only for our benefit but all Floridians and Marco Island might as well be where this endeavor begins.
Many of you have personally called, e-mailed, or spoken to us conveying similar situations and offering support, but I am appealing now to your conscience and courage to make your voices heard to city council and city management as well for the strength of many far outweighs that of a few. Please realize that not only would you be helping us which we would be very grateful for but hopefully it will change the manner in which citizens are treated in Marco Island in the future when honest and legitimate problems arise.
Regina L. Dayton
524 Spinnaker Drive
Documents related to this case:
Suggestion: Move the case out of Collier County court, and sue Mahar and all his supervisors personally.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Refuting the “Fiberglass” Ruse & the Extent of Contamination Spin
As evidenced by the sworn affidavits by the City "staff", the ruse du jour as to what and how much was crushed-pulverized-buried-improperly removed and the faux local investigation is the latest obfuscation of what really happened.
The following two documents refute the ruse and spin.
By the way, notice that the city was ordered to comply with OSHA regulations as to asbestos removal – how can we forget the picture (on this blog) of the migrants wearing t-shirts and sandals shuffling through the asbestos field picking up asbestos shards and placing them in open plastic bags.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
Asbestos Contamination Enforcement – City Documents
These documents were made public April 5, 2010 by city councilors respectful of the citizen's right to know. Up until that time, the public nor the non-aligned city councilors were aware of these documents and the underlying transactions.
Click any link to see the actual documents.
The following document is a critique to the City Manager's "Comments" to Chairman Recker
If you dispute any of the claims by the "staff", or have evidence as to the asbestos contamination or the dumping of toxic effluent into the waterways, contact the EPA attorney directly (contact information is in these documents.) DO NOT SEND TO THE CITY and DO NOT SEND TO THE FDEP.
Monday, April 05, 2010
Why the City Faces EPA Fines
A reminder video collage.
Friday, April 02, 2010
EPA Prosecution: Who is to Pay?
Who Is Responsible?
As the "City of Marco Island" faces potentially millions of dollars of fines and criminal prosecution, it is now up to the citizens to ensure that only those responsible be held accountable.
Those who authorized the asbestos-laden project, those who oversaw or managed the asbestos-laden project, those who crushed, pulverized, buried and illegally removed the asbestos, those who allegedly "investigated" the asbestos dumping, those city councilors that continued to vote for the continuation of these illegal acts despite repeated warnings and pleas to stop from the citizens – those are the ones that are responsible, those are the ones that should pay the fines, and those are the ones that should be prosecuted.
Wait for it: the "staff" is going to plead they are immune from liability because it was the city council that authorized all of these acts and failed to stop it; the city council is going to plead that they are immune from liability and prosecution because they are elected officials, and besides they were doing whatever the "staff" told them to do.
They are both wrong. Proof: the same finger-pointing was the popular defense at Nuremberg – everyone was hanged.
It is now up to the citizens of Marco Island to ensure that their tax dollars are not used to pay the fines caused by the deliberate malevolence of others. We didn't do it, we warned them, and begged them to stop.
Clearly, it is NOT the citizenry of Marco Island that are responsible, hence the "City" cannot settle by agreeing to pay for the penalties with tax dollars. Any payment of penalties must be paid by each individual city "staff" (current and former) that allowed (and in some cases directed) these illegal acts to take place, must be paid by any and all contractors that performed these illegal acts, and must be paid by all individual current and former city councilors (and their estates) that refused to stop these illegal acts when they knew full well what was happening.
Those are the individuals that must be held responsible – personally.
A footnote: As the City "staff" now deals in public with what they have known for quite some time regarding violations of the federal Clean Air Act, wait for the other shoe to drop. The federal Clean Water Act was also violated and criminal investigators also "looked into" this matter.