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Original post made by truth, Menlo Park: Belle Haven, on Oct 9, 2008

Once again, Sam Sinnott has manipulated the Menlo Masters email chain to send out blatant misinformation to fool people into voting for his candidate, this time Rick Ciardella. Sam did this during the last election for his slate politicos, two of whom lost by a landslide.

Sam accuses incumbents Andy Cohen and Kelly Fergusson of intending to take back the pool from Tim Sheeper when the contract expires in 2011. I researched this and found no evidence at all relating to the incumbents "assumed: intentions.

But what is the point?

Same game by the same people trying to undermine honest elections. Sam is distorting the truth and using an email chain sponsored by a non-political organization. This threatens Menlo Masters standing and it makes Tim Sheeper look like he is in on it.

But more importantly, it pretends like the original contract process was fair, when Sam's council members Winkler and Duboc with Boyle's full support, gave a contract to Tim Sheeper with no open competitive bid. This after we taxpayers paid $7M to build the pool.

Shameful, Sam.

And more reason to distrust Ciardella.

Comments (27)

Posted by hmmm
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 9, 2008 at 10:07 am

This is just so disappointing. I am on that email list and I am very upset that Sam has taken liberties to send out poor information.

And I feel bad for Tim. If you ask Tim about Sam's actions, he will tell you he does not like to be used in political fights.

Posted by Wondering
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 9, 2008 at 10:58 am

So who gave him access to the email list? I suppose Tim deserves the benefit of the doubt if he says he had nothing to do with it (if that's what he's claiming), but if there's an email tree that all Menlo Masters swimmers can use, shouldn't there be rules about what type of messages can -- and cannot -- be sent out? And shouldn't political messages be prohibited?

Posted by C'mon No Growthers
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 9, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Are you kidding me? Are you guys BACK on the pool thing again? C'mon "No Growthers", it's over, who cares what Sam Sinnott sends out? That decision, regardless of what your opinion is, was the best thing for this city! We saved approximately $500K, and the place still looks brand new! It is still owned by the city! Rick Ciardella has NOTHING to do with this association that you are trying to imply. Talk about "blatant misinformation". Keep Rick's name out of this, or try another underhanded tactic that might work! I hear George Bush is getting ready to endorse your boy Andy Cohen!!

Posted by wants fair play
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 9, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Sheeper should do the right thing. He should correct the misinformation sent out by Sinnott and ask Sinnott to resend the corrected information to the same distribution list the original information was sent.
Sure, we know it's campaign season and it's clear who Sinnott favors. It's important that flat out lies not be disseminated. If Tim does nothing, then he is implicitly condoning Sam's despicable behavior.

Posted by means to an end
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 9, 2008 at 12:45 pm

The ends justify the means...who cares if the city could have saved $600K or more? I mean how would we know, right? We used a no bid contract deal so we avoided having to find the best deal. Nice logic.

Name calling aside, I can support the current council and support growth. I care about the means, because I want to know what my government is doing with my vote and my taxes.

That is the message here. That, and the fact that another Winkler-Boyle-Ciardella supporter is using email lists that they were not given to spread misinformation. That should be a problem more most everyone.

Posted by Wondering
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 9, 2008 at 12:49 pm

C'mon No Growthers, in the words of John McCain, what you don't seem to understand is ... that Sam Sinnott was the one who got us "BACK on the pool thing again." And, until you introduced the topic, no one was talking about the merits or demerits of the pool's operation by Tim Sheeper. AND, it was Sam who dragged Ciardella into this. So what's your point exactly?

Posted by wants fair play
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 9, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Excuuuuse me, Cmon and Wondering. I am certainly not a No Growther. Please stop labeling others.
Sure, the pool is beautiful and it is well run. I do have to agree with Means to An End that the way decisions are made matters a lot to many of us.

Posted by Wondering
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Oct 9, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Wants fair play, for the record, I didn't call anyone a No Growther. I was addressing the poster calling him/herself "C'mon No Growthers". And I couldn't agree more that the way decisions are made matters.

But getting back to the original point of this thread, I think politicizing an email tree created for social networking among swim club members -- particularly with an intent to spreads lies -- is wrong, and I urge Tim Sheeper to create guidelines to discourage this sort of thing in the future.

Posted by wants fair play
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 9, 2008 at 4:12 pm

Sorry, Wondering.
As suggested previously, it would be really nice if Tim not only created some guidelines, but also insisted upon a correction for the abuse that has already taken place.

Posted by dog paddler
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 9, 2008 at 4:17 pm

The pool has nothing to do with growth or no growth. There's been a pool in that location since before any of us were around, and the voters agreed, with Measure T, to fund a much-needed renovation of the facility. We are all still paying for that renovation and will be doing so for many years.

Outsourcing the pool's operation was an excellent idea. The prior council failed in handing over the facility without competitive bidding and without requiring city oversight of the use. Tim Sheeper was willing to pay rent, but the council brushed aside his offer. We residents can only wonder how much money was left on the table.

Sinnott tried this same smear tactic in the 2006 campaign, and it got him nowhere. It's now 2008. The candidates have other issues confronting them, and no one except Sam remains fixated on the pool. For sure, when 2011 rolls around, I hope that we will see a process that better serves the public interest, but to impute a non-existent mindset to the current candidates is simply fantasy.

Posted by for an open bid
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 9, 2008 at 11:02 pm

I sure would expect the City when the contract runs out to look at the whole situation.

For sure Sheeper should be expected to pay a good amount of concession fee. It cam out from Menlo Masters insiders, he was willing to pay for the last contract but the silly city, which never seems to be able to negotiate anything very well, really gave away the farm. The amount was said to be over $200,000 per year -- that seems to be what the City gave away. In the pool case, poor Kelly was suckered. Hopefully by now she should be doing better, although she was heavily involved with the now defunct GM contract on the Tyco lands.

At a council meeting the other day, someone sent in a note suggesting that the Bohannon project should have a consultant if they get into negotiating public benefit. I don't remember, but I think that idea got very favorable responsible. Anyone who thinks the city can negotiate using their own staff is luny. Bohannon and his paid professionals will blow them out of the water.

Posted by wants fair play
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 10, 2008 at 1:46 pm

I totally agree with For An Open Bid that the city needs all the help it can get to negotiate contracts and deals. For sure, there should be expert assistance provided from the outside for major projects like Bohannon's proposal and Tyco.
What I don't understand is how Kelly gets blamed for the GM Tyco deal. The previous Council approved it, right? If blame is to be levied, how about looking at the city's management team that recommended the deal for starters.
Getting back to this thread, Sheeper and Menlo Masters should have nothing to fear when a new contract is to be signed. That is, as long as there are competitive bids and Sheeper's bid compares well.

Posted by NO MAS!!!
a resident of Las Lomitas School
on Oct 10, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Behind Sams' comments re: the POOL, is his effort to misinform the general public into believing that he is the chosen one to manage MP ..Sam Sinnot' s basic problem is that he cannot urbanize Menlo Park into another San Francisco! His coterie of development interests, builders, bankers, money launderers, etc.just do not want any rules against over-development..MORE profiteering is the modus operandi of their methods to increase the density of residential and commercial properties. Since he has not been succesful at ""his game"", his anger is expressed thru miscellaneous outbursts of misinformation and disinformation as a means of tarring the opposition to his excessive development plans.He refuses to believe that the majority of the residents are not interested in becoming an adjunct to San Francisco, with its multiplicity of serious problems and DEBT.

Posted by for an open bid
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 10, 2008 at 10:37 pm

to: wants fair play

you write: "What I don't understand is how Kelly gets blamed for the GM Tyco deal. The previous Council approved it, right?"

Wrong -- She was heavily involved and took plenty of credit for the deal. It has now blown up -- she must take some of the blame. But you are right, City staff and ex-City manager David Boesch should really bear most of the blame. Apparently no penalties for the non-performance.

And this was when Jellins, DuBoc and Winkler were still on council -- they deserve plenty of blame also.

In my opinion best to support Kelly in her re-election bid. Judge Cohen is the best to my way of thinking

Posted by Bobby
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 11, 2008 at 9:50 am

How come no one has brought up the union issue with the union employees that were going to be forced upon us and working at the pool?? I believe THAT is the reason the prior council approved Tim Sheeper's group to take over the pool? Wasn't that going to cost the city a bunch of money? I also heard that no one else was interested in managing the pool, no one else came forward, and there was plenty of time. This process took at least 60 to 90 days, if anyone was interested in "competing for the bid", I think someone would have come forward. I think we've missed the boat in this thread. Keeping our pool away from this over bearing, expensive, union was the best thing that happened here!

Posted by wants fair play
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Oct 11, 2008 at 11:19 am

There was a rush to make a decision and no attempt at all to get competitive bids. Just the opposite.
I agree with you that it was good to outsource management of the pool, but there was no reason not to get bids and learn what might have been a better financial arrangement for the taxpayers. As pointed out in another posting, the city hasn't been charging rent for a brand new facility.

Posted by Rhonda Dawn
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 13, 2008 at 10:22 am

I wonder how much of the money that would have been earned from rent on the pool could have gone toward the many, many other necessary projects at Burgess? The childcare center is much smaller than what was promised to voters, there's still the gym in desperate need of renovation, and the list goes on.

Talk about a lost opportunity. I don't blame Tim Sheeper for taking advantage of a ridiculously good deal, I blame the council majority for giving it to him.

Posted by Out of Towner
a resident of Woodside: other
on Oct 15, 2008 at 9:52 pm

It's unbelievable to me how the Almanac continues to try to bash poor Tim Sheeper and even bother to write an article about this silly forum topic just to highlight the pool issue again. He has done an amazing job with the pool and community services - something noone was willing to step up to the plate to do. And certainly noone could do better. Why doesn't the Almanac Newspaper write about that?

The Menlo Park city council members who object to Tim's management of the pool seem completely ridiculous to us "out of towners". Stop all this needless bickering and appreciate the jewel of a community service you now have!

In a free nation Sam is free to send whatever message to his teammates he feels like sending. Why is he being attacked for expressing his opinions and encouraging involvement in important city election matters?

Let it all rest!!!

Posted by Belle. E Flopp
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Oct 15, 2008 at 10:46 pm

Out of Towner, sounds as though you have fallen for Sam's lies. No one is complaining about Tim--we're objecting to Sam manipulating the swim list for personal or political purposes. We're objecting to his presenting his fantasies as fact.

Within certain limits, Sam is free to email whatever he wants to whomever he wants, just as the members of our council are free to bring suit against him for his libelous accusations. Fortunately for Sam, our council members have quite a bit more integrity than he does.

Posted by Sam Sinnott
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Oct 21, 2008 at 8:58 pm

I thought it was about time I responded to all the anonymous, 'well researched' blogs.

A few facts:

I represented masters swimming on the committee that master planned Burgess Park. Lee Duboc was on that committee too.

I spearheaded the fight to make one of the pools a 50 meter pool to accomodate more small group lane rental and more room for lap swimmers. Lee Duboc voted against that - too expensive.

The email list is my own, accumulated over years of volunteer work. Many of the names on the list are not on the swim team.

I personally worked with Tim to get Menlo Masters into the aquatics center. Mostly after the team was denied the option of renting lane time between 7 am and 7 pm any day of the week by city employees in late 2005. Meeting with the mayor and recognizing we had a serious budget deficit, Tim was asked if he had the courage to take on the operation of the entire facility (in my office) before any city employee union jobs (estimated as high as 30) were created for its operation. This was January '06.

We asked Tom McRae of SOLO Swimming if he was interested in running the facility at that time. He was not. THERE WERE NO OTHER BIDDERS AND THERE ARE NO OTHER BIDDERS TODAY. The SEIU (Service Employees International Union) will not bid.

The council heard arguments over the next two weeks following that meeting on whether or not to go into negotiations with Tim Sheeper. The council, including Kelly and Andy, heard detailed descriptions of his programs, testimonials from Tim's followers and were informed that there were no other bidders. They knew that turning the pool over to City staff would cost the city $500,000 to $700,000 per year more and was irreversable. THIS WAS WHEN KELLY AND ANDY VOTED AGAINST TIM. Fortunately we had a council that supported Masters Swimming and voted 3 - 2 to go into a series of hearings and negotiations that went through the Park and Rec Commission over the following 3 months. The entire process took almost 4 months of public hearings. It was open. Cohen and Fergusson now claim it was the 'process' they voted against. IF THE VOTE HAD GONE THEIR WAY MASTERS SWIMMING WITH TIM WOULD NOT BE IN THE BURGESS AQUATICS CENTER TODAY. Tim may also have left coaching.

That fall the SEIU sent out fliers accusing Tim of poisoning kids in the baby pool. They also endorsed Robinson, Kline and Bressler. Their endorsement questionaire asked, as a condition of endorsement, if the candidate supported removing Menlo Swim and Sport (Tim) from the Burgess facility.

The SEIU will not give up. To date I have been successful because, by making this an issue and allowing my name to be dragged through the mud by many people who have never lifted a finger for this City, I have raised awareness and protected our program. SEIU sympathetic council members now wouldn't dare terminate his contract.

In 2011 SEIU forces will attempt to strangle Tim out of the pool with rent increases and other techniques. My recent letter to the Almanac on this subject was not printed.

Posted by Old-timer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 21, 2008 at 9:22 pm

[deleted - personal attack]

To point out a few misstatements in your overlong diatribe:

* There were no other bidders because bids were never solicited. The contract was what we call a sweetheart deal.

* I have in my possesion the SEIU questionnaire from 2006. It does not ask if the candidates support removing Menlo Swim and Sport from Burgess. The three candidates you choose to libel all vocally, publicly, expressed their support for Tim Sheeper.

* Rich Cline's name is spelled with a C. He's been on council for two years now, and you're not that stupid.

* Vince Bressler was not endorsed by any unions.

Why don't YOU run for council, Sam? Afraid to find out how many enemies you've made in this town?

Posted by not the full story yet
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Oct 23, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Sam, it wasn't up to you to get a competitive bid, it was up to the city to do so and they didn't even try to get any.

Many of us were opposed to the lack of competitive bidding and appalled at the city's decision not to charge rent, which Sheeper paid to other facilities. However, I think most of us support the concept of outsourcing to a private party, and think that Sheeper is doing a good job running the city pool.

Please stop the baseless scare tactics.

Posted by Sam Supporter
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Oct 29, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Thank YOU Sam Sinnott for clearing all of this up! I guess 4 months of discussions, which were VERY open, was not enough time for someone else to jump into the fray? Looks like you're the idiot "Old-timer". I think the bottom-line here is that the Unions OWN Ms. Ferguson and Mr. Cohen. It is very apparent with the money they've collected for their current campaign. The city should NOT be in the business of pools or child care or whatever other scheme the Union extortionists have up their sleeve. Leave this to the Tim Sheepers of the world, and stop complaining about something that has worked, will continue to work and give us all a win-win-win opportunity!

Posted by TTT
a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables
on Oct 29, 2008 at 9:02 pm

Sam just sent out another email blast libeling Kelly and Andy. Even though the swimmers enjoy the pool and like Tim, most seem to be repelled by Sam's negativity and political bashing. If he has any friends left, maybe one of them can help him get a clue.

Posted by Swimmer
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Oct 29, 2008 at 9:12 pm

I swim with Sam, most of us think the individuals that were against the current manager, Tim, and against the process to get Tim, are idiots. I hope Sam sends out a million more emails! Go Sam, we love ya, plus you look better in a Speedo versus Andy!

Posted by Swimmer but not a fan
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Oct 29, 2008 at 9:41 pm

Sam, don't you have anything better to do than post on this forum? Or penning more poisonous emails?

I can't wait until Kelly, Andy, or one of the other many people you've unjustly maligned, decides to haul you into court. Way overdue in my opinion.

Posted by wake up
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 1, 2008 at 8:56 am

Sam Sinnott's comments are only meant to try to get people to think ill of Cohen and Fergusson in an election season. Rather than argue about what happened in the past, let's focus on the future, when Sheeper's contract with the city is up for renewal.
All Cohen and Fergusson have ever said about the pool management contract renewal is that they think it should be openly and competitively bid when renewal time comes around. What is wrong with that?
Both have complimented both the new pool and its management by Sheeper. Neither have ever said that they want to return the management back to unionized city staff.
Sinnott's fear mongering is unfounded and despicable.

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