Thursday, August 31, 2017

Open Letter to Marinwood CSD Board Members & Staff regarding the "Martha Stewart" Kitchen makeover

Open Letter to Marinwood CSD Board Members  & Staff                                              

August 31, 2016

Shea, Perry, Kleinman-Green, Schwartz , Naylor
Dreikosen, Roach

RE: Comments on the proposed Marinwood Fire Department agenda item for August 31, 2017 at 5:00 PM.

Dear Board members and Staff:

The Marinwood Fire Department kitchen proposal is an astoundingly wasteful proposal which wastes district resources that should be spent on items of greater utility to district to fulfill its mission.  A perfectly serviceable and modern kitchen can be built for a fraction of the $60,000 cost.  As indicated in the kitchen drawing, budget cabinetry for the kitchen only costs $4253 and an upgraded stainless commercial kitchen may cost less than $15,000.  Examples of both items were submitted by community members and me earlier this year.

The district also turned down a generous offer of a donation from a member of the public in the amount of $25,000.  I believe this offer has been rescinded but it was fast way to fund the project at no cost to the district.

Why then is Marinwood CSD choosing the MOST EXPENSIVE option?  At the August 8 2017 CSD meeting  we learned from Chief Roach that John Pope construction submitted a bid for the project for $54,280 and will likely subcontract out at least part of the project.  He has two sons in the fire service and a personal relationship with some on the board.   His qualification as a “prevailing wage” contractor is completely irrelevant if Marinwood CSD can keep the contract under the $25,000 threshold for public works projects.

If the Marinwood CSD determines that it DOES need a “prevailing wage” contractor than it appears it may have violated ethical and legal guidelines by contacting select contractors prior to the bid process under government contracting law.

It is VERY LIKELY that the Marinwood Fire Department may be merged with other agencies in the near future and the investment in a luxury kitchen remodel  could be money wasted if the companion agencies determine that our fire service should be run from a different facility.

We should be shoring up our capital reserves for more pressing projects and not wasting $60,000 on a project that could have a very short useful life to the district.

We need money for park benches, new programs, tennis court resurfacing, maintenance shed construction and pension reserves.   It makes no sense to waste money now on an overpriced kitchen when commercial grade alternatives can be had for tens of thousands of dollars in savings.

Should the Marinwood recklessly approve the expensive “prevailing wage” kitchen option above $25,000 then it can be expected that methods of bid solicitation, conduct of this meeting under the Brown Act and associated items wil receive legal scrutiny from appropriate legal authority and possibly result in civil action.

I hope upon review the “prevailing wage option will be scrapped and an attractive, low cost commercial kitchen option is chosen for maximum return on investment, long service life and residual market value if the fire department changes location in the near future.


Stephen  Nestel
Marinwood, CA

Source documents:

Projects that cost more than $25,000 are subject to Public Notice of Request for Proposal

ARTICLE 43. Community Services Districts [20680 - 20683]
  ( Heading of Article 43 amended by Stats. 1984, Ch. 1128, Sec. 51. )

Prevailing Wage law states that only construction projects costing more than $25,000 are subject to Prevailing Wages. (

Plan of Marinwood Firehouse Kitchen shows IKEA Cabinet cost estimate = $4253  (from Marinwood CSD)
Preliminary Bid from John Pope Construction for $54,280 (from Marinwood CSD)
Note: The Special meeting of Marinwood CSD held on 8/31/2017 has failed to meets its public noticing requirements

 “The Brown Act provides that “[a] special meeting may be called at any time by the presiding officer of the legislative body of a local agency, or by a majority of the members of the legislative body.”  Gov’t Code § 54956.  However, certain requirements must be met.  First, written notice must be delivered personally or by mail to each member of the board and to each local newspaper of general circulation, radio or TV station that has requested notices in writing from the board (unless any of these have submitted a written document waiving such notice).  Second, the notice must be received at least 24 hours before the time of the meeting specified in the notice. Third, the notice must specify the time, date and place of the meeting and the business to be transacted.  No other business shall be considered.   Fourth, the notice must be posted at least 24 hours prior to the special meeting in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public.  Gov’t Code § 54956.


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