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Outrageous Behavior

Is Rosanne Foust's "advisory vote" on the Cargill/DMB development a case of using her public office for private gain?

Rosanne Foust, a RWC city council member, on the massive Cargill/DMB project, a housing development that will require filling in valuable parts of SF Bay.   Rosanne Foust’s ties to Cargill/DMB are now well-known—as president and CEO of SAMCEDA, an organization that supports the Cargill/DMB project, her pro Cargill/DMB sympathies are clear. 

A while back, because of this obvious conflict of interest, council member Foust was forced by the Fair Political Practices Commission to recuse herself from participating in Cargill/DMB matters after complaints were received about her ties to Cargill/DMB.

The proposed “advisory vote” would, according to Foust, list the many “benefits” the project would bring to Redwood City residents.  In other words, this “advisory vote” will advertise the “benefits” touted by Cargill/DMB—all at taxpayers’ expense.  By putting such a measure on the November ballot, she and her Cargill/DMB allies will be using local government funds to promote their private financial interests. 

To provide a balanced picture for Redwood City residents, rather than listing just the imagined “benefits “of the Cargill/DMB project, a fair vote (advisory or otherwise) should list all the negative effects of the project that experts say are very likely to occur—huge traffic jams,  impacted schools,  harm to local businesses from increased competition,  higher rates for local residents due to water shortage, and more. 

At this juncture, Redwood City residents need to send a clear message to Rosanne Foust:   Measures or votes sponsored by city governments should not be used as veiled advertisements intended to enrich private companies 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Marianna Raymond April 18, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Foust's behavior is indeed outrageous. Although numerous individuals and groups opposed the Saltworks project from the start, the City went ahead with the EIR and promised a transparent process; thus, thoughtful citizens dutifully submitted nearly 1,000 pages of comments during the Scoping period, many of which detailed hundreds of negative impacts. It was understood that these comments and concerns would be addressed in a revised plan. We recently learned that, since November, DMB has been working with its own consultants, leaving City staff entirely out of the picture. The bottom line is that the lack of water, the effects of tens of thousands of new car trips, vulnerability to sea level rise, liquefaction due to earthquake, cannot be mitigated. So, in a disingenuous move, and sensing the rising tide of opposition, Foust is proposing a ballot measure which will effectively be an end run around the will of the residents. I have no doubt that in her effort to avoid "divisiveness," the measure would put the project in a most pleasing light. The City Council should summarily reject this proposal.
Heidi Lenny April 18, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Whoa! I thought the RWC Council's stand on the Cargill/DMB project proposal was to remain neutral and not take a position until they had a chance to carefully review the EIR. To my knowledge, the EIR has not been completed so why would Ms. Foust seek an "advisory vote" on the project proposal on the Fall ballot? Looks to me like the writer has it right -- this is an overt attempt to spend taxpayers money to promote private financial interests. And, we can be certain DMB will be spending massive amounts of money to influence the vote. Shame on all of them.
Marianna Raymond April 19, 2012 at 02:19 AM
Foust's behavior is indeed outrageous. Although numerous individuals and groups opposed the Saltworks project from the start, the City went ahead with the EIR and promised a transparent process; thus, thoughtful citizens dutifully submitted nearly 1,000 pages of comments during the Scoping period, many of which detailed hundreds of negative impacts. It was understood that these comments and concerns would be addressed in a revised plan. We recently learned that, since November, DMB has been working with its own consultants, leaving City staff entirely out of the picture. The bottom line is that the lack of water, the effects of tens of thousands of new car trips, vulnerability to sea level rise, liquefaction due to earthquake, cannot be mitigated. So, in a disingenuous move, and sensing the rising tide of opposition, Foust is proposing a ballot measure which will effectively be an end run around the will of the residents. I have no doubt that in her effort to avoid "divisiveness," the measure would put the project in a most pleasing light. The City Council should summarily reject this proposal.
GD April 19, 2012 at 06:00 AM
What is really outrageous is that Rosanne Foust has been advised to keep out of the whole Cargill issue. However, instead of being respectful of the injunction to stop promoting Cargill, she constantly decries the Fair Political Practices injunction as an unfair restriction on her rights to do so. What is even more outrageous is that other members of the City Council are supportive of this conduct.
Eggbert April 19, 2012 at 05:07 PM
The state has been asked to decide whether Ms. Foust's call for a vote amounts to her discussing the very issue she's been required to recuse herself from: http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_20430168/another-conflict-interest-complaint-filed-against-redwood-city Two items of particular note from the article: One amounts to at least a boost and at worst an enthusiastic endorsement of the companies involved: '"I've known the Cargill land owners for a long time and they're an incredibly philanthropic company," Foust said.' The second is a weak attempt to defuse criticism of her own actions: 'Foust said that in calling for a vote of the people she was not promoting the project and noted that she prefaced her comments by saying she was speaking as an individual.' Hmm. As an individual, sitting on a council seat, speaking in an executive session on a topic not on the agenda. Odd privileges that of course accrue to no other individual. Although perhaps Councilman Bain would see this as the "politics of destruction" to point out such discrepancies.
Ralph Garcia April 20, 2012 at 02:12 AM
I can't believe how people are jumping to conclusions. With so much going on on both sides nobody seems to be paying attention except for they think are the facts. The city has been letting the system work as it is supposed to. I have known Rosanne since we were on the Planning Commission. She does not make up her mind until all the facts are in. If people paid attention as to the so called conflict of interest subject she consulted with two lawyers and both said they did not see a conflict. Ok someone farther up the ladder did, is that Rosanne's fault, I don't think so. Maybe that person had an agenda.To suggest a public vote to be taken on the subject is great. For some to suggest this is her way to promote the project must be playing with a short deck. All the letters are like the Public input at any Council or Planning Commission some just don't have all the facts or refuse to look at both sides with an open mind. Personally I don't think this project will ever happen and if it does it will be way smaller that what they are talking now. I would also think that those opposed would welcome the process because it would back all their claims. So I suggest to all why don't you just chill and check your facts a lot closer before you start talking or sending letters to newspapers. In the end it will be decided by a public vote. So let the slam on me begin. Ralph garcia
Lou Covey, The Local Motive April 20, 2012 at 02:51 AM
So from the scripted negative comments I'm assuming that the opposition would rather avoid allowing the voters a chance to voice their position. I wonder why?
Ralph Garcia April 20, 2012 at 03:27 AM
I wonder the same
Eggbert April 20, 2012 at 05:12 AM
Behold the strawman in our midst. Mr. Covey engages in a standard passive-aggressive feint. Firstly, he argues a point that no one has made. "Avoiding allowing voters" anything reflects none of the points raised. It's Ms. Foust's standing to have called for such a vote that's in dispute. Having been barred from engaging on the Saltworks issue, she reportedly held forth on the topic for nearly ten minutes. She incorporated her high opinion of the corporations involved; she alluded to only the benefits of the proposed project. Within this "non-discussion" of the forbidden topic, she coyly referred to her status as a "private individual" proposing the vote. Other "private individuals" free to make extended speeches from the council dais on issues not on the agenda, outside of a public comment period, were notably absent. Secondly, note Mr. Covey's dismissing of all the foregoing comments as "scripted". It's a move simultaneously disrespectful of those who've taken time to comment, and revelatory of the empty hand he holds were he to be called up to actually respond to points made. Presumably, if he had legitimate counter-arguments, he might offer them up. But if belittling dismissals and strawman arguments are what he has, we are left to infer the absence of better.
Roger Brina April 20, 2012 at 08:45 AM
As usual Lou, you sidestep the point completely to comment on something that has nothing to do with any of the points being raised here by the blog post or the comments in support of it. If you're unsure as to why sidestepping the point and muddling the issue is a bad thing, I suggest you check points #1 and #2 on this website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man#Reasoning Thanks!
Paul Stewart April 20, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Lou Covey's comment IS the issue, not all the jingoism being foisted previously. I would think the anti-Saltworks types who chimed in would actually laud Foust, both as a Councilerpeson and with SAMCEDA, for putting the issue to a vote. And as to the project "benefits" being listed, there's something called Arguement in Opposition to Measure 'X.' I'd suggested you use it and list all the "negatives" for the voters Instead of nitpicking on Foust and Covey. Thus if opposition to the Saltworks project is as widespread as you think, it will prove out in the vote... that's called democracy.
Roger Brina April 20, 2012 at 05:35 PM
I'll sidestep the fact that you clearly don't understand what "jingoism" means to ask: What would an advisory vote tell us? Do you honestly think that Cargill and DMB, who for years now have spent much of their money in RWC on influential people and on charitable efforts in order to sway public opinion on the Saltworks development, wouldn't be spending massive amounts of money attempting to convince the public to vote for the Saltworks proposal? Knowing how much the San Mateo County Labor Council has colluded with Cargill and DMB to push this project forward in spite of the port unions' staunch opposition to Saltworks, do you honestly think that they wouldn't be expending any of their efforts trying to influence the vote? People like Foust and those in support of this project know that there is plenty of Cargill money from Minnesota and/or DMB money from Arizona available to throw at the city, not to mention all the sweet, pretty promises they can make to neighborhoods in order to influence public opinion if things get sent to a vote. That's exactly what happened with Measure W a few years ago. There are large pro-Cargill, pro-Saltworks interests that would kick into high gear if this development is put on the ballot, and for you to claim that this attempt at ballot box legislating is just democracy at work is disingenuous.
Eggbert April 20, 2012 at 06:01 PM
"Scripted" ... "jingoism" ... "politics of destruction" ... "nitpicking" .... Pray continue. An entertaining little enterprise, tabulating the myriad ways less than authentic debaters attempt to undercut point-by-point arguments. Name-calling and bombast are undeniably faster and simpler than engaging any topic on merits, and indeed may carry the day with those not paying close attention; cf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demagogy. 'Twas ever thus.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive April 23, 2012 at 02:09 PM
So Roger, since I'm so ignorant, please describe democracy to me.
StormtrooperStue April 25, 2012 at 07:28 PM
True that Roger. They do have plenty of money to influence voters with false promises and persuade voters to vote yes for the project. Unfortunately we live in a world of people that only believe what they see on tv and advertisements. So in other words if you only see one side of the story you will only believe one side of the story. The establishment knows this, in fact they depend on it. Establishments like DMB and Cargill do not want an informed public. That is their worst enemy. A great example is how Urban Housing Group promised to destroy the Secrets Nude Store as long as the neighborhood was ok with them building over Mel's Bowl. Those people were sadly tricked into loosing their homes through the development and beautification process of that neighborhood. Rent is already starting to rise. All because they wanted Secrets gone they have given Urban Housing Group the permission to destroy their neighborhood. That is an example of how believing only one side of the story can ruin your life.
Barb Valley April 25, 2012 at 11:12 PM
As reported in Patch June 9, 2011: As part of the project proposal, Secrets Adult Superstore on El Camino Real would cease to exist on July 10, 2012. The developer and the owner of the adult store property, Shizue Spielberg, signed a memorandum in December of last year to document a private agreement stating that the owner would “not permit occupancy of the Owner Parcel beyond July 10, 2012 for certain uses,” namely the Secrets Adult Superstore
Ralph Garcia April 28, 2012 at 12:08 AM
I can't tell if you are for or against the Adult book store. For that developer to do that and reface all the commercial space across El Camino and get the Adult book store to go is a plus for all of Redwood City.
Barb Valley April 28, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Neither for nor against, not an establishment I frequent. My comment was in reply to Stormtrooper Stue who maintains the neighbors were tricked into supporting 's Bowl Project by Urban Housing Group's promise to get rid of Secrets. I agree with you. I think the changes that will be made to that area esthetically is a plus.
Ralph Garcia April 28, 2012 at 11:06 PM
They didn't need the neighborhood to approve but they at least talked to them and told them they would improve the neighborhood. I would guess they all wanted the bookstore to go as it was a blight to that neighborhood. So how anybody can say someone was tricked is just bull. So Sue seems to be way off base.
DEBROSE May 06, 2012 at 06:22 AM
You ought to be glad Harold Spielberg isnt here anymore unfortunately,.....because you'd play hell to get rid of "the blight" you snobs have all patronized,....but pretend you havent.... SUZI should tell you all to kiss her butt, and you CRYBABYS pay for the extrasIF you WANT "THE blight" GONE SO BAD,....SHE'S THE ONLY CIVIL DECENTINDIVIDUAL AMONGST YOU ALL, YOU GOT BIGGER PROBLEMS W/YOUR TOWTRUCK INDUSTRY, BUT YOULL REALIZE THAT, WHEN THEYTHE REAL THREATS HAVE ALL YUR NUTS IN A VISE......
DEBROSE May 06, 2012 at 06:24 AM
suzi, DONT LET THEM PUSH YOU AROUND, KISSES TO SHARON , lOVE DEB CHRISTIES MOM WRITE ME AT Deb Rose52@yahoo.com
DEBROSE May 06, 2012 at 06:26 AM
DEBROSE52@yahoo.com
DEBROSE May 06, 2012 at 06:28 AM
Go Go Suzi../....................................................................................
DEBROSE May 06, 2012 at 06:34 AM
SUZI how are you my dear friend,, our husbands are gone but not forgotten, i was imitating harold yesterday ,ya know when he used to rub his hands and go ...key key key key! then giggle,.....specially when tickets got paid w/quarters,..... it still makes me laugh ,god he was a great man. fearless so fearless...........balls of steel.......and the moxy to match........
DEBROSE May 06, 2012 at 06:40 AM
MELS BOWL was a Dump that should have been torn down 10 years before i owened the restaurant in 1974...... instead everyone robbed everyone blind there ,as if that was the norm........ mels bowl geez..... oh please.......
DEBROSE May 06, 2012 at 07:07 AM
I hope she changes her mind miss barb valley, sure your not an outatown stripper w that name.......if it offends you look somewhere else, its a free country hopefully i can change her mind, just to agravate you as much as youve all been a thorn in her side im sure.....perhaps our attorney can attach some punativedamages for harrasement,and deflamatory reterick, day after day after year after decade.... that shes had to endure your violation of her rights of quiet enjoynment...... what 33 years of your mouthy nastiness towards a commercial property business owner and taxpayer reaps in a courtroom for the victim SUZi im curious to see, do you have any adjacent commercial property or a vested interest other than keeping your better half out of the bookstore? thats your tell ...... miss namely the "secrets adult Wonderstore"
DEBROSE May 06, 2012 at 07:12 AM
Sue's got a massive grudge isnt it obvious ,shes the blight, she needs to donate her time she spends griping about something she hasnt a dime of equity in,to the elderly.....
DEBROSE May 06, 2012 at 07:34 AM
I have an idea, rename it, Wonderworld of FANTASIES,repaint and wire an electric lite show depicting custom condoms,and advocating safe sex, the green way.... plant a couple of trees cut like monkeys and elephants ,disney style and be glad you dont have to pay drugstore prices for inferior condoms that break easy so they can sell preg tests.....back to back...... revel that you live in a free country ,that the blood of our sons and fathers paidfor in full,and GO vote wisely ,,,,OBAMA ,forever OBAMA....
Barb Valley May 06, 2012 at 01:24 PM
@DEBROSE "out of town stripper". Thank you so much for my first laugh of the day! "out of town stripper". LOL! oh my.
StormtrooperStue May 16, 2012 at 02:25 PM
"they didn't need the neighborhoods approval" Unfortunately that is how corrupt our society has become. I don't really mind that an adult bookstore is being closed, I do mind that families are being thrown out of their homes due to beautification of their neighborhood. The truth is Mel's Bowl area will look nice but it will cause even worse slums in other parts of RWC. Those who live there now with a low income need to live somewhere. Where are they going to go?

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