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09.09.09

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Silicon Valley News Notes

City Shanks Golf Deal

The San Jose City Council signed off last week on a grand jury report detailing how two municipal golf courses have ended up in a $1.9 million sand trap. Los Lagos and Rancho del Pueblo, two of three public courses owned by the city, have been draining $800,000 per year from the General Fund. The civil grand jury found significant budget mismanagement, faulty feasibility reports and shoddy consulting when the course was being built, along with gross underestimates of labor costs. "Its astounding that you could be that far off," Councilman Sam Liccardo said. "This whole thing just seemed to go south at every turn." Los Lagos was conceived of in 1997, when golf was booming around the country (the Tiger Woods effect). According to the grand jury report, however, the original feasibility study neglected to take into account that six other golf courses were already being built in the South Bay at that time. During discussion of the report, Councilmember Judy Chirco said that when Los Lagos was originally being discussed, she had supported it. "To be quite candid, I hate golf," she said. "But it wasn't for me that I advocated this." Mayor Chuck Reed later retorted: "I don't hate golf. I don't love golf. But it's $2 million a year in debt service. That's what I know." While raising greens fees may help the city break even, the City Council is now considering selling off the Los Lagos course instead.


Recall Failure Saves Monte Sereno Money

In 2008, only two candidates showed up to run for two seats on the Monte Sereno Town Council. Last week, some residents were up in arms because one of those candidates, Lana Malloy, as well as Mayor Curtis Wright and Vice Mayor Don Perry, voted to award themselves a $300 per month salary. This led angry residents to launch a recall petition campaign, which ended last week after angry activists failed to collect enough signatures. The councilmembers' salaries will cost Monte Sereno a total of $21,600 per year, while a recall election would have cost the town $200,000.

 

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