Monday, May 21 , 2018, 2:09 pm | Partly Cloudy 66º


Ron Fink: New Trash Trucks Cause a Stink in Lompoc

The John Linn/Jim Mosby team was in fine form at the Sept. 6 Lompoc City Council meeting.

The following is a perfect example of micromanagement which Linn perfected during his reign as mayor and Mosby has carried on.
The issue was a routine consent calendar item to replace some side-loading refuse trucks that were beyond their service life. The city has a policy in place to replace these vehicles based on an 8-year lifecycle.
Before the council could consider the consent calendar, the agenda calls for a public comment period.

The ever present Linn took this opportunity to bestow another of his pearls of wisdom on the council. His concern was that the city had not required the low-bidder to provide compressed natural-gas engines for the new trucks.
As usual, he was factually challenged, but his close ally, Councilman Mosby, advanced his cause and asked the staff to explain why CNG wasn’t being used.

To put this all in perspective, Mosby is the Lompoc representative to the governing board of the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District and is currently the vice chair. So, he should have some knowledge of the rules related to truck engines.
But once again, just like Linn, Mosby didn’t let facts get in his way.

His argument was based on rules he knew were related to off-road tractors, not over-the-road trucks. He asked that the item be delayed until staff could determine if there were any grant programs available to purchase CNG engines.
Most folks who are not in the trucking industry are unfamiliar with what the California requirements are for truck engines.

The state of California has a robust greenhouse-gas emissions’ program that specifies what type of exhaust standards apply to trucks. Diesel engines that meet the current standards and that have been certified for use in California are acceptable.
As vice chair of the APCD board, you'd think Mosby would know this; but Linn had spoken, so Mosby followed his lead once again.
So, are there grant programs available? I checked the California Air Resources Board website and discovered this program:

“The Carl Moyer Truck Improvement/Modernization Benefitting Emission Reductions (TIMBER) Program provides a streamlined approach for replacing older, high-polluting heavy-duty log trucks earlier than required.”

But, the city doesn’t operate logging trucks.
They also have this program: “Grants may be available for the replacement of a truck with a model year 2006 or older engine.” But the trucks being replaced are not of that vintage. Furthermore, if they were, the grant would be to replace engines with ARB-complaint engines that include diesel engines.
Why is any of this important to voters?
When Linn was mayor, he constantly micromanaged every aspect of city operations to the point of near total constipation of the process.

By consistently providing faulty information and intimidating folks with his forceful demeanor in his day-to-day dealings with staff members, and running roughshod over the council, Linn disrupted the orderly flow of government, thus increasing the end cost of service.
In this instance, the staff had established a set of specifications consistent with the ARB standards to buy new trucks that meet current emission standards. They also used historical operation and maintenance history to anticipate problem areas before they issued a Request for Proposals to the industry.

In other words, they are technically competent to do the job.
The city of Lompoc is a very large business and it has hired professionals to run the various departments and provide service to the community. Neither Linn nor Mosby seem to respect the staff credentials or experience.  
Mosby always claims he is only acting in the capacity as a council member to perform “due diligence” for the public while seated at the dais, but his misinformed approach to most of these issues is indicative of someone who only wants to try to convince us that he is more knowledgeable than the staff he is questioning.
As for Linn, he only wants to show that without him at the helm, the city just can’t function. He has appeared at almost every council meeting since he was ousted by voters by a wide margin in 2014 to dispense his vast knowledge of every miniscule aspect of the agenda.
This is just the latest of many examples of how a Linn/Mosby team acting in concert with other willing accomplices will inhibit the orderly flow of government.

Each of these episodes costs staff time and money to pursue thoughts and ideas that are consistently found to be irrelevant to the issue being discussed.
We need a team of responsible leaders, not some grandstanding, misinformed rabble rousers.

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committee since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at [email protected]. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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