The California "twin" cities of Half Moon Bay and Palos Verdes Estates are strikingly similar, coastally protected municipalities.  Both have around 13,000 residents living along the Pacific Ocean around an hour drive from a major metropolitan city.  From a safety standpoint, PVE is more naturally protected being on a peninsula with only a few entry/exit roads.  PVE also is more structurally protected, with the two most trafficked in/out roads requiring passing through Torrance, CA. which is policed by one of the most effective and innovative law enforcement departments in the country.  In order to save merely $500,000/year, in April 2011 HMB's City Council, without passing the buck to an intentionally misguided and misinformed citizenry (see PVE Measure E), voted unanimously to move law enforcement to the San Mateo Sheriff.  It is estimated that a similar move by PVE to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department would save $5,000,000/year, including pension costs. As the LASD proposed in 2016 for the PVEPD HQ in its quoted $4.5 million/year deluxe "Option B", the San Mateo Sheriff moved into the HMB police HQ and ran it as a Sheriff substation.  There was no fight from HMB's police officers, who rather than line up to pressure HMB residents or government (see Steve Barber photo), instead agreed that financially it was a prudent decision "years overdue."  Then again, HMB didn't employ numerous officers who may be underqualified for Sheriff employment.  HMB also didn't have police department leaders paid over $200,000/year to drive or park in the shade, three days/week, in naturally safe, scenic PVE.  HMB also didn't have a police department with a primary role to catch-and-release lawbreaking local voters or wave at socially-starved, mature residents.  Like has been validated since 2011 in HMB, there is a reasonable likelihood that despite costing perhaps 1/3 - 1/2 of the PVEPD's all-inclusive costs, the LASD would deliver equal response times and higher levels of law enforcement.  Click on the headline above to read the official report detailing the tremendous success achieved both on budget and law enforcement by the leaders of HMB.

Half Moon Bay Police Outsourcing Success

PVE Councilman Sanford Davidson Rejected as Future Mayor

For more information regarding Sanford Davidson, click HERE.

City Manager Tony Dahlerbruch position to terminate under new City Council? (April 2019)

Based on the April 3, 2019 posting of the agenda for a Special Meeting of the recently reconstituted Palos Verdes Estates City Council (click here or on images), it appears that Tony Dahlerbruch's position as City Manager is about to terminate.

Palos Verdes Estates City Manager Tony Dahlerbruch's apparent professional deficiencies long ago had been identified by many in the PVE community (click here and see below).  The allegations against Dahlerbruch have included the following:

  • an apparent lack of expertise in pertinent financial matters (e.g.. pension liability); 

  • bloating the City's budget with unprecedented hiring-driven expenses; 

  • massive senior employee turnover in nearly every department; 

  • ethical issues, including potentially making knowingly false statements.

However, the formation of the Financial Advisory Committee (FAC) in 2018 seems to have been the beginning of the end of Dahlerbruch's checkered history as PVE's chief executive.  This is because the FAC included or was attended by two very experienced financial service and accounting/audit executives, Victoria Lozzi and David McGowan.  These two, in addition to the others on the FAC, reportedly got a "front row seat" on Dahlerbruch's perceived incompetence. 

This alone probably was enough to accelerate Dahlerbruch's demise.  However, what happened next seems to have sealed his fate.  Lozzi and McGowan were elected by PVE resident voters to the PVE City Council, which as a five-person entity is Dahlerbruch's "boss."  It is reasonable to conclude that Dahlerbruch has seen the writing on the wall.  Reports are circulating that Dahlerbruch is actively seeking alternative employment (perhaps with the help of friend/City Attorney Christi Hogin, who along with her husband/Rolling Hills City Attorney Michael Jenkins reportedly assisted Dahlerbruch in obtaining the PVE City Manager job).

City Manager & Council Competent?  Auditor Found Significant Internal Control Deficiencies

City Manager Tony Dahlerbruch found himself faced with a January 17, 2018 Auditor's report (click here) that stated, for the second year in a row, "We did identify certain deficiencies in internal control, as described below, that we consider to be significant deficiencies."  (click on image below).

PVE's City Council, to City Manager Dahlerbruch's good fortune, appallingly had no response when Dahlerbruch on January 23, 2018 stammered, "There in small print but clearly in the letters that are attached are those findings and comments that [the auditor] found in regard to our financial statements. Uh .... these are virtually the same ones that we had last year and … uh … they … uh … need correction. In summary, we completely agree with what the auditor was saying and have every intention to make those corrections and uh … moving forward with staff that we need and will be getting to fulfill the finance department we look forward to complying with their ... uh … recommendations.” (click here at 31:30).  Was the City Council either asleep on the dais or determined not to draw any public attention to the City's internal control problems ahead of the Measure E vote set for 3 months later?  Making matters worse, on April 19, 2018, at the first substantive meeting of the new Finance Advisory Committee ("FAC"), City Manager Dahlerbruch again exhibited his specialty at 1/2 truths.  He boasts to the FAC that the City's auditor found no "material" problems but fails to disclose two consecutive years of significant internal control deficiencies.   Dahlerbruch also does not disclose that the Auditor was not retained to determine if internal control deficiencies would result in a qualified audit (i.e., had that been part of their auditing mandate, it may very well have caused a qualified auditor opinion; click here at 6:00).*

City Mayor Vandever Determined to Hide Pension Bomb:  Anyone wishing to confirm Mayor Jim Vandever's determination to mistreat PVE's pension liability as an illusion rather than money the City is highly likely to owe is steered toward his January 23, 2018 dialog with the Auditor's representative (click here at 1:07:00).  To anyone with any finance training, it is astounding to listen to PVE's Auditor explain how PVE's restricted cash balance plummeted from $20 million to $10 million and then the Mayor's response.  Auditor:  "The one thing I really want to highlight is the big drop really was between 2014 and 2018 ... when the City had to implement ... pension standards ... that put $10 million of net pension liability into your books."  Vandever (shockingly and defensively):  "Our pension liability, what we really owe ... didn't change by a penny.  This is just someone else's view of what that is likely to be in a future state."  For the next few minutes, Vandever's brain either lacks the capacity or is unwilling to grasp that interest rates have plummeted globally toward zero percent.  The Auditor explains that if the discount rate drops to 6.5% from the now lower 7.5% assumed discount rate, the pension liability would rise by another 50% overnight.  That extraordinarily stark warning from the City's auditor received truly NO reaction or concern from the entire City Council, or Treasurer Lozzi for that matter.  It was glossed over despite being tantamount to NOAA's meteorologist having just broadcast, "If the wind changes just 5 degrees to the south, Category 5 Hurricane Tony will hit PVE's coastline head on."

City Manager Dahlerbruch Continues to Deceive, Delay and Deflect:  Dahlerbruch expends the most energy during this meeting attempting to neuter, isolate and depower this committee and its sub-committees (watch from around 2:00:00 onward).  However, throughout the meeting our City Manager either cannot or will not answer basic questions, including one regarding the "magnitude of pension prepayments" (click here at 57:00).  Powerful FAC member David McGowan calls out Dahlerbruch for not having complied with "very simple task" of giving the FAC information on PVE government personnel quantity and reconciliation with past approved staffing plans (click here at 58:00 to 1:01:00).  McGowan deserves kudos for not accepting Dahlerbruch's excuses for non-delivery, stating, "I don't understand 'as it becomes available'.  It should be available as we sit here tonight."  Immediately after failing to answer McGowan's "simple" question, City Manager Dahlerbruch shows a slide exhibiting the infeasible "Police Department Reductions" plan (click here at 1:01:00), which in addition to promising unattainable savings through theoretical 2-3-year attrition doesn't come anywhere close to the PVEPD cost increases from pension and insurance.  Even worse, the second line item on this slide states, "Convert sworn Captain positions to civilian Manager position."  Dahlerbruch failed to inform the FAC that not only had Captain Tony Best not converted his title in any fashion, but Mark Velez's briefly vacant captain position reportedly has been filled with Steve Eberhard's promotion to Acting Captain.

Nobody with Courage to Confront PVEPD's Steady March of PVE Toward Bankruptcy:  Despite City Manager Dahlerbruch making abundantly clear that PVE's operational and capital costs were set to rise (if not explode), not a soul in City Hall has the fortitude to request, much less demand, a Sheriff Feasibility Study (SFS).  Pathetically, the most we've seen is a sheepish, nearly whispered mention in May 2018 by Treasurer Lozzi that a SFS would be nice to have (click here).  Such a SFS would put to rest once and for all how much PVE would save and precisely what services would be obtained by PVE joining RPV, Rolling Hills and RHE in contracting the LASD.  It is a near certainty that a "tax stack" ("Measure F") shall be arriving in PVE mailboxes in 2019.  Without the long overdue SFS being completed and available to voters, again the City can be expected to make false statements misrepresenting the Sheriff's costs and benefits - all in order to get PVE homeowners to vote to tax their homes yet again.  With Sandy Davidson present staring her down yet again, Treasurer Lozzi essentially confirmed precisely that of which she was accused by Davidson during his "Venom Speech" (click here).  Despite the live microphone directly in front of her and the City Manager's abundant discussion about exploding costs and deficient revenues, Lozzi did not utter a single word about obtaining a Sheriff Feasibility Study.  This SFS clearly is needed both as a baseline/benchmark to use in current PVEPD contract negotiations, and to inform voters ahead of the next tax vote.  In fact, only Sandy Davidson made any substantive comments about his prized police source of a "way of life" in PVE.  Everyone else was silent, as if the PVEPD wasn't consuming over half our strained budget or the Sheriff quote was not less than half of that same PVEPD budget.  Former Mayor Jim Nyman's condemnation of selective and non-law enforcement by the PVEPD (click here at 32:10) typically has been entirely ignored by the City Council.

Who on the FAC Truly Is Protecting the Taxpaying Residents?  The only member of the FAC to challenge Dahlerbruch was David McGowan.  He is the only member of the five to make clear his determination to model out a 5-10 year City budget, and that he is not going to let Dahlerbruch render ineffectual the FAC.  Amy Forte appears to view her role as an administrator orchestrating the timing of slides and speakers.  Ela Jhaveri is nearly invisible, while Don Culler (one of the leaders of the Save PVE Police Committee) frankly is operating at a pace that is difficult to track.  Lastly and the biggest problem is Mark Young.  Young appears to be a mere extension of Tony Dahlerbruch.  He clearly was selected over others to be a friend of PVE City Hall and its councilpersons, particularly since for a living he gets contracts with City Halls around Los Angeles.  He ended the April 19, 2018 meeting commenting on how PVE had "dodged a bullet" by passing the $5 million/year Measure E Parcel Tax:  "The Sheriff were not going to be able to solve the problem."  Given the PVEPD's $7.5 - $10 million (and rising) annual budget vs. our own City Manager quantifying the Sheriff cost at $3.5 - $4.5 million/year, how precisely wasn't up to $6.5 million/year in law enforcement savings (on an $18 million annual budget) a clear solution/alternative to a $5 million/year tax on our homes?

* Auditor's letter stated, "Our consideration of internal control was for the limited purpose described in the first paragraph of this section and was not designed to identify all deficiencies in internal control that might be material weaknesses or significant deficiencies, and therefore, material weaknesses or significant deficiencies may exist that were not identified."

Obstructing Cyclists:  Have you been stuck behind an illegal cyclist?

Cycling traffic has come to PVE in full force.   This is due in no small part to PVE's typically wide  lanes, relatively few parked cars due to large driveways/garages, scenic beauty and clean air, and rolling hills that provide an excellent training ground for the climbing stage of competitive cycling events.  However, illegal cyclist obstruction of motorist traffic is not just a matter of slowing down cars -  it can be the catalyst to a sequence of reactions that leads to motorist fatalities (click here).  The Big Orange Cycling group, which shockingly was supported by PVE's Chief of Police despite its cyclists increasingly being identified as illegally riding side- by-side in violation of CVC 21202(a), unfortunately decided in mid-2016 that their best defense was to be offensive.  Click here for a video representation of what occurred.  CVC 21202(a), as interpreted by the California Attorney General's office (see letter), makes clear that various cyclists blatantly and rampantly are breaking the law in PVE.  PVE voters who elected Sandy Davidson are still waiting for him to honor his pledge to obtain PVEPD enforcement of cycling laws.

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9 thoughts on “Current Issues”

  1. The PVE City Council, supposedly new and improved, is a disgrace.

    Since being elected a year ago, Victoria Lozzi has done NOTHING she promised when running for election or as she proclaimed when Treasurer. She barely prepares for meetings and has lifted nary a finger to get anything done regarding her self-proclaimed desire to “go back and get it right” for law enforcement expenses. No Sheriff Feasibility Study requested, much less demand by her.

    Mike Kemps perhaps is even worse. His approach is duplicity. He publicly declares “1000% support for PVEPD” at council meeting when a senior officer is looking at him, but then privately tells gadfly Dez Myers and others he is working hard to bring the Sheriff into PVE. Just look at the guy – he truly could be the picture in Websters for “little” and “coward”.

    David McGowan is tragic. He is too out of it and disconnected to be blamed too much. He should be put out to pasture gently rather than be rebuked.

    1. Kemps did NOT tell me, Desiree Myers, that he would get rid of the police. Period.

      Information presented at the police adhoc was very concerning.
      The basis of retaining the local police was told to residents as:
      1) Our local police have higher service levels. But our police do not have service levels (KPIs).
      2) Our local police are less expensive than the sheriffs. But, our police budget excludes $1.5 million a year on average of pension costs, so that is $8.5 million. Meanwhile we were told at the meeting that the $6.4 million sheriffs bid was created by our employees that had the sheriffs replicate our top heavy management structure (more mgmt than officers), which is why this bid increased from $3-4 million in 2018 to $6.4 in 2020.

      I support safety as a number #1 important service. This requires managed and reported service levels.
      And it requires reducing the cost of our local police to a more affordable model, while paying the full cost each year rather than funding the operations with never ending debt, which inevitably causes never ending tax stacks.

      1. It is very sad to see Desiree Myers remaining loyal to Michael Kemps. One would think his betrayal would have been the final straw.

  2. PVE City Council has been raving about the Interim City Manager Petru when juxtaposed next to disgraced and departed Tony Dahlerbruch. She obstructs nothing vs. Tony D putting hurdle traps everywhere. She is knowledgeable about how to run a city prudently having come from much larger RPV. Tony D is gone. Thank God.

  3. This website is amazing! I can say that everyone I know in PVE is so happy that Tony D has been dismissed. He built a reputation for obstructing progress in just about every form. Incompetence at its worst. Dishonesty at its most vile. I pity whoever hires this guy next.

  4. The turnover in PVE City Hall has been tremendous in just six years since Tony D came to town. This is just from memory. A lot of people have been poached by former PVE City Manager Joe Hoefgen who now runs Redondo as its City Manager.

    Sheri Repp Loadsman, Deputy City Mgr. and Head of Planning (MIA)
    Elizabeth Corpuz: City Planner (now in Bellflower)
    Alan Rigg: City Planner/Chief Engineer (now in Stanton)
    Joe Mendoza: Head of Code Enforcement (similar job in other city)
    Elissa Hall: Head of Code Enforcement (now in Santa Monica)
    Vicki Kroneberger: City Clerk (now in Redondo)
    John Downs: Finance Director (now Municipal consultant in San Pedro)
    Mike Ross: Building Supervisor (now in Redondo)
    Stacey Kinsella: Ass. Planning Director (now in Redondo)
    John Eberhard: Police Chief (accused of pension spike)
    Jeff Kepley: Police Chief (accused of fake sick leave)

    I’m sure I’ve missed a few. There was some guy named Reg or Reg who also was senior and has left. It’s been a debacle.

  5. It took this long to get this buffoon Dahlerbruch out of PVE????? What is wrong with this city? You’ve got Kepley, Repp-Loadsman, and Dahlerbruch all jammed out of town in just the past year. Why can’t the city council hire good people?

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