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The City of Chula Vista is considering assuming the responsibility for cleaning up the water and soil pollution after the deconstruction of the South Bay Power Plant. Negotiations on what the City has called a “bifurcated path” have been taking place behind the scenes for several months.

In preparation for a council meeting today, March 22, the City has done two things: called a closed-session meeting to hold power-plant discussions before the open meeting and released a lengthy staff report regarding the negotiations.

Despite Chula Vista’s economic woes, the staff report reveals to residents for the first time the cost of outside attorney fees to conduct power plant negotiations — $221,814. The staff report calls the costs “significant.”

The staff report also attempts to explain the controversial role that David Malcolm has played, and continues to play, in the negotiations. (Malcolm was a former port commissioner who stepped down due to conflict-of-issue problems. He was convicted in 2002 of a felony, which was later expunged.)

Though mayor Cheryl Cox has stated that Malcolm is not a negotiator and is only someone to call up for advice, the staff report says that on approximately October 22, 2010, “David Malcolm outlines a proposal for direct City involvement with demolition and remediation of the [South Bay Power Plant] after discussions he initiates with Dynegy [the company that currently manages the decommissioned power plant]. City staff meets with Malcolm and a formal draft ‘letter of intent’ [LOI] outlining possible terms of this agreement is prepared.”

The staff report seems to contradict itself because it goes on to say about Malcolm’s involvement that “Staff’s understanding is that Mr. Malcolm brought the LOI proposal to the City on his own initiative.” So the question is: did city staff meet with Malcolm and draft the letter of intent or did Malcolm arrive with it in hand?

It is notable that emails provided by former port commissioner Steve Padilla show that one outside attorney hired by the city, John Lorman, forwarded legal material to Malcolm. According to the staff report, the City’s first direct contact and negotiations with Dynegy did not occur until November 15, after drafting the letter of intent in October.

Current efforts on behalf of the staff are “focused on the City’s threshold requirement that Dynegy provide its detailed project cost estimates and hazardous material reports, and that Dynegy fund the cost of the City’s review and analysis thereof.”

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Comments

ElProfeLoco March 22, 2011 @ 9:19 a.m.

DAVID MALCOLM: A CONVICTED FELON for previously taking large sums of under-the-table graft from Duke Power regarding this same South Bay Power Plant (SBPP) while he was a San Diego Port Commissioner representing (more like fleecing and undermining!) Chula Vista.

EXPUNGED?? - more like politically connected enough to have a friendly judge remove or delete the conviction from his personal criminal record. His FELONY CONVICTION may be gone from court records, but is still a matter of record in the South Bay (widely covered by the Union Tribune and SD Reader then).

NEGOTIATOR?? Mayor Cheryl Cox freely admits to being in contact and recently involving David Malcolm with Dynergy and future demolition, cleanup and remediation of the SBPP site - how stupid can a politician and mayor be?: Hey, lets call up the same felon who fleeced us earlier on this deal and see if he can do an encore for us. Malcolm is lurking in this muck in hopes of collecting yet another pay check from the same bank he heisted earlier.

ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR CLEANUP?? That is even more insane and idiotic than involving David Malcolm - another hare-brained idea from Mayor Cox (seconded by her yes-woman, Councilwoman Pam Bensoussan). Most entities would gladly pay large sums of money to DIVEST and ELIMINATE responsibility for demolition, cleanup and remediation - but Cheryl wants the Chula Vista taxpayers (who currently have a negative balance in their municipal coffers) to ASSUME responsibility and liability for this legal and financial time bomb and can of worms. The Port of San Diego and Dynergy currently have those responsibilities and the City of Chula Vista should give thanks three times a day that those other agencies now have those liabilities and not CV.

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joepublic March 22, 2011 @ 10:32 a.m.

If David Malcolm is simply sharing his ideas "..on his own initiative", then why isn't he doing this on the record through written or oral communications with the city council like the rest of the public does. Also, since when has the city offered individuals attorney's services to help them shape their personal, unauthorized thoughts? If, on the other hand Mr. Malcolm is negotiating for the city, shouldn't he be required to disclose any conflicts of interest he might have regarding what's on the table? The Chula Vista city council must get this process straightened out if they ever expect to have the public's trust and support.

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VigilantinCV March 22, 2011 @ 11:41 a.m.

Who is lying? Cheryl Cox or David Malcolm? Both? How can you trust Glen Googins who had trouble remembering he was lobbied by John Moot on behalf of a demolition company? Cheryl Cox, Pam Bensossan and Glen Googins took it on themselves, without specific authorization, to spend $216,814 to assist David Malcolm to pursue his "deal ." This is an outrage!!

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cvres March 22, 2011 @ 12:49 p.m.

Why would anyone in their right mind let Dynegy walk away from Dynegy's responsibility? Mr. Malcolm says he is not being paid by the city, but is he being paid by Dynegy to get them out of their contract?

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Susan Luzzaro March 22, 2011 @ 1:50 p.m.

Just to clarify that the attorney fees in this story are the total of two separate law firms. I received a public record request yesterday, too late for this story, which was a copy of the contract for the first attorney, Lorman. The city agreed to pay this attorney $500.00 an hour.

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