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San Diego showers money on homeless

Bureaucrats in charge of the poor get hefty salaries

Operation Shelter to Home: a vendor charged the City more than double its contracted rate for portable showers, overcharging the City by about $1,118,000.
Operation Shelter to Home: a vendor charged the City more than double its contracted rate for portable showers, overcharging the City by about $1,118,000.

Seven-figure overrun

Andy Hanau is not a fain of making it rain on the city’s dime.

San Diego city officials have gotten a splash of cold water over their handling of last year’s showers-for-the-homeless program, called Operation Shelter to Home, in a July 21 report by City Auditor Andy Hanau. “The City had an existing contract with a vendor establishing a monthly price of $20,000 per 8-stall portable shower trailer,” says the document. “However, from March through November 2020, the vendor charged the City more than double its contracted rate, overcharging the City by about $1,118,000, including more than $721,000 that was reimbursed from the Coronavirus Relief Fund.” A late-year expansion of the program brought even costlier overruns hidden from the city council. “We also found that the City did not obtain City Council approval for the increase in the portable showers contract, which increased from $3,000,000 to $6,092,608 in October 2020.” Notes the report, “According to the Chief Operating Officer’s June 9, 2021, memorandum to the Office of the City Auditor, City staff are preparing to bring the portable showers contract back to City Council in July 2021 to obtain approval for the overage.” The audit recommends that officials “determine if the City should pursue a refund from the vendor for up to $1.118 million in payments made by the City above the contracted rate for the portable showers,” which they pledged to do. “If a refund is provided, the Department of Finance should also reallocate the $721,000 in overcharged funds reimbursed from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to other eligible expenses.” Meanwhile, the document says, “the contract for food services at Operation Shelter to Home has not been ratified by City Council,” yet another omission that Matthew Vespi, the city’s Chief Financial Officer, in a July 20 memo to Hanau, has promised to rectify.

Consultants’ dream

Hafsa Kaka, wandering homelessness expert.

While San Diego mayor Todd Gloria continues to parse the findings of his homeless consulting guru Matthew Doherty, the county of San Diego is out with a call for a consultant of its own to advise its newly formed Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities. Among Doherty’s recommendations, endorsed by Gloria and approved by the city council, is a newly created city Department of Homelessness Strategies and Solutions, run by Hafsa Kaka, whose last stop was Homeless Solutions Officer for the City of Riverside. Before that, Kaka had a similar position in Santa Ana, where in 2019, she got a total of $176,746 in pay and benefits, according to the Transparent California website. Doherty was paid $50,000 for his work for Gloria, according to a January 30 Union-Tribune report.

So just how many more taxpayer-paid anti-homeless strategists are needed? Now, in a July 16 Request for Quotation, the county says it is looking for a consultant “to develop a County Enterprise Homeless Solutions and Prevention Action Plan.” Adds the request: “The goal is for this Action Plan to be a document that serves as a strategic framework with a laser-focused approach recognizing the urgency and complexity of the problem.” A “needs assessment to help identify recommended changes to approaches to homeless solutions and identify gaps across service sectors and areas of success, and best and promising practices” is also on the bill. San Diego is identified as one of 18 “city partners” to be kept in the county’s loop via special meetings called “convenings.” “Contractor shall work with the Office of Homeless Solutions to identify and engage cross-sector stakeholders to participate in convenings. Convenings may be conducted in person and/or virtually.” No costs are given.

Tanking up with Toni

Another famous San Diego developer name has shown up as a giver to San Diego ex-mayor Kevin Faulconer’s bid to become governor. Michael Neal, president and CEO of H.G. Fenton Company, came up with $2500 on July 27. Meanwhile, local legislative Democrats have also been busy picking up campaign cash. On July 7, Our Voice Our Vote, the ballot measure fund run by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, got $10,000 from the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians of Oakhurst. Kindred Healthcare Operating LLC of Louisville, Kentucky, gave Gonzalez’s 2022 reelection committee $5000 on July 5. A midyear filing by Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins shows that her Atkins for Lt. Governor 2026 committee raised $194,690 from the beginning of the year through June 30 and spent $19,742, ending the period with $174,947 of cash in the bank. $4838 was spent at Bottega Napa Valley for a June 25 dinner with Atkins, spouse Jennifer LeSar, who runs subsidized housing consulting business, and 24 supporters. A fundraiser at Brasserie Capitale in Sacramento cost $1106, and a June 26 “lunch pairing” with Atkins, Le Sar, and 13 supporters at Brasswood Cellars in St. Helena ran $1987.

— Matt Potter

(@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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Operation Shelter to Home: a vendor charged the City more than double its contracted rate for portable showers, overcharging the City by about $1,118,000.
Operation Shelter to Home: a vendor charged the City more than double its contracted rate for portable showers, overcharging the City by about $1,118,000.

Seven-figure overrun

Andy Hanau is not a fain of making it rain on the city’s dime.

San Diego city officials have gotten a splash of cold water over their handling of last year’s showers-for-the-homeless program, called Operation Shelter to Home, in a July 21 report by City Auditor Andy Hanau. “The City had an existing contract with a vendor establishing a monthly price of $20,000 per 8-stall portable shower trailer,” says the document. “However, from March through November 2020, the vendor charged the City more than double its contracted rate, overcharging the City by about $1,118,000, including more than $721,000 that was reimbursed from the Coronavirus Relief Fund.” A late-year expansion of the program brought even costlier overruns hidden from the city council. “We also found that the City did not obtain City Council approval for the increase in the portable showers contract, which increased from $3,000,000 to $6,092,608 in October 2020.” Notes the report, “According to the Chief Operating Officer’s June 9, 2021, memorandum to the Office of the City Auditor, City staff are preparing to bring the portable showers contract back to City Council in July 2021 to obtain approval for the overage.” The audit recommends that officials “determine if the City should pursue a refund from the vendor for up to $1.118 million in payments made by the City above the contracted rate for the portable showers,” which they pledged to do. “If a refund is provided, the Department of Finance should also reallocate the $721,000 in overcharged funds reimbursed from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to other eligible expenses.” Meanwhile, the document says, “the contract for food services at Operation Shelter to Home has not been ratified by City Council,” yet another omission that Matthew Vespi, the city’s Chief Financial Officer, in a July 20 memo to Hanau, has promised to rectify.

Consultants’ dream

Hafsa Kaka, wandering homelessness expert.

While San Diego mayor Todd Gloria continues to parse the findings of his homeless consulting guru Matthew Doherty, the county of San Diego is out with a call for a consultant of its own to advise its newly formed Department of Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities. Among Doherty’s recommendations, endorsed by Gloria and approved by the city council, is a newly created city Department of Homelessness Strategies and Solutions, run by Hafsa Kaka, whose last stop was Homeless Solutions Officer for the City of Riverside. Before that, Kaka had a similar position in Santa Ana, where in 2019, she got a total of $176,746 in pay and benefits, according to the Transparent California website. Doherty was paid $50,000 for his work for Gloria, according to a January 30 Union-Tribune report.

So just how many more taxpayer-paid anti-homeless strategists are needed? Now, in a July 16 Request for Quotation, the county says it is looking for a consultant “to develop a County Enterprise Homeless Solutions and Prevention Action Plan.” Adds the request: “The goal is for this Action Plan to be a document that serves as a strategic framework with a laser-focused approach recognizing the urgency and complexity of the problem.” A “needs assessment to help identify recommended changes to approaches to homeless solutions and identify gaps across service sectors and areas of success, and best and promising practices” is also on the bill. San Diego is identified as one of 18 “city partners” to be kept in the county’s loop via special meetings called “convenings.” “Contractor shall work with the Office of Homeless Solutions to identify and engage cross-sector stakeholders to participate in convenings. Convenings may be conducted in person and/or virtually.” No costs are given.

Tanking up with Toni

Another famous San Diego developer name has shown up as a giver to San Diego ex-mayor Kevin Faulconer’s bid to become governor. Michael Neal, president and CEO of H.G. Fenton Company, came up with $2500 on July 27. Meanwhile, local legislative Democrats have also been busy picking up campaign cash. On July 7, Our Voice Our Vote, the ballot measure fund run by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, got $10,000 from the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians of Oakhurst. Kindred Healthcare Operating LLC of Louisville, Kentucky, gave Gonzalez’s 2022 reelection committee $5000 on July 5. A midyear filing by Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins shows that her Atkins for Lt. Governor 2026 committee raised $194,690 from the beginning of the year through June 30 and spent $19,742, ending the period with $174,947 of cash in the bank. $4838 was spent at Bottega Napa Valley for a June 25 dinner with Atkins, spouse Jennifer LeSar, who runs subsidized housing consulting business, and 24 supporters. A fundraiser at Brasserie Capitale in Sacramento cost $1106, and a June 26 “lunch pairing” with Atkins, Le Sar, and 13 supporters at Brasswood Cellars in St. Helena ran $1987.

— Matt Potter

(@sdmattpotter)

The Reader offers $25 for news tips published in this column. Call our voice mail at 619-235-3000, ext. 440, or sandiegoreader.com/staff/matt-potter/contact/.

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Comments
3

Needs mentioning that, the day before the city auditor released its report with these numbers, it was noted in the Union-Tribune that just between March and September in 2020, San Diego spent $141.7 million on homeless "initiatives" that never housed a single one — which if divided by 5,000 unhoused individuals would be equal to simply paying them $28,340 each, https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/story/2021-07-20/san-diego-homeless-budget-affordable-housing

Make no mistake: ending homelessness isn't the goal — enriching our elected officials' donors and the nonprofits that support them is.

Aug. 4, 2021

The unfortunately-surnamed Ms. Kaka may be the perfect person for San Diego County's entry in the Homeless Sweepstakes, racking up her third job in a So Cal community in as many years. Does she ever get beyond probationary status? What can our legislators be thinking?

Aug. 4, 2021

This sort of thing, repeated a hundred or thousand times over explains why I had to navigate a wretched stretch of Camino Ruiz between Calle Cristobal and Mira Mesa Blvd. That was one of those needy streets that Kev-boy promised to get repaired. Well, he didn't, nor did he get Calle Morelos and its many speed bumps put into a driveable condition. SD has never been a rich city with money to burn, and yet it burns money year after year. So, what suffers? The wretched streets, the prone-to-burst water mains, the parks that have little or no shade, and the residents who pay and pay taxes, and see a pitiful return for their dollars.

Aug. 5, 2021

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