The Shadow Grows

Below you will find the history of the MISEDC, as spun for the benefit of 5th District Congressional Representative Mike Thompson, who has been involved in the secret planning initiative.  This "citizens committee" wants to entice the Army Corps of Engineers to resume regular dredging of the length of the Strait and bring more heavy industry to our waterfront.   MARAD, which figures so prominently in the first half, is the US Maritime Administration, the agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation dealing with waterborne transportation.


The startling part of the chronology comes with the two line explanation for the extensive involvement of some of our city's highest paid staff in what is repeatedly identified as a private unsanctioned ad hoc committee, (or pet project), of a few "citizens."  In the Shadow Puppets emails we hear the City Manager sounding relieved  on being reminded that at least they have the whole council on record in January as saying dredging is a city priority.  That's many months after staff started working with this committee.


A search of city records reveals that the vote they are talking about comes nowhere near to justifying five minutes of staff time for this private project.  There was never discussion of the city adopting the MISEDC ad hoc agenda in which dredging is only part one.  The council participated in a goals generating session on February 19, 2015.  During the session individual members were asked to list their priorities, and Jess Malgapo of course included 'dredge the Strait' in his list.  Dredge the Strait also makes it into their extensive multi-department laundry list of goals at the end of a long day, undoubtedly sponsored by the same individual. 


Three months later at the May 12 city council meeting and way down at Item L, is the vote that our city staff seems to think covers their involvement.  It was just a routine item to approve the goals session report, which starts on pg 172 of the Staff Report.  Again buried in the list is 'dredge the Strait.'  In no way does this  resemble an in depth discussion of what is clearly a major planning initiative that clashes directly with the public planning effort, developed with broad participation and three million of our tax dollars.   But here is how that vote is portrayed in the history of the MISEDC:


  • The city council would later adopt dredging as one of the economic development goals

  • The council vote formalized the participation of "City Staff."


What, were they being informally paid for their year's worth of work before that big May 12  vote?  You really think a vote to approve a three month old wish list of member priorities with no discussion constitutes signing off on the grandiose MISEDC agenda?  How does that  retroactively justify staff participation for a year in an unsanctioned committee?  That's not even a shadow of a defense.


Subject: Mare Island Straits Economic Development Committee - May 20, 2015
Meeting Announcement

Dear MISEDC Committee Members:

We agreed to meet every other month, on the 3rd Wednesday of the month.  It is that time again. So please save the date for May 20, 2015.
Venue: 345 G Street Mare Island.
Date: May 20, 2015
Time: 11:30 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. Light Lunch provided.

Please try your best to attend as we are at a critical stage. We have been working non-stop for one year.  April 30, 2014 was when we first started meeting.  This is a testament to your dedication and determination to obtain funds to deepen the channel for deep draft vessels. I am profoundly grateful to all of you.

Our notable accomplishments include the full support of the Vallejo City Council and staff. Our committee work surfaced as a Council priority after the goal setting session last February 18th, 2015. We also have the support of USACE; area Legislators at the County and State levels. We have the solid backing of industry leaders represented in the committee.

A formal agenda will follow via a separate email, but the focus will be the update on the progress of the study to be provided by Kathleen Diohep. The study is in progress and being led by Senior Economist, Scott Long, from the USACE Seattle Office. We also hope that we can bring Kiewit to join us, and Kathleen will also introduce a consultant.

Thank you and I look forward to seeing all of you.
Jess Malgapo
Vice Mayor, Vallejo



From: Kathleen Diohep <>
To: Jess Malgapo <>
Sent: Tue, May 19, 2015 5:50 pm
Subject: Tomorrow's meeting


I just noticed that with the Mayor, you have invited 4 of the 7 council. We can only have 3 at this meeting. Perhaps you already know that someone else is not going to make it?

Kathleen Diohep
Economic Development Manager


Councilmember Aliga will not be attending.
Thank you Kathleen.


Working non-stop for a year with city staff, but just now claim you have Council support?  Hmmm.


Slipping a reference to dredging the strait into a workshop wish list of priorities nowhere near qualifies as full support of the Council for cement plants and port building.  Who are you trying to fool with that nonsense? 


How about the residents of Vallejo or the Propel Vallejo General Plan Working Group? Solid backing there, too?

Here's a question?  If you now have the full support of the council, then why are you still worrying about the Brown Act? 


If it's now a fully sanctioned committee then why not have a quorum of 4?

Transcript of Excerpts from a recording of a Meeting at Temple Emmanuel with the Community and Steve Bryan, Orcem President.


Steve:  137:31  The other part about it is, why we are there, again there was some controversy about whether that is true or not, that is the only deep water berth in Vallejo.   Yes, there used to be submarines and yes there used to be that but those have been filled and need millions of dollars of dredging and we have been participating even though we are not here in the Mare Island Economic Development Committee in order to try to get federal funding or other funding to open that up to create opportunities for better business on Mare Island. 


Some boat owners say that you wouldn’t even have to dredge it (the ORCEM site) you could just come in with a ship and it would blow away like flour.  It would just blow away!  But by law, it should really be dredged and you come in and you sample the material and they tell you what is in it and they tell you where to put it.  So it will be dredged. 


Audience Member:  1:57:13   I am curious, you said you have been participating in the Mare Island Economic Development Committee and I am fascinated with that and want to learn about that...


Audience Member (again): 2:02:34    You said you are participating on the Mare Island Economic Development Committee or some other economic development committee and trying to bring in other big businesses.  I want to hear more about that.


Steve: 2: 02:45   So, um, people are interested in bringing business to Mare Island.  There is a lot of underutilized capacity there.  That has been, from what I read, the condition: that there hasn’t been enough business coming in there with Lennar.  A lot of the comments were that if you had deep water capacity so that you could bring in bigger ships, there are businesses that would come in and take advantage of that. 


Once the Navy left there was a kind of Catch 22 with the Corps of Engineers that they will dredge where there is economic activity or a need.   So when the Navy was there they kept it down to maintain the Navy.   When the Navy left it, they stopped and it silted up.   Now, if you go to the Corps and say ‘will you dredge this,’ they say ‘prove that there is economic activity and I will dredge it.’   But, well, I can’t have economic activity until you dredge it. 


SO, Jess Malgapo, Pippin Dew, the guys at Lennar, the guys at Mare Island Dry Dock, they formed an informal committee and they are trying to puzzle and figure out how they can get federal grants, how they can get political support to get this thing dredged to stimulate the economy on Mare Island.  They invited us because if we can put down our numbers and say that we are in there.  If we can make the numbers look higher for volume and make it more tangible, then this proves that if you have a deep water berth then companies will come.  So we are kind of the proof, let’s say the evidence, that they put in there and why they can support getting federal dollars to dredge. (2:04:35)


Audience Member 2:04:36:  So this is an informal economic development committee so does that mean that there are no official records?  Is that the case?  Or are there minutes?  So we would have to ask Malgapo?


Steve:  I have no idea.   Yeah I was asked to participate and fill out some forms by the Economic Director from the City that say our volumes.  Again just being as helpful as I can to help them to get money to stimulate the economy.  But when you shake your head like that, you look like there is some conspiracy.  Well what conspiracy?