Plant Thieves in the neighborhood, 5/5/18

Jade Davis has reported this to the MCSO She saw them loading the plants, Dudley’s, into the back of their car from their backpacks (they had been down on the coastal cliffs), roots and all, into the back of their vehicle where they had potting soil. She confronted them, and they admitted they knew it was  illegal and then took off headed south. If you see them, report them. They had 3 big heavy bags each. MCSO said they would notify local deputy as well as F&G. There is a black market in China for our coastal plants, and a  ring in Marin Co was recently broken up and arrested and thousands of plants recovered.

Pat Freeling, a state wildlife officer, replants Dudleya farinosa in Mendocino County. The plants can fetch up to $50 each in Asia.Pat Freeling, a state wildlife officer, replants Dudleya farinosa in Mendocino County. The plants can fetch up to $50 each in Asia.Travis VanZant — California Department of Fish and Wildlife via AP

SAN JOSE >> State wildlife officials say they have uncovered an international scheme in which thieves from Korea and China slip into wild landscapes in Northern California to pluck succulents to sell on the thriving black market in Asia.

Mud Creek Contract and other oddities, 5/5/18

Yesterday, I finally had the time to go through the Mud Creek contract first awarded to Madonna Construction on 1/19/17.  I’ve pulled out a few bits of information, took some screen shots, sent off emails to Cal Trans for comments, and otherwise started research and analysis. There is still much to discover and understand, but given that no one at Cal Trans has thus far responded, I decided to publish what I have today.

The original contract provided for removing slide material, installing rock nets, and restoring facilities to enable reopening the highway. This contract was awarded 1/19/17 and signed 3/17/17. It was for 30 days at a cost of $2,500,000. It is a public works contract specifically excluded from 2 CCR § 547.59. (California Code of Regulations.) It is exempt from public bidding as explained in the State Contracts Manual (SCM) §5.80 (A)(3) which states: “As noted in section 5.05, competitive bidding is required unless there is a legally authorized basis for bid exemption. Key exemption categories are identified below. A. Statutory Exemptions: 3. Emergency contracts. The work or service is for the immediate preservation of the public health, welfare, safety, or protection of State property (PCC §§ 1102, 10340).”

On 4/6/17, the original contract was modified to increase the contract from $2,500,000 to $9,500,000 an increase of 3 and 1/2 times the original amount and added 80 days for completion, for a total of 110 days. After the BIG slide on 5/19/17, The Contract was again modified two months later on 7/18/17 to $12,000,000 and another 60 days was added to the contract for a total of 170 days. Two more modifications, one on 9/20/17 for an additional amount of $32,000,000 and an addition of 150 WORKING days (30 weeks) for a total of 320 days, and another on 9/18/17 of total amount of $56,000,000 (previously awarded, PLUS the requested additional $32,000,000) would then take the contract to the end of April 2018.



By my calculations, the time and the $56,000,000 award ran out on 4/18/18 although the first page reproduced above says “end of April” so the contract has been renewed or is in the process of being renewed. I asked for the extension on this contract, but have yet to receive it. I will discuss it when received and will follow-up on that next week.

Besides the contract itself, I also inquired about the excavation going on at Grey Slip, a few miles south of Mud Creek, to obtain fill material. Grey Slip is another area of prior road issues.  I asked Cal Trans to comment on this yesterday, but so far have not received any response. One local was told that they had originally started excavation on the west side, but after some movement, moved to the east. I have not been able to confirm this, as Cal Trans did not respond to my questions. I looked through some of my photographs to see if I could find an older one to show any prior issues at this point, but haven’t been able to locate one. Rock Knocker put all his old photos in a storage unit in Paso/Templeton, so no help there. If anyone else has a photo of Grey Slip in prior years, I would love to see it.

This is what is happening at Grey Slip currently: