Saturday, September 15, 2012

Francesco Galesi, Chairman & Steve Layton, President of E&B Natural Resources

E&B Chairman, Francesco Galesi 
Francesco Galesi is the Owner & Money Behind E&B Natural Resources.  Mr. Galesi was one of the longest-serving directors of WorldCom Inc. He is one of just four board members on the crippled company's audit committee, which signed off on years' worth of cooked books that the company now says misstated $3.9 billion in costs as revenue. Worldcom is the 2nd largest bankruptcy next to Lehman Brothers in U.S. history. Gallesi is responsible for recruiting Scott D. Sullivan, WorldCom's "whiz-kid" chief financial officer, what has become one of America's biggest corporate scandals.  Read this article "The WorldCom debale, Through one Director's Eyes".

Mr. Galesi purchased he Alma and Equinox assets out of bankruptcy after the Steve Layton's Equinox Oil spill and formed E&B Natural Resources.  In 1969, Mr. Francesco Galesi purchased and transformed surplus military depots in upstate New York and converted them into major Industrial Parks. The conversion of these properties subsequently led Mr. Galesi into the warehousing and distribution business. His visions led to further corporate growth and diversification with the acquisition and development of additional real estate holdings, including residential and commercial sites, the acquisition and restoration of the historic Equinox Resort in Manchester, VT, and ownership in E&B Natural Resource Management Corporation, an oil and gas company.  It has also been reported that Mr. Galesi and his wife recently rented a home in Hermosa Beach to promote their new investment.  
E&B President, Steve Layton
Steve Layton has served as President of E&B since 2000. During his career, Mr. Layton has been actively involved in building and managing several oil and gas companies including two that were acquired by Francesco Galesi in 2000 along with E&B Natural Resources.  In 1983, Mr. Steve Layton co-founded Alma Energy and Equinox Oil with his father and Mike Galesi. He served as President of Alma and Equinox from 1997 to 2000. In November 2000, Francesco Galesi purchased the Alma and Equinox assets out of bankruptcy after a massive Louisiana oil spill and formed E&B Natural Resource Management Corporation. Mr. Layton was retained as President of E&B.  Mr. Layton is a member of the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Independent Oil and Gas Association and the California Independent Producers Association. Mr. Layton has also served as a Director and as Governor of the Houston Region for the Independent Petroleum Association of America and as President of the National Stripper Well Association. Mr. Layton earned a BS and MBA from the University of Tulsa.  Steve Layton reportedly purchased a home on Monterrey Blvd in Hermosa Beach in the Spring of 2012 to promote his oil interests in town.  

Joyce Fahey - Currently a Manhattan Beach resident, brings to bear more than 30 years of conflict resolution experience as a judge, attorney, elected official and, most recently, as Vice President, Governmental Affairs for Blackstone Oil & Gas, Inc. Judge Fahey transitioned to a neutral practice at ARC after her second term as Mayor of Manhattan Beach, CA.  Judge Fahey was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1991. After her retirement from the Superior Court in 1997, Judge Fahey continued to preside over cases on an as-needed basis and served on the Retired Judges Mediation Panel.

In her position as Mayor of Manhattan Beach, Judge Fahey was directly involved in resolving a wide variety of issues, from litigation over public works projects, construction and environmental impact matters, to negotiating employment contracts for city employees. Recently appointed as a Trustee for the Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Judge Fahey has worked with school districts to resolve conflicts and has mediated disputes among neighboring cities. Judge Fahey is a recognized expert in cases involving child sexual abuse. She is also highly skilled in child custody and visitation matters. Judge Fahey is fluent in Spanish and Italian.

South Bay Residents Possibly on E&B's Payroll?
Cheryl Cross - PR C.A. Cross & Associates
An Ex-Hermosa Beach Fire Chief retired in 2007
Tiffany Rau - Consultant 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hermosa Beach City Council Voting Record

Hermosa Beach City Council Voting Record

Kit Bobko & Michael Divirgilio are the dissenting votes or absent for all of these City Council Meeting votes?  

1)  Voted 3-2 No on Outsourcing Parking Meters
2)  Voted 3-2 Yes Hiring Tom Bakaly as new City Manager
3)  Voted 3-2 Yes to Ban Polystyrene
4)  Voted 4-1 Yes Banning Smoking on Strand & Pier Plaza
5)  Voted 4-0 Yes (Bobko Absent) Banning Smoking on Beaches
6)  Voted 3-2 Yes Approval of Bank of American Banking contract
6)  Voted 3-2 No Suspend City Treasurer Cohn who was a victim of extortion.

Oil Drilling Settlement Negotiations

The City Council seems to have a clear divide on most voting issues in recent months as described above.  However, I often have to scratch my head to understand the logic behind some of the dissenting votes in recent months.  Bobko and Divirgilio are clearly working as a team and it all seemed to culminate immediately after both launched a PR campaign to promote their oil settlement.  The big question is:  Why were the two of these guys negotiating our oil settlement deal together?  Shouldn't they have had Duclos, Fishman or Tucker in the room negotiating? Neither Bobko or Divirgilio own a home in Hermosa Beach.  It would have been impossible for a third City Councilman to participate in the negotiations because it would have been in violation of the Brown Act.  Were the residents represented properly?  I don't think so.  What business, lobbyists or people are motivating these two individuals to make make their voting decisions or press their unpopular agendas?

Outsourcing Parking Meters vs Replacing With Credit Card Machines

I think many residents who are disappointing about the City not even considering outsourcing are missing the point of Duclos, Fishman and Tucker voting no.  However, the City can always outsourcing at any point in time but lets take some baby steps and install credit card machines that we own first.  Some of the high salary and union problems might naturally go away over time.  90% of the problems can be solve by installing credit card machines and that does not require outsourcing.   The City currently collects $2.5M per year from coins and who knows we might be about to double this to $5M simply by putting in credit card machines and managing the price per spot during peak hours.  What if we charge $5 per hour for parking near the pier during peak hours.  Hint, hint . . .  this might control some of the alcohol related problems of people flooding into our city.  Controlling our own meters with credit cards is not that hard and Manhattan Beach has already demonstrated they can do it profitably.

Kit made faulty parallel assumptions that it works for Newport Beach, why not in Hermosa?  His PR was recognized in the national media blaming $100,000 meter maids as the problem?  Why did Kit conveniently leave out that installing credit card machines would have $0 cost to the city and would be profitable immediately.  This does not require outsourcing.  So, what his suggestion to outsource politically motivated or does he have the best interest of our city at heart?  Does he or his law firm RWG have any political ties to the large outsourcing firms that manage parking meters?  Does Kit once again have a conflict of interest he would like to explain?  Was he motivated to get a "deal" in return for some political donations down the road.

Kit routinely makes statements and negotiates deals that are not backed with any financial analysis.  Kit also does not appear to see the big financial picture or have a cohesive fiscal strategy as it relates to the affect on the community.  Kit is not a property owner and has no skin in the game.  He simply seems to look for revenue opportunities or ways to save money to further his political platform.  I wish Kit would simply more rational decision based on what is right for the community and not based a political ideology.  I am a conservative voter and thinker myself, however, I don't agree with much Kit's thinking or ideas as they pertain to what is best for our community.   

Councilmen Howard Fishman said the city should move immediately on replacing coin-operated meters with credit card parking meters to solve 90% of the problems. City Treasurer wrote a memorandum to the council encouraging the installation of credit card-accepting meters as other municipalities have done in order to increase funds and efficiency.  “With credit card meters, revenue goes up overnight,” Pete Tucker said.   Former Police Chief Greg Savelli, who now runs the parking enforcement department of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, also spoke against outsourcing, saying the service the officers provide “goes beyond the balance sheet.”

“What we have now is fantastically expensive,” Kit Bobko said who seems adamant about cutting costs and saving money no matter what the outcome.  Outsourcing to save money or outsourcing to generate (oil drilling) is going to be a common platform for Kit to propel himself to a higher political office.  Kit gave no credible financial arguments justifying his outsourcing position.

Hiring Hermosa Beach City Manager Tom Bakaly

"First, let me say that I think without question that Tom was an impressive dude, and I think that he provides a lot of earned and demonstrated skills that meet our needs and that match quite nicely with our uniqueness," said Councilman Michael DiVirgilio.  Council votes 3-2.

"In Hermosa Beach, we're whistling past the graveyard because we are not having any financial troubles yet,” Bobko said. “We weren't going to stand firm and ask of our leader, the person who is in charge of our city's staff, to do what we want the staff to do, which is to pay for his own first contribution. That is deeply disappointing and I think a failure of leadership for this council…

I don't think either of these guys have much experience running a business or hiring and firing people.  My philosophy has always been to hire the best CEO you can get and pay him top dollar.  There are a lot of problems in the City right now and we need a strong, competent, financially oriented person to do the job.  I am confident Tom Bakaly was a great hire and will help turn the City around that has been neglected in many areas.

Banning Polystyrene in Hermosa Beach

Bobko and Divirgilio have been routinely voting together.  Bobko is a Registered Republican and Divirgilio seems to be a Democrat having worked for Jane Harmon.  However, the two of them seem to be singing to the same song when it comes to local voting matters.  They also don't seem to be able to sway the other 3 council members very often on their views.  Both Bobko and Divirgilio were dissenting votes (3-2_ as well on Hermosa Beach polystyrene ban.   This was shocking since Michael Divirgilio once led the Green Task Force in Hermosa Beach and pounded the table in his campaign about a City that needs to become "carbon neutral".

Banning Smoking on Strand, Pier Plaza & Beaches

It goes without saying who was the lone voter in the 4-1 vote to ban smoking on the Pier and Stand. Kit Bobko does not support banning smoking on the Pier or Strand.  Kit Bobko was also conveniently absent for the 4-0 that banned smoking on the beaches.  Does he have your health at interest or his political views?

Hermosa Beach Renegotiates Banking Contract First Time Ever Recorded

Bank of America has been the Bank of Hermosa Beach for over 40+ years. It would have cost the City over $100,000 to change banks.  Also, Treasurer Cohn renegotiated the current contract for the first time ever and was not touched by John Workman prior Treasurer.   Hermosa Beach was paying $24,000 per year in banking service fees and a $28,000 rebate?

Bobko and Divirgilio Accuse Treasurer Cohn of Sloppy Non-Transparent Work?

Sloppy?  Transparency?  Do Mr. Divirgilio and Mr. Bobko have a personal issue with Treasurer Cohn?  Aren't they being hypocritical about the City Treasurer lacking transparency in the bank bidding process of 12 banks? Correct me if I am wrong but you are the same to 2 councilmen that negotiated a $17.5M settlement with any transparency and 1 oil company? They seem to think the backroom oil deal is justified because of the ongoing litigation but you did brought in a 3rd party without any bidders. Their lack of due diligence and transparency on this deal is appalling and speaks for itself. We are talking about saving money in a banking relationship of $50,000 per year in banking fees vs a $17.5M check they wrote without any bidders while jeopardizing the health and safety of its citizens. I think the two of them have some explaining to do.  Their hypocritical voting record speaks for itself.   E&B loaned the City of HB $30M to settle the lawsuit with Macpherson. How many companies got to bid on this? Only 1 company sourced by Gary Brutsch and Michael Divirgilo and Kit Bobko. Why doesn't the LA Times investigate this?
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