Aug 14, 2009

Real Readers Write

Check back later for Nitwit Tidbits.

In the meantime, a reader beats that dead horse in South Park (or is that “Southpark,” Philip?):

When Klien [sic] talks about Thomas being on the board and approving the flyer in the South Park litigation, he is talking about the fact that Thomas was on the board of the Chamber of Commerce. Also, according to the trial testimony, BISD could save 10-15 million by renovating the school instead of demolishing and rebuilding. Just FYI.

Thanks for the message! Note that the focus of this blog is Philip R. Klein, so your first point underscores Philip's inability to communicate a message clearly without resorting to misinformation and histrionics.

Your second point is beyond the scope of my blog. Since you felt compelled to respond, however, here's my opinion as a Beaumont taxpayer who didn't go to South Park and whose primary interest is the best return on investment for taxpayers.

I think both sides have done an abysmal job at presenting the most cost-effective solution as a viable alternative.

You mentioned that according to the trial testimony, they would save up to $15 million by renovation. This was not corroborated by the media reports.

From The Beaumont Enterprise, dated July 30, 2009:

The plaintiffs' attorney, Michael Getz, has been questioning John Reagan, senior estimator for Parsons, the project manager for the Beaumont ISD bond program, about the relative costs of renovating the South Park Middle School building and building a new one.

As a point of comparison, Getz asked Reagan about Houston's John H. Reagan High School, named after the estimator's great-grandfather.

Getz introduced photographs of the school, which underwent a large renovation project in 2004-06, and a newsletter put out by the construction firm that did the project. According to the newsletter, the 20,000-square-foot project cost approximately $30 million.

Under cross examination from Sarah Frasher, one of the district's attorneys, Reagan said he would not be able to rely on the newsletter's information to provide enough information for a professional assessment.

Getz also asked Reagan why an April 2007 assessment performed by 3DI (which was later bought out by Parsons) indicated that it would cost $42 million to renovate South Park, while the most recent budget is set at $33 million.

Reagan replied that construction figures are constantly in flux, and were especially so in 2006 through 2008.

Judge Bob Wortham called for a lunch break. Getz told The Beaumont Enterprise he hopes to complete the plaintiffs' case today. The district's attorneys have said they plan to call several witnesses, pushing the hearing at least through Friday.

From KFDM, Channel 6, dated July 30, 2009:

Representatives from Parsons, the company charged with managing BISD's $389 million bond project, discussed the costs and steps involved in tearing down South Park and rebuilding another school in its place.  Program Director Bob Menefee says there has always been at least half a million dollars in the project's budget for preservation, furthering the district's claim it promised if it had to build a new school on the old site, it would save as much of the old building as possible.

"The existing building is an impediment to meeting state and BISD requirements for this project," said John Reagan, Parsons senior estimator.  He also said the legal delay could cost the district an extra half a million dollars.  After questioned from plaintiffs' attorney Mike Getz, Reagan admitted the costs associated with the project are all guesses, but, he added that they're proving to be accurate.

You’ll note that Attorney Mike Getz is the same person that Philip identified as “Mike Getts.”

One could subscribe to Klein’s conspiracy theory regarding these reports, but I suspect that both outlets would have mentioned the cost savings if your statement were indeed true. Instead, I see a lot of obfuscation by both sides to avoid the issue entirely.

If you’ll send the trial transcript that you’ve cited, I’ll post it here for all to read. To make it easier, you don’t even have to send the whole transcript; the pages where Mr. Reagan (or anyone else) admits that renovation is cheaper than demolition will be sufficient.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon!

No comments :