[Marin County] Letter to the editor: Not surprised about emergency radio woes

Blog note: this letter references two grand jury reports.

Regarding Marin emergency radio project delays — first, let me thank those hard-working men and women in Marin County who put their lives on the line to keep us out of harm’s way.

While I am alarmed that their $40 million emergency radio system overhaul is three years behind schedule, I am not surprised. Anyone prying open the doors on major technology projects in Marin knows this to be a familiar story.

In 2004, the Board of Supervisors approved implementation of new software to run the government’s enterprise affairs. In 2010, they were forced to shut the program down with almost nothing to show for their $30 million investment. The replacement software has also suffered from years of delays. The Marin County Civil Grand Jury covered this episode in two outstanding reports. Lack of expertise and core-competence is cited as a key contributor.

Over the past 18 months, every community has wrestled with elected officials and their planning departments about Verizon’s intention to place small-cell 5G wireless facilities on thousands of our light poles. It was clear at public meetings the government was barely qualified to discuss the technical intricacies of the project. Half-time executive officers with no staff and no experience run the two JPA’s involved in the process.

Every government agency has its tax guns aimed at the public right now, from water to waste. New technologies are supposed to be lowering our costs. I don’t accept that I should be forced to pay one “homeowner” penny more until Marin proves it can provide 21st-century smart city solutions as a buffer against cost increases.

March 30, 2019

Marin Independent Journal

Letter from Bruce Vogen, San Anselmo