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Granite Construction Gets $4.8M Temecula Bridge Contract

Three City Council members initially opted to abstain from a vote awarding Granite Construction Company a $4.77-million contract to replace the Main Street bridge in Old Town Temecula.

Temecula City Council "reluctantly" awarded Granite Construction Company—against which the city spent "millions" fighting Liberty Quarry—a $4.77-million contract Tuesday night to tear down and replace the Main Street bridge in Old Town Temecula.

The Council was split on its decision to give the work to Granite after spending seven years engaged in a tug of war over the quarry land. The final vote on the bridge contract was 4-1, with Councilman Ron Roberts voting no.

Initially, Roberts, along with councilmen Jeff Comerchero and Chuck Washington, opted to abstain from the vote.

“This is an especially difficult issue for me—I think it is for all of us,” Comerchero said. “But after serving on a subcommittee with [Councilwoman Maryann Edwards] fighting Liberty Quarry for seven years, and Granite Construction being an adversary in that process, you naturally develop certain opinions and theories about who you are dealing with...I have a very difficult time tonight pushing the yes button on this item.”

Comerchero acknowledged Granite was the lowest responsive bidder of nine companies, which under state regulations mandates the Watsonville, CA-based company be awarded the contract.

“So I thought about it a lot and one thing that I’ve found is that, in the policies and procedures of voting as we sit up here on the council, if there are ever times when you feel that you can not be objective, for one reason or another, the correct vote is an abstention. And so that is what I’ll be doing tonight, I will be abstaining from this item on the grounds that I just don’t feel that I can be objective in terms of who the contract is being awarded to," Comerchero said.

Facing a stalemate, council members conferred with Public Works Director Greg Butler and City Attorney Peter Thorson as to what would happen if the city was to rebid the project.

“In cases like these...what flexibility does the city have?” Edwards asked. “Can we just deny something because we might not like someone? Or like someone’s company?”

Thorson said the city’s flexibility was “fairly narrow.”

“The bidder has to be a responsible bidder and it is not just that you like them or that person or that company is capable of doing the job,” Thorson said. “You have to be very specific if you are going to say they’re not.”

Thorson said another issue was that the company receiving the contract had to fulfill state and federal requirements, as 95 percent of the project is being funded by a federal grant.

“There’s probably 40 pages of strings attached that we have to deal with,” Thorson said.

According to Butler, if no decision was made, the bids would expire and the money would go back into a federal pool to be redistributed to any number of projects across the U.S.

“Without starting that invoice for that federal grant the funds become deobligated,” Butler said.

A majority of the council then agreed they had little choice in the matter.

Mayor Mike Naggar pointed out that the bridge is tied to phase 2 of the Murrieta Creek Flood Control Project, which was recently reinvigorated by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“So you are really getting into a conundrum,” Naggar said.

“Nobody wants to award this contract to a company that treated the citizens of Temecula the way that they did. But in all practicality, there is no getting around the process. The bridge has to be built, there’s nothing that is going to prevent Granite from coming back in and being the low bidder again,” Naggar said.

“So short of us saying we don’t want the $4-million grant money—and replacing the Main Street bridge—we really don’t have a lot of options here. But I think that we’ve done what we wanted to do, and that was make a statement that we extremely, extremely reluctantly grant this contract. And if we weren’t compelled by state law, we wouldn’t be granting this contract to this company.”

The project is slated to take 10 months to complete, according to city documents. The contract states that “time is of the essence.”

Edwards voted yes “reluctantly,” saying the bridge, “undermined by the huge rainstorm we had and 2005 and undermined by previous ones,” really needed to be replaced.

“I have had to come to terms with the fact that we would have to work with this company,” Edwards said.

Regardless of the difficult spot Council felt they were put in, Naggar said of benefit were the jobs the project would provide locally.

For Granite, it means many of its local employees will be able to work in the city they call home.

"We have a number of employees who live in the city so they are looking forward to building this bridge in their community," said Gary Johnson, aggregate resource manager for Granite.

The company expects to begin work on the bridge within 60 days, Johnson told Patch Wednesday.

Another local project recently completed by Granite, a nationwide construction conglomerate, was the California Oaks/Interstate 15 Interchange for the city of Murrieta.

The Temecula project calls for tearing out the existing concrete Main Street bridge and rebuilding it with a one-piece, prefabricated steel truss.

"We look forward to building this bridge and continuing to build bridges with the city as we go forward," said Johnson, who did not attend Tuesday's Council meeting.

The new bridge will be adorned with decorative components and lighting that tie in with the Old Town theme, the money for which—about 5 percent of the total cost of the project—will come from development impact fees, according to city officials.

As for the aggregate needed for the job, Johnson said it will need to be trucked in from a San Diego County quarry and one near Corona.

"The area still has a shortage."

Gandhi January 11, 2013 at 05:00 AM
Meant to write "bid" not "big"
Gandhi January 11, 2013 at 05:06 AM
Yeah, for sure Cheri. And notice "JAC" above defending her man!! She cant even understand why some of us might not be really happy about this situation, then calls me stupid. Amazing. I think she's the one who can't see "two sides of a story", and its obvious she is going to profit from what is going on here, so take her for what she's worth. Granite was going to build their quarry right next to Temecula to the detriment of the entire community, our city council did NOTHING to stop them. Next thing we hear is Granite has just been award the job of building a huge project here in Temecula, which, incidentally, requires aggregate! Coincidence? You tell me. I think our city council already had it planned with Granite, and leaked info about bids to them, allowing them to come in with the "lowest bid" and/or received more bids than nine, and the other lower ones have vanished. How's that for "critical thinking" JAC??
Gandhi January 11, 2013 at 05:11 AM
Honey, speaking about "higher education" to me, and being "hypocritical", please check out your own diatribe above, you have four mis-spelled words above, not to mention the grammatically incorrectly structured sentences.....You might at least use spell check like the other idiots who can't spell. For the record - we don't like you, your husband, and definitely NOT GRANITE! Got it? Good.
Long Time Temecula Resident January 11, 2013 at 05:15 AM
wow... is this Paul Jacobs commenting to his self, then changes his user name, comments to his comments, changes his user name and so on
Cheri January 11, 2013 at 05:20 AM
Just another citizen, Did you ever learn how to spell? This whole Granite thing is a very sneaky mess, and a slap in the face to the Pechanga Indians. I feel the whole thing should be looked into by the State Attorney General, or the United States Attorney General-they are talking about government funding aren't they?
Gandhi January 11, 2013 at 05:29 AM
No I am not Paul Jacobs honey, he actually has some supporters in this community, not bought and paid for phoney ones like yours either! Not that it matters, he made a valid point, you havent. Also, I wish to state that not ALL the city councilmembers are crooked, Ron Robertson has shown himself to be an honest member by refusing to side with Granite. Kudos to Mr. Robertson, we appreciate him, its hard being "odd man out", but he stuck to his principles and you have to admire him for that.
Gandhi January 11, 2013 at 05:35 AM
Yes indeed. I think the Attorney Generals office should be looking into this "backroom" dealing here in Temecula.
Cheri January 11, 2013 at 06:29 AM
The United States Attorney General's office handles Public Corruption. Here is their address, and phone numbers. The Attorney General for the Riverside Branch is Antoine "Tony" Raphael, Criminal Division. United States Attorney's Office Central District of California Riverside Branch Office Suite 200 3403 Tenth Street Riverside, CA 92501 Phone: 951-276-6246 855-700-2768 Toll Free 951-368-1488 Complaint Department
On the right side January 11, 2013 at 06:39 AM
Small town cesspool politics. Amazing it's still going on, but the voters don't care so here we are.
Paul Jacobs January 11, 2013 at 08:32 AM
Maryann Edwards, you are the deceiver. I post under my name with my photo. Are you blind? Don't you remember that when you changed your Patch name from Walking on Sunshine, it changed all your old entries? Do you teach bullying at the B & G Club? It seems your specialty.
Jerry Simeon January 11, 2013 at 02:38 PM
Obviously there's a reason that the city council is supporting Granite's presence in this community and it ain't to our benefit or beneficence on their part. Believe me, there are plenty of eligible and qualified California bidders for this project. What's the dire circumstances here that we should be dancing with these devils again?? Are we moving the quarry project to the inner city now?? This is not the bridge over troubled waters. This is a direct slap in-your-face affront to the Pechanga tribe and the community of Temecula. A low bid does not mean there will not be cost overruns and a plethora of other future problems. Who is kidding who and what are these city officials smoking?? A project of this scope doesn't just crop up overnight. This is a planned, engineered project with many facets and phases that the city offices have been and are involved in to completion. We already have on-going and completed projects in this city that have not really benefited the residents ad businesses except for unions to some degree. Are we a closed shop??.... with closed bidding on projects?? Yep, it stinks pretty badly.
Just Another Citizen January 11, 2013 at 07:07 PM
Flatiron bid on this job months ago. You have to be a bidder to know a job is coming up. Gandhi your condescending tone is interesting. You also don't check your facts. Temecula may not have many college campuses locally although I can think of some but according to city-data website the education attainment information shows that residents here have a higher college degree attainment percentage than California average. That is why I'm appalled at the lack of critical thing skills defined as: disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, OPEN-MINDED, and informed by evidence. It not just "about my man" it's about all of the hard working men and women union members who are constantly limited to fewer and fewer choices of companies to work for. He didn't choose Granite by reputation he chose them because of their work flow and their crews. Everyone here is approaching the subject from one side. I am simply providing the other side. It's not the popular one but its still there. And all building requires aggregate. All companies reuse as much materials as possible but bringing in more is inevitable. Temecula is the wrong place for a mine, but to act like we are above accepting the lowest bid is arrogant and wasteful. This is like talking to a wall--obviously. I've stated the other side and the decisions are made regardless. Continue this or don't but I'm done. GROW TEMECULA!!
Rich January 11, 2013 at 07:23 PM
Hold the Presses!!!! We're still awaiting "Brenda's" opinion. Grab a chair, get comfortable...she'll surface soon enough.
JD January 12, 2013 at 01:53 AM
Holy crap, you people are insane. You act like Granite was planning on testing nuclear bombs in the neighboring hills. It was a QUARRY. They are everywhere and I have yet to hear concrete evidence of health issues with modern mining techniques. The only huge cloud of cancerous dust Temecula faces is from people with WAAAAY too much time on their hands wearing orange shirts. And our city council? “Nobody wants to award this contract to a company that treated the citizens of Temecula the way that they did." What?! How did they treat us? Any worse that Pechanga? How about the Promenade development? There's quite a bit of harmful pollution coming from all of that traffic. All I ever heard was scare tactics and misleading pictures of beautiful waterfalls where Granite was supposedly going to build. Naggar, Comechero, Edwards, Washington— a bunch of true politicians. Vilify and lie about their opponents until the public drinks their Kool-Aid and re-elects them. I should have helped campaigned for Jacobs just to see his insanity on the council and at least make it entertaining and not just plain sad.
Cheri January 12, 2013 at 06:26 AM
I just feel it would be a great idea to contact the United States Atty. General, since this is a Federally funded project...they would at least look into it, and see if everything is on the up and up. I guess you have to go to the top to get help with investigations if you feel something fishy is going on. Most of what I read on here is placing blame-well lets find out where the problem is and just go to the top! there are many paper trails, and e-mails ect, and they would have definite privy to that -so-write a letter and call them before this contract is solid. All citizens with corruption questions have the right to do this, or there would not be a U.S. Atty General, for corruption.
Gandhi January 12, 2013 at 07:25 AM
JD, so sorry if you are ignorant of all the evidence regarding health issues and open pit mining, I am not going to attempt to educate you here, but suffice to say there is a tremendous amount of evidence showing how bad they are, might be why every single doctor and nurse was against the quarry. You must be the "husband" of "Just Another Citizen"?! Nobody, and I mean NOBODY in this town wanted that damn mine there bub, so you can take your ignorance and put it in a dark place that I don't need to mention here.
Gandhi January 12, 2013 at 07:27 AM
Rich, come on, giver a break. She's on the same page with us anyway. Dont make me laugh........;)
Gandhi January 12, 2013 at 07:29 AM
Well, lets see if we are able to actually see those other bids, not that it will matter, I guarantee Granite was tipped off as to the numbers and just did one a teensy bit lower. Of course there will be no proof of this, crooked politicians are really, really good at covering their tracks, unfortunately. As I said previously, I hope people will remember this city council, and what they have done, and who with, at the next election - I'll remind ya! ;)
Gandhi January 12, 2013 at 07:33 AM
I agree totally Cheri, after we attempt to see the bids, this might be a good idea. However, they will NOT have a "paper trail" on this, believe me. They can open it for the bid process, get eight bids, then verbally tell Granite what they are. Granite then puts their lowest bid in, clinching the deal. I would be interested to know the dates on all the bids, however, again, Granite can put whatever date they want on their written bid, believe me, there are ways of screwing the public, and life politicians get to learn the tricks real fast. Ron Robertson is the only one on that council who has a conscience as far as I'm concerned.
Cheri January 12, 2013 at 08:26 AM
Hello Gandhi, Nice to share with someone who really cares, and has lived here longer than me. I have lived here for 11 years, and most of it has been trying to fight GRANITE. I will call the US Atty. General, and advise them what is going on in Temecula, since it is regarding Federal Funding. I personally would like to know just what is going on -not only with the mining, but the non notification of the public regarding the rebuilding of the bridge, and get to the bottom line -why the city chose Granite to do the job...I spoke with a contractor today who said he could do the job????? He lives locally -I think you get the idea, I'll just make a few calls...and if those do not work, I will go above that....I guess most people do not realize....honesty is the best policy! Hello Gandhi, Nice to meet someone who really knows, I would like to meet u one day! you sound like you know what you are talking about! I will go ahead and call the US Attorney General on Monday, and give all of the info I know about-I have lived here for 11 years, and have never seen such horrible stuff done to the public, and yes I agree Ron Robertson deserves some high fives! He obviously knows there is something wrong! So as a concerned citizen I would not like to see Federal funds misused by our beautiful city.
JD January 12, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Of course you're not going to "educate me," Gandhi. Because you have no clue. If you did, it would take about 10 seconds to google it and post a link. I listened to the hearings. I listened to the doctors and nurses. It was all a bunch of could's and maybe's. What I did hear was a ton of evidence from actual miners and air quality people who said there was no danger to the public. And it definitely wasn't ALL of the doctors and nurses because I know some personally that didn't know what the big deal was. And there were plenty of people who wanted the quarry and even more who didn't have much of an opinion. They just weren't retired and riled up as easy as all of the fear mongers out there. All the squeaky wheels got the grease once again. So save your condescending "bubs" and "huns" for someone else. And change your user name while you're at it. It implies you're actually open minded and intellectual.
Delvina Fiducia January 12, 2013 at 07:26 PM
The squeaky wheel did not get the grease at all. Granite got the grease ($$$) when the Pechanga tribe paid them off. Thank you Pechanga!
Gandhi January 13, 2013 at 01:57 AM
JD - You couldnt possibly have been at the meetings, unless you're deaf. Do you think people wanted to listen to explosions from dynamite going off hour after hour, day after day, year after year? Insult me all you want, it means nothing to me, you are the ignorant one and have just shown that by your posting here. You are incorrect, the vast majority of Temeculans did NOT want that quarry here, they did not all have time to go to those Monday morning meetings up in Riverside, of course that was done on purpose so people could NOT attend. My name has nothing to do with you and its none of your business actually. Enjoy your life hon!
Just Another Citizen January 16, 2013 at 03:41 AM
Spelling takes a second seat to getting a point across which obviously is pointless with this overbearing clique on Patch. Way to make people feel welcome in the community....
Just Another Citizen January 16, 2013 at 03:42 AM
Bidding process: http://www.cityoftemecula.org/Temecula/Government/AdministrativeServices/AP/Purchasing.htm Step by step process: http://www.cityoftemecula.org/NR/rdonlyres/7EB7950A-50C9-4B3B-BF02-B34990CD9D62/0/Purchasing... Notice of public hearing: http://www.cityoftemecula.org/NR/rdonlyres/1250DA74-E8BF-4F02-8F24-EBD8276BF44F/0/677.pdf For the next project that comes up and you feel like saying "this sounds like a back door, shady, fishy deal...": http://www.cityoftemecula.org/Temecula/Government/PublicWorks/CIPWPS.htm I'm sure if you contacted the city directly rather than spreading rumor and hate you may actually end up with information. Heaven forbid that...you wouldn't be entertained and feel important by ranting about subject you obviously cannot comprehend nor truly care about. Critical thinking including asking the right questions in the right forums.
Just Another Citizen January 16, 2013 at 03:57 AM
I always check my facts, in EVERY area of life. Even posts and emails are subjected to research in my world. Ironic that in your LONG 26 years of residence and decades of life on this Earth you have become adept in technology usage yet still fail to fully apply it. Accurate, factual information is available at any computer-you need only know how to research effectively. So here I've posted some topics and I'm already wondering what you will read here and decide to pick out while never providing any valid information yourself or addressing a topic directly... Your condescending tone completely invalidates most of your posts. This isn't the 40's old timer, we treat men AND women with respect. Get with the times sir.
Gandhi January 16, 2013 at 06:56 AM
I KNOW what the "official legal process" is for bidding, but how do we know it was followed in this particular instance? Just Another Citizen - none of us are spreading rumors. We do hate Granite though, and with good reason, we're also not fond of what our city council nearly allowed to happen to our community, are you familiar with that little debacle or would you like ME to attached some LINKS for you??? Do you understand WHY we do not like Granite? Then you should shut your mouth if you do and go away, NONE of the citizens in this city like that company for what they were about to do and you can continue to get the last word in here until hell freezes over and it wont change a damn thing! Smart thinking is knowing when to open your mouth and when to keep it shut, an art, you obviously, have not mastered.
Just Another Citizen January 16, 2013 at 02:27 PM
If you are so untrusting of your local government maybe it's time for you leave or run for office. You've been running your mouth all over Patch. I don't care if you like them or not. They are here and they aren't leaving. They've had a quarry there for years now and the air quality in Trmecula has improved since 2008 when it was at its highest. Huh, go figure!! You have a chip on your shoulder. They aren't out to get Temecula. They didn't target this community. The aggregate is where it is, they can't change that. If this was happening in Wildomar or Elsinore you wouldn't give a rats ass what they were doing. Them pushing and pushing is what a thriving business does. Agreed they tried to sway government official on the County Board of Supervisors. That's not right. Lobbyists are doing this across the nation. Your rants aren't changing anything! You should focus your AMPLE time in a more proactive way. I've stepped back from any issues here regarding Granite in the past, but your attacks make me want to show the city support. The difference between you and me is that I know how to act proactively and get involved. My voice will be heard in this local government much easier than yours. You want to smash the cities budget to prove a point? WATCH A POINT GET PROVEN!!
Gandhi January 17, 2013 at 02:00 AM
@Just Another Citizen - if YOU don't like what we are saying, perhaps its time for YOU to leave? You dont even know what the hell you're talkin about! We've had a quarry here for years? Where would that be hon? We do NOT have a quarry here in Temecula. What are you babbling about air quality highest since 2008? NO idea what you're attempting to state here, but I've been here since 1987 and I think you can imagine how clear the air was then, and still is the best quality in Riverside County, no argument there, thats why we didnt want it ruined by the quarry. You think I'm not changing anything? You have no idea honey, so please stop the incessant chattering in our ears, we're getting sick of it. You do NOT know what I have or have not done in this community, you are very good at guessing and assuming, NOT so hot on critical thinking skills as you like to state others are lacking in. You do whatever you want, we will fight you, and we will win, there's more of us, simple logistics. I support whats right, thats who and what I support got that? Please explain your statement "my voice will be heard in this local government much easier than yours"? No idea what the hell that means. Again, you know nothing of me, you do not know what I have or have not done, so please stop assuming you do. Have a nice day hon.
Brenda January 21, 2013 at 07:55 AM
AND, dammit. Pechanga did pay off those dirt digging monsters sitting there waiting for that first min. they could start tearing away sacred burial grounds, our beautiful mountains, hills, and valleys. With no concern to our health, the air quality, the filth on cars and in our homes. The amount of junk that comes out of exhausts on heavy equipment and the machinery alone should be banned from anything within 25 miles. That stuff is worse then dirt. Money used improperly? Oh lets add in the this whole new bus line!!! Talk about a joke and travesty that will not lessen traffic anywhere, or help the people of Southwest County get to work or anywhere else they drive to each day or week. I cant do anything about the Quarry alone, nor this ridiculous bus line(ROFL I cant even imagine it) or how any and all of our Cities and County funds get spent. Yes, ridiculous things. I have put most of my concerns with our people, our homeless, our elderly, our pregnant teenagers and their babies, a loss of a family member fund raiser, or any other good cause, money or things to give to them,the things I can do as one person. To see how many helped with Ms. Wanda's reward/family/funeral, or a young girl who cries over a new crib for her baby, something she didnt think she would get. Foods for whoever is calling out for it. We can always help our neighbors, our residents of Temecula.


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