Back-Up Beepers at ECCL Morph From
'Deal Breaker' to 'No Big Deal'
As it turns out, back-up beepers on heavy construction equipment can't be silenced to satisfy noise ordinance restrictions we found out at the June 21st City Council meeting. Who could have known that? Emeryville's city staff? Could they have known? Perhaps Turner Construction, were they in any position to know? How about John Baker, our ECCL construction consultant representative, is this something we could expect him to know? The answer is apparently no one could have known, regardless of all the public money being doled out to know this kind of thing.
The thing is Cal/OSHA doesn't permit back-up beepers to be disabled on construction equipment. But nobody paid to know that in Emeryville knew that. Perhaps they're not paid enough.
The Emeryville City Council is concerned about all the construction delays at the Center of 'Community' Life. They're so concerned that they granted Turner Construction a waiver of our Noise Ordinance so they can work on Saturdays starting in April. Construction however is loud and neighbors have a reasonable expectation of quiet weekends...at least that's what City Hall said when the City Council passed our Noise Ordinance.
But not to worry, the new progressive City Council majority doesn't grant waivers willy nilly to developers like the previous Council did. So this time they assured neighbors their reasonable expectations of quiet weekends will be taken seriously and so the Council required Turner to disable the loud back-up beepers on the heavy equipment being used. All parties, the staff, Turner Construction and John Baker our construction consultant agreed this was the reasonable thing to do and so a contract disabling the back-up beepers was signed.
Oops! Strike that! The loud back-up beepers, a deal breaker at the April 5th Council meeting when the waiver was granted have now become no big deal they say. By last Tuesday's meeting, concern over beepers had all changed. Now Turner can beep away says our City Council and they still get their waiver. What happened? The City Council made no attempt to quantify the noise from back-up beepers, formerly determined by them to be excessive, citing instead the need to finish the ECCL project.
City Hall now holds that residents won't be told what constitutes a reasonable expectation of quiet weekends, however with regard to its imbroglio over back-up beepers at the Center of 'Community' Life, Councilwoman Jac Asher spoke for her colleagues, shifting blame to John Baker, our Turner Construction go-between working under contract ($1.2 million) with the City.
Ms Asher put it bluntly to Mr Baker, "Our staff takes the blame for being unaware of the OSHA regulations. What I don't understand is why were you not aware of the OSHA regulations? Isn't construction and management of construction projects what you do and what you're being paid for?"
John Baker's haltingly staccato response, unclear in its presentation, makes clear what's going on between the City of Emeryville, Turner Construction and Mr Baker himself as the ECCL construction struggles across the scheduled August finish line. By way of an answer to Ms Asher's charge, he told the Council, "What, what occurred is when we, we started doing the Saturday work, there was some equipment that when, when, when, uh, Turner went to disable the back-up beepers, uh...we were not aware."
|John Baker, Emeryville's Construction Consultant for ECCL|
On the Job
"What, what... uh when, when, when, uh... we
were not aware" = $1.2 million