Lantz on France

After Monday’s Pomona council meeting, I approached Councilwoman Paula Lantz, asked if she’s still on the Foothill Transit board (she is) and then asked, “How come you’re not in France?”

Nine board members or employees of the bus agency are in France for a transportation conference, as noted on the Foothill Cities and Claremont Insider blogs.

Lantz, who laughed at the question, explained that the whole thing was overblown. A private company operates Foothill Transit under contract for a set price. That company, Veolia Transportation, is paying for the trip itself, at no extra cost to taxpayers or bus riders, she said, because of its perceived importance.

“I read the blogs,” Lantz added, specifically referring to Foothill Cities. She then added the Insider to the list, noting it had mentioned her (approvingly) concerning the transit agency’s vote to reject turning portions of the carpool lanes into toll lanes. The vote, she told me, was essentially retaliation against the MTA for refusing to fund the Gold Line. The toll lane money would have included $47 million for Foothill Transit, but a majority of board members, herself included, felt the deal was a poor one, she said.

Unfortunately, the clerks were waiting to close up the council chambers, so I wasn’t able to ask Lantz if she reads other blogs. I figured the best way to find out if she reads mine would be to write about her.

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  • Buzz

    Director Lantz must have been in a hurry. The PIO for Foothill Transit pointed out that Chandler, Tessitor and Pieper were paid for by Foothill Transit. Part of Delach’s lodging — presumably the part not associated with the conference — was also paid by Foothill.

    As to the fixed price contract, maybe Foothill ought to take a look at the overhead portion next time around if it supports such lavish trips: nine representatives to one conference in a desirable location. Doesn’t pass the smell test. See the Foothill Cities Blog for the comment referred to above. If this comment field will hold it all, I’ll attempt to clip it here:

    “All of the above mentioned Foothill Transit representatives, as well as Darold Pieper, legal counsel for Foothill Transit, are in France for the Public Private Partnership and Innovative Technologies Workshop. Foothill Transit was invited to attend by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and specifically asked Executive Board President Peggy Delach to speak at the conference because of her leadership role at an agency that is a model of the public-private partnership in transportation that they are studying. Her airfare and a portion of her lodgings are being paid for by the FTA.

    “Executive Board Member Roger Chandlers, Governing Board Member Doug Tessitors, and Legal Counsel Darold Piepers airfare and lodgings are being covered by Foothill Transit.

    “All staff members on this trip are being paid for by Veolia Transportation, the administrative management contractor for Foothill Transit. Veolias parent company, Veolia Environment, is based in France and the trip will include tours of various Veolia transportation properties and projects.

    “It should be noted that none of the staff members in attendance are public employees of Foothill Transit. The agencys unique public-private make up means that all employees are contractors in this case, with Veolia Transportation.”

    [I guess Lantz is now 1-1 with the Insider. Thanks for the clarification, Buzz. — DA]

  • Paula Lantz

    O.K. David…
    Now you know!