Letter to the Editor: Somerville LED Street Light Contract Corruption

Dear Billy and Somerville News Weekly,

 I read your article regarding corruption in Somerville. I suspect that the LED lighting contract done by the city may be a dirty deal also.
 I have been trying to get the City to buy good LED lights since before their contract with Dagle. Apparently other people also tried to talk to them prior to their unfortunate purchase. After talking to the planning department a few times, I found that they were about to sign with someone as yet unknown. I confronted the mayor at another town meeting and he refered me to Omar Boukili. He was friendly and helpful at first, then after a few emails become combative and eventually would not return my calls or emails. This became true for most people I tried to contact at the City even if I never contacted them before. The Aldermen and Oliver Sellers-Garcia (who was referred to me by Denise Provost) are the only exceptions. 
 I was invited to an Aldermen’s meeting in 2015 (through one of the aldermen) and had a slot to talk. After less than 2 minutes and without showing the presentation, Bill White made a motion to put the issue into committee where is has remained to date with many intermediate meetings without conclusion or my input (marching various City officials through who lied or diverted in every case. I have recordings of most of these meetings).
 Since then I have been trying to get the City to fix their lights to comply with AMA guidelines for street lighting with surprising resistance both with the Aldermen and City. Another point is that the original lighting that was replaced (HPS) is more efficient than the LEDs installed and is cheaper to maintain in the long run using publicly available replacement costs and lifetimes. 
 I got a copy of the contract that the City signed with Dagle for the glaring, bad color, and inefficient LED street lights. This contract was let without public comment, and without competitive bid by piggy-backing on a Winchester town contract (I’m told). The technical data shown in the justification included in the contract is incorrect. It overstated efficiency by 23%. This information on efficiency is on the specs from the supplier and is printed elsewhere in the contract. This higher efficiency was used for state funding for these lights. 
 In addition, I’m told that the local representative for the LED light manufacturer was bypassed for this deal. Dagle sub-contracted a small San Francisco-based contractor, Tanko, to supply the LED lights.
 If this wasn’t a dirty deal, then it was very poor judgement and odd cover-up/stonewalling techniques. I talked to the manufacturer and found that there are easy ways to fix these lights, but no one is listening in the Somerville Government. I am planning to start a petition for a ballot initiative in the next few months.
 Let me know what you think. If there is an FBI contact that you think would be interested, please let me know. 

Louis Morales

3 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor: Somerville LED Street Light Contract Corruption”

  1. This should come as no surprise. I think they should be replaced on a as needed basis as the lights go. Big decisions are not made by the people which is very wrong. We are not stupid. Term limits and people’s vote over a set amount to have the taxpayers in charge since we have no real representation in this city..

  2. The idea is just like the president is not to have someone in too long. 8 years is plenty. Gives the outgoing person time too look for whatever they are going to do after leaving office and gives others a chance knowing that they have a better shot at it. Voting does not always work. 8 years is more than enough time for one person to hold a public office.

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