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The City of San Jose (California) city council convened on December 14, 2010 to consider the City’s continued participation in a Bay Area public safety broadband initiative known as BayWEB.  This $50M+ experiment tentatively funded with Federal broadband stimulus money has been marred in controversy since the Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) staff arranged for an unethical partnership with Motorola without oversight by any duly elected body.  Comments from some council members are in the following excerpt from video of the council meeting.

The time has come to scrutinize the other multi-million dollar Motorola projects that have been funded through Bay Area UASI under the management of Laura Phillips. The BayWEB experience is a clear example of how Phillips and Bay Area UASI do business.  She hired a team of former Motorola salesmen to help administer Federal grant money and orchestrated what seems similar to a racketeer-like team to influence business decisions that would be favorable to the company.  The impropriety doesn’t stop at the BayWEB or Cornerstone projects.

The proposed P25 digital trunked radio system known as BayRICS is based on equally questionable procurements, especially as it relates to the East Bay Regional Communications Systems Authority (EBRCSA).  The radio system is based on problematic technology that will be prematurely obsolete. Much of the equipment that has been purchased will be obsolete before it is installed, or it will never be installed.  This probably wasn’t important at the time of purchase, as it seems the priority was to move as much money as possible from taxpayers to Motorola in the most expedient manner possible.

UASI has funded a sufficient amount of incredibly expensive Motorola equipment in most Bay Area counties to lock the counties into proprietary Motorola products.  The funded equipment will not provide sufficient radio coverage, leaving the financial burden to purchase additional Motorola hardware to local agencies if the radio systems are to provide adequate coverage for police and fire operations. Motorola equipment must be purchased to maintain compatibility with the proprietary design. Furthermore,  serious questions exist if the local governments will ever be capable of financially sustaining the operation, maintenance and replacement of these systems.

Watch the full San Jose city council discussion that occurred on December 14 here.

Click here to watch a PR video about BayWEB sponsored by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department and Motorola.

Links to my previous articles related to the improprieties at Bay Area SUASI

Click here for a comprehensive list of documents related to BayWEB.