So You Think You Can Govern in 2014

LIVINGSTON CA, 10/30/2014

First issue is to the Council Member Samra and the Mayor Espinoza. It has come to my attention that you both have approached residents of the City questioning their support by having my election signs on their lawn. In addition, both of you accuse me of having bad character: which I’m quoting you as saying I am a gang member. -   Excerpted from Public Comment by Mario Mendoza – City Council Meeting date 10/21/2014

Samra told the Sun-Star he showed the picture to residents in Livingston. “But I never told anyone that Mario is a gang member,” Samra said. “I never brought this up (publicly) because I don’t want people to vote against him, I want them to vote for me.” – Samra said voters will have to decide what the photo means during the Nov. 4 electionPhotograph stirs campaign controversy in Livingston, Merced Sun Star, Rob Parsons, October 25, 2014.

Historically, Livingston City Council elections have been rather sedate. Over the past 15 years or so, however, the campaigns have become filthy and juvenile. – Mike McGuire – Editor of the Livingston Chronicle from 1984-1996

So……… Voters will have to decide what “the photo” means?

Interesting……

I’m invoking a little of The Story Teller’s License as I sit at my laptop and write. This is not an All Inclusive History of Everything That Happened over the Last Few Years. If you look over in the Right Hand Margin of this Blog, you will find plenty of links to loads of information about

  • The Recall, and Water Rates, 

  • The Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee

  • Notices of Violation from the State about the Old Industrial Waste Water Treatment Plant, Arsenic Levels in the Drinking

  • The Water Rate Increase that was finally passed

  • How the City is asking the State for money to help fix several Problems with the Water Delivery System because these Items are not paid for by Water Rates.

  • Allegations of “Favoritism” and Fireworks Booths

  • The allegation that records at the Domestic Waste Water Treatment plant have seemed to vanish into thin air

  • The relationship between Foster Farms and The City

  • And so on

This is just my general Kvetch about the way I see “Politics” playing out every couple of years or so in Livingston.

When I wrote the first “So You Think You Can Govern”, I’d been somewhat of a local political junkie for a couple of years prior to the 2008 Elections and I was concerned about the number of candidates whose faces I hadn’t recalled having seen at City Council meetings (or Planning Commission meetings, or Citizens Advisory Committee meetings when they still had them).

At the time, it was already clear to me that there were sitting Council Members who did not bother to read the material in their Agenda Packets, did not understand the significance of the long term effect of what they were voting on, and/or were just “there” for reasons of their own.

I was also concerned that some of the people seeking to replace them didn’t have a clue as to what they would be getting themselves into. Livingston was going through several changes; had been on the “back end” of at least one very expensive lawsuit; was already enmeshed in a long, drawn out expensive mess of a General Plan Update and had already been through at least one Water Rate Study.

The General Election of 2008 came and went. And although there was a Council Meeting or two where everyone seemed to be willing to hold hands and sing Kumbya, it didn’t take to terribly long thereafter before the Political Cat Fighting began.

Well, the Recall Election of 2010 came and went: Theresa Land (Recall Candidate) displaced Martha Natares as Council Person and Council Person Rodrigo Espinoza, (Recall Candidate), displaced Daniel Varela as Mayor. Warren Urnberg, (Recall Supporter), was appointed as Temporary Council Member until the results of the General Election 0f November were tabulated.

Gurpal Samra, (Recall Proponent), won that “temporarily filled” Council Seat during the General Election in November and Rodrigo Espinoza also kept his seat as Mayor.

And, as before, there were people on the council who clearly didn’t bother to read the material in their Agenda Packets, didn’t really seem to know the difference between a “Commission” and a “Department”; were even more openly hostile towards City Staff,  didn’t seem to know what an Auditor was for; didn’t understand the significance of the long term effect of what they were voting on; and/or were just “there” for God Only Knows what reason of their own.

The Elections of 2012 came and went. Mayor Pro Temp Margarita Aguilar decided not to run again for office. Council Person Frank Vierra, also decided against running for another term on the Council.

During the Campaign of 2012, it became clear that relationships between some of the once Staunch Allies Of The Recall had begun to fray. Council Person Teresa Land, who had campaigned heavily for the Recall and Recall Committee backed candidates, found that she no longer had the support of those she had helped gain office.

Mayor Espinoza, instead, joined forces with Arturo Sacairos.  As Reported in the Merced Sun StarBefore the election, Espinoza released fliers endorsing himself and several other local candidates, including contenders for the Livingston council, city clerk, city treasurer, county supervisor, assembly and congress. Everyone he endorsed won.…….Espinoza put out the flier jointly with Sicairos, who said the flier might’ve helped him win, since a lot of Livingston voters look for guidance around election time”

{Before we go further, let’s take a brief Side Trip to map out a few familial relationships while we are here. 

  • The City Clerk, Tony Silva is City Council Member Arturo Sacairos’, Father-in-law.

  • The City Treasurer, Maria Riberio, is the City Clerk’s Sister}

So three “newcomers” took their places as City Council Members, with Rodrigo Espinoza as Mayor and Gurpal Samra as Mayor Pro Temp. {and with 3 members of the same family holding the positions of City Clerk, City Treasurer, and City Councilperson}

And although most of the current crop of newly Elected Officials haven’t “beaten up” on City Staff quite as much as Previous Council Members did, there ended up being  less “City Staff” to browbeat or blame for the City’s ills. Most of those who had openly suffered the Wrath-of-Council-Members-Past were either replaced, retired, fired, or otherwise laid off due to a “reorganization” dictated by an ever shrinking budget.

Now we come to the General Election of 2014 and it is clear that relationships between the core of the Recall Coalition have fractured even further. Mario Mendoza: Treasurer of the Recall Committee, (and brother to Council Person David Mendoza) is trying to unseat Mayor Pro Temp Gurpal Samra.

And here we are, only a few days away from another General Election and again we have Candidates for Office who have hardly ever shown up for City Council meetings; we are STILL working on that mess of a General Plan that has already cost the taxpayers of the Livingston hundreds of thousands of dollars in Court Fees, Attorney’s fees, Consultant’s Fees, and wasted Staff time.

And although, after the THIRD (?) Water, Garbage, and Sewer Rate Study since 2007: with the 4th Consultant in a row – what was eventually passed has Livingston in the position of begging The State for grants and loans in order to complete most of the needed repairs and upgrades to the City’s wells and water delivery system that need to be done over the next 5 years. 

"Dirty Politics" seems to have become the Norm, not the Exception in Livingston. If you have lived here long enough, you know what I mean. But the issue of “the photo” begs a couple of questions.

First off…What happened to cause Mr. Mendoza, and his supporters, to feel the need to try to oust Mr. Samra from the City Council?

And secondly…..if Mr. Samra “just wants people to vote for him” why walk around with a copy of “the photo” of Mr. Mendoza?

What would be the point? Just to show it to residents of Livingston??????

That doesn’t make sense to me

{SMH}

I said it before, and I’ll say it again now, the Ethical and Effective Council Member of the 21st Century will need to be more than just a person who sits behind a dais and votes “yes or no”. S/he must be able to comprehend, analyze and distinguish between a multitude of competing interests, knowing that all decisions made will have implications for the future.

S/he must recognize that the issues facing Livingston won’t just impact those living within “the City”. There are those outside the City Limits and Sphere of Influence that are as important to the cultural and economic health of Livingston as those who live “inside”.

An ethical and effective Council Person must be fully aware of present needs, and yet have an eye for the future consequences of any and all actions taken, votes cast, and directions given to City Staff in the present. S/he must understand both the “the Time Value of Money” and the “Money Value of Time”: spending both taxpayers dollars, and City Staff time wisely and well.

I have included a partial list of terms any competent council person should be aware of, understand, and able to use in a complete, coherent sentence.

For anyone who REALLY wants to be knowledgeable about how City Government works, I would strongly suggest s/he get out a dictionary, do an Internet Search, or talk to someone at City Hall about any of these terms/concepts s/he may never have heard of before. Granted, it’s only an abbreviated list: an “Introduction to 21st Century City Government 101” so to speak, but at least it would give you an idea of the kinds of stuff you would need to know so you don’t end up sounding like a damn-fool every time you open your mouth .

PRIMARY DRINKING WATER STANDARDS address health concerns. (Things in the water that can make you sick or kill you if you drank enough of it over time)

SECONDARY DRINKING WATER STANDARDS – (things that make the water look and smell yucky, but might not necessarily make you sick or kill you) established to address issues of aesthetics (discoloration), not health concerns. In California secondary MCLs (Maximum Contaminant Levels) are enforceable.

UNREGULATED CONTAMINANTS – Chemicals and stuff which do not yet have a Maximum Contaminant Level. (emphasis on “yet”) There is ongoing testing So the The Environmental Protection Agency can decide whether or not these contaminants occur often enough and at high enough levels to warrant further attention and/or regulation. (In other words, the Government is still debating the science about how much of that stuff will make you sick or kill you over time.)

ARSENIC – : a semi-metal element in the periodic table. It is odorless and tasteless. It enters drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural and industrial practices.

CHROMIUM – 3 An Essential Trace Mineral, not to be confused with it’s deadlier cousin: Chromium – 6.

CHROMIUM – 6:  Chromium-6, or hexavalent chromium, is a naturally occurring metal. It is also used in several industrial processes. Chromium-6 has been known to cause cancer in humans when inhaled. In scientific studies in laboratory animals, chromium-6 has also been linked to cancer when ingested (Think “Erin Brokovich”)

MANGANESE: Manganese is a pinkish-gray, chemically active element. it is one out of three toxic essential trace elements, which means that it is not only necessary for humans to survive, but it is also toxic when too high concentrations are present in a human body. When people do not live up to the recommended daily allowances their health will decrease. But when the uptake is too high health problems will also occur. (Not getting enough? You get sick. Getting “too much”? You get sick)

TCP – 1,2,3:  TCP-containing fumigants were used extensively by farmers in the production of a large variety of crops from the 1950s through the mid-1980s. In California, these fumigants (known by the trade names D-D and Telone) were among the most widely used pesticides in the history of the State, second only to sulfur…. In 1999, 1,2,3-TCP was added to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer (Livingston sued Dow Chemical and netted about $9.5 million dollars to put towards removing the TCP from our Drinking Water)

mg/L: Milligrams per liter or Parts Per Million. 

ug/L: Micrograms per liter or Parts Per Billion, (ppb)

Parts per Billion, (ppb) – Imagine 13 drops of ink in one of the largest tanker trucks used to haul gasoline. That would be 13 Parts Per Billion of ink.

MCL: Maximum Contaminant Level – The highest level of a toxic substance allowed in Drinking Water. The Health & Safety Code §116365(a) requires California Department of Public Health to establish a contaminant’s MCL at a level as close to its PUBLIC HEALTH GOAL (PHG) as is technologically and economically feasible, placing primary emphasis on the protection of public health

  • If a toxic substance is higher than the Maximum Contaminant Level using a 4 QUARTER AVERAGE, a water purveyor has to figure out a way of reducing that number down to below the MCL, and/or come up with another source of water to deliver to it’s customers.

  • The Maximum Contaminant Level for Arsenic currently stands at 10 Parts Per Billion

  • We have at least 2 wells that are over the limit of 10 Parts Per Billion and others that are really close to going over that limit.

4 QUARTER AVERAGE: As is this example.

  • If quarterly testing for arsenic at Well A produced the following results in Parts Per Billion: 8.5, 9.9 , 10, 11

  • The 4 Quarter Average would be 9.85 Parts Per Billion.

RANGE: The Lowest and the Highest. Using the Above as our example,

  • The Range would be 8.5 – 11 Parts Per Billion

NOTIFICATION LEVEL – The level at which the State of California says the public needs to be notified about a contaminant in the Drinking Water

.

  • The Notification Level for TCP – 1,2,3 is 0.005 ug/L ( 0.005 Parts per Billion)

  • I’m not to crazy about decimals. So to “get rid” of the decimal, we move the decimal 3 places to the right and get 5 Parts per Trillion.

  • According to the Report by Kennedy Jenks, a significant number of Livingston’s wells produce water with TCP ABOVE the Notification Level.

Parts per Trillion (ppt):– Imagine 5 drops of detergent in enough dishwater to fill a string of railroad tank cars ten miles long. That would be 5 Parts Per Trillion of detergent.

RESPONSE LEVEL – The level of contamination at which the State of California says a well “should” be removed from service because of a potential threat to Public Health.

  • The RESPONSE LEVEL for TCP – 1,2,3 is 100x the Notification Level (therefore 500 Parts per Trillion).

  • According to the Report by Kennedy Jenks, some of Livingston’s wells produce water with TCP levels ABOVE the Response Level.

PUBLIC HEALTH GOAL –  Concentrations of drinking water contaminants that pose no significant health risk if consumed for a lifetime, based on current risk assessment principles, practices, and methods. (Translation: levels low enough that you should die of old age before any of that stuff would make you really sick or kill you)

1,2,3, TCP Industrial
A-1 Zoning Industrial Wastewater
AB 1234 Infrastructure
Allowed Use Joint Use
Assessed Property Values LAFCO
Audit Light Industrial
Audit Report Litigation
Bank Owned Properties Long-Term Debt Obligations
Benefit Assessment District Low Density Residential
Breach of Contract MAGPI
Brown Act Master Plan
Budget Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)
California Public Records Act MCAG
Capital Improvements Medium Density Residential
Capital Projects Fund Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Cash Pool Mitigated Negative Declaration
Centralized Water Treatment Mixed Use
CEQA Modified Accrual Method of Accounting
Citizens Advisory Committee Municipal Code
Citizens Service Committee Notice of Action
City Limits Notice of Violation
City Manager Form of Government Notice of Preparation (NOP)
Closed Session Notification Level
Code Nuisance Abatement
Code Enforcement Officer Obligation Payment Schedule
COLA Open Meetings Law
Commercial Open Session
Commission Open Space Reserve
Common Sense Operating Deficit
Community Operation and Maintenance
Community Commercial Ordinance
Community Development Block Grant Percolation ponds
Community Facilities District Permitted Use
Community Service Planning Commission
Community Values Prevailing Union Wage Law
Community Vision Primary Drinking Water Standards
Confidentiality Proposition 218 Hearing
Conflict of Interest Public Comments
Consent Calendar Public Document Request
Constituent Qualified Audit Opinion
Contract Quorum
Cooperation Recusal
Department Redevelopment Area
Development Impact Fees Reflective Listening
Detection Level Regional Sewage Treatment Facility
Domestic Wastewater Response to the Grand Jury
Easements Restricted Fund
Education Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF) Retainer
Enterprise Zone Revenue
Environmentally Superior Alternative Revenue Sharing
Errors and Omissions right-of-way
Excused Absence Secondary Drinking Water Standards
Expenditure Serial Meeting
Fiduciary Funds Shared Use
Fiduciary Responsibility Site Design Review
Fiscal Impact Special Planning Area
Fiscal Year Special Revenue Fund
Fixed Assets Sphere of Influence
Form 700 Strike expense
Fund Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency
Fund Balance Tax Sharing Agreement
General Fund The Illegal 42′ Sewer Pipe
General Plan Triple flip
Generally Accepted Accounting Principals (GAAP) Union
Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB) Unqualified Audit Opinion
Government Code Unrestricted Fund
Grand Jury Report Urban Reserve
Grievance Warrant Register
Hearing Wellhead Treatment
Heritage Tree Ordinance Work in Lieu
High Density Residential Workers Compensation
Highway Commercial

One last thing. Please Mr./Ms. Council People of the future: when you do speak, please finish your first sentence before beginning a totally different one. Trying to follow some of the rambling trains of thought I hear regularly at Council Meetings gives me a headache.

Thank You.

Arsenic and Lawsuits, Workshops and Hearings; A Clean Up/Abatement Order from the Water Board, and a City Council Agenda

LIVINGSTON, CALIFORNIA 05/19/2014

Water quality monitoring conducted by the City since January 2008 revealed that the arsenic levels in the water produced by the City’s wells has increased. the city must develop a contingency plan to be used in the event that the water produced by the City’s wells exceeds the arsenic MCL.California Department of Public Health, 2011 Water System Inspection Report. 

Well No. 16 has been offline since September 2011 because the media in the arsenic removal treatment system has been exhausted . Well No. 13 is also offline due to arsenic at elevated levels but below the MCL. The City is currently flushing the well to waste and collecting a bacteriological cycle test and hopes to bring the well online by mid-April if the cycle test results are coliform negative.California Department of Health: City of Livingston 2013 Water System Inspection Report

The City is currently conducting a Feasibility Study to examine adding additional source capacity, adding additional storage capacity , and adding localized or centralized treatment to provide water that complies with all primary and secondary drinking water standards. Several of the City’s wells produce water with 1,2,3-TCP above the Notification Level. Many of the same wells produce water with arsenic approaching the MCL (Well No. 12), at the MCL (Wells Nos. 13 & 15), and over the MCL (Well No. 16). Thirdly , Well No. 15 produces water with excessive manganese levels. The City has opted to provide treatment for the latter rather than applying for a waiver from the Department. The Feasibility Study is expected to be completed by the end of April 2013 – Ibid

Council Member Espinoza commented that there have been many complaints about the water system and a rate increase is warranted to correct the problems June 19, 2007 Draft Meeting Minutes (Re -Bergman Rate Study)

“Mayor Samra commented that making a decision is not easy for him and he agrees with all of his colleagues that something needs to happen. He said the Council will study this matter; however, not just the Council, but also the community at large needs to deal with the issue. Mayor Samra added that residents’’ concerns will be answered and he agrees that this item (Water Rate Increases) be continued” January 15, 2008, Draft Meeting Minutes (Bergman Rate Study)

“[t]he City operates a community water system under California Water Permit No. 03-11-98P001. The City’s source of water supply is exclusively groundwater. The City currently has eight (8) active wells. The quality of the water produced by most of the City’s wells is marginal and in some cases it exceeds the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for constituents like arsenic or manganese. Well No. 13 has [except in 2010 and 2011 when Well No. 13 was not operated] been exceeding the arsenic MCL of 10 μg/l since 2010.”  – California River Watch v. City of Livingston 

The City of Livingston has been sued.

Because of the Arsenic Levels in our Groundwater.

More on that a little later. But First:

A FEW DEFINITIONS

Before we get started, I must state that I am neither a Scientist, Engineer, nor Chemistry Nerd. But I have been following Livingston’s Water Quality Woes for quite some time. And after attending meeting after meeting over the course of the past few years while watching City Council after City Council punt this issue down the road time after time, I think I have managed to pick up a bit of knowledge by osmosis.

I have also amassed a fair amount of documentation over the years, and I’ve done additional research online: some of which I will be referencing as we go along. (click the links for even more detail)

Please forgive me, documentation purists, if some of my links are to Wikepedia, Yahoo Answers and/or other “Non Scientific” type websites. This is not a University Level Discussion in “The Chemistry and Related Issues in Municipal Drinking Water”.  I  just want to get across a few basic ideas before the Proposition 218 Hearing that’s coming up on Tuesday.

PRIMARY DRINKING WATER STANDARDS address health concerns. (Things in the water that can make you sick or kill you if you drank enough of it over time)

SECONDARY DRINKING WATER STANDARDS – (things that make the water look and smell yucky, but might not necessarily make you sick or kill you) established to address issues of aesthetics (discoloration), not health concerns. In California secondary MCLs (Maximum Contaminant Levels) are enforceable.

UNREGULATED CONTAMINANTS –
Chemicals and stuff which do not yet have a Maximum Contaminant Level. (emphasis on “yet”) There is ongoing testing So the The Environmental Protection Agency can decide whether or not these contaminants occur often enough and at high enough levels to warrant further attention and/or regulation. (In other words, the Government is still debating the science about how much of that stuff will make you sick or kill you over time.)

ARSENIC – : a semi-metal element in the periodic table. It is odorless and tasteless. It enters drinking water supplies from natural deposits in the earth or from agricultural and industrial practices. 

CHROMIUM – 3 An Essential Trace Mineral, not to be confused with it’s deadlier cousin: Chromium – 6.

CHROMIUM – 6:  Chromium-6, or hexavalent chromium, is a naturally occurring metal. It is also used in several industrial processes. Chromium-6 has been known to cause cancer in humans when inhaled. In scientific studies in laboratory animals, chromium-6 has also been linked to cancer when ingested (Think “Erin Brokovich”)

MANGANESE: Manganese is a pinkish-gray, chemically active element. it is one out of three toxic essential trace elements, which means that it is not only necessary for humans to survive, but it is also toxic when too high concentrations are present in a human body. When people do not live up to the recommended daily allowances their health will decrease. But when the uptake is too high health problems will also occur. (Not getting enough? You get sick. Getting “too much”? You get sick)

TCP – 1,2,3:  TCP-containing fumigants were used extensively by farmers in the production of a large variety of crops from the 1950s through the mid-1980s. In California, these fumigants (known by the trade names D-D and Telone) were among the most widely used pesticides in the history of the State, second only to sulfur…. In 1999, 1,2,3-TCP was added to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer (Livingston sued Dow Chemical and netted about $9.5 million dollars to put towards removing the TCP from our Drinking Water)

mg/L: Milligrams per liter or Parts Per Million. 

ug/L: Micrograms per liter or Parts Per Billion, (ppb)

Parts per Billion, (ppb) – Imagine 13 drops of ink in one of the largest tanker trucks used to haul gasoline. That would be 13 Parts Per Billion of ink.

MCL: Maximum Contaminant Level – The highest level of a toxic substance allowed in Drinking Water. The Health & Safety Code §116365(a) requires California Department of Public Health to establish a contaminant’s MCL at a level as close to its PUBLIC HEALTH GOAL (PHG) as is technologically and economically feasible, placing primary emphasis on the protection of public health

  • If a toxic substance is higher than the Maximum Contaminant Level using a 4 QUARTER AVERAGE, a water purveyor has to figure out a way of reducing that number down to below the MCL, and/or come up with another source of water to deliver to it’s customers.

  • The Maximum Contaminant Level for Arsenic currently stands at 10 Parts Per Billion 

  • We have at least 2 wells that are over the limit of 10 Parts Per Billion and others that are really close to going over that limit.

4 QUARTER AVERAGE: As is this example.

  • If quarterly testing for arsenic at Well A produced the following results in Parts Per Billion: 8.5, 9.9 , 10, 11

  • The 4 Quarter Average would be 9.85 Parts Per Billion.

RANGE: The Lowest and the Highest. Using the Above as our example,

  • The Range would be 8.5 – 11 Parts Per Billion

NOTIFICATION LEVEL – The level at which the State of California says the public needs to be notified about a contaminant in the Drinking Water.

  • The Notification Level for TCP – 1,2,3 is 0.005 ug/L ( 0.005 Parts per Billion)

  • I’m not to crazy about decimals. So to “get rid” of the decimal, we move the decimal 3 places to the right and get 5 Parts per Trillion.

  • According to the Report by Kennedy Jenks, a significant number of Livingston’s wells produce water with TCP ABOVE the Notification Level.

Parts per Trillion (ppt):– Imagine 5 drops of detergent in enough dishwater to fill a string of railroad tank cars ten miles long. That would be 5 Parts Per Trillion of detergent.

RESPONSE LEVEL – The level of contamination at which the State of California says a well “should” be removed from service because of a potential threat to Public Health.

  • The RESPONSE LEVEL for TCP – 1,2,3 is 100x the Notification Level (therefore 500 Parts per Trillion).

  • According to the Report by Kennedy Jenks, some of Livingston’s wells produce water with TCP levels ABOVE the Response Level.

PUBLIC HEALTH GOAL –  Concentrations of drinking water contaminants that pose no significant health risk if consumed for a lifetime, based on current risk assessment principles, practices, and methods. (Translation: levels low enough that you should die of old age before any of that stuff would make you really sick or kill you)

05012014 Water Bill Insert Page 1Having a basic understanding of these terms will comes in handy every now and then: like when open your “Water Bill” and find another in an ever growing series of “its not an emergency but we have to tell you about the Arsenic in the Drinking Water” notices.  (Or when you go to a Meeting, Hearing or Workshop about “What’s In Our Water and What We Plan To Do About It” and the Consultants and Engineers go on and on in what sounds like a Foreign Language to those of us who are not Math/Science Nerds.)

SO NOW, LET’S TALK A LITTLE ABOUT ARSENIC and that Lawsuit I mentioned earlier.

To start with, we’ve been getting “Warnings About Arsenic” in the Water Bills since at least July of last year: after Well #13 was brought back on line and it was discovered, oops, that it was testing just a little over the Maximum Contaminant Level for Arsenic.

According to the 2011 California Department of Public Health Water System Inspection Report (page 9), Well #13 “was offline because the motor had burned up and needed to be replaced” and “the well has been offline for approximately two years due to construction”.

Well Locations with Local LandmarksThe 2013 California Department of Public Health Water System Inspection Report (page 15) talked about City Wells that “produce water with arsenic approaching the MCL (Well No. 12), at the MCL (Well Nos. 13 & 15), and over the MCL (Well No. 16).

At the May 20, 2013 meeting of the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee Meeting, members were notified that Well #13 was running a little high on Arsenic and would likely need to have an Arsenic Filtration System installed.

Arsenic Compliance OrderAt the June 03, 2013 meeting of the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee, members were informed that the California Department of Public Health had issued a Compliance Order For Violation of the Arsenic Maximum Contaminant Level

Page 8About December 10, 2013, California River Watch notified the City of Livingston of their intention to file suit under the Safe Drinking Water Act. At the very next City Council Meeting, the number of Cases of Potential Litigation to be discussed in Closed Session increased from 3 (as on November 19th) to 4. 

Page 1That Livingston finally ended up with a Compliance Order for Violating the Arsenic Maximum Contaminant level should be no real surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to Livingston’s Water Quality Woes.

Arsenic, and the need for filtration was a Topic of Discussion in the 2007/2008 Bergman Rate Study.  It was also a component in the 2009 Rate Study done by Raftelis Financial Consultants.

imageMaybe it is just coincidence that California River Watch decided to sue the City of Livingston about Violating the Arsenic Standard right around the same time we are getting ready for our THIRD round of Water Rate Studies and Proposition 218 Hearings in 6 years or so…..But

According to the Merced Sun Star, David Weinsoff, an attorney retained by California River Watch, stated

“There are senior citizens and children who are drinking this water, those that have compromised health systems that are drinking this water,” he said. “I frankly don’t see why the city doesn’t figure out who is most affected by the arsenic and provide water bottles or another alternative water source.”

And

Weinsoff said the goal of the lawsuit is to order the city to address the problem sooner than the deadline issued by the state and to notify at-risk residents, such as children and the elderly, when the city is out of compliance with maximum contaminant levels.

Maybe, just maybe, considering Livingston’s long history of Cycling through Hearing after Hearing, Consultant after Consultant, and Study after Study, California River Watch decided to invoke a “Higher Power” to make sure something actually gets done this time around.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO MISSED THE “WATER RATE” WORKSHOPS last month, and would like to see a copy of the Power Point Presentations, you can click on the following.

Water And Sewer Rate Study Community Workshop #1 April 8th, 2014: English

Water And Sewer Rate Study Community Workshop #2 April 10th, 2014: Spanish

Water And Sewer Rate Study Community Workshop #3 April 22nd, 2014: Punjabi

  • TO READ A COPY OF THE RATE STUDY in English, Spanish and/or Punjabi, you can go to:

    FOR EVEN MORE ON THE HISTORY OF LIVINGSTON’S WATER QUALITY WOES, I offer the following:

  • Salmonella, Arsenic, TCP and Manganese, A Timeline About Water Issues, and a City Council Agenda 

  • California Water Board Clean Up and Abatement Order – July 21, 2012 – Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility

  • 2 Rate Studies, 4 Rate Consultants, 1 Recall Election, 3 Rate Rollbacks, 1 Rate Committee, 1 New City Manager, 1 New Public Works Director, 1 Public Relations Firm and 1 Report by Kennedy Jenks (And a City Council Agenda) (I should probably mention at this point that the City of Livingston is now looking for Yet Another Public Works Director..anyone want to take bets about how long this one will last? )


  • 2008 City of Livingston Water Rate Study Presentation: Dan Bergmann, Interstate Gas Services, Inc.

  • 2009 City of Livingston Wastewater and Solid Waste (Garbage) Rate Study: Raftelis Financial Consultants

  • 2009 City of Livingston Water Rate Study: Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. 

  • California Department of Health – Compliance Order For Violation of the Arsenic Maximum Contaminant Level: May 16, 2013

  • California Department of Health Sept. 2010 Letter on Water System Funding

  • California Department of Health: City of Livingston 2011 Water System Inspection Report

  • California Department of Health: City of Livingston 2013 Water System Inspection Report


  • Feasibility Analysis For A Sustainable Water Treatment Strategy–Kennedy Jenks Consultants

  •  

    CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

    MAY 20, 2014

    CLOSED SESSION: 6:00 P.M.

    OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.


    Notice is hereby given that the City Council will hold a Regular Meeting on April 15, 2014, at the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should contact the Deputy City Clerk at least 24 hours prior to this meeting at (209) 394-8041, Ext. 121. Any writings or documents pertaining to an Open Session item provided to a majority of the members of the legislative body less than 72 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Open Session will begin at 7:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held in accordance with state law prior to the Open Session beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held in the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street. The agenda shall be as follows:


    Closed Session


    1. Call to Order.

    2. Roll Call


    CLOSED SESSION


    A “Closed” or “Executive” Session of the City Council or the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston may be held in accordance with state law which may include, but is not limited to, the following types of items: personnel matters, labor negotiations, security matters, providing instructions to real property negotiators, conference with legal counsel regarding pending litigation. The Closed Session will be held in the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Any public comment on Closed Session items will be taken before the Closed Session. Any required announcements or discussion of Closed Session items or actions following the Closed Session will be made in the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston,

    California.


    3. Public Employee Performance Evaluation

    (Government Code Section 54957(b)(1))

    Title: City Manager

    4. Conference with Labor Negotiator

    (Government Code Section 54957.6)

    Labor Negotiator: Jose M. Sanchez, City Attorney

    Unrepresented Employee: City Manager


    5. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

    [(Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(2)]

    Number of Cases: 2

    6. Conference with Labor Negotiator

    (Government Code Section 54957.6)

    Labor Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

    Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees


    Regular Meeting


    CALL TO ORDER


    Roll Call. Next Resolution No. 2014-22

    Next Ordinance No. 619

    Pledge of Allegiance.


    Closed Session Announcements

    Changes to the Agenda.

    AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS


    1. Presentation by City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez: 20 Year Service Pins to Danna Rasmussen, Senior Administrative Analyst, and Debbie Parrott, Senior Account Clerk.


    ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS


    Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

    City Staff Announcements and Reports.

    City Manager Announcements and Reports.

    City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

    Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.


    PUBLIC HEARINGS


    2. An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Adopting a New Rate Schedule for Water Service – Proposition 18 Hearing.

    3. Resolution and Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Adopting a New Rate Schedule for Domestic Wastewater Service (Sewer Service) – Proposition 218 Hearing.


    CITIZEN COMMENTS

    This section of the agenda allows members of the public to address the City Council on any item NOT otherwise on the agenda. Members of the public, when recognized by the Mayor, should come forward to the lectern, and identify themselves. Comments are normally limited to three (3) minutes. In accordance with State Open Meeting Laws, no action will be taken by the City Council this evening. For items which are on the agenda this evening members of the public will be provided an opportunity to address the City Council as each item is brought up for discussion.


    CONSENT CALENDAR


    Items on the Consent Calendar are considered routine or non-controversial and will be enacted by one vote, unless separate action is requested by the City Manager or City Council Member. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless members of the City Council or City Manager request that specific items be removed.


    4. Waive the Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance No. 613 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending the Livingston Municipal Code Title 4, “Building Regulations,” to Add Chapter 4-7 Establishing a Regional Transportation Impact Fee (RTIF).

    5. Approval of Warrant Register Dated May 1, 2014.

    6. Approval of Warrant Register Dated May 15, 2014.


    DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS


    7. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No. 616 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Adopting Amendments to Title 4, Chapter 1 of the Livingston Municipal Code Pertaining to the Livingston Building Code, and Ordinance No. 617 Adopting Amendments to Title 7, Chapters 1, 2, 4 and 5 of the Livingston Municipal Code Pertaining to the Livingston Fire Code and Related Changes.

    8. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No. 618 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending the Livingston Municipal Code to Repeal Title 9, Chapter 7, Entitled “CATV Franchise” in its Entirety.


    9. Direct City Engineer to Design and Prepare Plans of Scope of Work for Water Line Improvement Project Phase III.


    ADJOURNMENT


    Budget Documents, Staff Reports, and When Figures Don’t Lie

    Fool me once: Shame on You. Fool me twice: Shame on Me. Old American proverb.

    Figures don’t lie. But liars figure. Old American proverb sometimes attributed to Mark Twain.

    “I would love to have surplus money, but at this point, the goal was just to close the gap,” said City Manager Jose Ramirez, noting the city originally faced a $150,000 shortfall. “You’re not trying to get any more than what’s needed from the (employee) bargaining units. With the budgetary concessions we had, we wanted to get to zero.” Livingston adopts a balanced budget, Ramona Giwargis, Merced Sun Star, March 23, 2014

    If the concession agreements are not extended, the city’s general fund will dip into the red by $80,000. The agreements end on June 30, and that will attribute to an increase to city expenses – Ibid

    At the March 18, 2014 City Council Meeting, the City Council adopted what was said to be a “Balanced Budget” after finally closing a “Budget Gap” of over $150,00.  One would think that meant the City had found a way to Cut Spending by that very amount. But that’s not really how that Balanced Budget came about.  There is a little piece of the Budget Puzzle that has been left out.

    And from what I can see, from looking at the numbers, the City just might have a little difficulty convincing the Bargaining Units to extend concessions into the next Fiscal Year. More on that a little later. But first.

    FAMILY HAMBURGER NIGHT AT THE VFW

    Family-Hamburger-Night--03-20142

    Kite-Festival-20144LET’S GO FLY A KITE!  The Knights of Columbus presents The Week of the Young Child and K97.5, 3rd Annual “Time to Fly” Kite Festival.  Sunday April 06, 2014 8:30 am – 3:30pm at the Livingston Middle School 101 F Street Livingston, CA 95334. FREE to the Public the first 500 kids get a free Kite.

    We are less than 2 weeks away from our 3rd Annual Kite Festival and Kite building days at local schools starts next week.  We will be visiting all the local schools from the Head Starts to the Middle Schools to build kites with the kids and their parents. The Kites will have BLUE tails to represent the week of the young child.

    The Merced County Sheriff will be present at Livingston’s 3rd Annual Kite Festival show casing its arsenal of crime-fighting tools including their 1973 UH-1H VIETNAM-ERA HUEY Helicopter, Sheriff’s S.W.A.T. Armored Vehicle, “Bearcat,” and The Sheriff’s Water Rescue Boat.  Come meet and thank some of the dedicated officers including the pilots and SWAT and Dive Operators.

    There will be GIANT Kite Flying Demonstrations by Brian Champie, George Halpin, Mike North and many more.  There will be kite-making workshops, plus other activities for everyone to enjoy including Kite Building Contests, The Rotary Club of Winton-Nuevo Latino Pie Eating Contests, Face Painting, Bounce Houses, Crafts, Kite, and informational Vendor booths, plus various cultural performances. 

    We will also have safety demonstrations from PG&E, Livingston Police and Fire, CHP, and Merced County Sheriff and of course “The Jim Strealy Memorial Candy Drop,” presented by Fluetsch and Busby Insurance.

    Don’t forget to enter FREE Kite Building Contest for your chance to win cash money! We are still looking for Non-Food Vendors.  For more info, pictures of last year’s event, and vendor application, visit our website:  https://www.livingstonKiteFestival.com or call Contact: Julio Valadez  209-277-1402 LIKE and SHARE our FACEBOOK page for a chance to win a 70 Inch Stunt Kite!

    TRUST, NEGOTIATIONS, AND BARGAINING IN GOOD FAITH…Some of you may have read the article in the Merced Sun Star about Livingston finally adopting a balanced budget nearly 9 months after the Fiscal Year started. According to the article

    Despite reaching concession agreements with employees that included furloughs, pay reductions, limiting vacation cash-outs and requiring employee contributions toward health insurance, the budget shows the city will break even but not achieve a positive financial position

    OK. So the City is just breaking even. This time. But there is a little part of the Budget Gap Story that has been left out. And in my opinion, the part that was left out may well have an impact on any future Negotiations between the City and Employee Bargaining Units.

    Let’s begin by examining the text from the Staff Report.

    Paragraph 1 states:

    The City’s financial records show that the City has depleted its General Fund balance (reserves) over the last 10 years. A decade of continuous operating deficits has resulted in significant impacts to City’s operations. The City had over 100% of fund balance in 2002 to cover its annual operating costs of over $3.5 million. This fund balance (reserves) was reduced to approximately 60% of annual operating expenditures by 2007 as expenditures materially increased to over $5.6 million. Five years later, the fund balance for fiscal year 2012-13 as of June 30, 2013, is $843,000 which is below 20% of the City’s projected annual expenditures. This figure reflects the write-off of the Outstanding Notes Receivable (Loan) from the Former RDA in the amount of $511,000. The State Department of Finance declared this loan to be an un-enforceable obligation.

    Paragraph 2 states:

    A similar scenario is reflected on the City’s cash balance in the General Fund. These are the results of the continuous economic challenges Livingston along with many other agencies continues to face.

    Paragraph 3 states:

    Management conducted several budget workshops in mid 2013 in efforts to address the anticipated General Fund operating deficit of nearly $150,000 and to allow public/community input. This gap was then reduced to about $100,000 after management successfully negotiated a three year reimbursement agreement with Merced County in late September 2013. An analysis concluded that the County overcharged the City for Property Tax Administration between 2008 through fiscal year 2012. Per Statute of Limitations, the City could only recover three years of reimbursement plus accrued interest. County agreed to reimburse City in three fiscal year installments at just over $58,000 per year, FY2012-13, FY2013-14, and FY14-15.

    Paragraph 4 States:

    This anticipated gap was further reduced by negotiating budget concessions with the bargaining groups. Agreements were reached with Management & Confidential employees and Public Works units in early November 2013. General Fund savings from these two units in the form of personnel cost is estimated at $28,000 plus about $51,000 in other funds during fiscal year 2013-14. Late agreements were reached with our Police units after both units decided to exercise their right to Fact Finding procedures. On March 4, 2014, after a year of negotiations with these two units, an agreement was reached to honor the recommendations made by Mr. Burdick, mediator on Fact Finding process. Anticipated personnel savings to the General Fund from these two Police units during 2013-14 are estimated at $22,000 in the General Fund and about $5,200 in other funds.

    Paragraph 5 states:

    A mid-year review was performed by finance in January-February and minor adjustments were made to revenue and General Fund expenditure projections, this included reallocation of funds within and between departments to balance the General Fund budget.

    Paragraph 6 States:

    The City has posted a copy of the proposed budget on its website and will provide a free copy of the proposed budget on a CD to any citizen desiring to have one. Copies will also be available for public review at City Hall.

    If you only look at the plain language of the Staff Report,  you would most likely arrive at the following conclusions:

    1. The General Fund has been in a downward slide towards Bankruptcy for quite some time and we’re just about there.

    2. The City is in a heap of trouble, financially. Just like everyone else.

    3. Expenses were expected to $153,000 more than Revenues. But the City managed to negotiate a refund of about $50,000 from the County: which dropped the “budget gap” to $100,000.

    4. The City also negotiated about $50,000 of concessions from the Employee Bargaining Units: which dropped the “budget gap” to $50.000.

    5. During the Mid Year Review, “minor adjustments” were made which eliminated that last $50,000, thereby dropping the “budget gap” to zero.

    6. And you can see it for yourself by looking at the version of the Budget on the City’s website.

    So, from the March Staff Report, you would most likely gotten the impression that back in July 2013, the City was facing a Budget Gap of close to $150,000.

    And after several months of negotiations, this Planned Spending was reduced by concessions gained from Employee Bargaining Groups, refunds from the County, and some Inter Departmental “adjusting”:thereby reducing the nearly $150,000 Budget Gap to Zero {0} Resulting in a Balanced Budget.

    But as I mentioned earlier, this Staff Reports leaves something out: the fact that Projected Revenues were adjusted UP about $150,000 during the same time all those Refunds, Concessions, and other “adjustments” were supposed to be bringing Spending DOWN.

    But, but, but, the Budget was Balanced. Wasn’t it? Well, yes, in a manner of speaking. Just not exactly the way the Staff Report makes it appear.

    At the General Fund Budget Workshop in July 2013, According to the Spreadsheets included in the Agenda Packet posted online, the Budget Gap was calculated as follows:

    · General Fund Revenues: $4,402,825

    · General Fund Expenses : $4,546,718

    · “Budget Gap”:                         ($143,893)

    And there was a whole lot of negotiations with the bargaining units about things like furlough days and other concessions because it was a Critical need to close that Budget Gap.

    So..when I saw the Agenda Item about the Budget on the March 18, 2014 City Council Agenda, I expected that after the Employee concessions, and other spending cuts the Staff Report talked about, the numbers would look something like this:

    · General Fund Revenue: $4,402,825

    · General Fund Expenses: $4,402,825

    · Budget Gap: 0

    But that’s not what the Revised Budget Said. What it said was:

    · General Fund Revenue: $4,556,650

    · General Fund Expenses: $4,556,650

    · Budget Gap: 0


    Total Revenues were increases by over $153 thousand dollars but Total Spending wasn’t cut at all! In fact, Total Spending INCREASED almost $10,000.

    And from looking at the details, any “budget savings” from employee concessions were more than wiped out by increased spending on Professional Services, Contract Services, and other spending increases.

    When I pointed out those facts to the City Council and asked “what happened”, I got quite the long answer about how Budgets are Living Documents and how The-Longer-You-Go-The-More-Things-Change from the City Manager and a retort about Just-Looking-For-Things-To-Criticize from the Mayor.

    Excuse me?

    I understand that there are times when spending cuts just have to be made. I get that.

    I understand that there are times when Pay Cuts and Furloughs may be truly necessary. I get that too.

    But if you tell the Bargaining Units at the beginning of the Fiscal Year that Concessions are necessary because there just isn’t going to be enough Revenue coming in…

    And negotiate, negotiate, negotiate, because you so NEED those concessions in order to close that Budget Gap.

    Then turn around around towards the end of the year, after the concessions were made, with a “oops, we bad, we’re actually going to get $153,000 more Revenue then we originally figured on, but we plan to spend it elsewhere…but we sure do appreciate those concessions anyway.

    Why should you think you will be trusted the next time you cry “Budget Gap! We have a Budget Gap to Close!”

    Just sayin

    Watering Days, Fireworks Booths, Arsenic, Sand and “Broken” Wells: plus a City Council Agenda

    LIVINGSTON, CALIFORNIA 02/17/2014

    I am going to invoke a little of the Story Teller’s License before discussing my take on Current Events as they relate to Water Related Stuff.

    I’ve developed a theory, which started bubbling up in my brain, ever since the Days-of-the-Recall, that there have been, and still are, two quite distinct factions within our Elected and Appointed Officials .

    One faction has known all along about the growing problems with our Groundwater and Water System. They have been on the council long enough to have had more than a fair few Staff and Consultant’s Reports in their Agenda Packets: they have no excuse whatsoever in my mind for “not knowing”.

    But for Political Reasons they seem to have made it a deliberate practice to ensure that that knowledge and comprehension has not been passed to other Elected/Appointed Officials, and Livingston-Residents-As-A-Whole.

    We’ll call them “Political Can Kickers” because they have been Kicking the Political Can about Water System Problems down the road for quite a while.

    The other faction of Elected/Appointed Officials, which we will call “Water Truthers”, most likely believed everything that the “Political Can Kickers” said about significant repairs and upgrades to Livingston’s Water System being “Unwarranted” and “Unnecessary”, and that any claims about contamination of the Groundwater and problems with the Water System were either Wild Exaggerations, or Figments of the Imagination.

    Which the “Water Truthers” intended to prove once they got into City Hall, “cleaned house” and hired a New City Manager, a New City Attorney, and perhaps a few New Consultants and a few New Engineers, and a New Public Works Director Of-Their-Own-Choosing.

    After which, they could Re-Study Everything and therefore be able to discover, then declare the REAL Truth-About-Our-Drinking-Water: that all claims of Groundwater Contamination and System Problems were either patently false, or wildly overstated, and that the City DIDN’T really need all the expensive Wellhead Treatment Systems and System Repairs it said it did.

    More on that a little later. But first, lets catch up on couple things…

    FERSENIUS WILL BE CLOSING the end of May: which will leave Foster Farms as the only Industrial Water User in the City of Livingston.

    FOSTER FARMS REOPENS AFTER A 10 DAY CLOSURE,  According to a report in the Merced SunStar, the Foster Farms Plant in Livingston reopened on January 22, after a 10 day voluntary closure. According to the article,

    Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation in Modesto, said the extended closure, originally planned for a few days, came about because of an abundance of caution while workers cleaned the plant thoroughly. “They wanted to be perfectly sure they had zero tolerance,” he said. “So they did it twice instead of one go-round.”

    Most of you reading this are probably well versed in Foster Farms recent struggles with Cockroaches and Salmonella, so I won’t rehash the whole sorry saga here.

    Except to point out that Foster Farms uses around 66% of Livingston’s water. And if there isn’t enough water, Foster Farms cannot Clean and Sanitize the plant or process chicken.

    With that in mind……

    Well 8-9-16ONE OF THE 2 WELLS REPORTED TO BE OFFLINE, at the February 10, 2014 meeting of the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee is Well #16. This well, which is on the same side of town as Foster Farms, has been shut off since at least 2011 because the Arsenic Filtration Media was used up. The Arsenic concentrations in that well are nearly 3 – 4 TIMES the legal limit, and without the Arsenic Filtration System up and running, the City cannot legally use that well.

    (One of things that should be noted at this point of the discussion,  Well #16, was NOT meant to be used on an everyday basis. It was to be used as a BACK UP well. Because of the High Arsenic levels, and the High Cost of filtering out that Arsenic, Well #16 is hugely expensive to run on a regular basis).

    In Early, 2011, the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee was established to “come up with ideas” about how to address Livingston’s water issues, and  “work with” the City and the Engineers and the Consultants who were hired to work on projects like this one, and to “make recommendations” to the City Council.

    In October, 2012, the Resolution to Award a Contract to Filtronics, Inc. of Anaheim, California for Goods and Services Provided to Change Out the Arsenic Removal Media for the Well 16 Arsenic Removal Treatment System was approved by the City Council.

    By September 03, 2013, most of the work had been completed and the only steps remaining to bring the well back online were stated to be as follows:

    • Final calibration/adjustment process fine tuning:

    • System Disinfection

    • California Department of Public Health (CDPH) field inspection

    • CDPH approval of Operation Plan and Final Permit to Operate

    During the September 03, 2013 City Council Meeting, there was an intense discussion about whether or not Well #16 really needed “improvements” like a Variable Frequency Drive or Orifice Plates, etc. before being brought back online.

    Flash forward to February 10th, and According to the City’s (New Set Of) Engineers, the only thing really standing in the way of turning that well back on is getting the Well’s new Operations Manual approved by the California Department of Health. However, something DOES really need to be done to slow down the number of gallons the well pumps per minute: especially if the City plans to use the well on More-Than-Just-The-Occasional Basis. A Variable Frequency Drive would be nice: but expensive. Orifice plates would be much less expensive: but wouldn’t work as well.

    NOW THE CITY NEEDS TO SKIP THE BIDDING PROCESS for Repairs and Upgrades to Well #16 altogether because, according to the Staff Report, “There is an urgent need to have Well 16 back on-line in the near future to meet the City’s water demands that will likely increase in the Spring and Summer.” Part of the reason this has become So Urgent Urgent Now is because

    Well 8-9ALSO ON THE FOSTER FARMS SIDE OF TOWN, and reported to the Utility Rates Stakeholders committee as having been shut down for repairs, is Well #9. This well was taken offline for repairs, after reports by Foster Farms, and testing done by the City, revealed a problem with sand infiltrating the well. 

    According to the City Manager and Engineers, it could take anywhere from about a week to a month to “redevelop” the well and bring it back online.

    Well 13According to the Findings in the Council Resolution, another reason given fixing up Well #16 is so Urgent is that “There is an urgent need to bring Well 16 in production to enable the City to move forward with the installation of wellhead treatment facilities at Well 13, which will require Well 13 to be off line for some time.”

    According to the report by Kennedy Jenks, Well #13 (at Joseph Gallo Park) had been inactive, but was reactivated in early 2013. Which in my mind implies, that Livingston is getting pretty desperate for water.

    AND THERE IS ONE MORE WELL ON THE FOSTER FARMS SIDE OF TOWN, that will need to shut off a while for scheduled “upgrades”: Well #8. This is the first well in Livingston scheduled to have a Filtration System for TCP installed. Back in 2004, the City began tracking the levels of TCP in Livingston’s water.

    In 2005, the City sued Dow Chemical Corp about the TCP Contamination.

    2006 Memorandum Of Understanding Foster Farms and Livingston croppedIn 2006, the City of Livingston and Foster Farms entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in which Foster Farms would lend Livingston the money needed to get the Well #8 TCP Filtration Project moving along. In 2011, the City received a settlement from Dow Chemical: and I guess you could say the City no longer had the need to borrow the money from Foster Farms for that particular project.

    In late 2011 the City Council awarded a Professional Engineering Services Contract for Water Treatment at the City Water Supply Well No. 8 (for TCP) to AECOM 

    In May, 2013, that contract was amended for Additional Design and Construction Support Services for the 1,2,3 Trichloropropane (TCP) Treatment at the City Water Supply Well No. 8

    The City Council also approved a Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of Land Needed for the Installation of Water Treatment Facilities at the City Water Supply Well No. 8, Approval of the Appraisal Report Prepared by The Thomas Wilkins Company and Authorizing the City Manager to execute the Agreement with Foster Farms for the Purchase of the Land. in May, 2013.

    In October, 2013 the City Council approved a Resolution Awarding Construction Contract to Conco West, Inc. of Manteca, CA; Approving the Expenditure of Construction Funds for the Well No. 8 Wellhead Treatment System and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Construction Contract and Any Change Orders Thereto with Conco West, Inc.

    Although Well #8  is currently up and running, it is expected to be shut down sometime from May – July for construction.

    Now Livingston is in the position of needing to do repairs and upgrades on multiple wells: the trick being to not to end up with multiple wells down at the same time and/or not have any at all down during the Summer: when water usage is at it’s highest.

    Sooooo, let’s meander back to where we started about “Political Can Kickers”, “Water Truthers” and how that relates to the mess the City of Livingston is clearly in now.

    And did I mention this is a drought year?

    But I digress….

    Back in 2007-2008 the Rate Study done by Dan Bergman talked about groundwater contamination, 6 wells needing treatment and the need for more capacity and storage etc.

    In 2009 – 2010 a New Rate Study done by Raftelis Financial Consultants talked about: Pipeline Removal and Replacement, Wellhead Filtering at Wells 8, 16, 12, and 14; a New Supply Well #17, etc.

    Not to mention the May 2009 Enforcement Letter for Violating the Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level for Manganese at Well #15 (which is by Starbucks) by the California Department of Public Health

    But during the Days of the Run Up to the Recall over Water Rates, the Can Kickers and the Water Truthers joined forces and all reasonable discussions about Livingston’s Water System went to Hell in a Hand Basket.

    And while the Post Recall Council started “cleaning house” and hiring Staff Of Their Own Choosing, the California Department of Health sent even more documentation which pointed out even more problems.

    Like the California Department of Health Sept. 2010 Letter on Water System Funding 

    And The California Department of Health: City of Livingston 2011 Water System Inspection Report 

    After the General Election of 2012, the “bad news” just kept coming in reports like:

    The California Department of Health: City of Livingston 2013 Water System Inspection Report 

    Followed by the California Department of Health – Compliance Order For Violation of the Arsenic Maximum Contaminant Level: May 16, 2013

    And it wasn’t just the California Department of Health saying there were problems. The New Staff/Consultants the New Council hired were saying pretty much the same thing. For example:

    In July, 2013, the  Feasibility Analysis For A Sustainable Water Treatment Strategy–Kennedy Jenks Consultants was released: Which basically stated that, yep, we have problems, big problems, and the longer we go the bigger they get.

    So now, I believe the Can Kicking Days are coming to a close, and the painful truth of the matter is, unless the City can pull off some kind of miracle and get the State to bail us out somehow, we are going to end up in a world of hurt.

    Now that it is an Election Year, I only hope we end up with a group of Open Minded and Informed Realists on the Council who can guide Livingston through the days to come.

    Resolution 2011-32 Includes Complete CommitteeBTW – SINCE WE TOUCHED ON THE SUBJECT OF WELLS ON THE FOSTER FARMS SIDE OF TOWN, something has been puzzling me for quite a while. Way back when the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee was established, Foster Farms was “given a seat at the table” to represent the Industrial Class of Water Users: you can see for yourself how one of their VP’s was actually named on the Council Resolution.

    I’ve been to practically every single meeting since that Committee was set up, and I can tell you that attendance by anyone from Foster Farms has been spotty at best over the last few months.

    And I just can’t help but wonder why…I’ve heard there have been some “staffing changes” lately. But so far, no “Official Announcements”.

    Watering RestrictionsWATERING DAYS ARE BACK!  At the January 21 City Council Meeting, the Council voted 4-0 to reinstate Mandatory Watering days in Livingston. According to the Municipal Code, the restrictions will be as follows.

    9-5-712 (C) Water Restrictions.

    • When directed by the City Council, the following outside watering restrictions apply to residential, commercial and industrial customers of the City of Livingston:

      • 1. All house numbers ending with an even number may water on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday.

      • 2. All house numbers ending with an odd number may water on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.

      • 3. No outside watering on Wednesday.

      • 4. The washing of vehicles will be allowed on the designated watering day and on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays), regardless of house numbers, as long as a quick-acting positive shut-off nozzle is used.

    • (D) Enforcement.

      • It shall be the duty of the Police, Fire and all other departments and employees to give vigilant aid to the Public Works Department in the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 576, 12-16-08)

    To give Livingston’s residents time to adjust to the newly reestablished watering restrictions, the Council voted to give residents two “warnings”, before imposing fines as follows:

    • $25 (after those first two “reminder” warnings)

    • $50 the next time

    • $100 each time thereafter 

    The flier above states that “water conservationists are patrolling the City”, looking for violations of the Watering Restrictions.

    Amendments to the Fireworks Ordinance CroppedPUBLIC HEARING ALERT! COUNCIL TO GIVE YOUTH FOOTBAL the right to a Fireworks Booth Permit for (2) years to ….At the 01/21/2014 City Council Meeting, the City Council voted 4/0 to direct staff to bring back an Ordinance which would eliminate the current Booth Permit Rotation list; assign (1) Booth Permit to the City which would be assigned to either the Recreation Department or other City Wide Non-Profit Organization, give the City Council to award  (1) Booth Permit to the Organization of it’s choosing; and assign the remaining (3) Booth Permits by Random Lottery.

    Also included in the Directions to Staff was to include language that would allow the City Council the ability to award the “Council’s Choice” to the Livingston Youth Football Organization for (2) consecutive years.

    According to Youth Football Coach and City Council member Jim Soria, he had placed the Item on the January 21, City Council Agenda: partly in memory of Mike Coronado.  According to Council Member Soria, the recent death of Mike Coronado created a Special Circumstance which justified giving Youth Football priority other non-profit organizations.

    Council Member Soria stated “One of the reasons I put this on is, a few months ago or I’m not sure when it was, we had a few fireworks booths grandfathered in. Youth Football wasn’t selected. I just want, being part coach, I volunteer as a coach and I see that the financial impact – that financial impact that it helps – in helping the Youth football and the kids. That’s what I’m about: about the kids.” 

    During that night’s discussion, Mayor Pro-Temp Samra said – …The best thing to do is have everything in front of us. Its nice and clean and everybody knows what we’re talking about and what we’re voting on…you want to vote on that’s fine. I don’t have any objections either way. But I think it would be cleaner if it was like written down so everybody knows what to do. My suggestion is to direct staff to bring to the Council at their earliest convenience as quickly as possible.

    Mayor Espinoza stated — “I know that, the High School has had probably the majority of the booths all the time every year. And in memory of Mike Coronado, we think it’s a great thing to do.” and that

    “I know we have it tough because if we give you guys priority we’re gonna get ridiculed and criticized by other organizations. But I know the High School has had it for a lot of programs: they had the majority of the years. So, but this is a good memory – of Mike Coronado’s memory – its still for our youth in Livingston so I’m all supportive. Two years – I agree to two years. So hopefully, later on in the future, what ever Council is here, they can decide that. But hopefully, to help out, right now this youth. With the other rotations – we’ll have to deal with that.”

    Council Member Sacairos said — Like the Mayor said – we might get criticized. But, you know what, when I was growing up I had to go to Winton to play for the Cowboys because there was no program for here and I wish there was here and it was not cheap. So that’s what I have.

    The City Attorney said —It’s just a rotation list. There is nothing currently in our Code that allows for this (grandfathering in any particular organization). The Code needs to be amended… But the direction helps a lot. That way it can be drafted a certain way. Seeing that this is an Ordinance, having the direction to put something General in there as far as the City Council selection helps because then by Resolution or Motion, then you could decide who gets that booth.

    If you would like to read the entire discussion that took place that evening: Click Here 

    And now on to the..

    CONCURRENT MEETING OF THE CITY

    COUNCIL AND SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE

    CITY OF LIVINGSTON

    REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

    FEBRUARY 18, 2014

    CLOSED SESSION: 6:00 P.M.

    OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.


    Notice is hereby given that the City Council and Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston will hold a Regular Meeting on February 18, 2014, at the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should contact the Deputy City Clerk at least 24 hours prior to this meeting at (209) 394-8041, Ext. 121. Any writings or documents pertaining to an Open Session item provided to a majority of the members of the legislative body less than 72 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Open Session will begin at 7:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held in accordance with state law prior to the Open Session beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held at the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street. The agenda shall be as follows:

    Closed Session


    1. Call to Order.

    2. Roll Call


    CLOSED SESSION


    A “Closed” or “Executive” Session of the City Council or the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston may be held in accordance with state law which may include, but is not limited to, the following types of items: personnel matters, labor negotiations, security matters, providing instructions to real property negotiators, conference with legal counsel regarding pending litigation. The Closed Session will be held in the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Any public comment on Closed Session items will be taken before the Closed Session. Any required announcements or discussion of Closed Session items or actions following the Closed Session will be made in the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California.

    3. Successor Agency

    Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation

    [Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(1)]

    City of Livingston and Successor Agency to the Livingston

    Community Redevelopment Agency v. Ana Matosantos, et al

    Superior Court of the State of California – County of Sacramento

    Case No. 34-2013-80001460


    4. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

    [(Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(2)]

    Number of Cases: 2

    5. Conference with Labor Negotiator

    (Government Code Section 54957.6)

    Labor Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

    Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees


    Regular Meeting


    CALL TO ORDER


    Roll Call. Next Resolution No. 2014-4

    Next Ordinance No. 611

    Pledge of Allegiance. Next Successor Agency

    Resolution No. 2014-1

    Closed Session Announcements

    Changes to the Agenda.


    ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS


    Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

    City Staff Announcements and Reports.

    City Manager Announcements and Reports.

    City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

    Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

    PUBLIC HEARINGS


    1. Resolution Conditionally Approving Site Plan/Design Review 2013-04 for the Proposed Motel 6 Project, a 75-Room, 3-Story Motel on a 2.43 Acre Parcel Located at 110 N. Del Rio Avenue.

    2. Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 7, Chapter 4 of the Livingston Municipal Code Pertaining to Fireworks and the Issuing of Permits.


    CITIZEN COMMENTS

    This section of the agenda allows members of the public to address the City Council on any item NOT otherwise on the agenda. Members of the public, when recognized by the Mayor, should come forward to the lectern, and identify themselves. Comments are normally limited to three (3) minutes. In accordance with State Open Meeting Laws, no action will be taken by the City Council this evening. For items which are on the agenda this evening members of the public will be provided an opportunity to address the City Council as each item is brought up for discussion.


    CONSENT CALENDAR


    Items on the Consent Calendar are considered routine or non-controversial and will be enacted by one vote, unless separate action is requested by the City Manager or City Council Member. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless members of the City Council or City Manager request that specific items be removed.


    3. Resolution Supporting and Implementing AB 1012 “Timely Use of Funding”.

    4. Resolution Authorizing Award of Contract/Purchase Order to Sequoia Equipment Co., Inc., Fresno, California for the Purchase of One (1) Tier 4 Title 23 Backhoe Purchase.

    5. Resolution Approving Amendment No. 1 to the Contract Agreement Between the City of Livingston and HDL Coren & Cone to Continue Providing Support Services in Property Tax Areas and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Three Year Service Contract Extension.

    6. Waive the Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance No. 610 of the City Council of the City of Livingston, Amending Livingston Municipal Code Sections 1-18-11 (A), 4-6-3, 4-2-8-2 (A)(3), 4-2-8-2(A)(4), 8-2-1, and Zoning Ordinance Sections 5-3-16 (Table 7), 5-5-8 (E)(Table 12), and 5-4-7 (C).

    7. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on February 4, 2014.

    8. Approval of Warrant Register Dated February 13, 2014.


    “CONSENT CALENDAR – SUCCESSOR AGENCY”


    9. Resolution of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston Approving the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS 14-15A) Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 34177 for Period July Through December 31, 2014.


    DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS


    10. Resolution Approving an Agreement with Shannon Pump for Sampling and Repairs to Well 16, Making Findings Supporting that Award of Such Agreement is Exempt from Competitive Bidding Requirements and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement.

    ADJOURNMENT

    Cockroaches, Arsenic, and TCP; A Requiem for the Court Theater and a Planning Commission Agenda

    LIVINGSTON, CALIFORNIA 01/13/2014

    Tainted water disrupted poultry production at Foster Farms last week, and city officials are trying to find out what caused it. Mike North, Merced Sun Star -Discolored water disrupts production at Foster Farms, February 27, 2013

    Among 403 persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from March 1, 2013 to December 1, 2013…. Thirteen percent of ill persons have developed blood infections as a result of their illness. Typically, approximately 5% of persons ill with Salmonella infections develop blood infections. No deaths have been reported. Center for Disease Control – http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/heidelberg-10-13/

    If the city loses one of its existing wells, Samra said, it would have to implement severe conservation efforts, such as restricting residents from watering their lawns or asking Foster Farms to alter its production, Ramona Giwargis, Merced Sun Star Livingston gets water project grant amid struggle to pass balanced budget – September 16, 2013

    As of December 18, 2013, a total of 416 individuals infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 23 states and Puerto Rico…. Center for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/heidelberg-10-13

    “USDA has said they did not have the authority to shut down Foster Farms, despite repeated outbreaks,”…“We are exploring options to ensure they have clear authority to do so, instead of hoping they find filth before they can shut down a plant they already know is a problem,”…“Change must be made to protect Americans.” Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro – former chairman, and current ranking member, of the U.S. House subcommittee responsible for funding the federal Agriculture Department, DeLauro reacts to closing of chicken plant due to roachesShelton Herald – January 10, 2014 (ht Mike McMguire)

    FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Foster Farms released a statement Sunday saying it has voluntarily put operations on hold at its Livingston facility. …The company says it is taking extra time to expand safe manufacturing procedures and monitoring systems. The move comes after U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended operations on Wednesday because of a cockroach infestationABC 30– Breaking News, January 12, 2014 (ht Belinda Silva)

    In my Last Post, I talked about the sometimes turbulent, sometimes antagonistic Symbiotic Relationship between The City of Livingston and the City’s largest employer: Foster Farms and how most of the turbulence and antagonism centers around Livingston’s Water, Water Quality, and Foster Farm’s use of that water. We’ll talk a little more about how recent events may continue to impact both Foster Farms and the City of Livingston. But First…

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Preparing to take down the MarqueeTHE DEMOLITION OF THE COURT THEATER has been rescheduled to begin January 14, 2013. As reported in the Merced Sun Star, demolition was originally to have begun a weak earlier, but was postponed while the demolition company waits for some required equipment.

    The Staff Report for the Demolition Contract tells the Court Theater Story this way…

    The "Court" Theater was designed in August 1945 and built soon thereafter by the Court Family to replace a 200-seat theater that had burned to the ground…. It was used extensively over the subsequent years and used primarily for movie viewing. The theater is reported to have closed in 1977 and has remained vacant since then.

    The property was purchased by David and Judith Theodore in November 1987.

    On February 5, 2002, the Livingston City Council approved a motion to buy the theater for $115,000.

    In April 2002, the City purchased the property from the Theodore family in hopes of restoring it to its former glory.

    On January 15, 2002, the City Council established the Livingston Court Theater Committee and appointed Committee members on February 5, 2002.

    In 2004, the building was evaluated by a structural engineer (Pelton Engineering) which determined, at that time, that the building structure was in general good condition, but the interior needed "proper rehabilitation."

    The planned renovation efforts involved six phases: 1) roof repair, 2) clean up, 3) interior demolition, 4) refurbishment, 5) new construction and expansion of north side 6) new construction and expansion of south side. The architects estimated costs totaled $2,350,000.00.

    In 2004, the City applied for four grant applications (CDBG Planning and Technical Assistance Grant, California Cultural and Historical Endowment, and Roberti-Z’Berg­ Harris Nonurbanized Open Space and Recreation Grant Program) to assist the City with design and renovation costs associated with the Court Theater Renovation Project.

    In July 2005, the City was awarded a Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $500,000.00 from the State of California Housing and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) General/Native American Allocation Program.

    The Marquee is downI’m going to interrupt the Staff Report at this point to add a few more details. ….In Fiscal Year 2008, the City used its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)  to complete the architectural drawings for the Court Theater renovation. It also applied for another $1 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and a low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help provide funds for the Court Theater Restoration Project. Total cost of the Court Theater restoration was estimated at that time to be $7,652,672. (2008-2009 Budget p. 344)

    By February, 2010, the Court Theater Project had become caught up in the turbulent politics of “Run Up to the Recall About Water Rates”: with the accusation being that $1 million dollars had been cut from the Police and Fire Department Budget in order to finance the Project.

    By May of 2011, the Court Theater Committee did not feel that they had the Council’s support for the project when they went out to do fundraisers and they  just wanted to know if this project was something the Council wished to continue and asked for an official Resolution of Support. During the City Council discussions, the Committee was taken to task by Mayor Pro-Temp Margarita Aguilar for the “perks” the Committee was receiving: Thing like, being referenced on the City’s Web Page. Having Published Agendas and meetings in the City conference Chamber. Things of that sort.

    In contrast, Council Member Samra stated the intent of this resolution was to give moral support. He went on to state the Council needed to make a decision on what to do with the project and not place the blame on the committee and suggested that if the Council’s desire was to eliminate the project, then they should deny the resolution and bring back the project for a decision on what to do with the building.

    A Motion to Deny Approval of the Resolution of Support was made by Council Members Land and Aguilar: and failed by a 2-3 vote. A Motion to Approve the Resolution of Support was made by Council Members Samra and Vierra: and passed 3-2.

    By December 2011 there were discussions about changing the scope of the project, because finding sources of funding was becoming increasingly difficult.

    On January 17, 2012, the City Council unanimously adopted a Resolution Accepting Submittal of a Proposition 84 Grant Application to Construct the New Court Theater, Office Buildings and Downtown Parking Structure; Prepare a Downtown Master Plan and Form-Based Zoning Code; and Provide Passive Recreation Activities at the Merced River. 

    I also remember the City hiring a Professional crews to clean up the Pigeon droppings and cover the roof with a tarp in an effort to stave off more damage. (I don’t remember exactly when. I just remember seeing the workers dressed up in white Hazmat type suits)

    Returning to the Staff Report, we find

    The City spent some of this money on permits and design work but was unable to start the work.

    The State has since asked for reimbursement of grant proceeds. The City entered into a repayment plan to pay back $147,000 per year for three consecutive years.

    The Livingston Court Theater is in a state of disrepair and is no longer structurally sound. The building appears to be in imminent threat of falling and is considered unsafe. The building now serves as a nesting area for pigeons and has now accumulated a significant amount of pigeon waste.

    In the City’s efforts to look ahead and examine downtown revitalization efforts, it is considering various options to restoring a vibrant downtown. One option is deconstruct the theater to make room for other possible options, including a new theater project that preserves the integrity of the old architecture design and integrates new technologies available for a theater and auditorium use.

    Will they be able to save the ticket boothFrom what I understand, the City planned to save the marquee, ticket booth, and Court Sign. I went out the day the marquee came down and was informed that because of corrosion and other structural issues with the sign, City workers would be unable to take the sign down. …It is still hoped that the sign can still be saved….

    American FlagTHE LIVINGSTON-DELHI VFW AND LADIES AUXILIARY are very proud to announce that their entry into the Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest not only won first place at the District level but has gone on to win first at the State Level.  ….Lenna Foster is a sixth grade student at St. Anthony’s school in Atwater California.  We are very proud of Lenna and look forward to seeing her in Sacramento at the Voice of Democracy Banquet on Friday, January 18th. 

    We wish to thank the three teachers for encouraging their students to enter the contest and for their promotion of patriotism in their students. 

    Our thanks also go to the parents of the students for all of the encouragement they gave to all of those who entered the contest.  Each of the students are winners in our opinion.  The judging was very difficult with so many excellent essays to read.

    HamburgerVFW FAMILY HAMBURGER NIGHT….. Join us for the VFW Hamburger Night, Thursday, January 30, 2014, from 5-7 pm at the Livingston Veterans Memorial Building, 1605 7th Street, in Livingston. The public is invited, and you do not have to be a member to attend.

    You will be able to enjoy hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fish sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and chili. The sandwiches include your choice of homemade salads. Price ranges from $2.00 to $4.50 per meal. All proceeds go to help support our community programs.

    If you need more information on any of our events, contact Denis Wells at (209) 394-2059 or visit our website at www.vfwlivingston.com.

    “CAN FOSTER FARMS OVERCOME COCKROACH CONTROVERSY?” Was a question posed in the Modesto Bee recently.

    You might have already read about the Livingston Plant being shut down for a couple of days while Management devised a plan to rid of the little pests.

    You might already know about the Outbreaks of Salmonella that the Centers for Disease Control have attributed to Foster Farms.

    You may have heard about how this series of events has attracted the attention and ire of  “Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro – former chairman, and current ranking member, of the U.S. House subcommittee responsible for funding the federal Agriculture Department.” 

    And you may have already heard the news that Foster Farms “voluntarily” “shut down its largest poultry plant in Central California on Sunday, two days after federal inspectors lifted a suspension for cockroach infestation.The company (saying) fresh chicken production at the Livingston facility was put on hold for several days to expand safety procedures.” (ht Mike McGuire)

    Foster Farms’ Salmonella and Cockroach Problems are big ones to be sure: problems that have made national headlines and have surely damaged Foster Farms “bottom line”.  But in my view, foster Farms has an ever bigger problem to deal with, if it is going to survive and thrive in Livingston.

    And that problem has to do with Livingston’s Water

    Because without enough Water that meets Drinking Water Standards, Foster Farms cannot process chickens, and Clean/Sanitize the processing plant.

    The Foster Farms Plant in Livingston uses 65%-to 66% of the water produced by The City of Livingston’s wells.

    Anyone who has been following Livingston’s Water Quality Issues over the last few years KNOWS there are problems with the Groundwater and Water Delivery System which must be addressed or companies like Foster Farms, or that brand new Motel 6 and Restaurant that’s supposed to be coming, are going to end up NOT HAVING ENOUGH OF THE WATER they want/need to operate at peak efficiency.

    I only conclude that if Foster Farms cannot get enough water that meets State/Federal Drinking Water Standards than Foster Farms Production and Sanitization Procedures will suffer.

    As will the residents of the City of Livingston

    But, the Livingston just does not have enough money to fix all the known problems with the Water Delivery System by itself.

    And a part of that reason is, since the last time Water Rates were raised in 1995,  City Councils Past did not raise them again Incrementally-Over-the-Years so the City could properly address issues with the Water System as they came up. (Either because they could not understand the issues, or for Political Reasons did not want to understand. IMHO)

    So when Water Rates WERE finally raised in 2009, the amount was such a shock to residents that some of them mounted a Recall Effort. They believed that Water Rates shouldn’t be raised “that much”:  because there were No-Real-Problems-To-Fix, therefore, there was no real need for those increases.

    ((By the way, the Recall Proponents also said the Rates were raised “the wrong way”: by a 3/2 vote of the council instead of at least a 4/1 Supermajority.))

    And some residents sued because they believed that Water Rates shouldn’t be raised that much because there were No-Real-Problems-To-Fix. Therefore there was no real need for those increases.

    ((By the way, the residents who sued said Rates were raised the wrong way: by a 3/2 vote of the council instead of at least a 4/1 Supermajority.))

    And Foster Farms also sued because they said "The increased rates cannot be justified because they are intended to pay for unrelated city activities to generate unlawful surpluses, not to provide water service to the city’s residents." And “the company will be negatively impacted by the city’s July 7 resolution”

    ((By the way, Foster Farms said the Rates were raised the wrong way: by a 3/2 vote of the council instead of at least a 4/1 Supermajority.))

    And after that, Foster Farms Sued AGAIN alleging (among other things) “… that to fill deficits (in the Water Enterprise Fund, the City Manager), commingled restricted funds meant for specific uses, such as water services, and failed to inform citizens of this fact, in violation of state law”

    (Translation: “you weren’t collecting enough in rates – so you took money from other funds to cover the deficit in the Water Enterprise Fund”)

    And yes..a whole bunch of money got spent in litigation

    (A little side note here. When the City of Atwater raised it’s Water Rates a few months back: it did so by a 3/2 vote of the City Council. Go figure…)

    After the Recall Effort was successful in 2010, those “illegal”, “unwarranted”, and “unnecessary” Water Rates were rolled back to 1995 levels.

    So…what came next…after that long period of time in which There-Were-No-Real-Problems-To-Fix?

    For one thing, control of the whole “raising water rates” process ended up firmly in the hands of Recall Proponents: some of whom now sit on Livingston’s Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee, the Planning Commission and City Council.

    And…. since then, Foster Farms has had to shut down at least one shift because of Water Quality Problems. 

    And the California Department of Health has given Livingston a long list of stuff it says needs fixing. 

    (Translation: You have several problems and potential problems you need to address)

    And after THAT, The California Department of Health gave Livingston a COMPLIANCE ORDER for failing the Maximum Contaminant Level for ARSENIC! 

    (Translation: You have too much Arsenic in your water. That is a problem you must address)

    The Kenedy Jenks Report, commissioned by the City Council, was released. It states in part, “The combination of challenges leaves the City exposed to water rationing if existing demands repeat the 2010 and 2011 water use levels. Loss of Wells 12 and 14 would be catastrophic and without Well 16 operating the City would be unable to meet existing water commitments without implementation of water conservation measures”. “City of Livingston Feasibility Analysis for a Sustainable Water Treatment Strategy”, Executive Summary, Page V, Kennedy Jenks Consultants, July 12, 2013

    (Translation: There are Problems with the Water and Water Delivery System that must be addressed)

    Livingston’s Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee, which has the task of advising the City Council about Things-That-Affect-Water-Rates has been informed that “there is no available water for future growth, and that Livingston is “out of compliance for (water) capacity”. 08-19-2013 Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee Meeting , 12-02-2013 Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee Meeting 

    (Translation: There are BIG Problems with the Water and Water Delivery System that must be addressed)

    But now… unless the City can now pull off some kind of miracle, pay off the deficit in the Water Enterprise Fund, and get a whole lot of Grant and Low Interest Loan Money from the State/Feds, there will not be enough money to fix all the Arsenic, Manganese, and TCP-1,2,3 problems the City must address.

    And if Foster Farms would have been “negatively impacted” by “Higher Water Rates”, just how “negatively impacted” will they be when the water they pull from Livingston’s Water System NO LONGER MEETS STATE/FEDERAL DRINKING WATER STANDARDS?

    And THAT news goes National.

    Then what?

    Especially given Ritchie King, a VP at Foster Farms, is a “voting member” of Livingston’s Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee. (Signed copy of actual Resolution available upon request)

    And Now On To The

    LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING AGENDA TUESDAY, JANUARY 14, 2014 7:00 P.M.

    CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, 1416 C STREET, LIVINGSTON

    Members of the public are advised that all pagers, cellular telephones and any other communication devices be put on vibrate mode or turned off during the Planning Commission meeting.

    Call to Order: 7:00 PM

    Roll Call – Chairperson/Commissioners Pledge of Allegiance

    Item No. 1- Consent Agenda

    All matters listed under the Consent Agenda are considered routine by the Planning Commission and will be adopted by one action of the Commission unless any member of the Commission wishes to remove an item for separate consideration.

    a. Action Meeting Minutes from the December 10, 20 13, Planning Commission Regular Meeting.

    Item No. 2 – Public Comment

    a. Members of the Audience – At this time, any person may comment on any item that is NOT on the Agenda. PLEASE STATE YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS FOR THE RECORD. While the Planning Commission encourages participation from the audience, no more than five (5) minutes are allowed per discussion item. Topics not considered urgency matters may be referred to City Staff and/or placed on the next agenda for consideration and/or action by the Planning Commission.

    Item No. 3 – Public Heariugs

    a. Site Plan/Design Review 2013-04. Motel 6 has applied for a Site Plan/Design Review application to develop a 27,852 sq. ft. 75-room, 3-story motel and pad for a proposed future restaurant on a 2.43 acre parcel located at 100 N. Del Rio Avenue and 110 N. Del Rio Avenue, Livingston, generally located on the north side of Joseph Gallo Drive, west of Winton Parkway on property zoned Highway Service Commercial (C-3), APN 022-010-016.

    b. Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 2014-0 l , Various clarifications and corrections to the Livingston Municipal Code, Title 5, Zoning Regulations. Review and approve clarifications to various references in the Livingston Zoning Regulations.

    Item No. 4 – Reports

    a. Planning Commission

    b. City Staff

    Item No. 5 -Adjournment to regular meeting on February 11, 2014.

    In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance to participate in this meeting, please contact the Community Development Department at (209) 394-8041,

    Ext. 112. Notification 48 hours prior to the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to assure accessibility to this meeting.

    Members of the public who have questions regarding any agenda item may comment on that item before and during consideration of that item when called upon by the Planning Commission Chairperson.

    All actions of the Livingston Planning Commission can be appealed to the Livingston City Council by filing an appeal, in writing and paying the appropriate fees, with the City Clerk.

    Salmonella, Arsenic, TCP and Manganese, A Timeline About Water Issues, and a City Council Agenda

     Foster Farms has placed full-page ads in major newspapers throughout the West and is improving its food safety handling practices as it continues to try to win back consumers…Foster Farms — one of the nation’s largest chicken processors — has acknowledged that since the outbreak in early October, sales of its chicken have dropped 25% – October 29, 2013, Robert Rodriguez,The Fresno Bee,  Foster Farms reaches out to consumers in full-page ads October 29, 2013, October 29, 2013,

    The salmonella outbreak in Foster Farms chicken has cut sales by 25 percent, company leaders said Thursday while vowing to win back consumers with improved sanitation and other measures that far exceed industry standards. John Holland, Merced Sun Star/Modesto Bee, Foster Farms working to win back customers after chicken sales dip amid salmonella outbreak October 17, 2013 (Note from TheGardeningSnail. The link to this article has either expired, has been moved, or the page taken down)

    Tainted water disrupted poultry production at Foster Farms last week, and city officials are trying to find out what caused it. Mike North, Merced Sun Star -Discolored water disrupts production at Foster FarmsFebruary 27, 2013

    If the city loses one of its existing wells, Samra said, it would have to implement severe conservation efforts, such as restricting residents from watering their lawns or asking Foster Farms to alter its production, Ramona Giwargis, Merced Sun Star Livingston gets water project grant amid struggle to pass balanced budget – September 16, 2013,

    …some people who drink water containing arsenic in excess of the MCL over many years may experience skin damage or circulatory system problems, and may have an increased risk to getting cancer. City of Livingston, Notice of Violation of a Drinking Water Standard for Arsenic insert included with “water bill”. Distribution Date: October 24, 2013

    Foster Farms has placed full-page ads in major newspapers throughout the West and is improving its food safety handling practices as it continues to try to win back consumers. Foster Farms reaches out to consumers in full page ads  Robert Rodriguez — The Fresno Bee/Merced Sun Star October 31, 2013

    Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it. –Anonymous

    Foster Farms is working on regaining consumer confidence with improved sanitation and other methods and has embarked on an Apology and Marketing Campaign to win back customers.

    While the consequences of an outbreak of Salmonella is something Foster Farms can address “in house”, the next issue it will have to address, in the long run, will require cooperation with the City of Livingston: that being having enough water for use within the plant that meets State and Federal Water Quality Standards.

    Livingston already has at least one well that fails the Secondary Drinking Water Standard for Manganese and Foster Farms has already had to shut down at least one shift due to manganese in the water.

    Tightening Drinking Water Standards, coupled with the City of Livingston’s budgetary woes could well mean that, some time in the future, (unless there are some drastic changes) the water Foster Farms depends upon for Production and Sanitation will fail State/Federal Maximum Contaminant Levels for Arsenic and/or TCP 1-2-3 as well.

    More on that a little later. But first, its been a while since we’ve checked in on Delta Bravo Land.

    123

    Yep…There’s Strange and then there is Army Strange. Courtesy of Damon Shackelford and the gang at Delta Bravo Sierra: furious scribblers of military cartoons.

    VFWLIVINGSTON VETERANS DAY EVENTS…The Livingston-Delhi Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8327 and their Ladies Auxiliary will be sponsoring the Livingston Veterans Day Parade on November 11 starting at 11am.

    The parade will start at the corner of C and Main Streets, proceeding down Main Street to Park Street where it will disband.

    If any Veteran wishes to ride in the vintage Jeep truck, they are asked to be at the starting area of the parade no later than 10:30 am.

    The award ceremony will immediately follow the parade at the Livingston Veterans Memorial Hall (1605 7th Street) where a homemade soup lunch will be served, for a donation of $5.00.

    For more information or parade entry forms contact Denis Wells at 394-2059.

    11022013 Water is just fine

    YOU CAN’T REALLY UNDERSTAND THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON without factoring in the sometimes turbulent, sometimes antagonistic Symbiotic Relationship between The City of Livingston and the City’s largest employer: Foster Farms.

    Many Residents get their paychecks by working for Foster Farms and Foster Farms gets it’s water for Sanitation and Production purposes from the City of Livingston: 65%-66% of the water produced by Livingston’s well goes to Foster Farms.

    Yep. It takes a lot of water to process those chickens into a variety of food products AND keep the plant Tidy, Clean, and Sanitary.

    So it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. that when the Symbiotic Relationship of Livingston and Foster Farms “strains”, its most likely over Water Related Issues: Things like Backflow Devices, and Water Meters, and Regulatory Compliance, and how much Foster Farms should pay for the water it uses.

    Stuff like that

    And since we are getting ready (Again) for another round (someday) of Proposition 218 Hearings about Water Rate Increases, AND Foster Farms is obviously a Major Player when it comes to discussing things like Water Rates, lets look back at some of the History about Water Rates and that Symbiotic Relationship of Foster Farms and the City of Livingston.

    Although the following is not a complete list, there should be enough there to give you and idea of where we’ve been, and where we may be headed.

    1995 The City of Livingston Raises Water Rates for the 1st time in many, many years

    1999-2006 Notices of Violation and the Beginnings of Litigation

    November 15, 1999-August 04, 2000 The California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) staff inspected the industrial wastewater treatment and conducted sampling of existing groundwater monitoring wells…As a result of this assessment, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Foster Farms and the City of Livingston with an inspection report on January 12, 2000…..On August 4, 2000, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a Notice of Violation of Waste Discharge Requirements (WDR) Order No. 79-209. (City of Livingston 2010-2011 Adopted Budget pg. 588)

    April, 2004..The City of Livingston begins colleting data about TCP-1,2,3 levels in it’s groundwater.

    2005….The City of Livingston initiates Livingston vs. Dow Chemical: a lawsuit against Dow Chemical Company re: TCP-1,2,3 Levels in groundwater. (copy of the Original Complaint upon request)

    July 2006, The City of Livingston and Foster Farms head to court in dispute over backflow devices. “The city wants the poultry processor to install air gap assemblies, which (Public Works Director) Creighton said are "fool-proof."…Waste from the factory — including chemicals and salmonella — could contaminate drinking water pipes if a water main breaks or pressure falls, Creighton said. The reduce pressure assembly could fail. An air gap assembly can’t, he said”

    October 26, 2006, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) No. R5-2006-0112 containing findings that waste constituents discharged from the existing industrial wastewater treatment plant had caused nitrate levels in shallow groundwater to exceed applicable Water Quality Objectives (WQOs) contained in the Water Quality Control Plan for the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River Basins in violation of Order 79-209 (City of Livingston 2010-2011 Adopted Budget pg. 592)

    2007-2008

    Water Meters, Backflow Devices and Litigation Settlements

    June 19, 2007  Presentation by Dan Bergmann. City losing money monthly—rates need to be increased

    November 13, 2007, a comprehensive settlement agreement between the City of Livingston and Foster Farms became effective. The settlement agreement requires Foster Farms to assume responsibility for constructing the new wastewater treatment plant…. The City will continue to operate its existing industrial wastewater treatment plant until Foster Farms initiates the operation of their plant. Foster Farms will clean up the current industrial wastewater treatment plant when decommissioned, including the current groundwater contamination and sludge at the existing wastewater treatment plant to the satisfaction of the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). …..Once the existing plant site is cleaned up, the land will revert back to public use for the citizens of Livingston. …The agreement also required Foster Farms to install water meters at its property line to ensure that all water going on the property is accounted for and billed. These meters were installed in May 2008…. A 1997 option agreement permitting Foster Farms to acquire the City’s property for $1,000 per acre has also been voided. (City of Livingston 2010-2011 Adopted Budget pg. 592)

    November 20, 2007, Introduced of new City Attorney Malathay Subramanian from the firm of Best Best & Krieger

    January 15, 2008 Slide Presentation by Dan Bergman. Mayor Samra …said the Council will study this matter; however, not just the Council, but also the community at large needs to deal with the issue.

    February 5, 2008 Motion: MS Soria/Espinoza to continue the Public Hearing (About Water Rates) to the March 4, 2008, regular Council meeting. The motion carried 4-0-1.

    March 04 2008, The Public Hearing About Water Rates (Bergman Study) is continued to a future Council Meeting

    April 1, 2008. Settlement with Foster Farms Reported at Council Meeting Three water meters will be installed at Foster Farms. Foster Farms will install their own backflow devices. There will be a building permit fee. The City will have returned to it, 120 acres estimated at $200,000 an acre. An option agreement that allowed Foster Farms to purchase this land at $1,000/acre was terminated. Foster Farms will cleanout the wastewater ponds that are contaminated with sludge. The City agrees to grandfather in buildings constructed without permits over the years and not inspect the facilities.

    2009

    Another New Rate Consultant Another New Rate Study and Another Round of Litigation over Water Rates

    February 17, 2009 Water Rate Study Presentation by Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. and Authorization for Public Hearing – City Council Votes 5-0 to go forward with Proposition 218 Hearing.

    April 21, 2009 Proposition 218 Hearing. City Attorney (Best, Best, and Krieger) states rates must by passed by at least a 4-1 vote.

    May 28, 2009 California Department of Public Health Enforcement Letter for Failure to Comply with Secondary Drinking Water Standard for Manganese for Well #15.

    June 16, 2009 Best, Best, and Krieger Attorney replaced with an Attorney from Kronick,Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard

    July 07, 2009 Rates adopted by Resolution – Run Up to the Recall Begins – Recall organizers, officers, proponents and supporters include Gurpal Samra, Rodrigo Espinoza (Candidate for Mayor), Mario Mendoza , Luis Flores, Francisco Castillanos, Teresa Land, and Warren Urnberg.

    July 14, 2009 Foster Farms sues Livingston over water rate increase, (Foster Farms I)stating “The city of Livingston broke state law and health codes when it adopted a resolution that will increase water rates by an initial 40 percent, (and that) the company will be negatively impacted by the city’s July 7 resolution and demand(ed) that the court order the city to rescind the increase.”

    November 30, 2009 Livingston city rate increase sued for 2nd time The Central California Legal Services claims that the City violated State Law by passing Rates by Resolution and that “the revenues generated from the rate hikes far exceed what is needed to run the sewer and water systems”

    2010 The Year of the Recall

    January 10, 2010 Foster Farms files (Second) suit against Livingston Regarding Water Rates alleging that in order to fill deficits in Enterprise Funds (ex. Water), the City Manager used monies from Restricted Funds.

    Feb 27, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Judge: Livingston’s water rate hikes unconstitutional (Foster Farms I)

    Mar 2, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Recall effort under way in Livingston

    Mar 2, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Livingston to hold special council meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday–water rates on agenda

    March 5, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Livingston appeals water ruling (Foster Farms I)

    Jun 18, 2010 The Merced Sun Star reports Livingston water fee increase stays in effect  The Central California Legal Services lawsuit fails)

    August 05, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Organizations lend legal help to Livingston in Foster Farms lawsuit (Foster Farms I)

    Aug 27, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Judge: no evidence city of Livingston violated laws in Foster Farms fraud case  (Foster Farms II)Foster Farms plans on filing an amended complaint by Sept. 8 2010

    September 22, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports After recall election, new leadership takes reins in Livingston 

    September 23, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Appeal on Foster Farms lawsuit dismissed; city attorney resigns (Foster Farms I) Despite most of the work being done, money spent and recent support from The League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties and the Association of California Water Agencies, the new council still directed the city attorney to drop the appeal.

    September 24, 2010 Livingston takes back utility rate hike ……Warren Urnberg, a leading voice of the Recall Movement is appointed as a Temporary City Member. One of his first actions was to second a motion by Margarita Aguilar to roll Water Rates back to 1995 levels.

    September 28, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Questions raised about Livingston’s ability to provide safe water, The California Department of Public Health issues a letter to the City of Livingston stating (in part):…."It is important for the city to understand that if the city violates any of the drinking water regulations as a result of having insufficient funds to properly operate and maintain the water system, our department will take the appropriate enforcement actions,"

    November 2010 Espinoza, Livingston’s mayor for two months, wins re-election

    November 2010 A Livingston Resident makes a complaint about Dirty, smelly water on tap in Livingston

    December 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Livingston eyes cheap way to deal with arsenic contamination in water supply: The City Hopes “Well Profiling” will lead to cheaper, easier fixes.

    December 07, 2010 The City Council votes to send out a Request For Proposals for a New Rate Study Consultant.

    2011 – Cleaning Up the Water Won’t be As Cheap as Some Had Hoped

    March 01, 2011….Bartle Wells chosen as the 3rd Consulting firm since 2007, to provide Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste Rate Studies, Community Outreach and Proposition 18 Balloting Services.

    April 5, 2011Richie King from Foster Farms, Kathy Berkeley from Livingston Union School District, Michael Belluomini from Merced Union High School District and Livingston residents Claire Gehrman and Warren Urnberg appointed by the City Council to a Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee 

    April 2011 Foster Farms Drops Second Lawsuit against the City.(“without prejudice”)(Foster Farms II)

    June 17, 2011 Jose Antonio Ramirez appointed to be the New City Manager

    August, 2011 Livingston well tests bring disappointment, No easy fix for wells in Livingston, Inexpensive treatment of broadly distributed contaminants not an option The Merced Sun Star Reports. “The results from Livingston’s water-well profiling are in — and they aren’t what city officials were hoping for. …..Despite $22,500 to study wells 8 and 15, not much can be done with them to reduce contaminants without costly filtration systems. Impurities include high levels of arsenic, manganese and 1,2,3 Trichloropropane (TCP)”.

    Sep 19, 2011 The Merced Sun Star reports the City of Livingston receives a Settlement from Dow Chemical to compensate for 1,2,3-trichloropropane pollution…..

    November, 2011  Request For Proposal – PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING SERVICES TO PREPARE A FEASIBILITY ANALYSIS REPORT FOR A CENTRALIZED WATER TREATMENT STRATEGY FOR THE CITY WATER SUPPLY is sent out.

    Dec. 28, 2011 The Merced Sun Reports Bartle Wells (Rate Study Consultant #3) fired by City Manager.

    2012-2013 The City Hires More Consultants and a Public Relations Firm

    Water Quality Problems Affect Production at Foster Farms

    Warning Letters about Violating the Maximum Contaminant Level for Arsenic are Sent Out

    February 21, 2012 Kennedy/Jenks Consultants of Portland, Oregon selected to prepare a Feasibility Analysis Report for a Centralized Water Treatment Strategy for the City’s Water Supply

    APRIL 17, 2012 Hansford Economic Consultants chosen to Provide Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste Utility Rate Studies, Community Outreach and Proposition 218 Balloting Services (Rate Consultant #4)

    September 4, 2012, Humberto Molina hired as the New Public Works Director…..

    October 2, 2012, a Professional Services Contract for Providing Community Outreach and Proposition 218 Balloting Services is awarded to GoodStanding Outreach of Reno, Nevada .(The Public Relations Firm)

    December 11, 2012 The Merced Sun Star reports Atwater votes 3-2 to raise water rate

    February 27, 2013  The Merced Sun Star reports "Discolored water disrupts production at Foster Farms"

    May 16, 2013 The  California Department of Health issues a Compliance Order For Violation of the Arsenic Maximum Contaminant Level.

    August 19,2013 The Feasibility Analysis For A Sustainable Water Treatment Strategy by Kennedy Jenks Consultants is released. Copies are distributed to members of the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee.

    September 16, 2013 The Merced Sun Star reports. If the city loses one of its existing wells, Samra said, it would have to implement severe conservation efforts, such as restricting residents from watering their lawns or asking Foster Farms to alter its production, Ramona Giwargis, Livingston gets water project grant amid struggle to pass balanced budget

    October 2013 The Merced Sun Star Reports USDA threatens to close 3 Foster Farms plants in salmonella outbreak

    October 24, 2013 The City of Livingston distributes yet another Notice of Violating The Drinking Water Standard for Arsenic

    November 01, 2013 and We are still waiting for the Water Rate Consultant to come up with Preliminary Water Rate Increase Numbers…

    If you have been following Livingston’s water quality and growing Budgetary Woes over the years, you already know that the City does not have the money needed for essential upgrades to the Water Delivery System. The Water Enterprise Fund has a huge deficit and the City is borrowing from the TCP Settlement funds for Day-to Day Well Operations and Maintenance expenses.

    Although Foster Farms has control over its Operations and Sanitation Procedures within its plants and can tighten them as necessary, maintaining the Water Delivery System that provides water to Foster Farms (and others within the City Limits) is under the Control of the City.

    But whether or not the City of Livingston, (because of its Budgetary Woes), will be able to continue delivering water that meets State and Federal Drinking Water Standards is something all water users within the City of Livingston, including Foster Farms will need to cooperate and address.

    For, in the long run, that may prove an even larger problem to solve than an outbreak of Salmonella at the plant.

    One last thing, a question for the audience.

    Did the City of Atwater do something illegal when it passed its Water Rate Increases by a 3/2 vote? (Or Did you even catch that bit of Political Irony?)

    I mean really..if you look back at the record, one of the main contentions in the lawsuits against the City of Livingston, and the Rhetoric of the Recall Movemt, was that Livingston Raised it’s Water Rates The “Wrong Way”: by a 3/2 vote instead of a 4/1 or 5/0 vote.

    So if Livingston did an “Illegal Thing” by passing Water Rates by Resolution and a 3/2 vote, doesn’t that mean that Atwater illegally passed its water rates as well? 

    Just sayin

    And Now On to the

    CONCURRENT JOINT MEETING

    CITY COUNCIL AND SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE

    CITY OF LIVINGSTON

    REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

    NOVEMBRER 5, 2013

    CLOSED SESSION: 6:00 P.M.

    OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.


    Notice is hereby given that the City Council and Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston will hold a Regular Meeting on November 5, 2013, at the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should contact the Deputy City Clerk at least 24 hours prior to this meeting at (209) 394-8041, Ext. 121. Any writings or documents pertaining to an Open Session item provided to a majority of the members of the legislative body less than 72 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Open Session will begin at 7:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held in accordance with state law prior to the Open Session beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held at the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street. The agenda shall be as follows:

    Closed Session


    CLOSED SESSION


    A “Closed” or “Executive” Session of the City Council or the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston may be held in accordance with state law which may include, but is not limited to, the following types of items: personnel matters, labor negotiations, security matters, providing instructions to real property negotiators, conference with legal counsel regarding pending litigation. The Closed Session will be held in the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Any public comment on Closed Session items will be taken before the Closed Session. Any required announcements or discussion of Closed Session items or actions following the Closed Session will be made in the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California.


    1. Call to Order.

    2. Roll Call.


    3. Successor Agency

    Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation

    [Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(1)]

    City of Livingston and Successor Agency to the Livingston Community Redevelopment Agency v. Ana Matosantos, et al Superior Court of the State of California – County of Sacramento

    Case No. 34-2013-80001460


    4. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

    [(Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(2)]

    Number of Cases: 3

    5. Conference with Labor Negotiator

    (Government Code Section 54957.6)

    Labor Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

    Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees


    Regular Meeting


    CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2013-52

    Next Ordinance Number: 608

    Roll Call.

    Pledge of Allegiance.

    Closed Session Announcements

    Changes to the Agenda.

    AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS


    1. Presentation by Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza and Planning Commissioner Mario Mendoza: Certificate of Appreciation to Juan Avila and Ben Penfield, McClure Enterprises for their donation of concrete to help raise funds for the Livingston Middle School band and wrestling programs.

    2. Presentation by Police Chief Ruben Chavez and Officer Richard Mocchia: Introduction of Police Explorers.


    ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS


    Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

    City Staff Announcements and Reports.

    City Manager Announcements and Reports.

    City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

    Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

    CITIZEN COMMENTS

    This section of the agenda allows members of the public to address the City Council on any item NOT otherwise on the agenda. Members of the public, when recognized by the Mayor, should come forward to the lectern, and identify themselves. Comments are normally limited to three (3) minutes. In accordance with State Open Meeting Laws, no action will be taken by the City Council this evening. For items which are on the agenda this evening members of the public will be provided an opportunity to address the City Council as each item is brought up for discussion.


    CONSENT CALENDAR


    Items on the Consent Calendar are considered routine or non-controversial and will be enacted by one vote, unless separate action is requested by the City Manager or City Council Member. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless members of the City Council or City Manager request that specific items be removed.


    3. Direct Staff to Advertise the Request for Qualifications for Project Engineering Services and the Request for Proposals for Administrative Grant Services.

    4. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on July 23, 2013.

    5. Approval of Warrant Register Dated October 10, 2013.

    6. Approval of Warrant Register Dated October 30, 2013.

    DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS


    7. City Council to Give Staff Direction and to Review and Approve Proposed New Bus Stops and the Elimination of Two Parking Stalls to be Used as a Bus Stop on Main Street.

    8. Resolution Approving a Utility Bill Auditing Service Agreement and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement with Utility Cost Management (UCM) in a Form Approved by the City Attorney.

    9. Resolution Approving a One (1) Year Memorandum of Understanding and a Side Letter Concessions Agreement between the City of Livingston and the City of Livingston Management and Confidential Employees Association.


    ADJOURNMENT

    2 Rate Studies, 4 Rate Consultants, 1 Recall Election, 3 Rate Rollbacks, 1 Rate Committee, 1 New City Manager, 1 New Public Works Director, 1 Public Relations Firm and 1 Report by Kennedy Jenks (And a City Council Agenda)

    Livingston, California – 9/27/2013

    “Always speak the truth-think before you speak-and write it down afterward.” – The Red Queen to Alice in Through the Looking Glass & What Alice Found There

    If the city loses one of its existing wells, Samra said, it would have to implement severe conservation efforts, such as restricting residents from watering their lawns or asking Foster Farms to alter its production   Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star, September 16, 2013 – Livingston gets water project grant amid struggle to pass balanced budget

    In July 2004, the State of California Department of Health Services (CDHS) sent a letter to the City of Livingston notifying the City that the levels of 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP) exceeded public health goals and required action by the City. In response to that letter, the City aggressively pursued potential solutions to effectively address the 1,2,3-TCP contamination issue. Staff Report, October 01, 2013 City Council Meeting Agenda Packet

    Council Member Espinoza commented that there have been many complaints about the water system and a rate increase is warranted to correct the problems June 19, 2007 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-Bergman Rate Study- Consultant #1)

    “Mayor Samra commented that making a decision is not easy for him and he agrees with all of his colleagues that something needs to happen. He said the Council will study this matter; however, not just the Council, but also the community at large needs to deal with the issue. Mayor Samra added that residents’’ concerns will be answered and he agrees that this item (Water Rate Increases) be continued January 15, 2008, Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-Bergman Rate Study)

    Motion: MS Soria/Espinoza to continue the Public Hearing to the march 4, 2008, regular Council meeting. The motion carried 4-0-1 February 05, 2008 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-Bergman Rate Study: Rate Consultant #1)

    Gurpal Samra, a former Livingston mayor and one of the recall organizers, said he was pleased with the outcome but a little disappointed that the petition against Vierra failed. He suggested the group may try again to recall Vierra Two Livingston leaders face recall vote,  April 10, 2010 Amy Starns, Merced Sun Star.

    The water rate hike is the root of the recall election that’s costing the city between $40,000 and $50,000. …But the recall effort goes beyond the water rates, (Rodrigo) Espinoza said. …Espinoza has accused Varela and Nateras of a wide range of inept or inappropriate behavior, including trying to keep business out of Livingston, which Varela adamantly denied. – Livingston: Now it’s up to voters to decide who stays, goes – August 31, 2010, Mike North, Merced Sun Star

    The California Department of Public Health recently aired concerns about Livingston’s recall election and its ability to provide safe drinking water to residents…After the 2009 rate increases were abolished during Friday’s special meeting, some of the organization’s concerns have come to fruition. …In a letter from Carl Carlucci, a supervising sanitary engineer of the California Department of Public Health, to the city dated Sept. 15, concerns were raised about the recall and the utility rate increases that prompted it…."It is important for the city to understand that if the city violates any of the drinking water regulations as a result of having insufficient funds to properly operate and maintain the water system, our department will take the appropriate enforcement actions," the letter declared. Questions raised about Livingston’s ability to provide safe water, September 28, 2010, Mike North, Merced Sun Star

    The combination of challenges leaves the City exposed to water rationing if existing demands repeat the 2010 and 2011 water use levels. Loss of Wells 12 and 14 would be catastrophic and without Well 16 operating the City would be unable to meet existing water commitments without implementation of water conservation measures. “City of Livingston Feasibility Analysis for a Sustainable Water Treatment Strategy”, Executive Summary, Page V, Kennedy Jenks Consultants, July 12, 2013

    This post is different than others in that I’ll be quoting what others have said over the years, then wrap up with a comment or two about what it all seems to mean to me. There will also be the occasional “parenthetical comment”. You’ll be able to identify them by the TGS-included in the parentheses.

    Some of you out there may think I might not be “fair” to those Council members I quote, or feel I am taking quotes out of context. That’s OK. I am loading up this post with plenty of links so you can research for yourself and make up your own minds about things like “context” and “fairness”. 

    With that in mind. We will continue with

    Mayor Pro Tem Vierra noted that the Council has not been able to get four votes since the year 2000, and going for another scenario is not going to get four votes. The only thing that it would accomplish is spending more money after spending $100,000.  Mr. Vierra suggested that the only other option would be to make cuts like other cities in California have done or ultimately go bankrupt like the City of Vallejo.  He stated that the City could not continue to spend money it does not have. May 05, 2009 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-Raftelis Rate Study – Consultant #2)

    If the City Council decides to attempt to get a waiver they will have to have 50% or more of the water customers to actually vote for the waiver. In other words the water customers would have to vote to have higher levels of manganese in the water than the state water drinking standard or you have to do treatment. The preliminary cost of treatment is $1 million. There is no money in the Water Enterprise Fund to do this. June 16, 2009 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-Discussion of the California Department of Public Health Enforcement Letter: Manganese)

    Council Member Espinoza commented that Livingston’s General Fund has already paid the Water Enterprise Fund deficit of $1.3 to $1.5 million. Therefore, the Water Enterprise Fund does not have a deficit. He thought that it was illegal for the Water Enterprise Fund to pay back the General Fund. July 07, 2009 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-Discussion of the Raftelis Rate Study)

    Motion: M/S Varela/Vierra to adopt Resolution No. 2009-32 increasing water service rates with the selection of scenario #3 and reducing the first step of the rate increase by 15% effective August 1, 2009, and revisit the rate increases before February 1, 2010. The motion carried 3-2 by the following roll call vote: AYES: Council Members: Nateras, Varela, Vierra NOES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza –Ibid (TGS-The Raftelis Rate Study – The Rate Increase that lead to the Recall)

    Motion: M/S Vierra/Nateras to move forward with well-head filtering treatment for manganese in Well #15, inform the State of the City’s decision, and authorize the City Engineer to begin to work with the State to determine the most appropriate treatment process. The motion carried 4-1, with Council Member Espinoza voting no., Ibid (TGS-Enforcement Letter: Manganese – Note: as part of the aftermath of the Recall, the City did not go forward with filtering for Manganese)

    Overall, the budget numbers differ little compared with last year, but the general fund — the city’s main pot of cash without strings tied to it — took a fairly substantial hit compared to last year…….The more than $15 million budget is sizably smaller than last year’s. The general fund, budgeted at more than $4 million this year was more than $5 million last fiscal year. That means the city’s general fund was budgeted down $577,000 compared to last year. Livingston avoids cuts with ‘bare bones’ budget Wednesday Aug 19, 2009 – Merced Sun Star

    Ms. Herrera commented that we should not point fingers at one or two Council Members. She said at the last protest, there was a City Council Member that said we should not be listening to the other side…This is not being impartial. She said that if a City Council Member is going to be at a protest they should be impartial. She told the audience that people are using you….People in the audience shouted and yelled at Ms. Herrera and shouted her down . October 20, 2009 Meeting Minutes

    Mr. Mendoza said he was here to say that our committee is finalizing the paperwork for the recall. He said the next time that we invite you guys for a meeting is because we are going to need your signature to kick these people out. November 17, 2009 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-Note: Mr. Mendoza: Treasure of the Recall Committee, is now a member of the Planning Commission. His brother, David, is currently on the City Council and is one of the current Council Liaisons to the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee)

    We are paying a lot for water. The money you are collecting from us is being used to pay for a new police chief who used to make less money where he lived before than what he is now making here. He is making $10,000 more here than where he lived before. Escalon is bigger than Livingston. You shouldn’t charge us more for our water use so that you can pay the new chief of police $10,000 more. Public comment from the APRIL 20, 2010 Draft Minutes

    Council Member Espinoza (in Spanish) stated, “Like Council Member Aguilar just said, Mayor Varela and Council Member Martha Nateras were asked to please resign to their seat. If they resign to their seat, we are going to avoid spending money in the election coming up in two to three months and that money could be used to pay for our 4th of July event. Ibid (TGS-Rodrigo Espinoza: Candidate for Mayor: Recall Election)

    Katherine Schell Rodriquez…. commented that because of State election laws and the recall committee’s choice of timing the recall cannot be combined with the June primaries or the November General Election. She said it is not Mayor Varela’s nor Council Member Nateras’ doing that is forcing this recall to be held in August. It is not Mayor Varela’s fault that there will be a mayoral election in August and again in November…. If the purpose of this recall is really only about saving money then a person would want to do everything humanly possible to get it combined with the November General Election. After all that is when we would be doing our electing anyway. She does not know who was the legal advisor for the recall committee, but she thought he or she or they or whoever missed a point on the saving the City money deal.  MAY 4, 2010 Draft Minutes

    Mayor Pro-Tem Frank Vierra…Pointed out that there was a bill for $57,218.75 for the replacement of the motor and the rehabilitation of a water well. In addition, Well #15 near Starbucks had to be shut down for repairs. This caused Starbucks to close. He said that the City must have the financial resources to pay to maintain the water system and to provide continuous service to businesses in the community. JULY 6, 2010 Draft Minutes

    Theresa Land…said that there will be a recall election on August 31 for Mayor Varela and Council Member Nateras. She said that she is running for City Council in the event Council Member Nateras is recalled. Ibid

    Theresa Land…said she wanted to remind the citizens of the upcoming recall election on August 31. She said go to the polls and cast your vote to recall or not recall Mayor Varela and Councilwoman Nateras. Ms. Land said if you vote to recall them, then you would be asked to pick a candidate to replace them. Currently the choice for Mayor would be Councilman Rodrigo Espinoza and for Councilwoman it would be herself.  August 03, 2010 Draft Minutes

    Mario Mendoza…stated he supports the recall and he is a member of the recall committee. He added that if people want to know how the recall was financed to contact him. Ibid

    Council Member Aguilar congratulated those who voted. She noted it was the right of everyone to vote. Although the special recall election votes have not been certified, Ms. Aguilar congratulated Theresa Land. In addition, Ms. Aguilar noted we need to celebrate, take care of our community, and get citizens involved. September 07, 2010 Draft Minutes

    Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza Thanked the community for their support of the recall. He stated he didn’t win by himself, the community helped. He said hopefully the community will come together and work together. Council Member Espinoza noted the County will certify the votes by the next meeting date. Ibid

    Will take Enforcement ActionsSeptember 15, 2010 California Department of Health Letter on Water System Funding

    Mayor Espinoza made the following statement, “It has been an uphill battle. The citizens made a decision August 31 and asked for a real change and with the direction of our City. I would like to thank all of the citizens…. It doesn’t matter what the paper says about the City going bankrupt. It won’t. The City will survive. September 21, 2010 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-as of the Date of posting, 9/27/2013, not only has the City “reorganized” and laid off staff, it is currently struggling with the passage of an Unbalanced Budget)

    City Attorney Hobbs reported that on the case: Foster Poultry Farms, Inc. v. City of Livingston, et al, California Superior Court, County of Merced, Case No. CV000752., the Council voted 3-0 with 1 absence to dismiss the appeal. Ibid

    Motion: M/S Aguilar/Land to adopt Resolution No. 2010-54, filling the vacancy on the City Council by the appointment of Warren Urnberg. The motion carried 3-1 September 24, 2010 Draft Special Meeting Minutes (TGS-Warren Urnberg, a leading voice of the Recall, was later appointed to be a “voting member” of the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee. He was also eventually appointed to the Planning Commission)

    Motion: M/S Aguilar/Urnberg to adopt Resolution No. 2010-56, Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Repealing Resolution No. 2009-32 (Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Establishing Water Service Rates). The motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote: – AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Urnberg – NOES: Council Members: Vierra – ABSENT: Council Members: None – Ibid (TGS-Rolling back the Water Rates)

     M/S Land/Urnberg to adopt Resolution No. 2010-57, Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Repealing Resolution No. 2009-33 (Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Establishing Domestic Wastewater Service Rates). The motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote: – AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Urnberg – NOES: Council Members: Vierra – ABSENT: Council Members: None – Ibid (TGS-Rolling back the Sewer Rates)

    M/S Land/Aguilar to adopt Resolution No. 2010-58, Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Repealing Resolution No. 2009-15 (Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Establishing Rates for Solid Waste Service Fees). The motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote: – AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Urnberg – NOES: Council Members: Vierra – ABSENT: Council Members: None – Ibid (TGS-Rolling Back the Garbage Rates)

    12. Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Authorizing Direction for Outside Watering Restrictions Per Title 9, Chapter 5, Section 72 of the City of Livingston Municipal Code – M/S Espinoza/Samra to continue this item to the next meeting as a public hearing. The motion carried 4-0 November 16, 2010 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-Discussion about Watering Days is put off for another day)

    3. Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Authorizing Implementation of Outside Watering Restrictions Per Title 9, Chapter 5, Section 72, of the City of Livingston Municipal Code – Mayor Espinoza and Council Member Samra asked that this item be continued. December 07, 2010 Draft Meeting Minutes(TGS-Discussion about Watering Days is put off for yet another day-month-year-whatever)

    M/S Aguilar/Espinoza to adopt Resolution No. 2010-66, Authorizing the Acting City Manager to Prepare and Distribute a Request for Proposals (RFP) to Initiate Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste Rate Studies Pursuant to Proposition 218. The motion carried 4-0 – Ibid (TGS-To Hire a New Rate Study Consultant)

    Council Person Samra: What I’m asking the Council, and 3 of us can do this, this time. We’re not appointing any people to sit on there right now, is to basically do an advertisement for the Business Community, for the Educational Community, the School Districts because they’re also one of the large users too, and Citizens at large that would want to participate in the early process to work with the city Staff and with our Consultant, to hear the issues, find the solutions, and have different ideas that we may not think of. That way, we all work on this together. So I’m asking that we give the direction to the Staff to put this out on Channel 2, on the City Web-Site so if interested persons can submit their names to be considered on the Stakeholders Committee. – February 15, 2011 Discussion: Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee (TGS-Wouldn’t that mean that there would be no excuses when the Final Numbers Finally Came out. You would think. We’ll see.)

    M/S Samra/Espinoza to adopt Resolution No. 2011-17, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Awarding a Professional Services Contract to Provide Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste Rate Studies, Community Outreach and Proposition 18 Balloting Services to Bartle Wells Associates, Inc. of Berkeley, California and Authorizing the Acting City Manager to Execute the Agreement. The motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote: – AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Samra – NOES: Council Members: Vierra – ABSENT: Council Members: None  – March 10, 2011 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-Rate Consultant #3)

    14. City Council to Provide Staff Direction for Appointments to the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee. — Interim City Manager Lewis noted this item is being brought back to Council for further direction…there were a total of eight individuals that submitted letters of interest. There is representation from Foster Farms, Livingston Union School District, Merced Union High School District and five members from the community……Interim City Manager Lewis noted that the representatives from those named industries would be representing their respective employer. April 05, 2011 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-1 Rate Committee)

    M/S Aguilar/Samra to adopt Resolution No. 2011-25, appointing the representatives from the three sectors and Claire Gerhman and Warren Urnberg to the committee and continue to recruit for representation from the commercial side. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote: – AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Samra, Vierra  – NOES: Council Members: None – ABSENT: Council Members: None – Ibid

    Resolution 2011-32 Includes Complete CommitteeM/S Aguilar/Samra Appointing Albert Arias to the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote: – AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Samra, Vierra – NOES: Council Members: None – ABSENT: Council Members: NoneMay 03, 2011 Draft Meeting Minutes

    9. Resolution Awarding Construction Contract to Shannon Pump Company, Merced, California, Approving the Expenditure of Construction Funds for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) – Replacement of Motors at Water Wells 8,9,11 and 13 – Grant No. CBG- 09-093 and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Execute a Construction Contract and Any Change Orders Thereto with Shannon Pump Company – This item was pulled from the agenda and continued to the next regular meeting.MAY 17, 2011 Draft Minutes

    5. Resolution Awarding Construction Contract to Shannon Pump Company, Merced, California, Approving the Expenditure of Construction Funds for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) – Replacement of Motors at Water Wells 8,9,11 and 13 – Grant No. CBG-09-093 and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Execute a Construction Contract and Any Change Orders Thereto with Shannon Pump Company.–This item was continued to the next regular meeting June 07, 2011 Draft Minutes (TGS-Continued?)

    Motion: M/S Land/Aguilar to approve the Agreement for Employment and Appointment of Jose Antonio Ramirez as the City Manager and authorize the Mayor to execute the agreement. The motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote: – AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, Samra  – NOES: Council Members: Vierra – ABSENT: Council Members: None. – June 17, 2011 Draft Minutes 

    5. Resolution No. 2011-50 Awarding Construction Contract to Shannon Pump Company, Merced, California, Approving the Expenditure of Construction Funds for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) – Replacement of Motors at Water Wells 8,9,11 and 13 – Grant No. CBG-09-093 and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Execute a Construction Contract and Any Change Orders Thereto with Shannon Pump Company – Motion: M/S Vierra/Aguilar to approve consent agenda items 4, 5, and 7. The motion carried 5-0July 19, 2011 Draft Minutes (TGS-finally passed as part of the Consent Calendar)

    6. Resolution No. 2011-53, Awarding a Professional Engineering Services Contract for Water Treatment at the City Water Supply Well No. 8 to AECOM, Fresno, California, and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement –Public Works Superintendent Kathryn Reyes stated that she mailed out the notices on July 1, 2011. She commented that when they started monitoring the wells in 2004 for this contamination, when City Council was notified of it, then every year after that the public was notified, is all in a Consumers Report. She added that health language was included in those notices.-City Manager Ramirez asked do you see anything actually happening on the horizon——-Superintendent Reyes noted that at this time, there is a public health goal which is .7 parts per trillion which the City exceeds in every well. Also there is no maximum contamination level yet, but the state anticipates having one fairly soon which according to state terms could mean anywhere from 1-10 years. She added that unfortunately the City water system could be impacted.——-City Manager Ramirez commented that AECOM is a very big company that has acquired a lot of smaller engineering companies, so they have the expertise.——–Council Member Samra commented that one of the first steps was to deal with the many water issues and this firm is reputable. Therefore, he suggested that the City move forward so that the citizens could see that the City was going to clean up their water quality.——–Motion: M/S Samra/Vierra to approve consent agenda item No. 6. The motion carried 5-0 by the following roll call vote: –AYES: Council Members: Espinoza, Aguilar, Land, Samra, Vierra–NOES: Council Members: None–ABSENT: Council Members: NoneAugust 02, 2011 Draft Minutes (TGS-TCP Filtration System)

    ’All of the wells have 123 TCP levels substantially above the public health goal and the highest levels of 123 TCP are from wells 8, 14 and 12. Well 15 has Manganese and Arsenic levels above the MCLs. Nitrate levels were above the MCL for wells 8 and 14. DBCP was detected above the reporting limit of 0.01 µg /l in wells 8, 9 and 14 and the remaining wells were non-detect for DBCP.” RFP – PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING SERVICES TO PREPARE A FEASIBILITY ANALYSIS REPORT FOR A CENTRALIZED WATER TREATMENT STRATEGY FOR THE CITY WATER SUPPLY – November 28, 2011

    Katherine Schell Rodriquez… stated that in March of this year the Council voted 4-1 to hire Bartels to provide water, wastewater and solid waste rate studies, community outreach and Proposition 218 balloting services… and according to the project schedule and timeline provided by the consultant we should have had public meetings on this already. …did someone decide to cancel the whole darn thing without putting it on the agenda and what is coming next.——-City Manager Ramirez responded that he came on board August 1 of this year and there have been three different meetings with the consultants. He said as they met there was some information that staff was not comfortable with and they felt it was prudent for us to end the contract. Mr. Ramirez added that staff recently sent out an RFP and that will come to Council with a recommendation of a new rate consultant and in addition the $9 million dollars that the City received is being analyzed. He noted that as soon as there is a new consultant on board the stakeholders meetings will resume so that we can have solid information and we are expecting to move quickly.December 06, 2011 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-Dismissal of Rate Consultant #3 and the search begins for Rate Consultant #4)

    Warren Urnberg… commented that we need to go back to restricted watering days – Mayor Espinoza stated that we would probably see that item on an upcoming agenda. – Council Member Samra said he didn’t recall rescinding the watering days. - Mayor Espinoza added that we would do more research and put it on an agenda in the futureJanuary 03, 2012 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-Yep. After putting this discussion off a time or two already, We need to do even more research)

    Public Works Superintendent Reyes gave an update on Well 16; it is a permitted well. The City does have a current permit to produce water and the state has not threatened to intervene. There is an arsenic removal system on that well and Public Works will be spending the next few months changing out the filter media. She stated the well is in good standing. January 17, 2012 Draft Minutes

    City Engineer Gottiparthy explained that the developer was required to install the well and also install the required treatment equipment for arsenic. Ibid

    Motion: M/S Samra/Espinoza to adopt Resolution No. 2012-7 Accepting the Dedication of Lot “C” and Water Well Improvements (Well No. 16) on Lot “C” of Country Lane Subdivision as Shown on the Final Map for Country Lane Subdivision and Authorizing the City Manager to Release the Surety Bonds for Water Well Improvements by Livingston Country Lane, L.L.P., a California Corporation.–AYES: Council Members: Espinoza, Land, Aguilar, Vierra and Samra–NOES: Council Members: None–ABSENT: Council Members: None—Ibid (TGS-You would think that, by having voted on this item, all involved would understand that this well has an Arsenic Issue that will have to be addressed on a regular basis. You would think.)

    City Manager Ramirez (stated) that the City received three proposals for the rate consultants and the decision has yet to be made. City staff is taking the three proposals in addition to the feasibility proposals to the Stakeholders Committee and sharing that information with them.—Ibid (Mayor Pro-Temp Margarita Aguilar and Councilmember Gurpal Samra are both Council Liaisons to the the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee at this time. This means any information presented to the Committee is also presented to them. Whatever the Committee knows – they also know. Right?)

    City Engineer Nanda Gottiparthy reported on the Utility Stakeholders Committee which was also attended by Council Member Samra and Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar. The Committee met and discussed the five consultant proposals that were received. Two finalists were invited to come back and make presentations. After the presentations, there was a question and answer session and after further discussion, Kennedy/Jenks Consultants was selected by the Committee and they recommended that their selection be presented to the City Council for their approval. February 07, 2012 Draft Minutes

    Mayor Espinoza commented that with the selection of the consultant, the Committee will be looking at the water rate structure and possibly raising water rates. Ibid (Possibly?!?)

    4. Resolution No. 2012-14, Awarding a Professional Engineering Services Contract to Prepare a Feasibility Analysis Report for a Centralized Water Treatment Strategy for the City’s Water Supply to Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, Portland, Oregon and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement, February 21, 2012 Draft Meeting Minutes. (TGS-passed 5-0 on the Consent Calendar)

    3. Resolution No. 2012-30 Awarding a Professional Services Contract to Provide Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste Utility Rate Studies, Community Outreach and Proposition 218 Balloting Services to Hansford Economic Consulting (HEC) Truckee, California and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement, APRIL 17, 2012 Draft Minutes, Passed 4-0 on the Consent Calendar (TGS-Rate Consultant #4)

    City Engineer Gottiparthy gave an update…. Regarding Well #16, he said the pilot study is completed and we have the report and have notified the media that it is likely to be more cost effective. Also, in regards to Well #8 the preliminary design report comments have been sent back to the consultant. There is a delay in the design process and he has talked to the consultant to identify the cause for the delay. So far the site layout has been completed, right of way maps prepared, the appraisal report for the project has been completed and we have secured approval from Foster Farms for the land area. MAY 15, 2012 Draft Minutes

    Mayor Espinoza…requested to put the restricted watering days on an agenda in the future for discussion. Ibid (TGS-When, in the future, will this actually happen? Should I be taking bets?)

    Council Member Samra suggested to maybe having a Plan B. Talk to a neighboring city to borrow their employee. Maybe Atwater has someone doing this.–City Manager Ramirez said that was a good suggestion. On the wastewater side Foster Farms mentioned that we could ask them for assistance. –Motion: M/S Espinoza/Land to approve the Director of Public Works job description with modifications and to advertise for 30 days. –The motion carried 3-1 by the following roll call vote:–AYES: Council Members: Espinoza, Land, and Samra–NOES: Council Members: Vierra–ABSENT: Council Members: Aguilar May 22, 2012 Draft Meeting Minutes

    1. City Council to Approve a Sixth Month Interim Solid Waste Contract with Sunset Waste Systems.——–City Manager Ramirez tabled this item. He also introduced representatives with Sunset Waste.–Mayor Espinoza shared that Gilton Solid Waste contacted the City at the last minute and decided to go with a month to month contract until the City went out for Requests for Proposals (RFPs). JUNE 12, 2012 Draft Minutes

    Motion: M/S Espinoza/Land to approve a Six Month Interim Extension for Solid Waste Contract with Gilton Solid Waste Management, Inc. and Authorize the City Manager to Solicit a Request for Proposals.—The motion carried 3-0 by the following roll call vote:—AYES: Council Members: Espinoza, Land, and Samra—NOES: Council Members: None—ABSENT: Council Members: Aguilar, Vierra JUNE 19, 2012 Draft Minutes

    City Engineer Gottiparthy gave an update on Well No.16. They had a meeting with two bidders on the media. They evaluated 5 media for arsenic and sent those to UC Davis and there are two types of media. Also a cost analysis was done for the life of the media. The analysis looks good and they will bring that back to the City Council after taking it to the Stakeholders Committee. They have asked all bidders to go back and look at their capital costs. July 3, 2012 Draft Meeting Minutes

    5. Resolution No. 2012-52 for the Acceptance of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) – Grant No. CBG-09-093- “Replacement of Motors at Water Wells 8,9,11 and 13”, and “Citywide Streetlight Retrofit Project”, Authorizing the City Clerk to Record Notices of Completion with Merced County and Authorizing the City Manager to Release Performance and Material Bonds and to Make Final Payment of Retention Monies to Shannon Pump Company and to Tennyson Electric, Inc. JULY 17, 2012 Draft Minutes (TGS-passed 4-0 on the Consent Calendar)

    Warren Urnberg…….asked if the watering days were being worked on and getting set-upAugust 7, 2012 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-You do know that if the Mayor REALLY wanted that on the Agenda, it would be on the Agenda. Right?)

    5. Resolution to Award a Professional Services Contract for Providing Community Outreach and Proposition 218 Balloting Services to GoodStanding Outreach, Reno, Nevada and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement Motion: M/S Aguilar/Espinoza to move Item No. 5 to the next meeting. The motion carried 5-0 August 21, 2012 Draft Meeting Minutes. (TGS-Public Relations Firm) (TGS-Continue-Move-Postpone-Just different ways to say the Same thing)

    Motion: M/S Espinoza/Aguilar to adopt Resolution No. 2012-63 approving the Employment Agreement between the City of Livingston and Humberto Molina for the Position of Public Works Director. The motion carried 4-0 September 4, 201 Draft Meeting Minutes..(TGS-This means A New City Manager, AND a New Public Works Director hired by the Post Recall City Council)

    Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar commented that on the second paragraph of the staff report where it refers to background information, it says this was part of the Stakeholders Committee proposal. Ms. Handsford recommended GoodStanding being that she had worked with them. She brought them forward to the Stakeholders Committee and they listened to the presentation and asked questions and the committee members came to the conclusion that it should go to the City Council for them to decide if they wanted to support Ms. Handsford’s recommendation. October 2, 2012 Draft Meeting Minutes

    Mayor’s Report He wants to make sure the public knows that the quality of the drinking water in Livingston is safe to drink. There have been several articles in the newspaper stating the contrary, but that is just people trying to push politically attempting to make the City and the City Council look bad. The City Manager and Public Works Director met with the State Water Quality Control Board and they stated the water is safe to drink. Ibid

    (Mayor Espinoza) elucidated on the $9 Million settlement the City received as a result of the TCP class action lawsuit filed in 2005-2006. In the early 30’s and 40’s Dow Chemical and Shell Oil sold chemicals as fumigants to farmers and these chemicals went into our drinking water. All throughout the United States, there are issues with TCP and other contaminants in the drinking water and that is one of the reasons that the City joined a class action lawsuit. Eventually, the City prevailed and received a $9 Million settlement. This money is now being used to fix the City’s water wells and for water treatment in the community. Ibid (TGS-So if the water is safe to drink, then why was the City worried about chemicals going into the drinking water and why did the City sue Dow? And why would we need that money for water treatment. Just sayin.)

    M/S Samra/Aguilar to adopt Resolution No. 2012-67 to Award the Professional Services Contract for Providing Community Outreach and Proposition 218 Balloting Services to GoodStanding Outreach of Reno, Nevada and Authorize the City Manager to Execute the Agreement. The Motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote:…AYES Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Land, and Samra…NOES: Council Members: Vierra…ABSENT: Council Members: None. Ibid (TGS-1 Public Relations Firm hired. If there are no problems with the Water System, why is the City even thinking about needing a Public Relations firm?)

    8. Resolution to Award a Contract to Filtronics, Inc. of Anaheim, California for Goods and Services Provided to Change Out the Arsenic Removal Media for the Well 16 Arsenic Removal Treatment Systems and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement. Continued to next regularly scheduled meeting October 16, 2012 Draft Meeting Minutes.  (TGS-There’s that word “continued” again. You do know, that without a working filtration system, that well can’t be used.)

    Council Member Samra: The Stakeholders Committee discussed this in great length on more than one occasion and in the end they made the same recommendation as staff based on cost and the fact that this media is widely available where in the past they were limited to one particular manufacturer. Those were the only concerns they had. If Council wants to bring all vendors onboard and listen to them, they are welcome to, but he doesn’t think that is necessary because the Stakeholders Committee spent more than one meeting on this. OCTOBER 30, 2012 Special Meeting Draft Minutes (TGS-Keep in mind that Both Mayor Pro-Temp Aguilar and Council Member Samra were also at, or should have been at, those meetings and although they were not “voting members” of the committee, they would not just sit there silently. They made their fair share of comments and suggestions.)

    Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street asked what would happen if the 50 plus one is a protest vote for the resolution and what the timeline is if the City moves forward and approves this. January 15, 2013 Draft Meeting Minutes

    City Attorney Sanchez responded that at this point staff would look at all the documents again. He said usually this doesn’t happen, but if it did they would start working on it right away to see if we could put something before the property owners. The biggest issue is the rate increases because they just elect the cost. If increased rates are not approved then there would be a reduction in service and that is our biggest concern. Ibid  (TGS-s0 the New City Attorney is talking about possible reductions in service. Interesting.)

    Motion: M/S Sicairos/Soria to adopt Resolution No. 2013-2 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Adopting Guidelines for the Submission and Tabulation of Protests Pursuant to Article XIIID of the California Constitution (Proposition 218). The motion carried 4-0 by the following roll call vote:….AYES: Council Members: Samra, Soria, Mendoza, and Sicairos …..NOES: Council Members: None…..ABSENT: Council Members: Espinoza Ibid

    City Manager Ramirez:…Again in the last six weeks we have had some issues with microorganisms in the water. This means it does not affect you health wise, but aesthetically you get brown or red water, so this builds up in areas where you have lines that are not used. There was a particular line that was shut off years ago and when we found that it was closed we turned it on and there was some buildup of manganese and iron. We are working closely with Foster Farms and are trying to address this problem when Foster Farms is not in production, so it is going to require a lot of team work. February 05, 2013 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-Water Quality Problems. Oops!)

    City Manager Ramirez stated that he has been working with Foster Farms as they have been experiencing more manganese in the water that shut down an entire shift; there is a meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning. February 19, 2013 Draft Meeting Minutes

    (In response to a question about applying for a grant to bring Well #17 online) City Manager Ramirez responded that we have chosen this well that has not been constructed because we need the additional capacity. He added that even if we were to have future development and we were to pay for it up front that doesn’t take away from any future developers actually contributing. So rather than waiting for someone to come in we are being proactive and trying to bring another well online. April 2, 2013 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-So…we need the additional capacity? What’s wrong with the capacity we have?)

    (In Response to some water quality related questions, City Manager Ramirez responded)In regards to the feasibility study, basically a draft has been out. There has been several questions that MID, the City Engineer and California Department of Public Health has had, so Kennedy Jenks is basically addressing all of those issues so that we can have a revised draft that we can send out again to the Stakeholders Committee and the City Council and then have the final draft hopefully by mid-May or sooner…..· With regards to Well #8 TCP, 90% of the design has already been approved and moved forward on Well #8. Staff has received comments from the California Department of Health. There is an issue with actual disposal of water with some of the nitrates, so that’s also some of the State issues they are addressing. April 16, 2013 Draft Meeting Minutes

    (City Manager Ramirez Reported) The one million gallon water tank in the City needs painting. They are analyzing that further to see if it can be done further down the road or needs to be addressed this next year. We are looking at fire protection and some other things. Ibid

    City Manager Ramirez added that the City recently received a letter regarding Well #13, discussing the arsenic levels (10). The City is working hard to compile this information by June 30th. May 21, 2013 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-Uh-Oh. Does this count as a “problem”)

    Public Works Director: Well #13 was out of commission for several years for different reasons…We brought it back online recently in April and unfortunately it came up with some high numbers for Arsenic. After looking back at the history of that well it actually has had problems going back to 2009..one of our sample results was 12.9 and the other was 11.9: which puts us over the top. We can’t exceed 10……Even if we got a sample below 10 for the next 3 quarters, there’s no way we’re going to get below 10…We’re going to have to look at what we’re going to do about the well. Eventually, if it keeps going like this, than there’s probably a different order that’s going to be coming down. Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee Meeting. June 03, 2013 

    City Manager Ramirez: States that the compliance order came from California’s Department of Public Health. In this order there is a list of 20 items that need to be corrected. However, there are four items that deserve extra attention and that includes; 1) Creating a 5 year capital improvement plan, 2) Enacting a water conservation plan which would require Council passing a resolution and community outreach, 3) Cleaning a tank that has been afflicted by corrosion, and 4) adjusting EPA’s well testing frequencies from every 3 years to every 3 months……Moreover, Well #15 is going over the maximum contaminant level by one tenth, thus currently at a state of 9.9. Quoted received for Well #13 indicated that it will cost over $200,000.00 to address the media. These wells are needed for production purposes; it is because of this that the Department of Public Health is willing to work with Livingston. The standard for arsenic levels in 2008 was 15 parts per billion now it has dropped to 10 parts per billion. Because of this Livingston will have to create another well, Well #17 as a back up well. Nevertheless, Well #8 is seeing progress along with Well # 16. The City must take strategic steps to address water quality issues and that includes creating short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals. The City continues looking for resources. In particular the City is currently looking for grant opportunities via the National Rural Association. To make Livingston a more competitive applicant for grants and loans, the City must first address the budget deficit. JUNE 04, 2013 Draft Minutes (TGS-Address the Deficit? What Deficit? Weren’t we told there WAS no Deficit?)

    …I think…the community deserves to be informed… every city around the valley has this issue with wells and we’re no different than that. And, of course, we’re trying to address all these issues with the stakeholders and the future water rates we’re gonna be addressing, and doing wellhead treatments on all the wells…But, of course, this information was already sent out to the public as to the compliance issue: the wells, with the water…I know that the city manager will do the best that he can to address those issues. Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza (TGS-Excerpted from June 04, 2013 City Council Meeting Video. Excerpted from June 04, 2013 City Council Meeting Video. You can check it out for yourself by going to the City’s Website.)

    Mayor Espinoza announced that the Council is thinking about implementing watering days. In the past Livingston would restrict residents to watering their lawn every other day. The days that residents watered their lawn depended on the last digit of their address, whether it was an odd or even number.June 18, 2013 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-Seems like the Council has been doing several years worth of thinking about this already.)

    City Manager Ramirez added that the City is looking at addressing its water quality issues. Improving water quality is a very expensive process and one thing that the City can do to alleviate this burden to taxpayers is to apply for grants or state revolving loans that could help fund necessary improvements. July 16, 2013 Draft Meeting Minutes (TGS-But to better qualify for the Big Ones, we first have to address that non-existing Deficit. Right?)

    "The Council is not told ‘You know, what? If we can spend a little bit more, it’ll be a good reliable system that will last a long time. And sometimes, the manager does not agree with us. Sometimes, I think that you should come in to the Council sometimes so that way we can talk, you know, with us in Open Session to discuss that. Because we want to make sure that we’re getting the best thing that we have, what will last, a system that will last a while. You don’t want to cut costs on a few things, for something that’s not going to last." Mayor Espinoza to City Engineer Nanda Gottiparthy regarding Well #16. September 03, City Council Meeting Video (TGS – The Draft Meeting Minutes for this Meeting are not out yet. Go to the City’s Website, click on the link for Archived Meeting Videos and watch the video from about 8 minutes in.)

    OK. SO ONCE UPON A TIME, BACK IN 2004

    In July 2004, the State of California Department of Health Services (CDHS) sent a letter to the City of Livingston notifying the City that the levels of 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (1,2,3-TCP) exceeded public health goals and required action by the City.

    AND

    In response to that letter, the City aggressively pursued potential solutions to effectively address the 1,2,3-TCP contamination issue. Staff Report, October 01, 2013 City Council Meeting Agenda Packet (TGS-Which included Suing Dow Chemical Corp in 2005 BTW)

    THEN IN 2007

    Council Member Espinoza commented that there have been many complaints about the water system and a rate increase is warranted to correct the problems June 19, 2007 Draft Meeting Minutes

    THEN IN 2008

    “Mayor Samra commented that making a decision is not easy for him and he agrees with all of his colleagues that something needs to happen. He said the Council will study this matter; however, not just the Council, but also the community at large needs to deal with the issue. Mayor Samra added that residents’’ concerns will be answered and he agrees that this item (Water Rate Increases) be continued January 15, 2008, Draft Meeting Minutes

    THEN IN 2009,

    AFTER YET ANOTHER RATE STUDY, Rate Increases were passed, which lead to lawsuits, and a recall, and a New Council, a New City Manager, A New City Attorney, a New Public Works Director, a Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee, and a New Set of Consultants.

    AND AS TIME CONTINUED TO PASS

    THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH issued an Enforcement Letter about Manganese, a Warning Letter about Water System Funding,  a Compliance order for Failing the Arsenic Maximum Contaminant Level Standards, and a Water System Inspection Report with a long list of things it wants addressed.

    AND

    KENNEDY-JENKS, THE CONSULTANTS RECOMMENDED BY THE UTILITY RATES STAKEHOLDERS COMMITTEE has issued its report: which says, among other things:

    • The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has identified TCP as a contaminant of concern and is in the process of developing a MCL (Maximum Contaminant Level)….It is expected that an MCL…may be in place as soon as 2016 with enforcement required by 2018.

    • All of the City wells have TCP levels substantially about the estimated MCL…and remain some of the highest in the state. Two of the wells (12 and 14) produce water with TCP Levels exceeding the response level, the level at which CDPH recommends that the source be removed from service.

    • All City wells contain manganese with Well 15 above the Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL)…and the future Well 17 is just over the SMCL…The City has been advised that a short-term waiver process may be pursued to allow for additional time to implement improvements and that this waiver process includes demonstration of public support of continued delivery of water with manganese above the SMCL.

    • The combination of challenges leaves the City exposed to water rationing if existing demands repeat the 2010 and 2011 water use levels. Loss of Wells 12 and 14 would be catastrophic and without Well 16 operating the City would be unable to meet existing water commitments without implementation of water conservation measures.

    •  

    SO WHERE AM I GOING WITH THIS? I’m going to go out on a limb just a tad and offer this opinion. I think we have, and have had, two different “camps” of people who have managed to get themselves elected to City Council over the years.

    • Those who did not believe our Water System has some real issues which would only get worse with time.

    • Those that understood/understand quite well that there are Real Issues to be addressed, but were unwilling to take the Political Hit for making it clear to the public just what those issues are, and how expensive those issues are to fix.

    Because the message put out during the Run Up To The Recall went along the lines of “These Rates are Unwarranted and Unnecessary. The water isn’t that bad. The System isn’t that broken. Once we get in, we will get rid of everyone who was telling us all those lies about having to spend a lot of money to get our System Fixed. Once we get rid of “them” and get in people of our choosing, we will find out once and for all that the problem really isn’t that big, that bad, and that expensive after all.”

    Well..what is actually happening is this: the New City Manager, and the New Public Works Director and the New Consultants are NOT saying “The problems with the System aren’t really that expensive to fix”. In fact, what they are saying is something quite the opposite.

    And they are also saying that in order to qualify for the Grants and Low Interest Loans the City would need to do most of the work, it would have to pass rates that not only pay back the Deficit in the Water Enterprise Fund, but also starts building up a few months worth of cash as an Operating Reserve.

    But we have at least 1 member of the Council who does not believe in paying  back the Deficit.

    Add to that the fact that the Post Recall City Council has made it quite clear that it will take at least a 4-1 vote to pass any kind of Water Rate Increase.

    Rate Consultant #4 has not yet supplied numbers for the next round of Proposition 218 Water Rate Hearings. These numbers should be going before the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee in the next few weeks or so. First, The Committee will have its chance to shred (I mean “approve”) everything before passing its recommendations along to the City Council.

    This is what: The end of September 2013? In November 2014 it will be time to elect a Mayor and at least one Councilperson. With the way things are dragging on (again) I can’t help but wonder if either the Rate Increase Issue will be put off until after the elections (again).

    Or if some members of the council will go on a serious hunt (again), to find someone else upon which to pin the blame for Unreasonable Rate Increases.

    And Now On to the

    CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL MEETING /

    REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

    OCTOBER 1, 2013

    SPECIAL MEETING: 5:30 P.M.

    REGULAR MEETING: 7:00 P.M.


    Notice is hereby given that the City Council will hold a Special Meeting / Regular Meeting on October 1, 2013, at the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should contact the Deputy City Clerk at least 24 hours prior to this meeting at (209) 394-8041, Ext. 121. Any writings or documents pertaining to an Open Session item provided to a majority of the members of the legislative body less than 72 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Special Meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the Regular Meeting at 7:00 p.m. The agenda shall be as follows:


    Special Meeting


    1. Call to Order.

    2. Roll Call


    CLOSED SESSION


    A “Closed” or “Executive” Session of the City Council or the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston may be held in accordance with state law which may include, but is not limited to, the following types of items: personnel matters, labor negotiations, security matters, providing instructions to real property negotiators, conference with legal counsel regarding pending litigation. The Closed Session will be held in the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Any public comment on Closed Session items will be taken before the Closed Session. Any required announcements or discussion of Closed Session items or actions following the Closed Session will be made in the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California.


    3. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

    [(Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(2)]

    Number of Cases: 3

    4. Conference with Labor Negotiator

    (Government Code Section 54957.6)

    Labor Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

    Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees

    DISCUSSION AND POTENTIONAL ACTION ITEM


    5. City Engineer Interview – Provost and Pritchard Consulting Group.


    Regular Meeting


    CALL TO ORDER


    Pledge of Allegiance. Next Resolution Number: 2013-48

    Next Ordinance Number: 608

    Roll Call.

    Closed Session Announcements

    Changes to the Agenda.

    AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS


    1. John Bidwell, Program Manager, Quantum Energy Services and Technologies (QUEST): California Wastewater Process Optimization Program (CALPOP).


    ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS


    Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

    City Staff Announcements and Reports.

    City Manager Announcements and Reports.

    City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

    Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.


    CITIZEN COMMENTS

    This section of the agenda allows members of the public to address the City Council on any item NOT otherwise on the agenda. Members of the public, when recognized by the Mayor, should come forward to the lectern, and identify themselves. Comments are normally limited to three (3) minutes. In accordance with State Open Meeting Laws, no action will be taken by the City Council this evening. For items which are on the agenda this evening members of the public will be provided an opportunity to address the City Council as each item is brought up for discussion.


    CONSENT CALENDAR


    Items on the Consent Calendar are considered routine or non-controversial and will be enacted by one vote, unless separate action is requested by the City Manager or City Council Member. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless members of the City Council or City Manager request that specific items be removed.


    2. Resolution Awarding Construction Contract to FBD Vanguard Construction, Inc., Livermore, CA, Approving the Expenditure of Construction Funds for the CMAQ Pedestrian Improvement Sidewalk Installation Project – Project No. CML-5256 (012) and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Construction Contract and Any Change Orders Thereto with FBD Vanguard Construction, Inc.

    3. Resolution Awarding Construction Contract to Conco West, Inc. of Manteca, CA; Approving the Expenditure of Construction Funds for the Well No. 8 Wellhead Treatment System and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Construction Contract and Any Change Orders Thereto with Conco West, Inc.

    4. Approval of Warrant Register Dated September 26, 2013.

    DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS


    5. Resolution Approving a Professional Services Agreement to Provide Contract Engineering Staff Support Services for the City of Livingston and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement in a Form Acceptable to the City Attorney.

    6. Resolution Approving a Land Lease Agreement Between the City of Livingston and Gerald Martin for Property Known as 15036 Vinewood Avenue, APN Numbers 047-140-006 and 047-140-0017.


    ADJOURNMENT