Transcription of The Kerfuffle About Umbrellas and the Taco Truck–June 09, 2015 Special City Council Meeting

This transcription begins during the “Citizen’s Comments” portion of the Special Council Meeting: on the Agenda was the Interviews of Candidates for the Vacancy on the Council. Since this transcription is from a video on disk, times might vary slightly from the online version. Copies of the video are available upon request from City Hall. Feel free to contact me on Facebook with any corrections you feel are necessary.

(2:59) Warren Urnberg:  I have a question on the umbrellas. Its been brought to my attention…I was going to bring it up at the last….

Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza:  Which umbrellas, sir?

Urnberg: The umbrellas over here at the park and also by the Taco Truck. Did we…

Espinoza:  Only items on the Agenda. I know, I know you’re asking the question but….

Urnberg:   Aren’t we working on Citizen’s Comments?

Espinoza. No. But…

Mayor Pro Temp Gurpal Samra:  It’s a Special Meeting so only items on the Agenda.

Urnberg:  I thought it was on the Agenda. I’m sorry then.

City Attorney: No, no, no, just for clarification. At a Special Meeting, the Public Comments Period is only for items that are on the Agenda.  The Umbrellas are not on the Agenda. That the open comments would be at a Regular Meeting.

Espinoza: Well, next meeting. Thank You.

Urnberg: I’ll scratch my name off. Thank you.

Espinoza: Thank you. Anyone else? Ok

Samra:  Mr. Mayor – before we begin.

Espinoza:  Go ahead. Samra:  Just a minor point here –

Then there follows a discussion about:

  • How there are 3 candidates for the City Council Member position

  • Two are not present in the chambers at the moment

  • The meeting is being broadcast. So, how an we be be sure the other 2 are not watching it remotely.

After some more discussion about how candidates were on the Honor System to not watch the Broadcast, instead of moving right into the Interview Section of the Meeting, Mayor Espinoza decided that he would, indeed, comment on the “Umbrella Situation”

Espinoza (5:25) I’m gonna go ahead and comment on the Umbrellas. The Umbrellas, again, I said it at a Council Meeting, the past City Manager is the one that, right before he left, he spent the money and bought the umbrellas without telling the council.

So he put them on the front on the corner. and the ones over there.

So, without telling us, he bought them and we have them now.

So we can, the council can, the city can go ahead and move them around, you know. And I disagree with it: putting them right there on the corner of next to snack wagon cuz it seems we put the umbrellas for them.

And, ah, you know, it wasn’t for them. I think he put it in the corner as, so the community could come in and sit around and, ah, you know, and enjoy downtown. So that’s just my comment regarding that.

Go ahead.

Urnberg: no, that’s, that’s. The umbrellas are a good idea. That isn’t my question. My question was gonna be: did we have some that were stolen?

Espinoza (6:25)  I heard they were stolen. Some were stolen.

Urnberg: OK. Now that brings me to this question, or suggestion. Because I thought some were missing and there nice being up there: it’s a good idea.

But, my recommendation that the city mark them, stencil them with the City of Livingston or something on the umbrellas so they’re not gonna disappear.

Espinoza: Yeh. If you, if you notice the ones in the park – they went ahead and, and, and stapled them to the tables. So that way they don’t take them. And so the whole, I don’t know, its not that hard to take them anyway. But they stapled them on the sides with a clamp and so its, you know, they’ve been sitting there.

But, you know, I agree on the ones over there. And, like I said in the past, at the last meeting, we’re trying to get donations so we can put some kind of cover there, you know.

Urnberg:  Well, that’s, that’s fine

Espinoza:  And doesn’t mean we’re not gonna do a Court Theater. But whenever somebody brings us the cash, you know, tomorrow, we’ll put the Court Theater up there.

But temporarily, I think it makes the community look nice, you know, with that there.

Urnberg: (7:31) But if we had big stencils, you know – The City of Livingston or something like that, so they like if and they go to you – so – Oh!

Espinoza: Yeh.

Urnberg: Look. Where they came from.

Espinoza: You had a comment?

Odi Ortiz  (Acting City Manager): Yeh. Looks like we did engrave the City name on it. But, um, First of all, its pretty small. Its hard to notice it. Well, we’ll try to do something better, I guess too…

Espinoza: You had a comment regarding..

Tony Silva (City Clerk) Is it still open?

Espinoza: Yeh.

Silva: Can I say something?

Espinoza: Yes.

Silva (8:08) I had a question for, uh, first of all, Mayor, Council Members,  (?), Good Evening. I have a question about the umbrellas. Or maybe I misunderstood.

You said those umbrellas there on the corner. They belong to the city or belong to…

Espinoza:  to the City.

Silva: I was under the impression that was not, you know, our umbrellas or our tables. The ones across the street, I totally understand that. But…

Espinoza: They’re all, they’re all the City’s: belongs to the City.

Silva: So, what you are telling me is the City is providing umbrellas in the…

Espinoza: No. I said…

Silva: the taco wagons?

Espinoza:  No, I said the City Manager put them in the corner for the Community to come down and sit down. And, but it seems…

Silva:  without…

Espinoza:  Yes. Without notifying the council. Yes.

Silva (8:53) I just wanna clarify that because…Espinoza: You know, I, I personally, I didn’t like it because it seemes like we’re putting tables for…

Silva: right…

Espinoza:  the snack wagon.

You know, everybody else is gonna want them so like: “So, how come you put them there? You know, we want some down here, next to my business”. I go, but that’s why I didn’t like that because…

Silva: Well, I’m just, because I thought that’s what you said. But, I was not thoroughly sure. That I was under the impression that was their umbrellas, and their chairs.

That if the City, you know, is the one whose buying for the Taco Wagons – that we don’t continue to do that.

Odie (9:28) The funding…

Silva:  That’s not the practice.

Odie:  The funding for the umbrellas, uh, came through a donation from Wells Fargo. The idea was to basically put them out for the community to use including the people on the Downtown Street Market: for general use.

Silva: Oh

Odie: It looks kind of questionable where they’re at.

Silva: Thank you for the (inaudable)

Espinoza: Thank you. No more on umbrellas.


SO..WHAT DID WE LEARN FROM THIS? My Take…from reading what was said, and between the lines is this:

  • Before the City Manager left, Wells Fargo donated enough money to buy some Umbrellas and tables, so the Community could have some shaded places to sit in the Down Town

  • According to the Mayor, the money was spent without notifying anyone on the Council.

  • Some of the Umbrellas were put in the City Owned Temporary Park Area where the Court Theater used to be

  • Some of the Umbrellas were put on the City Owned lot across the street from Klairs

    • Which is only a few paces from the City Hall Chambers

    • And is also on the same lot a Taco Truck is located (which is renting space from the City)

    • Because the umbrellas are on the same lot as the Taco Truck, some merchants believe the City spent City money buying umbrellas for the Taco Truck and complained to the Mayor about it, because they want umbrellas too

    • Which is the Former City Manager’s fault


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