It’s a shame the way we’ve been going through City Managers: Warren Urnberg – excerpted from Public Comments – 01/05/16 City Council Meeting
“I don’t think our Community needs it.” Councilmember Jim Soria – 01/05/16 Council Meeting. Excerpted from Medical Marijuana Ordinance Discussion
I’d like to approve what we have here (and) make adjustments – Councilmember Alex McCabe – 01/05/16 Council Meeting. Excerpted from Medical Marijuana Ordinance Discussion
“How do we take care of people with legitimate needs?” Mayor ProTemp Gurpal Samra – 01/05/16 Council Meeting. Excerpted from Medical Marijuana Ordinance Discussion
“…The California Transportation Commission…has removed the Livingston Widening Northbound and also the Livingston Widening Southbound from your projects list. You now have no Regional Projects” – Mike Valata – Mayor of Los Banos. Excerpted from Public Comment – 03/01/16 City Council Meeting
Perry is charged with assaulting Dwight Larks, a 39-year-old real estate agent living in Livingston at the time, during a supervised handover of Lark’s child as part of a custody arrangement with the child’s mother….According to a civil lawsuit filed by Larks, he and the child’s mother had a disagreement over the details of the exchange. Excerpted from Judge dismisses one of three charges against Livingston police officer – Merced Sun Star – 03/10/16
Livingston, CA 04/18/2016
So…there was a disagreement over the details of a Custody Exchange. That’s putting it mildly. More on that a little later. But first.
MAYOR RODRIGO ESPINOZA has decided to try to displace John Pedrozo as District 1 County Supervisor. As of the date of this posting, I’ve seen several large Pedrozo campaign signs around town. But, only a couple so far for Espinoza. And although John Pedrozo has gone on the record as agreeing that Public Safety is of the uttermost importance in Merced County, I’m not so sure Mr. Espinoza’s stated opinion of the Sherriff’s Department would be earning him any “favorability points” with law enforcement.
THE MERCED COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENTS (MCAT) is floating the ides of a 1/2 cent SALES TAX ballot measure to be placed on the November Ballot: with the proceeds used for “transportation” related projects. Some members of local government are concerned that most of the proceeds from such a measure would not stay in the Local Jurisdiction in which they were raised. There is also the concern that the draft, as currently written, does not include a guaranteed list of local projects.
EX: The following two items were provided to me by the Mayor of Los Banos
Draft 1/2 Cent Transportation Sales Tax Measure Expenditure Plan – This includes language that was eliminated from the current draft being pitched to local leaders and the public. According to the mayor, the language in black is the MCAG approved language. The red language includes the modifications Los Banos proposed (and was denied by the MCAG Board) to protect the Westside/Eastside share. Please pay close attention to page 12, “Amendments To The Expenditure Plan”, this section allows MCAG to change the funding allocations. Note the red language under that section. It would have protected the original amounts for the Westside/Eastside by stating that it would have to go back to the voters for any changes. This 30 year tax measure will be on the November 2016 ballot and needs a 66 2/3 voter approval rate for it to pass.
THE LAST STOP? OR JUST A REST STOP? Those of you have been following the goings on in Livingston have already noticed there seems to be a problem attracting and KEEPING qualified staff in certain positions. For some reason, some people just don’t stick around for very long: they’re gone before the ink has barely dried on their contracts.
The latest to “pass through” Livingston on the way to Other Things was Gabriel Gonzalez: who entered into an interim short-term professional services agreement with the Acting City Manager on January 19, 2016: For an amount not to exceed $10,000. According to the February 02, 2016 Staff Report, this was necessary because:
Due to recent transition in management position(s), there is a significant need for temporary administrative support in public works, finance/accounting and in general City management functions until such positions are addressed. This temporary support is much needed to fulfill the upcoming deadlines and priorities.
At the February 02, 2016 City Council Meeting, an Amendment to that agreement was approved by Council which converted the agreement into a
temporary (6 months to 1 year) administrative support in the following areas: oversight of public works; general administrative support to interim city manager. General functions will include assistance with general operations, annual budget, contract and policy review, organizational and functional analysis…..with option to extend another six (6) months, at the City Manager/Interim City Manager’s discretion
… compensation under the amended agreement shall be at an hourly rate of $80 and the total contract amount shall not exceed $135,000.
Mr. Gonzales was hired by the City of Gilroy as their City Manager barely over a month later.
And another one gone after a short stop in Livingston…..
While he was here, Mr. Gonzalez advised the City Council that they should consider creating a new position at City Hall: just for the sole purpose of keeping up with State Storm Water Regulations.
MARIJUANA ORDINANCE adopted.
In December of Last Year, the Planning Commission discussed a Proposed Ordinance which would do the following:
allow cultivation of up to six plants of marijuana.
ban indoor cultivation.
eliminate the size requirement for a detached structure and to allow green houses.
Prohibit gas products, including without limitation, C02, butane, propane and natural gas or generators within the structure."
delete a setback requirement.
to allow deliveries
The city attorney “announced that current State legislation has a deadline of March 1, 2016, for cities to establish a land use policy for cannabis activities. If cities do not meet this deadline, they will defer to the State’s regulations and policies”
“Merced County Fire Marshall Morgan noted that there are some safety concerns with the code… The Fire Department recommends that indoor grows in detached structures require an electrical permit and maintain minimum set-backs of either 10 or 15-feet (to prevent fires from spreading from one structure to the other).”
Merced County Sheriff’s Department representative Ray Framstad gave a PowerPoint presentation on cannabis activities (mainly large grows) and discussed some of the challenges that it posses on law enforcement (such as electrical fires, vandalisms, burglaries, shootings, etc).
COUNCIL MEMBER’S OPINIONS ranged from Council Member Jim Soria: who favored a complete ban to Council Member Alex McCabe: who made a motion banning all commercial cannabis activities, but giving residents (with proper medical approval) the right to grow six cannabis plants outdoors. Mr. McCabe’s motion failed for lack of support.
A second Motion was made by Mayor Pro-Temp Gurpal Samra: which would ban all commercial activities but allow Qualified Patients and Primary Caregivers to grow a maximum of two plants. This motion passed 3-2. Council Members Soria and McCabe both voted “no” but for different reasons.
THERE WAS A PUBLIC HEARING – at City Hall on March 29, 2016 and lasted from about 11am to nearly 1pm. The purpose of the Hearing/meeting was to Brainstorm Ideas for the next Community Development Block Grant Application.
The Initial list of projects to be recommended include the following:
Planning Activity Projects–
Policy Updates to the General Plan that would facilitate Walkable Communities.
A Wastewater percolation study.
Public Improvement Activities
Finish the Pipeline Replacement Project
Refurbish/Repair the City’s Water Storage Tank
Construction of a Dewatering Facility at the Domestic WasteWater Treatment Plant
Public Facility Projects Fire Station –
Living Quarters and possible expansion of the facility
Public Service Part Time
Code Enforcement Officer: Focusing on Health and Safety issues such as Weed Abatement, Watering Restrictions, and Zoning and Building Issues.
ALSO ON THE AGENDA FOR JANUARY – MARCH, 2016
1 Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No.___, of the City Council of the City of Livingston, Amending Title 5, Chapters 3, 6 and 7 of the Livingston Municipal Code Relating to Housing.
The MARCH 15, 2016 Council Meeting was canceled at the last minute because too many Council Members were “ill”. Had the meeting gone forward as originally scheduled, these are some of the topics that would have been discussed.
The following two items were not included in the Council’s Agenda Packets. They were sent to me by the Mayor of Los Banos and are included here for those of you who are interested in more information on the subject)
IT’S NEARLY 4 YEARS AND COUNTING since a dispute over a Custody Exchange began a chain of events resulting in Felony Charges against a Police Officer and a Lawsuit against the City.
According to the Complaint for Damages and Demand for Jury trial filed on behalf of Dwight Larks, on or about May 21, 2012, the mother of Lark’s child, and two members of the Livingston Police Department showed up at Mr. Larks residence and
“permitted (the) mother to unlawfully enter and trespass upon the residence of Plaintiff and she removed (the child) from the custody of the Plaintive in a manner not authorized by any Order of the Court” Case No CVM014537, P.5 – lines 3-5
The Complaint For Damages also states that, the actions of the the officers involved resulted in Mr. Larks sustaining
“among other injuries, laceration of his head, concussion, injury to his left shoulder, left wrist, neck and right leg, and has suffered pain in all those areas…..P7 – lines 13-15
The Claim for Damages also states that, on the day of the incident, Mr. Larks had turned on the recorder of his cell phone and that the terms of a prior court order included the following:
“a court order requires that all custody exchanges take place at a neutral, public location, specifically identified in bold print as: Livingston Police Department” Governmental Claim of Dwight L. Larks, P.3
The Complaint for Damages and Demand for Jury Trial was filed with the Merced County Superior Court on March 19, 2013. (Yes, I do have a copy.)
I’m betting the Civil Case against the City will also continue to drag on in some kind of “legal limbo” until well after the legal wrangling over the Felony Case is settled.