A Lingering Lawsuit, Another Canceled Contract, A Couple Marijuana Plants, and a Draft Tax Measure

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.

  • Deletion of Livingston HWY 99 Widening Projects

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.

Click on the following link to see Mr. Gonzalez’s Municipal Separate storm Sewer System (MS4) INFORMATIONAL update–And Proposed Administrative Position.

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

AT THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING on January 5, 2016.

  • 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.

Community Development Block Grant ApplicationTHERE 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.

    • Water Studies

  • 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

January 05, 2016

Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on January 5, 2016. (Amended)

1 Resolution Approving Site Plan / Design Review 2015-3 to Construct a Building Containing an Office, Dressing Room, and an Apartment at the Guru Nanak Sikh Mission, 884 “B” Street, Livingston, CA.

2 Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 5, Chapters 2, 3, 5 and 7 of the Livingston Municipal Code Prohibiting Commercial Marijuana ( Cannabis) Activities, Regulating Delivery of Medical Marijuana, and Regulating the Cultivation of Medical Marijuana Including Establishing Exemptions for Cultivation by Qualified Patients and Primary Caregivers.

3 Approval of Warrant Register Dated December 10, 2015

4 Approval of Warrant Register Dated December 23, 2015.

5 City Council to Provide Direction for Appointment to the Planning Commission.

JANUARY 19, 2016

(Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on January 19, 2016.)

1 Waive the Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance No. 626 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 5, Chapters 2, 3, 5 and 7 of the Livingston Municipal Code Prohibiting Commercial Marijuana (Cannabis) Activities and Regulating the Cultivation of Medical Marijuana Including Establishing an Exemption for Cultivation by Qualified Patients and Primary Caregivers.

2 Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Authorizing Delegation of Authority to the Interim City Manager Regarding Industrial Disability Retirement Applications.

5 Approval of Warrant Register dated January 13, 2016.

6 Appointment of City Representative to the Merced County Mosquito Abatement District Board of Trustees.

7 Resolution Appointing Odilon Ortiz as Interim City Manager and Approving a Fourth Amendment to the Employment Agreement between the City of Livingston and Odilon Ortiz.

8 Downtown Beautification Project/Street Improvements.

FEBRUARY 02, 2016

2 Resolution Rescinding Resolution No. 2015-10 and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute Documents, Approve Claims for Reimbursement and Represent the City as Required by the State Water Resources Control Board as Part of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Application.

3 Approval of Warrant Register Dated January 27, 2016.

4 Resolution of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston Approving the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS 16-17 A & B) Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 34177 for the Period of July 2016 through June 30, 2017

5 Resolution Approving a First Amendment to the Professional Services Agreement with Gabriel A. Gonzalez and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Execute Amendment.

FEBRUARY 16, 2016

6 Approval of Warrant Register Dated February 11, 2016.

Municipal Separate storm Sewer System (MS4) INFORMATIONAL update–And Proposed Administrative Position

7 Resolution Approving a Rental Agreement for Sludge Dewatering Equipment.

8 Resolution Approving Emergency Purchase of New Police Facility HVAC Unit.

9 Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Approving the Recommended 2015-16 City of Livingston Mid-Year Budget Revisions.

10 City Council to Provide Staff Direction on Creation of a New Corporate Seal (Logo).

FEBRUARY 23, 2016 JOINT MEETING BETWEEN THE CITY COUNCIL AND PLANNING COMMISSION SPECIAL MEETING

MARCH 01, 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.

2 Approval of Warrant Register Dated February 24, 2016.

3 Request to Join an Amicus Brief to the U.S. Supreme Court Supporting the President’s Executive Action on Immigration (Texas v. United States).

4 City Council to Provide Direction for Appointment to the Planning Commission.

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.

1 Presentation – Representatives of the Modesto Chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby, Kathy Conroto, Bill Anelli, Jerry Jackman, Jody Strait, Richard Anderson and David Rivada will give a slide show they presented at the February 2nd Modesto City Council meeting at which the Council voted for a Resolution endorsing a federal revenue-neutral carbon fee and dividend legislation. This fee increases the cost of fossil fuels, but then returns those fees to American households as a dividend, and therefore, favors a national shift to non-greenhouse gas emitting renewable energy sources.

3 Presentation: Marjorie Kirn, Executive Director of the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) on the proposed Transportation Expenditure Plan which outlines a flexible approach to spending more than $450 million of new revenue to address the region’s transportation needs over three decades. Half of the funding will go directly to our local governments for local transpiration needs. The remaining funds will be used for funding for projects of regional benefit, as well as transit.

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)

4 Waive the Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance No. 627, 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.

7 Approval of Warrant Register Dated March 11, 2016.

8 Resolution Approving a Professional Services Agreement between the City of Livingston and Patti Dossetti, Dossetti Consulting.

10 City Council to Consider Adoption of a Resolution Making an Appointment to Fill the Vacancy on the Planning Commission.

11 Council Direction to Consider Supporting the Regional Efforts via a Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding within the Merced Groundwater Sub-Basin to Comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

12 Resolution Declaring that One Council Office Subject to Election at the November 2016 General Election Shall Only Serve a Two Year Term in Order to Evenly Stagger City Council Seats Subject to Election in the Future (California Government Code Section 34906).

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.)

According to reports in the Sun Star, Mr. Larks was initially cited for resisting arrest and violating a court order. But, no case against him was ever filed “for lack of evidence”. However, the felony case against one of the Officers involved in that 2012 Custody Exchange continues.

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.

Fireworks, Politics, Resignations, Recreation, and a Mid Year Budget Review–February, 2015

Livingston, CA – 03/22/2015

So the 4th of July has formally asked they would like to come under the City Umbrella just like the Recreation Commission: to have a sand alone committee of sorts..so that has to be figured out. I know Legal Council will help out. That’s something they would like. One, because they would like to get the full support of the City every year. Excerpted from Comments and Discussion of future agenda items by Former City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez – January 20 2015 City Council Meeting: beginning about 19:52 minutes in. 

What we’re requesting is that we have the exact support or similar support as the Sweet Potato Festival. I don’t see what the difference is. I would like to see that support. Where, when you go to the Sweet Potato Festival, you see all staff is on hand. Every person from Recreation to Public Works’….so that’s what we’re looking for: the same type of support. Julio Valadez – Chair – July 4th Committee – Ibid.

Julio, I have a comment Since I know that you guys want to come under the City. But I think we already have a Recreation commission. And I think currently we only have 1 or 2 Commissioners on that. If you guys join the Recreation Commission, you guys could take on the Fireworks because the Commission is already-we don’t have to go through the process of doing a new commission. So we need more people on the Commission and the Fireworks would be part of Recreation. Which is part of, you know, you guys could take that on. That’s just an idea. If you guys want to. Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza – Ibid

So why might the July 4th Committee want to come “under the umbrella” of the City? or join the Recreation Commission? More on that a little later, but first.

YOU WOULDN’T KNOW IT BY THE TITLE
on the City’s Website, but there is an important informational meeting about the City’s Water Delivery System this Tuesday.

Water Workshop

As part of the settlement agreement with California River Watch, the City is obligated to provide additional information about the state of our Water System, and what the City is doing to address our Water Quality Issues.

Now..a brief look at some of the Agenda items covered during FEBRURARY’S City Council Meetings. As of the date of this posting, written minutes have yet to be prepared. However, if you would like to view an archived video of the meeting, you can do so by CLICKING HERE. You can also go to City Hall and request a Copy of the Meeting Videos.

The FEBRUARY 3, 2015 CLOSED SESSION included

  • 2 Cases of Potential Litigation

  • Continued discussion about the City Manager Recruitment

  • Another Discussion about Labor Negotiations with All Represented City Employees

During OPEN SESSION on FEBRUARY 3:

1. Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza Presented Key to the City plaques to members of Grupo Musical Los Kinos

2. There was a Report on United Front Security and Patrol Security Company Seeking a Business License.

3. The Minutes of Meeting Held on December 16, 2014 were approved.

4. The Warrant Register Dated January 29, 2015 was approved. Except for one check issued in payment for Radio Advertising for the 4th of July Celebration. Although Interim City Manager Odie Ortiz stated the payment had been “approved by management”, Mayor Espinoza stated he wanted that check “held” until he had more time to talk to the Chairman of the July 4th Committee. (My best guess is “management” meant prior City Manager Jose Ramirez)

5. A Resolution appointing Odilon Ortiz as Interim City Manager was approved.

6. A Resolution Approving the continuation Ruben Chavez for the Position of Police Chief was adopted.

7. The Council filled the Vacant seats on the Livingston Planning Commission after ACCEPTEING THE RESIGNATION of Planning Commission Chair Luis Flores. Mario Mendoza was appointed to finish Flores’ term: which ends in December of this year. Ananan Bath was appointed to the other vacancy: which is a 4 year term.

As Reported in the Merced Sun Star –

 “After Flores resigned, Commissioner Mario Mendoza – who was seeking another term on the commission – was appointed to finish Flores’ term. Newcomer Adanan Bath was appointed to the other vacancy.

Bath last year pulled filing papers to challenge Samra in his re-election bid in November. Bath ended up not running against Samra.

Mendoza, however, did challenge Samra but lost by about 300 votes.”

This means the person who “changed his mind” about challenging  Samra for office was appointed to a 4 year term on the Planning Commission.  The person who didn’t drop out of the race was given what was left over of Mr. Flores’ term.

8. The Council Accepted and Authorized the Temporary Outsourcing of City’s Street Sweeping Services to Gilton Solid Waste. According to the Mayor, this needed to be done because the engine on the Street Sweeper was “blown”.

9. The Council Discussed  Changes to the DTC Zone. There are Residential Homes located in the Downtown Commercial Zone. That means those homes are “non conforming uses” which has created a whole host of problems for those people who want to keep their house as a “house” and not convert it into a “business”.

There was discussion about how there would need to be some planning work involved in “fixing” the problem while at the same time avoiding “spot zoning”

10. The Council Discussed Changing the City Logo Slogan from “The Last Stop” to “Sweet Potato Capital of the World.” It seems some people think “The Last Stop” means a place where you go to retire and/or die. I guess most people have forgotten that Livingston had “The Last Stop” Light on HWY 99: before the realignment was done. Maybe such things aren’t relevant in “today’s world”.

11. The Discussion Item: “Twelve Acres of Industrial Land at the Max Foster Sports Complex” was Continued to a Future Meeting. From what I understand, there may be a dispute between the City of Livingston and a Developer over how much of a Reimbursement is due to the Developer.

The FEBRUARY 17, 2015 CLOSED SESSION included:

  • 1 case of Potential Litigation

  • A Conference about Labor Negotiations regarding All Represented and Unrepresented City Employees

During The Regular Meeting FEBRUARY 17, 2015 :

Mayor Espinoza and Council Person Mendoza were absent

1. An Item placed on the Agenda by Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza & Council Member Arturo Sicairos to Present and discuss idea of possible Sister City relationship with the State of Jalisco, Mexico. The consensus of the Council seemed to be it would be a great idea to adopt Zapotlanejo as a Sister City: perhaps via the Sister City Program International.

2. The Warrant Register Dated February 12, 2015 was Approved.

3. A Resolution of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston Approving the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS 15-16A) Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 34177 for Period July through December 31, 2015 was adopted.

Well 12 - 13 - 1- - 17 - 184. A Resolution Approving the Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration for Improvements to Municipal Well No. 17 was adopted. New well site equipment and improvements will include an estimated 2,000 gallons per minute capacity

5. A Resolution Approving the Purchase of Equipment from Tesco Controls, Inc. for the Well No. 13 and Well No. 17 Projects, without Competitive Bids  was approved.

Well 8 - 9 - 11 - 156. A Resolution Approving a Contract with Forsta Filters for the Supply of Three Self-Cleaning Filters to remove Sand from Wells No. 9 and Well No. 11B was approved. This was done because the previous vender could not meet delivery times as previously expected. This expense was not in the Budget: an emergency situation created by the drought.

7. The City Council Directed Staff to Approve the Installation of a Varible Frequency Drive on Turbine #1 at the Waste Water Treatment Plant. According to Staff, by installing the Variable Frequency Drive, the City would Save on energy costs in the long run.

8. There was another Review/Discussion/Direction of the Annual Fireworks Booth Selection procedures. Members from both the July 4th Committee and Livingston Youth Football were in attendance and talked about why their Organizations should qualify for “the council pick”.

9. A Resolution Approving the Recommended 2014-15  City of Livingston Mid-Year Budget Revisions was adopted. Although Interim City Manager Ortiz said it looked like the City was seeing a Recovery, Mayor Pro Tem Samra stated “Yes. It is good news. But we’re not ready to open the Credit Card.”

ADJOURNMENT

Now, let me tell you a Brief TALE ABOUT FIREWORKS BOOTHS,  THE SWEET POTATO FESTIVAL and THE RECREATION COMMISSION

Once upon a time, the way I remember it, the City was in charge of putting on the July 4th Celebration: fireworks and all. Then there came the year of The-Run-Up-To-The-Recall. And, somehow, in the middle of all that, the order for the fireworks didn’t get put in in time.

It was as if the Conspiracy Theory Comet from Hell had struck: because of all the blame throwing and finger pointing. (I did do some checking on my own, and after asking for a General Ledger Report and looking it over, It looked to me like donations to the July 4th EVENT did NOT get booked into the July 4th ACCOUNT. But were booked into an account called Special Events. Near as I can tell it was just an honest mistake. But one that did not help calm the blamethrowing of the time. But I digress…)

A group of people banded together to, at least try, to see that the tradition of the July 4th Celebration wasn’t lost forever. Some people quit after the first year. Others kept on, year after year: rounding up donations and doing what needed to be done to meet the goal of Celebrating our Nation’s Independence Day with the Biggest and Best celebration possible.

In 2011, a new City Manager was hired. He thought it would be a Grand Idea to for the City to Revive the long dormant Sweet Potato Festival.

And stick it straight into the same week as the July 4th Celebration of 2012.

Which had some people I talked to scratching their heads about the timing. What were we celebrating that week? Our Nations Independence or Sweet Potatoes?

Later, there was the whole flap about the City “losing money” on the Sweet Potato Festival and the July 4th Committee having “money left over” after paying expenses.

Certain members of the City Council seemed to feel that the July 4th Committee should fork over their “excess” to cover the City’s “losses”.

Which, had some of us scratching our heads when we first heard about it. They way we understood it, the July 4th Committee was not organized as a fundraiser for the Sweet Potato Festival. It was organized to Plan and Organize an Event the City was no longer Planning and Organizing.

And any money “left over” after expenses would be rolled over to the following year.

As far as the Sweet Potato Festival was concerned, my understanding of the goal, from listening to the City Manager , was to at least break even: if there was any money “left over” after expenses, that would go towards funding other City Events.

Then in 2014, (as reported in the Merced Sun Star) Members of the Livingston Fourth of July Committee appealed to the City Council during its regular meeting  …..asking for help to pay off $5,441.14 of unpaid bills from the nonprofit’s annual fireworks show and festival.”

I can distinctly remember the “then” City Manager saying that management would take a look at the expenses involved to see which ones the City could “justify” paying on behalf of the July 4th Committee. (After all, it was a “City” event of sorts: with free admission to all)

So my guess is the “prior” City Manager, Jose Ramirez, approved the check for payment that Mayor Espinoza decided to “hold up”.

But IF YOU WANT THE CITY’S FULL SUPPORT, (and money for the Fireworks Show) how about joining the Recreation Commission? That was the suggestion made to members of the July 4th Committee, by Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza at the January 20th, 2015 City Council Meeting. According to the Mayor, this would solve two problems at the same time:

  • Getting enough members on the Recreation Committee to actually HAVE meetings on a Regular Basis – and –

  • Helping out with fundraising etc. for the 4th of July Celebration

The Logic going something like this: The Recreation Commission is already an Established Commission of the City. One of the tasks of the Recreation Commission is to promote activities That Benefit The Community. The July 4th Celebration is an Activity That Benefits The Community.  The are not enough members on the Recreation Commission. Therefore:

  • IF enough members of the July 4th Committee joined the Recreation Commission in order t0 make it a Functioning Commission,

  • THEN they could get “support” from the City

The response from some of the members of the July 4th Committee was that they are already very busy with activities that benefit the community, and really just don’t have the time to take on the additional responsibility: especially if the only reason to do so was to get “the support” from the City for an event that benefits the City As A Whole.

This is the way I see what has been happing so far.

  1. The City can issue up to 5 Fireworks Booth Permits. The City Council rewrote the Fireworks Ordinance so it could have the ability to grant a Fireworks Boots to up to two (2) Non Profit Organizations of its choice – making it possible to “Council Pick” Livingston Youth Football  and one other Non-Profit organization. That would put “everybody else” into a lottery for the remaining 3 booth permits.

  2. “Someone” got his nose out of joint when the July 4th Committee wouldn’t fork over their “profits” to bail out the Sweet Potato Festival’s “losses” one year and decided “since you wouldn’t donate your profit to the City, don’t bother asking the City to help you.

  3. And we won’t choose you for “Council Pick” for a Fireworks Booth Either. We’ll “choose” Livingston Youth Football, but you get thrown into the raffle like the other applicants.

  4. To Bad, So Sad, if you don’t get a Fireworks Booth

  5. Too Bad, So Sad if you “lose money” on putting on the July 4th Celebration.

  6. BUT “we” want a Recreation Commission that has meetings. So if you join the Recreation Commission, we will be willing to spiff you some “help” that way.

  7. BUT..Members of the July 4th Committee “reject” the offer to “obtain help” by joining the Recreation Commission.

  8. HOWEVER..The City Manager, recognizing the July 4th Event as a City Wide Event, as one of his last official acts before leaving at the end of January, 2015, authorizes the payment for the Radio Advertising. (It had to be either Jose or Odie: who else could be the “management” who could approve that check?)

  9. AND That check is “held up” by the Mayor at the very next Council Meeting

At this point, I will let you draw whatever conclusions you wish. I can say that “The Saga Continues”. The next chapter will continue when we meet again to look at What Happened in March, 2015.

More on the February Happenings in Livingston can be found by going to the links below:

For the February Police Department Update, click on the following link – LPD Update 2_3_2015

For relevant Sun Star Articles, see below.

Livingston manager’s last day brings some employees to tears BY RAMONA GIWARGIS, The Merced Sun Star – 02/01/2015 – Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra said Friday was a “sad day” for Livingston. It will be hard to replace Ramirez, he said, but the city will hire a recruitment organization to interview prospective candidates. While the City Council makes the final hiring decision, Samra said this method will “keep the process fair” and discourage favoritism.

Livingston police chief’s contract renewed for 3 years BY RAMONA GIWARGIS – The Merced Sun Star – 02/04/2015 –  Livingston Police Chief Ruben Chavez will continue working for the city another three years, the City Council determined unanimously this week

Chinese exchange students make friends in Livingston – BY THADDEUS MILLER – The Merced Sun Star – 02/08/2015 – About 50 students from China spent a couple of days here last week, visiting with others their age, sharing music and practicing their English. – The visit was the first edition of an exchange program, or “sisterhood,” that Livingston Middle School hopes to continue with Beijing Runfeng School, according to principals from both schools.

Livingston council talks fireworks stands and midyear budget – BY RAMONA GIWARGIS – The Merced Sun Star – 02/18/2015 – The battle over fireworks booths in Livingston has begun. – The city is accepting applications from nonprofits interested in selling safe-and-sane fireworks in July, officials announced at a City Council meeting Tuesday. Although the application period just opened, two groups – the Fourth of July Committee and Livingston Youth Football – were already appealing to the council Tuesday to choose them.

Livingston planning commissioner resigns over conflict of interest worry – BY RAMONA GIWARGIS – 02/22/2015 – The Merced Sun Star – The chairman of Livingston’s Planning Commission voluntarily resigned after elected officials threatened to have him removed because of a potential conflict of interest.

Livingston police arrest seven known gang members – SUN-STAR STAFF – 02/25/2015 – Seven known gang members have been arrested in Livingston since Saturday, according to police. – Three of those arrests came Tuesday when Livingston police and Merced County probation officers searched a home in the 1500 block of Seventh Street, finding a loaded 12-gauge shotgun hidden in a wall with other weapons, and more than five grams of methamphetamine, police Chief Ruben Chavez said.

Trash Cans and Smoke Shops; Resignations and Recruitments; Speed Bumps and Sand in the Water: A Brief Summary of January, 2015

Livingston, California 2/21/2015

The thought was if you’re going through it for recyclables, a penalty of $25 is going to mean a lot to that person. It’s going to be quite a bit of money. City Attorney, City of Livingston, January 06, 2015 City Council Meeting: appx. 32:27,

This is kinda dumb. We will have police doing garbage duty. City Council Member David Mendoza, January o6, City Council Meeting. appx. 37:40

Passing this ordinance does not automatically allow a Smoke Shop to come in. There still has to be a CUP. City Attorney, City of Livingston, City Council Meeting, January 06, 2015 City Council Meeting: appx. 54:47 

A Conditional Use permit can be appealed to the Council and we can dictate some of the items there. Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza, January 06, City Council Meeting. appx. 1:08:07

The following contains a brief summary of a few things that happened in the City of Livingston during the month of January, 2015, Council Agendas for the month of January, and a few links to relevant Sun Star Articles.

Livingston’s police officers and their supervisors started the new year with a 5 percent pay cut; the Resignation of City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez became final; the City Council called for the Resignation of the Planning Commission’s Chairman, appointed Odilion Ortiz as Interim City Manager, adopted an Ordinance prohibiting trash scavenging and imposing fines, adopted an Ordinance regulating Smoke Shops and Smoking Lounges, discussed speed bumps, approved emergency repairs to Wells 9 and 11, approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Public Works and Parks Employees Unit, and talked about how hard it seems to be to recruit members for the Recreation Comission.

The RESIGNATION OF CITY MANAGER Jose Antonio Ramirez became final at the end of January. During the January 06th and 20th City Council meeting, he presented a List of Items the City Council would need to address some time in the future:

  • Amending the Watering Ordinance

  • The Repairs needed to be done to the City’s Water Storage Tank

  • Planning Fees Increases

  • Well Deconstruction Fees. The City will have to start issuing Well Deconstruction Permits.

  • Master Plans for Sewer, Water, and Storm Drains need to be updated

  • The 4th of July Committee would like to come under the umbrella of the City

  • Sunvalley Estates and Well #17  improvements

  • Devante Villas project: haven’t heard from them in a while. But sure they will be coming back

  • Kera (?) Fernandez Reimbursement issue: Staff is working with legal council on this issue

  • AB1600 Draft: Final draft is ready. Staff is working with legal council to move foreword with the adoption.

  • Tree Grant: the city still has trees to plant

  • Winton Parkway Development: Mr. Javier Galvan is very interested in moving that project forward with his partners. He mentioned he had a letter from the City from some years ago promising funding for the Winton Parkway street.

  • New WCIII Proposed Fees Schedule as part of the Building Services Department

  • Pipeline from Well #14 to Well #8 currently being designed and going out to bid in early spring.

  • Well #17 CBDG Grant Project.

  • Well #13 Project Design complete and going out to bid in February. (California Department of Public Health Grant)

  • Well #15 Project should either be a grant or a 0% loan

  • Groundwater Levels have dropped and monitoring needs to continue. 35 to 40 foot drop last year. Levels have risen about a foot this year.

  • Self Monitoring for ADA Requirements. As the City has been replacing curbs, gutters, and sidewalks, issues are being addressed.

  • Community Facility District Formation in the Winton Parkway area. Once the Gallo Subdivision takes place, make sure that goes forward. 

  • National Endowment for the Arts Grant has been applied for, in conjunction with the Merced Arts Council: Start a Mural Project in the Down Town, beginning with the City Owned Building next to the Council Chambers.

  • Tax Sharing Agreement with the County has yet to be finalized.

  • Cal Trans Campbell Project Properties: They are trying to come up with the cost of those odd shaped properties so they can tell the City what they want for them.

  • Health Insurance: There had only been 1 response to the Request for Proposals. Council might want to extend the request period.

The City Council Members called for the RESIGNATION OF PLANNING COMMISION Chair Luis Flores on the grounds that his position as Livingston Unified School Board Member was “incompatible” with membership in the Planning Commission. (I must admit, I’m scratching my head a bit on this one. It’s OK to be a member of the Real Estate Profession and be on the Planning Commission. But it’s not OK to be on the School Board and be on the Planning Commission.)

An ANTI-TRASH SCAVENGING ORDINANCE was adopted. The possible fines for those caught digging through other people’s trash would be as follows. First offense: warning. Second offense: $25. Third offense: $50. When asked who would be responsible for issuing Warnings and Citations, the reply was it would be the responsibility of the Police Department to issue citations . (After responding to a phone call from a resident complaining about scavengers)

An ORDINANCE was adopted which allowed SMOKE SHOPS in the Industrial Areas of town; and also in the Downtown Commercial Area with a Conditional Use Permit. During the Council’s discussion, the City Attorney stated that passing this ordinance does not automatically allow a Smokeshop to come in – there would still need to be a CUP and Mayor Espinoza made the point that any CUP granted could be appealed to the City Council. (I’m having a serious case of deja vu here)

Ruby and Emerald streetsWhether or not SPEEDBUMPS were needed in parts of the City was discussed. The Mayor stated he had been getting complaints about speeding vehicles by residents by Ruby and Emerald Streets. Discussion included:

  • What triggers the need for a speed bump

  • What impact would speed bumps have on emergency vehicles.

  • What kinds of speed bumps should be considered.

  • How much do they cost?

  • And perhaps there should be a Speed Survey before going ahead and installing speed bumps.

The City of Livingston and the AFSCME Public Works and Parks Employees Unit, came to a tentative agreement to a one (l) year Memorandum of Understanding, covering the period July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 consisting of one (l) furlough per month, freezing 20 hours of vacation cash­ outs effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 and $75 per month towards medical insurance premiums.

For more details about topics discussed during the January, 2015 City Council Meetings, see below.

JANUARY 06, 2015

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CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

JANUARY 6, 2015

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 January 6, 2015, 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 Livingston Redevelopment Agency 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. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: Interim City Manager

2. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Manager

City Manager Recruitment

3. Conference with Real Property Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54956.8)

Property: APN: 024-011-016, Olive Avenue

APN: 023-100-049, Burgundy Drive

Negotiating Party: City Manager

4. 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: 2015-1

Next Ordinance Number: 621

Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call.

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. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance Amending the City’s Municipal Code by Adding Chapter 8-8 Prohibiting Unauthorized Entry into Waste Containers.

2. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No.___ of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) Title 5, Zoning Regulations: Sections 5-2-3, 5-2-4, 5-3-15, Tables 3 and 4, and the Addition of Section 5-5-13 under Specific Use Regulations.

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. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on November 13, 2014.

4. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on December 2, 2014.

5. Approval of Warrant Register Dated December 30, 2014.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

6. Discussion – Installation of Speed Bumps Throughout the City and Related Costs.

ADJOURNMENT

JANUARY 20, 2015

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CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

JANUARY 20, 2015

CLOSED SESSION: 5:45 P.M.

OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.

Notice is hereby given that the City Council will hold a Regular Meeting on January 20, 2015, 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 5:45 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 Livingston Redevelopment Agency 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 Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: Interim City Manager

4. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Manager

City Manager Recruitment

5. Conference with Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Labor Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

Employee Organizations: All Unrepresented City Employees

6. Conference with Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Labor Negotiators: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez and City Attorney Jose M. Sanchez

Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees

7. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

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

Number of Cases: 1

Regular Meeting

CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2015-1

Next Ordinance Number: 623

Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call.

Changes to the Agenda.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

1. Introduction and Swearing-in of new Police Dispatcher Veronica Bates by Chief Ruben Chavez and City Clerk Tony Silva.

2. Presentation of a plaque by Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza to out-going City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez in recognition and appreciation for his service, dedication and accomplishments to the City of Livingston.

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. Waive the Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance No. 621, Amending the City’s Municipal Code by Adding Chapter 8-8 Prohibiting Unauthorized Entry into Waste Containers.

4. Waive the Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance No. 622, of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) Title 5, Zoning Regulations: Sections 5-2-3, 5-2-4, 5-3-15, Tables 3 and 4, and the Addition of Section 5-5-13 under Specific Use Regulations.

5. Resolution Approving a One (1) Year Memorandum of Understanding Between the City of Livingston and the AFSCME Public Works and Parks Employees Unit.

6. Approval of Warrant Register Dated January 15, 2015.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

7. City Council Direction on Appointment of Parks and Recreation Commission Members.

8. City Council Accept and Authorize Sweeper Truck Repairs Quote from Ry-Den Truck Center, Inc.

9. Approve a Supply Capacity of 2,000 gpm for Well No. 17.

10. Approve a Purchase of Sand Filtration Equipment for Wells No. 9 and 11B.

11. Discussion and Possible Action – Potential Incompatibility of Offices by Planning Commissioner Serving as Both a City Planning Commissioner and a Livingston Union School District Board Member.

ADJOURNMENT

And for even more of January’s goings on in the City of Livingston, you can go to the following Sun Star Articles.

Livingston considers banning trash scavengers – People rummaging through trash every night is a rude awakening to some residents, and now Livingston city leaders are now considering a law to ban people from digging through trash for recyclables and other materials.

Livingston council OKs trash scavenger ban and smoke shops – Despite one council member calling it “dumb” and “ridiculous,” an ordinance that penalizes people for rummaging through other people’s trash is one step closer to becoming law

New AutoZone opens in Livingston, fuels city’s future growth plans – The city’s motto may be “The Last Stop,” but city leaders are pushing to make Livingston the first stop for business growth, starting with a new AutoZone store that opened its doors this week

Livingston planning commissioner might be removed; officials cite conflict of interest The Livingston City Council on Tuesday discussed ousting a planning commissioner because of a potential conflict of interest with his elected seat on the city’s school board

Sikh bonfire festival in Livingston marks end of winter

Bird flu found at Foster Farms turkey ranch in California – THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – 01/25/2015 – The Merced Sun Star – Hundreds of turkeys at a Central California ranch are being killed to prevent the spread of a type of avian flu that is not a threat to people but can decimate poultry flocks

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.

A Blistering Tank, A Concern About Water Rates, A State Inspection Report, and a Planning Commission Agenda

LIVINGSTON CA / May 13, 2013 —

It appears that the City may not have enough staff under the Water Division to keep up with the operation of the system. The Water Division currently employs 3 certified operators who are responsible for all of the operation and maintenance of the well sites, investigating customer complaints , and providing any repairs to the system.

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.

• The interior coating (walls, floor , and interior support column) is in overall poor condition. There is a large amount of blistering, cracking, and pinholes in the coating. It is recommended to blast and recoat the interior of the tank .

The Department notified the City in an email dated March 15, 2013, of … deficiencies and requested that the City provide…:

• A plan and time schedule for bringing Wells Nos. 13 and 16 back online by April 5, 2013.

• A plan and time schedule for increasing the City’s source capacity by April 5, 2013.

• Provide monthly water consumption data for Foster Farms Processing Plant.

A Few Excerpts from the California Department of Health: City of Livingston 2013 Water System Inspection Report

So…there might not be enough staff to run the Water System, we’ve had not one, but TWO wells taken off-line for a time due to “Arsenic Issues” And the The State of  California Department of Public Health wants the City of Livingston to give an accounting of how much water Foster Farms uses each month.

Interesting.

The latest Water System Inspection report is just chalk full of “deficiencies” that the State wants the City to address.

More on that a little later. But First.

12345

Yep…There’s Strange and then there is Army Strange. Courtesy of Damon Shackelford: furious scribbler of military cartoons.

WITH APOLIGIES TO THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT

IMAG0404

This is a Corner of B Street.

IMAG0405

This is the Building

That housed a Club

and sits on a Corner of B Street.

IMAG0436

This is the Land

Which was Owned by the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

Which was counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

IMAG0435

This is the Pharmacy

That Bought the Land

Which was Owned by the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

Which was counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

Appeal - 444 Main Street CUP Page 5-2

These are the Changes

That were made to the Permit

That belonged to the Building

Across from the Pharmacy

That now owns the Land

Once Owned by the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

That had counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

Appeal Page 6 - 1

This is the Appeal

Of the Changes That were made

to the Permit That belonged

To the Building Across

From the Pharmacy which owns

The Land purchased from the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

That had counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

Mayor Espinoza

This is the Mayor

(Who was in favor of the Changes

Before voting against them)

And Who filed the Appeal

of Changes That were made

to the Permit That belonged

To the Building now Across

From the Pharmacy which owns

The Land purchased from the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

That had counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

City Council 2010 - 2012

This is the Council

That conducted the Hearings

Along with the Mayor

(Who had first been favor

of the Changes to the Permit

Before voting against them)

Who had filed the Appeal

Of the Changes  That were made

to the Permit That belonged

To the Building Across

From the Pharmacy which owns

The Land purchased from the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

That had counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

Revoking The Cup for 444 Main

This is the Decision

To Revoke the Permit

As was made by the Council

That conducted the Hearings

Along with the Mayor

(Who had first been favor

of the Changes to the Permit

Before voting against them)

Who had filed the Appeal

Of the Changes  That were made

to the Permit That belonged

To the Building Across

From the Pharmacy which owns

The Land purchased from the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

That had counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

 Not Enough Parking

This is the Issue

Emphasized as the Reason

For making the Decision

To Revoke the Permit

That was made by the Council

That conducted the Hearings

Along with the Mayor

(Who had first been favor

of the Changes to the Permit

Before voting against them)

Who had filed the Appeal

Of the Changes  That were made

to the Permit That belonged

To the Building Across

From the Pharmacy which owns

The Land purchased from the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

That had counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

Round and Round and Round we go..where it all stops…nobody knows

(And if you doubt “parking” was the main reason/excuse/whatever given for The Council’s Revocation of that Conditional Use Permit, just click on over to the APRIL o3, 2012 Draft Minutes. Then do a search on the word “parking”.)

THE WATER SYSTEM INSPECTION RLivingston Water Storage TankEPORT By the California Department of Health is now available. And although the overall condition of the system is described as “good”, there were 20 items the California Department of Health stated “required action”.

Item #20 on the “required action” states as follows:

“The City must provide a plan and timeline for addressing the recommendations in the 2013 tank inspection report by April 30, 2013”

According to the Inspection Report

The City has a 1.0 MG welded steel storage tank in the southeast section of the City that was built in 1999…. primarily filled by Well No. 12 …(and) last inspected in January 2013 by Liquid Engineering Corporation.

This inspection found that

• The interior coating (walls, floor , and interior support column) is in overall poor condition. There is a large amount of blistering, cracking, and pinholes in the coating. It is recommended to blast and recoat the interior of the tank .

To which the Department of Health responded by stating in it’s Report:

The Department reviewed the tank inspection on March 21. 2013 . In an email to the City, dated March 21. 2013. the Department requested that the City provide a plan and timeline for addressing the inspection items by April 15. 2013.

Repairs like these don’t come cheap. At the most recent Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee Meeting, Public Works Director Humberto Molina explained it this way:

  • Costs range from (on the low end) $60,000 to (on the high end) a quarter million dollars: depending on the damage.

  • This project doesn’t seem to be in the quarter million range, but it’s probably not in the lower end either: it’s somewhere in the middle.

ABOUT LIVINGSTON’S WATER RATES the State Said.

It was also noted during the inspection that the City’s water rates are not sufficient. The City currently charges residential customers $9.90 per 47 hcf (hundred cubic feet) with no penalty fee for exceeding that amount. The City charges even less ($8.70 per 47 hcf) for commercial customers and $0.30 per 1,000 gallons for exceeding the 47 hcf.

In a letter dated September 15, 2010 , the Department expressed concern to the City about having sufficient water rates to generate enough revenue to cover all of the water system’s expenses including operation, maintenance and capital improvements.

To read the complete report from the State of California Department of Health: you can CLICK HERE

And now on to the

LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

TUESDAY, MAY 14 ,2013

7:00P.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: 7:00PM

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 March 12, 2013, Planning Commission Regular Meeting.

Item No.2- Election of Officers

a. Election of New Chair and Vice-Chair for 2013.

Item No.3- 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. 4- Public Hearing

a. Conditional Use Permit 2013-01. Fabian Maldonado has applied for a Conditional Use Permit to cultivate sweet potatoes on a 5.62-acre parcel located on the north side of F Street, between the northerly extension of Winton Parkway and Livingston Middle School on property zoned R-1, Low Density Residential (APN: 022-010-018).

b. Conditional Use Permit 2013-02. Zeke Nelson has applied for a Conditional Use Permit to operate a 100-person capacity church use in the Downtown Commercial Zoning District (DTC) at 1471 B Street, Suite A in the Liberty Market shopping center at the former movie rental store (APN: 024-132-011).

c. Conditional Use Permit 2013-03. Carlos Vieira has applied for a Conditional Use Permit to operate a private, non-profit, youth boxing sports club for up to 30 youth (ages 10 through 18) at 444 Main Street, Livingston on property zoned Downtown Commercial (DTC), APN 024-114-008.

d. Site Plan/Design Review 2013-01. Motel 6 has applied for a Site Plan/Design Review application to develop a 75-room, 3-story motel on a 1.04 -acre parcel located at 309 Joseph Gallo Drive, Livingston, generally located on the north side of Joseph Gallo Drive, west of Winton Parkway on property zoned Highway Service Commercial (C-3), APN 022-020-001.

Item No.5- Reports

a. Planning Commission

b. City Staff

Item No. 6- Adjournment to regular meeting on June 11, 2013.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if yon 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.

.

 

.

Planning for the Future, TCP, TCB, Flushing out the Gunk and A City Council Agenda

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."-Poet and philosopher George Santayana

“The truth points to itself”. – Kosh, Babylon 5, “In The Beginning”

"Belief can be manipulated. Knowledge is dangerous" Paul "Muad’Dib" Atreides of the Dune Series

“The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative”.-Saul Alinsky

I know Livingston has changed a lot and is still growing… I want to be part of that growth and possibly help with that growth towards a brighter future…. There is big growth in the future coming – Alicia Estrada, Candidate for Planning Commission, Interview Date: February 11, 2013

Our office is concerned that the city will not have adequate financial capability to provide for the ongoing operation, maintenance, and upgrading of the system if the water rate increase is eliminated and the rates are rolled back to 1995 levels. 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, out Department will take the appropriate enforcement actions. – Excerpted from a Letter to the City of Livingston by the California Department of Public Health, September 15, 2010.

Typical monthly bills would increase to $23.79 a month from $22.04 a month, according to the notices sent to residents. In 2014, the rates would jump to $26.49 a month…."I think it’s a fair increase," (Council member) Soria said. , Livingston utility bill increase could pay for recycling service,  Mike North, Merced Sun Star 

it is good for community, most families of 4 and up fill up a garbage can quickly. we are a family of 5 and i hardly ever have room due to greenery, boxes and misc paper. i applaud the new system. i hate not having enough room in my garbage can. hey garden snail can i leave my garbage at your house since you are complaining about the rates. keep in mind it cost money to maintain and upkeep the system. garden snail would probably complain when things break down. seems like someone who is never happy no matter what you do.  sshhhhhh Comment by bigpun – ibid

HUH?

 I need to “Keep in mind it cost money to maintain and upkeep the system. garden snail would probably complain when things break down”

YOU..ARE..KIDDING ME? RIGHT?

I’m wondering….Where was “bigpun” when all the fussing, fuedin,, fightin and accusin took place the last time the city tried to raise Water/Sewer/Garbage Rates?

Complete with marches on City Hall and Protest Signs equating Council Members with The Three Stooges. The way things are going, we many have another round of riled up folk protesting in the parking lot at City Hall a few months from now.

More on that a little later..but first   

It’s been such a long time since we checked up on how lucky Sgt. Lucky has been that maybe we need a little review before going forward.

Panel 1             Panel 2Panel 3Panel 4Panel 5 April 13 2012

Yep. There’s Strange and then there is Army Strange. Courtesy of Damon Shackelford: furious scribbler of military cartoons.

FROM THE JOINT HOMETOWN NEWS SERVICE, Fort Meade MD

62809Air Force Airman Cristian E. Rosales graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas… The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Rosales is the son of Lisette Garcia of F Street, Livingston.

He is a 2012 graduate of Livingston High School.

MARK YOUR CALANDAR… SUNDAY APRIL 14, 2013. IT’S KITE FESTIVAL TIME!

2013 Kite Festival

WE HAVE THREE NEW PLANNING COMMISSIONERS….On February 11, 2013 the City Council appointed Warren Urnberg, and Alicia Estrada, as Planning Commissioners and Michael Silva as the alternate to the Planning Commission. There had been seven candidates for the two Commissioner and one Alternate Commissioner positions open.

The Candidates were interviewed separately. They were each given opportunity to tell the Council “a little about themselves”, asked a series of pre-prepared questions, and then given a chance for a few closing comments.

Questions candidates were asked included:

1. What is your reason for wanting to serve on the Livingston Planning Commission. Why should this council appoint you?

2. What do you see as the important Planning Issues facing the City of Livingston?

3. Can you tell us about your skills, experience and knowledge that you believe would benefit the Livingston Planning Commission?

4. How would you handle a disagreement with another Planning Commissioner or members of the City Council?

5. When considering a Development Proposal, how would you rank these Considerations?

a. In adherence to established regulations

b. Protecting the environment

c. esthetics and design

d. social benefit

e. economic benefit

After the interviews were finished, the Council took a couple of minutes to decide who they wanted to appoint as Commissioners and Alternate Commissioner. That’s when things got, well, just a tad confusing.

First there was a motion to nominate Warren Urnberg

Then the Mayor asked if there were more motions

Then there was another separate motion to appoint Alicia Estrada (Gurpal Samra)

Then there was discussion as to whether these nominations were for Alternate or Full Commissioner

Then there was a motion to nominate Mike Silva for Alternate (Rodrigo Espinoza)

Then they were about to vote on each motion when they remembered that none of the motions had been seconded.

Then there was discussion about whether or not to second the motions individually or as a group.

Then there was a motion for Warren Urnberg, Alicia Estrada, and Michael Silva as the alternate.

Then to clarify things, everyone withdrew their original individual motions.

Then the Mayor repeated the motion for Warren Urnberg, Alicia Estrada and Michael Silva as Alternate and called for a Second.

Then, there was a new motion for Roy Soria, and Mike Torres as Commissioners, and Michael Silva as Alternate.

At which point Rodrigo Espinoza “seconded” the “first motion” and called for a second on the second motion.

After waiting 5 seconds Mayor Espinoza called for a Roll Call vote on the first motion

During the Roll Call Vote, there was more discussion and clarification about which motion they were actually voting on: the first, or the second.

With the First Motion ended up getting passed 3/2: Sicairos and Soria voting no.

NOW….ONE OF THE QUESTIONS CANDIDATES had been asked that evening was

“What do you see as the important Planning Issues facing the City of Livingston?”

Most of the Candidates talked about the need for new business and the jobs they bring. But only 1 of the candidates (Michael Silva) mentioned “our water” as an important issue affecting planning.

Think about that for a moment. With the current state of Livingston’s Groundwater and Distribution System, it could be difficult, if not impossible to accommodate the kinds of growth some Planning Commissioners (and Council Members) might like to see happen in the future.

There is Arsenic, TCP – 1,2,3 and Manganese in Livingston’s groundwater that has to be dealt with. (See the Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee Meeting Recap Below)

And added to that is the fact that Livingston currently does not have the cash reserves necessary to address all it’s water quality issues.

Grants? Livingston has already missed out on grant monies because the State considered Livingston’s Water Rates too low.

Loans? Even if Livingston did quality for some kind of Low Interest Loan Program, loans do have to be paid back eventually. Don’t they? And that money has to come from somewhere: either through Rate Increases or cuts elsewhere in the City’s Budget.

But, if these water quality issues do not get addressed, and Livingston’s water fails to meet Title 22 Standards for Drinking Water, the State could slap a moratorium on new hook-ups until those issues are resolved. 

And it wouldn’t be the first time Livingston would have been hit with a moratorium to force it to fix something. Back in 1998, the Water Quality Control Board slapped Livingston with a two year building moratorium to force the City to expand and make improvements to the Domestic Wastewater Facility.

Think something similar couldn’t happen again?

And another moratorium would mean no new houses, no new businesses, no new industry, no new jobs.

Sounds like a major Planning issue to me.

BEFORE WE GET TO THE LATEST ACTIVITIES OF THE UTILITY RATE STAKEHOLDERS COMMITTEE, THOSE OF US WHO HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING THE WHOLE WATER RATE mess for the last couple of years or so remember back when some leading members of the Recall Movement suggested the “Water Bill” be increased by something “reasonable”:

Like maybe………… $5 a month.

For the majority of Livingston’s Residents (who currently have only one garbage can) the new 2 can system will come with a Rate increase of just over $5 for Garbage Pick up alone.  And folks may be willing to pay that: figuring that their “water bill” going up only $5 or so a month is “reasonable”. But a Rate Increase for Garbage Pick-up is not the only one coming down the pike.

Council Member Jimmy Soria may feel that the proposed Garbage Rate Increases are fair and will not result in “push back” from Livingston residents. And he might be right. For a time: at least about the proposed increases in Garbage Rates.

But when it finally comes time for Rate Increases in Sewer, and Rate Increases for Water, Councilmember Soria may very well end up surprised at the amount of “push back” that rears up.

SINCE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT OF RATES, lets talk about some things that will affect the next round of Water Rate Increases, shall we?

On January 28, 2013, after a hiatus of several weeks, the Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee met and discussed the following.

  1. A recap of the upcoming Proposition 218 Process for Solid Waste (Garbage) Rates.

  2. ·Kennedy Jenks report on Feasibility Analysis for Centralized Water Treatment

    1. The City’s groundwater has several issues: Arsenic, TCP – 1,2,3, Manganese, etc. It is expected that water quality will continue to decline as the pumping from wells continues. Therefore, the city is considering the possibility of moving away from Individual Wellhead Treatment to a more Centralized Water Treatment System in addition to acquiring Surface Water. The Feasibility Study is looking at Well Water Vs. Surface water Options and breaking down the costs per 1,000 gallons

  3. ·AECOM Report on Status of Well #8 TCP Remediation Design Project

    1. Well #8 is one of the main wells on the City’s system. About 4 or 5 years ago, the City became aware of elevated levels of TCP and the City Council was notified. Although there is not currently a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)for TCP it is expected the State will adopt MCLs for TCP in the very near future. The State notified the city that some of the wells have a higher level than the expected future MCL that will be adopted. Therefore the state has asked to city to look into treatment options. 

  4. ·Evaluation of Well 17 and Well 10


    1. The City manager has directed staff to look at what it would cost to bring Wells #17 and #10 online: if addressing the issues at these wells would be cheaper than fixing the problems at some of the wells currently in use.

    2. For Example: the Maximum Contaminant level for Arsenic in 10 ppb. Well #15 is at about 9.9 ppb. Projected costs for wellhead treatment at Well #15 for Arsenic is about $2.5 million. 

  5. ·Emerging issues with the Distribution System: microorganisms and manganese.

    1. A couple lines that cross the highway: one had been shut down 3 years ago and had had work done. Re-opening the lines stirred up organisms that had collected in the deadends of the system…The City is working with Kennedy Jenks to do a Hydrologic Model on the best way to do directional flushing of the system. The city may have to do an actual scrubbing of the lines: a process which is much more involved and costly

It was quite evident from the discussion, that Livingston’s ground water and distribution system have a few “issues” and that addressing these “issues” won’t come cheap.

To read a more complete recap of the January 28, 2013 Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee Meeting: click HERE

And now…on to the

CONCURRENT MEETING

CITY COUNCIL AND SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON

REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

FEBRUARY 19, 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 February 19, 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

1. Call to Order.

2. Roll Call.

CLOSED SESSION

A “Closed” or “Executive” Session of the City Council or the Livingston Redevelopment Agency 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 Hall Conference Room 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 – Potential Litigation

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

Number of Cases: 1

4. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

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

Number of Cases: 3

5. Conference with Real Property Negotiator

(Government Code Section 64956.8)

APN: 142-297-007

Negotiating Parties: City Manager

Regular Meeting

CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2013-6

Next Ordinance Number: 600

Pledge of Allegiance. Next Successor Agency

Resolution Number: 2013-1

Roll Call.

Closed Session Announcements.

Changes to the Agenda.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

1. Presentation by Mayor Espinoza of City Service Awards to Former Planning Commissioners Roy Soria, Harpreet Bains and Manoj Bains.

GRANT ANNOUNCEMENTS

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.

CITY COUNCIL FUTURE AGENDA ITEM REQUESTS

PUBLIC HEARINGS

2. 2013 CDBG Program Application.

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 for the Acceptance of the Pavement Rehabilitation-City Streets 2012 Project, Authorizing the City Clerk to Record a Notice 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 Rolfe Construction.

4. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on January 15, 2013.

5. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on February 11, 2013.

6. Approval of Warrant Register Dated February 14, 2013.

SUCCESSOR AGENCY

7. Approve a Resolution of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston Approving the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule IV (ROPS 13-14A) Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 34177 for Period July through December 31, 2013.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

8. Discussion Item: An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 3, Chapter 10 of the Livingston Municipal Code Titled “Private Patrol,” Regarding the Business License Process for Private Patrol Services.

ADJOURNMENT

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Appeals Continued, Appeals Created, Postponed Projects, and a Planning Commission Agenda

Leveling a downtown block to build a Rite Aid drugstore is not the panacea city officials think it will be, at least not in the opinion of several people who stand to lose their businesses….In addition to the commercial buildings fronting Main Street, Rite Aid bought a small, city-owned park and parking area behind the buildings to gain control of the entire block..Excerpted from CITY’S WRONG ON RITE AID, SOME SAY – LIVINGSTON MERCHANTS WANT RELOCATION ASSIST, Bob White, Modesto Bee, February 17, 1999

In Lieu Parking FeeLivingston Municipal Code

Based on all the research that we have done in-house, In Lieu Parking Fees were never collected. – Jose Ramirez, City Manager: City of Livingston, personal interview, week of 3/4/12

Brandon Friesen (said).…With the building vacant for seven years, no business in there will ever meet the current parking requirements. The City might as well change or modify the parking ordinance. As for the type of business, he would be more concerned about the aesthetics than about it being a bar. That’s freedom of choice. He hopes the Planning Commission does due diligence and review the CUP for security, but not so much parking. Excerpted from April 12, 2011 Planning Commission Draft Minutes

Rodrigo Espinoza (said he)… thinks that every business should have the right to come into the downtown….. He feels that if a business wants to come in, they should be given the opportunity and hopefully they mean well.Excerpted from April 12, 2011 Planning Commission Draft Minutes

Motion by Commissioner H. Gains, seconded by Commissioner Castellanos, to adopt Resolution 2012-02, a Resolution of the Planning Commission of the City of Livingston Amending Conditional Use Permit 2001-05, Approved by Resolution 2001-16 and Amended by Resolution 2004-01, for the Sale of Alcohol at 444 Main Street. Motion carried 4-0 Excerpted from the January 10th, 2012 Planning Commission Draft Minutes

 

WELL..IF I WAS CONFUSED BEFORE,  as time goes by I can’t help but become even more confused with how the Appeal  for the 444 Main Street Conditional Use Permit is being handled.  Mayor Espinoza’s opinion did an about face from: “every business should have the right to come into the downtown” to every business except Mr. Sperry’s Club should have the right to come into the downtown right before my very eyes.

Interesting….(can’t help but wonder what changed…)

More on that later………But First

SORP.ENG

THE 444 MAIN STREET CUP APPEAL IS NOT the only current Appeal in Process.

Although the Conditional Use Permit for the Livingston Family Apartments Project and the Resolution, Recommending to the City Council the Approval of Site Plan/Design Review 2009-03 and Development Agreement 2009-01 for the Livingston Family Apartments Project was approved by the Planning Commission, the Developers decided to Appeal the decision themselves.

Appeal by Pacific West

REMEMBER THAT GALLO ANEXATION PROJECT? Community Development Director Kenney has reported  it will be moving forward under the 2025 General Plan Update instead of the 1999 General Plan.

AT LAST TUESDAY’S CITY COUNCIL MEETING, It became clear early on that the Council-As-A-Whole had already made up it’s collective mind that Mike Sperry would not, under any circumstances, be allowed to open a Club at 444 Main St. 

The Council also sent a strong message that they will not be inclined to approve, under any circumstances, anybody’s Bar, Club or Similar Kind of Establishment opening up at 444 Main Street.

(And Mr. Sperry received a rather stern lecture that evening from the Mayor Pro Tem about how one should behave oneself when going before the Planning Commission and City Council to ask for things like Conditional Use Permits.)

What is really “interesting” to me about the way this is going is that, originally, Mayor Espinoza had been a Strong Advocate In Favor of Mr. Sperry’s Application for a Conditional Use Permit in the past: Yet it was the Mayor himself who appealed the Decision of the Planning Commission when the Conditional Use Permit was finally granted.

Mayor Espinoza said it was because the decision was “interesting”: the appeal itself giving  no indication of anything “wrong” with the Specific Conditions in the Conditional Use Permit. Nor were there any suggestions given therein as to which Conditions should be changed, added to or deleted from the Conditional Use Permit in order to make it more palatable.

Now…I’m neither lawyer nor sociologist. But, from what I understand, there is one main “social issue” and two main “legal issues” involved. The Social Issue is: some people don’t want a bar/club at 444 Main Street because that would be “too close” to schools and children. The “legal issues” have to do with “parking” and the limit on the number of Establishments selling Alcohol by the Glass that could be located in the Downtown Commercial Area

(I’m not going to address the “Social Issue” here, except to wonder aloud if Council Members have considered those Establishments (close to schools and children) which sell Beer by the Pitcher: and nobody seems to have their knickers in knots over them.)

First: Some people were against it because it would violate the Zoning Code that said Establishments that sold Alcohol By The Glass couldn’t be within a certain number of feet of each other.

But the El Diamante closed, so that didn’t seem to be an issue any more.

Then, some people seemed to be against it because there wouldn’t be enough parking.

But addressing parking under the Current Municipal Code would be difficult for any new business in the Downtown because of actions the City took in the past. Actions like:

..Changing the parking in the Downtown from Diagonal to Parallel: which eliminated several parking places and

..Facilitating the sale of land to Rite Aide: which eliminated a public parking lot and therefore even more parking places.

And I know that the City has that In-Lieu Parking Fee “plan” such that;

a. Said funds shall be deposited with the City in a special fund and shall be used and expended exclusively for the purpose of acquiring and developing off-street parking facilities located insofar as practicable in the general vicinity of the buildings for which in-lieu payments were made. Municipal code Section 5-4-5(E)3a.

But I’ve observed City Council discussions about waiving and/or reducing In-Lieu Fees for some projects and the City has no proof whatsoever that it has ever even received any In-Lieu Parking Fees from anyone at anytime.

Besides, especially in this economy, do you really foresee the possibility of the City constructing a Brand Spankin’ New Parking Structure in the next 5 years? 10 years? Ever?

Philosophically, I’m "neutral" on the Merits of having a Club at 444 Main St. It could be a "good thing" or a "bad thing" for the Downtown, depending upon the Business Model. I have not seen the Business Model, but I did not see anything "bad" in the Conditions of the Conditional Use Permit either.

So if the main issue is really about parking, any new business that would want to move into the 444 Main St. location would face "parking issues" which would  make it pretty much impossible for the average Small Business to afford moving into that building on Main Street.

And, I do not think the existential tongue lashing Mr. Sperry received from "the other side of the dais" that evening was in any way an example of a fair, impartial, discussion of the Merits of a Conditional Use Permit as written,  or how anyone’s concerns might be addressed by adding additional Modifications to the Conditional Use Permit.

So what’s next? Well, both sides seem very entrenched in their respective“positions”: The Council doesn’t want a club “there”. Mr. Sperry still wants to open his club “there”.

I’ve talked to Mr. Sperry and he sees no real “legal” reason to prohibit him from opening his Club at 444 Main Street and is still willing to negotiate the Conditions in the Conditional Use Permit in order to make that happen 

That is…provided the opportunity to negotiate is even offered.

So….What will happen next? Maybe you can tell me….. In the meantime, If you would like to hear the discussion CLICK HERE

AND NOW ON TO THE….

LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION

REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

MARCH 13, 2012 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 Minutes from the March 5, 2012 Special Meeting with report.

Item No. 2 – City Council Update

a. Update of City Council items.

Item No. 3 – 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. 4 – Public Hearings

a. Conditional Use Permit 2012-02. Blaine Yagi and Meng Vue have applied for a Conditional Use Permit to continue a legal nonconforming agricultural use within the City on approximately 15 acres (APN 024-100-059 and 047-200-022) just north of Campbell Avenue on the west side of Hammatt Avenue.

b. Zoning Text Amendment 2012-01 and Conditional Use Permit 2012-01. MFA Medical Group has applied for a Zoning Text Amendment and a Conditional Use Permit to operate a medical clinic to be located at 1616 Second Street, Livingston, CA, in a Low Density Residential (R- 1) zoning district.

Item No. 5 – Discussion and Direction

a. Murals

Item No. 6 – Reports

a. Planning Commission

b. City Staff

c. City Attorney

Item No. 7 – Adjournment to regular meeting on April 10, 2012.

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.