FEBRUARY 3, 2009

 

REGULAR MEETING

LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL

FEBRUARY 3, 2009

 

 

A Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on February 3, 2009, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Varela presiding.

 

CALL TO ORDER     

 

Mayor Varela called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.

 

ROLL CALL

 

   Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.

   Mayor Pro-Tem Rodrigo Espinoza

   Council Member Frank Vierra

   Council Member Margarita Aguilar

   Council Member Martha Nateras

 

CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

The scheduled Closed Session was cancelled.

 

CHANGES TO THE AGENDA

 

None.

                                               

 

 

 

 

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

 

1.     Special Recognition – Hispanic Youth Leadership Council.

 

Mayor Varela presented a certificate of recognition to the Livingston High School Hispanic Youth Leadership Council.  Mayor Varela also recognized Irma Janzen, Club Advisor.  Mrs. Janzen’s certificate of recognition was accepted by her husband.

 

2.     Government Finance Officers’ Association of the United States and Canada Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.

·  Comments on Economy and City Finance.

 

City Manager Warne gave an explanation of the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award.

 

Mayor Varela presented the award to City Manager Richard Warne and commended City staff for their hard work and efforts.  He stated that the City has a great staff and commented on how much he appreciates them. 

 

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

 

     Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

 

     Supervisor Pedrozo made the following reports:

 

     ●  A General Plan hearing was held this afternoon and progress is being made.  The County is anticipating completion of the General Plan by November 2009.

     ●  Gave a brief update on the High Speed Rail System and said Merced County is very much in support of the rail system.

     ●  He was in Sacramento last week and met with State representatives Jeff Denham and Cathleen Galgiani.  He let them know not to forget Merced County.

     ●  Thanked the City for allowing the use of the Council Chambers for the recent Town Hall meeting.  He said the meeting was well attended and he appreciated staff’s assistance in helping to set up for the meeting.

 

     City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

 

     Council Member Aguilar

 

     ●  Introduced herself and commented that she and other City officials had attended a training seminar for new City Council members last week sponsored by the League of California Cities.  She shared information about the seminar and wanted the public to know that the Council is learning a lot.

     ●  She attended a Relay for Life meeting last week for breast cancer victims.  The next meeting is on May 16 and she encouraged others to attend.

     ●  Commented that the Court Theater Committee members are a great group of people.

     ●  She has been trying to meet with people and keep informed.

    

Mayor Pro-Tem Espinoza

 

     ●  Thanked the Mayor for the paint on the Court Theater.

 

     Council Member Vierra

 

     ●  Presented a follow-up on the Livingston High School Key Club.  He said the young man that went to Washington, D.C. is going to run for an International Key Club office and the Lt. Governor is going to run for District President.  He gave an update on three students moving forward with their careers with the Key Club.

 

     Council Member Nateras

 

     ●  Welcomed everyone in attendance.

     ●  Reported on Relay for Life and said the committee is still seeking members.  She encouraged everyone to attend the next meeting on February 15 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Hall Conference Room.

     ●  Attended the last Citizens’ Advisory Committee meeting.  She said two concerns that were brought up are on the agenda tonight and one more concern they wanted to comment to Council about is water conservation.

 

     Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

 

     ●  Commented that we have a great basketball team that is playing tonight.

     ●  Ditto on everything that everyone has said.

     ●  The Court Theater needed a little makeup and the City is cleaning it up. The City is taking small things and making them better.

     ●  Thanked everyone for attending the meeting.

 

     Council Member Vierra noted that the ladies basketball coach was in the audience and said

     the team is tied for first place with a 7-2 record.

 

     Mayor Varela thanked the coach and team and said they are doing a tremendous job.

    

 

PUBLIC HEARINGS 

 

3.     Public Comment on Various Alternatives for Peach Avenue in the Vicinity of Livingston High School as part of the Livingston High School Bond Expansion and Designation of Which Street Alternative the City Council is Interested in Pursuing.

 

City Manager Warne introduced the agenda item.  He stated that the City Council had voted to reject the closing of Peach Avenue at its last meeting.

 

Council Members Nateras and Vierra declared a conflict of interest and left the Council Chambers.  Both are employed by the Merced Union High School District.

 

Mayor Pro-Tem Espinoza said he would like to hear comments from the public first and get their ideas.

 

Council Member Aguilar asked to receive comments from the Fire Department and to hear their views from a public safety standpoint.

 

Robert Bonilla, Fire Apparatus Engineer for Cal Fire/Merced County Fire Department, stated that closing Peach Avenue will affect public safety and is a bad option.  He said another designated route will add time if the Department has an emergency in that area.  He continued by saying that closing Peach Avenue will affect the public and the Fire Department response time, so the Department is against closing Peach Avenue.

 

City Engineer Gottiparthy summarized the amount of traffic and commented on the closing of the road.  He noted that Peach Avenue is a major east/west corridor for the City of Livingston.  He gave a brief explanation and recommended the street not be closed.

 

          Mayor Varela opened the Public Hearing at 7:33 p.m.

 

Howard Gentry, 1619 Prusso Street, asked that the Council please reconsider the 3-0 vote to close Peach Avenue.  The closing of Peach Avenue would be temporary each day.  The gate is put up in the morning and then taken down in the evening.  He said he has talked with people in Turlock and all are happy.  One resident, he noted, makes a call about once a year about his disapproval.  Mr. Gentry said he appreciates public safety, but this is temporary and they won’t close off the street totally.  The parking lots will still be accessible for parents, students and vendors.  The gates could be opened after school functions.  He suggested a trial period when the students are not there.  He said he would volunteer his services for the barricades. 

 

Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street, commented on the subject of rerouting on the west side of Main Street and said that owner will not sell her property.  If the City took the property by eminent domain there would be attorney’s fees.  He said that if it would stop on Main Street her property wouldn’t be needed and another property could be used.  Concerning a raised elevated street, he said this was a no no, and a pedestrian bridge is a good idea.  He said that whatever route is selected he feels the school district should pay for it.  If the street is rerouted what is the City going to get from the school district?  He added that there are other possibilities such as three-way stops.  You don’t have to impact the west side of Main Street, he noted. 

 

Chris Lacey, 1617 Main Street, feels a different option should be considered.  He asked why you would have a City plan going right through the high school.  Then there is the safety of the students, he said.  Mr. Lacey commented that Ripon has a pedestrian bridge and they just had a big riot on the pedestrian bridge.  He does not want to see that happen here.   He commented on the revenue that could be generated and feels the City and school district need to come to some other resolution.  He noted that if things can’t get done then some of this money could go to other parts of the school.

 

Suzy Hultgren, 8244 Palm Avenue, stated that she was part of a group that promoted Measure M to get this addition built and this will cost her about $2000 – $3000 a year in taxes.  She said the City needs to work with the school district to get this funding.  She knows that when you mention CEQA you have already spent one million dollars.  In reference to tax revenue, she said she spends her money in the counties that have sports.  She stated that the City has the opportunity to join with the high school and bring in activities for children to do.  Ms. Hultgren commented that there will be nice soccer fields, so if the City is going to take this on, the City will give a little and the school district a little.  She noted that she does not live in Livingston, but participates in local activities.

 

Russ Winton 1144 Second Street, commented that he is an expert on Peach Avenue.  He watches cars go by all the time.  He said that the City is saying the projection is going to be a major thoroughfare.  Foster Farms delivers milk and the Sysco truck parks with no accidents on Peach Avenue.  His plans for Peach are very simple.  Widen out the street, and put in sidewalks.  Mr. Winton said he would have the street lit at night with a 15 mile per hour speed limit through that zone since the traffic is not there.  As the City grows maybe crossings would have to be put in, but not now because there is not the flow.  He noted that the busiest times of the day are between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. because of students being dropped of.  Let’s save money and put money into the bathrooms and lights and do it for the kids.

 

Colette Alvernaz, P.O. Box 255, Livingston, said she would like to recite the letter she read last week.  She asked if Peach could just be rerouted by 20 yards.  She said everyone is assuming that the school district is paying for everything.  She asked what the county’s responsibility is.  She feels there should be a town hall meeting because there are too many variables.  The street in Turlock is not a major thoroughfare, she said.  In regards to public safety she noted that she had a friend die because an ambulance could not get to her on time.  Mrs. Alvernaz said that time is of the essence and these things need to be taken into consideration.  She commented that Lander Avenue in Turlock has a nightmare at their crosswalk and they keep talking about this idea, but is has not happened yet.  She said the pedestrian crossing and riots that occur are new concepts and we need facts.  Mrs. Ow doesn’t want eminent domain, she said.  We are neighbors and we want to protect each other’s property.

 

Bill Ingram, 656 F Street, stated that at the last Council meeting, he proposed the closure similar to the one that is in Turlock.  He said he is glad to see everyone stepping up to the plate.  You can save money.  The money can go into books, restrooms.  This would be the wise way to go.  It is crucial that we do things to make it better for our kids.  What is wrong with widening Peach, and when school isn’t in session it could be used as another lane.  He said the City should help the school district to complete its expansion in the least expensive way.

 

Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street, stated widen the street and look at the money that could be saved.  The City would save money with a crosswalk.  He was in favor of Mr. Ingram’s recommendations.

 

Lavonna Bates, 1770 Ash Court, feels the street should not be closed and disagreed with all of the routes.  She said just close Peach or put up the gates.

 

Harold DePalma, Ballico, recalled that in 1983 when he was on the school site council nothing was done.  He said just listen to Mr. Gentry.  Mr. De Palma offered to help with the barricades.

 

Carlos Louro, 2049 Pajaro Court, commented that he sees traffic there every day, but not much traffic.  Since we are talking about a little section, just put in a gate and block the street.  You can come into the parking lot and then leave.  You have access from both sides.  Traffic 6:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. then open the gates.  Then at 2:50 p.m. open the gates so the kids can get out.  The ball fields are mostly for games, you will not be blocking a lot of traffic.

 

Scott Winton, 1231 Seventh Street, said it is probably illegal that it could be shut or not.

 

City Attorney Subramanian said it could be shut.

 

Scott Winton stated that the street would need to be rerouted.  He said if you take away the cars that are just dropping off kids he thinks the traffic survey number would be different.  In regards to safety he feels there should be activities that kids can do at night,  so increase the number of lit facilities. This would also be an air quality thing too, positive recreation activities for these kids.  This should not be pushed to an alternate, or an option 1, 2 or 3, but look at temporarily closing the street during the day like what Mr. Gentry said.  I support this.

 

Donna Kenney, 6530 East Ave Turlock, said her daughter graduated from Turlock High School and the City does not have the possibility here that Turlock has.  Traffic in Turlock can either go one block to the left or one block to the right.  We do not have that situation in Livingston on Peach Avenue.    Peach Avenue is a major thoroughfare.  If that street is closed that means all the traffic goes down either Park or Seventh Street.

 

Marie Mendoza, 1611 Second Street, said the preferred that Peach Avenue not be closed because this is the route she takes to work and her trip to work would be longer.  She would prefer the street to be widened instead.

 

Katherine Schell Rodriquez, P.O. 163, Livingston said she was speaking on behalf of Betty Ow and Value Market.  She said that Mrs. Ow has been worried that this might affect her land.  She and Mrs. Ow have talked and Mrs. Ow has her dreams and plans on what she wants to do with her land and this is not in her dreams.  Mrs. Ow will resist and the situation will not be pretty, she said.  She hopes the school district will not walk on Mrs. Ow’s property rights.

 

Ralph Caldron, Principal of Livingston High School, said he appreciates the comments that have been made tonight.  He said it is as simple as this, the school district has $52-53 million dollars to spend and wants to do as much as it can to benefit the kids of Livingston.  The school district is asking to work with the City.  Wherever we can save we would like to spend elsewhere such as facilities and upgrades and not on pavement.

 

Mayor Varela closed the Public Hearing at 8:14 p.m. as there were no further public comments.  Mayor Varela thanked the public for their comments and said the Council will consider their comments.

 

Council Members Nateras and Vierra returned to the Council Chambers at 8:15 p.m.

 

CITIZEN COMMENTS

 

Colette Alvernaz said she is thankful for the businesses in the community.  She said there have been no notices of layoffs that other people have received.  The core of Livingston is still secure. Foster Farms has not announced any layoffs.  Mrs. Alvernaz commented she has not had any response regarding her last contact from the last meeting and she would like a response in writing.

 

Bill Ingram commented he was reading an article today when the Merced Union High School District had requested bids to remove the old houses and workshops on the land for the proposed expansion.  He said there is going to be heavy equipment when they start to underground the canal and the contaminated dirt has to be hauled off.  He asked if the City Engineer is going to be involved.  He said there are going to be kids at the project site and this is going to create a lot of dust.  He hopes the City will get involved with the high school and insure that the citizens and students will be protected.

 

Katherine Schell Rodriguez commented that perhaps if the prior City Council had gotten a better handle on the Peach Avenue issue, we wouldn’t be dealing with some of the issues today.

 

CONSENT CALENDAR

 

     The Council considered the following items for approval under the consent calendar:

 

4.     Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on January 20, 2009. 

 

5.     Approval of Warrant Register Dated January 28, 2009.

 

Motion:  M/S Nateras/Vierra to approve the consent calendar items, with an amendment to the minutes on page 12, third paragraph, to reflect that Council Member Aguilar and not Council Member Nateras made a comment.  The motion carried 5-0.

 

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEM      

 

6.     Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance of the Livingston City Council Amending Sections 2-1-2, 2-2-3, 2-3-3, 2-4-3 of the Livingston Municipal Code to Require the Automatic Vacancy of Members of City Boards, Commissions, Committees and Other Bodies Created by the City Council for Failing to Attend Meetings.

 

The agenda item was introduced by Mayor Varela and presented by City Manager Warne.  Extensive discussion followed on this item.

 

Mayor Varela said that on the other hand he or she shall inform the City Manager or Department Head.  City Manager Warne said yes, they will call the City.

 

Council Member Vierra asked how many unexcused absences can a member have.  He said the reason the unexcused absence matter came up is because a business owner had to wait 60 days to get an answer on his project.  He asked how the Council can take care of the business people if the Council allows members to miss meetings.

 

City Attorney Subramanian noted that the next agenda item is to consider placing an alternate on the Planning Commission so this should answer Council Member Vierra’s question.

 

Council Member Vierra said he understands this, but if one is appointed to a board or committee they should be committed.

 

Mayor Varela stated the reason why this ordinance was presented is because Planning Commission members were dragging their feet and not having a quorum for meetings.  He understands that business owners want something done in a timely manner because it is costing them money, but if there is no quorum then it is the fault of the commission members for non-attendance.  This is the reason for the ordinance.  He noted that committee members should be responsible for committing themselves to serving on a committee.

 

Council Member Aguilar said she knew attendance was an issue and she has heard comments from the citizens regarding this.  She asked if attendance was taken monthly.   She noted that it needs to be stressed that attendance at meetings is important.  A family emergency might not mean the same to you as it does to me.

 

Council Member Vierra stated that there are minutes listing those present and/or absent, but he said there should be a record if the secretary isn’t taking attendance.

 

Council Member Aguilar commented she is aware there are minutes, but asked if an attendance log has been kept.

 

Council Member Nateras commented that the last meeting she asked the department heads if there has been a problem with attendance and was informed there is a problem.  She feels the proposed ordinance is good because there are some people that have been abusing it.

 

City Manager Warne informed the Council that there were two versions of the ordinance in their agenda binders, and whichever way the Council wanted to proceed, they had both versions for comparison and action.

 

Council Member Vierra said the new ordinance has no restrictions, so a person could miss 6 out of 9 meetings.

 

Further discussion followed on procedures. 

 

Lengthy discussion followed on the current ordinance regarding absences.

 

Mayor Pro-Tem Espinoza commented the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Citizens’ Advisory Committee had just started again because there was a lack of interest and now the Council is trying to change the ordinance to kick people off the committees when it doesn’t have to.

 

Mayor Varela replied commission members and committee members have to take their responsibility seriously.  He said the Council isn’t kicking anyone off.  Committee members decide if they want to be committed enough.  More discussion followed.

 

Bill Ingram stated that the Mayor, the Council, City Manager and City Attorney were not on board when he was on the Council and the Council reviewed the ordinance before.  He noted the ordinance states that the City Council has the option to appoint and/or remove members.  He said there are two people present tonight that were affected by the ordinance.  Mike Torres and Warren Urnberg were removed from the Planning Commission by the City Council.  It was by the Code that they were removed because they did not attend their meetings.  He added that the Council has a Code that can be enforced.  He feels that the Council needs to deal with the individuals on an individual basis.

 

Mike Torres said he is not trying to find a loop hole in the ordinance.  He feels it is just legal ethics.  He said emergencies come up.  The Council is elected.  He said there are other ways to deal with the problem.  He commented that Mr. Espinoza has been absent, but if you are sick like Mr. Vierra was sick, do we kick him out?  This person has missed meetings, but if there are emergencies and there is no quorum, then call a special meeting, but leave the clause in for emergencies. 

 

Marge McFadden, 1423 First Street, commented that she has served on various committees and is a member of the Mosquito Abatement District Board and has not missed one meeting.  She said that if someone applies to serve on a committee they need to be committed.  She feels that three absences is sufficient.

 

Colette Alvernaz  commented there was an opening on the Citizens’ Advisory Committee and she cares about the community, but would not apply if she could not attend meetings.  She said Mrs. Nateras did her homework and she commends her and commented why not obey the rules.  She noted there are consequences in government and things could be taken care of so if there is a problem with an individual it can be called to their attention.  Council Member Nateras said the City does have an ordinance, but it is not working so it needs to be amended to make it work.

 

There was some confusion regarding which version the Council should be voting on.

 

Motion:  M/S Varela/Vierra to Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance

of the Livingston City Council Amending Section 2-1-2, 2-2-3, 2-3-3, 2-4-3 of the Livingston Municipal Code to Require the Automatic Vacancy of Members of City Boards, Commissions, Committees and Other Bodies Created by the City Council for Failing to Attend Meetings.  The motion carried 3-2 by the following vote:

AYES:        Council Members:          Nateras, Varela, Vierra

NOES:                  Council Members:          Aguilar, Espinoza

ABSENT:   Council Members:          None

 

7.     Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Section 2-2-2(A) of the Livingston Municipal Code to Provide for the Appointment of an Alternate Member to the Planning Commission.

 

Mayor Varela introduced the agenda item.

 

City Attorney Subramanian said the alternate may not vote on an item if a Planning Commissioner is absent

         

Council Member Aguilar asked if the alternate has to interviewed and appointed.  City Attorney Subramanian said yes.

 

Motion:  M/S Varela/Nateras to Waive the First Reading and Introduce Ordinance No. 580, an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Section 2-2-2(A) of the Livingston Municipal Code to Provide for the Appointment of an Alternate Member to the Planning Commission.  The motion carried 5-0 by the following vote:

AYES:                  Council Members:          Aguilar, Espinoza, Nateras, Varela, Vierra

NOES:                  Council Members:          None

ABSENT:   Council Members:          None

 

8.     Discussion and City Council Guidance on Proposed Professional Services Agreement Between the City of Livingston and Bureau Veritas North America, Inc. for Building Inspection and Code Enforcement Services.

 

Mayor Varela introduced the agenda item and City Manager Warne presented the agenda item.

 

Mayor Pro-Tem Espinoza said he had no problem with the company and commented they have a good staff.  He asked where fees would be deposited.  He asked about a Code Enforcement Officer being charged to the Sanitation Enterprise Fund.

 

City Manager Warne said that is a separate issue.  He noted that in addition to this the City would have a part-time person and those funds would come from the sanitation fund.

He added that this is just 20 hours per week using the current staff, no changes, the same staff.  Mayor Pro-Tem Espinoza said he wants this information to be open and make sure the Council understands.

 

Council Member Aguilar commented that as she is new to the Council and knows that a lot of the changes give the Council the upper hand.  She said she was sure the public wants to know what the duties of the Code Enforcement Officer are.

 

City Manager Warne explained that the Code Enforcement Officer’s duties will only work if everyone is committed to obey the rules.  He said there are some people that no matter what will not want to comply with the rules.  He commented that if Council Members call staff and interfere, code enforcement will not work.  He said the duties of the Code Enforcement Officer would include checking for illegal signs, inoperative vehicles, unsanitary buildings and fire hazards.  The City will try to educate first and if that doesn’t work a more formal process such as tickets or legal action will be used.

 

Council Member Aguilar stated she is well aware that 20 hours is a lot of hours and she now knows where the money will be spent.

 

City Manager Warne and Mayor Varela further explained how the code enforcement program is going to work.

 

Council Member Nateras said she concurs with the need of a Code Enforcement Officer and noted that for the last two years she has heard the comments of the citizens loud and clear regarding code enforcement.

 

Council Member Vierra asked if this is a one year contract with a 15 day notice.

 

City Manager Warne gave an explanation of the contract.

 

Colette Alvernaz spoke about people dumping refrigerators on the side of the road and that it is illegal to dump on agricultural property.  She said that only about 80-85% will comply and the others will have a fee accessed to them and asked where this money will go.  She also asked if he or she will know the codes.

 

Kaye Greeley commented that the Citizens’ Advisory Committee has discussed the hiring of a Code Enforcement Officer at various meetings, so we all know what the public is talking about and we have done our homework.  She said she is like Mr. Warne.  If you are not on the same page whoever is not it will be split.  We have a great community and with not spending any money she felt it was great to have a Code Enforcement Officer.

 

Mike Torres thanked City Manager Warne and stated that he has pursued the hiring of a Code Enforcement Officer for a long time.  He asked how the company will be paid.  City Manager Warne explained how Bureau Veritas is paid.

 

Mr. Torres asked what happened to the funds that were budgeted for a part-time person.  City Manager Warne explained there is no money budgeted for this position in the current budget.

 

Mr. Torres asked what if the company raises the contract amount for code enforcement duties.  City Manager Warne noted there is no additional money in the budget for this service.

 

Motion:  M/S Varela/Nateras to approve a Professional Services Agreement between the City of Livingston and Bureau Veritas North America, Inc. for building inspection and code enforcement services.  The motion carried 5-0.

    

    

 

9.  Consideration of Grand Jury Postscript to FY 2007-08 Grand Jury Report.

 

Mayor Pro-Tem Espinoza excused himself and left the Council Chambers at 9:28 p.m.

 

Mayor Varela introduced the agenda item.  The agenda item was presented by City

Attorney Subramanian.

 

Council Member Nateras questioned the 90-day response time and thought she read that

it 60 days.  City Attorney Subramanian said she was correct, but she recommends a reply

as soon as possible.

 

Council Member Vierra said he did not vote for the original Grand Jury report response. 

The vote was 4-1 and he wanted this noted for the record.  Council Member Vierra said

there were staff members that were interviewed and asked who the investigators are

going to talk to.  City Attorney Subramanian said definitely those staff members who

were interviewed before and staff members that would like to come forward at this time.

Council Member Vierra feels it needs to be made clear that any retaliation is not going to

happen.

.

City Attorney Subramanian said there will be absolutely no retaliation.  This is just fact

finding, but no repercussions if staff members come forward.  Council Member Vierra

commented that the Grand Jury report does not make the City look good. We

are trying to put on a good face and he hopes this matter gets resolved so that the Grand

Jury gets off our back.

 

Mayor Varela said he is disappointed that this matter came back again, but it is important

as a community that the Council looks at what is in the best interests of the community. 

He said the Council is striving to do a good job and striving to make changes.  The

Council had ethics training today and just got back from a three day conference where

ethics was discussed.  However, if you are innocent you need to be given the benefit of

the doubt.  He said we need to get these things out there and we will not tolerate

unethical behavior.

 

Colette Alvernaz said she understands what was said about no repercussions, but

Paul Creighton is no longer working for the City.  She said she had a meeting with Paul

Creighton and Richard Warne and was very uncomfortable. 

 

Gilbert Reyes, 1325 Emerald Drive stated that Mr. Espinoza goes out and threatens the

Chief of Police regarding impounding cars and he sits there and he is so concerned about

the budget.  He hopes that the person the Council selects is honest because we spend a lot

of money.  Mr. Reyes said Mr. Espinoza forced the Chief of Police to change a City

ordinance, but he was the one that was supposed to pay for the purchase of signs and 

place them on the street himself.  He said it is strange that Mr. Espinoza excused

himself tonight instead of staying.  He stated that Mr. Espinoza is self-centered and

selfish and the Council should force him to resign.

 

          Mayor Varela told Mr. Reyes to remember these are only allegations.

 

          Katherine Schell Rodriguez said she had a copy of the postscript on her lap top.  She has been coming to a lot of meetings of the Planning Commission, City Council and Citizens’ Advisory Committee and over the years there has been a lot of distrust.  She said there are people on this side of the dais for one reason or another think there was some “hanky panky” going on. 

 

          Motion:  M/S Varela/Aguilar to direct the City Attorney to solicit bids from individuals and/or firms to conduct an independent administrative and operational inquiry regarding certain allegations in the Grand Jury transcript and authorize the City Attorney to select the consultant and authorize the inquiry.  The motion carried 4-0.

 

          Mayor Pro-Tem Espinoza returned to the Council Chambers at 9:45 p.m.

 

8.     City Manager Announcements and Reports.

 

City Manager Warne commented that many times the City staff and City Council are attacked by the public.  Most of the time the statements and accusations are false.  He said that many times the questions asked have been answered over and over and over, but some people do not want to accept an explanation.  So sometimes rather than arguing with people we don’t always respond.  But that doesn’t mean that any of the allegations or the things that are said are true.  He said he is not picking on any one person, but we could have our meetings deteriorate to shouting matches or arguments between council members, staff and the public if the City answered every attack.  This wouldn’t get the public business done. Many times we are silent, but we do so so that the public business can move forward.      

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 9:44 p.m.

 

 

 

                                                                   _______________________________                    City Clerk of the City of Livingston

 

APPROVED:  February 17, 2009

 

 

 

_____________________________

  Mayor or Mayor ProTempore

 

 

 

The written meeting minutes reflect a summary of specific actions taken by the City Council. They do not necessarily reflect all of the comments or dialogue leading up to the action. All meetings are digitally recorded and are an official record of the meeting’s proceedings. Digitally recorded verbatim minutes are available, upon request, and may be obtained at Livingston City Hall.

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One thought on “FEBRUARY 3, 2009

  1. Pingback: A Brief History of Time (Spent on “Fixing” Water, Waste Water, and Garbage Rates-and other related issues) Part 4— October,2008 through June 2009 « Thegardeningsnail’s Weblog

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