SEPTEMBER 15, 2009

CLOSED SESSION/REGULAR MEETING

LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL

SEPTEMBER 15, 2009

A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on September 15, 2009, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Varela presiding. 

CLOSED SESSION

Mayor Varela opened the meeting at 6:30 p.m.

ROLL CALL

   Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.                      

   Mayor Pro-Tem Frank Vierra

   Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

   Council Member Margarita Aguilar

   Council Member Martha Nateras

Also present were City Manager Richard Warne, City Attorney Jonathan Hobbs, Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Vickie Lewis, and Community Development Director Donna Kenney.

The City Council went into Closed Session to discuss the following matter:

     1.  Conference with Legal Counsel—Existing Litigation.

          Government Code Section 54956.9(a).

a.  Merced County Farm Bureau v. City of Livingston, et al., California Superior Court, County of Merced, Case No. CU151754.

OPEN SESSION

The City Council came out of Closed Session and into Open Session.

REGULAR MEETING

CALL TO ORDER 

Mayor Varela called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.

ROLL CALL

   Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.                      

   Mayor Pro-Tem Frank Vierra

   Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

   Council Member Margarita Aguilar

   Council Member Martha Nateras

CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS

Mayor Varela stated there were no reportable actions taken by the City Council.

CHANGES TO THE AGENDA

City Manager Warne stated that after staff had distributed the minutes of July 7, 2009, they   proofread them again and discovered some typographical errors.  He has provided copies of the revised minutes to the City Council with the typographical errors corrected.  A copy of the corrected minutes was also placed on the Council Chambers back table for public review.  When the City Council gets to this item, they will be considering the written minutes with the typographical errors corrected.

Council Member Espinoza requested that Item No. 8 be pulled from the Consent Agenda for separate vote.  He stated that Agenda Item No. 9 states, “Approval of Warrant Register Dated September 10, 2009, with Exception of Warrant No. 68630.”  He said that Warrant No. 68630 is in Agenda Item No. 8 (Approval of Warrant Register Dated August 27, 2009), and not in Agenda Item No. 9.  He asked if the Mayor should excuse himself from voting on this item because it was payment to Foster Farms.  City Attorney Hobbs responded that Mayor Varela could vote on this item.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

1.     Employee Recognition:  Five Year Service Pin – Brenda Geary.

     Mayor Varela made the presentation recognizing Brenda Geary, Police Administrative Services Manager, for her five years of service with the City.  He said the City Council appreciates her commitment to the City and the community.

          Brenda Geary was not able to attend the meeting.

2.     Presentation by John Alexander on Support for a Medical School at UC Merced and Adoption of Resolution No. 2009-44.

     John Alexander, Chief Executive Officer for the Livingston Medical Group, thanked the City Council for inviting him.  He recognized Stacie Dabbs from Congressman Dennis Cardoza’s office for being his moral support in coming tonight for this presentation.  He is here tonight on behalf of the Valley Coalition for UC Merced Medical School to provide information about their proposed UC Merced Medical School project.  Mr. Alexander gave the following presentation on the proposed project:

He spoke about the Valley Coalition and their current outreach efforts throughout the Central Valley to bring the UC medical school to Merced.  Over the past few weeks, they have been meeting with City Councils, Supervisors, community organizations and citizens to ask for their support for this important project.  At the urging of Congressman Dennis Cardoza and Jim Costa, the Valley Coalition for UC Merced Medical School was launched in February, 2008, with the goal of supporting the development of a medical school at UC Merced.

The Coalition is co-chaired by Bill Lyons, Jr. of Modesto, former Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; and Bryn Forhan, a Fresno businesswoman and community leader.  The Valley Coalition is comprised of elected officials, health care providers, business leaders and community leaders throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

The Coalition has made the case for the medical school for UC Merced by highlighting the medical shortages in California, especially in the San Joaquin Valley.  California faces a major health care crisis.   By 2015, the State of California will have a shortage of 17,000 physicians.  The picture is even bleaker when you look at the San Joaquin Valley.  The San Joaquin Valley has 31% fewer primary care physicians and 51% fewer specialists than the rest of the State.  All of the counties in the Central Valley fall far below the State average.  Merced County has a few more primary care physicians than  Kings County and Madera County. 

     Chronic diseases are more frequent in the Central Valley.  Merced County needs more   physicians and specialists to deal with chronic diseases.  Out of 58 counties in California, Merced County ranks among the lowest in the State for the following diseases:

·        55 for Breast Cancer

·        52 for Coronary Heart Disease

·        50 for Teen Births

·        54 for Children Living in Poverty

·        58 for Pre-natal Care

Mr. Alexander showed how these statistics link the effort to have a medical school at UC Merced.  He said that studies have shown that most new physicians choose to open their practices where they train and do their residencies.  Statistics show that 70% to 80% of medical students remain in the area after graduation.  In the UCSF Fresno Medical Education program, 30% to 50% of the students remain in the area.   

     Mr. Alexander stated that the medical school would focus on improving health in the Valley and the State, serving as a leader in development of innovative programs.  It will be research-intensive, with an anticipated program focusing on health issues specific to the Valley.  It’s designed to be what is known as a Distributive Model, which calls for the use in development of academic partnerships through sister campuses and use of existing health care resources in the Valley.  Students would train on the UC Merced Campus for the first two years and clinical training in existing Valley hospitals and clinics for the second two years.

     With the Distributive Model, UC Merced’s Medical School will build on UC Merced’s strong health sciences research base, will leverage partnerships with UC Davis, UC San Francisco, and UCSF-Fresno while utilizing existing health care facilities in the Valley for clinical training and culturally competent positions.

Mr. Alexander stated that the Valley Coalition is advocating for UCSF-Fresno to be the first Valley clinical training site by 2012 and then the creation of an independent medical school by 2015.  Due to the shortage of physicians in the Central Valley, we cannot sit back and wait.  Moving forward with a pragmatic approach, an undergraduate medical education program at UC Merced could be immediately established, utilizing UCSF-Fresno as a training site.  These are significant steps toward an independent medical school.  He requested the City Council’s consideration and support of the medical school at UC Merced.

Mayor Varela thanked Mr. Alexander for his presentation.  He stated that he is excited about Mr. Alexander’s part in this project.  From the conversations he has had with Mr. Alexander, he sees their vision and he is excited about what is being done.  He loves the idea that some medical students can come back and work in the area.  He is looking forward to possible future Livingston students going to UC Merced as medical students.

     City Manager Warne presented a resolution of support for the medical school and recommended that the Council adopt the resolution.

     Motion:  M/S Vierra/Nateras to adopt Resolution No. 2009-44, A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Regarding the Establishment of a Medical School at the University of California, Merced.  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

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

     Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

     Juan Corona, Supervisor Pedrozo’s Administrative Assistant, stated that Supervisor Pedrozo could not be here tonight, but he wanted Mr. Corona to share some information regarding the high-speed rail and what they are doing to get Merced County on the map.  There have been  many meetings and conference calls with the cities, Congressman Cardoza’s office, Assembly Member Galgiani’s office and Senator Denham’s office.  There is a major effort by Central Valley cities and counties to try to include the San Joaquin Valley in the first phase of high-speed rail funding.  If anyone would like more information, he would be glad to set up a meeting or conference call on the high-speed rail project.   

     Mr. Corona added that he had the privilege of attending the Livingston Community Network’s event this year.  This is his second year that he attended and he had a good time.  Former Mayor Gurpal Samra took them around to taste some Indian food and it was really good.

Mayor Varela asked Mr. Corona if the desire was to bring jobs to the area with the high-speed rail.

     Mr. Corona responded that this is one of the objectives of the County’s effort to bring high- speed rail to the Central Valley.  He does not have the numbers, but knows that these are very high-paying jobs.  He said Fresno and Chowchilla want the maintenance hub.  There is a high-speed rail committee that has been organized to obtain the maintenance hub and ensure that there is a train stop in Merced.

Mayor Varela stated that this is one of those opportunities that comes around every 100 years. There are a lot of great opportunities.  He said that he has seen numbers that provide up to 100,000 jobs.

Council Member Nateras asked Mr. Corona if he knew what the status is on the senior citizen center budget allocation.

Mr. Corona responded that he was not in the office today, but he left a message with Supervisor Pedrozo to get the information prior to the meeting.  He will make sure to give Council Member Nateras a phone call with this information.

     City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

     Council Member Margarita Aguilar

·        Welcomed everyone.  She said the Central Valley Division of the League of California Cities dinner was held in Livingston last Thursday night.  It was nice to see many of the staff and elected officials from the different cities attend the dinner.  They are very impressed with many of the things that are coming to our community.  It was a nice, pleasant evening. 

·        She had a resident call to inform her that the almond and the sweet potato harvests are going on.  The resident wanted everyone to be aware that California is known as the Sweet Potato State, and wanted to make sure Council Member Aguilar brought that up at this City Council meeting.  She thanked the farmers who provide sweet potato work for our locals.  Almond trees also benefit our economy.  She also thanked Foster Farms and Gallo Farms, among others, for providing jobs to our community.

·        The community garden is on a roll and they have City approval to get going.  The Merced County Hunger Task Force is looking forward to getting started.  She is looking forward to hearing from some of the community members that are here tonight during citizen comments.  She has a few residents who have concerns about why the community garden is taking so long.  She hoped to get an update from them.

·        She is glad to be back tonight and hopes things go well and wishes the best for the season.

     Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

·        Council Member Espinoza said that he received a complaint about the installation of sidewalks on empty lots.  He said that this person’s grandson was run over when he was walking on Second Street near Peach Avenue because there are no sidewalks.  He said the City is putting in sidewalks on B Street and First Street, and on the empty lot by the telephone company.  So he does not think the City should be installing sidewalks on the empty lots.  He knows we want the entrance into town to look nice.  He does not think the City should build the sidewalks on empty lots.  This should be the responsibility of the property owner.  Council Member Espinoza said the sidewalk on Seventh Street and Peach Avenue is really bad.  He took some pictures of this area.  He said that the sidewalk was bad on Second Street and Peach Avenue. 

·        Gave a report on the Livingston Community Network Multi-Cultural Festival.   He said that it was successful and he hoped to have information on the amount of money they earned for scholarships in the near future. 

Mayor Varela asked Council Member Espinoza when he was made aware of these issues with the sidewalks.  Council Member Espinoza responded that it was last month.

Mayor Varela asked why Mr. Espinoza did not think it was important to contact the City Manager and inform him of the issue prior to coming to this meeting and bringing it up in public.  He feels that if there is an urgent need of a safety issue, he would talk to the City Manager as soon as he got the information.  He said if any information was brought to him, especially when there was a small child involved, he would definitely report to the City Manager.  Mayor Varela thinks Council Member Espinoza is only trying to create an embarrassing situation by bringing it up at the City Council meeting.  He said he would have appreciated it if Council Member Espinoza would have called him and said, “Mayor, we have a situation.” They could have both gone to the City Manager to make sure that the situation was taken care of.

Luis Flores, 707Almondwood Drive, stated that this is embarrassing, “what you guys are doing right here.” 

Council Member Espinoza said he brought it up because he wants modifications.  Mayor Varela commented that modifications are one thing, but that Council Member Espinoza should do this professionally.  Mayor Varela told Council Member Espinoza that he did this to try to embarrass the City Council and the City Manager.

Council Member Espinoza asked how he could embarrass the Mayor.  The Mayor should be driving around looking at problems.  Mayor Varela said that if Council Member Espinoza had called him, the situation could have been addressed prior to the meeting. 

Council Member Aguilar asked City Attorney Hobbs if there should be responses when citizens or Council Members are making a comment.

City Attorney Hobbs responded that the discussion is legal.  He said that the City Council decides whether or not it makes sense to have a discussion at this point.  He said it’s the Council’s discretion whether or not you respond to this comment or simply take the comment.

Council Member Aguilar asked if they should take comments, show respect and then deal with it later.  City Attorney Hobbs said that this is one way of dealing with it. 

City Manager Warne said that this is the first time that he has heard about this.  He said he would appreciate it that if somebody has a concern that they would contact staff in advance of the City Council meeting to see if they can talk about it and resolve it, or at least understand what the issue and the problem is.  This is the first time he heard about this and probably the first time City Engineer Nanda Gottiparthy heard about it.  He asked Mr. Gottiparthy to address this issue right now and try to answer the question.  He said he hoped that, in the future, Council Members would contact staff in advance of the City Council meeting to see if they can answer their questions prior to the meeting.  This would save time and maybe resolve some issues prior to the City Council meeting.

City Engineer Gottiparthy referred to the locations that Council Member Espinoza mentioned.  He said these sidewalks were presented in the grant application.  The goal of the state and federal grant was to provide continuous sidewalks for the children.  It is true that some of the new sidewalk may be in front of undeveloped lots or empty lots.  The grant applications propose sidewalks so that the kids can have continuous sidewalk access to schools.  Mr. Gottiparthy said the grant criterion includes the absence of sidewalks in the vicinity of the schools and where safety concerns exist.  Those were the basis on what was proposed.   However, if there are specific locations where sidewalks are needed those could be done through change orders.  Staff made the selection and brought it to the City Council.  However, if there are concerns that need to be discussed, he would be happy to provide Council Members with background on those issues.  If there are any changes, those can be added possibly through a change order. However, any changes to the location of sidewalks must be approved by the State before they can be built.

City Manager Warne added that he has seen kids walk down the street, and where there is a gap in the sidewalk, the kids will walk in the street.  He said there might be a vacant lot there, but the children will walk in the street if there is no sidewalk.  He knows that this was part of the effort to try to prevent that kind of thing from happening.  The City got the grant to install sidewalk whether the lot was vacant or had houses on it.

The positive thing is that the City has been aggressive in applying for grants and it is going to be putting in $1.7 million of sidewalk in its community during this fiscal year and that is very positive and a lot of areas where there is no sidewalk are now going to get sidewalk.

Council Member Espinoza thanked City Engineer Gottiparthy and added that he did talk to the City Manager a long time ago about sidewalks.  He said we did need a sidewalk on Park Street.  He said that he had talked about sidewalks on empty lots in the past, so that is not a new issue for him.

City Manager Warne responded that it is a new issue in a sense that the City applied for these grants and that is the way it is outlined in the budget document.  The issue of the sidewalk construction in conjunction with these grants was not brought up previously by members of the City Council.  Staff is being caught off guard.  He asked that, in the future, if Council Members have questions, please talk to staff before the Council meeting.  Staff will try to get issues resolved prior to the meeting.  But this is the first time on these two grants that specific locations of sidewalks have been brought up by any of the Council Members.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra asked City Engineer Gottiparthy if additional sidewalks could be constructed if the bids come in low and there is still more grant money.  City Engineer Gottiparthy responded that it could be done through the change order process.  

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra responded to a comment that was made in the audience at the last meeting about why the City constructed the sidewalks on “D” Street where the pallet business was previously located.  He said he spent an hour sitting out there watching and the number of people walk from the Eighth Street apartments all the way up that side of the street where the pallet business was located to the grocery stores.  They come back with full grocery bags.  Those people where walking in the street before the sidewalks were constructed.  People walk along streets with empty lots in some cases because they are routes for people that do not have transportation.  He said that if there is money, we should look at some of the other small sections of streets where sidewalks are not currently constructed.

Council Member Nateras asked City Engineer Gottiparthy if any of the streets that Council Member Espinoza mentioned were covered under this grant.  He said that parts of “B” street are covered.  He said that the City proposed sidewalk construction near the schools and to provide continuous sidewalk for children and other pedestrians in other parts of the City.  He said that he is happy to look at other locations.

Council Member Espinoza said he knows that “B” Street already has sidewalk.  The area by the apartments on First Street and Second Street going towards the railroad tracks do not have sidewalk.  This is why he wanted to put this item on the agenda. 

Council Member Martha Nateras

·        Reported that she attended the high-speed rail meeting on August 19.

·        Reported that she attended the Red Ribbon Committee meeting.  She said the Committee is working on Red Ribbon’s 20th anniversary on October 31.

·        Attended Chief Eldridge’s retirement luncheon on September 3.  It was very well attended by staff and was a very nice and touching tribute to the Chief.  It was hard to say goodbye to the Police Chief.

·        Reported that on September 26, the City Council is having a volunteer appreciation dinner at Memorial Park.  This is for all the volunteers who make Livingston a great place.

Council Member Espinoza asked when the Red Ribbon Parade was.  Council Member Nateras responded it was on October 31.  Council Member Espinoza asked if the date could be changed so that more kids could participate.  This was Halloween and there were soccer games that day.  Council Member Nateras will bring it up at the next Red Ribbon Committee meeting.

Mayor Pro Tem Vierra said that he got the parade applications today at 10:00 a.m.  He noticed that the parade was on Halloween night and he asked about changing the date.  Council Member Nateras said that the City has no control over the week or the date of the parade.  It is a state-wide drug prevention event.

     Mayor Pro-Tem Frank Vierra

·        Stated that he agrees with the rest of those who went to the League of California Cities dinner and presentation.  He said the presentation was very good because it touched on what the State is doing to take away money from the cities and the counties.  There will shortly be some information on a State-wide initiative that will prohibit taking city revenues by State government.  Mayor Pro Tem Vierra said that you can only take so much from the City of Livingston.  There is no more to take, but they still want more. There will be initiative petitions that they will be asking people to sign so that we can put this initiative on the ballot and fight.  He said the taking of city funds by the State hurts the smaller cities like us more than the great big ones like Los Angeles.

·        Stated that some members of the audience were present when the apartment complex came before the City Council, and the developer wished to pay the City $750,000 (rather than be a part of the special assessment districts) so that in approximately 8-10 years, the City would then take over paying for his lighting, landscaping, police, fire, protection, and other City services.  He thanked Council Member Aguilar, Council Member Nateras and Mayor Varela for helping him and being supportive of telling this developer, “no.”  Two days after he left the City Council meeting, the developer called the City and said he still wants to build in Livingston and would agree to be part of the special districts.  He said that the City Council could have taken his one-time cash payment of $750,000, but what would it have done to people sitting in this room and the City Council?  Your grandchildren, your children, would be paying the bills for this development in 10-15 years.

·        He also wanted to thank Council Member Nateras and Mayor Varela for voting for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME grant application to help this gentleman build affordable housing in Livingston, which the City needs.  The developer was able to submit this grant application, and hopefully, he will get that money.  If this development is approved, this housing will be built on Lincoln about a half a block from Value Market.  Mayor Pro Tem Vierra thinks the City Council needs to stand firm when developers come.  In the Year 2000, he said that new development needs to pay its way, rather than have the people who have worked here all their lives pay for it. 

     Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

     Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.

·        None.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

3.     Resolution Approving the 2009-2014 Housing Element and Negative Declaration.

Mark Niskanen, from J.B. Anderson Land Use Planning, said they had an opportunity many years ago to work for the City in updating its Housing Element document.  He gave a power point presentation on the Housing Element process.  Items discussed included the following:

·        The Contents of the Housing Element Document

·        Legal Requirements

·        City’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation

·        Vacant Land Map Inventory

·        City’s Ability to Address the Regional Housing Needs

·        Public Review Process

·        Brief Statement of Revisions Made to the Housing Element

·        Staff Recommendation

·        Next Steps

          The Housing Element Contents – What makes the Housing Element document?

The Housing Element is one of the seven State-mandated elements of the City’s General Plan.  Just as the City has a Land Use Element and a Circulation Element of its General Plan, the City also has a Housing Element of its General Plan.  State law says that there are six components to the Housing Element: (1) The Housing Needs Assessment; (2) Regional Housing Needs Allocation; (3) Land Inventory; (4) Housing Constraints; (5) Review of the Existing Housing Element; and (6) Housing Goals, Policies, and Programs.

·        Housing Needs Assessment.  The Housing Needs Assessment is an evaluation or assessment of the City’s demographic profile, economic profile, and housing profile.

·        Regional Housing Needs Allocation.  Every seven years, the State decides the City’s Regional Housing Needs, or the number of units the City is expected to accommodate either through policies and programs or through their land use designations or zoning ordinance for a 7-year time frame.  For the purpose of the Housing Element before Council tonight, the Regional Housing Needs represent the City’s needs between January 1, 2007, and June 30, 2014. 

·        Land Inventory. The Land Inventory is the available land in the City to accommodate the Regional Housing Needs.  It consists of vacant parcels the City has already designated for residential development, including single family residential development and multi family residential development.

·        Housing Constraints.  Housing Constraints are anything that hinders the development

of housing including government constraints, such as the time it takes the City to process and approve a subdivision map or building permit, to market constraints such as the current conditions of the real estate market, mortgage rates and things of this nature.

·        Review of City’s Existing Housing Element.  The City’s existing Housing Element was adopted by the Council and certified by the State in 2004.  As part of this update of the Housing Element, J.B. Anderson Land Use Planning evaluated policies and programs that were adopted to determine if they have been successful or not successful.  This evaluation was followed-up with a discussion on why and how these policies and programs have been successful or not successful.

·        The City’s Housing Goals, Policies, and Programs.   These goals, policies and programs are the City’s implementation of the Housing Element in the course of the next five years to accommodate the Regional Housing Needs.

          Legal Requirements of the Housing Element

          The Housing Element as defined by State law is one of the State mandated seven elements of a City’s General Plan. What separates it from other elements of the City’s General Plan is that:

·        It is required to be updated every five years.

·        It is the only element that requires review and certification by the State Department of Housing and Community Development Department.

·        The Housing Element is required to be consistent with the policies of the other elements of the City’s General Plan.

          Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA)

Every seven years, the City is assigned a Regional Housing Need for various income groups.  Based on data received from the California Employment Development Department, the City’s Median Family Income is $32,500 per year for a family of four.  Through this planning period, the City has the following Regional Housing Needs Allocation:  Extremely Low Income Group represents 0-30% of the City’s Median Family Income, 43 Units; Very Low Income Group represents 31-50% of the City’s Median Family Income, 43 Units; Low Income Group represents 51-80% of the City’s Median Family Income, 83 Units; Moderate Income Group represents 81-120% of the City’s Median Family Income, 75 Units; and Above Moderate Income Group is everything above 120% of the City’s Medium Family Income, 131 Units  The total amount of housing the City is required to accommodate is 375 Units over the course of the next five years.

There is one thing that is misleading about this allocation of 375 Units.  The City is not actually required to construct and develop 375 units.  They are only required to accommodate either through a range of designations in the Zoning Ordinance the availability of 375 units.

        Vacant Land Inventory Map

The consultants prepared a Vacant Land Map.  On the Vacant Land Map, the consultants looked at the parcels that are currently vacant and designated for residential development.  Mr. Niskanen explained what the colors on the map represented.        

          City’s Ability to Address the Regional Housing Needs

Based on the Vacant Land Map and the number of housing projects and building permits the City has approved since January 2007, the City has more than its fair share of properly zoned land to accommodate the Regional Housing Need assigned by the State. When the consultants did their housing calculations, they found a surplus of 604 units the City has above and beyond the 375 housing units that have been assigned to it by the State.  Therefore, the City has the ability to show the State that it can accommodate residential development for various income groups.        

Public Review Process

The public review draft of the Housing Element was released for a 60-day public review period on June 2, 2009, and that period concluded on July 31, 2009.  Comments were received both from the public and from the California Housing and Community Development Department (HCD).

Based on comments received and discussions and correspondence with HCD during the public review period, the consultant and City staff made a few revisions to the Housing Element document to allow for certification by the California Housing and Community Development Department (HCD).

          Recommended Revisions       

Chapter 2.  The consultants expanded their discussion of Overpayment by Tenure, which is the number of residents that are overpaying on their rent or mortgage.  They also did more analysis of existing extremely low-income households in the City.  In that chapter, the consultants also expanded their discussion on what the State considers to be at-risk housing.

Chapter 3.  The consultants included a definition of the word “family” from the Zoning Ordinance.  They also clarified language on the City’s Uniform Building Code and expanded the discussion of the City’s typical permit process and time lines for both single-family residential and multi-family residential projects.  The consultants expanded their analysis of the City’s existing Conditional Use Permit (CUP) process for multi-family residential projects that are 25 or more units within the R-3 zone district.  Finally, the consultants expanded their discussion of on-site and off-site improvements required for residential projects, such as sewer lines, waterlines, street improvements and other similar things.

Chapter 4.  In this chapter the consultants went back and looked at the vacant land inventory to determine if there was City infrastructure available to serve each vacant parcel.  They also looked at potential use of Livingston Redevelopment Agency funds over the next five years.

Chapter 6.  The consultants added language to focus Programs 8, 10 and 14 on extremely low-income households.  In Programs 10, 11, and 13, the consultants clarified the City’s role in implementing those programs and coordinating with the Merced County Housing Authority.  They also established time frames for program implementation, brought the City into compliance with Senate Bill 2 regarding emergency shelters and transitional and supportive housing.    

          Staff Recommendation

          Staff recommends that Council approve the 2009-2014 Housing Element and approve the Negative Declaration.

          Next Steps

          Once the Council takes action on the Housing Element document, it will be resubmitted to the State for a final review and certification.

Council Member Aguilar thanked Mr. Niskanen for his presentation.  She stated that she requested copies of the five comment letters received pertaining to this document.  She asked for copies of future comment letters.

She asked if the 2020 population growth numbers in the Housing Element match the numbers in the 2025 General Plan document.  Mark Niskanen responded there is a difference between the 2020 population growth identified in the Housing Element and the population identified in the 2025 General Plan.  The reason why is the Housing Element relies on a number of different sources.  One of the sources that the Housing Element relies on is the 2000 Census.  The consultants do not calculate population projections.   They stick with the 2000 Census and apply it to the tables in the Housing Element.

The consultants said that the population projections in the General Plan are based on the average number of persons per household for each land use if the entire City is built out to the maximum number of units.  There is more of a calculation applied to the overall General Plan population projection than there is to the Housing Element population projection.  

Mr. Niskanen added that it is important to point out that the Housing Element is a five-year document, so the population projections for 2020 are not necessarily a vital component, nor does the State really even take a look at population.  They are really looking at whether or not the City can meet their Regional Housing Needs for the next five years, and if they have the programs in place to comply with the State legislation.

          Mr. Niskanen said to simply answer Council Member Aguilar’s question, “Yes, there is a difference.”  He hopes that he explained why.

City Attorney Hobbs clarified what Mr. Niskanen said.  The population numbers that are in the Housing Element are from the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG).  The population numbers in the General Plan Environmental Impact Report are the worst case scenario from an environmental standpoint.  This is because CEQA requires the City to (not predict), but explain how much population the land uses could accommodate at build out.  There is a difference between what is the actual population and the total maximum population for all land uses.  He said it is an apples and oranges approach so they cannot be compared side by side.

          Mayor Pro-Tem. Vierra asked if the questionnaires in the book are different from what Council Member Aguilar is talking about.

          Council Member Aguilar responded they are.  She said she requested them on Monday. There are five letters and they are separate to what is in the book.

          Community Development Director Donna Kenney explained that staff did not include the letters as attachments, but she summarized them in the staff report.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra said one of the questionnaires was done in Punjabi and he does not read Punjabi, so he has no idea what this person said.  He gets the gist of it because it says property tax, but he is not sure what the whole thing says.  After reading the new Housing Element document a couple of times, he concluded that the City has made a lot of improvement in the housing, including very low-income housing.  We are working on a  new affordable housing project on Lincoln Avenue.

Mayor Pro Tem Vierra said that the economic crash has helped many citizens buy houses.  He could not believe that our housing valuations are at the same level as north Turlock and north Merced.  Sellers around the City are selling their property at lower prices than Livingston.

Mark Niskanen stated it is really interesting to take a look at the housing prices.  Between  2004 and 2008, housing prices peaked and then dropped, especially since 2006-2007.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra said he was amazed that the median home price was #2 in the area, right behind Turlock.  He thought it showed that we have done a lot to help the people in the community to get into a home.  In addition the General Plan covers all that proposed housing outside the City limits.  The new proposed Housing Element covers only our current City limits.

Mayor Varela commented to Mr. Niskanen that the new Housing Element was a nice piece of work.  He said it was exciting to see the potential of Livingston.  The consultants did a good job.

          Mayor Varela opened the public hearing at 8:00 p.m.

Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street, said we need the project in town.  He asked who is going to absorb the cost of undergrounding the canal, and build a temporary frontage road.  He said there is a canal along side of the property.  There are going to be children out there.  He asked who is going to take care of this problem and handle the cost.

City Manager Warne said the canal is being undergrounded by the developer.  This project is not on the agenda.  The City Council is now taking comments on the Housing Element of the General Plan.  Community Development Director Kenney would be happy to meet with him at another time to discuss this housing project and answer his questions. 

Luis Flores, 707 Almondwood Drive, asked for clarification on slide 11.  He thought that there was enough land for housing for the next five years.  Mr. Niskanen said that Chapter 4 – Vacant Residential Land Inventory did not look at that issue.  It only looked at whether there was infrastructure available to the vacant lots in the City. 

          Mayor Varela closed the public hearing at 8:05 p.m. as there were no further public comments.

          MOTION:  M/S Vierra/Aguilar to adopt Resolution No. 2009-44, approving the 2009-2014 Housing Element and Negative Declaration.  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

CITIZEN COMMENTS

Donna Kenney, 6530 East Avenue, Turlock, President of the Livingston Rotary Club, asked everybody to mark their calendars for Saturday, October 10, 2009, for the ribbon cutting at Arakelian Park for the Rotary Club installed disc golf course.  They will have Rotarians on hand between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. to teach how to play Frisbee Golf and there will be some free Frisbees distributed, rules, a map of the course, and score cards.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

Raquel Piceno, 1415 Ninth Street, (spoke in Spanish).  She complained that the cost of water is too high for them.  They are people with low incomes and they cannot afford it.  She has two sons that are unemployed and several grandchildren.  Her husband is the only one that works in their household and the payment is too high for them.  She collected signatures from other residents on Ninth Street to petition that Council stop raising the water rates or lower them a little, if possible, because they cannot afford such a high price.

Jesse Torres, 718 Ravenswood, said he came to the meeting for the same reason as Ms. Piceno. Pretty much the whole City has a complaint about this.  The water rates are way too high.  The economy right now is real bad.  People barely have money to make their home payment.  He thinks these rates are ridiculous and he thinks the City Council needs to do something about it.  People are going crazy out there.  He has seen bills of $300, not even in Los Angeles or San Francisco do you see bills that high.  He addressed the Council and stated, “We voted for you, so now you are supposed to do something to help us.”  He added that there are a lot of citizens around the whole City in that situation and so they have a lot of signatures on the petition.

Rumualdo Castaneda, 621 Emerald Way, said he has lived in the City for about 18 years.  Since he moved to this town, this is the first time the water rates were increased, which surprised him. He knows some of the utilities have to be increased, but he thinks at this time of recession, everyone has financial problems and it is very hard to make their payments.

Brigida Guardado, 609 Elmwood Way, (spoke in Spanish).  She said that she does not agree with the cost of the water.  It is too high.  It is too much money for a small family.  She would like the City Council to do something about this because it is very difficult.

Mike Torres 1616 Eighth Street, commented on the City’s sidewalk project.  He stated that he keeps up with the City’s projects, and this is the first time he has seen a map come out which outlines where the sidewalks are going to be constructed.  He got this map with the City’s newsletter.  There are many areas in the City that have no sidewalks.  He wrote down several streets, some across town, in residential areas where people walk with their groceries.  These people have been living there a lot longer than the areas where the City is going to construct sidewalks.  These residents have been living there and paying their way.  They deserve sidewalks.  He told the City Council they should go back and review where sidewalks are proposed to be built.  Mr. Torres said that he did not think the Mayor was fair to Council Member Espinoza.  He said that there are a lot of obstacles to this plan.  There are many areas with large trees.      

City Manager Warne stated that staff’s objective is to build sidewalks throughout the whole City. The City has built a lot of sidewalk in the last three years.  The City will be building more sidewalks in the future.  If a certain parcel is not included in the sidewalk grant right now, it does not mean the City is never going to build a sidewalk at that location.  These sidewalk grants are very competitive and staff puts together grant applications based on the grant criterion.  Staff has been very successful in getting these sidewalk grants because the grant applications with the proposed sidewalk construction locations have met the grant criterion.  The City will be building $1.7 million in sidewalks this year.  Once something is approved by the State or Federal government, it is very difficult to make a change.  He said that people should not be critical when they do not know what the grant criterion is.  The City needs to move forward and construct these sidewalks.      

Mark Mendoza, no address given, stated that a couple of meetings ago, a number of people came to the City Council meeting to complain about the property and the property owner Mark Banks on Lupin Court.  The complaints included a dry lawn from lack of water.  People suggested that it was a fire hazard.  Mr. Mendoza said that this person has a mental issue.  Someone should go out and clean his yard because he cannot do it.  He is a veteran and needs help.

Mr. Mendoza added that his parents own four apartments in Turlock.  They are 1,000 sq. ft. apartments.  Their water is close to $180 per month for four apartments.  He said that this is the same cost as one house in Livingston.  There are a lot of people that cannot afford it.

Luis Flores, 707 Almondwood Drive, said the leadership of this City keeps disappointing him everyday.  Here are residents of this town who cannot pay their water bill and the three Council Members who voted for the water bill increase cannot say anything to them.  He finds that very unfortunate. He repeated the same comment in Spanish.

Mayor Varela interrupted.  Mr. Flores said he is entitled to three minutes.

Mayor Varela said he would speak with everyone.  He will call them and he will have a conversation with them.  He understands this process.  He will speak to everyone respectfully.

Luis Flores said that these people do not speak the language.  They are immigrants.  He is an immigrant and he thought it was unfortunate that the three people who voted to raise the water bill cannot say anything.

Mr. Flores also commented on the community garden.  He said he is a proud member of that committee and he is a big fan of community gardens.  It was really unfortunate to read in the Merced Sun-Star that the City cannot allocate 12 acres to the garden.  The Council made the decision without thinking of the implication.  He asked how the City Council can make decisions without thinking of the implications.  Now the City is taking away our land and giving it to Wal-Mart.

Mayor Varela said, “Mr. Flores, you sat right across from me at that meeting, and you said nothing.” 

Luis Flores responded, “I know, but that was a closed meeting.  It was private.  It was not public.”  Mayor Varela said, “You didn’t say anything.”  Mr. Flores responded, “Because there was nothing formal signed, and now you are taking this land away from us.”  Mayor Varela said, “We are not taking anything from you.”

Council Member Aguilar said she got a call in regards to the meeting Mr. Flores is talking about.  As a Council Member, she did not know about it.  She heard it through the grapevine.  She wanted everyone to know that the Mayor does not speak for the Council as a whole.  She is pretty sure that everyone is intelligent enough to know that.  They approved 12.6 acres.  It went through the Planning Commission, and they got a Conditional Use Permit.  One individual cannot speak on behalf of the Council and say they are going to start with one acre, or you are going to start with two acres, and we want you on this corner.  She thinks Mr. Flores should have said something at the meeting.  She said she is really saddened that these things happen because this makes our government non transparent.  She added that when she has to get calls at night saying, “Hey, you weren’t at the meeting, what are you guys doing?”  She does not know what they are talking about.  She is sorry that that happened.  It is a situation that needs to be taken care of and she commended Mr. Flores for bringing that up.  She does not know if any of the other Council Members were aware of it.  She knows the City Manager did sit in and also a couple of other individuals from City staff.  She said that it is a binding contract.

Council Member Espinoza said obviously there is no communication.  We approved a project like the community garden.  They go to the Planning Commission and they get approved for 12 acres.  Now staff is telling them they only get one acre.  Every time they have communication with City staff, they are telling them what staff wants them to do and not what the City Council wants them to do.

Council Member Nateras responded to Mr. Flores by saying, “First of all Mr. Flores, public comment isn’t closed yet, so don’t’ say that Council is sitting here not doing anything.  After the public comments are closed I do plan to say something.”  She repeated the same comment in Spanish.

Fernando Cortez, no address given, said this is a team.  It is supposed to be a team.  It is just like playing basketball, if the whole team does not play together, then what’s the point?  They lose. Every time you make a wrong decision or you make bad calls, people will be complaining.  There are only a few people here.   He does not remember any of these faces here in all these meetings that we had when they talked about water rates and all that stuff.  He said they did a really poor job communicating with the people.  When he told people it was going to be over $150, $170, $300, everyone said that it would not be that much.   He went to City Hall and he asked them to show him how much his bill is going to be.  They told him it was only going to go up $20.  He asked if the public had seen these bills.  The City Council cut about 15% off.  If they hadn’t cut the bill by 15%, it would have been higher, and it’s going to get worse because come February, there’s going to be another increase.  If this is bad, it is going to be really bad because they should have chosen a different scenario.  This one is really bad.  They are going to drive people away from town.  He does not know what else they are going to do; they cannot make the payments.  There is going to be a lot more people coming to complain.  The City Council is going to hear it.  He said he was never opposed to an increase, but the increase was too high and it is going to get higher.  So do not be surprised that people will be complaining to you or will be telling you about the things that you do wrong because that is what these meetings are for.  Try to do something about it because you are affecting a lot of people.

Marge McFadden, 1423 First Street, asked that cancellation of City Council meetings be posted on the City Council Chambers doors.  She did not know that the last meeting was cancelled.  She sat outside waiting and nobody showed up.  She went to check at City Hall and it was posted there that the meeting had been cancelled.  She asked that they post at both areas so that those that do not think about walking to City Hall would know that the meeting was cancelled.

Ms. McFadden also commented that Hilmar, Ripon, and various other communities have West Nile virus, but Livingston is West Nile virus free.  Council Member Espinoza asked Ms. McFadden to please see that the Mosquito Abatement District fumigates the ponds, especially around the high school.  Ms. McFadden responded that they try to do it prior to football games.  The Mosquito Abatement District number is 1-800-622-3242.  She will call, but anyone else can also call them direct and they are very good about coming out.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra stated they have been spraying prior to the high school football games on Friday nights.

Maria Santos, 1514 First Street, said she received some information in the water bill about 30 tips to save water.  One of them said, “Water the grass every seven days.”  She asked what kind of grass watered every seven days will survive in 100 or 102 degree weather.

Kathryn Schell-Rodriquez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston, stated she has been asked to squash a rumor, declare their position, ask for some public clarification and maybe request a little help and intervention on behalf of Mrs. Ow, owner of the pink store.  (1) She wants to squash the rumor that started circulating that she has already sold some of her land;  (2) She wants to declare publicly that she has no intention whatsoever of selling any of her land;  (3) She wants public, on record clarification of the Council’s and the City’s position on Peach Avenue rerouting and any eminent domain proceedings that may result; and  (4) She would like a little intervention on her behalf since the high school district’s lawyers don’t seem to understand the words, “No, I am not selling.”

Ms. Schell-Rodriguez added that there has been quite a bit of talk about the need to hire an outside consultant to help our Council facilitate through their job.  In this economy, she does not understand the spending of $8,000 – $10,000 on an outsider who does not know the City’s history, when we have a source of perspective, sanity and wisdom practically in our own back yard.  If the City Council really needs a referee and facilitator, she cannot think of anyone with more reason, mentoring skills, knowledge, and perspective than our former Chief, Bill Eldridge.  She bets he would cost the City a whole lot less money.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra asked if when people in the public refer to their water bill, do they mean the water, garbage, and sewer?  He talked to a resident that said their water bill was $105 and it was not the water bill. The water bill was $20.  Is it water or is it something else that has brought it to this total? 

Council Member Nateras translated Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra’s question in Spanish.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra said the bill he looked at was $20 for water, $46 or $48 for sewer, and the rest was garbage and it came to about $96, so their water was not $96, it was for all three services.  Council Member Nateras translated the comment in Spanish.

Fernando Cortez said when we say a water bill, we are talking about the whole bill – sewer, garbage, and water.  He stated that $5 for reading the meter was ridiculous.

City Manager Warne stated that the way the item is listed on the water bill is “meter charge,” and not “meter reading” as stated by Mr. Cortez.  The meter charge is more than the cost of reading the meter.  It includes amortizing the cost over the life of the meter, maintaining the meter over time, reading the meter as well as the cost of processing the utility billing.  The meters are not cheap. 

Council Member Nateras asked if those charges have always been there or if this is a new charge on the bill.

City Manager Warne responded these charges have always been there.  They were not shown previously in the old rate structure.  When the consultant did the water rate study, he broke these charges out.  The City has always had to cover these costs.

Council Member Nateras said (in Spanish) that she wanted to make a comment in reference to what Mr. Flores said about the City Council being at fault.

Mr. Flores stated, “It is true.”

Council Member Nateras said this was not an easy decision for them.  This also affects her and her family.  For 15 years, the water rates were never increased.  Something had to be done. They were going to have to make some cuts at the Police Department and Fire Department.  It’s for everyone’s safety.  She asked what were they going to do if they had to layoff officers?

Mr. Flores (in Spanish) said, “The difference is these people’s salary is a lot less.”

Mayor Varela asked Mr. Flores to please refrain from making any comments while Council Member Nateras is talking.

Council Member Nateras told Mr. Flores (in Spanish) that she will talk to him later.

Mayor Varela stated (in Spanish): We need to clarify one thing.  We have water wells that need to be replaced from time to time.  We have problems with some waterlines that have discoloration and odor and they need to be repaired.  When the City needs to repair a well (per State order), that cost is approximately $1 million.  That money has to come out of somewhere.  That money comes out of the water fund.  If we do not adjust the water rates to fix this situation, those monies would be coming out of the General Fund which would affect the Police Department, Fire Department and other services the City provides.

Mayor Varela added (in Spanish) that the other day, a man was shot in front of the Livingston Medical Group clinic, and on the other side of town, another person was stabbed.  He said he understands the situation because his utility bill went up.  Everyone’s bill went up.  But there is something more important happening in this City.  The more urgent need is to be more careful in our neighborhoods with the gangs out there right now. The gangs do not care about anything.

Mayor Varela stated (in Spanish) that he understands the reality is that there are bills to pay, but there are regulations and priorities that the City needs to comply with.   He understands Mr. Flores.   What does he tell the mother when she asks him, “What are you going to do about my son that was stabbed?”  What does he tell her?  He has angry parents because their utility bills have increased to $120 or more.  He understands, but what does he tell the mother whose son was shot or the mother that tells him she wants to take her son to a support program because he is into gangs and she wants to help him quit the gangs?  What does he tell her?  He understands his frustration because Mr. Cortez and the other people have told us in the last six months that it is too much.  He knows it is too much, but we have to deal with the water rates because if we do not have enough money to operate the system, we are going to have complaints for cutting the Police Department or other City services.

An unidentified man asked, “Then why don’t you put the police officers to work?  They are always talking on the telephone and drinking coffee at the coffee shop and eating donuts.  Why don’t you put them to work?  What’s wrong?  Somebody has to take a look at what is going on.”

An unidentified woman (in Spanish) asked if that is the reason why the residents of Livingston have to pay such a high price.  That is too much.  Mayor Varela  and Council Member Nateras answered in Spanish.

Council Member Espinoza (in Spanish) stated the citizens should not have to pay for the safety of the City through their water bills.

Mayor Varela responded, “It is not and you know that.  It is paying for the water and sewer issues of our City, and the infrastructure of our community.  They are not paying for the safety of our community.  The General Fund is paying for the safety of our community. There’s funds allocated for that and you know that, sir.”  Council Member Espinoza said, “Yes, but you are talking about the water.”  Mayor Varela said, “I understand that.”

City Attorney Hobbs interrupted by saying that this is a little “far a field” of the public comments agenda item and he recommended that they temper out of this discussion.

CONSENT CALENDAR

     The following consent calendar items were presented for the Council’s consideration:

     4.  Resolution Awarding Construction Contract to Granite Construction Company, Approving Relief from Award of Bid to Teichert Construction, Approving the Expenditure of Construction Funds for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Project Street        Rehabilitation 2009 – Federal Project No. ESPL-5256(009) and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Construction Contract and any Change Orders Thereto with Granite Construction Company.  (Resolution No. 2009-45).

     5.  Resolution Approving the City of Livingston Sewer System Management Plan. (Resolution No. 2009-46).

6.     Resolution to Adopt ICMA Retirement Corporation’s Plan-Level Change Form Naming of Plan Coordinator.  (Resolution No. 2009-47).

7.     Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on July 7, 2009.

8.     Approval of Warrant Register Dated August 27, 2009.

9.  Approval of Warrant Register Dated September 10, 2009, with exception of Warrant Number 68630.

     Motion: M/S Nateras/Vierra to approve consent calendar items 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and item 8      with the exception of Warrant No. 68630, to be discussed further.  The motion carried   5-0.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

     10.     Request by Council Member Espinoza to Discuss Warrant Number 68630.

        Council Member Espinoza asked City Attorney Hobbs how many times the Mayor and other Council Members called him in the last month. 

City Attorney Hobbs responded that he is not going to talk about specific communications with City Council Members.  He said that those communications are attorney-client privileged and that it is inappropriate for him to discuss them in open session.

Council Member Espinoza asked if he could ask City Attorney Hobbs if City Council Members have called him.  City Attorney Hobbs responded he has spoken with members of the Council, including Council Member Espinoza over the past month.

Council Member Espinoza said that it seems that the minutes show only Council Member Aguilar’s name and his name show up even though he thought other City Council Members are calling the City Attorney with questions. 

City Attorney Hobbs said that he thinks that what Council Member Espinoza is referring to are the specific entries on the bills from the City Attorney’s office.  Those are attorney-client privileged communications between him the Council Member calling him.  Those are privileged communications and are not to be discussed in open session.  Mr. Hobbs said he will be happy to discuss them with Mr. Espinoza privately, but only the City Council can waive the attorney-client privilege, and until there is a waiver, he does not think it is appropriate to discuss those communications in open session.  He invited Mr. Espinoza to meet with him if he wants to talk about the specifics.

        Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra said he has never talked to the City Attorney about anything.

Council Member Espinoza said that the bills are too general and he would like them to be more specific.

        Council Member Nateras stated for the record that she has not called Mr. Hobbs either.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra said the billing descriptions are very clear.  He gave an example of the billing for $10,705 for legal work done for the Livingston Family Apartments.  He gave another example where the billing description was clear.  He said that it was very clear in the billing description that it was not the City Council calling, but the attorney’s working on this project.  

Mayor Varela commented that he thinks many people do not understand what the process is.  He said that Mr. Hobbs is the City Attorney and he is involved with many issues in the City, and he feels that he has done a good job.  Mayor Varela said that he supports the work of the City Attorney, and stated that if any member of the City Council has any concerns, they should personally contact the City Attorney or keep it in closed session.                        

       Council Member Espinoza said he was not trying to be specific, he just thought he could ask this question.

City Manager Warne said many of these bills are reimbursable.  For example, the bill that Mayor Pro Tem Vierra just talked about regarding the Livingston Family Apartments, is a reimbursable bill.  Not everything you see here is coming out of the City’s various accounting funds.

Council Member Aguilar stated that she has the right to call the City Attorney and bypass the City Manager if she wants legal advice.  She said that she has that right because she represents the City.  She says that this started because their names are listed on the bills and not the other City Council Members.

Council Member Aguilar said she had an additional question with this warrant.  She asked City Attorney Hobbs how the Mayor can vote on the payment of the warrants relating to the water rate lawsuit with Foster Farms when he works for Foster Farms.  City Attorney Hobbs responded that the conflict-of-interest rules do not keep the Mayor from voting on the warrants.  He can vote on them, and he would be happy to discuss this issue privately with any member of the City Council as an attorney-client privilege conversation. 

       Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra asked where on the warrant does it specifically say a Council Member.

City Attorney Hobbs thinks that what the other Council Members are referring to are the billing entries.  This is why he told Council Member Espinoza and the rest of the City Council that the billing entries and the descriptions of his work are confidential attorney-client communications.  They cannot be disclosed to anyone unless the City Council as a body votes to waive the attorney-client privilege.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra asked who is seeing what those are.  He is not.  He is not calling the City Attorney and he is being accused of calling the City Attorney.  He said that he did not see anything on the bills that he called the City Attorney.

City Attorney Hobbs said Council Member Aguilar is right.  He works for the City Council as a whole.  Council Members are welcome to call him and seek legal advice from him.  He welcomes that.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra said he does not feel comfortable calling Mr. Hobbs if he is going to be questioned about it in public.  He said that if this occurs then his attorney-client privilege is gone.

       Council Member Espinoza said he will make it clear when they are in closed session.

Mayor Varela said that is fine, but that Council Member Espinoza has already created  this whole negative thing on it.  These are items that will be discussed in closed session.

          Motion:  M/S Varela/Vierra to approve Warrant No. 68630.  The motion carried 3-2 by               the          following vote:              

          AYES:                  Council Members:          Nateras, Varela, Vierra

          NOES:                  Council Members:          Aguilar, Espinoza

          ABSENT:   Council Members:          None

Mayor Varela thanked the Public Works personnel for all that they do.  He welcomed back Kathryn Reyes.  He said that everyone did a fantastic job with the dinner.  He appreciates that.  He also thanked staff members Donna Kenney and Donna Barnes and everybody else that helped out.  It was a wonderful experience.  Mayor Varela also welcomed Interim Police Chief Sharon Silva and said for her to call him anytime.  He also thanked the CalFire personnel as well.

11.                        City Manager Announcements and Reports.

          Thanked City Engineer Gottiparthy for all of his help on the sidewalk grants.  He did a terrific job in helping to put those grant applications together.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 9:08 p.m.                                                                  ______________________________

                                                                    City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED:  October 20, 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.

Advertisements

One thought on “SEPTEMBER 15, 2009

  1. Pingback: A Brief History of Time (Spent on “Fixing” Water, Waste Water, and Garbage Rates-and other related issues) Part 7: Some Enterprise Funds Basics, Meeting Highlights: July 7, 2009 through December 01, and a City Council Agenda « Thegardeni

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s