LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL
MARCH 16, 2010
A Special Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held in the City Council Chambers on March 16, 2010, with Mayor Varela presiding.
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Varela at 5:30 p.m.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.
Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.
Mayor Pro Tem Frank Vierra
Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza (Absent)
Council Member Margarita Aguilar
Council Member Martha Nateras
DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS
1. Planning Commission Interviews and Potential Appointment of Planning Commissioners.
Mayor Varela said the purpose of the Special Meeting was to interview applicants to fill three vacancies on the Livingston Planning Commission.
Mayor Varela said that Alex McCabe had submitted an application for the Planning Commission. However, it has been learned that he does not reside in the City. Therefore, by City ordinance, he cannot serve on the Planning Commission. He has been informed by staff that he cannot serve and is not present at the meeting.
Mayor Varela asked Rosa Winzer to come forward for her interview. She was not present at the meeting and was not interviewed.
A brief recess was taken at 5:34 p.m. The meeting resumed at 5:50 p.m.
Mayor Varela stated that it had been brought to his attention that one of the applicants (Mario Mendoza) preferred that his interview not be televised. Mayor Varela also said one of the Council Members had requested that the interviews be televised. He said that the City Council had a dilemma. He stated that he felt that it was the consensus of the Council that all interviews should be televised or none of them should be televised.
Mayor Varela asked Mayor Pro Tem Vierra for his opinion. Mayor Pro Tem Vierra said that the City Council should televise all of the interviews because the community needs to see the interviews.
Mayor Varela asked Council Member Nateras for her opinion on the issue. She stated that the meeting only consisted of interviews and they should not be televised.
Mayor Varela said it was his understanding that the interviews were not going to be televised, but that a Council Member had requested that they be televised. City Manager Warne said that both Council Member Espinoza and Council Member Aguilar had requested that the interviews be televised this evening.
Council Member Aguilar stated she wanted all residents to feel comfortable; but since it was an interview she would be more than happy to say do not televise. She wanted to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to present themselves and feel comfortable. She is okay with not televising the meeting.
Mayor Varela clarified that two Council Members wanted the meeting to be televised and two City Council Members did not want the meeting televised. He said that his concern was that the City Council was setting a precedent where someone could demand that they not be televised. However, since two Council Members do not favor televising the meeting, the City Council will not televise it.
The Council continued with the interviews. Applicants interviewed were Luis Flores, Mario Mendoza, David Talbott, Hugo Salgado, Alex Gonzalez and Ron Krause.
Mayor Varela opened this agenda item to the public for comment at 6:43 p.m.
Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street, said that the City is depriving the people of the opportunity to view the meeting. The City Council purchased the equipment to televise City Council meetings so that the meetings could be televised. He knows a few individuals planned to view the City Council meeting tonight on television. They are going to wonder what happened. Mr. Torres added the one applicant that did not want to be televised (Mario Mendoza) is going to have a problem because he will be televised at City meetings, especially if the Planning Commission begins to televise their meetings.
Mayor Varela asked if there were any additional public comments on this agenda item. Seeing none, he closed the public comment portion at 6:46 p.m. He asked the City Council if they had any comments.
Council Member Aguilar asked if the City Council was going to vote on the appointment of the Planning Commissioners tonight. Is this why the Mayor is asking for comments tonight? Mayor Varela said the City Council members will make recommendations and then there will be a formal vote by the Council to appoint the Planning Commissioners.
Council Member Aguilar asked if the City Council will vote in a public meeting. City Attorney Hobbs said that the vote must take place in open session in a public City Council meeting.
Mayor Pro Tem Vierra said that he agreed with Mr. Torres’ comments. He said that this City Council meeting should have been televised. He was not one of the City Council Members that requested that the meeting be televised, but he supported the televising of the meeting. The people in the community should have been able to see the candidate’s reactions to the questions they were asked by the City Council. Mayor Pro Tem Vierra did not think the City Council was being transparent this evening.
Mayor Varela stated that every individual that submitted an application to be on the Planning Commission cares about the community. This is something that the City Council is looking for people that love the community and want to participate in the growth and development of Livingston. Tonight the City Council heard from incredible residents that spoke from the heart. There is no reason why any person not chosen this evening to be on the Planning Commission cannot participate in other areas of the City.
Mayor Varela said that he wanted to share with the City Council some of the things that are happening in the community. The City is working on a job incubator program to be housed in the community. This facility will help people starting new businesses and encourage job development. The City is looking for people with a business and forward-thinking attitude. The City Council heard many comments this evening on the future park along the Merced River. This is one of the beautiful areas for a future park development and will provide the community’s children an opportunity to walk along the river. Mayor Varela said that the City’s downtown needs a lot of work. The City is looking for people that want to contribute in a positive way to the development of the community.
Mayor Varela recommended that the City Council appoint Alex Gonzalez, Hugo Salgado and Ron Kraus to the Planning Commission. Council Member Nateras made the motion to appoint these individuals to the Planning Commission. The motion died for lack of a second.
Motion: M/S Aguilar/Nateras to appoint Alex Gonzalez, Luis Flores and Hugo Salgado to the Planning Commission. The motion carried 4-0 by the following vote:
AYES: Council Members Aguilar, Nateras, Varela, Vierra
Council Member Nateras commented that Luis Flores is very qualified and even though he has been very disrespectful to her she votes for what is best for the City.
The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 6:50 p.m. __________________________________
City Clerk of the City of Livingston
APROVED: June 1, 2010
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.