REGULAR MEETING/CLOSED SESSION
LIVINGSTON CITY COUNCIL
SEPTEMBER 21, 2010
A Regular Meeting/Closed Session of the Livingston City Council was held on September 21, 2010, 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.
Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.
Mayor Pro-Tem Frank Vierra
Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza
Council Member Margarita Aguilar
Council Member Martha Nateras
CHANGES TO THE AGENDA
Mayor Varela announced he was moving agenda item #4 directly before Awards, Presentations and Proclamations.
CONFIRMATION OF CANVASS OF SPECIAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION
1. Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Accepting Certification of the Election Results of the Special Recall Election of August 31, 2010, Reciting the Election Facts, and Directing the City Clerk to Administer Oaths of Office to the Mayor- Elect and Council Member-Elect.
Mayor Varela presented the agenda item.
Motion: M/S Varela/Espinoza to adopt Resolution No. 2010-50, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Accepting Certification of the Election Results of the Special Recall Election of August 31, 2010, Reciting the Election Facts, and Directing the City Clerk to Administer Oaths of Office to the Mayor-elect and Council Member-elect. The motion carried 4-0 by the following roll call vote:
AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Nateras and Varela
NOES: Council Members: None
ABSENT: Council Members: Vierra
4. Out-going Comments by Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr. and Council Member Martha Nateras.
Ms. Nateras said she would like to thank the citizens for giving her the opportunity of serving as their elective official. She further elaborated on her service on the Council and the decisions she made that led to the recall.
Mr. Varela also expressed his appreciation to the citizens and City staff. He commented on the accomplishments that were made in the community during his tenure and wished the new Mayor and Council Member good luck.
OATHS OF OFFICE
2. City Clerk Will Administer the Oaths of Office to Mayor-elect Rodrigo Espinoza and Council Member-elect Theresa Land.
City Clerk Donna Barnes administered the Oaths of Office to Mayor-elect Rodrigo Espinoza and Council Member-elect Theresa Land.
AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS
3. Mayor Espinoza Will Present Plaques to Out-going Mayor and Council Member.
Outgoing Mayor Varela and Council Member Nateras left the meeting before the plaques were presented.
The meeting resumed at 7:38 p.m.
4. Out-going comments by Daniel Varela, Sr., and Martha Nateras.
Comments were made earlier in the meeting.
5. Presentation of Five-Year Service Pin to Jim Rightsell.
Mayor Espinoza presented a City pin to Jim Rightsell, Public Works Supervisor in recognition of his five years of service with the City of Livingston.
6. Presentation of Five-Year Service Pin to Shawn Hess.
Shawn Hess, Public Works Maintenance Worker was absent.
CITY COUNCIL REORGANIZATION
7. Discuss and Make City Council Appointments to City Boards, Commissions, Committees
Mayor Espinoza requested that this item be continued to the next regular meeting. He also asked that the appointment of a new Mayor Pro-Tem be placed on the next meeting agenda.
Motion: M/S Espinoza/Aguilar to continue the following appointments to City Boards, Commissions and Committees to the next regular meeting. The motion carried 3-0, with Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra absent.
a. Member/Alternate to Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) Governing Board.
b. Representative/Alternate to Central Valley Division League of California Cities (CVDLCC).
c. Representative/Alternate to Special City Selection Committee of the San Joaquin
Valley Air Pollution Control Board.
d. City Council Liaison to Livingston Planning Commission.
e. City Council Liaison to Livingston Parks and Recreation Commission.
f. City Council Liaison to Livingston Court Theater Committee.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS
Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.
Juan Corona, Administrative Assistant to Supervisor Pedrozo stated that it was a pleasure working with Mayor Varela and Council Member Nateras. He noted that Supervisor Pedrozo was not present because he was at a previous engagement. Mr. Corona encouraged everyone to participate in local government. He said there are planning meetings and county meetings. He noted that if anyone has any county issues to call Supervisor Pedrozo’s office at 385-7366. Mr. Corona commented that some of the different programs in the county that the public may benefit from are small business administration classes.
City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.
Council Member Theresa Land
· Thanked everyone for their support and said she wanted to share a bit of information about herself. She and her husband Kevin have three wonderful children. When her husband’s enlistment in the Air Force was up he wanted to come back to Livingston. Council Member Land said she has been informed of various community activities, most recently the 4th of July Committee. She said there is a committee that is working hard to ensure that Livingston has a 4th of July celebration next year.
Council Member Margarita Aguilar
· Congratulated new Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza and Council Member Theresa Land and said let’s think of these appointments as a new step in addition to the new things that are about to happen.
· Thanked all of the citizens that same out and supported the recall. She wanted the citizens to know that their general welfare is important and the welfare is the effort of our community. Council Member Aguilar told the citizens to be strong and urged them to continue to get involved in local government.
· Commented that she is the proud grandmother for the first time of a new grandson that was born on Tuesday.
Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.
Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza
· Mayor Espinoza made the following statement, “It has been an uphill battle. The citizens made a decision August 31 and asked for a real change and with the direction of our City. I would like to thank all of the citizens. We are going to try and do our best. We are not perfect. We want to move forward and thank God for my battle. My wife and my parents, they didn’t want me to run again. It has been almost 8 years. I did try to listen. I went around town. It has been pretty hard on the community with the economy and I understand that the City needs to move in a certain direction. It doesn’t matter what the paper says about the City going bankrupt. It won’t. The City will survive. We are heading into fall and winter. Our City has been improving with sidewalks, streets, and our homes. It is tough out there. I think if we do a better job, administratively I think we can all work together and agree to have a Council that can work together. I know being a politician is tough, but I want to be a better one. But if you listen to the citizens we will move forward and we want to persevere. When I see that citizens are suffering it hurts. I want to thank everyone for coming out and supporting Theresa and myself, it was pretty tough. We will move forward, with the infrastructure that we are trying to improve and water quality. We will be able to work things out with Foster Farms; we did so for 3-4 years. We don’t need to be spending millions of dollars fighting with Foster Farms. We need to move forward.”
Marge McFadden, 1423 First Street, said they found a bird with West Nile virus in the area. There were no people involved, just a bird. The Merced County Mosquito Abatement District will be spraying quite frequently now until it gets cool.
Kay Greeley, 1571 Monte Cristo Way, said she would like to welcome Ms. Land to her new position. She said she hopes Ms. Land reads everything that the receives because she is going to be swamped. She wished the Council good luck in the future.
Marilee Avila, 1917 Second Avenue, Stevinson commented on Measure C that will be placed on the November ballot. She explained what the measure entails and urged the citizens to vote yes on the measure.
Estella Martinez, P.O. 381, Livingston congratulated Mayor Espinoza and Council Member Land on their new positions. She said she is glad to hear what Ms. Aguilar said about the issues in Livingston. She is also glad to hear Mr. Espinoza say that he is willing to move forward and listen to the residents. Ms. Martinez said she just hopes that by listening to the residents, Mr. Espinoza will not put our safety and recreation programs in jeopardy. She said she has heard several times the Council up there speaking Spanish and she would like to officially ask the Council, the Mayor, the City staff to provide the citizens with a translator so all of the people would be informed in our native language as much as we can. Ms. Martinez said she knows we are not going to be able to provide all three or four different languages. The majority is Spanish and she feels a professional certified translator with no ties or relationship to any people in Livingston should be provided so when they do the translation they can be unbiased and not take any sides.
Estella Martinez (in Spanish) stated, “I welcome you to your new positions. I am glad to hear Ms. Aguilar say that she wants our community informed. Mr. Rodrigo is saying that he is going to listen to the residents. I hope that when he listens to the residents, he doesn’t put in jeopardy our safety or our recreation programs in order to be able to reduce the water rates. I’m taking this opportunity to ask City staff and the Mayor and City Council to please provide us with a certified, professional translator so that he/she can translate everything in our language so the community can be informed about what is happening with everything and not just some or a few things. I request that we could please be provided with a professional, certified translator that has no relatives in Livingston so that the person translating can do an accurate translation without taking any sides.
Debra Lopez, 1543 Monte Cristo Way, congratulated the new Mayor and Council Member. Ms. Lopez stated that she hopes the new Mayor will have answers to the water rate issues. Ms. Lopez also raised concern that the City budget has been passed and in order to lower rates money would need to come from other areas. Ms. Lopez asked the Council what other areas would have to suffer.
Kathryn Schell Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston, congratulated the Council electees on their new positions. She stated that tonight there is a change on the Council and no matter how much people change, some dive in right away and but then there are others that don’t seem to be too interested in the information that is supplied. Ms. Schell Rodriguez noted that she continues to seek information and is posting as much information that she can on her blog. She noted the importance of keeping informed. She encouraged the council and the Community to read and re-read information available.
Luis Flores, 707 Almondwood Drive, congratulated Council Member Land and Mayor Espinoza and commented that it was an up hill battle. Mr. Flores reported there will be a community garden meeting at 6:00 p.m. at Yamato Colony School. He asked if there was an update from those that attended the League of California Cities Conference?. Also an update on the status of the Citizens’ Service Committee.
City Manager Warne said the League of California Cities Conference was attended by him, former Mayor Varela, former Council Member Nateras and Mayor Espinoza. Voting rights at the conference were delegated to Ms. Nateras and Mayor Espinoza.
In response to Mr. Flores’ question on the Citizens’ Advisory Committee, City Manager Warne said we are still in the application process. He can find an application on the City website or at City Hall. The deadline is September 30.
Wilma Fillpot, 1585 Monte Cristo way, said she agreed with Estella Martinez. that the City gets someone to interpret that is unbiased and does not have any ties with the City.
Rick Soria, 1326 Main Street, Mr. Soria congratulated the new Council Members. He asked the City Manager if the City has a Code Enforcement Officer. Mr. Warne explained that the last time the contract with Bureau Veritas was about to expire, the City negotiated a part-time position for Code Enforcement. Bureau Veritas has provided staff member Ramon Montanez. Mr. Montanez works Monday, Tuesday and half day on Wednesday and he is Spanish speaking, which is beneficial to the community.
Myra Bettencourt, 584 Duke Drive, inquired why some questions were being answered and why some were not. City Manager Warne assured Ms. Bettencourt that the Council would provide answers as soon as the information is available. Ms. Bettencourt said please do not take any actions until you have read the information and understand these lawsuits. She wished the Council success and congratulations.
Mario Mendoza, no address given, said a bit ago, something was said about the garbage that there is a 10-year contract with the Waste Management Company, but in reality the garbage company never raised the rates for the City. The City raised the garbage rates to residents of the community.
Mario Mendoza (in Spanish) stated, “What I just said is that a lady said that there is a 10- year contract with the garbage company for a garbage rate increase, but the garbage company never raised the garbage rates; the City raised the garbage rates.”
In another matter, Mario Mendoza referred to Ms. Martinez’s comments about the need for a translator. He recalled that at the town hall meeting she said we have an independent translator and it was Mrs. Mohani. However, come to find out that she is one your friends, so if you are going to decide who can translate you better get somebody that we can count on and one who is not going to be biased. He also congratulated Mr. Espinoza and Ms. Land.
Naomi Huhn, 1487 Monte Cristo Way, commented to the Council that they have a lot of hard decisions ahead of them. Ms. Huhn noted that the community has being asked to be supportive of the new Council. Ms. Huhn pointed out that the community would never be disrespectful or call the Council “the three stooges” even if they disagreed with them.
Julio Valadez, P.O. Box, Livingston, congratulated the new Mayor and Council Member. He suggested that they take the time and read everything that is important. Mr. Valadez said he would like to promote a website and noted that Livingston4thofjuly.com is under construction. He commented that he is not curious as to why questions are not answered. So, not everyone is curious, and he knows that some questions cannot be answered right away. Mr. Valadez asked why we did not ask for a bilingual interpreter before. He feels the City would benefit if Ms. Katherine Schell Rodriguez would run for Council because she seems to know a lot.
Mayor Espinoza presented the consent calendar agenda for the Council’s consideration and approval:
8. Resolution No. 2010-51, Determining the Bid of Global International, Inc. and Nor-Cal Concrete Non- Responsive and Awarding Construction Contract to A. Teichert & Son, Inc. dba Teichert Construction, Turlock, California, Approving the Expenditure of Construction Funds for the State Legislated Safe Routes to Schools Sidewalk Installation Project (Cycle 8) – Project No. SR2SL-5256(010), and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Construction Contract and any Change Orders Thereto with Teichert Construction.
9 Resolution No. 2010-52, Approving Amendment 1 to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Between the City of Livingston and Merced County Workforce Investment Board for Enterprise Zone Marketing and Program Management Services.
10. Approval of Warrant Register Dated September 16, 2010.
Motion: M/S Aguilar/Land to approve the consent calendar agenda as presented. The motion carried 3-0, with Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra absent.
DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS
11. City Manager Announcements and Reports.
The Regular Meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m. to a Closed Session.
City Attorney Hobbs said we understand that there are citizens that want to make comments on Closed Session items.
Katherine Schell Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston, stated that over the past several months she has heard several complaints about the City Attorney, so apparently they have a problem with the way he does his work. Ms. Schell Rodriguez cautioned the Council about taking action too quickly. She pointed out several questions that the Council should ask themselves prior to taking any action.
Julio Valadez, P.O. Box 701, Livingston, said consider there are lots of cities willing to give Foster Farms a bunch of breaks to get them in there, so let’s try and not push support.
Kaye Greely, 1571 Monte Cristo Way, said she feels like you are on a witch hunt for Mr. Hobbs’ position. She said please think twice before you let him go, if you are planning that.
Debra Lopez, 1543 Monte CristoWay, stated that the existing litigation is now in the appeals court and it would make no sense to withdraw now. Additionally, she noted the support of other California cities. She would like to see that through. She has some problems with how the City Council feels about our City Attorney. She asked if Mr. Espinoza felt more comfortable with the previous City Attorney and if he felt the current City Attorney did the job he is supposed to do.
Estella Martinez, P.O. Box 381, Livingston, cautioned the Council about dropping the appeal. She stated that Livingston residents pay more than what Foster Farms pays for utility service. Ms. Martinez stated that Foster Farms is a strong company, but the City needs to do the right thing. Ms. Martinez also noted that Foster Farms may be a large company, but they pay low wages.
Mayor Espinoza opened the Closed Session. Present were Mayor Espinoza, Council Members Aguilar and Land, City Manager Warne, Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Lewis, and City Attorney Hobbs. Absent was Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra. The City Council went into Closed Session to discuss the following matters:
1. Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation.
Government Code Section 54956.9(a).
a. Foster Poultry Farms, Inc. v. City of Livingston, Merced County Superior Court, Case No. CV000292, California Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, Case No. F059871.
b. Foster Poultry Farms, Inc. v. City of Livingston, et al, California Superior Court, County of Merced, Case No. CV000752.
c. Merced County Farm Bureau v. City of Livingston, et al., California Superior Court, County of Merced, Case No. CU151754 [consolidated with Valley Advocates v. City of Livingston, et al, Superior Court, County of Merced, Case No. CU151757].
- Public Employee Performance Evaluation.
Pursuant to Government Code Section 54957.
Title: City Attorney.
The Council came out of Closed Session and into Open Session at 8:54 p.m.
CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS
City Attorney Hobbs reported that on the case: Foster Poultry Farms, Inc. v. City of Livingston, et al, California Superior Court, County of Merced, Case No. CV000752., the Council voted 3-0 with 1 absence to dismiss the appeal.
City Attorney Hobbs said he has tendered his resignation effective at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, September 24, 2010.
Mayor Espinoza announced that a Special City Council meeting was scheduled for Friday, September 24, 2010, at 6:00 p.m.
The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 10:56 p.m.
City Clerk of the City of Livingston
APPROVED: December 7, 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.