FEBRUARY 15, 2011 Draft Minutes




FEBRUARY 15, 2011

A Closed Session/Regular Meeting of the Livingston City Council was held on February 15, 2011, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar presiding.



Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar called the meeting to order at 6:01 p.m.


Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza (Excused Absence)

Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar

Council Member Frank Vierra (Excused Absence)

Council Member Theresa Land

Council Member Gurpal Samra

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar opened the meeting for public comments. There were no public comments and the City Council adjourned to the City Hall Conference Room for 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, et al, California Superior Court, County of Merced, Case No. CV000752.

2. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Attorney


The Council came out of Closed Session and into Open Session. The Council subsequently returned to the City Council Chambers for the Regular Meeting.



Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.


The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.


Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza (Excused Absence)

Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar

Council Member Frank Vierra (Excused Absence)

Council Member Theresa Land

Council Member Gurpal Samra


There were no Closed Session announcements.


Motion: M/S Aguilar/Land to continue Item #7 to the regular meeting of March 1, 2011. The motion carried 3-0.


1. Presentation by Rosa Gomez, Merced County Community Action Agency.

Rosa Gomez, representing the Merced County Community Action Agency, spoke about the various low income programs offered by the Agency and said pamphlets were available that would inform citizens of all programs that were available. Ms. Gomez said the Agency offered the programs to low income residents residing within Merced County. She noted that the Agency’s vision was to eliminate poverty.

2. Presentation by the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) on the Regional Transportation Impact Fee (RTIF).

Jesse Brown, Executive Director of the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) gave a detailed Power Point presentation the Regional Transportation Impact Fee (RTIF).

Katherine Schell Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston stated the impact study was accepted in 2005 and updated in 2008 and the fees were calculated based upon a computer model based upon getting output of that study. She found the following quote in the study that the population within Merced County was expected to grow by 98% and employment would grow by 82% by the year 2030. She asked given that this study was last updated in 2008 and it was now 2011 and there is a recession, how valid was this study and when would it be adjusted to current conditions.

Jesse Brown commented that the study was reviewed annually by MCAG and population and employment projections were reviewed and recognized by the MCAG Governing Board. The population projections that were used were calculated by the State Department of Finance. They are done independently by MCAG, but on a statewide basis.

Council Member Samra referred to slide #7 on the financial outlook.

Jesse Brown gave an explanation on the financial outlook.

Council Member Samra asked Mr. Brown what he thought the shortfall would be.

Jesse Brown stated there were two sides to this. When MCAG developed these costs construction costs had gone down. He noted that Caltrans was looking at the projects on Highway 99 and were looking at 25%-30% less than the original cost estimate. So it was going to balance out, but MCAG was not seeing the money come in for these projects.

Further discussion followed. No action was taken by the Council.


Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

· Introduced Brenda Valenzuela-Porras as his new Administrative Assistant replacing Juan Corona.

· Once again thanked the Council for allowing him to use the Council Chambers for a town hall meeting. He said there were not many people present, but those that were he thought got some of the answers that they needed.

· Mentioned a flier that was being circulated that the Meals-on-Wheels Program would be ending. He stated that Merced County was not stopping the program.

· Reported on his trip to Washington, DC last week for different County projects. He noted that this year was worse because there was no money available.

In response to a question from Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar, Supervisor Pedrozo noted that Brenda Valenzuela-Porras could be reached by calling his office at the Board of Supervisors office.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar said she was glad that the rumor regarding the Meals-on-Wheels Program was put to rest.

Acting City Manager Announcements and Reports.

Acting City Manager Vickie Lewis

· Reported on a fire on Davis Street Friday morning. She said most of the home was salvaged and no one was hurt. She thanked the fire department and wanted the firemen to know how much they were appreciated.

· Noted that the Street Crime Unit (SCU) that Acting Police Chief Soria spoke to in his presentation had been very effective. She said a number of things the department had done was arrest numerous individuals for drugs. They had interviewed about 20 gang members and had already written three warrants for gang related crimes that were committed in the community and continued to use surveillance in town in known and high theft areas. She hoped that everyone recognized just how important this unit was for the community. She said if anyone had anything to report to the department or suspected wrongdoing to please contact Acting Chief Soria, Officer Mike Baker or Officer Patrick Radke and they would be glad to help. She commented that the officers were doing a great job and she wanted to commend them for their work, especially to Acting Chief Soria for implementing the program.

· Relayed that the City had received Requests for Proposals for the utility rate study and she and the City Engineer were reviewing them at this time.

· Commented that Acting Chief Soria had expressed that the department was going to start putting items on the City website to help educate the community about things that would help the citizens avoid problems and for better communication. She noted the department put a traffic violation training film on the website that was excellent. It was provided and performed by Sgt. Ray Fong and directed by Matt Mucci. She added that they had done a good job and the work was done for free. Ms. Lewis explained how to access the video on the City website.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Council Member Theresa Land

· Reported that she attended the Court Theater Committee bunko tournament that was a lot of fun.

· Noted that on Sunday, February 13, the Livingston High School Sober Grad Committee held a fundraiser and she was happy with the turnout. She said that Police Officer Anthony Vieira was there and was very kind and helpful and she appreciated his assistance.

· Relayed that Livingston High School was having a spaghetti dinner on Saturday, February 26 in the school cafeteria from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. and people could either dine in or take out dinners.

Council Member Gurpal Samra

· Reported that last Thursday Mayor Espinoza, Council Member Land and him had attended a seminar in San Ramon regarding retail. He commented that there were a lot of nervous cities out there. In regards to retail, he noted the word was that no one wanted to move forward. It had taken a lot more work to bring these projects in and get them approved. Council Member Samra commented that it was not because the cities didn’t want to do it, but because many communities were nervous and they didn’t want to move forward at this time. He added that a lot of the cities were starting to look at allowing medicinal marijuana dispensaries and he didn’t know if it was because they believed in the cause or because of the revenue.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

Mayor Pro-Tem Margarita Aguilar (in the absence of Mayor Espinoza)

· Noted that the July 4th Committee had a letter on the internet promoting the event. She noted the committee had a new member, David Blevins, and the next meeting would be held at Geneo’s Pizza on February 21 at 7:00 p.m. and was open to the public.

· Commented that she would like for one of the individuals in charge of Relay for Life to attend a Council meeting and promote the event to the public. She had participated

in the past helping out with certain events. Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar noted there would be a fundraising casino night put on by the Campus Park team on February 21. The bus would leave at 6:00 a.m. and return at 2:00 a.m. She asked that any person interested in participating should contact Ms. Pimentel at 535-3481.

· Thanked the residents for their prayers and well wishes for her son who just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Added Report by Council Member Theresa Land

· Stated that she was the Council liaison on the Livingston Planning Commission and the Commission had welcomed two new members Mario Mendoza and Harpreet Bains. She noted that the Clearwire project had been put on hold temporarily.




Katherine Schell Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, Livingston suggested that now that the City had a Parks and Recreation Commission how about delegating the naming of parks to them.

Myra Bettencourt 1584 Duke Drive, stated she found it interesting to see the closed session item regarding Foster Farms. She noted the rumor from the recall people was that as soon as the Council got in and voted to drop the appeal for Foster Farms, Foster Farms was going to drop the lawsuit against the City. She wondered what happened.

Ms. Bettencourt questioned the item about a public employee appointment, the city attorney. She asked if the Council was not happy with the city attorney they appointed or was this something to put on the agenda to make it look like the Council had important business to discuss. Ms. Bettencourt asked why even have a closed session with only three Council Members present and having to pay the attorney an extra $200-$300 to attend.

Ms. Bettencourt further directed several derogatory comments to Acting City Manager Vickie Lewis and chastised her for firing former Police Chief Dunford and bowing down to the Council by making this decision.

In response to some comments made by Ms. Bettencourt, Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar mentioned that Mr. Vierra said he would be present for the closed session, but he was not, so maybe Ms. Bettencourt wanted to call him personally regarding his absence. She also told Ms. Bettencourt that when she gave blessings that she give them to our soldiers because they were the reason why she was able to sit there in her seat.

Mohani Thiara, 2747 Claret Circle stated she had been out of the country and just returned and was here to speak on behalf of former Police Chief Dunford. She made many favorable remarks about Mr. Dunford and expressed her disappointment with Vickie Lewis for making a decision to fire the former Police Chief and also questioned her leadership skills. She added that she was disappointed by the events that had taken place since the new Council stepped in, first the dismissal of the city attorney, then the city manager and now the chief of police.

Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street commented that the temporary road repair at Peach and Main had gone bad and another patch job was needed.

Kaye Greeley, 1571 Monte Cristo Way asked why Mr. Silva, was not fulfilling his obligation as the new City Clerk. She further asked as the City Clerk, wasn’t Mr. Silva supposed to be sitting at the dais and taking notes.

Estella Martinez 1650 Jantz Drive said she was glad to hear of the police department’s achievements, but was curious to know if some accomplishments were not made before. Ms. Martinez made reference to observing increased gang activity on the streets, gang signs being demonstrated to her son and other matters regarding the police department. She commented that she liked her security, but staff should not make it look as if achievements had never been done before.

Julio Valadez, P.O. Box 701, Livingston, Chairman of the Fourth of July Committee, asked the Council to consider making the committee an official City committee. He noted that to keep the committee moving forward, members determined that adding their group would be beneficial to other official City committees. Mr. Valadez said the committee was aware that it would take time for the Council to consider its request and he looked forward to a favorable response.

Mr. Valadez commented that committee members had committed themselves to the event and were mailing sponsor letters to local and surrounding businesses. He said if anyone wanted to make a donation and did not receive a letter, checks could be mailed to: Livingston 4th of July, P.O. Box 611, Livingston, CA 95334.

In another mater, Mr. Valadez noted the Knights of Columbus was having their regional free throw basketball tournament on Sunday at the Livingston High School gym at 1:00 p.m. He said the event was open to the public and this was a regional contest so they already had winners from this area.

Rosa Gomez, 2321 Burgundy Drive said that since moving to Livingston 10 years ago she found that this was a great community with a lot of citizen support. She noted that she was helping the eighth grade graduation committee with their dance. Ms. Gomez said the committee held a barbecue recently and sold over 450 plates of food. She thanked everyone for their support.

Ms. Gomez reported that a fundraising carnitas dinner to support Livingston Youth Football would be held at the Livingston Community Center on March 5 from 4-8 pm. She noted that she was the newly elected president of the Livingston Community Network and invited everyone to attend the next meeting at the Waffle Palace on March 12 at 7:30 a.m.

Luis Flores, 707 Almondwood Drive commented that a meeting of the Livingston Community Garden would be held on Wednesday and the committee was still active. Committee members had an appointment with the new LUSD Superintendent at 3:45 p.m. at the district office and asked the public to join them.


Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar presented the following consent calendar items for the Council’s consideration:

3. Resolution No. 2011-11, Approving Authorized Staff Signatories to the Awarded Grant CBG-09-093 Under the ARRA – Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants Program.

4. Resolution No. 2011-12, Designating Certain Signatures for City Bank Accounts.

5. Denial of Claim for Damages from Jason Garcia.

  1. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on January 4, 2011.
  1. Approval of Warrant Register Dated February 9, 2011.

Motion: M/S Samra/Land to approve the consent calendar items. The motion carried 3-0.


8. City Council Adoption of a Resolution Naming City Parks and Approving a Sign Location for the Park at Parkside.

The Council continued this item to the regular meeting of March 1, 2011.

9. Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Formation of a Stake Holders’ Committee to Participate in the City of Livingston’s Water Utility Rate Study.

Council Member Samra presented the agenda item. He noted that the City had received Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for a water rate study and he recommended that in conjunction that a Stake Holders’ Committee be established. He provided an explanation of the purpose of such a committee.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar clarified that Council Member Samra was asking the Council to direct staff to prepare an advertisement to solicit interested citizens to serve on the Stake Holders’ Committee.

Council Member Samra said this was correct, an advertisement for the business and education community and the residents who want to work with the City’s consultant to develop different ideas on water rates that may be overlooked by the Council. The advertisement would be placed on the City website and Channel 2 and interested individuals could submit their names for consideration.

Katherine Schell Rodriguez noted that when she heard the words committee and workshop she thought of two different things. She asked if Council Member Samra was talking about an official committee with 5-6 people with official bylaws, rules and stipulations like other City committees have with official agendas and posting requirements.

Council Member Samra said he was looking at an ad hoc committee. He gave examples of what he was referring to.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar said the committee was a way to get the residents involved as the Council wanted to make sure the lines of communication were always open.

Council Member Samra added the committee would be aimed at showing the people what the Council was discussing and getting the work started with the consultant.

Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street commented if there were only going to be five members on the committee would they include educators with water experience and knowledge of past information. He also asked how the Council would select the five members.

Council Member Samra replied that details had yet to be worked out.

Mr. Torres asked how long would the committee report on its progress.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar said there would be town hall meetings and the Council would continue the procedures that they had in the past. She added that all businesses, schools and residents were affected as a whole by the Council’s decision so nothing would be approved without bringing it to the Council. There would be a final vote by the Council along with the people doing the analyzing.

Council Member Samra suggested that the Council direct staff to get the word out and have people come back and apply by the next Council meeting.

Interim City Attorney Sanchez explained the status of the committee, the selection process for committee members, posting requirements for meetings and the need for transparency when scheduling and holding committee meetings.

Motion: M/S Aguilar/Samra to direct staff to advertise for Stake Holders’ Committee members. The motion carried 3-0.


The meeting was adjourned by consensus at 8:08 p.m.


City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED: March 15, 2011


Mayor or Mayor ProTempore

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


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