Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on September 03, 2013.

Livingston, California

Notes from TheGardeningSnail: Parts of This page may have been prepared by running a PDF file through a program that converts Image to Text. Sorry if any Textual Gremlins crept in.

Meeting Date:  January 21, 2014

Agenda Item #3. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on September 3, 2013.






A Concurrent Meeting of the Livingston City Council and Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston was held on September 3, 2013, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Espinoza presiding.



Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 6:03 p.m.


Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Gurpal Samra

Council Member Jim Soria (Excused Absence)

Council Member Arturo Sicairos

Council Member David Mendoza

Mayor Espinoza opened the meeting for public comments at 6:05 p.m. There were no comments from the public and the Council subsequently went into Closed Session to discuss the following matters:

1. Successor Agency

Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation

[Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(1)]

City of Livingston and Successor Agency to the Livingston

Community Redevelopment Agency v. Ana Matosantos, et al

Superior Court of the State of California – County of Sacramento

Case No. 34-2013-80001460

2. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

[(Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(2)]

Number of Cases: 3

3. Conference with Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Labor Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees



Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 7:02 p.m.


The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.


Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Gurpal Samra

Council Member Jim Soria (Excused Absence)

Council Member Arturo Sicairos

Council Member David Mendoza




Mayor Pro-Tem Samra requested that agenda item #10 be discussed before the public hearing.


1. Presentation by Public Works Director Humberto Molina: 15 Year Service Pin to Jaime Tafoya,

Maintenance Worker I.

Public Works Director Molina presented a service pin to Jaime Tafoya, Maintenance Worker I, in recognition of his 15-years of employment with the City of Livingston. Director Molina noted that Mr. Tafoya works in various areas and is supervised by James Linan and Chuck Dominguez.

James Linan commented that Mr. Tafoya is good at connecting with people and he is appreciative of his efforts and work performance.

Chuck Dominguez, Parks Supervisor, noted that Mr. Tafoya takes care of the Sports Complex and other park areas and he appreciates the work that he does.

Mr. Tafoya thanked the City for giving him the opportunity to work and said he gives 110% of himself in all job duties.

2. 2. Presentation by City Engineer Nanda Gottiparthy: Update on Well #16 and Well #8.

City Engineer Gottiparthy provided the Council with a lengthy and informative update on City Water Wells #16 and #8. Extensive discussion followed.

(Note From TheGardeningSnail – Not only was the Presentation Lengthy and Informative, the Discussion became quite Heated and Accusatory. For a Complete Transcript of what was said that evening, CLICK HERE)


Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.


City Staff Announcements and Reports.

Police Chief Chavez gave a PowerPoint presentation on the Burglary Action Plan and Animal Control statistics.

Mayor Espinoza commented that the resident who was bitten by a loose animal received 16 stitches. The Postmaster has thanked the City.

Chief Chavez said he was unaware of the incident and he encouraged citizens to call Animal Control if they ever need to.

Chief Chavez reported that the Police Department is conducting gang sweeps and probation searches and two guns were found in the process. He commented on the CEASE Program, Newtown, Connecticut and presentations that were made and topics that were discussed.

City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Manager Ramirez updated the Council on last week’s visit by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and a meeting of the Arts Council.

City Manager Ramirez commented that that plans for the Sweet Potato Festival are coming along.

He outlined many of the festivities and noted that public participation is needed to help pay for expenses.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.


Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.



3. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code Title 3, “Business Regulations,” by Adding Chapter 17, Titled “Tobacco Retailer License,” Requiring the Licensure of Tobacco Retailers.

City Manager Ramirez introduced the item. He said the idea is to get some funds from all of the different retail establishments in Livingston. The dollar amount that was thrown out originally was a lot higher, but the dollar amount now is $100 per tobacco retailer. Currently there are about 10 local tobacco retailers, so if it is 10, that’s $1,000 and what we do is make contact with the stores or the officers or somebody else and we would go out and do spot checks to make sure that businesses are not selling tobacco to minors.

Evi Hernandez with the California Department of Public Health introduced a couple of representatives from the Merced County Tobacco Control Program and said he would be available to help with clarifications or answer any questions.

Ms. Silva, an active member of the Merced County Tobacco Coalition stated she is here to educate the Council and public about the dangers of tobacco. Tobacco continues to be the number one preventable cause of death in the U.S. killing more than 430,000 a year. Tobacco is associated with many cardiac diseases including various types of cancers and as she speaks right now someone somewhere is going to die from some type of cancer causing disease.

The Merced County Tobacco Control Coalition supports the adoption of the Tobacco retail license ordinance because it will prevent young kids from having access to tobacco at retail stores and keep them from a lifetime of addiction. She is here asking Council to support this. It is a great cause.

Fatima Asha, also an active member of the Merced County Tobacco Control Coalition stated that 88% of current smokers began under the age of 18 years old. 4,000 people under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette. Primarily they are focusing on the youth of Livingston and how negatively tobacco can affect their lives. She has worked with high school students and believes this is a big issue.

Evi Hernandez said primarily people who will benefit from this are the youth. We know for a fact that tobacco products are easily available and the retail stores are still the primary source where they get the tobacco, so with the ordinance in place, they know that would make it possible for the City with the revenues collected to be able to conduct the compliance checks and prevent stores from illegally selling the tobacco products. These laws have been in effect for about 100 years.

Council Member Mendoza said this sounds like another tax like ATF.

Evi Hernandez said this would be an annual fee like as done with alcohol.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra is a non-smoker. He stated that everything that is being proposed is illegal. He asked how is adding a fee better and will it accomplish anything. Mayor Pro-Tem Samra noted that most kids that smoke get them from older friends or family etc., so the fee wouldn’t really resolve the problem. He questioned why they haven’t been able to convince other cities.

City Manager Ramirez commented that the idea is that the Police Department is focused on pressing issues. The idea is receiving the funds from the annual fee and use decoys to ensure that shops are being honest. What they are trying to do is save as many young lives as possible.

Evi Hernandez stated there was a compliance check and there were two retailers who were attempting to sell. He noted that one or a hundred is something that needs to be addressed. Tobacco is coming out in multiple forms. Who does the compliance?

Mayor Espinoza opened the Public Hearing at 8:40 p.m.

David Blevins, P.O. Box 76, sees this as another form of taxing specific to the City. This could be bad for business. Retailers already have to buy a license from the State for tobacco. They do checks. There are plenty of signs that go up. There is an 800 number. If you see someone selling to minors, you can call in and they come in and take care of it. He just thinks it’s another tax to put on the City of Livingston that isn’t necessary.

Evi Hernandez said this is not a tax, it’s a fee. The annual fee of $100 is not a lot in comparison to the amount of money they bring in. The fee is nominal compared to their profits. This is not going to create any burden on any of the business owners.

Mayor Espinoza closed the Public Hearing at 8:45 p.m.

City Manager Ramirez added that the dollar amount can be changed; it doesn’t have to be $100 if Council wants to approve this.

Council Member Sicairos thinks this could be more work for the Police. This should be the responsibility of the parents.

Evi Hernandez said the smell is very easy to cover and kids will get tobacco in non-smoking forms. There are so many forms of tobacco coming out right now that smoking is not going to be the top source for our kids right now. This is especially for younger people. It should be a concern for all of us. This is the chance to make a difference now. We may get into a situation that will be out of control in the next few years.

Mayor Espinoza said he has been to Chevron and they are pretty good about asking for an ID no matter your age, but he has seen one or two convenience stores sell tobacco to minors. He sees a lot of teenagers smoking already. He thinks even $50 a year would work. It is not a lot of money to have somebody keep an eye out all the time. The taxpayers in the future will have to pay for a lot of the health issues. That is why our insurance is so high.

City Manager Ramirez asked Police Chief Chavez to elaborate on the strategy where the idea is not to use sworn officers to do this.

Chief Chavez said they would use the Police Explorers to go out there and attempt to purchase tobacco products. He would have the officers oversee.

Mayor Espinoza asked the Council to try it out and perhaps change the fee to $50 instead of $100.

Evi Hernandez commented that from the conversations they’ve had with other city council members in other cities and the County, they are not even willing to do this because they don’t want to be the first. In the Central Valley, the town of Fresno and the town of Kern, four different communities have been adopting these ordinances. This is happening statewide. This is something that many other jurisdictions are doing and you have the opportunity to set the example in the County of Merced.

Evi Hernandez added that two weeks from today, he will be in Bogota, Colombia. He was invited to speak on the work that they are doing on tobacco control with all the communities and his whole presentation is going to be based on the work that they are doing in the City of Livingston. He would love nothing more than to say that the City of Livingston has been proactive in protecting the health of their kids with an ordinance that makes sense.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra said that to him this is not going to solve the problem. This is like putting another stop sign at an intersection. He has a problem with that.

Mayor Espinoza stated that it’s also against business owners who profit from this. It is more easily accessible to young kids.

Mayor Espinoza moved to adopt Ordinance 608 and set the fee at $50 per year. There was no second to the motion. The Ordinance did not pass. No roll call was taken.

4. Resolution Conditionally Approving Site Plan/Design Review 2013-2 for Livingston Farm

Supply Building.

Contract Planner Holly Owen presented the staff report and recommended approval of this Site Plan and Design Review subject to the conditions listed on Exhibit A.

Contract Planner Owen relayed that this Site Plan/ Design Review 2013-02 – Livingston Farm Supply Building Addition, was brought before the Planning Commission and approved by them on August 13, 2013.

The applicant, Jim Fernandes Construction, Inc., proposes to construct a 4,176 square foot building addition to an existing 5,000 square foot agricultural business facility on a 6.6 acre parcel located 2380 Walnut Avenue (generally located on the south side of Walnut Avenue, east of Industrial Drive in the M-1, Limited Industrial zone district). The property is currently an agricultural supply store located east of Hammatt Avenue and on the south side of Walnut Avenue. The site’s General Plan designation of Limited Industrial is appropriate. An equipment sales, rental and repair store is a permitted use in the Limited Industrial zoning district.

Mayor Espinoza opened and closed the Public Hearing at 9:10 p.m. as there was no public comment.

Council Comments

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra Supports the project.

Mayor Espinoza

He is glad to see that someone is expanding.

Motion: M/S Samra/Sicairos to adopt Resolution No. 2013-43 approving Site Plan/Design Review 2013-2 for Livingston Farm Supply. The motion carried 4-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Sicairos, Mendoza, Samra, Espinoza

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: Soria



Mayor Espinoza opened Public Comments at 9:12 p.m.


Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, has 3 readings, a statement and a question. The 2011 Water Consumer Report in water bills, “Well #16 was shut down in 2011 when the removal of efficiency filtration system began to degrade… From September 17, 2012 Utility Rates Stakeholders’ Committee agenda item #4, Well #16 arsenic removal media vendor recommendation.

Statement, there are 2 Council liaisons for the Utility Rates Stakeholders’ Committee meetings. Council Report with Hansford Economic…management would like to move forward with water rate study. When will they move along with another rate stud( and approximate date of Prop 218 for water and sewer?

Note from TheGardeningSnail – There is a lot missing from this comment above: Which makes this comment look like it doesn’t make a lick of sense. One example is the part about since there are 2 council Liaisons for the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee, the Council knew, or should have know that Well #16 had to be taken offline for Arsenic Media Filtration Replacement. This was in response to Mayor Espinoza repeatedly stating that NO ONE told him that well #16 had been taken offline)

Mayor said that that’s why he asked for an update.

Citizen Comments closed at 9:50 p.m.




5. Resolution No. 2013-44 Approving a One (1) Year Contract Service Extension with Hansford Economic Consulting and Authorizing the City Manager to Extend the Agreement.


6. City Council Authorization to Accept an Office of Traffic Safety Grant in the amount of $45,000.

7. Resolution No. 2013-45 Confirming Support for Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Application to Establish an Enhanced Economic Development Rate.


8. Approval of Warrant Register Dated August 28, 2013.

Motion: M/S Sicairos/Mendoza to approve the consent agenda. The motion carried 4-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Espinoza, Mendoza, Samra, Sicairos

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: Soria


9. 9. Resolution of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston

Approving the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule V (ROPS 13-14B) Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 34177 for the Period January through June, 2014.

Brief discussion ensued. Motion: M/S Sicairos/Mendoza to adopt Resolution No. 2013-3. The motion carried 4-0 by the following vote:

AYES: Agency Members: Espinoza, Mendoza, Sicairos, Samra

NOES: Agency Members: None

ABSENT: Agency Members: Soria



10. 10. Resolution Appointing an Alternate Planning Commissioner.

City Manager Ramirez presented the item. He said the City has received two applications and conducted interviews.

Mayor Espinoza opened and closed public comments at 8:34 p.m.

Motion: Sicairos to appoint both candidates as alternates.

City Attorney Sanchez recommended that one alternate be selected tonight and maybe one in the future if possible.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra said he was impressed by both candidates and asked that staff be directed to implement the necessary changes to have two alternates in the future.

Motion: M/S Sicairos/Samra to adopt Resolution No. 2013-46 appointing Ranjeet Jhutti as an Alternate Member of the Planning Commission. The motion carried 4-0 by the following roll call vote:

AYES: Council Members: Espinoza, Mendoza, Samra, Sicairos

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: Soria

It was suggested that candidate Christina Valencia be contacted to determine if she would be interested in serving as a second alternate.




Mayor Espinoza adjourned the meeting at 10:12 p.m.


City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED: January 21, 2014


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.


Leave a Reply

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

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

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s