Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on January 21, 2014.

Meeting Date: February 04, 2014

Agenda Item #4. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on January 21, 2014.

Note from TheGardeningSnail: Parts of this page may have been prepared by running a PDF file through a program that converts Image to Print. So there may be a few textual Gremlins that have slipped in. I may also have broken up some of the longer paragraphs, for easier reading.






JANUARY 21, 2014

A Concurrent Regular Meeting of the City Council and Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston was held January 21, 2014, in the City Council Chambers with Mayor Espinoza presiding.



Mayor Espinoza called the meeting to order at 6:17 p.m.


Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Gurpal Samra (Excused Absence)

Council Member Jim Soria

Council Member Arturo Sicairos

Council Member David Mendoza (Excused Absence)

Mayor Espinoza opened the meeting for public comments at 6:19 p.m. There were no comments from the public. The Council adjourned to Closed Session immediately thereafter 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: 1

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 7:34 p.m.


The pledge of allegiance to the flag was recited.


Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza

Mayor Pro-Tem Gurpal Samra

Council Member Jim Soria

Council Member Arturo Sicairos

Council Member David Mendoza (Excused Absence)


City Attorney Sanchez said no reportable action was taken; however, Item #5, Conference with Labor Negotiator has been continued to the end of the regular meeting.




1. Presentation by Mayor Espinoza: Certificate of Appreciation to the Sapien Family in Memory of Pedro and Mercedes Sapien for the Use of Land for a Community Garden.

Mayor Espinoza expressed gratitude to the Sapien family on behalf of the City Council and the City of Livingston for allowing the use of their land for the first Community Garden. This has greatly benefitted the senior residents in the community.

A representative of the Sapien family (no name given) received the certificate. He said they are letting the seniors use the property and hopefully if their water holds out, this can become an annual event.


Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.


City Staff Announcements and Reports.

Parks & Recreation Superintendent, Jacquie Benoit

Basketball is currently in full swing. A record number of children are participating. Games are taking place at the Livingston Middle School and Livingston Community Center.

The Parks and Recreation Commission will be meeting on January 23rd to discuss upcoming events, the swim team and Commission communications.

The Downtown Arts District dinner meeting will take place on January 24th at 5:30 p.m., City Council Chambers. Art participants from the high school as well as local artists and others have been invited and they will discuss a mutual plan for the downtown.

Saturday will be the first baseball and softball registration at City Hall from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon. Coaches are needed for this year’s season. Anyone interested please contact the recreation office.

The City has received a grant to plant trees in the City. On April 25th, Arbor Day, 276 trees will be planted throughout the City. 100 youths have already volunteered for this activity, but there is a need for adult volunteers to help supervise the teens. Anyone interested in helping, please call the recreation office.

Police Department

Police Chief Chavez presented an update on gang statistics. Several guns have been taken away during gang sweeps. Officers continue to patrol areas that have previously been prone to high incidents of residential burglaries.

In regards to a recent non-gang related stabbing incident, two of the three suspects have been arrested. The third suspect is actively being sought.

During last week’s Swat Dog Operation, approximately 35 dogs running loose were seized and 18 citations were issued to pet owners. Merced Police Department sent their two Animal Control Officers to assist .

A Pet Ownership Workshop is being considered to provide ideas to pet owners on how to prevent their dogs from escaping from their back yards. This would take place during the next vaccination clinic possibly in April.

Kops for Kids program was held last Christmas season. With the support of many great sponsors the program turned out very well. The Merced Sun Star wrote a nice article on the event.

Jack Marcel, a teacher at Livingston Middle School recently hosted a disc golf day on two courses at Arakelian Park and Joseph Gallo Park. It was a great day with over 25 people coming out to learn to play disc golf.

The Office of Traffic Safety awarded the Department a grant to enforce traffic violations within the City. The Department is currently identifying specific areas and a timeframe where citations will be issued to drivers talking on their cell phones, not wearing seatbelts, speeding, not making stops, etc.

Routes Campaign- January 6-10. During this week there was a focus on traffic safety around and near schools trying to keep the roadway safe so that kids get to school safely.

Crime Statistics Comparison – a list with crime comparison for the years 2012 and 2013, indicates that overall there has been a reduction in crime. Patrol officers and dispatchers are doing a great job of trying to alleviate crime.

City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Manager Ramirez announced that Senator Anthony Cannella will be having a mobile District Office starting February 4th from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. This will take place at Livingston High School. He will have periodic visits here for the community or elected officials who would like to meet with him.

The Sweet Potato Festival planning has started. Event dates will be September 19-21st. Vendors and participants may contact the City Hall for information.

The Court Theater has been demolished. Pest control measures were taken prior to the demolishment and will be repeated tomorrow, so please stay away from that area.

City Manager Ramirez introduced the latest employee hired, James Zarate who will be stationed at the wastewater treatment plant. Mr. Zarate stated that he is happy to be part of the City team. Mayor Espinoza welcomed him aboard.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Council Member Soria, sadly informed everyone of the passing of Mr. Mike Coronado on January 1st. Mr. Coronado was a longtime good friend and President of the Livingston Youth Football Organization. He was a great volunteer and role model to the youth in the community. A sincere condolence is extended to his family. Mr. Coronado will be greatly missed, but not forgotten.

Council Member Soria reported that he attended a Water Coalition meeting in Sacramento on Thursday representing the City and the County. The next day Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency due to the drought. He also emphasized the importance of water conservation.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

Mayor Espinoza reported that last Thursday a meeting of the MCAG Governing Board and County officials was held in the Livingston City Council Chambers. Transportation issues were discussed. The State is trying to push from 4 to 6 lanes from Turlock to Livingston. Some of the things they are trying to push are here in the County.

Mayor Espinoza stated that the Court Theater was taken down in two days. The City is trying to be cautious in regards to the rodents and cockroaches. They have been spraying and will do so again tomorrow after they pick up some of the debris. If any of the neighboring residents have a pest problem they should contact City Hall.


2. The City has been awarded a $700,000 grant from the State Department of Housing and Community Development for the City’s 2013 application for HOME Investment Partnerships Program funding.

City Manager Ramirez explained that this grant will be for used for Housing Rehab and First Time Homebuyer’s Program. Anyone interested may come to City Hall for more information.

Mayor Espinoza asked, how long it will be before people can start applying.

City Manager Ramirez responded that as soon as special conditions are met, possibly in about a month. He said there is also existing money from previous grants. Anyone interested may contact City Hall for more information.


Mayor Espinoza opened Citizen Comments at 7:55 p.m.

Lesa Sanchez, 1576 Montecito Drive, stated there has been an ongoing public health issue with the water in Livingston.

She said she first reported a problem with brown water in October, 2010. She stated that she was told to and has since then flushed her water regularly to clear her system.

In 2013 she had to replace the pure water filter twice due to the change filter light signal changing from green to red in a few minutes on both filters.

She reported the problem to the pure filter company and they stated that the malfunctioning of the system was due to the City’s well water.

She reported this problem to the Public Works Department and was told that her house sits behind an underground horseshoe shaped tubing line where the bulk of the brown reddish sediment deposits at her house and is the reason why so much dirty water came out of the line when the line was flushed by Public Works and that it would take longer to flush.

Ms. Sanchez made a request to City Manager Ramirez for reimbursement from the City for damaged property, being that a pure system and two water filters resulted from the dirty water. She also requested an additional 10,000 gallons of water at no charge to be added to her account for the summer months. In addition, she requested a type of trap be placed at the section of the water line where it’s the City’s responsibility in order to minimize the amount of sediment that deposits on her water line.

Ms. Sanchez gave copies of her letters to the minute taker.

Mayor Espinoza addressed the concern and explained that two thirds of the City lines have been replaced with the help of grants the City received. The City is trying to get more grants to complete the remainder of the lines and final phase. He shared that he also has experienced a brown water problem in his home. The best thing that can be done in the meantime is to flush the water line.

Currently the City is trying to solve the issue with chemicals in the water.

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163. Her first question: How many gallons per day makes up one equivalent dueling unit? Question #2: How is the process coming along with the contract to see if the City had been overbilled by P.G.&E.? Question #3: When do you think we’ll have a budget? Question #4: When will the next Utility Rates Stakeholders’ Committee meeting take place?

Ms. Schell-Rodriguez submitted a letter to the minute taker as she ran out of time to read the entire letter.

  • {Note from TheGardeningSnail – Um….I don’t remember submitting a letter. All I remember doing was asking the questions and waiting for the answers}

City Manager Ramirez stated that currently the City is in budget negotiations. The Council has passed a continuance resolution. Expenses are being monitored weekly and monthly. It may take another month or two, but the goal is to end the year with a balanced budget.

Finance Director, Ortiz responded to the question regarding P.G.&E. The consultant has contacted agencies for the records, so that review may take two to three months. We hope two hear from them by mid-February and determine if those agencies are cooperating.

City Manager Ramirez commented that within the next couple of weeks a date will be identified for the next Utility Rate Stakeholders’ Committee meeting. Coordinating a date is not easy as there are many members and it is a matter of correlating to make it possible for as many to attend.

City Manager Ramirez explained that USDA typically looks at homes as 4 EDU. Equivalent Dueling Units is 4 / 325,851 gallons of water..

Mayor Espinoza closed Citizen Comments at 8: 09 p.m.


3. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on September 3, 2013.

4. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on September 17, 2013.

5. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on October 1, 2013.

6. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on October 8, 2013.

7. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on October 16, 2013.

8. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on November 22, 2012.

9. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on December 17, 2013.

10. Approval of Warrant Register Dated January 3, 2013.

11. Approval of Warrant Register Dated January 16, 2014

Motion: M/S: Samra/Soria to approve the consent calendar. The motion carried 4-0-1 by the following roll call vote

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

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: Mendoza


12. Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Authorizing Direction for Outside Watering Restrictions per Title 9, Chapter 5, Section 72 of the City of Livingston Municipal Code.

The item, a proposed resolution restricting watering days was introduced by City Manager Ramirez. He added that Governor Brown has declared a State of Emergency for water.

City Manager Ramirez noted that the watering restrictions are not something new. They have been enacted in the past. He gave a summary of the resolution as follows: In order to conserve water, all homes whose address ends in an even number may water on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday. Homes whose address ends in an odd number may water on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. No outside watering on Wednesdays. Washing of vehicles will be allowed on the same days as designated watering days plus weekend days (Saturday and Sunday).

Mayor Espinoza expressed concern for the lack of rain this season.

City Attorney Sanchez stated that the same restrictions are codified in Title 9, Chapter 7, Section 72 of the Municipal Code. There is also an enforcement provision and it should be the duty of the police, fire and all other departments to enforce this chapter of the Code. He added that water is a huge issue and other cities are going down to 20% voluntary reductions. This is good given the State’s circumstances.

Mayor Espinoza said we have a good system now, so hopefully we will be able to enforce it. He doesn’t want people to get a citation right away. Give them a warning first. Approve the resolution, but give the residents a couple of months to get used to the restrictions.

Discussion on citation options and water conservation ideas followed.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra noted the resolution takes effect immediately. He suggested that in the next water bill, rules in different languages be included to inform residents. Also include other water saving measures to educate residents.

Mayor Espinoza opened the public comment section at 8:18 p.m.

Mike Torres, 1616 Eighth Street, commented that this plan was implemented eight or nine years ago. He asked if this time there would be a penalty, and if so the information should be included in the water bills.

City Attorney Sanchez responded that the recommendation is to treat it as an administrative citation. The penalty would be $100 per day for the first violation, $200 for the second violation, and $500 for the third violation. There is an appeal procedure. He commented that the idea of code enforcement is to provide notices and make the public aware of such restrictions, thus the first time the resident waters on an off day they would get a warning.

Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street felt that possibly two warnings would be reasonable and start with $25 fine.

City Attorney Sanchez clarified that the City Code indicates penalty amounts not exceeding the $100, $200 and $500. The Council may address the issue and set lower amounts and put that into the resolution.

Discussion followed on penalty amounts.

The following fine schedule was suggested: 2 warning notices, first violation penalty of $25, second violation penalty of $50, third violation penalty of $100. Further violations within a 12 month period would be $100.

Motion: M/S Samra/Espinoza to adopt Resolution No. 2014-1, as amended, to add another section titled ENFORCEMENT AND PENALTIES to read, “Violations of this resolution shall be enforced by administrative citation pursuant to Title 1, Chapter 18, entitled ADMINISTRATIVE CITATIONS using the following fine schedule after two warnings to residents: $25.00 for the first violation, $50 for the second violation and $100 for the third violation and any other violations within a 12 month period.” The motion carried 4-0-1 by the following roll call vote.

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

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: Mendoza

13. Discussion and Action – Grandfathering of Livingston Youth Football and Cheer Fireworks Booth.

Council Member Soria explained the reason why he asked that this item be placed on the agenda is he sees the financial impact that affects the Youth Football Organization. In memory of Mike Coronado he would like to grandfather a booth for youth football for two years.

City Attorney Sanchez stated for the record that Staff is looking at an amendment for the Fireworks Ordinance. An individual came and provided different actions for the Council to consider and one of the actions was to grandfather certain groups. Currently, the City has one booth for recreation and the others are randomly selected.

Mayor Espinoza said in the past the high school had most of the booths and he thinks that in memory of Mike Coronado grandfathering a booth is a good thing to do.

Recreation Superintendent Benoit explained that currently booths are on a rotation basis.

Mayor Espinoza stated that the Council agreed they were going to stop the rotation because groups were complaining that it was unfair and to be fair to all, the Council agreed that was going to stop.

Further discussion followed.

Mayor Espinoza opened the public comments section at 8:44 p.m.

Katherine Schell-Rodriquez, P.O..Box 163, said we only have five booths that can be awarded and we are going to have one that will go to the City for recreation or the 4th of July, one awarded at the discretion of the Council and three at the discretion of a random lottery.

Shane Baptista, 1649 Rose Court, President of the Youth Football Organization, stated that Youth Football is a self-funded organization. They have about 150 boys playing from ages 7-14. The same in cheerleading. Being a contact sport is very expensive and being a low income city is very difficult. They pay for their own field and lights. They have to do their own fundraising. Running this organization is very expensive. All the other programs have some kind of funding. They don’t have anything, they must raise money to cover expenses.

Maria Baptista, 1649 Rose Court, Secretary of the Youth Football Organization, reiterated what was said by Shane Baptista and emphasized the importance of fundraising for their non-profit organization and the benefit of having a 4th of July booth.

Mayor Espinoza closed public comments at 8:59 p.m.

Motion: M/S Sicairos/Soria to grandfather in the Livingston Youth Football and Cheer Fireworks booth for two (2) years. The motion carried 4-0-1 by the following roll call vote:

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

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: Mendoza

14. Discussion and Action – Council Direction Regarding Mayoral Term/Possible Question on the November 2014 Election.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra said there is not enough time to learn what you need to do in two years. There is also a danger of four seats being changed all at once. You can lose institutional knowledge. He asked the Council to give direction to staff to put this on the ballot to see if voters would like a two year or four year term for Mayor.

Council Members Sicairos and Soria agreed with the four year term as two years is not enough time to learn what is needed.

Discussion centered on this matter with acknowledgement that most city elected terms are four years.

Mayor Espinoza opened public comment section at 9:02 p.m.

Katherine Schell-Rodriguez, P.O. Box 163, said as far as institutional knowledge, she has back to 2004 on her blog. No excuse on boning up on institutional knowledge. She shared an article written by Michael McGuire titled, Livingston Deserves Political Reform.

Ms. Schell-Rodriguez explained how members of the school district, city and state select their leaders. She feels the Mayor’s term should remain at two years. She also feels that the number of years one person should serve on the Council should be limited and the roles of the City Treasurer and City Clerk be strengthened.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra said we already have term limits. If people don’t like you, they will take you out. It should be up to the people.

Warren Urnberg, 1331 Eighth Street, thought that there could possibly be three options on the ballot. Either vote for the Mayor for two years or have him selected from the Council for a two year term, the Mayor be selected by the Council, go back to the old way, all run for Council or put on the ballot for the Mayor to have a two year or four year term.

Mayor Pro-Tem Samra said the only thing we can do is change the two year to four year, but we cannot go back to the old way because people already voted to put it on the ballot.

Mayor Espinoza closed public comments at 9:13 p.m.

Mayor Espinoza commented that it doesn’t matter. We can put it on the ballot and the citizens vote. Last time when it went on the ballot they voted for a two year term. Next time they can vote for a four year term. It’s ultimately up to the voters.

Motion: M/S Soria/Samra to give direction to staff to put the mayoral term on the ballot for a four year term. The motion carried 4-0-1 by the following roll call vote..

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

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: Mendoza


The Council resumed Closed Session at 9:15 p.m.


The Council came back into Open Session at 9:56 p.m.


There was no reportable action.


Mayor Espinoza adjourned the meeting at 9:57 p.m.


City Clerk of the City of Livingston

APPROVED: February 4, 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.


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