How They Represented Us in 2009


JANUARY 20, 2009

Mayor Pro-Tem Espinoza

·        Commented on the status of the City’s budget in this economy… noted that Water and Sanitation Funds are on negative side.  Revising ordinances is good, but a lot of monies are being spent on attorney’s fees…need to watch the General Fund and… warrants

Council Member Aguilar

·        Attended a Red Ribbon Committee meeting… trying to get the City Council, the schools and the media involved….She thanked John Mucci and Police Chief Eldridge for inviting her to attend… hopes to see good things come out of this.


Council Member Nateras

·        Wished everyone a happy new year….attended a meeting of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee…Code Enforcement is in the works… announced a meeting on January 28 for Relay for Life and invited everyone to come together and get involved.


Council Member Vierra

·        Commented we have a young man from Livingston Middle School attending the inauguration.  The student called him while he was in Washington, D.C. and he can hardly wait for him to return to give us an update


FEBRUARY 3, 2009

Council Member Aguilar

·        Introduced herself and commented that she and other City officials had attended a training seminar for new City Council members last week sponsored by the League of California Cities

·        attended a Relay for Life meeting last week for breast cancer victims.  The next meeting is on May 16… encouraged others to attend.

·        Commented that the Court Theater Committee members are a great group of people.

·        has been trying to meet with people and keep informed.


Mayor Pro-Tem Espinoza

·        Thanked the Mayor for the paint on the Court Theater.


Council Member Vierra

·        Presented a follow-up on the Livingston High School Key Club…said the young man that went to Washington, D.C. is going to run for an International Key Club office and the Lt. Governor is going to run for District President…gave an update on three students moving forward with their careers with the Key Club.


Council Member Nateras

·        Welcomed everyone in attendance.

·        Reported on Relay for Life… committee is still seeking members.  She encouraged everyone to attend the next meeting on February 15 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Hall Conference Room.

·        Attended the last Citizens’ Advisory Committee meeting…. two concerns that were brought up are on the agenda tonight and one more concern they wanted to comment to Council about is water conservation.


Mayor Varela

·        Commented that we have a great basketball team that is playing tonight.

·        Ditto on everything that everyone has said.

·        The Court Theater needed a little makeup and the City is cleaning it up. The City is taking small things and making them better.

·        Thanked everyone for attending the meeting.

·        thanked the (basketball) coach and team and said they are doing a tremendous job.

FEBRUARY 4, 2009

The City Council conducted interviews for possible candidates to fill two vacancies on the Livingston Planning Commission

FEBRUARY 17, 2009

(Sudhir Pardiwala from Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. presented a power point presentation on the Water Rate Study.

So…there wasn’t much “reporting”)

Council Member Aguilar

·        Noted that she had tickets for the Livingston Community Network barbecue on April 24….can also be purchased from Jaime Fuentes… money raised will go towards scholarships.  The goal is $5,000 and the last day to fill out applications is March 20.


Council Member Nateras

·        Commented that a Relay for Life meeting will be held on February 25 at 6:00 p.m.


Mayor Varela

·        He also has tickets for the Livingston Community Network barbecue. 



FEBRUARY 26, 2009

The City Council conducted interviews for possible candidates to fill three vacancies and one alternate position on the Livingston Planning Commission.

MARCH 3, 2009

Council Member Aguilar

·        She wanted to apologize to any of the Planning Commission candidates that were interviewed for the way this matter was brought up…congratulated the new Planning Commissioners.

·        Directed a comment to Supervisor Pedrozo regarding the visit to the Science Technology Center…the facility was very educational and family oriented…members of the Livingston Community Network were also present.


Council Member Vierra

·        Commented on the 2010 Federal census… very important that everyone get counted….means dollars down the road… the City needs your support and help to get these people counted. 


Council Member Nateras

·        Thanked all the candidates that applied for the Planning Commission.  She commented that just because previous City Councils have done things a certain way in the past as a new City Council we are going things different… asked the City Attorney if the Council did things legally[1]…… was sorry if feelings were hurt.

·        Attended a Relay for Life meeting on February 11.  The next meeting is scheduled for March 11, at 6:00 p.m., at the Police Department.  The Relay for Life event is slated for May 16.

·        The Livingston Police Department awards dinner was very nice…had an opportunity to speak.. expressed how great the City’s officers are and what a great Chief of Police the City has.


Mayor Varela

·        On February 4, he and the City Manager met with Jesse Brown, Executive Director and Marjie Kirn, Vice Executive Director of the Merced County Association of Governments.

·        After their meeting, they took them for a tour of the City… 

·        On February 11 he attended a Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce event and took with him a couple of male students from the Livingston Middle School and showed off what great kids the community has… noted he is developing a mentorship program in the community because some of the youth are at risk, but this is a good thing for the community.

·        On February 18 he and the City Manager met with representatives of Frontier Communications… noted Frontier Communications will be making a presentation at the March 17 Council meeting.

·        He and the City Manager had toured several skate parks and also met with some parents regarding a skate park..said they had let the parents know that because of the economy it was a difficult time for a skate park to be built, but perhaps it would become a reality sometime in the distant future.

·        On February 24, he and his wife attended a Sea Cadets presentation in Turlock

·        On February 23 he and the City Manager had a “meet and greet” meeting with representatives of Grace Nursing Home.

·        Also on February 23, he met with Aurora Garcia and Cora Gonzalez of the Livingston Medical Group.. only group able to use the only elevator in Livingston and received a tour of the facility.  He wants to team up to provide some structure to some of boys in the community… hoping to get them to commit to teach a CPR class for the boys.

·        As the Mayor, and not as a City event, he would like to invite citizens to a community prayer event at Memorial Park at 7:00 p.m… will also be attending a Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce social on March 10 at the Gallo facility on Highway 140… would like to see City staff attend as well.

·        Commented that when he was selected to the Citizens’ Advisory Committee approximately one year ago, his name was the only name read that evening.  His appointment was approved and then the Mayor moved forward with the next agenda.

MARCH 17, 2009

Council Member Aguilar

·        Commented that she attended the Livingston Community Network barbecue…. suggested posting flyers in the parks to get information to the public on similar activities.[2]


Council Member Espinoza

·        Reported an excess number of cats in his neighborhood and asked if Animal Control could assist with this problem.[3]


Council Member Nateras

·        Reported that she attended a unity prayer gathering at Memorial Park on March 9 and commended Mayor Varela for organizing the event.

·        Commented that teams are still needed for the Relay for Life to be held at the Livingston High School track May 16-17.


Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra

·        Reported on his attendance at the Central Valley Division League of California Cities quarterly dinner meeting which included discussion on what the League can offer to the cities.

·        thanked the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for planting ice plant on Emerald Drive along the canal bank.

·        commented that the Livingston High School Key Club and the Atwater-Winton Kiwanis Club are planning a project for Livingston in the near future.


Mayor Daniel Vierra

·        Commented that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints planted ice plant along Emerald Drive…asked City Manager Warne to explain how the project came about.  [4]

·        Thanked everyone who attended the March 9 community prayer service…about 100 people attended.

·        Reported that he and members of City staff attended a Merced County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce mixer on March 11.

·        Reported that he and City staff and some Council Members met for a “meet and greet” session with the new CEO at Foster Farms on March 12.

·        Stated that he met with Assembly Member Cathleen Galgiani at the League of California Cities quarterly dinner meeting… discussed City issues with her.

·        Commented that he will meet with concerned parents tomorrow in support of a skateboard park… explained that this process is a good experience for youth to participate and learn how the process works in planning for the future.

·        Will attend a Leadership Conference in Modesto made up of civic leaders.

·        Reported that a Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) board meeting will be held on Thursday.

·        Reported that on Friday he received calls from people requesting to meet with the Mayor and City staff to obtain information regarding special assessments…. thanked City staff for being responsive and providing the information.

·        Stated that a home foreclosure workshop will be held at the Community Center on March 26-27.

·        Commented that a Town Hall Meeting will be held on March 26 at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers to discuss and receive public input regarding the proposed water, sewer and garbage rate increases…the consultant will be available to answer questions.

·        Reported that a meeting of the Livingston Interfaith Council will meet at Emmanuel Baptist Church on March 19 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss how to feed the needy and help people struggling during these difficult economic times.

MARCH 26, 2009

This was the Water, Garbage and Sewer

Rates Public Information Meeting


APRIL 7, 2009

Council Member Aguilar

·        Thanked the basketball team players for being present and for doing a good job… also thanked the parents of the boys.

·        Honored the Firefighter of the Year for 2009. Her son was selected Firefighter of the Year….the dinner was very nice and a very formal way to meet firefighters throughout the community…Mayor Varela attended the event as well.

·        Commented that the Art Shop in Merced on Main Street is an opportunity for the citizens in this area to view and purchase art from local artists. .. an event will be held on April 18 from 4-7 p.m.

·        requested an orientation of the “unity and focus” of the City goals and to look and see which way our City is going. …recommended hiring a facilitator to come in….would like it put on the agenda for the first City Council meeting in May.

Council Member Nateras

·        Congratulated the students.

·        Stated that she is the City Council liaison on the Citizens’ Advisory Committee and the Planning Commission. ….the City still has openings for the Citizens’ Advisory Committee which meets the last Tuesday of each month.

·        Reported that a meeting for the Relay for Life will be held on April 8 at 6:00 p.m. in the Police Department. Another meeting will be held on April 25…the last meeting before the event which is scheduled for May 15-16 at the Livingston High School track.

·        Thanked the Police and Fire Departments for their assistance with the “Every 15 Minutes” Program at Livingston High School… their efforts are very much appreciated.


Council Member Espinoza

·        Reminded everyone that the Court Theater Committee will hold a Wine and Cheese Affair at the Livingston Veterans’ Hall on April 19 from 2-5 p.m.

·        Reported that the Livingston Community Network 2009 Scholarship fundraiser chicken dinner will be held on April 24. Tickets are $7.00.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra

·        Reported that he attended a high speed rail workshop in Merced. ….Planning Commissioner Soria also attended the workshop.

·        Attended two meetings on a joint Palo Alto High School and Livingston High School two-day function where students from the two high schools will come together and visit two ranches, UC Merced and the Merced County Food Bank… two high schools are trying to start an exchange program where the students from both schools can visit each other and be exposed to all kinds of opportunities, including farming.

·        attended a Relay for Life meeting.

·        Stated not to forget the Court Theater Committee wine and cheese event and said he also has tickets available for sale.

·        Commented that he spent four days in Anaheim at a Key Club event with 4000 teenagers. He stated the Livingston High School Key Club is going strong. The Club came back with 11 awards.

·        Reported the Livingston High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) will hold a plant sale on April 10 from 9-12 p.m. They will sell vegetables and flowers for $1 each or 16 for $10.


Mayor Varela

·        Stated…he had a good time at the youth baseball opening ceremony… commended Recreation Superintendent Benoit and her staff for a tremendous job. Noted that an Easter Egg Hunt will be held on April 11 from 10-12 p.m. for children 2-10 years old.

·        Thanked Fire Chief Jose Flores for inviting him to the firefighters recognition and awards dinner….appreciated the invitation and the recognition of Fireman Aguilar.

·        Reported that on May 9, through the mentorship program he is promoting, there will be an event where there will be 20 motorcycle and two car show groups. Henry Escobar will be the guest speaker…. through the program, they are trying to have youths focus on the right thing and promote good values and good things for themselves.

APRIL 21, 2009

This was the night of the Public Hearing on Rate Increasesand the Adoption of Sanitation Rate Increases by a 4-1 vote


Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra

·        Commented on the Easter Egg Hunt held on Saturday at the Livingston Sports Complex… the Council needs to consider doing something about ensuring dogs are on leashes during the event… should be no dogs allowed on that day so that the children do not walk in dog poop.

·        Reported that last Saturday 20 Key Club students and 7 adults from the Kiwanis Club and two staff members planted plants and flowers in the Dunmore Subdivision.

·        He attended the Court Theater Wine and Cheese Affair

·        Commented the he spent one afternoon delivering two boxes of food to three different families…  He noted that we need to consider doing this more, not just during the holidays.


Council Member Nateras

·        Reported that a Relay for Life meeting was held on April 8 and another meeting will be held on April 22.  She said they are still looking for teams.  During the first week of May they will “color the town purple” to kick off the Relay for Life event. 

·        thanked City Manager Warne and staff for putting together such a wonderful newsletter.


Council Member Espinoza

·        Commented that he heard that the Fire Department’s bottled drinking water has been.. wanted a consensus to give the Fire Department their water back….felt the Fire Department could get water from the County….wants to see this placed on the next agenda for discussion.


Council Member Aguilar

·        Commented that she was in San Diego with her son Benito… was able to attend Art Hop that involved a lot of youth…. perhaps later the City could add an Art Hop to one of the street fairs held in the community.

·        Reported that on May 2 there will be a firefighters fundraising pancake breakfast.  The event will be held from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.  Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children which includes a tour of the Fire Department.


Mayor Varela

·        wanted to give a few minutes of his time to Mrs. Meyers. 

o       Mrs. Meyers said the Court Theater wine and cheese affair was well attended and was a good social gathering for the community …(and) thanked the City for their help with the theater marquee and the Council for their support.  She said the next CourtTheater fundraiser will be a tea party on September 19.  The time and location will be placed on the theater marquee.

·         stated that during the Week of the Young Child presentation he failed to mention how great the City’s Police Department is…they have Neighborhood visits where they hose the kids down and feed them. 

·        Commented that last week he attended a conference in Sacramento where Governor Schwarzenegger spoke about the economy. 

·        Stated that on April 29 there will be a Family Focus, a town hall meeting for at risk parents.  He has started a mentorship program and is now going to start working with some families.  He is getting some assistance for the program from Merced County.

·        Reported that a Youth Conference will be held on May 9 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Livingston Middle School.  The event will target kids and help them understand about doing the right thing. 

·        Reminded everyone of the Relay for Life May 16-17, the Fire Department pancake breakfast on May 2, and the Livingston Community Network barbecue chicken dinner on April 24.


MAY 5, 2009

Another Public Hearing Night about Rate Increases


Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra

·        attended a Lions Club health fair the weekend before last.

·        Reported the Key Club has started a program called Adopting a Grandparent… also went and looked at the Rotary Frisbee Golf project… last weekend 14 Livingston High School Key Club members and 17 Key Club kids from Palo Alto met in an exchange program.  The group went out to see the Magnison’s ranch and then to the county food bank.  The group then went to UC Merced where they toured the campus.  Later in the day the Key Club members visited another farm that had an organic orchard and where calves are raised…The students had a great weekend and he hoped that there could be more joint activities.


Council Member Nateras

·        Stated that a Relay for Life planning meeting was held at the Police Department… attended the Relay-for-Life events in both Turlock and Merced…. is excited about the Livingston Relay for Life event.  There are 22 committed teams… is not too late to register a team, and anyone desiring to do so should contact her.


Council Member Espinoza

·        Commented that there is a mosquito problem in town.  A family living near Dwight Way and Walnut Avenue near the drainage pond is having mosquito problems.  …  has not seen the Mosquito Abatement District truck driving around town… Marge McFadden is Livingston’s representative on the Merced County Mosquito Abatement District Board.  … asked that the City request the Mosquito Abatement District to spray in Livingston.


Council Member Aguilar

·        Reported that this past Saturday the Fire Department held a fundraising pancake breakfast that had a great turn out.  She thanked all of those who worked so hard to make the breakfast happen….

·        Commented that the Livingston Community Network held a fundraising barbecue and they hoped they raised the $7,500 for scholarships… will report the amount raised at the next Council meeting…thanked those who purchased tickets.

·        Reported that last we held our first garden committee meeting… was disappointed that there were only three people there.

·        Recalled that recently the approved 12 acres of land for a community garden… if anyone is interested she will pass their name along to Pastor Ruth.

·        Noted that tomorrow is the viewing for Eva Granado.  Her funeral services will be held on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. at the church located on D Street… Mrs. Granado was a great family friend and a good neighbor.


Mayor Varela

·        Attend the Livingston Key Club and Palo Alto Key Club exchange thanked Mayor Pro Tem Member Vierra for his involvement.

·        Reported that Thursday will be celebrated as the National Day of Prayer…. will be a prayer ceremony at 12:00 noon at the museum flag pole and a prayer meeting at the United Methodist Church at 7:00 p.m.

·        Reported that on Saturday there will be a youth conference organized by the Mayor for young boys in the community entitled, “Do the Right Thing.”  There will be a bike and car show at 10:00 a.m….

MAY 19, 2009

Where Rate Increases Were a Discussion and Potential Action Item


Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

·        Mr. Espinoza noted that he attended the UC Merced graduation event and felt it was great exposure for the valley and California.  He said that he saw it broadcast on CNN.


Council Member Margarita Aguilar

·        reported attending scholarship night at Livingston High School. Seven students received $700 each from the Livingston Community Network… total of approximately $240,000 in scholarship money awarded…

·        … noted that she attended the neighborhood visit and it was a good event.  She said the Fire Department was there “blasting out” water.

·        Attended the relay for life event… thanked all the participants… wished everyone a happy Memorial Day.


Mayor Pro Tem Frank Vierra

·        reported he worked with the Key Club and Sober Graduation at a yard sale and car wash to raise funds for both organizations.

·        Court Theater recently held a successful event.

·        said a local student who will attend Lewis and Clark University had received a $30,000 scholarship.  Livingston ranked #1 in the district for the last three years on State testing.

·        thanked everyone for participating in the Relay for Life event… thanked Martha Nateras for her efforts …thanked the fire department for spraying and keeping dust down and commended the youth of the community for the large numbers of participants in the Relay for Life event.


Mayor Daniel Varela

·        reported on the Youth Conference that was held on May 9 …thanked the Chief of Police, Supervisor Pedrozo, Superintendent Escobar, Foster Farms, the Local Masons, Jaime Fuentes and many others in the community for donation of prizes, cash and participation….

·        reported he was also involved in the Relay for Life and commended all those who participated….

·        …noted that on June 4, 2009, Livingston will have a skate board demonstration by a company from Joplin, Missouri… held near Memorial Park and Pentecost Hall…There will be a show and prizes.


JUNE 2, 2009

Where Rate Increases Were a Discussion and Potential Action Item Again

Mayor Pro Tem Frank Vierra

·        Expressed his condolences to the Carlos Aguilar family.  He was a member of the City staff…City staff members have joined together to host a benefit chicken dinner for the family.

·        Discussed his first train ride in 67 years and it was cheaper than driving a vehicle… took some Livingston High School Key Club students to Southern California for training… really need to support the high speed rail coming to the Central Valley.

·        Commented on the Farm Festival that was held on Livingston-Cressey Road this weekend…Everyone attending had a great time ….the festival happens every year at this time.…The event is close and you do not have to travel very far to enjoy it.


Council Member Martha Nateras

·        Concurred with Mayor Pro Tem Vierra regarding the loss of City staff member Carlos Aguilar.

·        attended the Farm Festival and thought it was the best kept secret in Livingston.…encouraged everyone to attend future festivals

·        Thanked everyone who participated and helped with the Relay for Life event…thanked the Fire Department for spraying the grass and the track, and getting everyone wet… said it was nice to walk with Mr. Corona and Supervisor Pedrozo at 5:00 a.m. at the Relay for Life event.

·        attended the Planning Commission meeting.  The item is on the agenda tonight.


Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

·        Expressed his condolences to the Aguilar Family.  He said Carlos Aguilar was one of the hardest City workers, even though he was only a part-time employee… wanted to become a full-time employee and looked forward to that day

·        Expressed appreciation to the Police Chief and Fire Chief.  He would like the Police Department and Fire Department to give the City Council an annual update.

·        Asked who was in charge of weed code enforcement.[5]


Council Member Margarita Aguilar

·        wanted Mr. Vierra to know that she would be happy to help with the sale of tickets for the Carlos Aguilar benefit barbecue.

·        reported that last week… a three-day conference in San Diego hosted by the League of California Cities…. She attended a number of sessions that were very informative and helped her to learn to share information to become a better Council person …..helped her see both sides of the republicans and democrats serving their purpose…

·        also attended one session called “Show Me the Money.”… the session gave the attendees an idea of where our State is financially going.  Our governor is going to be borrowing money from the cities—probably 8%…(had) the opportunity through the League of California Cities to make a video that addresses the issues… video is going to be shown on the League of California Cities website

·        said there was also a downtown rally.  The rally was on TV.  …thanked the citizens for allowing them be a part of the League of California Cities…able to meet different Council Members that are going through similar situations.  This is the second workshop she has attended.

·        said that one of the main sessions was called city manager’s evaluation…will leave copies of the materials with the City Attorney and Council Member Vierra because he did not attend the session…also has a copy for residents that she will leave with the City Clerk … need to look at the expenses our City, especially with the water situation, and take a look at our finances…there is another conference in September and she recommended that the City Council members attend


Mayor Daniel Varela

·        Extended his condolences to the Carlos Aguilar family and City employees for his tragic death …said he had a flier about the Carlos Aguilar benefit barbecue and asked everyone to please get involved and support the family during this difficult time.

·        Commented that the visit to San Diego provided the City Council with opportunities to network with other communities

·        He congratulated the Livingston High School graduating class.  He said the parents have raised some great kids and they have a great future ahead of them.

JUNE 16, 2009

Daniel Varela Mayor

·        Commented that Bob Thompson, a member of the community, passed away this week. His services are set for June 23 at 11:00 a.m. at the United Methodist Church.

·        Asked Public Works Supervisors Kathryn Reyes and Jim Rightsell to speak about the special work they did for the late Carlos Aguilar, a City employee who recently passed away. Ms. Reyes gave a report on the car wash and barbecue chicken dinner held in honor of Mr. Aguilar.…thanked the entire community who came together to benefit Mr. Aguilar’s young daughter. …A total of $9,088 was raised and will be set up in a trust fund for her.

·        Mayor Varela thanked the entire community for their support of the Carlos Aguilar family.


Mayor Pro Tem Frank Vierra

·        Thanked staff and everyone in the community who helped and attended the barbecue dinner for Carlos Aguilar….

·        attended the Court Theater Committee meeting last night and said things are still moving along… going to continue to seek funding for the theater renovation.

·        Stated that he attended the Central Valley Division of the League of California Cities meeting… a State Legislator and the State Controller spoke and made it very clear that they were not in favor of taking money from the cities to solve the State’s financial problems…. said that the State Legislator said that they needed 41 votes in the State Legislature to protect City funds.

·        Advised Mrs. Madeline Xavier that the City is working on the mistletoe problem on her street.


Council Member Martha Nateras

·        Thanked everyone for being here tonight. She said that her entire family was present at the meeting for the first time.

·        Commented that Mr. Thompson, who recently passed away, was a good friend and fellow Rotarian. He was very active in the community. He will be missed.

·        Congratulated all of the Livingston Middle School and Livingston High School graduates.

·        Stated that she attended the June 9 meeting of the Planning Commission. Verizon Wireless applied for a site plan/design review to install a new antenna at their existing tower near the Public Works yard. A new developer is interested in purchasing the vacant lots in the Kishi (Country Lane) Subdivision… originally built by Matthews Homes. She commended and thanked City Manager Warne for negotiating with the developer a very good financial package for the City. She thought that the total financial benefit to the City was approximately $1.5 million.

·        Attended the Central Valley Division, League of California Cities dinner meeting in Lodi with Mayor Varela and Mayor Pro Tem Vierra. One of the speakers was John Chang, State Controller, who provided information regarding the State budget situation. The City is going to have the honor of hosting a League meeting for the first time in September. She wanted to challenge the citizens to have pride in our community


Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

·        Thanked Marge McFadden, the City’s representative on the Merced County Mosquito Abatement District Board for arranging to have the District Director speak at a recent City Council meeting about the mosquito problem in town. He said that since then, he has seen fewer mosquitoes in his neighborhood.

·        Stated that Item Number 18 is a bill for his tow truck company. He said that he requested a new policy from the Police Chief and City Manager that the Police Department not call him directly, so it does not appear that he is personally benefiting from towing vehicles in the City.


Council Member Margarita Aguilar

·        Commented that she also attended some of the school graduations, including Livingston High School and Livingston Middle School. It was nice to see so many students graduating. …The Livingston Community Network honored 32 students with scholarships. On Saturday they had a special dinner for the parents. … Over 100 guests attended, including some of her former students. She thanked the parents for their hard work and dedication. She added that school is out and there are a lot of kids out there, so please be careful.

·        Noted that the City Manager got a developer to come in and give the City $100,000 that can be used towards the construction of a skateboard park. She thanked City Manager Warne for his efforts. She said the skateboard park is a mission of the City Council to help get the kids off the streets.

·        Commented on Item #3 on the consent calendar pertaining to the sports complex project. … apologized to Community Development Director Donna Kenney if Ms. Kenney felt she was personally attacking her.

JULY 7, 2009

In Which Two Councilpersons Want to Scrap the Water Rate Study

And Start all Over Again From Scratch With a New Rate Study

But Water-WasteWater Increases are Passed 3-2


Council Member Margarita Aguilar

·        Thanked those who attended the July 4th activities in Memorial Park. 

·        Commented that Scott Newman, Merced County Fire Department Division Chief, was present…. thanked him for being at the meeting and hoped that he would speak under the public comment portion of the meeting.

·        Commented regarding sending out a Request for Proposals (RFP) to obtain costs for a facilitator… bring back the Request for Proposals (RFP), and not necessary to hire a facilitator.…look at the numbers and consider it.[6]


Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

·        commented that the Parkside Subdivision park/detention pond has not been completed and that sod has not been placed on the property…. weeds have grown up on the property and …asked if maintenance had been turned over to the City

·        Commented that written minutes of Council meetings have not been available for citizens’ review[7]

·        Commented on the Federal Land and Water Conservation grant the City received for basketball courts at the Livingston Sports Complex…the project has not moved forward.  We do not want to lose the grant.[8]

·        Commented that the Campbell Blvd.frontage road sidewalk at East Avenue has tall weeds growing on the sidewalk

·        Stated that he brought up the issue about a dead tree at the corner of C Street and Sixth Street and he asked the City Manager if it was a City tree or did it belong to the property owner.  ….he is bringing this up is because he does not want to be accused of benefitting somebody since he has been accused of this in the past when in reality they are citizens’ concerns.


Council Member Martha Nateras

·        Reported that eleven City people attended the City-County dinner meeting in Atwater …also attended the City’s July 4 festivities and the Portuguese Festas … thanked the Public Works Department for their work at both events. …also attended a Relay for Life wrap-up meeting at the high school on April 10….noted they are currently looking for committee members for next year

·        Commented that the City has received only four applications to fill eleven vacancies on the Citizens’ Advisory Committee… talked to the City Manager about working on a mission statement and maybe calling the committee by another name….would like to see the committee have a different mission and have more involvement in the community.  …working in a positive way such as working on the July 4 festivities, helping with the October Street Fair, Sweet Potato Festival, and finding ways to beautify the downtown…. would also like to solicit committee members from such organizations as the Lions Club, Rotary Club, and the Knights of Columbus.

·        Stated that Council Member Espinoza’s comments had reminded her regarding the stop sign at Robin Avenue and B Street… a tree that blocks the stop sign and the intersection, causing a blind spot…asked if the tree could be cut down[9]


Mayor Pro Tem Frank Vierra.

·        Thanked Public Works for all they did in Memorial Park at the July 4 event.  He said it was the cleanest park that he has seen in a long time during an event.

·        Reported that a group of Livingston High School students picked up 16 bags of garbage, a tree and a tire on B Street


Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.

·        Reported that he participated in a “ride along” with Police Office Dhaine Villarreal….On the ride along he observed Officer Villarreal pull over a car… did not have his license tags on his car.  Officer Villarreal was very professional….The Police Department has been very busy.  We have a few residents that have been using their homes to sell illegal drugs.

·        Last Thursday he met with Congressman Cardoza…. also attended a Neighborhood Visit…The Fire Department did a tremendous job getting the kids wet.  There must have been 500 people at the Neighborhood Visit.  The Police Department was cooking great hot dogs.  Riggs Ambulance Service was present…. The Mayor is looking into implementing a program entitled, “Citizens in Action (CIA)” to get people involved in our community.

·        Commented on the July 4 festivities…..By 8:00-9:00 p.m. the park was packed.  The fireworks finale was great and everyone had positive comments about the whole July 4 event…. thanked the Public Works Department for their great work…..expressed his appreciation to all the vendors and for the carnival which was attended by many… thanked everyone for doing a great job….


AUGUST 4, 2009

Council Member Margarita Aguilar

·        Commented that she took a vacation and took time to relax ….. visited City Hall and wanted to thank Vickie Lewis….The staff seemed to have a busy week.

·        Reported that the Livingston Community Network is having a Cultural Festival August 23 from 12:00 noon to 9:00 p.m. in Memorial Park.… Livingston Community Network meets every Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at Jaime Fuentes’ Insurance Agency.

·        Commented that August 17 is the first day back to school.  …watch for students when they were driving.

·        ..hoping that the Council was going to get an update on the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) granted by the Planning Commission for the tarp that is on Main Street by the Neighborhood Church.

·        Stated that Pastor Bill Ruth will be present at the next Planning Commission meeting on August 11.  He was not previously granted a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for a community garden by the Planning Commission… hopes he will have a good presentation …

·        hoped Police Chief Eldridge would give the City Council an update on any community situations.


Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

·        …stated that he requested that a resolution from March 17 be placed on tonight’s agenda….(to) majority vote of the Council Members to approve contracts…stated that some City Council members had requested legal opinions from attorneys regarding the adoption of the water rates by majority vote of three votes and by resolution instead of by ordinance…there should have been a vote prior to hiring the attorneys.  He said that he did not know what was going on, but the money was being spent.


Council Member Martha Nateras

·        Commented that she works for Livingston High School and was off the month of July. She attended a conference (sponsored in part by the League of California Cities) on Friday and Saturday in Sacramento.  It was a summit by leaders of cities, counties and schools to discuss State government and how the three entities can unite to work together to bring reform to State government. 

·        Commented that the Planning Commission meeting was a special meeting.  The Commission granted a temporary use permit for the Neighborhood Church for the tarp.

·        On July 23.. was at  Lucero Park attending a  Neighborhood Visit (barbecue)… gave special thanks to the Police Department and the Fire Department

·        Reported that a Relay for Life wrap-up meeting was held on July 29Next year’s event is tentatively scheduled for April 17 at the High School football field.

·        Noted that she visited her daughter in New York and her other daughter and son in Southern California.

·        Noted that she has set the following goals for herself:

1.     Beautify Livingston and focus on the entrance to the City.

2.     Put the Citizens’ Advisory Committee back together working on a mission statement.  She wanted to rename the committee as the Citizens’ Service Committee.

3.     Skateboard park.  City is visiting other skate board parks.

4.     Bring new businesses into town and promote the Enterprise Zone.

5.     Bring Neighborhood Watch back to Livingston to help reduce crime.

6.     Challenged her colleagues to come up with their own set of goals.


Mayor Pro Tem Frank Vierra

·        The high school had their roundup today. ….also attended the last neighborhood visit and Relay for Life meeting at the Police Department.  He ….also went to Madera to look at the city skateboard park

·        Attended a workshop in Modesto within the last three weeks entitled “Creating a Vibrant Future—Looking Ahead in Turbulent Times and Planning in an Era of Scarce Resources.”  The presenters said that every city needs to do the following:

1.     Control labor costs.

2.     Create a financial surplus.

3.     Maintain reserves.

4.     Invest in infrastructure and jobs.

5.     Economic development.  This should be the number one priority in the City.


Mayor Daniel Varela

·        Commented that last week he found a homeless person lying in a parking lot.  He picked up the individual and took him to lunch, talked to him, and then got him some help…  In the process he found a…a pastor of a church in Winton…. sponsor of a church program that is housing homeless people and addicts.  …has a meeting with the pastor this Thursday… pastor is going to show him his facility….. met with Chief Eldridge and they have talked about introducing the neighborhood watch program ….appreciated fire personnel, police officers and the people from the WestAmerica bank.  They have great people skills and are doing a great job at the neighborhood visits. 

·        Reported that he received a letter from someone who wrote to one of our Council Members.  …Mayor Varela proceeded to translate a letter in Spanish from Norma Gutierrez addressed to Mayor Pro Tem Vierra.  The letter expressed appreciation for the food he brought to their house and the help Mayor Pro Tem Vierra had given the family.  Mayor Varela recognized Mr. Vierra for his service and contributions to the community

·        Announced that a Christian car show will be held on Saturday at Memorial Park from 11:00 to 4:00 p.m. …appreciated the Livingston Community Network Multi-Cultural Festival … wanted to reiterate what Council Member Aguilar said about the kids going back to school… thanked the Livingston Police Department for all that they do to keep the school children safe.

·        received an e-mail from Battalion Fire Chief Armando Rios and said that he was going to tour the Livingston Fire Station…. encouraged all members of the City Council to do the same and to go on police ride-alongs. 


AUGUST 18, 2009

Council Member Margarita Aguilar

·        Commented that school is back in session this week.  She urged people to be careful and watch for school children.

·        Announced that the Livingston Community Network will hold the Multi-Cultural Festival to raise money for youth scholarships on August 24, from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., in Memorial Park.

·        Thanked the Planning Commission for helping Pastor Bill Ruth and the Merced County Hunger Task Force by approving a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for a community garden.  A meeting regarding the community garden will be held on August 20.

·        hoped Police Chief Eldridge will have a report for the City Council about things going on in the community.   

·        Requested a report from the City Manager regarding the high school and what is happening on their property south of Peach Avenueasked if the project is going to come before the City Council before the School District does anything


Council Member Martha Nateras

·        Commented that the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for the Merced County Hunger Task Force (Pastor Bill Ruth) community garden was approved by a 3-2 vote of the Planning Commission.

·        Reported that a Red Ribbon Committee meeting will be held Wednesday, at 5:30 p.m. at the Police Department.


Mayor Pro Tem Frank Vierra

·        Commented that the Key Club students at Livingston High School along with other Key Club members from other high schools raised almost $700 for the Madera Trauma Center for children…. About 10 students are going to participate in the Special Olympics golf tournament at the Del Rio Golf Course on August 29.

·        Stated that the former Almond Tree Restaurant is ready to open up as the Blueberry Hill Bar and Grill.


Mayor Daniel Varela

·        Reported that he was invited by Superintendent Henry Escobar to attend the Livingston Middle School rally on August 12

·        Stated that on Thursday he asked Vickie Lewis to accompany him to the Livingston Medical Group.  They were celebrating National Health Center Week.  Congressman Dennis Cardoza was there and they were able to meet with him and John Alexander, the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the medical group

·        Stated that he was scheduled to take a tour of the Fire Department last Friday, but due to a fire in Santa Cruz, fire personnel had to leave.

·        Outlined meetings that he will be attending as Mayor of the City of Livingston. 

o       Tomorrow morning he will meet with the U.S. Census Bureau Director for this area to discuss Census plans for the City of Livingston.

o       Wednesday he will be attending a meeting to discuss a program for the homeless called the Continuum of Care.

o       5:30 p.m. on Wednesday he plans to attend the Red Ribbon Committee meeting at the Police Department…. Also…a leadership conference called Leadership Trust in Modesto.

o       Thursday he will be attending the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG) Board meeting as Livingston’s representative.

o       Friday he has been invited by Mr. Calderon at Livingston High School to attend the Education Excellence for Hispanic Americans at the Merced Downtown Resource Center.   

·        Commented that Public Works Supervisor Kathryn Reyes is back to work after surgery and it appears that everything went well…. thanked Streets Supervisor Jim Rightsell for his job efforts and overall what the Public Works Department maintenance crews do.

·        Mentioned the retirement barbecue for Chief Eldridge on September 3….Council Member Nateras wanted to meet with Chief Eldridge concerning the Neighborhood Watch Program.

·        Stated that kids are back in school and he urged everyone to be careful.  He turned some time over to City Manager Warne. (Who gave details on some State and Federal Grants received by the City)[10]

·        commented that as bad as the economy is, the City of Livingston has shovel-ready projects and now we have some funding…. got an e-mail from the sponsors of the housing foreclosure prevention workshop and they want to have another workshop again


SEPTEMBER 15, 2009

Council Member Margarita Aguilar

·        Welcomed everyone…. the Central Valley Division of the League of California Cities dinner was held in Livingston last Thursday night

·        had a resident call to inform her that the almond and the sweet potato harvests are going on..…She thanked the farmers who provide sweet potato work for our locals …also thanked Foster Farms and Gallo Farms, among others, for providing jobs to our community.

·        The community garden is on a roll and they have City approval to get going.  The Merced County Hunger Task Force is looking forward to getting started

·        is glad to be back tonight and hopes things go well and wishes the best for the season.


Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

·        received a complaint about the installation of sidewalks on empty lots[11].[12] ….the City is putting in sidewalks on B Street and First Street, and on the empty lot by the telephone company….does not think the City should be installing sidewalks on the empty lots.  …the sidewalk on Seventh Street and Peach Avenue is really bad.  He took some pictures of this area…. sidewalk was bad on Second Street and Peach Avenue. 

·        Gave a report on the Livingston Community Network Multi-Cultural Festival


Council Member Martha Nateras

·        Reported that she attended the high-speed rail meeting on August 19.

·        Reported that she attended the Red Ribbon Committee meeting….(the) Committee is working on Red Ribbon’s 20th anniversary on October 31.

·        Attended Chief Eldridge’s retirement luncheon on September 3

·        Reported that on September 26, the City Council is having a volunteer appreciation dinner at Memorial Park


Mayor Pro-Tem Frank Vierra

·        Stated that he agrees with the rest of those who went to the League of California Cities dinner and presentation.….. the taking of city funds by the State hurts the smaller cities like us more than the great big ones like Los Angeles.

·        Stated that some members of the audience were present when the apartment complex came before the City Council, and the developer wished to pay the City $750,000 (rather than be a part of the special assessment districts)… thanked Council Member Aguilar, Council Member Nateras and Mayor Varela for helping him and being supportive of telling this developer, “no”

·        also wanted to thank Council Member Nateras and Mayor Varela for voting for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME grant application to help this gentleman build affordable housing in Livingston


Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.



OCTOBER 20, 2009


Council Member Margarita Aguilar

·        Reported she attended a workshop on September 16 in San Jose as part of the League of California Cities Conference…. Gang Violence Reduction Intervention Strategies. (&)…workshop on creating healthy communities,


Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

·        Commented that he also attended the League of California Cities Conference in San Jose… two workshops on gangs.


Council Member Martha Nateras

·        Nothing to report.


Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.

·        Attended a conference in Yosemite National Park sponsored by the Great Valley Center.

·        Reported that on October 7, he and the City Manager met with district and regional directors of Boy Scouts of America…. looking forward to promoting a major campaign to develop the next generation of our boys to be involved in the community as Boy Scouts of America. … will be meeting with Superintendent Escobar to initiate some conversations with the School District about this campaign…. had set aside the date of November 4 to invite churches, business leaders and parents to listen to the Boys Scouts of America campaign, but..will have to postpone it.

·        Commended Council Member Espinoza for the actions his son took in returning a wallet found at the Multi-Cultural Festival.

·        Commented on the Red Ribbon presentation tonight. ….. said the most influential people in our community are the youth, parents, neighbors, and friends.

·        Stated that he attended a Recreation dinner on October 8 honoring Mrs. Nue who received an award as the Merced County Teacher of the Year. John Mucci’s wife, Candace, received an award recognizing her teaching ability and working with children with special needs. After the dinner he attended the last part of the high-speed rail meeting in Merced.

·        Commented that last week he, City Manager Warne and Planning Commissioner Soria drove around town and looked at some of the areas that where brought to our attention by Council Member Espinoza. …..While driving around, they found other areas that needed attention…thanked Mr. Soria for spending the day with them.



(Didn’t see any real reporting at all, you’re free to look through that long convoluted mess and find any if you wish)


DECEMBER 1, 2009

Council Member Margarita Aguilar

·        Thanked those that participated in the Veterans’ Day parade.

·        Stated that for the second year she took time to make a monument for our prisoners of war (POWs). She thanked the brave, young men and women who serve our country. She thanked everyone who participated in the event, including City staff.


City Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza

·        Asked if tonight’s meeting was being televised.


Mayor Pro Tem Frank Vierra

·        Reported that on November 21, four days before Thanksgiving, four families were displaced by a structure fire on Fourth Street.…. he was at the fire until 10:30 p.m. when the Red Cross arrived. ….took the family a complete dinner, including turkey on Thanksgiving Day.


Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr.

·        Reported that he made a presentation to the Livingston Union School District Board. …shared with the School Board some of the programs where the City and the School District have partnered together.

·        Stated that he received a phone call on Saturday about the fire at the apartments near the Alvernaz Ballfield….found Mr. Vierra trying to organize things for the fire victims…. Fire Department did an outstanding and professional job containing the fire and minimizing the damage done to the surrounding homes.….City Public Works personnel brought some boards to board up the apartments to secure


[1] .City Attorney Subramanian said that there was nothing illegal about the Planning Commission appointments.  She gave an explanation.

[2] City Manager Warne said the Court Theater has a marquee where activities of this type can be advertised.  He said it is difficult to post information in the parks due to vandalism that can occur.

[3] Police Chief Eldridge explained that cat cages are available on request.

[4] City Manager Warne said that 45 people from the church came out on March 16 to plant the ice plant.  The church does not have a chapel in Livingston, but has many members in the community.  He said the members of the church wanted to give back to the community through their service.

[5] City Manager Warne stated that, as he had indicated previously to Council Member Espinoza, the City Code Enforcement Officer handles weed code enforcement within the City.  The County Fire Department is responsible for weed code enforcement outside the City.  He said the Code Enforcement Officer is doing a good job and is keeping good records of the issues that have been resolved.

[6] Ah Yes..the inspiration for one of my “Digital Rants” entitled “When Applause May Mean Shut Up!”

[7] City Manager Warne stated that the recent meetings have been long, controversial and tedious due to, among other reasons, the discussion of the water and wastewater rate increases.  He said that there had also been threats of litigation.  He said if someone wants an audio recording of a meeting to listen to what took place, they are welcome to come to City Hall and get an audio recording within a couple of days after the meeting.  He said that the written minutes that correspond with the audio recording takes some time to process because the meetings are so long and difficult.  For example, the written minutes of the meeting of May 5, 2009, were over 20-single spaced pages.  Staff is being careful and taking the time to be sure that the written minutes accurately reflect what was said in the meetings.

[8] City Manager Warne said that the City received a Federal Land and Water Conservation grant for $50,000 for the construction of the basketball courts at the Livingston Sports Complex.  These grants come from off-shore oil and gas leases from the federal government.  Livingston was one of three cities in this part of California that received the grant.    There is a City match of $80,000 for the basketball courts.  The basketball courts do not need to be built until 2011.  This capital project along with other capital projects have been put on hold due to the recession and the reduction of City revenues.  The City is not in any danger of losing the grant.  Livingston is just being prudent in reducing expenditures to maintain our cash balances and be sure that our revenues equal expenditures.  As soon as funds become available, the City will move forward with the project.  The basketball courts have already been engineered, designed and are ready to go out to bid as soon as matching funds become available. 

[9] .  Public Works Supervisor Jim Rightsell said the stop signs have been relocated on the City side of the street.  The other side of the street is unincorporated Merced County and the property is owned by Mr. Mike Gallo.  Mr. Gallo has been asked to trim the trees.  Mr. Frank Borges was in the audience and was asked by the City Council to address the problem.  Mr. Borges said he had a meeting with Mr. Gallo the next morning and would relay the City Council’s concerns to him

[10] City Manager Warne reported to the public that the City of Livingston has received two more federal grants.  The first grant is an $807,243 State of California Safe Routes to Schools sidewalk construction grant.  This State sidewalk construction grant is in addition to the $871,000 federal sidewalk construction grant that has already been received by the City.  The City will be building approximately $1.7 million dollars in sidewalks during this fiscal year. 

The second federal grant the City has received is a $37,085 Edward Burns Memorial grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.  This federal grant is for the purchase of a police vehicle and associated equipment.  He said that this is good news for the City of Livingston.  The City aggressively applies for grants.  

[11] City Engineer Gottiparthy referred to the locations that Council Member Espinoza mentioned.  He said these sidewalks were presented in the grant application.  The goal of the state and federal grant was to provide continuous sidewalks for the children.  It is true that some of the new sidewalk may be in front of undeveloped lots or empty lots.  The grant applications propose sidewalks so that the kids can have continuous sidewalk access to schools.  Mr. Gottiparthy said the grant criterion includes the absence of sidewalks in the vicinity of the schools and where safety concerns exist.  Those were the basis on what was proposed.   However, if there are specific locations where sidewalks are needed those could be done through change orders.  Staff made the selection and brought it to the City Council.  However, if there are concerns that need to be discussed, he would be happy to provide Council Members with background on those issues.  If there are any changes, those can be added possibly through a change order. However, any changes to the location of sidewalks must be approved by the State before they can be built.

City Manager Warne added that he has seen kids walk down the street, and where there is a gap in the sidewalk, the kids will walk in the street.  He said there might be a vacant lot there, but the children will walk in the street if there is no sidewalk.  He knows that this was part of the effort to try to prevent that kind of thing from happening.  The City got the grant to install sidewalk whether the lot was vacant or had houses on it.

[12]Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra responded to a comment that was made in the audience at the last meeting about why the City constructed the sidewalks on “D” Street where the pallet business was previously located.  He said he spent an hour sitting out there watching and the number of people walk from the Eighth Street apartments all the way up that side of the street where the pallet business was located to the grocery stores.  They come back with full grocery bags.  Those people where walking in the street before the sidewalks were constructed.  People walk along streets with empty lots in some cases because they are routes for people that do not have transportation.  He said that if there is money, we should look at some of the other small sections of streets where sidewalks are not currently constructed.



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