It’s a shame the way we’ve been going through City Managers: Warren Urnberg – excerpted from Public Comments – 01/05/16 City Council Meeting
“I don’t think our Community needs it.” Councilmember Jim Soria – 01/05/16 Council Meeting. Excerpted from Medical Marijuana Ordinance Discussion
I’d like to approve what we have here (and) make adjustments – Councilmember Alex McCabe – 01/05/16 Council Meeting. Excerpted from Medical Marijuana Ordinance Discussion
“How do we take care of people with legitimate needs?” Mayor ProTemp Gurpal Samra – 01/05/16 Council Meeting. Excerpted from Medical Marijuana Ordinance Discussion
“…The California Transportation Commission…has removed the Livingston Widening Northbound and also the Livingston Widening Southbound from your projects list. You now have no Regional Projects” – Mike Valata – Mayor of Los Banos. Excerpted from Public Comment – 03/01/16 City Council Meeting
Perry is charged with assaulting Dwight Larks, a 39-year-old real estate agent living in Livingston at the time, during a supervised handover of Lark’s child as part of a custody arrangement with the child’s mother….According to a civil lawsuit filed by Larks, he and the child’s mother had a disagreement over the details of the exchange. Excerpted from Judge dismisses one of three charges against Livingston police officer – Merced Sun Star – 03/10/16
Livingston, CA 04/18/2016
So…there was a disagreement over the details of a Custody Exchange. That’s putting it mildly. More on that a little later. But first.
MAYOR RODRIGO ESPINOZA has decided to try to displace John Pedrozo as District 1 County Supervisor. As of the date of this posting, I’ve seen several large Pedrozo campaign signs around town. But, only a couple so far for Espinoza. And although John Pedrozo has gone on the record as agreeing that Public Safety is of the uttermost importance in Merced County, I’m not so sure Mr. Espinoza’s stated opinion of the Sherriff’s Department would be earning him any “favorability points” with law enforcement.
THE MERCED COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF GOVERNMENTS (MCAT) is floating the ides of a 1/2 cent SALES TAX ballot measure to be placed on the November Ballot: with the proceeds used for “transportation” related projects. Some members of local government are concerned that most of the proceeds from such a measure would not stay in the Local Jurisdiction in which they were raised. There is also the concern that the draft, as currently written, does not include a guaranteed list of local projects.
EX: The following two items were provided to me by the Mayor of Los Banos
Draft 1/2 Cent Transportation Sales Tax Measure Expenditure Plan – This includes language that was eliminated from the current draft being pitched to local leaders and the public. According to the mayor, the language in black is the MCAG approved language. The red language includes the modifications Los Banos proposed (and was denied by the MCAG Board) to protect the Westside/Eastside share. Please pay close attention to page 12, “Amendments To The Expenditure Plan”, this section allows MCAG to change the funding allocations. Note the red language under that section. It would have protected the original amounts for the Westside/Eastside by stating that it would have to go back to the voters for any changes. This 30 year tax measure will be on the November 2016 ballot and needs a 66 2/3 voter approval rate for it to pass.
THE LAST STOP? OR JUST A REST STOP? Those of you have been following the goings on in Livingston have already noticed there seems to be a problem attracting and KEEPING qualified staff in certain positions. For some reason, some people just don’t stick around for very long: they’re gone before the ink has barely dried on their contracts.
The latest to “pass through” Livingston on the way to Other Things was Gabriel Gonzalez: who entered into an interim short-term professional services agreement with the Acting City Manager on January 19, 2016: For an amount not to exceed $10,000. According to the February 02, 2016 Staff Report, this was necessary because:
Due to recent transition in management position(s), there is a significant need for temporary administrative support in public works, finance/accounting and in general City management functions until such positions are addressed. This temporary support is much needed to fulfill the upcoming deadlines and priorities.
At the February 02, 2016 City Council Meeting, an Amendment to that agreement was approved by Council which converted the agreement into a
temporary (6 months to 1 year) administrative support in the following areas: oversight of public works; general administrative support to interim city manager. General functions will include assistance with general operations, annual budget, contract and policy review, organizational and functional analysis…..with option to extend another six (6) months, at the City Manager/Interim City Manager’s discretion
… compensation under the amended agreement shall be at an hourly rate of $80 and the total contract amount shall not exceed $135,000.
Mr. Gonzales was hired by the City of Gilroy as their City Manager barely over a month later.
And another one gone after a short stop in Livingston…..
While he was here, Mr. Gonzalez advised the City Council that they should consider creating a new position at City Hall: just for the sole purpose of keeping up with State Storm Water Regulations.
MARIJUANA ORDINANCE adopted.
In December of Last Year, the Planning Commission discussed a Proposed Ordinance which would do the following:
allow cultivation of up to six plants of marijuana.
ban indoor cultivation.
eliminate the size requirement for a detached structure and to allow green houses.
Prohibit gas products, including without limitation, C02, butane, propane and natural gas or generators within the structure."
delete a setback requirement.
to allow deliveries
The city attorney “announced that current State legislation has a deadline of March 1, 2016, for cities to establish a land use policy for cannabis activities. If cities do not meet this deadline, they will defer to the State’s regulations and policies”
“Merced County Fire Marshall Morgan noted that there are some safety concerns with the code… The Fire Department recommends that indoor grows in detached structures require an electrical permit and maintain minimum set-backs of either 10 or 15-feet (to prevent fires from spreading from one structure to the other).”
Merced County Sheriff’s Department representative Ray Framstad gave a PowerPoint presentation on cannabis activities (mainly large grows) and discussed some of the challenges that it posses on law enforcement (such as electrical fires, vandalisms, burglaries, shootings, etc).
COUNCIL MEMBER’S OPINIONS ranged from Council Member Jim Soria: who favored a complete ban to Council Member Alex McCabe: who made a motion banning all commercial cannabis activities, but giving residents (with proper medical approval) the right to grow six cannabis plants outdoors. Mr. McCabe’s motion failed for lack of support.
A second Motion was made by Mayor Pro-Temp Gurpal Samra: which would ban all commercial activities but allow Qualified Patients and Primary Caregivers to grow a maximum of two plants. This motion passed 3-2. Council Members Soria and McCabe both voted “no” but for different reasons.
THERE WAS A PUBLIC HEARING – at City Hall on March 29, 2016 and lasted from about 11am to nearly 1pm. The purpose of the Hearing/meeting was to Brainstorm Ideas for the next Community Development Block Grant Application.
The Initial list of projects to be recommended include the following:
Planning Activity Projects–
Policy Updates to the General Plan that would facilitate Walkable Communities.
A Wastewater percolation study.
Public Improvement Activities
Finish the Pipeline Replacement Project
Refurbish/Repair the City’s Water Storage Tank
Construction of a Dewatering Facility at the Domestic WasteWater Treatment Plant
Public Facility Projects Fire Station –
Living Quarters and possible expansion of the facility
Public Service Part Time
Code Enforcement Officer: Focusing on Health and Safety issues such as Weed Abatement, Watering Restrictions, and Zoning and Building Issues.
ALSO ON THE AGENDA FOR JANUARY – MARCH, 2016
1 Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No.___, of the City Council of the City of Livingston, Amending Title 5, Chapters 3, 6 and 7 of the Livingston Municipal Code Relating to Housing.
The MARCH 15, 2016 Council Meeting was canceled at the last minute because too many Council Members were “ill”. Had the meeting gone forward as originally scheduled, these are some of the topics that would have been discussed.
The following two items were not included in the Council’s Agenda Packets. They were sent to me by the Mayor of Los Banos and are included here for those of you who are interested in more information on the subject)
IT’S NEARLY 4 YEARS AND COUNTING since a dispute over a Custody Exchange began a chain of events resulting in Felony Charges against a Police Officer and a Lawsuit against the City.
According to the Complaint for Damages and Demand for Jury trial filed on behalf of Dwight Larks, on or about May 21, 2012, the mother of Lark’s child, and two members of the Livingston Police Department showed up at Mr. Larks residence and
“permitted (the) mother to unlawfully enter and trespass upon the residence of Plaintiff and she removed (the child) from the custody of the Plaintive in a manner not authorized by any Order of the Court” Case No CVM014537, P.5 – lines 3-5
The Complaint For Damages also states that, the actions of the the officers involved resulted in Mr. Larks sustaining
“among other injuries, laceration of his head, concussion, injury to his left shoulder, left wrist, neck and right leg, and has suffered pain in all those areas…..P7 – lines 13-15
The Claim for Damages also states that, on the day of the incident, Mr. Larks had turned on the recorder of his cell phone and that the terms of a prior court order included the following:
“a court order requires that all custody exchanges take place at a neutral, public location, specifically identified in bold print as: Livingston Police Department” Governmental Claim of Dwight L. Larks, P.3
The Complaint for Damages and Demand for Jury Trial was filed with the Merced County Superior Court on March 19, 2013. (Yes, I do have a copy.)
I’m betting the Civil Case against the City will also continue to drag on in some kind of “legal limbo” until well after the legal wrangling over the Felony Case is settled.
Often used in the production of pesticides, TCP is a man-made chemical that can cause cancer, kidney failure and tumors, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Livingston awarded $9 million settlement, Mike North, Merced Sun Star
"The good thing is the people of Livingston won’t pay for contaminant removal that is not their cause," he said. "If the result hadn’t been favorable to Livingston, our rate payers would have had to come up with $9 million." – Gurpal Samra, ibid
Livingston faces discrimination claim from former development director, Merced Sun Star, Comment Section
Ah Karma, Karma, Karma, Why NOT? Why not spend the TCP Settlement Money on other things and have the Rate Payers come up with the money for TCP Clean Up?
Are. You. KIDDING me?
More on that a little later, but first
Yep. There’s Strange and then there is Army Strange. Courtesy of Damon Shackelford: furious scribbler of military cartoons.
LOCAL LIVINGSTON KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS Council 9363 to Sponsor Youth Free Throw Championship
All boys and girls ages 10-14 are invited to participate in the local level of competition for the 2113 Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship. The local competition will be held on January 27, 2013 at 1:00pm at The Livingston High School Gymnasium.
All boys and girls 10 to 14-years-old are eligible to participate and will compete in their respective age divisions.
All contestants on the local level are recognized for their participation in the event. Participants are required to furnish proof of age and written parental consent. For entry forms or additional information contact: Ramon D. Avila 209-394-3169.
LIVINGSTON/DELHI VFW Breakfast in January
The Livingston/Delhi Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary Breakfast will be served on January 27, 2013, at the Livingston Veterans Memorial Hall, located at 1605 7th Street, in Livingston.
This will be our first Breakfast of 2013. Adults can eat for $7.00, and the children under 12 for eat for $5.00. Breakfast consists of Pancakes, French Toast or Biscuits and Gravy; served with Eggs cooked to order, Hash Browns, Sausage or Ham and Coffee and Juice. Breakfast will be served from 8 am to 11 am.
If you need more information on the Breakfast, Family Hamburger Night, or if you would like to become a member of the Post or Auxiliary, contact Denis or Sue Wells at (209) 394-2059.
FAMILY HAMBURGHER NIGHT AT THE LIVINGSTON VFW
Join us for the VFW Hamburger Night, January 31, 2013, from 5-7 pm at the Livingston Veterans Memorial Building, 1605 7th Street, in Livingston.
The public is invited, and you do not have to be a member to attend.
This will be our first hamburger night of 2013.You will be able to enjoy hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fish sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and chili. The sandwiches include your choice of homemade salads.
Price ranges from $2.00 to 4.00 per meal.
All proceeds go to help support our community programs.
If you need more information on any of our events, contact Denis or Sue Wells at (209) 394-2059
BUILDING MATERIALS SALE
The Livingston-Delhi Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8327 will be holding a huge Building Materials Sale at the Veterans Memorial Hall, located at 9799 Stephens Street, Delhi California.
All new merchandise, priced twenty five cents on the dollar. We have electrical, plumbing, lawn & garden, flooring, windows, doors and many other items, too numerous to mention.
Thursday, February 7ththrough Saturday, February 9th. We will open at 9am and close at 5pm.
All Sales are Final with no Warranties. Contractors Welcome. We accept cash or checks only, no Credit Cards.
All proceeds will go to the California Veterans Service Program. If you have any questions call Denis Wells at 209-394-2059 or visit our website at www.vfwlivingston.com.
MARK YOUR CALANDAR!
REMEMBER THAT TCP SETTLEMENT I mentioned earlier? The over $9 million the City received from Dow Chemical Company because of the TCP contamination in Livingston’s Groundwater? At the time, some members of the Council crowed about how helpful that money would be towards cleaning up Livingston’s Groundwater Contamination.
And how much the Water Rate Payers of Livingston would be helped out by this: because it would mean that much less to come out of their pockets in the future.
Note: This Money was not placed into 1 single bank or investment labeled “TCP Money Account” This money was deposited into a series of Different Banks and Investments that are related to the Water Capital Account. We may talk more about that later in another post. But for now, the main Topic of Discussion is “How Should The TCP Settlement Money be spent?”
It would seem to me that if the groundwater contamination was serious enough to justify all the staff time, and Legal Expenses of suing Dow Chemical, than any settlement monies received should be used to clean up that TCP Contamination in the ground water.
But not everyone on the City Council seems to feel the same way about it now.
At the December 04, 2012 City Council meeting, it was actually suggested that the City use that Settlement Money for things other than TCP Cleanup: like…paying down other debt maybe.
SO WHY DOES THAT CONCERN ME Dear Karma? Dear Karma? As I wrote in my response to Karma’s comment in the Sun Star
Because long term exposure to TCP 1,2,3 is considered by the State of California to be a human carcinogen. (cancer causing agent)
Because TCP has been detected in every well
Because the amount of TCP in all wells exceed the currently established Public Health Goal and "will require treatment when resources become available." (I would call $9 million dollars stuck in various Bank Accounts as "funds available)
Because the amount of TCP detected in the wells is as much as 100 times the Notification Level established by the State.
Because in 2005, the City Sued Dow Chemical because of the amount of TCP in the groundwater and how expensive it would be to remove.
Because the Engineers and Consultants doing the City’s Water Feasibility Study are projecting costs between $20 million to $30 million dollars in order to address all of the Groundwater Issues Livingston faces.
Because Livingston has already failed to receive Grant Monies in the amount it has asked for Water System Upgrades because Livingston’s Water Rates were considered "to low" by the agency evaluating the Grant Request.
Because $9 million dollars used for Cleaning up the TCP is $9 million dollars LESS that would need to be factored into any Future Rate Increases.
References, including Newspaper Articles, Staff Reports, Water Quality Reports, Reports to the Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee, and Water System Inspection Report upon request
And if that money is used “somewhere else”: like paying down other debt, doesn’t that mean that Rate Payers will eventually have to make up for that in Higher Water Rates?
Just something to think about
And yes, References, including Newspaper Articles, Staff Reports, Water Quality Reports, Reports to the Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee, and Water System Inspection Report are still available upon request for those of you who might want to see them.
ONE MORE THING, DEAR KARMA, while I am thinking about it. If I am a worm, I am THE GREAT WORM! Shai-Hulud! Get it right my dear Karma. Get it right.
And now on to the
CITY COUNCIL AND SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE
CITY OF LIVINGSTON
REGULAR MEETING AGENDA
JANUARY 15, 2013
CLOSED SESSION: 6:00 P.M.
OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.
Notice is hereby given that the City Council and Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency will hold a Regular Meeting on January 15, 2013, at the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should contact the Deputy City Clerk at least 24 hours prior to this meeting at (209) 394-8041, Ext. 121. Any writings or documents pertaining to an Open Session item provided to a majority of the members of the legislative body less than 72 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Open Session will begin at 7:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held in accordance with state law prior to the Open Session beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held at the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street. The agenda shall be as follows:
1. Call to Order.
2. Roll Call.CLOSED SESSION
A “Closed” or “Executive” Session of the City Council or the Livingston Redevelopment Agency may be held in accordance with state law which may include, but is not limited to, the following types of items: personnel matters, labor negotiations, security matters, providing instructions to real property negotiators, conference with legal counsel regarding pending litigation. The Closed Session will be held in the City Hall Conference Room located at 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Any public comment on Closed Session items will be taken before the Closed Session. Any required announcements or discussion of Closed Session items or actions following the Closed Session will be made in the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California.
3. Successor Agency
Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation
[(Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(2)]
4. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation
[(Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(2)]
Number of Cases: 3
5. Conference with Labor Negotiator
(Government Code Section 54957.6)
Labor Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez
Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees
CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2013-1
Next Ordinance Number: 600
Pledge of Allegiance. Next Successor Agency
Resolution Number: 2013-1
Closed Session Announcements.
Changes to the Agenda.
AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS
1. Presentation by Council Member Jim Soria – Introduction and Recognition of Junior Football All Star Team Members.
GRANT ANNOUNCEMENTSANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS
Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.
City Staff Announcements and Reports.
City Manager Announcements and Reports.
City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.
Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.
CITY COUNCIL FUTURE AGENDA ITEM REQUESTS
This section of the agenda allows members of the public to address the City Council on any item NOT otherwise on the agenda. Members of the public, when recognized by the Mayor, should come forward to the lectern, and identify themselves. Comments are normally limited to three (3) minutes. In accordance with State Open Meeting Laws, no action will be taken by the City Council this evening. For items which are on the agenda this evening members of the public will be provided an opportunity to address the City Council as each item is brought up for discussion.
Items on the Consent Calendar are considered routine or non-controversial and will be enacted by one vote, unless separate action is requested by the City Manager or City Council Member. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless members of the City Council or City Manager request that specific items be removed.
SUCCESSOR AGENCY DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS