“Broken” Wells, State Mandates, A Contract Public Works Director, A Council Member Resigns, And a Brief Summary of APRIL, 2015

If the city loses one of its existing wells, Samra said, it would have to implement severe conservation efforts, such as restricting residents from watering their lawns or asking Foster Farms to alter its production   Ramona Giwargis – Merced Sun Star, September 16, 2013 – Livingston gets water project grant amid struggle to pass balanced budget

On April 3, 2015, Well #14 experienced a sudden and unexpected failure…. At the time that Well #14 failed, Well Nos. 9 and No. 11B were still out of service due to the large quantities of sand they produce. – Excerpted from the Staff Report: Resolution Approving a Memorandum of Understanding with Foster Farms to Repair the Submersible Pump at Well #14 and Making Findings Explaining Why Public Bidding is Not Required for this Project.

With new measurements showing the state’s mountain snowpack at a record low, officials said California’s drought is entering uncharted territory and certain to extend into a fourth straight year. As a result, Brown issued sweeping new directives to reduce water consumption by state residents, including a mandatory 25 percent cut in urban water use – California governor issues mandatory water cuts as snowpack hits record low – The Merced Sun Star – April 01, 2015

The issue that we have is that because of the 4th of July Festival, all the streets around the Livingston Pentecost Club’s buildings are completely blocked. We don’t have much access to and from the buildings and its causing us a lot of problems. Eldini DeJesus – President – Portuguese Pentecost Association – May 05, 2015 City Council Meeting. appx 8:20 minutes into the meeting.

TIMELINE OF SIGNIFICANT EVENTS OF APRIL

  • April 01, 2015: Well #9 & 11B still not operational pending the installation of Sand Separators.

  • April 03: Motor on Well #14 Fails – now 3 wells are offline at the same time.

  • April 07, 2015: Regular City Council Meeting Canceled for lac of Agenda Items.

  • April 14, 2015: Special City Council Meeting – Memorandum of Understanding with Foster Farms for repairs to Well #14.

  • April 14, Planning Commission Meeting

  • April 21, 2015: Regular City Council Meeting.

    • City considers installation of Solar Farm at the Old Industrial WasteWater Treatment Plant.

    • Council approves contract for a Contract Public Works Director

    • Council discusses, but does not adopt an Emergency Drought Declaration

    • Council approves purchase of Body Worn Camera System for the Police Department.

  • April 30, 2015: Council Member David Mendoza submits resignation from the Council 

LIVINGSTON, CA 06/12/2015

Livingston 4th of July 2015THE 4TH OF JULY FESTIVAL WILL BE MOVING to the MAX FOSTER SPORTS COMPLEX this year. According to Julio Valedez, the move would place the event entirely on City Property: with more space for Event Activities and Parking. Everyone would be welcome to bring lawn chairs and Umbrella Shades: just like a day out at the beach. There are also plans for a Shuttle to run between Memorial Park and the Sports Complex: for those who cannot or would rather not drive over.

The move will certainly make some members of the Portuguese Pentecost Association very happy.  At the May 5th City Council Meeting, Association President Eldini DeJesus, accompanied by some committee members and directors went before the City Council: stating that Street Closures on behalf of the July 4th Celebration interfered with the Portuguese Pentecost Celebration and Parade.

Moving the July 4th Celebration across town should resolve any conflicts between the two events.

THE REGULAR MEETING for April 07, 2015 was canceled due to lack of agenda items. However, just one week later, at an April 14, 2015 Special City Council Meeting, the Council approved a Resolution Approving a Memorandum of Understanding with Foster Farms to Repair the Submersible Pump at Well #14 and Making Findings Explaining Why Public Bidding is Not Required for this Project.

Well-Locations-with-Local-Landmarks6

According to the Staff Report,

On April 3, 2015, Well #14 experienced a sudden and unexpected failure….  At the time that Well #14 failed, Well Nos. 9 and No. 1lB were still out of service due to the large quantities of sand they produce.

Foster Farms received the City purchased filters to remove sand from Well Nos. 9 and 11B on March 20, 2015, and they were making arrangements to install them when Well #14 failed. Foster Farms installed the filters on Well Nos. 9 and 1 lB on April 4th and those two wells are now back in operation….Foster Farms wants to restore the water system’s redundancy as soon as possible to avoid any disruptions to their production.

Foster Farms would like to purchase and install a new submersible pump at Well #14. Foster Farms is the largest water user in the City and benefits from having a reliable supply. Thus, Foster Farms is not asking to be reimbursed for these repairs.

During the meeting, the City Engineer stated that it was Foster Farms who had approached the City about doing the repairs, and that Foster Farms had already had to shut down because of a well being down.

Mayor Pro Temp Samra said that this was was Health and Safety Issue. Mayor Espinoza stated a lot of wells in the area were going down because of the drought.

April 14, 2014

PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

On the Agenda

  • Appointing a new Chair and Vice Chair

  • Substituting Rosenberg’s Rules of Order for Robert’s Rules of Order

Because Commissioners Mendoza and Castellanos were absent, the Commission decided to postpone the appointment of a permanent Chair and Vice Chair.

It was reported by the Contract Planner that he was working with Carlos Vierra. Mr. Vierra is interested in moving his  Boxing Studio, currently located at 444 Main Street to a new building to be built at the corner of 2nd & B St.

APRIL 21, 2015

REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING

CLOSED SESSION Items included

  • 1 case of Potential Litigation [(Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(2)]

  • Another Conference with Labor Negotiator regarding All Represented and Non-Represented City Employees


Regular Meeting

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS


Ceremonial:


1. Color Guard by Livingston Police Explorer Post 518.


Invocation by Police Chaplain Mike Outten.

Introduction and Affirmation of Oath of Office and Re-pinning of Badges for Police Officer Taylor Kollmann and Reserve Police Officer Enrique Villalobos by Police Chief Ruben Chavez.

2. Presentation by Dennis Mueller (VP/CTO) of American Solar Utility on the following: – Livingston City Energy Assessment status. – Solar project Aggregate Net-Metering options with both PG&E and MID. – Solar project Land Options. – Solar project Power Purchase Agreement – Options between ASU and Livingston. – Energy Efficiency technologies (lighting, etc.) with near and long-term options. – Next steps and schedule.

In late December, 2014, the City Council gave the approval to do an Energy Audit and to look for possible places to build a Solar Farm.

During the Presentation, one of the Suggestions was to locate the Solar Farm at the old Industrial WasteWater Treatment Plant site which is being decommissioned by Foster Farms: as the Permitting Process would be easier.

But there’s a slight hitch…even though Foster Farms brought it’s own Industrial Waste Water Treatment Plant online in December 2010, it may be a while yet before the site of the Old Plant is completely decommissioned and ready for other uses. According to a Clean Up and Abatement Order issued by the Californial Water Board on July 21, 2012 for the Old Industrial Wastewater Treatment Facility: Foster Farms was instructed to

Pond Remediation Schedule


According to the Schedule Above, the last of the ponds will not be cleaned up until of the end of 2017. However, Mr. Mueller indicated that he ought to be able to negotiate with Foster Farms and help the process move along just a little bit faster.

There was also a discussion about whether the City should enter into a Power Purchase Agreement, or buy the System outright: with the City Attorney stating he had experience negotiating Power Purchase Agreements and could evaluate all the City’s Options.

PUBLIC HEARINGS


3. Resolution Adopting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan. 

According to the Staff Report, an ADA Self-Evaluation was a requirement of Caltrans. If this Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan was not done, the City “would not be able to request funding authorization on any transportation projects funded by the Federal Highways Administration.

Deficiencies turned up by this Evaluation would be addressed as funds become available. Although the City does not currently have enough money to correct everything listed in the Engineer’s Report, there may some money coming for these projects at a later date.


CONSENT CALENDAR


4. City Council Authorize the Purchase and Installation of Memorial Marker for the Late City of Livingston Planning Commissioner Michael Anthony Silva.

This item was pulled from the Consent Calendar for a separate discussion. During the discussion, Warren Urnberg, (a current planning commissioner) suggested that instead of a plaque dedicated to just one person, the council commission a plaque that could accommodate the names of those who have served the City over the years: particularly those who have already passed away.

Mayor Espinoza replied that the Council had taken some heat for naming a street after Karina Lau, and he thought Mr. Silva was deserving of a Memorial Plaque.

5. City Council Authorization for the Purchase of One New Police Vehicle. 

A 2014 Ford Explorer Police Vehicle. Funds to come from:

  • 20% Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Program

  • 40% Seizure Funds

  • 40% Community Development Fund

6. Approval of Warrant Register Dated April 2, 2015.

7. Approval of Warrant Register Dated April 16, 2015.

CONSENT CALENDAR – CITY COUNCIL/SUCCESSOR AGENCY


8. Adoption of Two Resolutions Approving a Four (4) Year Loan Repayment Agreement Between the City of Livingston and the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency. 

Once upon a time, The General Fund loaned a whole bunch of money to the Livingston Redevelopment Agency with the intent that it would be paid back over time.

When the State decided to get rid of Redevelopment Agencies, the Livingston Redevelopment Agency still owed the General Fund $700,000. But, eventually, the State said “nope” to the Redevelopment Agency’s transfer of $700,000 to the General Fund and demanded the money be transferred from the General Fund to the Successor Agency.

The City ended up going to court about it: claiming there had been a valid loan between the General Fund and the Redevelopment Agency. But the Court ruled that Livingston did not have enough valid documentation to prove it really was a loan.

BUT, because of the City’s financial situation, if it had to cough up $700,000 all in one lump sum, it would put the City in the position of not having enough cash on hand to respond to any emergency that might crop up.


DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS


9. City Council Direction on Appointment of Parks and Recreation Commission Members. 

There were no new letters of interest submitted since the last time the Council took up this issue in March. Mayor Pro Temp Samra stated the council was doing everything it could to get people to serve on the Commission. Mayor Espinoza suggested the duties of the Parks and Recreation Commission be assigned to the Planning Commission.


10. Resolution Establishing Designated Level I Reserve Police Officers. Which would extend “police officer authority” 24/7 allow these Reserve Officers to carry a Concealed Weapon without having to go through the process of obtaining a Concealed Carry Weapons Permit.

11. Resolution Approving a One (1) Year Professional Services Agreement with Mountain Valley Environmental Services and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Execute Agreement.

It has been nearly a year and a half since the City had a Public Works Director. Although the City went out with 4 recruitment tries, According to the Acting City Manager, Odilion Ortiz, Livingston’s location and the salary being offered has made it a challenge to fill the position: candidates that have been interviewed were interested in making a little more than Livingston was offering.

Per this contract, the City will now have a Contract Public Works Director for 4 days a week for up to 25 hours per week.

12. Resolution Proclaiming a Local Drought Emergency and Implementing Mandatory Water Use Restrictions and Rescinding Resolution 2014-1.

The City Attorney recommended continuing this item until the next meeting to allow staff time to finish drafting an Ordinance.

I asked a question about the State’s Mandate of a 25% reduction in water usage: How could the City as a whole reduce water usage by 25%, when over 60% of Livingston’s Water goes to just one user.

The reply was that Industry will have to do it’s part. There had been some recent contact with Foster Farms and they are working on the problem.

13. City Council Authorization for the Purchase and Implementation of a Body Worn Camera System and Replacement of In-Car Video System. 

Mayor Pro Temp Samra stated that it was a good idea. Mayor Espinoza commented that, with the cameras, citizens know they are being recorded and that there had been calls that someone was harassing them.

14. Resolution Approving a Deed Restriction for Parcels Designated with Assessor Parcel Numbers 022-050-027, 022-050-008, and 022-050-006 (collectively known as the Joseph Gallo Park) Pursuant to the Requirements of the Roberti-Z’berg-Harris Nonurbanized Area Need-Basis Grant Program for the Joseph Gallo Park Improvements Project. 

Simply put, this is a promise by the City that it will continue to use the Park as a Park and not sell the Grant Funded Improvements to anyone else for at least 16 years or so

Joseph Gallo Park Grant 

ADJOURNMENT

In my next post, we will continue with brief Summary of What Happened In May, such as:
 

You might also be interested in the following articles from the Merced Sun Star: Let me know if the links don’t work

More water restrictions likely in Merced County communities  – BY ROB PARSONS – 04/03/2015 – The Merced Sun Star – Further water restrictions are already in the works for Merced County residents ahead of the order earlier this week from Gov. Jerry Brown to cut back water use in cities and counties by 25 percent.

Drought expands across large section of nation’s crop region – THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – 04/06/2015 – The Merced Sun  – DES MOINES, IOWA —Drought conditions are expanding across a large section of the U.S., from California to the Great Plains. –The National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska says the area covered by moderate drought or worse expanded by nearly five percentage points to 36.8 percent during March. –The drought monitor shows dry conditions broadened in the Midwest with 22 percent of the U.S. corn production area and 18 percent of the soybean area in some degree of drought. That’s up sharply from early March when just 6 percent of the corn growing area and 5 percent of the soybean region were in drought conditions. –Dryness worsened during March in Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. –Two-thirds of California is in extreme to exceptional drought.

Livingston Kite Festival Photo Gallary – The Merced Sun Star

High-flying fun in Livingston – 04/17/2015 – The Merced Sun Star – Livingston’s fourth annual Kite Festival was another big hit with families, with more than 5,000 kite enthusiasts and their supporters coming from as far away as Sacramento and the Bay Area, according to event organizers….  The family-friendly, free event was hosted by the Knights of Columbus at Livingston Middle School. The Kite Festival kicked off the Week of the Young Child, a nationwide observance meant to bring attention to the development of children and the needs of their families that ends today.

Livingston council considers new water rules, approves police body cameras – 04/22/2015 – By Ramona Giwargis – The Merced Sun Star –Livingston has trimmed its water consumption by 18 percent compared to 2013, but city leaders are considering scaling back even further.—The City Council on Tuesday considered a resolution that would reduce outdoor watering from three days per week to two, ban washing cars and prohibit irrigating outdoors within 48 hours of a storm.—It would also restrict excessive water runoff onto the pavement or sidewalks and require property owners to fix water leaks.—The council did not pass the resolution Tuesday, instead voting 3-0 to bring it back with a few changes. Councilmen Arturo Sicairos and David Mendoza were absent Tuesday.

A Game of Chicken – USDA REPEATEDLY BLINKED WHEN FACING SALMONELLA OUTBREAKS INVOLVING FOSTER FARMS – Story by LYNNE TERRY  – Oregonlive.com – 05/01/2015 – Over the course of a decade, hundreds of people from Eugene to Baker City to Portland and Seattle were struck by bouts of food poisoning so severe they fled to their doctors or emergency rooms for treatment. – They had no idea what made them sick. But federal regulators did. – Oregon and Washington public health officials repeatedly told the U.S. Department of Agriculture they had linked salmonella outbreaks in 2004, 2009 and 2012 to Foster Farms chicken.

Mendoza expected to resign from Livingston City Council – By Rob Parsons– 05/04/2015 – David Mendoza is expected to resign Tuesday from the Livingston City Council, according to the council’s agenda posted Monday….(Council Member) Samra … said he would be willing to consider the possibility of allowing Mendoza to step away from the council temporarily with the idea that he would return at a later date….Mendoza was elected to the council in 2012, along with Councilmen Jim Soria and Arturo Sicairos. 

You can find even more Livingston History if you CLICK HERE

  •  

Fireworks Booths and Council Picks, Flushing Away the Brown Water, A Water System Update, and a Brief Look at March, 2015

Livingston, CA – 04/22/2015

If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down. – A little ditty I remember from the last time California had a major drought.

(RE SAND FILTERING EQUIPMENT wells 9 & 11) As you know, we purchased equipment, sand filtering equipment, that should be here later this month. We also met with Foster Farms. The and Foster Farms will be working together. Foster Farms actually offered to install those for the City So that will be a win-win: saves time. So we don’t have to go through all the bidding things and all of that. Livington City Engineer, March 03, City Council Meeting, appx 13:03

(Re: CITY MANAGER RECRUITMENT) The recruitment firm that is helping us now is Avery and Associates, who also helped us the last time around with the Recruitment. They are preparing the ad that…they’re showing us different drafts to post on their website and on different publications…The goal is to have the filing deadline close April 24th. Livingston City Attorney, March o3, City Council Meeting, appx 21:13

(RE: Well #15 and REIMBURSEMENT AGREEMENT WITH GALLO) That is currently being negotiated. We’re working with representatives from Gallo. I think we/re doing a good job on compromising on some issues. As far as timeline, I don’t have an exact date that it will go to the Planning Commission. But I know its around the corner because their eager to get moving as well with some of their developments. .Livingston City Attorney, March 03, City Council Meeting, appx 22:06 

(RE: HYDRANT FLUSHING TO RESOLVE BROWN WATER PROBLEMS) I just want to make a comment about the brown water. I think there’s issues but I think that we have to go back to the hydrant flushing because we still have a system that needs to be flushed: the ends in the system. —–We have to, I think, direct the City Manager to again to make some time with employees so we can do a rotating around town, especially in the areas where water sits longer and the brown stuff accumulates and I think that’s where it needs to be flushed more often so that we don’t get the brown water.—–It always was a problem and I think we used to do it in the past. In the past I addressed it to the City Manager. But now I’m gonna stress again to out current Interim that we need to devise a plan. —–With a plan I think a couple times a month to do a rotating flushing of the hydrants. Especially on the West side of the city is worst.—–Stuff close to Foster Farms, inside the City, Foster Farms pulls a lot of water so its cleaner.—–But on the West side, there’s more standing water and people get more dirty water, or brown water. —–So I think as long as we rotate the flushing, people will get cleaner water. So we’ll work on that. Mayor Espinoza, March 03, City Council Meeting, appx. 31:10

(RE: HOW THE JULY 4TH COMMITTEE SHOULD JOIN THE RECREATION COMMISSION) I just think that as Recreation they can work on any projects. Especially right now that the 4th of July needs a lot of help. They can always focus on helping the 4th of July. so I think I’ll try to get some more people on here and to encourage people from all over the Community and I’m challenging our Council members as well. Hopefully 30 days will be good. Mayor Espinoza, March 03, City Council Meeting. Appx 1:02:02

 

Page 1As part of the settlement agreement with California River Watch, on March 31, 2015, the City held a workshop about the state of our Water System, and what the City is doing to address our Water Quality Issues. Although the purpose of the workshop was to address issues specific to Livingston, the discussion often drifted into other areas: such as the recent controversy over Water Transfers out of Merced County and the “insanity of wells going in everywhere”.

Page 6Those of us who have lived here a while, and are paying attention, know that Livingston has had it’s abundance of WATER SYSTEM CHALLENGES for years: complaints about Dirty, Smelly, brown water being one of them.

At the March 03 City Council Meeting, in response to a Residents Comments about BROWN WATER, the Mayor made a lengthy statement about how we needed to get back to Flushing The System on a Regular Basis.

Now, those of you who have lived here a while already know that LIVINGSTON’S BROWN WATER PROBLEM is a topic that has come up Over, and Over and Over Again for years. The records I have so far show complaints about Dirty, Smelly Water go back to as early as 2006 and the City has had a history of paying residents claims for damages to clothing caused by the “dirty, brown water”

And how the “Usual Remedy” is to “flush the system”: opening up a hydrant and letting the water run, and run, and run, and run, until it is no longer “brown”.

If its clear, drink it dear. If its Brown, flush it down…… the Street.

Here’s a brief history taken from just a few examples from City Council Meeting Minutes

March 18, 2014: City Manager Ramirez Thanked Paul Avila, Battalion Chief, CAL FIRE, who is working very closely with the City Engineer on implementing a fire hydrant flushing program and exercising of valves. He said they will be assisting the City with fire hydrant flushing throughout the year because the City has been having issues with red water. They have divided the City into quadrants for hydrant flushing due to manpower.

In MARCH 18, 2014, there was a Presentation by Paul Avila, Battalion Chief, CAL FIRE – Fire Hydrant Flushing Program.

Mr. Lou gave a presentation about the flushing program, the City water system and the purpose of the program. CAL FIRE is assisting public water agencies by implementing this program.

Which would

· Maintain safe and reliable drinking water for the community

and

· Address customer complaints

via the

Implementation of regular maintenance of the system

and that the

Program will use conventional flushing

1) System wide flushing

2) Spot flushing for specific cases

3) City will target dead-end sections of the system to ensure proper recirculation of any stagnant water within the pipes.

· Flushing Plan

– Systematic flushing of the entire water system once per year of the four zones

– Flushing duration shall last 5-10 minutes

– Flushing shall occur during non-peak hours, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

In addition

Mario Gouveia, City Engineer said his office works in conjunction with the Fire Department and the Fire Department has the lead on this program with the support of Public Works.

In APRIL 15, 2014, Mayor Espinoza advised community residents that if they are having problems with brown water to let the water run and then call City Hall to have someone come out to flush the system.

The City Manager (Jose) Ramirez said the City has different types of pipes throughout town and two-thirds of the pipes have been addressed and the other third is being looked at in the hopes of finding some type of funding. The City Engineer came up with a map to divide the City into quadrants to make it easier for the Fire Department that is helping with the fire hydrant flushing program.

At the JUNE 03, 2014 City Council Meeting   there was a Presentation by Larry Bergman, Fire Captain, Merced County Fire/Cal Fire: Fire Hydrant Flushing Program. – Captain Bergman gave a presentation discussing Merced County Fire/Cal Fire’s efforts in flushing-out the City’s fire hydrants. Captain Bergman explained that this process has started off smoothly and that he expects to complete this project in approximately 3 weeks. City Manager Ramirez stated this program was organized by a team of professional engineers who are primarily concerned with the performance of the fire hydrants. In particular, they are looking at elements like water pressure, valve access, and things of that nature.

So…it seems the City is committed to its “flushing” program as a means of “cleaning out” the brown water. But with the States recent mandate for Water Providers to cut consumption by at least 25%, just how long will Livingston be able to just “flush” it’s brown water troubles away”?

Now..a brief look at some of the Agenda items covered during the MARCH City Council Meetings. As of the date of this posting, written minutes have yet to be prepared. However, if you would like to view an archived video of the meeting, you can do so by CLICKING HERE. You can also go to City Hall and request a Copy of the Meeting Videos.

The MARCH 3, 2015 CLOSED SESSION included

  • 1 Case of Potential Litigation

  • Continued Labor Negotiations with All Represented and Unrepresented City Employees

  • Continued Discussion of City Manager Recruitment

During OPEN SESSION on MARCH 3:

1. The Resolution Approving the Sun Valley Estates Site Plan/Design Review (2015-1) Located Southwest of the Intersection of Peach Avenue and Main Street. Was Approved.

There was a question about whether or not Livingston had adequate water for additional housing. In response Mayor Espinoza mentioned about Fersenius having gone out of business and the City Engineer stated “That’s another “cush” that the city didn’t take into account” (when the “will serve” letter for the project was issued)


CONSENT CALENDAR


2. The Minutes of Meeting Held on December 22, 2014. Was approved

3. The Minutes of Meeting Held on January 6, 2015. Was approved

4. The Minutes of Meeting Held on January 20, 2015. Was Approved

5. The Warrant Register Dated February 26, 2015 Was Approved.


DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS


6. The City Council discussed Appointments to the Parks and Recreation Commission. During the Discussion, the Recreation Director explained that as of the deadline, only 3 people had applied. Although there is interest by members of the community to work on specific neighborhood related projects, there doesn’t seem that much interest in being on the Recreation Commission itself. It was decided to advertise for another 30 days in hopes of rounding up a few more applicants and the Mayor stated that members of the City Council should start asking people to apply.

7. The Resolutions Required by the State Water Resources Control Board as Part of the DWSRF Application. Were Approved


8. A Resolution Awarding the Wastewater Treatment Plant SCADA System Upgrade and Integration Project to Tesco Controls. Was Approved.


ADJOURNMENT

The MARCH 17, 2015 CLOSED SESSION Included discussions about:

  • 1 Case of Potential Litigation

  • Continued Labor Negotiations with All Represented and Unrepresented City Employees

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

CITIZEN COMMENTS

During the OPEN SESSION of MARCH 17, 2015:


CONSENT CALENDAR

1. Approval of Warrant Register Dated March 12, 2015. Was approved.


DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS


2. The Resolution Accepting Completion of the Joseph Gallo Park Improvements and Authorizing the City Clerk to Record a Notice of Completion with Merced County was approved.

3. The Resolution Accepting Bid for City of Livingston Well #13 Arsenic Removal Treatment from TNT Industrial Contractors, Inc Was Approved. The equipment had already been purchased from Loprest. This item was for the installation. The City is hoping to get either a grant or 0% interest loan from the State to cover the costs. In the meantime, the City will be tapping the TCP Settlement funds until a funding agreement is issued by the State.

4. The Issuance of Permits to Sell Safe and Sane Fireworks took place. As some of you might remember from last year, the City Council rewrote the Fireworks Ordinance in order to have the ability of awarding a FIREWORKS BOOTH PERMIT to up to 2 (two) Non-Profits via “Council Pick”. At the time, it was stated that the motivation for the changes to the ordinance was to allow the Council to “give” a FIREWORKS BOOTS PERMIT to the Livingston Youth Football Organization for two (2) consecutive years.

According to Youth Football Coach and City Council member Jim Soria, he had placed the Item on the January 21, 2014 City Council Agenda: partly in memory of Mike Coronado.  According to Council Member Soria, the recent death of Mike Coronado created a Special Circumstance which justified giving Youth Football priority other non-profit organizations. 

After the Ordinance had been rewritten, and it came time for FIREWORKS BOOTH PERMITS to be “divvied up” in 2014, the Council awarded a Fireworks Booth Permit to the Livingston Youth Football organization and threw all the other applicants into the Lottery. 

This year, “Council Pick” went to Livingston Youth Football for the second year in a row; and to the July 4th Committee. (Who did not join the Recreation Commission BTW).

In regards to the “fairness” of Livingston Youth Football receiving a booth permit two years in a row, Mayor Espinoza stated: I myself personally promised that I would try to help them with my votes because of Michael Coronado. He was a great man. He helped the community and supported the Youth Football. So I say for two years will be able to have the booth. This is sometimes it doesn’t seem fair but the High School had it for a lot of years: they had different programs and it didn’t seem fair to a lot of people that also. I think that to help the youth that Michael Coronado did himself most of his life. So I think they deserve that.


ADJOURNMENT

Arsenic, TCP and Salmonella; Lawsuits and Politics; A Look Back at 2014 and A City Council Agenda


LIVINGSTON CALIFORNIA – 2/01/2015

A Livingston public works employees union recently questioned the mayor’s friendly relationship with Mendoza, in addition to accusing Mendoza of harassment.– Espinoza, however, said his friendship with Mendoza had nothing to do with him getting invited to China. “We’ve been friends, and we talk once in a while, but that didn’t play a part,” the mayor said. from Livingston council questioned over China trip – Ramona – Merced Sun Star – 12/03/2014

“There is an urgent need to have Well 16 back on-line in the near future to meet the City’s water demands that will likely increase in the Spring and Summer.” From STAFF REPORT -  Resolution Approving an Agreement with Shannon Pump for Sampling and Repairs to Well 16, Making Findings Supporting that Award of Such Agreement is Exempt from Competitive Bidding Requirements and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement. MEETING DATE: February 18, 2014

Approximately 18,267 sq. ft of land is needed to locate the treatment facilities at the existing Well No. 8. The adjacent property (APN 024-020-023 and 029) is owned by Foster Farms.  From  STAFF REPORT  AGENDA ITEM: Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of Land Needed for the Installation of Water Treatment Facilities at the City Water Supply Well No. 8, Approval of the Appraisal Report Prepared by The Thomas Wilkins Company, and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement with Foster Farms for the Purchase of the Land.  MEETING DATE: May 21, 2013

One of the city’s largest water wells previously plagued by a major contaminant now runs with a new filtration system, city officials announced this week…….The upgraded well, located on Livingston Cressey Road, near the Foster Farms plant, was chosen because water drawn from it contains high levels of TCP contamination, said Livingston Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra…. The well pumps 1,200 gallons of water per minute to the city, with the majority used by Foster Farms. Livingston water well receives $2.3 million filter system – Ramona Giwargis – The Merced Sun Star – 12/30/2014

Without Livingston, there is no Foster Farms, and without Foster Farms, there is no Livingston. Those were the words of Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra as he explained the company’s impact on the city. Samra joined Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza and Councilman Arturo Sicairos in presenting Foster Farms CEO Ron Foster with a commemorative key to the city Tuesday night. From Livingston city officials present Foster Farms with key to city – Ramona Giwargis – Modesto Bee -07/16/2014

This is not an all inclusive discussion of everything that happened in Livingston during 2014. It is only a brief look at what I consider some of the more significant historical and political happenings in the City of Livingston.

preparing-to-take-down-the-marqueeCOURT THEATER IS DEMOLISHED – Another sad chapter in Livingston’s History has ended with the destruction of the Court Theater.  In 2001, the City had purchased the Court Theater with the high hopes of restoring the Theater and transforming it into a Cultural Arts Center . In 2005, the City received a Community Development Block Grant: which it used to complete Architectural Drawings in 2008.

But between trouble getting enough additional financing, accusations in 2010 that Police and Fire Department budgets were cut to finance the project, and the deterioration of the relationship between City Council Members, the Court Theater Committee in 2011, it became pretty clear the Court Theater Project was doomed.

The City was able to salvage some of the Grant Money it had received by getting permission from the State to use these funds for improvements at Gallo Park.

The City also made attempts to save the Theater’s Marquee, Ticket Booth, and Sign.

WITHOUT LIVINGSTON, THERE IS NO FOSTER FARMS, AND WITHOUT FOSTER, THERE IS NO LIVINGSTON – In a previous post, I talked about the Symbiotic and Sometimes Dysfunctional Relationship between Foster Farms and the City of Livingston. Since Foster Farms is the largest consumer of water in Livingston: using at up to 66% of the water produced from Livingston’s wells, it can’t help but have a large influence on the size and condition of Livingston’s Water Delivery System.

Most of you remember that 2013 ended with Foster Farms coming under intense scrutiny due to an outbreak of antibiotic resistant Salmonella. This continued into 2014 as Livingston braced for fallout from an idled Foster Farms .  Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro reacted to the closing of the plant due to roaches as “long overdue.”: pushing for action against the company. Three days after federal inspectors shut it down Foster Farms got the OK to reopen plant only to shut it down again a day after reopening in order to expand safety procedures.

As the number sickened by salmonella outbreak rose to 430, according to government reports Foster Farms reopened the plant after a 10-day closure. And while Salmonella cases continued to grow, Foster Farms noted progress with it’s safety and prevention efforts

By April salmonella cases linked to Foster Farms, were reported to have grown to 524 people in 25 states and Puerto Rico.

May 2014 brought a couple of interesting developments. In Virginia, Foster Farms, in conjunction with Marketing & Planning Specialists LP, filed a federal lawsuit claiming the EPA improperly applied the Clean Water Act on land they wish to develop. In California, Foster Farms blamed and sued its exterminator for cockroaches.

The Months of June saw Foster Farms celebrating its 75th anniversary.  Meanwhile, in Congress, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill called the Pathogens Reduction and Testing Reform Act: which would require the USDA to recall meat, poultry and egg products contaminated by pathogens that cause serious illnesses or death and that are also resistant to two or more classes of antibiotics commonly used to treat human illnesses

In July, Foster Farms received the Key To The City of Livingston from Livingston’s Officials;  issued its first voluntary chicken recall since 2013 salmonella outbreak ; updated the recall to include additional "use or freeze by" and "best by" dates; and sued its insurance companies for recall reimbursement in ‘cockroach infestation’ “arguing that the forced closure of a plant earlier this year by the government and subsequent destruction of chicken amounted to a recall”.

By July 31, The Center for Disease Control said the salmonella outbreak appeared to be over. In September Foster Farms recalled chicken from Louisiana due to possible contamination by Listeria.

In October Ron Foster announced he would step down as Foster Farms President and CEO.

In November, a billboard scrutinizing Foster Farms was set up: an indication that Foster Farms still has a ways to go before things settle down to “business as usual.”

WITHOUT LIVINGSTON’S WATER, WHAT WOULD BECOME OF FOSTER FARMS?

Impact on Foster Farms

Without the “low cost” water coming from Livingston’s wells, there would be no Foster Farms as we know it today. I’ve already mentioned the Symbiotic and Sometimes Dysfunctional Relationship between Foster Farms and the City of Livingston and how Foster Farms is the largest consumer of Livingston’s water.

In 2014, The City of Livingston purchased land from Foster Farms, in order to have enough room to install a TCP Filtration system on a well that sends most of it’s water to Foster Farms. 

I have also noted that, in the long run, Foster Farms would need to address an issue much larger than cockroaches and salmonella: that of having enough water that meets State and Federal Drinking Water Standards.

It is no secret, to those who have been paying attention, that Livingston’s Water Delivery system has been degrading over time. Arsenic levels have been rising and Foster Farms had to shut down at least 1 shift in February 2013 due to problems with water quality

In December, 2013, California River Watch served the City of Livingston with a 60-Day Notice of Violations and Intent to File Suit alleging various violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. This was followed up with a Complaint against the City in the United States District Court, Eastern District of California, Case No. 1:14-CV-00437-AWI-MJS. In June 12, 2014, this was followed by a 90-Day Notice of Violations and Intent to File Suit alleging various violations of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. 

A Settlement Agreement and Release was signed in September 2014. Some of the agreed upon actions to be taken by the City include:

  • Well 13Install and operate wellhead treatment for Arsenic at Well No. 13 no later than June 1, 2016.

  • Continue monitoring for Arsenic at Well No. 13 consistent with federal Safe Drinking Water Act and California Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.

  • Well 8-9(b) Install and operate wellhead treatment for 1,2,3 Trichloropropane (“TCP”) at Well No. 8 no later than January 1, 2015.

  • Within six (6) months after the Effective Date of the Agreement, post on its website information regarding the City’s efforts to address TCP in drinking water.

  • on a semi-annual basis, provide inserts in its utility bills that provide information on efforts to address TCP.

  • update its website and the utility bill inserts, as needed, to reflect current
    information.

In January, Governor Brown had declared a drought emergency, and urged residents to reduce water consumption by 20 percent

Shortly thereafter, the Livingston City Council voted to ban outside watering on certain days of the week. “City leaders said the plan has been in the works the past few years, but was given a new sense of urgency after the governor declared a drought on Friday.”

Well 16In February, the Livingston council approved an urgent contract for repairs at Well #16 

In April, the City Council voted to begin the Proposition 218 Process for Water rate increase. Notices about Livingston rate increases went out the following Friday .  Meetings were held at which the new Rate Structure was discussed

In June the Livingston council approved utility rate increases and also approved a contract for emergency repairs to a damaged main pipe at the wastewater treatment plant . It should be noted that the Water Rate Increases adopted by the City of Livingston assume that Grants and Low/No Interest Loans from the State Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund will fund the majority of Repairs/Upgrades to Livingston’s Wells and Water Delivery System over the next 5 years: any loans to be paid back over the next 20 to 30 years.

In September, the City received a Notice of Violation from the Water Board regarding the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant for not meeting certain testing and reporting requirements.

Well 8-9Well 11 - 15In November, there was discussion about wells #11 and #9 having been taken offline because of sand causing problems with Foster Farms: overwhelming their filters.

By the end of December, the TCP Filtration System on Well #8 was up and running; and the City Council approved the purchase of Arsenic Filtration equipment to be eventually installed on Well #13. As I mentioned earlier, installing filtration on both of these wells was covered in the Settlement Agreement between the City of Livingston and California River Watch.

BUDGETS,  CONCESSIONS, AND DEFICITS

Although the 2013/2014 Fiscal Year began back in JULY 2013, the Budget for that year wasn’t adopted until March 2014. This budget included salary reductions and other concessions from employees

The 2014/2015 Fiscal Year was barely over in June before the Budget for the Next Year Fiscal year was predicted to be $146,000 in the hole. Employees were again asked for a 7 percent pay cut: which was rejected.

In JULY a Memorandum of Understanding and a Side Letter Concessions Agreement between the City of Livingston and the City of Livingston Management and Confidential Employees Association was adopted. Terms included:

  • One furlough day per month

  • 1% pay decrease effective July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015

  • $100 per month medical contribution per member

  • freezing 40 hours of vacation cash outs.

In August, the City Council adopted a budget which included a deficit of $44,000. The Council also considered the topic of planning fee increases. The leader of the Public Works Employees union expressed frustration over the way labor negotiations were being handled

A Resolution Approving a Successor Memorandum of Understanding Between the City of Livingston and the Livingston Police Officers’ Association (LPOA) OE3 Unit for the Period of January 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015 was approved in December of 2014.

A Memorandum of Understanding for the AFSCME Public Works and Parks Employees Unit for the period July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 was not approved until January 2015 and included one (l) furlough per month, freezing 20 hours of vacation cash­ outs effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 and contributions of $75 per month towards medical insurance premiums.

MAYOR’S TERMS, “POLITICS”, FIREWORKS, AND “FAVORITISM”

IN JANUARY, the Livingston City Council approved a ballot measure which would EXTEND THE MAYOR’S TERM of office from two years to four: in order to maintain “institutional knowledge” on the council according to Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra, who had placed this item on the Agenda.

A previous ballot measure in 2006, Measure C, had asked Livingston voters if they wanted their mayors to have a two year or a four-year term. By about 66 of the vote, the term for mayor was limited to two-years. In 2006, voters said “no” to a 4-year term for mayor. Voters said “no” again in 2014. Voters said “no” again in 2014

IN JANUARY, The Council also discussed changing the way Fireworks Booth Permits were distributed by the city. Directions given to Staff was to include language in an Ordinance that would allow the City Council the ability to award the “COUNCIL’S CHOICE” to the Livingston Youth Football Organization for (2) CONSECUTIVE YEARS.  According to Youth Football Coach and City Council member Jim Soria, he had placed the Item on the January 21, City Council Agenda. According to Council Member Soria, the recent death of Mike Coronado created a Special Circumstance which justified giving Youth Football priority other non-profit organizations.

There was another discussion of the proposed Ordinance on February 18, and March 04: along with a fair share of criticism, replete with allegations of favoritism.

The actual Issuance of Permits to Sell Safe and Sane Fireworks took place on April 15th. Although Mayor Pro-Tem Samra made a motion to put all applications in a lottery,  Council Member Jim Soria’s “push to award a fireworks stand to a nonprofit for which he volunteers proved successful” by a 2-1 vote.

Allegations of “favoritism” was not limited out to just the handing out of Fireworks Booth Permits.  One of Livingston’s unions alleged acts  sexual harassment were committed by the City’s Public Works Supervisor.   “the union began receiving numerous complaints about his leadership, leading to a vote of no confidence signed by 11 employees in May” in addition to (allegations that) “Mendoza has an inappropriate relationship with Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza, allowing the mayor to have preferential treatment on projects related to his property.”

And although Mayor Espinoza claimed favoritism was not a factor when he picked who would travel with him to China , it couldn’t prevent questions from being raised. Public Works Supervisor Ruben Mendoza also went on the trip: in addition to Council Member Jim Soria, and City Manager Jose Ramirez. According to the Mayor Espinoza “I got invited through a friend and former mayor of Lathrop,” and was asked to invite 10 other people.

2014 WAS AN ELECTION YEAR with two seats “up for grabs” on the City Council, and also had it’s fair share of controversy.  A photograph circulated by Mayor Pro-Temp Gurpal Samra elicited claims of “dirty politics” and slander by by his opponent: Planning Commissioner Mario Mendoza. 

THE CITY MANAGER ANNOUNCED HIS INTENTION TO RESIGN during a Special City Council Meeting in DECEMBER. According to the City Attorney, the Report out of Closed Session, as stated by the City Attorney, was as follows:

Tonight in Closed Session, the City Manager informed the City Council that he is resigning from his employment with the City.  Mr. Ramirez has elected to resign to pursue personal and professional opportunities outside of the region.

The City Council on a vote of 4-0-1 (Council Member Mendoza was not present) has accepted the City Manager’s resignation and has agreed to waive the 60 days’ notice provision in the City Manager’s contract. 

The City Manager’s last day of employment with the City will be January 31st

Mr. Ramirez has expressed his willingness to continue to assist the City with current projects and to assist in the City’s transition to a new City Manager.  The City will be working with Mr. Ramirez to accomplish this

And now, on to the

CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

FEBRUARY 3, 2015

CLOSED SESSION: 6:00 P.M.

OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.


Notice is hereby given that the City Council will hold a Regular Meeting on February 3, 2015, 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:


Closed Session


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 Council Chambers 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. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

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

Number of Cases: 2


4. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Manager

City Manager Recruitment

5. Conference with Labor Negotiator(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Labor Negotiator: Interim City Manager Odi Ortiz Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees


Regular Meeting


CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2015-3

Next Ordinance Number: 623


Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call.

Changes to the Agenda.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS


1. Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza – Presentation of Key to the City plaques to members of Grupo Musical Los Kinos for their continuous contributions to the Livingston community.


ANNOUNCEMENTS 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.

CITIZEN COMMENTS

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.

CONSENT CALENDAR


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.


2. Report on United Front Security and Patrol Security Company Seeking a Business License.

3. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on December 16, 2014.

4. Approval of Warrant Register Dated January 29, 2015.


DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS


5. Resolution Appointing Odilon Ortiz as Interim City Manager and Approving a Second Amendment to the Employment Agreement between the City of Livingston and Odilon Ortiz.

6. Resolution Approving the First Amendment and Restatement to Agreement for Employment between the City of Livingston and Ruben Chavez for the Position of Police Chief.

7. Vacancies and Appointments to the Livingston Planning Commission.

8. Council Accept and Authorize Temporary Outsourcing of City’s Street Sweeping Services with Gilton Solid Waste.

9. Discussion Regarding Changes to the DTC Zone.

10. Discussion Item: Consideration of Changing the City Logo Slogan from “The Last Stop” to “Sweet Potato Capital of the World.”

11. Discussion Item: Twelve Acres of Industrial Land at the Max Foster Sports Complex.

ADJOURNMENT

Watering Days, Fireworks Booths, Arsenic, Sand and “Broken” Wells: plus a City Council Agenda

LIVINGSTON, CALIFORNIA 02/17/2014

I am going to invoke a little of the Story Teller’s License before discussing my take on Current Events as they relate to Water Related Stuff.

I’ve developed a theory, which started bubbling up in my brain, ever since the Days-of-the-Recall, that there have been, and still are, two quite distinct factions within our Elected and Appointed Officials .

One faction has known all along about the growing problems with our Groundwater and Water System. They have been on the council long enough to have had more than a fair few Staff and Consultant’s Reports in their Agenda Packets: they have no excuse whatsoever in my mind for “not knowing”.

But for Political Reasons they seem to have made it a deliberate practice to ensure that that knowledge and comprehension has not been passed to other Elected/Appointed Officials, and Livingston-Residents-As-A-Whole.

We’ll call them “Political Can Kickers” because they have been Kicking the Political Can about Water System Problems down the road for quite a while.

The other faction of Elected/Appointed Officials, which we will call “Water Truthers”, most likely believed everything that the “Political Can Kickers” said about significant repairs and upgrades to Livingston’s Water System being “Unwarranted” and “Unnecessary”, and that any claims about contamination of the Groundwater and problems with the Water System were either Wild Exaggerations, or Figments of the Imagination.

Which the “Water Truthers” intended to prove once they got into City Hall, “cleaned house” and hired a New City Manager, a New City Attorney, and perhaps a few New Consultants and a few New Engineers, and a New Public Works Director Of-Their-Own-Choosing.

After which, they could Re-Study Everything and therefore be able to discover, then declare the REAL Truth-About-Our-Drinking-Water: that all claims of Groundwater Contamination and System Problems were either patently false, or wildly overstated, and that the City DIDN’T really need all the expensive Wellhead Treatment Systems and System Repairs it said it did.

More on that a little later. But first, lets catch up on couple things…

FERSENIUS WILL BE CLOSING the end of May: which will leave Foster Farms as the only Industrial Water User in the City of Livingston.

FOSTER FARMS REOPENS AFTER A 10 DAY CLOSURE,  According to a report in the Merced SunStar, the Foster Farms Plant in Livingston reopened on January 22, after a 10 day voluntary closure. According to the article,

Bill Mattos, president of the California Poultry Federation in Modesto, said the extended closure, originally planned for a few days, came about because of an abundance of caution while workers cleaned the plant thoroughly. “They wanted to be perfectly sure they had zero tolerance,” he said. “So they did it twice instead of one go-round.”

Most of you reading this are probably well versed in Foster Farms recent struggles with Cockroaches and Salmonella, so I won’t rehash the whole sorry saga here.

Except to point out that Foster Farms uses around 66% of Livingston’s water. And if there isn’t enough water, Foster Farms cannot Clean and Sanitize the plant or process chicken.

With that in mind……

Well 8-9-16ONE OF THE 2 WELLS REPORTED TO BE OFFLINE, at the February 10, 2014 meeting of the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee is Well #16. This well, which is on the same side of town as Foster Farms, has been shut off since at least 2011 because the Arsenic Filtration Media was used up. The Arsenic concentrations in that well are nearly 3 – 4 TIMES the legal limit, and without the Arsenic Filtration System up and running, the City cannot legally use that well.

(One of things that should be noted at this point of the discussion,  Well #16, was NOT meant to be used on an everyday basis. It was to be used as a BACK UP well. Because of the High Arsenic levels, and the High Cost of filtering out that Arsenic, Well #16 is hugely expensive to run on a regular basis).

In Early, 2011, the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee was established to “come up with ideas” about how to address Livingston’s water issues, and  “work with” the City and the Engineers and the Consultants who were hired to work on projects like this one, and to “make recommendations” to the City Council.

In October, 2012, the Resolution to Award a Contract to Filtronics, Inc. of Anaheim, California for Goods and Services Provided to Change Out the Arsenic Removal Media for the Well 16 Arsenic Removal Treatment System was approved by the City Council.

By September 03, 2013, most of the work had been completed and the only steps remaining to bring the well back online were stated to be as follows:

  • Final calibration/adjustment process fine tuning:

  • System Disinfection

  • California Department of Public Health (CDPH) field inspection

  • CDPH approval of Operation Plan and Final Permit to Operate

During the September 03, 2013 City Council Meeting, there was an intense discussion about whether or not Well #16 really needed “improvements” like a Variable Frequency Drive or Orifice Plates, etc. before being brought back online.

Flash forward to February 10th, and According to the City’s (New Set Of) Engineers, the only thing really standing in the way of turning that well back on is getting the Well’s new Operations Manual approved by the California Department of Health. However, something DOES really need to be done to slow down the number of gallons the well pumps per minute: especially if the City plans to use the well on More-Than-Just-The-Occasional Basis. A Variable Frequency Drive would be nice: but expensive. Orifice plates would be much less expensive: but wouldn’t work as well.

NOW THE CITY NEEDS TO SKIP THE BIDDING PROCESS for Repairs and Upgrades to Well #16 altogether because, according to the Staff Report, “There is an urgent need to have Well 16 back on-line in the near future to meet the City’s water demands that will likely increase in the Spring and Summer.” Part of the reason this has become So Urgent Urgent Now is because

Well 8-9ALSO ON THE FOSTER FARMS SIDE OF TOWN, and reported to the Utility Rates Stakeholders committee as having been shut down for repairs, is Well #9. This well was taken offline for repairs, after reports by Foster Farms, and testing done by the City, revealed a problem with sand infiltrating the well. 

According to the City Manager and Engineers, it could take anywhere from about a week to a month to “redevelop” the well and bring it back online.

Well 13According to the Findings in the Council Resolution, another reason given fixing up Well #16 is so Urgent is that “There is an urgent need to bring Well 16 in production to enable the City to move forward with the installation of wellhead treatment facilities at Well 13, which will require Well 13 to be off line for some time.”

According to the report by Kennedy Jenks, Well #13 (at Joseph Gallo Park) had been inactive, but was reactivated in early 2013. Which in my mind implies, that Livingston is getting pretty desperate for water.

AND THERE IS ONE MORE WELL ON THE FOSTER FARMS SIDE OF TOWN, that will need to shut off a while for scheduled “upgrades”: Well #8. This is the first well in Livingston scheduled to have a Filtration System for TCP installed. Back in 2004, the City began tracking the levels of TCP in Livingston’s water.

In 2005, the City sued Dow Chemical Corp about the TCP Contamination.

2006 Memorandum Of Understanding Foster Farms and Livingston croppedIn 2006, the City of Livingston and Foster Farms entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in which Foster Farms would lend Livingston the money needed to get the Well #8 TCP Filtration Project moving along. In 2011, the City received a settlement from Dow Chemical: and I guess you could say the City no longer had the need to borrow the money from Foster Farms for that particular project.

In late 2011 the City Council awarded a Professional Engineering Services Contract for Water Treatment at the City Water Supply Well No. 8 (for TCP) to AECOM 

In May, 2013, that contract was amended for Additional Design and Construction Support Services for the 1,2,3 Trichloropropane (TCP) Treatment at the City Water Supply Well No. 8

The City Council also approved a Resolution Authorizing the Purchase of Land Needed for the Installation of Water Treatment Facilities at the City Water Supply Well No. 8, Approval of the Appraisal Report Prepared by The Thomas Wilkins Company and Authorizing the City Manager to execute the Agreement with Foster Farms for the Purchase of the Land. in May, 2013.

In October, 2013 the City Council approved a Resolution Awarding Construction Contract to Conco West, Inc. of Manteca, CA; Approving the Expenditure of Construction Funds for the Well No. 8 Wellhead Treatment System and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Construction Contract and Any Change Orders Thereto with Conco West, Inc.

Although Well #8  is currently up and running, it is expected to be shut down sometime from May – July for construction.

Now Livingston is in the position of needing to do repairs and upgrades on multiple wells: the trick being to not to end up with multiple wells down at the same time and/or not have any at all down during the Summer: when water usage is at it’s highest.

Sooooo, let’s meander back to where we started about “Political Can Kickers”, “Water Truthers” and how that relates to the mess the City of Livingston is clearly in now.

And did I mention this is a drought year?

But I digress….

Back in 2007-2008 the Rate Study done by Dan Bergman talked about groundwater contamination, 6 wells needing treatment and the need for more capacity and storage etc.

In 2009 – 2010 a New Rate Study done by Raftelis Financial Consultants talked about: Pipeline Removal and Replacement, Wellhead Filtering at Wells 8, 16, 12, and 14; a New Supply Well #17, etc.

Not to mention the May 2009 Enforcement Letter for Violating the Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level for Manganese at Well #15 (which is by Starbucks) by the California Department of Public Health

But during the Days of the Run Up to the Recall over Water Rates, the Can Kickers and the Water Truthers joined forces and all reasonable discussions about Livingston’s Water System went to Hell in a Hand Basket.

And while the Post Recall Council started “cleaning house” and hiring Staff Of Their Own Choosing, the California Department of Health sent even more documentation which pointed out even more problems.

Like the California Department of Health Sept. 2010 Letter on Water System Funding 

And The California Department of Health: City of Livingston 2011 Water System Inspection Report 

After the General Election of 2012, the “bad news” just kept coming in reports like:

The California Department of Health: City of Livingston 2013 Water System Inspection Report 

Followed by the California Department of Health – Compliance Order For Violation of the Arsenic Maximum Contaminant Level: May 16, 2013

And it wasn’t just the California Department of Health saying there were problems. The New Staff/Consultants the New Council hired were saying pretty much the same thing. For example:

In July, 2013, the  Feasibility Analysis For A Sustainable Water Treatment Strategy–Kennedy Jenks Consultants was released: Which basically stated that, yep, we have problems, big problems, and the longer we go the bigger they get.

So now, I believe the Can Kicking Days are coming to a close, and the painful truth of the matter is, unless the City can pull off some kind of miracle and get the State to bail us out somehow, we are going to end up in a world of hurt.

Now that it is an Election Year, I only hope we end up with a group of Open Minded and Informed Realists on the Council who can guide Livingston through the days to come.

Resolution 2011-32 Includes Complete CommitteeBTW – SINCE WE TOUCHED ON THE SUBJECT OF WELLS ON THE FOSTER FARMS SIDE OF TOWN, something has been puzzling me for quite a while. Way back when the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee was established, Foster Farms was “given a seat at the table” to represent the Industrial Class of Water Users: you can see for yourself how one of their VP’s was actually named on the Council Resolution.

I’ve been to practically every single meeting since that Committee was set up, and I can tell you that attendance by anyone from Foster Farms has been spotty at best over the last few months.

And I just can’t help but wonder why…I’ve heard there have been some “staffing changes” lately. But so far, no “Official Announcements”.

Watering RestrictionsWATERING DAYS ARE BACK!  At the January 21 City Council Meeting, the Council voted 4-0 to reinstate Mandatory Watering days in Livingston. According to the Municipal Code, the restrictions will be as follows.

9-5-712 (C) Water Restrictions.

  • When directed by the City Council, the following outside watering restrictions apply to residential, commercial and industrial customers of the City of Livingston:

    • 1. All house numbers ending with an even number may water on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday.

    • 2. All house numbers ending with an odd number may water on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday.

    • 3. No outside watering on Wednesday.

    • 4. The washing of vehicles will be allowed on the designated watering day and on weekends (Saturdays and Sundays), regardless of house numbers, as long as a quick-acting positive shut-off nozzle is used.

  • (D) Enforcement.

    • It shall be the duty of the Police, Fire and all other departments and employees to give vigilant aid to the Public Works Department in the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 576, 12-16-08)

To give Livingston’s residents time to adjust to the newly reestablished watering restrictions, the Council voted to give residents two “warnings”, before imposing fines as follows:

  • $25 (after those first two “reminder” warnings)

  • $50 the next time

  • $100 each time thereafter 

The flier above states that “water conservationists are patrolling the City”, looking for violations of the Watering Restrictions.

Amendments to the Fireworks Ordinance CroppedPUBLIC HEARING ALERT! COUNCIL TO GIVE YOUTH FOOTBAL the right to a Fireworks Booth Permit for (2) years to ….At the 01/21/2014 City Council Meeting, the City Council voted 4/0 to direct staff to bring back an Ordinance which would eliminate the current Booth Permit Rotation list; assign (1) Booth Permit to the City which would be assigned to either the Recreation Department or other City Wide Non-Profit Organization, give the City Council to award  (1) Booth Permit to the Organization of it’s choosing; and assign the remaining (3) Booth Permits by Random Lottery.

Also included in the Directions to Staff was to include language that would allow the City Council the ability to award the “Council’s Choice” to the Livingston Youth Football Organization for (2) consecutive years.

According to Youth Football Coach and City Council member Jim Soria, he had placed the Item on the January 21, City Council Agenda: partly in memory of Mike Coronado.  According to Council Member Soria, the recent death of Mike Coronado created a Special Circumstance which justified giving Youth Football priority other non-profit organizations.

Council Member Soria stated “One of the reasons I put this on is, a few months ago or I’m not sure when it was, we had a few fireworks booths grandfathered in. Youth Football wasn’t selected. I just want, being part coach, I volunteer as a coach and I see that the financial impact – that financial impact that it helps – in helping the Youth football and the kids. That’s what I’m about: about the kids.” 

During that night’s discussion, Mayor Pro-Temp Samra said – …The best thing to do is have everything in front of us. Its nice and clean and everybody knows what we’re talking about and what we’re voting on…you want to vote on that’s fine. I don’t have any objections either way. But I think it would be cleaner if it was like written down so everybody knows what to do. My suggestion is to direct staff to bring to the Council at their earliest convenience as quickly as possible.

Mayor Espinoza stated — “I know that, the High School has had probably the majority of the booths all the time every year. And in memory of Mike Coronado, we think it’s a great thing to do.” and that

“I know we have it tough because if we give you guys priority we’re gonna get ridiculed and criticized by other organizations. But I know the High School has had it for a lot of programs: they had the majority of the years. So, but this is a good memory – of Mike Coronado’s memory – its still for our youth in Livingston so I’m all supportive. Two years – I agree to two years. So hopefully, later on in the future, what ever Council is here, they can decide that. But hopefully, to help out, right now this youth. With the other rotations – we’ll have to deal with that.”

Council Member Sacairos said — Like the Mayor said – we might get criticized. But, you know what, when I was growing up I had to go to Winton to play for the Cowboys because there was no program for here and I wish there was here and it was not cheap. So that’s what I have.

The City Attorney said —It’s just a rotation list. There is nothing currently in our Code that allows for this (grandfathering in any particular organization). The Code needs to be amended… But the direction helps a lot. That way it can be drafted a certain way. Seeing that this is an Ordinance, having the direction to put something General in there as far as the City Council selection helps because then by Resolution or Motion, then you could decide who gets that booth.

If you would like to read the entire discussion that took place that evening: Click Here 

And now on to the..

CONCURRENT MEETING OF THE CITY

COUNCIL AND SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE

CITY OF LIVINGSTON

REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

FEBRUARY 18, 2014

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 of the City of Livingston will hold a Regular Meeting on February 18, 2014, 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:

Closed Session


1. Call to Order.

2. Roll Call


CLOSED SESSION


A “Closed” or “Executive” Session of the City Council or the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston 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 Council Chambers 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 – 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


4. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

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

Number of Cases: 2

5. Conference with Labor Negotiator

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

Labor Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees


Regular Meeting


CALL TO ORDER


Roll Call. Next Resolution No. 2014-4

Next Ordinance No. 611

Pledge of Allegiance. Next Successor Agency

Resolution No. 2014-1

Closed Session Announcements

Changes to the Agenda.


ANNOUNCEMENTS 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.

PUBLIC HEARINGS


1. Resolution Conditionally Approving Site Plan/Design Review 2013-04 for the Proposed Motel 6 Project, a 75-Room, 3-Story Motel on a 2.43 Acre Parcel Located at 110 N. Del Rio Avenue.

2. Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 7, Chapter 4 of the Livingston Municipal Code Pertaining to Fireworks and the Issuing of Permits.


CITIZEN COMMENTS

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.


CONSENT CALENDAR


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.


3. Resolution Supporting and Implementing AB 1012 “Timely Use of Funding”.

4. Resolution Authorizing Award of Contract/Purchase Order to Sequoia Equipment Co., Inc., Fresno, California for the Purchase of One (1) Tier 4 Title 23 Backhoe Purchase.

5. Resolution Approving Amendment No. 1 to the Contract Agreement Between the City of Livingston and HDL Coren & Cone to Continue Providing Support Services in Property Tax Areas and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Three Year Service Contract Extension.

6. Waive the Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance No. 610 of the City Council of the City of Livingston, Amending Livingston Municipal Code Sections 1-18-11 (A), 4-6-3, 4-2-8-2 (A)(3), 4-2-8-2(A)(4), 8-2-1, and Zoning Ordinance Sections 5-3-16 (Table 7), 5-5-8 (E)(Table 12), and 5-4-7 (C).

7. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on February 4, 2014.

8. Approval of Warrant Register Dated February 13, 2014.


“CONSENT CALENDAR – SUCCESSOR AGENCY”


9. Resolution of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston Approving the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS 14-15A) Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 34177 for Period July Through December 31, 2014.


DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS


10. Resolution Approving an Agreement with Shannon Pump for Sampling and Repairs to Well 16, Making Findings Supporting that Award of Such Agreement is Exempt from Competitive Bidding Requirements and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement.

ADJOURNMENT

Cockroaches, Arsenic, and TCP; A Requiem for the Court Theater and a Planning Commission Agenda

LIVINGSTON, CALIFORNIA 01/13/2014

Tainted water disrupted poultry production at Foster Farms last week, and city officials are trying to find out what caused it. Mike North, Merced Sun Star Discolored water disrupts production at Foster Farms, February 27, 2013

Among 403 persons for whom information is available, illness onset dates range from March 1, 2013 to December 1, 2013…. Thirteen percent of ill persons have developed blood infections as a result of their illness. Typically, approximately 5% of persons ill with Salmonella infections develop blood infections. No deaths have been reported. Center for Disease Control – http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/heidelberg-10-13/

If the city loses one of its existing wells, Samra said, it would have to implement severe conservation efforts, such as restricting residents from watering their lawns or asking Foster Farms to alter its production, Ramona Giwargis, Merced Sun Star Livingston gets water project grant amid struggle to pass balanced budget – September 16, 2013

As of December 18, 2013, a total of 416 individuals infected with the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg have been reported from 23 states and Puerto Rico…. Center for Disease Control http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/heidelberg-10-13

“USDA has said they did not have the authority to shut down Foster Farms, despite repeated outbreaks,”…“We are exploring options to ensure they have clear authority to do so, instead of hoping they find filth before they can shut down a plant they already know is a problem,”…“Change must be made to protect Americans.” Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro – former chairman, and current ranking member, of the U.S. House subcommittee responsible for funding the federal Agriculture Department, DeLauro reacts to closing of chicken plant due to roachesShelton Herald – January 10, 2014 (ht Mike McMguire)

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Foster Farms released a statement Sunday saying it has voluntarily put operations on hold at its Livingston facility. …The company says it is taking extra time to expand safe manufacturing procedures and monitoring systems. The move comes after U.S. Department of Agriculture suspended operations on Wednesday because of a cockroach infestationABC 30– Breaking News, January 12, 2014 (ht Belinda Silva)

In my Last Post, I talked about the sometimes turbulent, sometimes antagonistic Symbiotic Relationship between The City of Livingston and the City’s largest employer: Foster Farms and how most of the turbulence and antagonism centers around Livingston’s Water, Water Quality, and Foster Farm’s use of that water. We’ll talk a little more about how recent events may continue to impact both Foster Farms and the City of Livingston. But First…

~~~~~~~~~~

Preparing to take down the MarqueeTHE DEMOLITION OF THE COURT THEATER has been rescheduled to begin January 14, 2013. As reported in the Merced Sun Star, demolition was originally to have begun a weak earlier, but was postponed while the demolition company waits for some required equipment.

The Staff Report for the Demolition Contract tells the Court Theater Story this way…

The "Court" Theater was designed in August 1945 and built soon thereafter by the Court Family to replace a 200-seat theater that had burned to the ground…. It was used extensively over the subsequent years and used primarily for movie viewing. The theater is reported to have closed in 1977 and has remained vacant since then.

The property was purchased by David and Judith Theodore in November 1987.

On February 5, 2002, the Livingston City Council approved a motion to buy the theater for $115,000.

In April 2002, the City purchased the property from the Theodore family in hopes of restoring it to its former glory.

On January 15, 2002, the City Council established the Livingston Court Theater Committee and appointed Committee members on February 5, 2002.

In 2004, the building was evaluated by a structural engineer (Pelton Engineering) which determined, at that time, that the building structure was in general good condition, but the interior needed "proper rehabilitation."

The planned renovation efforts involved six phases: 1) roof repair, 2) clean up, 3) interior demolition, 4) refurbishment, 5) new construction and expansion of north side 6) new construction and expansion of south side. The architects estimated costs totaled $2,350,000.00.

In 2004, the City applied for four grant applications (CDBG Planning and Technical Assistance Grant, California Cultural and Historical Endowment, and Roberti-Z’Berg­ Harris Nonurbanized Open Space and Recreation Grant Program) to assist the City with design and renovation costs associated with the Court Theater Renovation Project.

In July 2005, the City was awarded a Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $500,000.00 from the State of California Housing and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) General/Native American Allocation Program.

The Marquee is downI’m going to interrupt the Staff Report at this point to add a few more details. ….In Fiscal Year 2008, the City used its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)  to complete the architectural drawings for the Court Theater renovation. It also applied for another $1 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and a low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help provide funds for the Court Theater Restoration Project. Total cost of the Court Theater restoration was estimated at that time to be $7,652,672. (2008-2009 Budget p. 344)

By February, 2010, the Court Theater Project had become caught up in the turbulent politics of “Run Up to the Recall About Water Rates”: with the accusation being that $1 million dollars had been cut from the Police and Fire Department Budget in order to finance the Project.

By May of 2011, the Court Theater Committee did not feel that they had the Council’s support for the project when they went out to do fundraisers and they  just wanted to know if this project was something the Council wished to continue and asked for an official Resolution of Support. During the City Council discussions, the Committee was taken to task by Mayor Pro-Temp Margarita Aguilar for the “perks” the Committee was receiving: Thing like, being referenced on the City’s Web Page. Having Published Agendas and meetings in the City conference Chamber. Things of that sort.

In contrast, Council Member Samra stated the intent of this resolution was to give moral support. He went on to state the Council needed to make a decision on what to do with the project and not place the blame on the committee and suggested that if the Council’s desire was to eliminate the project, then they should deny the resolution and bring back the project for a decision on what to do with the building.

A Motion to Deny Approval of the Resolution of Support was made by Council Members Land and Aguilar: and failed by a 2-3 vote. A Motion to Approve the Resolution of Support was made by Council Members Samra and Vierra: and passed 3-2.

By December 2011 there were discussions about changing the scope of the project, because finding sources of funding was becoming increasingly difficult.

On January 17, 2012, the City Council unanimously adopted a Resolution Accepting Submittal of a Proposition 84 Grant Application to Construct the New Court Theater, Office Buildings and Downtown Parking Structure; Prepare a Downtown Master Plan and Form-Based Zoning Code; and Provide Passive Recreation Activities at the Merced River. 

I also remember the City hiring a Professional crews to clean up the Pigeon droppings and cover the roof with a tarp in an effort to stave off more damage. (I don’t remember exactly when. I just remember seeing the workers dressed up in white Hazmat type suits)

Returning to the Staff Report, we find

The City spent some of this money on permits and design work but was unable to start the work.

The State has since asked for reimbursement of grant proceeds. The City entered into a repayment plan to pay back $147,000 per year for three consecutive years.

The Livingston Court Theater is in a state of disrepair and is no longer structurally sound. The building appears to be in imminent threat of falling and is considered unsafe. The building now serves as a nesting area for pigeons and has now accumulated a significant amount of pigeon waste.

In the City’s efforts to look ahead and examine downtown revitalization efforts, it is considering various options to restoring a vibrant downtown. One option is deconstruct the theater to make room for other possible options, including a new theater project that preserves the integrity of the old architecture design and integrates new technologies available for a theater and auditorium use.

Will they be able to save the ticket boothFrom what I understand, the City planned to save the marquee, ticket booth, and Court Sign. I went out the day the marquee came down and was informed that because of corrosion and other structural issues with the sign, City workers would be unable to take the sign down. …It is still hoped that the sign can still be saved….

American FlagTHE LIVINGSTON-DELHI VFW AND LADIES AUXILIARY are very proud to announce that their entry into the Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest not only won first place at the District level but has gone on to win first at the State Level.  ….Lenna Foster is a sixth grade student at St. Anthony’s school in Atwater California.  We are very proud of Lenna and look forward to seeing her in Sacramento at the Voice of Democracy Banquet on Friday, January 18th. 

We wish to thank the three teachers for encouraging their students to enter the contest and for their promotion of patriotism in their students. 

Our thanks also go to the parents of the students for all of the encouragement they gave to all of those who entered the contest.  Each of the students are winners in our opinion.  The judging was very difficult with so many excellent essays to read.

HamburgerVFW FAMILY HAMBURGER NIGHT….. Join us for the VFW Hamburger Night, Thursday, January 30, 2014, 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.

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 $4.50 per meal. All proceeds go to help support our community programs.

If you need more information on any of our events, contact Denis Wells at (209) 394-2059 or visit our website at www.vfwlivingston.com.

“CAN FOSTER FARMS OVERCOME COCKROACH CONTROVERSY?” Was a question posed in the Modesto Bee recently.

You might have already read about the Livingston Plant being shut down for a couple of days while Management devised a plan to rid of the little pests.

You might already know about the Outbreaks of Salmonella that the Centers for Disease Control have attributed to Foster Farms.

You may have heard about how this series of events has attracted the attention and ire of  “Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro – former chairman, and current ranking member, of the U.S. House subcommittee responsible for funding the federal Agriculture Department.” 

And you may have already heard the news that Foster Farms “voluntarily” “shut down its largest poultry plant in Central California on Sunday, two days after federal inspectors lifted a suspension for cockroach infestation.The company (saying) fresh chicken production at the Livingston facility was put on hold for several days to expand safety procedures.” (ht Mike McGuire)

Foster Farms’ Salmonella and Cockroach Problems are big ones to be sure: problems that have made national headlines and have surely damaged Foster Farms “bottom line”.  But in my view, foster Farms has an ever bigger problem to deal with, if it is going to survive and thrive in Livingston.

And that problem has to do with Livingston’s Water

Because without enough Water that meets Drinking Water Standards, Foster Farms cannot process chickens, and Clean/Sanitize the processing plant.

The Foster Farms Plant in Livingston uses 65%-to 66% of the water produced by The City of Livingston’s wells.

Anyone who has been following Livingston’s Water Quality Issues over the last few years KNOWS there are problems with the Groundwater and Water Delivery System which must be addressed or companies like Foster Farms, or that brand new Motel 6 and Restaurant that’s supposed to be coming, are going to end up NOT HAVING ENOUGH OF THE WATER they want/need to operate at peak efficiency.

I only conclude that if Foster Farms cannot get enough water that meets State/Federal Drinking Water Standards than Foster Farms Production and Sanitization Procedures will suffer.

As will the residents of the City of Livingston

But, the Livingston just does not have enough money to fix all the known problems with the Water Delivery System by itself.

And a part of that reason is, since the last time Water Rates were raised in 1995,  City Councils Past did not raise them again Incrementally-Over-the-Years so the City could properly address issues with the Water System as they came up. (Either because they could not understand the issues, or for Political Reasons did not want to understand. IMHO)

So when Water Rates WERE finally raised in 2009, the amount was such a shock to residents that some of them mounted a Recall Effort. They believed that Water Rates shouldn’t be raised “that much”:  because there were No-Real-Problems-To-Fix, therefore, there was no real need for those increases.

((By the way, the Recall Proponents also said the Rates were raised “the wrong way”: by a 3/2 vote of the council instead of at least a 4/1 Supermajority.))

And some residents sued because they believed that Water Rates shouldn’t be raised that much because there were No-Real-Problems-To-Fix. Therefore there was no real need for those increases.

((By the way, the residents who sued said Rates were raised the wrong way: by a 3/2 vote of the council instead of at least a 4/1 Supermajority.))

And Foster Farms also sued because they said "The increased rates cannot be justified because they are intended to pay for unrelated city activities to generate unlawful surpluses, not to provide water service to the city’s residents." And “the company will be negatively impacted by the city’s July 7 resolution”

((By the way, Foster Farms said the Rates were raised the wrong way: by a 3/2 vote of the council instead of at least a 4/1 Supermajority.))

And after that, Foster Farms Sued AGAIN alleging (among other things) “… that to fill deficits (in the Water Enterprise Fund, the City Manager), commingled restricted funds meant for specific uses, such as water services, and failed to inform citizens of this fact, in violation of state law”

(Translation: “you weren’t collecting enough in rates – so you took money from other funds to cover the deficit in the Water Enterprise Fund”)

And yes..a whole bunch of money got spent in litigation

(A little side note here. When the City of Atwater raised it’s Water Rates a few months back: it did so by a 3/2 vote of the City Council. Go figure…)

After the Recall Effort was successful in 2010, those “illegal”, “unwarranted”, and “unnecessary” Water Rates were rolled back to 1995 levels.

So…what came next…after that long period of time in which There-Were-No-Real-Problems-To-Fix?

For one thing, control of the whole “raising water rates” process ended up firmly in the hands of Recall Proponents: some of whom now sit on Livingston’s Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee, the Planning Commission and City Council.

And…. since then, Foster Farms has had to shut down at least one shift because of Water Quality Problems. 

And the California Department of Health has given Livingston a long list of stuff it says needs fixing. 

(Translation: You have several problems and potential problems you need to address)

And after THAT, The California Department of Health gave Livingston a COMPLIANCE ORDER for failing the Maximum Contaminant Level for ARSENIC! 

(Translation: You have too much Arsenic in your water. That is a problem you must address)

The Kenedy Jenks Report, commissioned by the City Council, was released. It states in part, “The combination of challenges leaves the City exposed to water rationing if existing demands repeat the 2010 and 2011 water use levels. Loss of Wells 12 and 14 would be catastrophic and without Well 16 operating the City would be unable to meet existing water commitments without implementation of water conservation measures”. “City of Livingston Feasibility Analysis for a Sustainable Water Treatment Strategy”, Executive Summary, Page V, Kennedy Jenks Consultants, July 12, 2013

(Translation: There are Problems with the Water and Water Delivery System that must be addressed)

Livingston’s Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee, which has the task of advising the City Council about Things-That-Affect-Water-Rates has been informed that “there is no available water for future growth, and that Livingston is “out of compliance for (water) capacity”. 08-19-2013 Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee Meeting , 12-02-2013 Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee Meeting 

(Translation: There are BIG Problems with the Water and Water Delivery System that must be addressed)

But now… unless the City can now pull off some kind of miracle, pay off the deficit in the Water Enterprise Fund, and get a whole lot of Grant and Low Interest Loan Money from the State/Feds, there will not be enough money to fix all the Arsenic, Manganese, and TCP-1,2,3 problems the City must address.

And if Foster Farms would have been “negatively impacted” by “Higher Water Rates”, just how “negatively impacted” will they be when the water they pull from Livingston’s Water System NO LONGER MEETS STATE/FEDERAL DRINKING WATER STANDARDS?

And THAT news goes National.

Then what?

Especially given Ritchie King, a VP at Foster Farms, is a “voting member” of Livingston’s Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee. (Signed copy of actual Resolution available upon request)

And Now On To The

LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING AGENDA TUESDAY, JANUARY 14, 2014 7:00 P.M.

CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, 1416 C STREET, LIVINGSTON

Members of the public are advised that all pagers, cellular telephones and any other communication devices be put on vibrate mode or turned off during the Planning Commission meeting.

Call to Order: 7:00 PM

Roll Call – Chairperson/Commissioners Pledge of Allegiance

Item No. 1- Consent Agenda

All matters listed under the Consent Agenda are considered routine by the Planning Commission and will be adopted by one action of the Commission unless any member of the Commission wishes to remove an item for separate consideration.

a. Action Meeting Minutes from the December 10, 20 13, Planning Commission Regular Meeting.

Item No. 2 – Public Comment

a. Members of the Audience – At this time, any person may comment on any item that is NOT on the Agenda. PLEASE STATE YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS FOR THE RECORD. While the Planning Commission encourages participation from the audience, no more than five (5) minutes are allowed per discussion item. Topics not considered urgency matters may be referred to City Staff and/or placed on the next agenda for consideration and/or action by the Planning Commission.

Item No. 3 – Public Heariugs

a. Site Plan/Design Review 2013-04. Motel 6 has applied for a Site Plan/Design Review application to develop a 27,852 sq. ft. 75-room, 3-story motel and pad for a proposed future restaurant on a 2.43 acre parcel located at 100 N. Del Rio Avenue and 110 N. Del Rio Avenue, Livingston, generally located on the north side of Joseph Gallo Drive, west of Winton Parkway on property zoned Highway Service Commercial (C-3), APN 022-010-016.

b. Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment 2014-0 l , Various clarifications and corrections to the Livingston Municipal Code, Title 5, Zoning Regulations. Review and approve clarifications to various references in the Livingston Zoning Regulations.

Item No. 4 – Reports

a. Planning Commission

b. City Staff

Item No. 5 -Adjournment to regular meeting on February 11, 2014.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if you need special assistance to participate in this meeting, please contact the Community Development Department at (209) 394-8041,

Ext. 112. Notification 48 hours prior to the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to assure accessibility to this meeting.

Members of the public who have questions regarding any agenda item may comment on that item before and during consideration of that item when called upon by the Planning Commission Chairperson.

All actions of the Livingston Planning Commission can be appealed to the Livingston City Council by filing an appeal, in writing and paying the appropriate fees, with the City Clerk.

Salmonella, Arsenic, TCP and Manganese, A Timeline About Water Issues, and a City Council Agenda

 Foster Farms has placed full-page ads in major newspapers throughout the West and is improving its food safety handling practices as it continues to try to win back consumers…Foster Farms — one of the nation’s largest chicken processors — has acknowledged that since the outbreak in early October, sales of its chicken have dropped 25% – October 29, 2013, Robert Rodriguez,The Fresno Bee,  Foster Farms reaches out to consumers in full-page ads October 29, 2013, October 29, 2013,

The salmonella outbreak in Foster Farms chicken has cut sales by 25 percent, company leaders said Thursday while vowing to win back consumers with improved sanitation and other measures that far exceed industry standards. John Holland, Merced Sun Star/Modesto Bee, Foster Farms working to win back customers after chicken sales dip amid salmonella outbreak October 17, 2013 (Note from TheGardeningSnail. The link to this article has either expired, has been moved, or the page taken down)

Tainted water disrupted poultry production at Foster Farms last week, and city officials are trying to find out what caused it. Mike North, Merced Sun Star Discolored water disrupts production at Foster FarmsFebruary 27, 2013

If the city loses one of its existing wells, Samra said, it would have to implement severe conservation efforts, such as restricting residents from watering their lawns or asking Foster Farms to alter its production, Ramona Giwargis, Merced Sun Star Livingston gets water project grant amid struggle to pass balanced budget – September 16, 2013,

…some people who drink water containing arsenic in excess of the MCL over many years may experience skin damage or circulatory system problems, and may have an increased risk to getting cancer. City of Livingston, Notice of Violation of a Drinking Water Standard for Arsenic insert included with “water bill”. Distribution Date: October 24, 2013

Foster Farms has placed full-page ads in major newspapers throughout the West and is improving its food safety handling practices as it continues to try to win back consumers. Foster Farms reaches out to consumers in full page ads  Robert Rodriguez — The Fresno Bee/Merced Sun Star October 31, 2013

Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it. –Anonymous

Foster Farms is working on regaining consumer confidence with improved sanitation and other methods and has embarked on an Apology and Marketing Campaign to win back customers.

While the consequences of an outbreak of Salmonella is something Foster Farms can address “in house”, the next issue it will have to address, in the long run, will require cooperation with the City of Livingston: that being having enough water for use within the plant that meets State and Federal Water Quality Standards.

Livingston already has at least one well that fails the Secondary Drinking Water Standard for Manganese and Foster Farms has already had to shut down at least one shift due to manganese in the water.

Tightening Drinking Water Standards, coupled with the City of Livingston’s budgetary woes could well mean that, some time in the future, (unless there are some drastic changes) the water Foster Farms depends upon for Production and Sanitation will fail State/Federal Maximum Contaminant Levels for Arsenic and/or TCP 1-2-3 as well.

More on that a little later. But first, its been a while since we’ve checked in on Delta Bravo Land.

123

Yep…There’s Strange and then there is Army Strange. Courtesy of Damon Shackelford and the gang at Delta Bravo Sierra: furious scribblers of military cartoons.

VFWLIVINGSTON VETERANS DAY EVENTS…The Livingston-Delhi Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8327 and their Ladies Auxiliary will be sponsoring the Livingston Veterans Day Parade on November 11 starting at 11am.

The parade will start at the corner of C and Main Streets, proceeding down Main Street to Park Street where it will disband.

If any Veteran wishes to ride in the vintage Jeep truck, they are asked to be at the starting area of the parade no later than 10:30 am.

The award ceremony will immediately follow the parade at the Livingston Veterans Memorial Hall (1605 7th Street) where a homemade soup lunch will be served, for a donation of $5.00.

For more information or parade entry forms contact Denis Wells at 394-2059.

11022013 Water is just fine

YOU CAN’T REALLY UNDERSTAND THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON without factoring in the sometimes turbulent, sometimes antagonistic Symbiotic Relationship between The City of Livingston and the City’s largest employer: Foster Farms.

Many Residents get their paychecks by working for Foster Farms and Foster Farms gets it’s water for Sanitation and Production purposes from the City of Livingston: 65%-66% of the water produced by Livingston’s well goes to Foster Farms.

Yep. It takes a lot of water to process those chickens into a variety of food products AND keep the plant Tidy, Clean, and Sanitary.

So it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. that when the Symbiotic Relationship of Livingston and Foster Farms “strains”, its most likely over Water Related Issues: Things like Backflow Devices, and Water Meters, and Regulatory Compliance, and how much Foster Farms should pay for the water it uses.

Stuff like that

And since we are getting ready (Again) for another round (someday) of Proposition 218 Hearings about Water Rate Increases, AND Foster Farms is obviously a Major Player when it comes to discussing things like Water Rates, lets look back at some of the History about Water Rates and that Symbiotic Relationship of Foster Farms and the City of Livingston.

Although the following is not a complete list, there should be enough there to give you and idea of where we’ve been, and where we may be headed.

1995 The City of Livingston Raises Water Rates for the 1st time in many, many years

1999-2006 Notices of Violation and the Beginnings of Litigation

November 15, 1999-August 04, 2000 The California Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) staff inspected the industrial wastewater treatment and conducted sampling of existing groundwater monitoring wells…As a result of this assessment, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Foster Farms and the City of Livingston with an inspection report on January 12, 2000…..On August 4, 2000, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a Notice of Violation of Waste Discharge Requirements (WDR) Order No. 79-209. (City of Livingston 2010-2011 Adopted Budget pg. 588)

April, 2004..The City of Livingston begins colleting data about TCP-1,2,3 levels in it’s groundwater.

2005….The City of Livingston initiates Livingston vs. Dow Chemical: a lawsuit against Dow Chemical Company re: TCP-1,2,3 Levels in groundwater. (copy of the Original Complaint upon request)

July 2006, The City of Livingston and Foster Farms head to court in dispute over backflow devices. “The city wants the poultry processor to install air gap assemblies, which (Public Works Director) Creighton said are "fool-proof."…Waste from the factory — including chemicals and salmonella — could contaminate drinking water pipes if a water main breaks or pressure falls, Creighton said. The reduce pressure assembly could fail. An air gap assembly can’t, he said”

October 26, 2006, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board issued a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) No. R5-2006-0112 containing findings that waste constituents discharged from the existing industrial wastewater treatment plant had caused nitrate levels in shallow groundwater to exceed applicable Water Quality Objectives (WQOs) contained in the Water Quality Control Plan for the Sacramento River and San Joaquin River Basins in violation of Order 79-209 (City of Livingston 2010-2011 Adopted Budget pg. 592)

2007-2008

Water Meters, Backflow Devices and Litigation Settlements

June 19, 2007  Presentation by Dan Bergmann. City losing money monthly—rates need to be increased

November 13, 2007, a comprehensive settlement agreement between the City of Livingston and Foster Farms became effective. The settlement agreement requires Foster Farms to assume responsibility for constructing the new wastewater treatment plant…. The City will continue to operate its existing industrial wastewater treatment plant until Foster Farms initiates the operation of their plant. Foster Farms will clean up the current industrial wastewater treatment plant when decommissioned, including the current groundwater contamination and sludge at the existing wastewater treatment plant to the satisfaction of the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB). …..Once the existing plant site is cleaned up, the land will revert back to public use for the citizens of Livingston. …The agreement also required Foster Farms to install water meters at its property line to ensure that all water going on the property is accounted for and billed. These meters were installed in May 2008…. A 1997 option agreement permitting Foster Farms to acquire the City’s property for $1,000 per acre has also been voided. (City of Livingston 2010-2011 Adopted Budget pg. 592)

November 20, 2007, Introduced of new City Attorney Malathay Subramanian from the firm of Best Best & Krieger

January 15, 2008 Slide Presentation by Dan Bergman. Mayor Samra …said the Council will study this matter; however, not just the Council, but also the community at large needs to deal with the issue.

February 5, 2008 Motion: MS Soria/Espinoza to continue the Public Hearing (About Water Rates) to the March 4, 2008, regular Council meeting. The motion carried 4-0-1.

March 04 2008, The Public Hearing About Water Rates (Bergman Study) is continued to a future Council Meeting

April 1, 2008. Settlement with Foster Farms Reported at Council Meeting Three water meters will be installed at Foster Farms. Foster Farms will install their own backflow devices. There will be a building permit fee. The City will have returned to it, 120 acres estimated at $200,000 an acre. An option agreement that allowed Foster Farms to purchase this land at $1,000/acre was terminated. Foster Farms will cleanout the wastewater ponds that are contaminated with sludge. The City agrees to grandfather in buildings constructed without permits over the years and not inspect the facilities.

2009

Another New Rate Consultant Another New Rate Study and Another Round of Litigation over Water Rates

February 17, 2009 Water Rate Study Presentation by Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. and Authorization for Public Hearing – City Council Votes 5-0 to go forward with Proposition 218 Hearing.

April 21, 2009 Proposition 218 Hearing. City Attorney (Best, Best, and Krieger) states rates must by passed by at least a 4-1 vote.

May 28, 2009 California Department of Public Health Enforcement Letter for Failure to Comply with Secondary Drinking Water Standard for Manganese for Well #15.

June 16, 2009 Best, Best, and Krieger Attorney replaced with an Attorney from Kronick,Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard

July 07, 2009 Rates adopted by Resolution – Run Up to the Recall Begins – Recall organizers, officers, proponents and supporters include Gurpal Samra, Rodrigo Espinoza (Candidate for Mayor), Mario Mendoza , Luis Flores, Francisco Castillanos, Teresa Land, and Warren Urnberg.

July 14, 2009 Foster Farms sues Livingston over water rate increase, (Foster Farms I)stating “The city of Livingston broke state law and health codes when it adopted a resolution that will increase water rates by an initial 40 percent, (and that) the company will be negatively impacted by the city’s July 7 resolution and demand(ed) that the court order the city to rescind the increase.”

November 30, 2009 Livingston city rate increase sued for 2nd time The Central California Legal Services claims that the City violated State Law by passing Rates by Resolution and that “the revenues generated from the rate hikes far exceed what is needed to run the sewer and water systems”

2010 The Year of the Recall

January 10, 2010 Foster Farms files (Second) suit against Livingston Regarding Water Rates alleging that in order to fill deficits in Enterprise Funds (ex. Water), the City Manager used monies from Restricted Funds.

Feb 27, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Judge: Livingston’s water rate hikes unconstitutional (Foster Farms I)

Mar 2, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Recall effort under way in Livingston

Mar 2, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Livingston to hold special council meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday–water rates on agenda

March 5, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Livingston appeals water ruling (Foster Farms I)

Jun 18, 2010 The Merced Sun Star reports Livingston water fee increase stays in effect  The Central California Legal Services lawsuit fails)

August 05, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Organizations lend legal help to Livingston in Foster Farms lawsuit (Foster Farms I)

Aug 27, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Judge: no evidence city of Livingston violated laws in Foster Farms fraud case  (Foster Farms II)Foster Farms plans on filing an amended complaint by Sept. 8 2010

September 22, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports After recall election, new leadership takes reins in Livingston 

September 23, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Appeal on Foster Farms lawsuit dismissed; city attorney resigns (Foster Farms I) Despite most of the work being done, money spent and recent support from The League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties and the Association of California Water Agencies, the new council still directed the city attorney to drop the appeal.

September 24, 2010 Livingston takes back utility rate hike ……Warren Urnberg, a leading voice of the Recall Movement is appointed as a Temporary City Member. One of his first actions was to second a motion by Margarita Aguilar to roll Water Rates back to 1995 levels.

September 28, 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Questions raised about Livingston’s ability to provide safe water, The California Department of Public Health issues a letter to the City of Livingston stating (in part):…."It is important for the city to understand that if the city violates any of the drinking water regulations as a result of having insufficient funds to properly operate and maintain the water system, our department will take the appropriate enforcement actions,"

November 2010 Espinoza, Livingston’s mayor for two months, wins re-election

November 2010 A Livingston Resident makes a complaint about Dirty, smelly water on tap in Livingston

December 2010 The Merced Sun Star Reports Livingston eyes cheap way to deal with arsenic contamination in water supply: The City Hopes “Well Profiling” will lead to cheaper, easier fixes.

December 07, 2010 The City Council votes to send out a Request For Proposals for a New Rate Study Consultant.

2011 – Cleaning Up the Water Won’t be As Cheap as Some Had Hoped

March 01, 2011….Bartle Wells chosen as the 3rd Consulting firm since 2007, to provide Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste Rate Studies, Community Outreach and Proposition 18 Balloting Services.

April 5, 2011Richie King from Foster Farms, Kathy Berkeley from Livingston Union School District, Michael Belluomini from Merced Union High School District and Livingston residents Claire Gehrman and Warren Urnberg appointed by the City Council to a Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee 

April 2011 Foster Farms Drops Second Lawsuit against the City.(“without prejudice”)(Foster Farms II)

June 17, 2011 Jose Antonio Ramirez appointed to be the New City Manager

August, 2011 Livingston well tests bring disappointment, No easy fix for wells in Livingston, Inexpensive treatment of broadly distributed contaminants not an option The Merced Sun Star Reports. “The results from Livingston’s water-well profiling are in — and they aren’t what city officials were hoping for. …..Despite $22,500 to study wells 8 and 15, not much can be done with them to reduce contaminants without costly filtration systems. Impurities include high levels of arsenic, manganese and 1,2,3 Trichloropropane (TCP)”.

Sep 19, 2011 The Merced Sun Star reports the City of Livingston receives a Settlement from Dow Chemical to compensate for 1,2,3-trichloropropane pollution…..

November, 2011  Request For Proposal – PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING SERVICES TO PREPARE A FEASIBILITY ANALYSIS REPORT FOR A CENTRALIZED WATER TREATMENT STRATEGY FOR THE CITY WATER SUPPLY is sent out.

Dec. 28, 2011 The Merced Sun Reports Bartle Wells (Rate Study Consultant #3) fired by City Manager.

2012-2013 The City Hires More Consultants and a Public Relations Firm

Water Quality Problems Affect Production at Foster Farms

Warning Letters about Violating the Maximum Contaminant Level for Arsenic are Sent Out

February 21, 2012 Kennedy/Jenks Consultants of Portland, Oregon selected to prepare a Feasibility Analysis Report for a Centralized Water Treatment Strategy for the City’s Water Supply

APRIL 17, 2012 Hansford Economic Consultants chosen to Provide Water, Wastewater and Solid Waste Utility Rate Studies, Community Outreach and Proposition 218 Balloting Services (Rate Consultant #4)

September 4, 2012, Humberto Molina hired as the New Public Works Director…..

October 2, 2012, a Professional Services Contract for Providing Community Outreach and Proposition 218 Balloting Services is awarded to GoodStanding Outreach of Reno, Nevada .(The Public Relations Firm)

December 11, 2012 The Merced Sun Star reports Atwater votes 3-2 to raise water rate

February 27, 2013  The Merced Sun Star reports "Discolored water disrupts production at Foster Farms"

May 16, 2013 The  California Department of Health issues a Compliance Order For Violation of the Arsenic Maximum Contaminant Level.

August 19,2013 The Feasibility Analysis For A Sustainable Water Treatment Strategy by Kennedy Jenks Consultants is released. Copies are distributed to members of the Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee.

September 16, 2013 The Merced Sun Star reports. If the city loses one of its existing wells, Samra said, it would have to implement severe conservation efforts, such as restricting residents from watering their lawns or asking Foster Farms to alter its production, Ramona Giwargis, Livingston gets water project grant amid struggle to pass balanced budget

October 2013 The Merced Sun Star Reports USDA threatens to close 3 Foster Farms plants in salmonella outbreak

October 24, 2013 The City of Livingston distributes yet another Notice of Violating The Drinking Water Standard for Arsenic

November 01, 2013 and We are still waiting for the Water Rate Consultant to come up with Preliminary Water Rate Increase Numbers…

If you have been following Livingston’s water quality and growing Budgetary Woes over the years, you already know that the City does not have the money needed for essential upgrades to the Water Delivery System. The Water Enterprise Fund has a huge deficit and the City is borrowing from the TCP Settlement funds for Day-to Day Well Operations and Maintenance expenses.

Although Foster Farms has control over its Operations and Sanitation Procedures within its plants and can tighten them as necessary, maintaining the Water Delivery System that provides water to Foster Farms (and others within the City Limits) is under the Control of the City.

But whether or not the City of Livingston, (because of its Budgetary Woes), will be able to continue delivering water that meets State and Federal Drinking Water Standards is something all water users within the City of Livingston, including Foster Farms will need to cooperate and address.

For, in the long run, that may prove an even larger problem to solve than an outbreak of Salmonella at the plant.

One last thing, a question for the audience.

Did the City of Atwater do something illegal when it passed its Water Rate Increases by a 3/2 vote? (Or Did you even catch that bit of Political Irony?)

I mean really..if you look back at the record, one of the main contentions in the lawsuits against the City of Livingston, and the Rhetoric of the Recall Movemt, was that Livingston Raised it’s Water Rates The “Wrong Way”: by a 3/2 vote instead of a 4/1 or 5/0 vote.

So if Livingston did an “Illegal Thing” by passing Water Rates by Resolution and a 3/2 vote, doesn’t that mean that Atwater illegally passed its water rates as well? 

Just sayin

And Now On to the

CONCURRENT JOINT MEETING

CITY COUNCIL AND SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE

CITY OF LIVINGSTON

REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

NOVEMBRER 5, 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 of the City of Livingston will hold a Regular Meeting on November 5, 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:

Closed Session


CLOSED SESSION


A “Closed” or “Executive” Session of the City Council or the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston 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 Council Chambers 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.


1. Call to Order.

2. Roll Call.


3. 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


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


Regular Meeting


CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2013-52

Next Ordinance Number: 608

Roll Call.

Pledge of Allegiance.

Closed Session Announcements

Changes to the Agenda.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS


1. Presentation by Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza and Planning Commissioner Mario Mendoza: Certificate of Appreciation to Juan Avila and Ben Penfield, McClure Enterprises for their donation of concrete to help raise funds for the Livingston Middle School band and wrestling programs.

2. Presentation by Police Chief Ruben Chavez and Officer Richard Mocchia: Introduction of Police Explorers.


ANNOUNCEMENTS 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.

CITIZEN COMMENTS

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.


CONSENT CALENDAR


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.


3. Direct Staff to Advertise the Request for Qualifications for Project Engineering Services and the Request for Proposals for Administrative Grant Services.

4. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on July 23, 2013.

5. Approval of Warrant Register Dated October 10, 2013.

6. Approval of Warrant Register Dated October 30, 2013.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS


7. City Council to Give Staff Direction and to Review and Approve Proposed New Bus Stops and the Elimination of Two Parking Stalls to be Used as a Bus Stop on Main Street.

8. Resolution Approving a Utility Bill Auditing Service Agreement and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement with Utility Cost Management (UCM) in a Form Approved by the City Attorney.

9. Resolution Approving a One (1) Year Memorandum of Understanding and a Side Letter Concessions Agreement between the City of Livingston and the City of Livingston Management and Confidential Employees Association.


ADJOURNMENT

A Blistering Tank, A Concern About Water Rates, A State Inspection Report, and a Planning Commission Agenda

LIVINGSTON CA / May 13, 2013 —

It appears that the City may not have enough staff under the Water Division to keep up with the operation of the system. The Water Division currently employs 3 certified operators who are responsible for all of the operation and maintenance of the well sites, investigating customer complaints , and providing any repairs to the system.

Well No. 16 has been offline since September 2011 because the media in the arsenic removal treatment system has been exhausted .

Well No. 13 is also offline due to arsenic at elevated levels but below the MCL. The City is currently flushing the well to waste and collecting a bacteriological cycle test and hopes to bring the well online by mid-April if the cycle test results are coliform negative.

• The interior coating (walls, floor , and interior support column) is in overall poor condition. There is a large amount of blistering, cracking, and pinholes in the coating. It is recommended to blast and recoat the interior of the tank .

The Department notified the City in an email dated March 15, 2013, of … deficiencies and requested that the City provide…:

• A plan and time schedule for bringing Wells Nos. 13 and 16 back online by April 5, 2013.

• A plan and time schedule for increasing the City’s source capacity by April 5, 2013.

• Provide monthly water consumption data for Foster Farms Processing Plant.

A Few Excerpts from the California Department of Health: City of Livingston 2013 Water System Inspection Report

So…there might not be enough staff to run the Water System, we’ve had not one, but TWO wells taken off-line for a time due to “Arsenic Issues” And the The State of  California Department of Public Health wants the City of Livingston to give an accounting of how much water Foster Farms uses each month.

Interesting.

The latest Water System Inspection report is just chalk full of “deficiencies” that the State wants the City to address.

More on that a little later. But First.

12345

Yep…There’s Strange and then there is Army Strange. Courtesy of Damon Shackelford: furious scribbler of military cartoons.

WITH APOLIGIES TO THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT

IMAG0404

This is a Corner of B Street.

IMAG0405

This is the Building

That housed a Club

and sits on a Corner of B Street.

IMAG0436

This is the Land

Which was Owned by the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

Which was counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

IMAG0435

This is the Pharmacy

That Bought the Land

Which was Owned by the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

Which was counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

Appeal - 444 Main Street CUP Page 5-2

These are the Changes

That were made to the Permit

That belonged to the Building

Across from the Pharmacy

That now owns the Land

Once Owned by the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

That had counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

Appeal Page 6 - 1

This is the Appeal

Of the Changes That were made

to the Permit That belonged

To the Building Across

From the Pharmacy which owns

The Land purchased from the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

That had counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

Mayor Espinoza

This is the Mayor

(Who was in favor of the Changes

Before voting against them)

And Who filed the Appeal

of Changes That were made

to the Permit That belonged

To the Building now Across

From the Pharmacy which owns

The Land purchased from the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

That had counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

City Council 2010 - 2012

This is the Council

That conducted the Hearings

Along with the Mayor

(Who had first been favor

of the Changes to the Permit

Before voting against them)

Who had filed the Appeal

Of the Changes  That were made

to the Permit That belonged

To the Building Across

From the Pharmacy which owns

The Land purchased from the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

That had counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

Revoking The Cup for 444 Main

This is the Decision

To Revoke the Permit

As was made by the Council

That conducted the Hearings

Along with the Mayor

(Who had first been favor

of the Changes to the Permit

Before voting against them)

Who had filed the Appeal

Of the Changes  That were made

to the Permit That belonged

To the Building Across

From the Pharmacy which owns

The Land purchased from the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

That had counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

 Not Enough Parking

This is the Issue

Emphasized as the Reason

For making the Decision

To Revoke the Permit

That was made by the Council

That conducted the Hearings

Along with the Mayor

(Who had first been favor

of the Changes to the Permit

Before voting against them)

Who had filed the Appeal

Of the Changes  That were made

to the Permit That belonged

To the Building Across

From the Pharmacy which owns

The Land purchased from the City

Where once was a Park

and a small Parking Lot

That had counted as parking

For use by the people

who went to the Club

That was housed in the Building

that sits on a Corner of B Street.

Round and Round and Round we go..where it all stops…nobody knows

(And if you doubt “parking” was the main reason/excuse/whatever given for The Council’s Revocation of that Conditional Use Permit, just click on over to the APRIL o3, 2012 Draft Minutes. Then do a search on the word “parking”.)

THE WATER SYSTEM INSPECTION RLivingston Water Storage TankEPORT By the California Department of Health is now available. And although the overall condition of the system is described as “good”, there were 20 items the California Department of Health stated “required action”.

Item #20 on the “required action” states as follows:

“The City must provide a plan and timeline for addressing the recommendations in the 2013 tank inspection report by April 30, 2013”

According to the Inspection Report

The City has a 1.0 MG welded steel storage tank in the southeast section of the City that was built in 1999…. primarily filled by Well No. 12 …(and) last inspected in January 2013 by Liquid Engineering Corporation.

This inspection found that

• The interior coating (walls, floor , and interior support column) is in overall poor condition. There is a large amount of blistering, cracking, and pinholes in the coating. It is recommended to blast and recoat the interior of the tank .

To which the Department of Health responded by stating in it’s Report:

The Department reviewed the tank inspection on March 21. 2013 . In an email to the City, dated March 21. 2013. the Department requested that the City provide a plan and timeline for addressing the inspection items by April 15. 2013.

Repairs like these don’t come cheap. At the most recent Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee Meeting, Public Works Director Humberto Molina explained it this way:

  • Costs range from (on the low end) $60,000 to (on the high end) a quarter million dollars: depending on the damage.

  • This project doesn’t seem to be in the quarter million range, but it’s probably not in the lower end either: it’s somewhere in the middle.

ABOUT LIVINGSTON’S WATER RATES the State Said.

It was also noted during the inspection that the City’s water rates are not sufficient. The City currently charges residential customers $9.90 per 47 hcf (hundred cubic feet) with no penalty fee for exceeding that amount. The City charges even less ($8.70 per 47 hcf) for commercial customers and $0.30 per 1,000 gallons for exceeding the 47 hcf.

In a letter dated September 15, 2010 , the Department expressed concern to the City about having sufficient water rates to generate enough revenue to cover all of the water system’s expenses including operation, maintenance and capital improvements.

To read the complete report from the State of California Department of Health: you can CLICK HERE

And now on to the

LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

TUESDAY, MAY 14 ,2013

7:00P.M.

CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, 1416 C STREET, LIVINGSTON

Members of the public are advised that all pagers,cellular telephones and any other communication devices be put on vibrate mode or turned off during the Planning Commission meeting.

Call to Order: 7:00PM

Roll Call- Chairperson/Commissioners Pledge of Allegiance

Item No.1-Consent Agenda

All matters listed under the Consent Agenda are considered routine by the Planning Commission and will be adopted by one action of the Commission unless any member of the Commission wishes to remove an item for separate consideration.

a. Action Meeting Minutes from the March 12, 2013, Planning Commission Regular Meeting.

Item No.2- Election of Officers

a. Election of New Chair and Vice-Chair for 2013.

Item No.3- Public Comment

a. Members of the Audience- At this time, any person may comment on any item that is NOT on the Agenda . PLEASE STATE YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS FOR THE RECORD.

While the Planning Commission encourages participation from the audience, no more than five (5) minutes are allowed per discussion item. Topics not considered urgency matters may be referred to City Staff and/or placed on the next agenda for consideration and/or action by the Planning Commission.

Item No. 4- Public Hearing

a. Conditional Use Permit 2013-01. Fabian Maldonado has applied for a Conditional Use Permit to cultivate sweet potatoes on a 5.62-acre parcel located on the north side of F Street, between the northerly extension of Winton Parkway and Livingston Middle School on property zoned R-1, Low Density Residential (APN: 022-010-018).

b. Conditional Use Permit 2013-02. Zeke Nelson has applied for a Conditional Use Permit to operate a 100-person capacity church use in the Downtown Commercial Zoning District (DTC) at 1471 B Street, Suite A in the Liberty Market shopping center at the former movie rental store (APN: 024-132-011).

c. Conditional Use Permit 2013-03. Carlos Vieira has applied for a Conditional Use Permit to operate a private, non-profit, youth boxing sports club for up to 30 youth (ages 10 through 18) at 444 Main Street, Livingston on property zoned Downtown Commercial (DTC), APN 024-114-008.

d. Site Plan/Design Review 2013-01. Motel 6 has applied for a Site Plan/Design Review application to develop a 75-room, 3-story motel on a 1.04 -acre parcel located at 309 Joseph Gallo Drive, Livingston, generally located on the north side of Joseph Gallo Drive, west of Winton Parkway on property zoned Highway Service Commercial (C-3), APN 022-020-001.

Item No.5- Reports

a. Planning Commission

b. City Staff

Item No. 6- Adjournment to regular meeting on June 11, 2013.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, if yon need special assistance to participate in this meeting, please contact the Community Development Department at (209) 394-8041,

Ext. 112. Notification 48 hours prior to the meeting will enable the City to make reasonable arrangements to assure accessibility to this meeting.

Members of the public who have questions regarding any agenda item may comment on that item before and during consideration of that item when called upon by the Planning Commission Chairperson.

All actions of the Livingston Planning Commission can be appealed to the Livingston City Council by filing an appeal, in writing and paying the appropriate fees, with the City Clerk.

.

 

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