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.

.

 

.

TCP-1,2,3, Iron and Manganese and TCP, Oh My!

Tainted water disrupted poultry production at Foster Farms last week, and city officials are trying to find out what caused it. Discolored Water disrupts production at Foster Farms, Mike North, Merced Sun star, 02/27/2013

The city is working to identify the source of the iron and manganese, (City Manager Ramirez) said, adding that the problem could be one well, several wells or linked to a certain area of the city.Ibid

Earlier this year the city was notified by the California Department of Public Health that one of its wells failed to comply with drinking water standards. Well 15′s water had a higher-than-allowed for level of manganese….In a notice letter, the state said the city must begin the process of buying a filter for the pump’s water or face fines of up to $1,000 a day….The estimated cost for a filter is $1 million, Livingston forced to pay for well filter , Jonah Owen Lamb, Merced Sun Star, 11/19/2009

Motion: M/S Vierra/Nateras to move forward with well-head filtering treatment for manganese in Well #15, inform the State of the City’s decision, and authorize the City Engineer to begin to work with the State to determine the most appropriate treatment process. The motion carried 4-1, with Council Member Espinoza voting no.City of Livingston Draft Meeting Minutes, 07/07/2009

Council Member Espinoza commented that Livingston’s General Fund has already paid the Water Enterprise Fund deficit of $1.3 to $1.5 million. Therefore, the Water Enterprise Fund does not have a deficit.  – Ibid

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.…The suit also claims the company will be negatively impacted by the city’s July 7 resolution and demands that the court order the city to rescind the increase. Foster Farms sues Livingston over water rate increase, Jonah Owen Lamb, Merced Sun Star, 07/29/2009

In numerous meetings Warne has said the city needed to raise utility rates since it was borrowing from the general fund, not restricted funds, to pay for the deficits in restricted utility funds, such as the water fund. Foster Farms Files Suit Against Livingston, Jonah Owen Lamb, Merced Sun Star, 01/27/2010

M/S Aguilar/Urnberg to adopt Resolution No. 2010-56, Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Repealing Resolution No. 2009-32 (Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Establishing Water Service Rates). The motion carried 4-1 by the following roll call vote:

The city spent about $1 million on legal fees battling the lawsuit brought on by Foster Farms, which uses about 63 percent of the water in Livingston, Lewis said, Lawsuit against Livingston dropped, Mike North, Merced Sun Star 04/07/2011

Ramirez said the issue was a costly one for Foster Farms, as supervisors had to shut down a shift, but King said they kept most employees at work despite stopping processing in one of Foster Farms’ two processing plants. Discolored Water disrupts production at Foster Farms, Mike North, Merced Sun star, 02/27/2013

So the issue was a costly one for Foster Farms and the city is NOW “working to identify the source of the iron and manganese”?

Uh huh. Yeah. Right. Gotta get that water cleaned up pronto now.

More on that a little later. But first.

1234

Ah me…even when it comes to matters of the heart, There’s Strange and then there is Army Strange. Courtesy of Damon Shackelford: furious scribbler of military cartoons.

FROM THE JOINT HOMETOWN NEWS SERVICE, Fort Meade MD

RamirezAir Force Airman Fernando Ramirez graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas…The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Ramirez is the son of Alfredo and Adelaida Ramirez of Black Pine Way, Livingston.

He is a 2011 graduate of Livingston High School.

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FREE THROW CHAMPIONS

Fresno-20130223-00069Three(3) girls from Livingston ages 10 to 14, were named Chapter Champions of the Knights of Columbus Council 9363 Free Throw Championship: held recently at the Livingston Middle School Gymnasium. The Chapter level included cities from Livingston to Hanford in the Central Valley and the Mountains.

Chapter Champions were 10-year-old Gursimar Sidhu , 11 year olds Grace Chavez and 14 year old girls champion and Gurpreet Sodhi.

Each contestant attempted 25 free throws in the contests. All ties were settled by successive rounds of five free throws per contestant until a winner emerged.

Each of these winners will compete in the STATE LEVEL. Contestants will have the opportunity to advance to National level.

The State Championship will be held on March 10 at in Paso Robles, California.

Pictured are winners from left to right Gursimar Sidhu, Gurpreet Sodhi, and Grace Chavez along with event organizer Joey Chavez.

For more information, Contact: Ramon Avila 209-250-6032

 

DOES ANYONE REALLY THINK THE “UGLY BROWN WATER” PROBLEM IS A NEW ONE?

Or is it more likely a symptom of a growing problem with Livingston’s deteriorating Water System?

As all the while certain members of the City Council insist publically that no such problems exist.

For example: Well #15 (the well by the Winton Parkway Exit) has been a source of high concentrates of Manganese for YEARS.

At the July 7, 2009 City Council meeting, a Staff Report about an Enforcement Letter from the State about Well #15 was included in Council Members’ Agenda Packets.

The Staff reported stated the State was giving the City two options:

1. Install a Treatment System on the well  (I’ll call this the “We don’t want Manganese in our water. Yes! Fix the well. Clean up the water!” Option.

2. Apply for a waiver from the State (I’ll Let’s call this the “Having Manganese in our water sucks. But we are willing to put up with it”)  Option

To make a long story short, the Council voted 4/1 to go forward with the “Fix the well! Clean up the water!” Option.

Those of us who have been following Livingston’s Water Quality Issues closely knows what happened over the next few months: a battle over “Unnecessary and Unwarranted Water Rate Increases”, a Recall, a New Council, the rollback 0f Rates to 1995 levels, and a new batch of consultants.

With even higher projections about how much it is going to cost to address all of Livingston’s Water Quality Issues now.

Seems to me that “identifying the source of the problem” is the least of Livingston’s worries.

It’s scrounging up enough money to fix everything that needs fixing that’s going to be the real problem to solve.

FOR MORE ABOUT WELL #15’S MANGANESE ISSUES

To read the Staff Report and Enforcement Letter from the State that was included in the July 7, 2009 City Council Agenda Packet CLICK HERE 

To read the Draft Minutes from the July 7, 2009 City Council Meeting and get a really good idea about how certain Council Members felt about Well #15’s “issues”, CLICK HERE

SINCE WE ARE ON THE TOPIC OF WATER QUALITY “ISSUES”

A memorandum sent from a consultant to City Engineer Nanda Gottiparthy last week notes that 1,2,3-trichloropropane, a highly toxic chemical that’s made its way into Livingston’s drinking water supply, has been detected in every city well……The contaminant can pose a serious threat to public health and is mainly concentrated in well No. 8…….Often used in the production of pesticides, TCP is a man-made chemical that can cause cancer, kidney failure and tumors, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. All Livingston Wells Contaminated, Mike North, Merced Sun Star

According to the article referenced above, most of the TCP is concentrated in well No. 8, which is by Foster Farms. (ouch!)

Meeting AgendaOn Monday, March 03, 2013, the Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee will meet in the City Hall Conference room at 5:30. Two of the Water Quality Issues that are “impacting” Foster Farms will be discussed: 

  • The Icky Iron Manganese in the water Issue

  • The TCP 1,2,3 in Well No. 8 Filtration Project

Given that Richie King, Vice President of Chicken Production at Foster Farms is a voting member of this committee, it could be quite the interesting discussion indeed.

Did I mention that these meetings are open to the public?

I’m going to that meeting. Wish you would too.

And now on to the

CONCURRENT MEETING

CITY COUNCIL AND SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE

CITY OF LIVINGSTON

REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

MARCH 5, 2013

CLOSED SESSION: 6:30 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 March 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 Livingston Redevelopment Agency may be held in accordance with state law which may include, but is not limited to, the following types of items: personnel matters, labor negotiations, security matters, providing instructions to real property negotiators, conference with legal counsel regarding pending litigation. The Closed Session will be held in the City Hall Conference Room located at 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Any public comment on Closed Session items will be taken before the Closed Session. Any required announcements or discussion of Closed Session items or actions following the Closed Session will be made in the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California.

1. Call to Order.

2. Roll Call.

3. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

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

Number of Cases: 2

Regular Meeting

CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2013-7

Next Ordinance Number: 600

Pledge of Allegiance. Next Successor Agency

Resolution Number: 2013-2

Roll Call.

Changes to the Agenda.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

1. Presentation by Rich Green, Transit Manager, Merced County Association of Governments,

“Upcoming Bus Changes.”

GRANT ANNOUNCEMENTS

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.

CITY COUNCIL FUTURE AGENDA ITEM REQUESTS.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

2. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of an Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Title 10, Chapter 3 of the Livingston Municipal Code Titled “Animal Control Regulations”; Resolution Updating Fees Associated with Animal Control Regulations.

3. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No.___, of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) Section 5-4-2(J)(1) Relating to Front Yard Setback Fence Heights.

4. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No.___, of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) Section 5-6-2(B): Pertaining to Amendment or Rezoning Initiation.

5. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No.___, of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) Section 5-3-15: Table 2, Table 3, Table 4, and Addition of Section 5-5-12, Cultivation or Annual Crops.

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.

6. Approval of Warrant Register Dated February 28, 2013.

SUCCESSOR AGENCY CONSENT AGENDA

7. Resolution of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston Approving the Recommended Mid-Year Budget Revisions for Fiscal Year 2012-2013.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

8. City Council Direction to Staff Regarding Appointments to the Parks and Recreation Commission.

9. Resolution Approving a One (1) Year Concessions Agreement with Paul Maurer Shows (PMS) and Authorizing the City Manager to Execute the Agreement.

10. Resolution Approving Recommended Mid-Year Budget Revisions for Fiscal Year 2012-13.

11. Review and Discussion of Proposed Revisions to Fireworks Ordinance.

ADJOURNMENT

A Brief History of Time About Utility Rates Part 8: A Change of Consultants: An Illegal 42’ Sewer Pipe; and a Special Planning Commission Meeting

THE WATER HAS BEEN BROWN TO RED SINCE THE LATE 60′S TO MID 70′S. THE OLD PIPES IN CERTAIN PARTS OF TOWN HAVE NEVER BEEN REPLACED. EVERY NEW CITY MANAGER THAT CAME IN AND LEFT, DID NOTHING TO REMEDY THIS. . EXCERPT FROM A COMMENT BY KARMA ON “DIRTY SMELLY WATER ON TAP IN LIVINGSTON” – MERCED SUN STAR (EMPHASIS MINE)

(The)Public Works Superintendent… commented that when they started monitoring the wells in 2004 for (TCP),…City Council was notified of it, then every year after that the public was notified, is all in a Consumers Report…. health language was included in those notices….there is a public health goal which is .7 parts per trillion which the City exceeds in every well. Also there is no maximum contamination level yet, but the state anticipates having one fairly soon which according to state terms could mean anywhere from 1-10 years… unfortunately the City water system could be impacted.AUGUST 02, 2011 Draft Minutes

‘’All of the wells have 123 TCP levels substantially above the public health goal and the highest levels of 123 TCP are from wells 8, 14 and 12. Well 15 has Manganese and Arsenic levels above the MCLs. Nitrate levels were above the MCL for wells 8 and 14. DBCP was detected above the reporting limit of 0.01 µg /l in wells 8, 9 and 14 and the remaining wells were non-detect for DBCP.”RFP – PROFESSIONAL ENGINEERING SERVICES TO PREPARE A FEASIBILITY ANALYSIS REPORT FOR A CENTRALIZED WATER TREATMENT STRATEGY FOR THE CITY WATER SUPPLY

Mayor Samra commented that the Council received this information at the same time as everyone else. He added that no one likes a price increase, but it will take time for the Council to digest the information presented.” JUNE 19, 2007, City Council Meeting Minutes

Council Member Espinoza stated the Council will have to make a tough decision, but some type of action needs to be taken.January 15, 2008 City Council Draft Meeting Minutes

Motion:  M/S Varela/Vierra to authorize the City Manager to advertise and schedule Proposition 218 Public Hearing.  The motion carried 5-0. – FEBRUARY 17, 2009City Council Draft Meeting Minutes

Council Member Samra stated the Council had made a commitment, therefore, needed to move forward with the rate studies. - March 1, 2011 City Council Draft Minutes

And so we ended the contract a couple of weeks ago, and we’re currently, we sent out an RFP and that RFP is going to come to council with a Recommendation of a new Rate Consultant as it relates to that.  - Jose Antonio Ramirez: City Manager, City of Livingston: December 06, 2011 City Council Meeting

Round and Round and Round we go. Where it will stop, does anybody know?.

I’m going to invoke a bit of the Story Tellers License to tell you the tale of….

The City of Livingston and the 4 Utility Rate Consultants

Once upon a time, on  JUNE 19, 2007, The City Council (which comprised of Mayor Gurpal Samra, Mayor Pro-Tem William Ingram, Council Member Frank Vierra, Council Member Rodrigo Espinoza, and Council Member Roy Soria) had a presentation by Dan Bergman about Utility Rates. (Consultant #1)

Council Member Espinoza commented that there have been many complaints about the water system and a rate increase is warranted to correct the problems.

Council Member Soria agreed with Council Member Espinoza; however, he would like comments from the community and will follow their guidance.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram complimented Mr. Bergmann on his presentation and commented that a rate increase is needed, but hopefully it will be a gradual increase.

Regarding Foster Farms, Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram commented that Foster Farms should install water meters to monitor water usage, so they would only be billed for the water used.

Mayor Samra commented that the Council received this information at the same time as everyone else. He added that no one likes a price increase, but it will take time for the Council to digest the information presented.” and also mentioned he hoped people would volunteer to be on a committee to study the rate increase proposals.

Then, there was the Public Hearing on January 15, 2008

City Manager Warne commented that this item was first presented for Council consideration in June 2007.

Acting City Attorney Roger Peters explained how the rate increases would take place unless there is written protest.

A slide presentation was given by Dan Bergmann, the consultant hired by the City to analyze the water rates.

There were quite a few Public Comments on the subject. Then

Council Member Soria commented that it is not easy to make a decision and that the rate increase will affect many senior citizens who live on fixed incomes. However, he pointed out that rates have not been raised in over 15 years and something needs to be done to pay for necessary improvements.

Council Member Vierra commented he doesn’t understand why it took 15 years before considering a rate increase, but he realizes that something needs to be done. He suggested tabling this item to the next meeting.

Council Member Espinoza stated the Council will have to make a tough decision, but some type of action needs to be taken.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ingram stated that everything is going up, gas, etc,: however, he feels the Council needs to raise rate in small/slow increments. He realizes there are many residents, who live on fixed incomes, but action needs to be taken; however at a slower pace.

Mayor Samra commented that making a decision is not easy for him and her agrees with all of his colleagues that something needs to happen. He said the Council will study this matter; however, not just the Council, but also the community at large needs to deal with the issue. Mayor Samra added that residents’’ concerns will be answered and he agrees that this item be continued.

Motion: M/S Ingram/Soria to continue the Public Hearing to the Council’s regular meeting of February 5, 2008.

At the February 5, 2008 City Council Meeting

City Manager Warne recommended that this item be continued to the Council meeting of March 4, 2008, for further analysis of the water rates and citizen comments.

Representatives from Carollo Engineers gave a slide presentation on the City’s water supply. The available water vs. demand and the master plan projects.

And there were a few questions and public comments, and then it was

Motion: MS Soria/Espinoza to continue the Public Hearing to the march 4, 2008, regular Council meeting. The motion carried 4-0-1.

And at the March 4, 2008 City Council Meeting it was reported

o Staff is still meeting with Foster Farms to come up with a solution for their water rates.

o Livingston Union School District and Merced Union High School District moving forward with water meter installation.

o Warren Urnberg suggests holding off on the rate increase until everyone is metered.

and the

o Public Hearing is continued to a future City Council meeting.

Well, after the 2008 General Election, there was a Brand New City Council (Mayor Daniel Varela, Sr., Mayor Pro-Tem Rodrigo Espinoza, Council Member Frank Vierra, Council Member Margarita Aguilar, Council Member Martha Nateras),

And “The City Attorney was directed to find someone she felt comfortable with their approach and methodology in order to comply with all federal, state laws and regulations relating to setting rates.”

On FEBRUARY 17, 2009 there was a Brand New Presentation by a Brand New Consultant (Consultant #2: Sudhir Pardiwala, from Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc.,)

Who gave a presentation on Water Rates

And also gave a presentation on Waste Water and Solid Waste Rates

And there were lots of comments, and lots of discussion

And the Council Voted 5-0 to Go TO Hearing

Now…Before the Hearing, there was an Information Meeting on March 26, 2009

And the presentations were given again.

And there were lots of comments and discussion

And it was announced the Public Hearing would be on April 21st

The APRIL 21, 2009 Meeting was a really, really long one.

And the presentations were given again.

And there were lots of comments and discussion

And some Council Members indicated that there probably never would have been a Prop 218 Hearing any way if only, someone had told them beforehand it would have taken 4 votes to pass the rates instead of 3 (I’m still trying to figure out that “logic” by the way)

And after that there was meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting, and the Lawyer was replaced, and the New Rates Were Adopted by a 3-2 vote, and the Lawsuits Happened, and there were appeals, and League of Cities actually joined in an appeal, and the Recall Happened, and the November Elections Happened, and the Rates Were Repealed, and the Appeal was Scrapped (while we were just waiting for the Ruling to come out)

And Rate Study 2 was scrapped and Consultant Number 2 was dumped.

And the Post Recal Council promised ever so ever much more “transparency”, and swore that everything, everything, EVERYTHING would be coming before them FIRST for approval: in Open Session of course)

So a Brand New Request for Proposals was put out (with the Councils blessing of course) and three replies were received

One from Dan Burgman

One from Bartel Wells

And one from the FCS Group

And the Brand New City Council (who swore everything would be coming before them first: so the people could see the “transparancy”) gave their blessing to the contract with Bartel Wells. (Consultant #3)

Then the Utility Rate Studies Committee was formed.

And a binder of information was prepared.

And a couple of “informational meetings” were held with Staff

Then a Brand New City Manager was hired

Who, lo and behold, ended the contract with Bartel Wells without disusing it first with the City Council (and getting their blessing) in Open Session. (Even though the City Council had sworn on multiple occasions that everything, everything everything, must go before them first so “the people” would have an opportunity to speak on the subject and see all the promised “transparency”: in Open Session of course)

And he had a new Request for Proposals sent out for a Brand New Consultant, to do a Brand New Utility Rate Study, and do a Brand new Series of Prop 218 Hearings.

So now we are up to Consultant #4 Now

And according to the RFP that was sent out, the City will

  • Receive Proposals on January 10, 2012
  • Select the Firm on January 24, 2012
  • Complete Contract Negotiations by February 3, 2012
  • The City Council will Award the Contract on February 7, 2012
  • The Notice to Proceed will be issued on February 8, 2012

And New Rate Studies will take at least a couple of months. Say March? April?

And the Utility Rate Studies Committee will need to have their say too. Say April – May?

Then there is all that 45 Day Public Noticing that has to happen before an Official Proposition 218 Meeting can be held.

Which may put any Utility Rate Hearing Right around the time of the June 2012 Primaries, and the November 2012 Election Cycle.

Which Kinda Begs a Few Questions

What improvements to the infrastructure will be proposed now that that “fat” TCP Settlement Check has been Received?

Will there ever be a truly “finished” Utility Rate Study?

Will all the members of the City Council actually read the Study and Approve Rate Study Number 4?

When, if ever, will a “real” meeting of the Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee be held?

When, if ever, will the results of this FOURTH STUDY be presented in Open Session?

And will it be a 5-0 vote to go to Hearing?

Or will some members of the Council have such severe “problems” with the numbers that they will want to scrap it and start all over again?

Will anything get done before the June Primaries and November General Election Cycle?

and….

JUST HOW MUCH HAS THIS NEVER ENDING CYCLE OF STUDIES AND CONSULTANTS COST US ANYWAY!!!!!

About that “Illegal 42’ Sewer Pipeline”

If you look at the Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Gallo Project, as prepared by PMC, and scan down until you hit the top of page 2.0-2, you will find this innocuous sounding quote”

If You Know Your History-You Know Just How Controversial This Sewer Trunk Line Is

Now…. that 42’ pipe was a part of the whole 2025 General Plan Update mess, resulted in a Grand Jury Investigation, was part of the driving force behind a Lawsuit by the Farm Bureau, and in a way was partially responsible for a Judge telling the City to Redo Parts of the General Plan and EIR

I’m not going to go into the whole thing right here, right now..

But for the moment, I’ll give “the short, short, short version” which goes something it like this…

This is the General Plan

That Contained a Special Planning Area

Which Pertained to a Developer

Who Put in the Sewer Pipe

Which worried the Farmer

Who went to the Farm Bureau

Who Sued the City of Livingston

And forced some “re-does”
In the General Plan Update..

Which is, as of now, not “done”…..

But Before We get to the Special Meeting Agenda, something to keep in the back of your mind

From the City of Livingston Municipal Code

Meetings

LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION SPECIAL MEETING AGENDA

DECEMBER 29, 2011 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. None.

Item No. 2 – City Council Update

a. Update of City Council items.

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 Hearings

a. General Plan Amendment 2011-01 Annexation 2011-01, Prezone 2011-01 and Negative Declaration. Michael Gallo proposes a general plan amendment and to annex and prezone approximately 334.7 acres into the City of Livingston located north of Vinewood Avenue, west of Robin Avenue, south of HWY 99 and east of the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant.

{Note From TheGardeningSnail. If you click on the link above, you will be able to review the complete agenda packet in PDF: which included the Staff Report, Resolution, and other attachments}

Item No. 5 – Reports

a. Planning Commission

b. City Staff

c. City Attorney

Item No. 6 – Adjournment to regular meeting on January 10, 2012.

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.

A Few Form 700’s About Who Owns What and Where in Livingston

2011 CITY COUNCIL Agendas and Meeting Minutes (I’ve got a few more things “linked up” since my last post. Might want to check and see if there is anything in the History that interests you.)

Police Chief Recruitment City of Livingston

2012-2012 City of Livingston Draft Budget

The “Mission of the Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee” Series

Out with the “Consultant #3, In with Consultant #4”

And Don’t Forget There’s a Search on for this Additional Consultant too…

The “Brief History of How We Got Into This Mess” Series

A Few Letters, Sun-Star & and Mike McGuire Articles about Livingston Politics (and a few other things Worthy of Note) (The links here go all the way back to the 2008 Election Cycle)

The 1995 Water Rate Resolution (Do you see anything in there that says “Industrial”?)

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

Well #15 Enforcement Letter & Staff Report

Well #15 Manganese Enforcement Letter Discussions

How They Voted in 2011 (Granted, it’s a Work in Process, but there are links to things there you might be interested in.)

How They Voted in 2010

How They Voted in 2009

How They Voted in 2008

How They Voted in 2007

How They Voted in 2006

City Council Draft Meeting Minutes for 2010

City Council Draft Meeting Minutes for 2009

City Council Draft Meeting Minutes for 2008

City Council Meeting Minutes for 2007

City Council Meeting Minutes for 2006

City Council Meeting Minutes for 2005

City Council Meeting Minutes for 2004

2010-2011 Merced County Grand Jury Final Report

2009-2010 Merced County Grand Jury Final Report

2008-2009 Interim Reports Merced County Civil Grand Jury Postscript to FY2007/2008 Grand Jury’s Report On The City of Livingston

2007 2008 Merced County Grand Jury Final Report

2006-2007 Merced County Grand Jury Final Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Farmer Denied, A “Vibrant Response”, A “Military” Option, and a Planning Commission Agenda.

 

Know The Old Expression “Fish or Cut Bait”?

Think someone just may end up as “chum” in Delta Bravo Sierra Land

Think you might be flippin off the wrong person chum

There’s Strange..and then there’s Army Strange: courtesy of Damon Shackelford: furious scribbler of military cartoons. {He’s  on Facebook too! :-) }

Since We Happen to be on the Topic of “Things Army”

April is month of the Military Child (Source: Army.mil)

Photo Courtesy of US Army 2

Photo Courtesy of US Army “Throughout April, installations around the world will recognize the sacrifices of U.S. military children by celebrating Month of the Military Child. More than 1.7 million children have one or more parents on active service in the U.S. Armed Forces……An estimated 900,000 children have had one or more parents deploy multiple times…….For more photos and caption credits CLICK HERE

And How ‘Bout Something A Little Closer To Home

This is Courtesy of the Joint Hometown News Service: By Staff Sgt. Christopher Holmes

CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. – It was a peaceful, calm Friday morning near this isolated training area amid the farm belt region of rural south central Indiana. At least until the region was rocked by a 10-kiloton nuclear explosion, causing destruction and death in the wake of the blast and impending nuclear fallout.

Shortly after the explosion, the son of an Atwater woman was called upon to provide recovery support in the surrounding area. He played a vital role in getting a devastated community through the aftermath of destruction that was once unthinkable.

The attack was a mock one, but it gave Army Reserve Sgt. Jason R. Proseus, son of Carol A. Proseus of Chablis Lane, Atwater, vital training for possible future attacks in as realistic an environment as possible.

Proseus was one of more than 3,300 people from 17 states participating in "Vibrant Response," a U.S. Northern Command held chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear attack response exercise in southern Indiana that brought together active duty Army, Air Force, Marine, Navy, National Guard and Reserve units, along with numerous federal and state agencies in an effort to coordinate response actions in the aftermath of possible attacks and disasters.

Every person involved in the training had a specific job to do to ensure the post-attack effort was a success, and order could be brought to the attack zone.

"My mission here is to capture video, edit, and write the story about the Department of Defense’s role in a situation like this," said Proseus, a combat correspondent assigned to the 361st Public Affairs Operation Center, Fort Totten, N.Y.

In order to make the training as realistic as possible, the 180-acre Muscatatuck Urban Training Center was littered with wrecked vehicles, buildings were built to simulate heavy damage, roads were lined with rubble and debris, controlled fires and smoke dotted the environment, and mannequins representing dead victims were scattered throughout the training area. A group of 160 role players covered in moulage simulated victims with various wounds and radiation burns to round out the scenario as survivors of the attack.

"This exercise intends for the military and other emergency agencies to be prepared for an attack, and be able to coordinate and work together to help the citizens get back on their feet," said Proseus, a 1995 graduate of Atwater High School.

Having the training and knowledge to react quickly and effectively to a disaster is something Proseus practices, not only during Vibrant Response, but throughout the year.

"I receive chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear training along with video acquisition, and basic first aid training throughout the year," said Proseus.

It’s almost impossible to predict something as catastrophic as a nuclear blast, but Proseus and hsi fellow responders have a plan that will go far in helping pick up the pieces and give survivors a chance to regain some sense of normalcy

"Vibrant Response helps me to know how to help the media get the military’s story during a real world incident," said Proseus, who has completed 14 years of military service.

No one ever expects the threat of a nuclear explosion to hit close to home, but real-life scenarios like the recent earthquake disaster in Japan show why it is so important to be prepared.

ACCOMPANYING PHOTOS Proseus, Jason

>>1. Army Reserve Sgt. Jason R. Proseus recently participated in exercise Vibrant Response at Camp Atterbury, Ind. Vibrant Response is a multi-service chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear response exercise held to coordinate response actions in the aftermath of a possible nuclear attack. (Photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sean Worrell)

110316-0929W-F-230< <2. An Army medical team splints the leg of a victim while her family keeps her calm after a simulated nuclear attack during exercise Vibrant Response. A total of 160 role players were made up with a variety of simulated injuries to provide a more realistic environment to response personnel.  (Photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sean Worrell)
Vibrant Response 3 >> 3. Army National Guard troops load a mannequin onto a helicopter during Vibrant Response, an exercise intended to help different military services and government agencies coordinate response actions in the aftermath after a possible nuclear attack. (Photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sean Worrell)
110318-F-0929W-577 <<4. Army National Guard members try to convince a woman to leave her dog to get medical help following a simulated nuclear attack during Vibrant Response, a U.S. Army North exercise intended to coordinate post attack efforts between various military services and federal agencies. (Photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sean Worrell)
Vibrant Response 5 >> 5. A victim of a simulated nuclear attack lies on a litter as a member of the Army administers first aid for his wounds. The "victim" was one of 160 role players at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in Indiana who provided realistic scenario training to 3,300 people from different branches of the military and government agencies during Vibrant Response, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear attack response exercise. (Photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sean Worrell)
110317-F-0929W-983 <<6. Damaged cars and other large pieces of debris are loaded into dump trucks during a road clearing scenario during Vibrant Response, an annual exercise held to help various military services and government agencies to coordinate response actions in the aftermath of a possible attack. (Photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Sean Worrell)

 

 

 

Livingston Fireworks

Livingston 4th of July Committee Meetings

Meetings of the Livingston 4th of July Committee are scheduled for the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month @ 7pm: Geno’s Pizza in Livingston. For more information, or to make a donation, you can contact the Committee Chair: Julio Valadez @ 209-277-1402 or jvaladez@livingston4thofjuly.com

Family Hamburger Night TUESDAY April 12

Join us for the VFW Hamburger Night, April 12, 2011. The Livingston/Delhi Veterans of Foreign Wars #8327 & Ladies Auxiliary will be opening the Livingston Veterans Memorial Hall to the public for Family Hamburger Night in April. Meals will be served from 6-8 pm at 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. All proceeds go to help support our community programs.

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

Just in Case You Didn’t See These the First Time Around…

(For Complete article, just click on the link)

Students raise money for Livingston High School sober graduation: Michael McGuireLivingston CA / April 10, 2011 … Livingston residents showed Friday they are solidly behind helping create a safe, sober but fun night for high school seniors celebrating graduation on June 3

Livingston High School wants to build 90-foot cell phone tower: Mike McGuire Livingston CA / April 9, 2011 Vista Towers LLC “proposes to build a 90 foot tower that will look like a pine tree, at the northwest corner of the Livingston High School stadium grass parking lot,”

(Ah, gee wiz…a 60 ft palm tree shaped tower in the Downtown Commercial Area was a nasty No.No. But a 90 ft pine tree at the High School? That’s perfectly A OK. Right?)

Livingston library celebrates centennial: Michael McGuireLivingston CA / April 9, 2011 The Livingston branch library will be open April 13 and 16 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. to celebrate the 100th anniversary of libraries in Livingston.

Livingston explores ‘Reaganism’ to reduce budgets: Michael McGuireLivingston CA / April 9, 2011 According to a city document, areas in which cities will consider joint powers agreements include:

    • Fire services/functions
    • Water/Wastewater Operations
    • Dispatch
    • Animal Control
    • Economic Development
    • Fleet Sharing.

(I can remember some folks getting really upset at just the hint of a Regional Wastewater Operation. From what I understand, the City even applied for a grant to study the matter, once upon a time.)

Lawsuit against Livingston dropped Merced Sun Star Published on Thu Apr 7, 2011

The giant poultry producer made the decision to drop the lawsuit months ago, but city officials wanted to wait to make sure Foster Farms was dropping the lawsuit for the right reasons, said Randy Boyce, senior vice president and general counsel for Foster Farms. .."We have a great deal of confidence that the right things are being done," Boyce said.

(City officials wanted to make sure the lawsuit was dropped for the right reasons? Like…what would be the wrong reasons?)

Yagi denied use of Livingston ag land: Mike McGuire April 7th, 2011 – One of the nation’s largest sweet potato growers on Tuesday was denied permission to farm on land it owns in the City of Livingston…Objection to dust caused by agricultural operations is one reason for the zoning change, according to city documents, but one Livingston resident said dust will be a problem on the land whether farming is allowed or not.

(Livingston’s City Attorney made it quite clear that Zoning Ordinances such as the one impacting the Yagi property, have the intent of “fading out” agricultural uses within the City Limits. The Yagi property is not the only piece of land affected by Zoning Changes: especially since the Building Boom went “bust”. It could be quite some time before they are “developed” the way the City “intends”. 

Ironically, while Livingston seems focused on how to “fade out” agriculture within the City Limits, San Francisco is looking for ways to bring farming back in. As Reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 7, 2011, not only is San Francisco looking for ways to incorporate agriculture within the City’s Limits, but also to allow the sale of produce grown at these Urban Farms..)

Sharon Silva honored by Livingston City Council: April 7th, 2011 – Sharon Silva was honored Tuesday by the Livingston City Council. By Mike McGuire

Livingston moves closer to setting water rates: Michael McGuireLivingston CA / April 6, 2011 — The steep increases in water rates that resulted in the recall of the mayor and a city councilmember in 2010 is back on Livingston’s agenda..On Tuesday, the city council appointed five to the new Utility Rates Stakeholders Committee, which will have public meetings to suggest how much money the city needs and how much water customers need to pay….Appointed were:

    • Richie King, vice president of chicken operations at Foster Farms;
    • Michael Belluomini, Merced Union High School District;
    • Kathy Berkeley, Livingston Union School District;
    • Warren Urnberg, a former Livingston Planning Commission who served briefly as an interim city councilmember in 2010; and
    • Claire A. Gehrman, a relative newcomer to Livingston.

{So…1 Representative for the 2 (or is it 3?) Industrial Accounts, the 2 School Districts each got a representative, none of the Retail Business people bothered to apply by the deadline and only 2 representatives for the 2,806 +- Residential Accounts…} 

Recall fallout remains on Livingston City Council agenda Published on Wed Apr 6, 2011 – Merced Sun Star – Council members met in a special closed-session meeting Tuesday evening to discuss the city manager position before making some decisions that could affect the city’s water rates. No reportable action was taken during the meeting, but more developments were added to the city’s utility rate saga.

(Aren’t you the least bit curious as to why this wasn’t on the Original City Council Meeting Agenda?)

Livingston City Council to discuss city manager position in closed session April 5th, 2011 By Mike McGuire   A recruitment brochure authorized by the city council places an April 30 deadline on applications.

According to the brochure, compensation offered for the new city manager includes:

    • A salary in the $130,000 range;
    • Fully paid health insurance for employee and family;
    • PERS Retirement: 2 percent of 55 with City paying both employee and employer’s share. The City does not participate in Social Security, except for the .45 percent deduction for Medicare; and
    • All other benefits may be negotiated with the City Council as part of the initial employment contract with the successful candidate.

(Wait a minute…what happened to all that “pre-Recall” talk about $130,000 being “too much” for a City Manager in the City of Livingston. How come it was “too much” then…but not “too much” now?)

Since We Got Onto the Subject of “Pay”

At a recent City Council meeting, Councilperson Vierra’s missing a few meetings was brought up again.

And again told where he should stick his stipend.

Now…don’t get me wrong. I’ve got nothing against donations to the July 4th Committee and if any councilmember decides to donate any part of his/her stipend that way, it’s A-OK with me.

I’m also not going to provide a detailed chart of statistics on who missed how many meetings over the last few years or so. But since it seems en-vogue now to dictate where “absent” Council Members should stick their stipend, I’d like to add a suggestion or two to the mix.

Beginning with the Red Cross.

You may or may not know it, but Active Duty Military who might need to respond to an emergency back home need to be notified via the Red Cross. It’s the Red Cross who verifies the nature of the emergency then notifies the right person in the Chain of Command so a soldier can get permission to come home.

Then – there is our own Local VFW and Ladies Auxiliary, who send Care Packages to deployed soldiers. There are a fair number of Livingston’s sons and daughters deployed oversees and sending out a batch of boxes doesn’t come cheap.

I’m sure any help with the cost of postage would be greatly appreciated.

There is also AnySoldier.com. All the soldiers involved in this effort are military volunteers stationed in harm’s way who put letters and packages into the hands of other soldiers who don’t get much, or any mail.

Another suggestion is Operation International Children. This organization sends school supplies and other necessities to troops in Afghanistan and other nations: helping solders help the children.

For the Council Person who would like to combine a little “Japan Earthquake Relief” with a Military Option, there is Operation Tenshi/Angel: A project of Soldier’s Angels activated due to a request for help from Marines on their base at Okinawa, JapanThe base is now serving as a shelter for military and civilian Americans escaping the radiation on the main island of Japan.

Celebrations are fun and fireworks are beautiful. But freedom is not free. It’s the 24/7, 365 days of the week job of the American Military.

If someone (like an “absent” council person) wants the opportunity to brighten soldier’s days and make their burden a little lighter, here are a few ways to go about it…

And now, on to the  Planning Commission Agenda

PLANNING COMMISSION

Luis Enrique Flores, Chair

Mario Mendoza, Vice Chair

Harpreet Bains, Commissioner

Roy Soria, Commissioner

Vacant, Commissioner

Manoj Bains, Alternate Commissioner

LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION
REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

APRIL 12, 2011 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 Minutes from the February 8, 2011, 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 Hearings

a. Livingston Municipal Code Title 5 Chapter 3 Table 3 Commercial Uses.

The Planning Commission will review Footnote 1 of Title 5 Chapter 3 Table 3 requiring alcohol served by the glass uses to be a minimum of 1,000 feet apart in the Downtown Commercial District and determine General Plan Consistency to provide a recommendation to City Council.

b. Livingston Municipal Code Title 4 Chapter 2 Sign Regulations.

The Planning Commission will review and discuss the City’s Sign Ordinance to provide a recommendation to City Council.

Item No. 4 — Reports

a. Planning Commission

b. City Staff

c. City Attorney

Item No. 5 — Adjournment to regular meeting on May 10, 2011.

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.

And you also might be interested in

A Few Letters, Sun-Star & and Mike McGuire Articles about Livingston Politics (and a few other things Worthy of Note) (The links here go all the way back to the 2008 Election Cycle)

The 1995 Water Rate Resolution (Do you see anything in there that says “Industrial”?)

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

Well #15 Enforcement Letter & Staff Report

Well #15 Manganese Enforcement Letter Discussions

How They Voted in 2006

How They Voted in 2007

How They Voted in 2008

How They Voted in 2009

How They Voted in 2010 (not quite up to date, but I’m workin on it)

City Council Meeting Minutes for 2004

City Council Meeting Minutes for 2005

City Council Meeting Minutes for 2006

City Council Meeting Minutes for 2007

City Council Draft Meeting Minutes for 2008

City Council Draft Meeting Minutes for 2009

City Council Draft Meeting Minutes for 2010

2006-2007 Merced County Grand Jury Final Report

2007 2008 Merced County Grand Jury Final Report

2008-2009 Interim Reports Merced County Civil Grand Jury Postscript to FY2007/2008 Grand Jury’s Report On The City of Livingston

2009-2010 Merced County Grand Jury Final Report