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

Livingston, CA – 04/22/2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which would

· Maintain safe and reliable drinking water for the community

and

· Address customer complaints

via the

Implementation of regular maintenance of the system

and that the

Program will use conventional flushing

1) System wide flushing

2) Spot flushing for specific cases

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

· Flushing Plan

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

– Flushing duration shall last 5-10 minutes

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

In addition

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

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

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

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

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

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

The MARCH 3, 2015 CLOSED SESSION included

  • 1 Case of Potential Litigation

  • Continued Labor Negotiations with All Represented and Unrepresented City Employees

  • Continued Discussion of City Manager Recruitment

During OPEN SESSION on MARCH 3:

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

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

CONSENT CALENDAR

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

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

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

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

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

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

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

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

ADJOURNMENT

The MARCH 17, 2015 CLOSED SESSION Included discussions about:

  • 1 Case of Potential Litigation

  • Continued Labor Negotiations with All Represented and Unrepresented City Employees

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

CITIZEN COMMENTS

During the OPEN SESSION of MARCH 17, 2015:

CONSENT CALENDAR

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

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ADJOURNMENT

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Fireworks, Politics, Resignations, Recreation, and a Mid Year Budget Review–February, 2015

Livingston, CA – 03/22/2015

So the 4th of July has formally asked they would like to come under the City Umbrella just like the Recreation Commission: to have a sand alone committee of sorts..so that has to be figured out. I know Legal Council will help out. That’s something they would like. One, because they would like to get the full support of the City every year. Excerpted from Comments and Discussion of future agenda items by Former City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez – January 20 2015 City Council Meeting: beginning about 19:52 minutes in. 

What we’re requesting is that we have the exact support or similar support as the Sweet Potato Festival. I don’t see what the difference is. I would like to see that support. Where, when you go to the Sweet Potato Festival, you see all staff is on hand. Every person from Recreation to Public Works’….so that’s what we’re looking for: the same type of support. Julio Valadez – Chair – July 4th Committee – Ibid.

Julio, I have a comment Since I know that you guys want to come under the City. But I think we already have a Recreation commission. And I think currently we only have 1 or 2 Commissioners on that. If you guys join the Recreation Commission, you guys could take on the Fireworks because the Commission is already-we don’t have to go through the process of doing a new commission. So we need more people on the Commission and the Fireworks would be part of Recreation. Which is part of, you know, you guys could take that on. That’s just an idea. If you guys want to. Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza – Ibid

So why might the July 4th Committee want to come “under the umbrella” of the City? or join the Recreation Commission? More on that a little later, but first.

YOU WOULDN’T KNOW IT BY THE TITLE
on the City’s Website, but there is an important informational meeting about the City’s Water Delivery System this Tuesday.

Water Workshop

As part of the settlement agreement with California River Watch, the City is obligated to provide additional information about the state of our Water System, and what the City is doing to address our Water Quality Issues.

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

The FEBRUARY 3, 2015 CLOSED SESSION included

  • 2 Cases of Potential Litigation

  • Continued discussion about the City Manager Recruitment

  • Another Discussion about Labor Negotiations with All Represented City Employees

During OPEN SESSION on FEBRUARY 3:

1. Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza Presented Key to the City plaques to members of Grupo Musical Los Kinos

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

3. The Minutes of Meeting Held on December 16, 2014 were approved.

4. The Warrant Register Dated January 29, 2015 was approved. Except for one check issued in payment for Radio Advertising for the 4th of July Celebration. Although Interim City Manager Odie Ortiz stated the payment had been “approved by management”, Mayor Espinoza stated he wanted that check “held” until he had more time to talk to the Chairman of the July 4th Committee. (My best guess is “management” meant prior City Manager Jose Ramirez)

5. A Resolution appointing Odilon Ortiz as Interim City Manager was approved.

6. A Resolution Approving the continuation Ruben Chavez for the Position of Police Chief was adopted.

7. The Council filled the Vacant seats on the Livingston Planning Commission after ACCEPTEING THE RESIGNATION of Planning Commission Chair Luis Flores. Mario Mendoza was appointed to finish Flores’ term: which ends in December of this year. Ananan Bath was appointed to the other vacancy: which is a 4 year term.

As Reported in the Merced Sun Star –

 “After Flores resigned, Commissioner Mario Mendoza – who was seeking another term on the commission – was appointed to finish Flores’ term. Newcomer Adanan Bath was appointed to the other vacancy.

Bath last year pulled filing papers to challenge Samra in his re-election bid in November. Bath ended up not running against Samra.

Mendoza, however, did challenge Samra but lost by about 300 votes.”

This means the person who “changed his mind” about challenging  Samra for office was appointed to a 4 year term on the Planning Commission.  The person who didn’t drop out of the race was given what was left over of Mr. Flores’ term.

8. The Council Accepted and Authorized the Temporary Outsourcing of City’s Street Sweeping Services to Gilton Solid Waste. According to the Mayor, this needed to be done because the engine on the Street Sweeper was “blown”.

9. The Council Discussed  Changes to the DTC Zone. There are Residential Homes located in the Downtown Commercial Zone. That means those homes are “non conforming uses” which has created a whole host of problems for those people who want to keep their house as a “house” and not convert it into a “business”.

There was discussion about how there would need to be some planning work involved in “fixing” the problem while at the same time avoiding “spot zoning”

10. The Council Discussed Changing the City Logo Slogan from “The Last Stop” to “Sweet Potato Capital of the World.” It seems some people think “The Last Stop” means a place where you go to retire and/or die. I guess most people have forgotten that Livingston had “The Last Stop” Light on HWY 99: before the realignment was done. Maybe such things aren’t relevant in “today’s world”.

11. The Discussion Item: “Twelve Acres of Industrial Land at the Max Foster Sports Complex” was Continued to a Future Meeting. From what I understand, there may be a dispute between the City of Livingston and a Developer over how much of a Reimbursement is due to the Developer.

The FEBRUARY 17, 2015 CLOSED SESSION included:

  • 1 case of Potential Litigation

  • A Conference about Labor Negotiations regarding All Represented and Unrepresented City Employees

During The Regular Meeting FEBRUARY 17, 2015 :

Mayor Espinoza and Council Person Mendoza were absent

1. An Item placed on the Agenda by Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza & Council Member Arturo Sicairos to Present and discuss idea of possible Sister City relationship with the State of Jalisco, Mexico. The consensus of the Council seemed to be it would be a great idea to adopt Zapotlanejo as a Sister City: perhaps via the Sister City Program International.

2. The Warrant Register Dated February 12, 2015 was Approved.

3. A Resolution of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston Approving the Recognized Obligation Payment Schedule (ROPS 15-16A) Pursuant to Health and Safety Code Section 34177 for Period July through December 31, 2015 was adopted.

Well 12 - 13 - 1- - 17 - 184. A Resolution Approving the Initial Study and Mitigated Negative Declaration for Improvements to Municipal Well No. 17 was adopted. New well site equipment and improvements will include an estimated 2,000 gallons per minute capacity

5. A Resolution Approving the Purchase of Equipment from Tesco Controls, Inc. for the Well No. 13 and Well No. 17 Projects, without Competitive Bids  was approved.

Well 8 - 9 - 11 - 156. A Resolution Approving a Contract with Forsta Filters for the Supply of Three Self-Cleaning Filters to remove Sand from Wells No. 9 and Well No. 11B was approved. This was done because the previous vender could not meet delivery times as previously expected. This expense was not in the Budget: an emergency situation created by the drought.

7. The City Council Directed Staff to Approve the Installation of a Varible Frequency Drive on Turbine #1 at the Waste Water Treatment Plant. According to Staff, by installing the Variable Frequency Drive, the City would Save on energy costs in the long run.

8. There was another Review/Discussion/Direction of the Annual Fireworks Booth Selection procedures. Members from both the July 4th Committee and Livingston Youth Football were in attendance and talked about why their Organizations should qualify for “the council pick”.

9. A Resolution Approving the Recommended 2014-15  City of Livingston Mid-Year Budget Revisions was adopted. Although Interim City Manager Ortiz said it looked like the City was seeing a Recovery, Mayor Pro Tem Samra stated “Yes. It is good news. But we’re not ready to open the Credit Card.”

ADJOURNMENT

Now, let me tell you a Brief TALE ABOUT FIREWORKS BOOTHS,  THE SWEET POTATO FESTIVAL and THE RECREATION COMMISSION

Once upon a time, the way I remember it, the City was in charge of putting on the July 4th Celebration: fireworks and all. Then there came the year of The-Run-Up-To-The-Recall. And, somehow, in the middle of all that, the order for the fireworks didn’t get put in in time.

It was as if the Conspiracy Theory Comet from Hell had struck: because of all the blame throwing and finger pointing. (I did do some checking on my own, and after asking for a General Ledger Report and looking it over, It looked to me like donations to the July 4th EVENT did NOT get booked into the July 4th ACCOUNT. But were booked into an account called Special Events. Near as I can tell it was just an honest mistake. But one that did not help calm the blamethrowing of the time. But I digress…)

A group of people banded together to, at least try, to see that the tradition of the July 4th Celebration wasn’t lost forever. Some people quit after the first year. Others kept on, year after year: rounding up donations and doing what needed to be done to meet the goal of Celebrating our Nation’s Independence Day with the Biggest and Best celebration possible.

In 2011, a new City Manager was hired. He thought it would be a Grand Idea to for the City to Revive the long dormant Sweet Potato Festival.

And stick it straight into the same week as the July 4th Celebration of 2012.

Which had some people I talked to scratching their heads about the timing. What were we celebrating that week? Our Nations Independence or Sweet Potatoes?

Later, there was the whole flap about the City “losing money” on the Sweet Potato Festival and the July 4th Committee having “money left over” after paying expenses.

Certain members of the City Council seemed to feel that the July 4th Committee should fork over their “excess” to cover the City’s “losses”.

Which, had some of us scratching our heads when we first heard about it. They way we understood it, the July 4th Committee was not organized as a fundraiser for the Sweet Potato Festival. It was organized to Plan and Organize an Event the City was no longer Planning and Organizing.

And any money “left over” after expenses would be rolled over to the following year.

As far as the Sweet Potato Festival was concerned, my understanding of the goal, from listening to the City Manager , was to at least break even: if there was any money “left over” after expenses, that would go towards funding other City Events.

Then in 2014, (as reported in the Merced Sun Star) Members of the Livingston Fourth of July Committee appealed to the City Council during its regular meeting  …..asking for help to pay off $5,441.14 of unpaid bills from the nonprofit’s annual fireworks show and festival.”

I can distinctly remember the “then” City Manager saying that management would take a look at the expenses involved to see which ones the City could “justify” paying on behalf of the July 4th Committee. (After all, it was a “City” event of sorts: with free admission to all)

So my guess is the “prior” City Manager, Jose Ramirez, approved the check for payment that Mayor Espinoza decided to “hold up”.

But IF YOU WANT THE CITY’S FULL SUPPORT, (and money for the Fireworks Show) how about joining the Recreation Commission? That was the suggestion made to members of the July 4th Committee, by Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza at the January 20th, 2015 City Council Meeting. According to the Mayor, this would solve two problems at the same time:

  • Getting enough members on the Recreation Committee to actually HAVE meetings on a Regular Basis – and –

  • Helping out with fundraising etc. for the 4th of July Celebration

The Logic going something like this: The Recreation Commission is already an Established Commission of the City. One of the tasks of the Recreation Commission is to promote activities That Benefit The Community. The July 4th Celebration is an Activity That Benefits The Community.  The are not enough members on the Recreation Commission. Therefore:

  • IF enough members of the July 4th Committee joined the Recreation Commission in order t0 make it a Functioning Commission,

  • THEN they could get “support” from the City

The response from some of the members of the July 4th Committee was that they are already very busy with activities that benefit the community, and really just don’t have the time to take on the additional responsibility: especially if the only reason to do so was to get “the support” from the City for an event that benefits the City As A Whole.

This is the way I see what has been happing so far.

  1. The City can issue up to 5 Fireworks Booth Permits. The City Council rewrote the Fireworks Ordinance so it could have the ability to grant a Fireworks Boots to up to two (2) Non Profit Organizations of its choice – making it possible to “Council Pick” Livingston Youth Football  and one other Non-Profit organization. That would put “everybody else” into a lottery for the remaining 3 booth permits.

  2. “Someone” got his nose out of joint when the July 4th Committee wouldn’t fork over their “profits” to bail out the Sweet Potato Festival’s “losses” one year and decided “since you wouldn’t donate your profit to the City, don’t bother asking the City to help you.

  3. And we won’t choose you for “Council Pick” for a Fireworks Booth Either. We’ll “choose” Livingston Youth Football, but you get thrown into the raffle like the other applicants.

  4. To Bad, So Sad, if you don’t get a Fireworks Booth

  5. Too Bad, So Sad if you “lose money” on putting on the July 4th Celebration.

  6. BUT “we” want a Recreation Commission that has meetings. So if you join the Recreation Commission, we will be willing to spiff you some “help” that way.

  7. BUT..Members of the July 4th Committee “reject” the offer to “obtain help” by joining the Recreation Commission.

  8. HOWEVER..The City Manager, recognizing the July 4th Event as a City Wide Event, as one of his last official acts before leaving at the end of January, 2015, authorizes the payment for the Radio Advertising. (It had to be either Jose or Odie: who else could be the “management” who could approve that check?)

  9. AND That check is “held up” by the Mayor at the very next Council Meeting

At this point, I will let you draw whatever conclusions you wish. I can say that “The Saga Continues”. The next chapter will continue when we meet again to look at What Happened in March, 2015.

More on the February Happenings in Livingston can be found by going to the links below:

For the February Police Department Update, click on the following link – LPD Update 2_3_2015

For relevant Sun Star Articles, see below.

Livingston manager’s last day brings some employees to tears BY RAMONA GIWARGIS, The Merced Sun Star – 02/01/2015 – Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra said Friday was a “sad day” for Livingston. It will be hard to replace Ramirez, he said, but the city will hire a recruitment organization to interview prospective candidates. While the City Council makes the final hiring decision, Samra said this method will “keep the process fair” and discourage favoritism.

Livingston police chief’s contract renewed for 3 years BY RAMONA GIWARGIS – The Merced Sun Star – 02/04/2015 –  Livingston Police Chief Ruben Chavez will continue working for the city another three years, the City Council determined unanimously this week

Chinese exchange students make friends in Livingston – BY THADDEUS MILLER – The Merced Sun Star – 02/08/2015 – About 50 students from China spent a couple of days here last week, visiting with others their age, sharing music and practicing their English. – The visit was the first edition of an exchange program, or “sisterhood,” that Livingston Middle School hopes to continue with Beijing Runfeng School, according to principals from both schools.

Livingston council talks fireworks stands and midyear budget – BY RAMONA GIWARGIS – The Merced Sun Star – 02/18/2015 – The battle over fireworks booths in Livingston has begun. – The city is accepting applications from nonprofits interested in selling safe-and-sane fireworks in July, officials announced at a City Council meeting Tuesday. Although the application period just opened, two groups – the Fourth of July Committee and Livingston Youth Football – were already appealing to the council Tuesday to choose them.

Livingston planning commissioner resigns over conflict of interest worry – BY RAMONA GIWARGIS – 02/22/2015 – The Merced Sun Star – The chairman of Livingston’s Planning Commission voluntarily resigned after elected officials threatened to have him removed because of a potential conflict of interest.

Livingston police arrest seven known gang members – SUN-STAR STAFF – 02/25/2015 – Seven known gang members have been arrested in Livingston since Saturday, according to police. – Three of those arrests came Tuesday when Livingston police and Merced County probation officers searched a home in the 1500 block of Seventh Street, finding a loaded 12-gauge shotgun hidden in a wall with other weapons, and more than five grams of methamphetamine, police Chief Ruben Chavez said.

A Celebration of Liberty, A Tribute to Those Who Paid the Price, and A City Council Agenda

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The sad fact is all to often people focus on the 4th of July parades, fireworks and picnics neglecting to think about the blood that was shed , a hefty price that was paid for those freedoms to enjoy these events! – Virginia L. Rice – Facebook

*In honor of Independence Day, except for the City Council Agenda and “Recommended Reading List” at the end of this post, I’m taking a short break from “politics”. There’ll be plenty of time for me to get back to my ole “snarky self” later on this week.

But first…another peek into Delta Bravo Sierra Land.

070411 Some Things Never Change

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

While we’re traipsing about a bit in the “animal world” how about a story?

A Tale of the porcupines*

Yep. I know. Not quite Aesop. But hey…

Livingston 4th of July Festival  Returns!
July 4th 2011After a one year absence, the Livingston 4th of July Festival and Fireworks show is back!

The event will start at 1pm at Memorial Park with Entertainment, kiddie rides, and food and crafts booths and will end with the biggest Fireworks Show in the valley.

As reported in the Merced Sun Star:

"There will be rides for the kids, bounce houses and water rides," Valadez said. "And, of course, there will be music."

"I think it’s one of the best events around,… "It’s the most patriotic event and a time when all the family can get together."(2)

Los Amigos, a band from Livingston that plays a mix of oldies tunes, will kick off the music, Valadez said. They’ll be followed by Los Chavos, which will play a more contemporary mix, including covers of Carlos Santana.

Also performing at Livingston’s festivities will be a ballet class and Zumba dance crew.

The Livingston Fire Department will make an appearance and will douse hot visitors with water, Valadez said.

A raffle will be held, with the top prize being a flat-screen TV.

Fireworks will start just as the sun goes down, Valadez said. Fourth of July: It will be boom time soon in Atwater, Livingston: Samuel Cosby, Merced Sun Star (2)  Giving back to Livingston — with a bang: Ameera Butt, Merced Sun Star.

Veteran’s of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary RUMMAGE SALE

Rummage Sale The Livingston/Delhi Ladies Auxiliary VFW #8327 will be holding a Gigantic Rummage Sale on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, August 3rd, 4th and 5th, at the Delhi Veterans Hall, Located at 9799 Stephens Street in Delhi. We have items too numerous to mention here, come by and see us. The sale hours will be 8-5 on Wednesday and Thursday and 8-4 on Friday. Everything on Friday will be $1.00 per bag (we furnish the bag) or half price if it is too big to fit in a bag. If you have any questions, please call Sue Wells at 394-2059. All proceeds from the sale will go to fund our many programs. All monies will stay within our own community.

Donita "Sue" Wells
Ladies Auxiliary Veterans of Foreign Wars
Secretary-Treasurer Auxiliary 8327
1159 2nd Street — Livingston CA 95334-1204
(209) 394-2059 — Cell (209) 648-4668
Fax (209) 394-9199 — Email
denisue@gvni.com

 

A Tribute to the American Soldier

Nope. Didn’t write it. I’ve gotten copies sent to me via e-mail. Seen versions on Youtube. And it’s been on Facebook many times over. Nope. Don’t know who wrote it first. Don’t know who took all the photos either. But since today is the day for Celebrating our American Independence Day, it’s only fair to take a break from BBQ’s, hot dogs, soft drinks, fireworks and sparklers, and just for a few moments at least, think about what this day is really all about.

And who really makes it possible.

For now..something to think about

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You stay up for 16 hours.

  He stays up for days on end.

You take a warm shower to help you wake up.

  He goes for weeks without running water.

*

 

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You complain of a “headache and call in sick.

  He gets shot at as others are hit, and keeps moving forward.

You put on your anti war/don’t support the troops shirt, and go meet up with your friends.

  He still fights for your right to wear that shirt.

*

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You make sure your cell phone is in your pocket.

He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags.

You talk trash about your “buddies” that aren’t with you.He knows he may not see some of his buddies again.

*

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clip_image008You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.

He patrols the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists.

You complain about how hot it is.

He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow.

*

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You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.

He doesn’t get to eat today.

Your mom makes your bed and washes your clothes.

He wears the same thing for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean.

*

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You go to the mall and get your hair done.

He doesn’t have time to brush his teeth today.

You’re angry because your class ran 5 minutes over.

He’s told he will be held over an extra 2 months.

*

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You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.

He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.

You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.

He holds his letter close and smells his love’s perfume.

*

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You roll your eyes as a baby cries.

He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they’ll ever meet.

You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.

He see the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting.

*

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You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him.

He hears the gunfire, bombs, and screams of the wounded.

You see only what the media wants you to see.

He sees the broken bodies lying around him.

*

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You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don’t.

He does exactly what he is told even if it puts his life in danger.

You stay at home and watch TV.

He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep, and eat.

*

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You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows, and get comfortable.

He tries to sleep but gets woken by mortars and helicopters all night long.

*

 

Since You’re Here Already.

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I want to talk just a little bit more about the Michael Yon Photo to the left. It’s been floating around the “digital cloud” in various and sundry forms and I’ve only recently learned where it came from. In addition to the Poetic Essay above, It’s been included in e-mails, youtube videos, on Facebook and other places around the Blogoshpere. You may have already seen the photo several times, but don’t know the story that goes with it. Here’s the story. It starts like this:

Mosul

Major Mark Bieger found this little girl after the car bomb that attacked our guys while kids were crowding around. The soldiers here have been angry and sad for two days. They are angry because the terrorists could just as easily have waited a block or two and attacked the patrol away from the kids. Instead, the suicide bomber drove his car and hit the Stryker when about twenty children were jumping up and down and waving at the soldiers…….

There’s more to the story. Much, much more. To read the rest of the story by Michael Yon, see more of his photos and read more of his dispatches from Afghanistan CLICK HERE!.

And now, on to the City Council Meeting Agenda. I am still working on “linking up” Agenda Items to individual pages with supporting documentation. So you might want to check back every now and then.

CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

JULY 05, 2011

CLOSED SESSION: 6:30 P.M.

OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.

Notice is hereby given that the City Council will hold a Regular Meeting on July 5, 2011, 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 6:30 p.m. The Closed Session will be held in the City of Livingston City Hall Conference Room located at 1416 C Street. The agenda shall be as follows:

Closed Session

1. Call to Order.

2. Pledge of Allegiance.

3. Roll Call.

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.

4. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: Interim City Manager

Regular Meeting

CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2011-44

Next Ordinance Number: 591

Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call.

Closed Session Announcements

Changes to the Agenda.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

1. Departmental Presentation – Jacquie Benoit, Recreation Superintendent.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

City Staff Announcements and Reports.

Interim City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

2. Proceedings under the 1972 Landscape and Lighting Act, California Streets and Highways Code 22500, et. seq., for the Approval to Levy Annual Assessments for the Citywide Consolidated Landscape Maintenance Assessment District No. 1, Confirming Assessments for Fiscal Year 2011/2012.

3. Proceedings under the Benefit Assessment Act of 1982, Government Code Section 54717, et. seq., for the Approval to Levy Annual Assessments for the Livingston Benefit Assessment Districts, Confirming Assessments for Fiscal Year 2011/2012.

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.

4. Adopt Resolution Consenting to and Approving the Assignment of the Cable Franchise and System to CCO SOCAL 1, LLC.

5. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on June 17, 2011.

6. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on June 21, 2011.

7. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on June 23, 2011.

8. Warrant Register Dated June 30, 2011.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

9. Waive the Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance No. 590 of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) 5-6-5 (C), Nonconforming Uses of Land, Concerning Nonconforming Agriculture Uses.

For the Original Staff Report and some Attachments as posted before the last City Council Meeting CLICK HERE.

10. Resolution Approving Land Lease Agreement Between the City of Livingston and Gerald Martin for Approximately 40 Acres of Land at 15036 Vinewood Avenue Known as APN Numbers 047-140-006 and 047-140-0017.

11. Resolution Approving Contract Amendment No. 4 for PMC to Complete the Environmental Analysis of the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Sign the Amendment.

12. Designate Voting Delegates and Alternates for the League of California Cities Annual Conference.

CONTINUATION OF CLOSED SESSION IF NECESSARY

ADJOURNMENT

And Since Your Hear Anyway

The “Mission of the Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee” 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)

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

The 2010-2011 Merced County Grand Jury Final Report is out. I just don’t have it “linked up” yet.

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

 

Errors, Brain Farts, A “Secret” Utility Rate Committee Meeting? and a Planning Commission Agenda

UPDATE! June 16th 2011, 4:00 PM – The City Council will consider approval of an Agreement for the Employment and Appointment of the City Manager. See the Special City Council Meeting Agenda at the bottom of this post. Note the 4:30 Start Time!

UPDATE! June 15th 2011, 8:25 PM -  Will There Be An Announcement of a New City Manager This Coming Friday? 

Councilperson Gurpal Samra gave the Report out of Closed Session at Tonight’s Special City Council Meeting. There will be a Special City Council Meeting this Friday at 4:30.

Although Council Person Samra he did not give specific details, I got the distinct impression that if everything went according to plan, there would be some kind of a major announcement at that meeting.

Given that the subject of Tonight’s Special City Council Meeting had to do with City Manager Appointment…..what else could it be?

UPDATE! The City Council Will Be Holding A special City Council Meeting on Wednesday, June 15th. See The Bottom of this Post For Details.

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."  Shakespeare‘s Hamlet, Act III, scene II.

“Always speak the truth-think before you speak-and write it down afterward.” – The Red Queen to Alice in Through the Looking Glass & What Alice Found There

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” – Mark Twain.

Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals! . . . except the weasels. – Homer J. Simpson, The Simpsons, Boy Scoutz ‘N the Hood, 1F06

“Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining” – Judge Judy

Council Person Samra: First of all, when we started this session of the council, I think this council made a strong commitment to resolve our water quality issues and this is another step in achieving that goal….The purpose of this is there is a lot of people with a lot at stake on how we accomplish this, how we calculate the costs and everything….What I’m asking the Council,…is to basically do an advertisement for the Business Community, for the Educational Community, the School Districts… and Citizens at large that would want to participate in the early process to work with the city Staff and with our Consultant, to hear the issues, find the solutions, and have different ideas that we may not think of. That way, we all work on this together….Everybody, anybody can attend.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar: Actually I think with this brought forward its just a way of getting residents involved being that this had been an issue prior the things that happened in our local Government and we just want to make sure that the doors are open. Residents feel and they know that they are part of this decision making.

Excerpted from February 15, 2011 Discussion: Utility Rate Stakeholders Committee (Emphasis mine)

Councilperson VierraI didn’t hear a word that this meeting even happened until somebody told me halfway through the meeting.

When is the community going to know these meetings are being held and why was the first one kept a Secret? I don’t understand that.

…The the thing is – we had a Recall Election because we were told that transparency wasn’t there. We’re starting off at the very first Water Meeting – non-transparency.

Councilperson Samra: ..there was no discussion. It was just giving information about what the wells are and everything else. The next meeting we will have, we will publish. We haven’t had any dates set up yet…It was just so the people can have the information they can take with them, their binders and even I got to there at the tail end of it. I didn’t even attend the entire meeting.

Mayor Pro-Tem Aguilar: …Just like Council member Samra had mentioned, we did have our first meeting. …Just like any committee that starts together they kinda wanna have a feel for the members…We do have a set time…we hadda feel, a overview of what exactly we’re coming together for. Nothing was discussed other than what the binder contained. So there was really nothing to share, other than it’s just for us to meet each member..But yes, we are holding these meetings, Stakeholder meetings and they, its my understanding that they do not need to be open to the public.

 Excerpted from: June 07, 2011 Discussion of Utility Rate Committee Meeting

Now That We’ve Had A Few Quotes. Let’s Add a Few Definitions.

(Courtesy of a few Online Dictionaries: You can click on the links to see where the definitions came from.)

Error:

    • 1 (a): an act or condition of ignorant or imprudent deviation from a code of behavior
    • 1 (b): an act involving an unintentional deviation from truth or accuracy <made an error in adding up the bill>

Mistake: 

transitive verb

  • (1): to blunder in the choice of <mistook her way in the dark>
  • (2) a: to misunderstand the meaning or intention of : misinterpret <don’t mistake me, I mean exactly what I said>
  • (2) b: to make a wrong judgment of the character or ability of
  • (3) : to identify wrongly : confuse with another <I mistook him for his brother>

intransitive verb: to be wrong <you mistook when you thought I laughed at you — Thomas Hardy>

flimflam

Nonsense; humbug. A deception; a swindle. To swindle;

Bait and Switch:

A sales tactic in which a bargain-priced item is used to attract customers who are then encouraged to purchase a more expensive similar item.

con (4)

transitive verb: To swindle (a victim) by first winning his or her confidence; dupe.

snake oil

A worthless preparation fraudulently peddled as a cure for many ills. Speech or writing intended to deceive; humbug.

Weasel:

    • (1)or pluralweasel: any of various small slender active carnivorous mammals (genus Mustela of the family Mustelidae, the weasel family) that are able to prey on animals (as rabbits) larger than themselves, are mostly brown with white or yellowish underparts, and in northern forms turn white in winter — compare ermine 1a 
    • (3): a sneaky, untrustworthy, or insincere person

Brain Fart:

1. (n.) Malfunction of the brain on a given thought process, usually occurring during an important situation. Notes: Also: cranial flatulation, brain cloud, brain cramp

2. (pron.) When one conveniently forgets something just at the right moment when he or she is asked an important question. In the act of trying not to look stupid as one is they cover it up by indicating that they had a brain fart. Unlike a normal fart, these leave no revolting odor or any clue to their presence.

  • Example: Bob: "What day of the week is it today, Fred?"Fred: "It’s chili day in the cafeteria!"Bob: "No!… I asked what day of the week!"Fred: "Oh, brain fart… It’s Friday

You Know where I’m going with this? You might be right. But before we get to that , A few announcements.

VFW Breakfast in June

pancakes The Livingston/Delhi Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary Breakfast will be served on June 26, 2011, at the Livingston Veterans Memorial Hall, located at 1605 7th Street, in Livingston. Adults can eat for $6.00, and the children under 12 for eat for $4.00. Breakfast consists of Pancakes, French Toast or Biscuits and Gravy; served with Eggs cooked to order, Hash Browns, Sausage or Ham and Coffee and Juice. Breakfast will be served from 8 am to 12 pm.

If you need more information on the Breakfast, Family Hamburger Night, or if you would like to become a member of the Post or Auxiliary, contact Denis or Sue Wells at (209) 394-2059.

Family Hamburger Night Thursday June 30, 2011

Hamburger Join us for the VFW Hamburger Night, Thursday June 30, 2011. Meals will be served from 6-8 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 $1.50 to 3.50 per meal. All proceeds go to help support our community programs.

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

RUMMAGE SALE

Rummage Sale The Livingston/Delhi Ladies Auxiliary VFW #8327 will be holding a Gigantic Rummage Sale on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, August 3rd, 4th and 5th, at the Delhi Veterans Hall, Located at 9799 Stephens Street in Delhi. We have items too numerous to mention here, come by and see us. The sale hours will be 8-5 on Wednesday and Thursday and 8-4 on Friday. Everything on Friday will be $1.00 per bag (we furnish the bag) or half price if it is too big to fit in a bag. If you have any questions, please call Sue Wells at 394-2059. All proceeds from the sale will go to fund our many programs. All monies will stay within our own community.

Donita "Sue" Wells
Ladies Auxiliary Veterans of Foreign Wars
Secretary-Treasurer Auxiliary 8327
1159 2nd Street — Livingston CA 95334-1204
(209) 394-2059 — Cell (209) 648-4668
Fax (209) 394-9199 — Email
denisue@gvni.com

Livingston 4th of July Festival

The following is courtesy of Julio Valadez, Chairman of the Livingston July 4th Committee.

livingstonfireworks After a one year absence, the Livingston 4th of July Festival and Fireworks show is back!

Due to lack of funding, the 2010 event was canceled at the last minute. As a result, a group of residents formed the committee but were unable to keep the much loved and most patriotic event alive last year due to such short notice. But this year after receiving an anonymous donation of $15K the event will go on. This event is well attended by local residents and surrounding communities and has had an attendance of up to 20,000.

The event will start at 1pm at Memorial Park with Entertainment, kiddie rides, and food and crafts booths and will end with the biggest Fireworks Show in the valley.

The committee is currently looking for anyone that would like to be part of the Entertainment. If you are a band, a dance group, or other type of entertainment group, and would like to participate, please call Julio Valadez at 209-277-1402.

If you are interested in being a vendor for this event applications can be picked up at City Hall or call David Blevins at 209-777-1223 and an application can be mailed to you.

Spaces are filled on a first come first serve basis. Booth Fees are $75.00 or $60.00 for Non-Profit groups. Health Permits are required for all Food Vendors. Application Deadlines are as follows: Food Booths June 13, 2011, all others due June 27, 2011.

Working Together for a Fun Filled 4th You can also get more information and print vendor applications on the Committee’s website: www.livingston4thofjuly.com

Meetings of the Livingston 4th of July Committee will be Mondays @ 7pm: Geno’s Pizza in Livingston. (Except for Memorial Day) For more information, or to make a donation, you can contact the Committee Chair: Julio Valadez @ 209-277-1402 or jvaladez@livingston4thofjuly.com

Photo courtesy of the July 4th Committee

Tuesday, June 14th is Flag Day!

American Flag Seem like now a days some folks don’t care to much for our flag. Or our National Anthem either (‘specially with those nasty references to “rockets red glare” and “bombs bursting in air”. Sounds just a little too “militaristic” for some “modern sensibilities”.)

Makes a person wonder what they learned in History Class….

Well…not that most of the readers here need a refresher course in American History.  But here’s a few things you might be interested in anyway.

First: A tribute to Old Glory by Johnnie Cash

Next: What the Pledge of Allegiance Means

Here’s, a little story about why a Poem written by a Lawyer became our National Anthem.

Finally: A Video Titled “Your Freedom’s Not Free”

Happy Birthday US Army!

Uniforms from 1776 to Iraqi Freedom army_mil-37868-2009-06-08-130622 “Two hundred and thirty-six years ago, the United States Army was established to defend our Nation. From the Revolutionary War to the current operations taking place around the world, our Soldiers remain Army Strong with a deep commitment to our core values and beliefs”.

For more on this article on the 236th Birthday of the United States Army, click on the link above.

 

To Open or Not To Open To The Public. Is That The Question?

Remember that much ballyhooed Utility Rate Committee?

You know. The One that had members appointed by the City Council and was supposed to usher in a New Era of Openness and Transparency in deciding Water, WasteWater and Sanitation Rates.

The one that it was OK to only have 5 or 6 people appointed to it. But there was no need to worry because people who wanted to would be free to come too.

That one.

There was a Meeting of that Utility Rate Committee a few days ago.

And a couple Council members practically fell all over themselves in a political tap dance while trying to explain away why the pubic was not invited and how they didn’t really have to invite the public anyway.

Oh..the difference between what they said in April, and what they said this June is stunning.

Did you get the memo? A phone call?

See an announcement on the City Website?

Or posted next to the doors at City Hall?

Did you even know about it beforehand?

Nope? Me neither.

And a couple Council members practically fell all over themselves in a political tap dance: trying to explain away why the pubic was not invited and how they didn’t really have to invite the public anyway.

The difference between what they said in April, and what they said so far this June is stunning.

A binder of information was handed out. But there was nothing to share? Are you kidding me?

How many of you out there just might want to know what information was included in that binder?

Wouldn’t you have wanted to hear the “overview of what exactly (they) were coming together for”?

I’m usually good at keeping track of the gist of conversations and I could swear that the message before that first meeting took place was: “Don’t worry. Even if you’re not appointed to the committee, you can come too because we want this to be as Open and Transparent as Humanly Possible”.

Now the message is “We don’t have to invite you because its an ad-hoc committee and you’re just gonna have to take our word for what we report out”?!?

Are you kidding me?

This is not an ad-hoc committee on coming up with Park and Street Names. This is an ad-hoc committee on Utility Rates!!!!!!!

And we, the people, were told we could come too.

Now, on to the

LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

JUNE 14, 2011 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 Minutes from the May 10, 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. Temporary Conditional Use Permit 2011-01, 4th of July Carnival. Review of a Temporary Conditional Use Permit for the 4th of July Carnival to be held on Park Street between Main and 4th Streets on Monday, July 4, 2011 from 12:00 noon unti110:30 p.m. Review will include generator locations and street closures.

b. LMC 5-3, Table 12 Wireless Communication Facilities; LMC 5-6-9 (F) Appeal Hearing; and LMC 5-6-10 (D) Appeal Hearing. On May 3, 2011 the City Council approved a Resolution of intent to amend; LMC 5-3 to amend Table 12, Permit Requirements for Wireless Communication Facilities; to amend LMC 5-6-9 (F) Appeal Hearing; to amend LMC 5-6-10 (D) Appeal Hearing, and other Title 5 sections dealing with Appeal Hearings. The Planning Commission is requested to conduct a public hearing on the items, determine General Plan Consistency and make recommendations to City Council.

Item No.4- Discussion and Possible Action Item

a. LMC 4-2 Sign Regulations. The Planning Commission will continue their discussion of the City’s Sign Ordinance in order to provide a recommendation to City Council. Public comment from the community, particularly on Commercial and Industrial signage is requested and public notices were hand-delivered by staff as directed. This item was continued from the regular Planning Commission meetings of April 12, 2011 and May 10,2011.

b. LMC 5-3 Table 3, Commercial Uses. Planning Commission discussion regarding a Resolution of intent concerning alcohol regulations in the Downtown Commercial District.

Item No.5- Reports

a. Planning Commission b. City Staff

c. City Attorney

Item No.6- Adjournment to regular meeting on July 12, 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

1659587.1

CITY COUNCIL MEETING AGENDA

SPECIAL MEETING

JUNE 15, 2011

CLOSED SESSION: 5:30 P.M.

Notice is hereby given that the City Council will hold a Special Meeting on June 15, 2011, 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 24 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Special Meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. Members of the public may address the City Council concerning any item described in this notice and agenda before consideration of that item. No City business other than that described in this notice and agenda shall be considered by the City Council.

Special Meeting

CALL TO ORDER

Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call.

Changes to the Agenda.

CITIZEN COMMENTS

This section of the Special Meeting agenda allows members of the public to address the City Council on any item 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, the City Council is prohibited from taking action on any item not on the agenda.

Please note that under California Government Code section 54954.3(a) (The Brown Act), Special Meeting agendas need only provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the legislative body concerning any item that has been described in the meeting agenda before or during consideration of the item. The public will have an opportunity to comment on matters not on the agenda at regularly scheduled Council Meetings.

CLOSED SESSION: (Adjourn to City Hall Conference Room)

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 required announcements or discussion of closed session items or actions will be done following the closed session.

1. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Manager

2. Conference with Labor Negotiator: City Attorney Jose M. Sanchez

Unrepresented Employee: City Manager

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS

ADJOURNMENT

1660726.1

CITY COUNCIL MEETING AGENDA

SPECIAL MEETING

JUNE 17, 2011

CLOSED SESSION: 4:30 P.M.

Notice is hereby given that the City Council will hold a Special Meeting on June 17, 2011, 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 24 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Special Meeting will begin at 4:30 p.m. Members of the public may address the City Council concerning any item described in this notice and agenda before consideration of that item. No City business other than that described in this notice and agenda shall be considered by the City Council.

Special Meeting

CALL TO ORDER

Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call.

Changes to the Agenda.

CITIZEN COMMENTS

This section of the Special Meeting agenda allows members of the public to address the City Council on any item 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, the City Council is prohibited from taking action on any item not on the agenda.

Please note that under California Government Code section 54954.3(a) (The Brown Act), Special Meeting agendas need only provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the legislative body concerning any item that has been described in the meeting agenda before or during consideration of the item. The public will have an opportunity to comment on matters not on the agenda at regularly scheduled Council Meetings.

CLOSED SESSION: (Adjourn to City Hall Conference Room)

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 required announcements or discussion of closed session items or actions will be done following the closed session.

1. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Manager

2. Conference with Labor Negotiator: City Attorney Jose M. Sanchez

Unrepresented Employee: City Manager

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

3. Agreement for Employment of City Manager. The City Council will consider approval of an Agreement for the Employment and Appointment of the City Manager.

ADJOURNMENT

1662521.1

A Few Announcements, News Items and a City Council Agenda (With Just a Little Commentary)

Hear Ye Hear Ye 06/09/11 UPDATE! The City Council Will be Holding a Special City Council Meeting on Friday, June 10, 2010. See the end of this post for details.

Since It’s Been A While Since We’ve Checked In On Delta Bravo Sierra Land

060711 Here Come the Marines060711 Holy Hopper Batman Yep. There’s Strange..and then there’s Army Strange: courtesy of Damon Shackelford: furious scribbler of military cartoons. {He’s on Facebook too! :-)}

 

GIVE BLOOD, SAVE LIVES – PINT FOR A PINT

Ice Cream Community Blood Drive to be held at the Livingston Veterans Memorial Hall, 1605 7th Street, Livingston, on June 9, 2011 from 3-7 pm. Donate a pint of blood and receive a coupon for a FREE pint of Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream and a coupon for a meal hosted by the Livingston/Delhi Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary. For more information call Denis or Sue Wells at 394-2059 or visit our Website at www.vfwlivingston.com. Walk-ins are always welcome.

Flag Retirement & Disposal

American Flag Do you have an American, POW/MIA or California flag that needs disposed of? We will be retiring and disposing of flags on June 13, 2011. Contact Denis or Sue Wells, Livingston/Delhi VFW, at (209) 394-2059 for information on pickup or information on where you can deliver the flags to be taken care of properly.

VFW Breakfast in June

pancakes The Livingston/Delhi Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary Breakfast will be served on June 26, 2011, at the Livingston Veterans Memorial Hall, located at 1605 7th Street, in Livingston. Adults can eat for $6.00, and the children under 12 for eat for $4.00. Breakfast consists of Pancakes, French Toast or Biscuits and Gravy; served with Eggs cooked to order, Hash Browns, Sausage or Ham and Coffee and Juice. Breakfast will be served from 8 am to 12 pm.

If you need more information on the Breakfast, Family Hamburger Night, or if you would like to become a member of the Post or Auxiliary, contact Denis or Sue Wells at (209) 394-2059.

Family Hamburger Night Thursday June 30, 2011

Hamburger Join us for the VFW Hamburger Night, Thursday June 30, 2011. Meals will be served from 6-8 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 $1.50 to 3.50 per meal. All proceeds go to help support our community programs.

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

RUMMAGE SALE

Rummage Sale The Livingston/Delhi Ladies Auxiliary VFW #8327 will be holding a Gigantic Rummage Sale on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, August 3rd, 4th and 5th, at the Delhi Veterans Hall, Located at 9799 Stephens Street in Delhi. We have items too numerous to mention here, come by and see us. The sale hours will be 8-5 on Wednesday and Thursday and 8-4 on Friday. Everything on Friday will be $1.00 per bag (we furnish the bag) or half price if it is too big to fit in a bag. If you have any questions, please call Sue Wells at 394-2059. All proceeds from the sale will go to fund our many programs. All monies will stay within our own community.

Donita "Sue" Wells
Ladies Auxiliary Veterans of Foreign Wars
Secretary-Treasurer Auxiliary 8327
1159 2nd Street — Livingston CA 95334-1204
(209) 394-2059 — Cell (209) 648-4668
Fax (209) 394-9199 — Email denisue@gvni.com

From The Joint Hometown News Service News

Airman Jose A. Maldonado Air Force Reserve Airman Jose A. Maldonado graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

He is the son of Lupe and Jose Maldonado of Colleen Court, Livingston, Calif.

Maldonado graduated in 2010 from Livingston High School.

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.

From Red Bull Rising: a military-focused blog written and edited by Randy Brown–aka "Charlie Sherpa"

cptschillreffsfctimmy Stressed-out Soldiers Can Always Go to the Dogs

Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan–Since July 2010, a 3-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever named Sgt. First Class Timmy, along with U.S. Army handler and occupational therapist Capt. Theresa Schillreff, have reached out a helpful paw and hand to service members struggling with deployment stresses, whether those stem from combat experiences or problems at home.

"It’s helping people understand that if I have ‘X, Y, and Z’ going on in my life, how can I cope with that and make sure that I can do my job, meet our mission, and not be sent home," says Schillreff, a member of 254th Medical Detachment, an active-duty U.S. Army combat-stress unit stationed at Miesau Army Depot, Germany. On Bagram Airfield, the unit’s Freedom Restoration Center is a 3- to 5-day program that offers a restorative environment to critically stressed-out soldiers. "We really try to fit them up for success."

To read more of this article by Charlie Sherpa of Red Bull Rising, click on the link above. (Photo courtesy of Red Bull Rising)

Livingston 4th of July Festival

The following is courtesy of Julio Valadez, Chairman of the Livingston July 4th Committee.

livingstonfireworks After a one year absence, the Livingston 4th of July Festival and Fireworks show is back!

Due to lack of funding, the 2010 event was canceled at the last minute. As a result, a group of residents formed the committee but were unable to keep the much loved and most patriotic event alive last year due to such short notice. But this year after receiving an anonymous donation of $15K the event will go on. This event is well attended by local residents and surrounding communities and has had an attendance of up to 20,000.

The event will start at 1pm at Memorial Park with Entertainment, kiddie rides, and food and crafts booths and will end with the biggest Fireworks Show in the valley.

The committee is currently looking for anyone that would like to be part of the Entertainment. If you are a band, a dance group, or other type of entertainment group, and would like to participate, please call Julio Valadez at 209-277-1402.

If you are interested in being a vendor for this event applications can be picked up at City Hall or call David Blevins at 209-777-1223 and an application can be mailed to you.

Spaces are filled on a first come first serve basis. Booth Fees are $75.00 or $60.00 for Non-Profit groups. Health Permits are required for all Food Vendors. Application Deadlines are as follows: Food Booths June 13, 2011, all others due June 27, 2011.

You can also get more information and print vendor applications on the Committee’s website: www.livingston4thofjuly.com

Meetings of the Livingston 4th of July Committee will be Mondays @ 7pm: Geno’s Pizza in Livingston. (Except for Memorial Day) For more information, or to make a donation, you can contact the Committee Chair: Julio Valadez @ 209-277-1402 or jvaladez@livingston4thofjuly.com

CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

JUNE 7, 2011

CLOSED SESSION: 6:00 P.M.

OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.

Notice is hereby given that the City Council will hold a Regular Meeting on June 7, 2011, 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 in the City of Livingston City Hall Conference Room located at 1416 C Street. The agenda shall be as follows:

Closed Session

1. Call to Order.

2. Pledge of Allegiance.

3. Roll Call.

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. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Manager

2. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

(Government Code Section 54956.9)

Number of Cases: One

Regular Meeting

CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2011-38

Next Ordinance Number: 590

Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call.

Closed Session Announcements.

Changes to the Agenda.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

1. Presentation on Supervisorial Redistricting by Jim Brown, Assistant Chief Executive

Officer for Merced County.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

City Staff Announcements and Reports.

Interim City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

2. Introduce and Waive the First Reading of Ordinance No. ___of the City Council of the City of Livingston Amending Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) 5-6-5 (C), Nonconforming Uses of Land, Concerning Nonconforming Agricultural Uses.

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. Initiating Proceedings Under the Landscape and Lighting Act of 1972, Division 15, Part 2 of the California Streets and Highways Code, et. seq., Declaring the City’s Intention to Levy and Collect Assessments Within the City’s Landscape and Lighting Maintenance Assessment District for Fiscal Year 2011/2012, Approval of the Annual Engineer’s Report and Setting a Time and Place for a Public Hearing.

{Note from TheGardeningSnail: at the time this post was originally put together, the documentation for Items 3 and 4 were included in the Agenda Packet on the City’s Web Site as of Saturday, June 05, 2011. If time and schedule permits, I will create and link to a page for these items in the near future.

While I don’t yet have the digital up for This Year’s discussion, I can give you the discussion for LAST year’s discussion, which went something like this:

“Jim Alderman from Willdan Financial Services gave an overview of the special assessments for the Citywide Consolidated Landscape and Maintenance Assessment District No.1. He said that the City levies and collects assessments for 26 zones in the Assessment District for services provided to residents in these areas. He said the purpose of tonight’s meeting is to take public comment and approve the engineering report and the assessments outlined in the report. He was available to answer questions.

Mayor Varela opened the hearing for public comments at 7:29 p.m. and subsequently closed the hearing at 7:29 p.m. as there were no public comments.

Motion: M/S Vierra/Aguilar to adopt Resolution No. 2010-30, approving a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Approving the Engineer’s Report for the Citywide Consolidated Landscape Maintenance Assessment District No. 1 and the Levy and Collection of Annual Assessments within such District for Fiscal Year 2010/2011 and Confirming Diagrams and Assessments Pursuant to the Provisions of Part 2 of Division 15 of the California Streets and Highways Code and as Provided by Article XIIID of the California Constitution. The motion carried 5-0 by the following vote:

AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Nateras, Varela, Vierra

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None” Source: JULY 6, 2010 Draft Minutes}

4. Initiating Proceedings Under the Benefit Assessment Act of 1982, Government Code Section 54717, et. seq., Declaring the City’s Intention to Levy and Collect Assessments Within the City’s Benefit Assessment Districts for Fiscal Year 2011/2012, Approval of the Engineer’s Report and Setting a Time and Place for a Public Hearing.

{Note from TheGardeningSnail: at the time this post was originally put together, the documentation for Items 3 and 4 were included in the Agenda Packet on the City’s Web Site as of Saturday, June 05, 2011. If time and schedule permits, I will create and link to a page for these items in the near future.

While I don’t yet have the digital up for This Year’s discussion, I can give you the discussion for LAST year’s discussion, which went something like this:

“Jim Alderman from Willdan Financial Services gave an overview of the special assessments for the Benefit Assessment Districts. He said that the City levies and collects assessments for 18 Benefit Assessment Districts for services provided to residents in these areas. He said the purpose of tonight’s meeting is to take public comment and approve the engineering report and the assessments outlined in the report. He was available to answer questions.

Mayor Varela opened the hearing at 7:31 p.m. for public comments and subsequently closed the hearing at 7:31 p.m. as there were no comments from the public.

Motion: M/S Nateras/Vierra to adopt Resolution No. 2010-31, approving a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Livingston Approving the Engineer’s Report for the Livingston Benefit Assessment Districts and the Levy and Collection of Annual Assessments within such Districts for Fiscal Year 2010/2011 and Confirming Diagrams and Assessments Pursuant to the Benefit Assessment Act of 1982 as provided by Article XIIID of the California Constitution. The motion carried 5-0 by the following vote:

AYES: Council Members: Aguilar, Espinoza, Nateras, Varela, Vierra

NOES: Council Members: None

ABSENT: Council Members: None” Source: JULY 6, 2010 Draft Minutes}

5.Resolution Awarding Construction Contract to Shannon Pump Company, Merced, California, Approving the Expenditure of Construction Funds for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) – Replacement of Motors at Water Wells 8,9,11 and 13 – Grant No. CBG- 09-093 and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Execute a Construction Contract and Any Change Orders Thereto with Shannon Pump Company.

{Note from TheGardeningSnail: at the time this post was originally put together, the back-up documentation for the above item was not yet posted online. Therefore I have taken the liberty to link to the documentation as provided in the May 17, 2011 City Council Meeting}

6. Adopt Resolution Approving Amendment 2 to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Between the City of Livingston and Merced County Workforce Investment Board of Enterprise Zone Marketing and Program Management Services.

7. Approve Resolution of Intent to Amend, Repeal, or Replace Sections to Clarify Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) 5-6-2 Concerning Amendments and Rezonings.

{Note from TheGardeningSnail: at the time this post was originally put together, the back-up documentation for the above item was not yet posted online. Therefore I have taken the liberty to provide the link below from the documentation as provided in the May 17, 2011 City Council Meeting If you happen to see the item above “light up”, that means I got the documentation and the time to link it up.} :-)

Resolution of Intent to Amend Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) 5-2-3-29 Vehicle Sales, LMC 5-3-14 Vehicle Sales Overlay District (VEH) Table 3 – Land Use – Commercial Zoning, Vehicles Sales, Footnote D and LMC 5-6-2 Amendments and Rezoning (and the numbering of subsequent lines).}

8. Denial of Claim for Damages from Maria Chavez.

9. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on May 16, 2011.

10. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on May 17, 2011.

11. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on May 18, 2011.

12. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on May 25, 2011.

13. Approval of Warrant Registers (2) Dated June 1, 2011.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

14. City Council to Provide Staff Direction for Appointment to the Planning Commission.

15. City Council to Provide Staff Direction for Vacancy on the Parks and Recreation Commission.

16. City Council Designation of Equipment/Property as Surplus and Authorize Staff to Dispose of Property Appropriately.

Note from TheGardeningSnail: Just got the documentation on this one . In case you’re interested, I can also give you the discussion for LAST year’s “disposal of property discussion”, which went something like this:,

“Council Member Espinosa said that he wanted to make sure that City employees did not purchase any surplus property. City Attorney Hobbs said that he thought that the Municipal Code already prohibits employees from purchasing surplus property from the City. He said that he would check on this for the City Council. Police Chief Dunford said that the City is using Property Room.Com to dispose of its surplus property. They are located in the City of Industry and sell the property on-line similar to e-Bay. Any property that cannot be disposed of on Property Room.Com will be disposed of through non-profit organizations or other appropriate means by the Police Department.

Council Member Espinoza said that he wanted to make sure that employees did not purchase the surplus property. City Manager Warne said that is one of the reasons why the City is going to dispose of its surplus property through Property Room.Com. When a person goes to the website to bid on an item, they have no idea who owns the property. The staff does not want to be in the position where they are accused of doing something wrong or inappropriate. City Manager Warne said that he had no problem including a statement, in the motion approving Agenda Item #12, prohibiting employees from purchasing any City surplus equipment. There are always people ready to criticize the City and to find fault with something the City is doing. He wants such a statement in the motion.

Mayor Pro-Tem Vierra said that the City Council voted on this several years ago to prohibit City employees from purchasing City surplus property.

Motion: M/S Espinoza/Aguilar to approve Consent Agenda Item No. 12 with the provision that no employee or family member of an employee may purchase the surplus property. The motion carried by a vote of 5-0.”} Source: JULY 6, 2010 Draft Minutes

17. City Council Guidance on Extending the October Street Fair and the Addition of Produce Sales.

{Note from TheGardeningSnail: Remember when some people on the Council were talking about firing part-time staff, possible furlough days, and other potential cuts in Budgets and Staffing? Does this means the Council has changed their collective minds about staffing levels and are willing to spend a little extra on payroll instead? Or are they going to volunteer to do the work themselves? Just thought I’d ask…..}

ADJOURNMENT

06/09/11 UPDATE! The City Council Will be Holding a Special City Council Meeting on Friday, June 10, 2010.

 

CITY COUNCIL MEETING AGENDA

SPECIAL MEETING

JUNE 10, 2011

CLOSED SESSION: 5:00 P.M.

Notice is hereby given that the City Council will hold a Special Meeting on June 10, 2011, 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 24 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Special Meeting will begin at 5:00 p.m. Members of the public may address the City Council concerning any item described in this notice and agenda before consideration of that item. No City business other than that described in this notice and agenda shall be considered by the City Council.

Special Meeting

CALL TO ORDER

Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call.

Changes to the Agenda.

CITIZEN COMMENTS

This section of the Special Meeting agenda allows members of the public to address the City Council on any item 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, the City Council is prohibited from taking action on any item not on the agenda.

Please note that under California Government Code section 54954.3(a) (The Brown Act), Special Meeting agendas need only provide an opportunity for members of the public to directly address the legislative body concerning any item that has been described in the meeting agenda before or during consideration of the item. The public will have an opportunity to comment on matters not on the agenda at regularly scheduled Council Meetings.

CLOSED SESSION: (Adjourn to City Hall Conference Room)

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 required announcements or discussion of closed session items or actions will be done following the closed session.

1. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Manager

2. Conference with Labor Negotiator: City Attorney Jose M. Sanchez

Unrepresented Employee: City Manager

(Government Code Section 54957.6)

CLOSED SESSION ANNOUNCEMENTS

ADJOURNMENT

1658674.1

Note from TheGardeningSnail

Here We Go Again! Another Special City Council Meeting about “City Manager Appointment”.

Notice the time this one starts: 5:00 PM

For the moment, I’ve lost count of how many Special Meetings there have been on this.

Will they announce a “selection” or will it be another “no Reportable Action”?

After all, it’s June already, and the Acting City Manager/Finance Director is supposed to retire in Mid-July.

And Since Your Hear Anyway

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)

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

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 Really Long “5 Minutes”, A Plan to Reopen the Tequila Club?, And a Couple of Meeting Agendas

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."-Poet and philosopher George Santayana

…Shambaugh…applied in Livingston…for a full-time job in the eight-officer department. .As part of the tiny staff, he’d often be left alone to cruise Livingston ‘s streets at midnight, relying on county or Atwater officers for backup. ….Nearly every evening there’d be a stabbing, assault or shooting, often in the Main Street bars…. City councils and managers worked to eliminate the troublesome bars by restricting alcohol licenses and cracking down on the boozing and brothels. Excerpted from LIVINGSTON OFFICER ENDS LONG CAREER – COMMUNITY OUTREACH A KEY ACHIEVEMENT IN 30 YEARS ON FORCE  Modesto Bee, The (CA) – Wednesday, July 25, 2007 By SCOTT JASON, MERCED SUN-STAR

The condition was not placed in the municipal code for no reason. For at least 15 years, Livingston went through an era of being a violent community, directly as the result of too much alcohol flowing freely in the downtown….Closing the problem bars was a nightmare for city, state, regional and federal agencies. In those days, anyway, closing a bar was almost impossible unless you could find enough wrong with the structure of the building to order it torn down. Excerpted from “Increase the number of bars in Livingston? – Not so fast: ” Livingston CA / April 13, 2011 – By Mike McGuire

A downtown bar must hire licensed security guards to protect patrons and also must bring on new employees to clean up trash left in a nearby parking lot, the city’s Planning Commission ordered Tuesday night. ..Club Tequila faces the new restrictions after several complaints filed against the business by police and neighbors over the summer. ..Now, the bar must keep licensed security guards inside its premises, build a well-lit smoking area outside, and make sure bottles don’t drift into the neighboring Rite-Aid parking lot. Excerpted from ‘Livingston bar told to increase its security”  Merced Sun-Star, The (CA) – Wednesday, October 13, 2004 by Adam Ashton

Members of the Merced-Mariposa Narcotics Task Force and Livingston Police Department went into the bar Friday night after receiving several calls about drug-related troubles in the area. " Livingston has had some problems, and this will help," said Gary Welch, assistant commander of the task force. "We’ve had complaints on and off for several months." Excerpted from “COCAINE SALES PROBED” Modesto Bee, The (CA) – Wednesday, February 21, 2001

Officials..shut down The Oasis (757 Academy) and El Latino (430 Main St.) nightclubs in Livingston for..alleged labor law violations. .The Oasis was reportedly fined $15,000 while the El Nuevo Latino was hit with a $32,000 penalty..Excerpted from “FOUR AREA TAVERNS CLOSED DOWN FOR ALLEGED LABOR LAW VIOLATIONS” – Modesto Bee, The (CA) – Tuesday, September 30, 1997  – Alex Valdez,

A man who allegedly fired a shotgun inside a rural Livingston bar Sunday night was arrested and being held on $250,000 bail – Excerpted from “SHOTS FIRED IN BAR ; MAN ARRESTED’  Modesto Bee, The (CA) – Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Before We Get to the Main Event

They Just Keep Getting Younger and Younger

So….What ever happened to the “chum-bait” in Delta Bravo Sierra Land? You’ll just have to click on over to find out.

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

Speaking of Things “Military”

The National VFW chief to make whirlwind tour of California: Michael McGuire April 14, 2011 — Richard Eubank, national Commander in Chief of Veterans of Foreign Wars, will tour California, April 21-May1, the VFW announced Thursday. Accompanying him on the tour is Denis Wells of Livingston, state commander of the VFW. 

Some Livingston 4th of July Committee Updates

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

Livingston Fourth of July vendor applications online: Michael McGuire April 12, 2011 — Applications and instructions for vendors wanting to set up booths at Livingston’s Fourth of July festival are available online, organizers announced Monday..Food booth deadline is June 13 and the deadline for other booths is June 27.

How About Some More Local News 

Livingston school construction on indefinite hold: Michael McGuire April 15, 2011…The City of Livingston approved a General Plan that reflected the belief the city would grow by leaps and bounds, and the Livingston Union School District purchased land at Peach and Robin avenues for a new school to prevent overcrowding of elementary and middle school campuses. As it turned out, Livingston didn’t grow much.

Reapportionment meeting May 3 in Livingston: Michael McGuire April 14, 2011 — Merced County representatives will visit Livingston May 3 to discuss reapportionment, the Merced County Board of Supervisors announced Thursday. The presentation will be made during the regularly scheduled Livingston City Council at 7 p.m. in the council chambers on Main Street.

Increase the number of bars in Livingston? – Not so fast: Michael McGuire April 13, 2011 — The Livingston Planning Commission on April 12 recommended the city council delete a section in the municipal code “requiring alcohol served by the glass uses to be a minimum of 1,000 feet apart in the downtown commercial district.”

Peach Avenue water line replacements to cost Livingston $85,000: Michael McGuire April 11, 2011 — Replacement of water lines within areas of Peach Avenue associated with Livingston High School improvements are expected to cost the City of Livingston $85,463.91, according to documents made public Friday by the Merced Union High School District.

End in sight for Livingston’s Peach Avenue construction: Michael McGuire April 11, 2011…Most of the project to upgrade Peach Avenue for enlargement of Livingston High School is expected to be complete by May 1, according to Merced Union High School District documents.

Students raise money for Livingston High School sober graduation: Michael McGuire April 10, 2011 …Students lined the four-way stop at Main and B streets to ask for donations, and motorists responded by donating an estimated $1,500 to the effort. Official total was not available at news deadline. The money will help finance an all-night celebration on the LHS campus intended to help seniors have fun but stay out of harm’s way.

So the Planning Commission thinks 1,000 ft. between Establishments that sell Alcohol by the Glass is too much…

As reported by Mike McGuire, the Planning Commission voted to recommend doing away with the section in the municipal code “requiring alcohol served by the glass uses to be a minimum of 1,000 feet apart in the downtown commercial district.”

Actually, the discussion that night sounded less like a discussion of the pros and cons of changing the Zoning Code and more like a discussion of “this is what I plan to do by reopening the Tequila Club; and how good it would be for Livingston-As-a-Whole to reopen the Tequila Club;  land anyone who is worried “the bigger picture”, like, about other Bars Opening in the Downtown or anyone who is concerned about the Downtown slipping back into “the bad old days” before the 1,000 foot requirement was added to the Zoning Code just needs to go crawl under a rock and keep your worries to yourself.

And going on and on and on and way, way, way, Way over the “usual 5 minutes” a person is given to Make-Their-Comment and Pitch-Their-Point-Of-View at-Planning Commission in the process…

Now, I want to make sure I am understood here…If someone wants to re-open the Tequila Club, and has a Business Plan, and a “How To Be A Good Neighbor plan”, I could be more than willing to hear it out. I’m not “blanketly against” a business person who might want to Open a “Blues Club that sells Alcohol By The Glass” in the Downtown Area, provided the Applicant for the Conditional Use Permit can show that his/her head is screwed on straight.

But don’t “pooh-pooh” my (or others) concerns about just doing away with the 1,000 ft restriction on Alcohol by the Glass sales and expect me to grab the existential pom-poms and start cheering “Go-Go! Do it! Do it! Oo-ah!”

Besides, the Planning Commission Agenda Item that night was not about any one particular Applicant’s Project, but was (supposed to be) about the Pro’s and Cons of changing the wording in the Zoning Code.

In other words speaking not about what any one Bar/Club would do for Livingston, but what changing the Zoning Code would do to the Downtown Area and Livingston as a whole.

And offer some kind of reasonable alternatives about “how far apart they should be”: 900ft? 800ft? 600ft? 200ft? Side-By-Side? what?

Any limits? No limits? Side-By-Side will be A OK? Just where are we going with this?

After all, just how many Bars/Clubs/etc. packed into the Downtown Area would be good for Livingston as a Whole?

That conversation seemed to have been avoided like the plague. Instead, the consensus sounded more along the lines of “Any business is good business. Who cares what it is…”

Back in “the Bad Old Days” a Conditional Use Permit alone didn’t provide enough “controls” to close problem bars. Federal agents were all over town from time to time trying to find ways to get rid of them. Cops would patrol kitchen areas trying to find health code violations. The building inspector went over bars with magnifying glasses, and it took about 15 years or so for Livingston to get rid of the problem, which was largely an out-of-towner problem.

The patrons causing problems were not primarily Livingston folks, so "doing something good for the people of Livingston" constituted shutting down the bars, not making it convenient for them to stay open.

One would think it would behoove the members of the Planning Commission to take a few lessons from Livingston’s History before trying to totally overhaul its future.

And Now On To…

MEETING AGENDA
COURT THEATER COMMITTEE
APRIL 18, 2011
REGULAR MEETING: 5:00 P.M.

Notice is hereby given that the Court Theater Committee will hold a Regular Meeting on
April 18, 2011, in 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 394-8041, Ext. 121. The Regular Meeting will begin
at 5:00 p.m. The agenda shall be as follows:

1. Call to Order
2. Approval of Minutes – Regular Meeting of March 21, 2011
3. Approval of Treasurer’s Report
4. Old Business
A. Court Theater Project Update
B. Garden Tea Party – September 17, 2011
5. New Business
6. Other
7. Adjournment

CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

APRIL 19, 2011

CLOSED SESSION: 6:00 P.M.

OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.

Notice is hereby given that the City Council will hold a Regular Meeting on April 19, 2011, 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 in the City of Livingston City Hall Conference Room located at 1416 C Street. The agenda shall be as follows:

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. Public Employee Appointment

(Government Code Section 54957)

Title: City Manager

2. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

(Government Code Section 54956.9)

Number of Cases: 1

Regular Meeting

CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2011-26

Next Ordinance Number: 590

Pledge of Allegiance.

Roll Call.

Closed Session Announcements.

Changes to the Agenda.

AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

1. Presentation – Arakelian Park Facilities Upgrade Project – Jasmin Bains, Senior Accountant and Nanda Gottiparthy, City Engineer.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

Interim City Manager Announcements and Reports.

City Staff Announcements and Reports.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

CITIZEN COMMENTS

This section of the agenda allows members of the public to address the City Council on any item NOT otherwise on the agenda. Members of the public, when recognized by the Mayor, should come forward to the lectern, and identify themselves. Comments are normally limited to three (3) minutes. In accordance with State Open Meeting Laws, no action will be taken by the City Council this evening. For items which are on the agenda this evening members of the public will be provided an opportunity to address the City Council as each item is brought up for discussion.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Items on the Consent Calendar are considered routine or non-controversial and will be enacted by one vote, unless separate action is requested by the City Manager or City Council Member. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless members of the City Council or City Manager request that specific items be removed.

2. Approve Resolution of Intent Concerning Agriculture Within City Limits, Livingston Municipal Code (LMC) 5-2-3 (1), Commercial Use Classifications, Agriculture.

3. Approval of Minutes of Meeting Held on March 15, 2011.

4. Approval of Warrant Register Dated April 13, 2011.

DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

5. Resolution in Support of Merced Irrigation District’s New Exchequer Dam Spillway Modification and Increased Water Storage Project.

6. Resolution Approving a Reimbursement Agreement with the Merced Union High School District for Removal and Replacement of the Transite Water Pipeline on Peach Avenue and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Execute the Reimbursement Agreement.

7. Resolution Accepting the Proposal Submitted by Self-Help Enterprises to Provide Grant Services Related to the Housing Components of the Home Investment Partnership Program (HOME), the State Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program and CalHOME Housing Rehabilitation Program, Awarding a Professional Services Contract to Self-Help Enterprises and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Execute an Agreement for Professional Services.

8. Resolution Approving Contract Amendment No. 4 for PMC to Complete the Environmental Analysis of the Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plant and Authorizing the Interim City Manager to Sign the Amendment.

9. Resolution Providing Staff Direction: Authorize the Interim City Manager to Enter into an Agreement with WC³ for Contract Support Services or Direct Staff to Distribute Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for Contract Staff Support Services.

10. City Council to Provide Staff Direction for the Livingston Senior Citizens Center Lease Renewal.

ADJOURNMENT

And Don’t Forget The

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

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