A New Council Member, A New City Manager, A Contract Public Works Director Gone, A Case of Umbrella Envy and A Missed Water Reduction Goal.

LIVINGSTON CA, 08/19/2015

This town has been so wonderful to me. Like many others, I went through an economic hardship in 2010 and had to start over. Livingston is one of those places where the American Dream is still alive and allows any person who’s willing to work for it, to achieve what they want to achieve. – Alex McCabe -  June 09, 2015 City Council Meeting

I’m gonna go ahead and comment on the Umbrellas. The Umbrellas, again, I said it at a Council Meeting, the past City Manager is the one that, right before he left, he spent the money and bought the umbrellas without telling the council. So he put them on the front on the corner. and the ones over there. So, without telling us, he bought them and we have them now. Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza 06/09/2015 Special City Council Meeting

You know, I don’t know what they are doing. They’re not doing their job. – Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza06/16/2015 City Council Meeting

Given the … action of the court to Vacate any finding of guilt, for the misdemeanor charge, changing the plea to Not Guilty, and dismissing the claim and ordering it to be expunged, we, ah, are confident that Mr. Duque is qualified for the position and will be an excellent City manager. Thank You. – – Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza – Report out of Closed Session – 08/04/2015 City Council Meeting.

It seems a few people are upset about a few Umbrellas in the Downtown Commercial District. More on that a little later. But first…

At the 06/09/2015 City Council Meeting, ALEX McCABE WAS SELECTED to serve out of the rest of David Mendoza’s term on the City Council. During the Interview that evening, candidates for the position were asked questions such as:

  • What have you accomplished?

  • Why do you want to be on the Council?

  • What are your 5 top Priorities?

  • What do you think the Council is doing wrong? 

  • How do you feel about Growth?

  • How do you feel about the Street Fair?

  • What is your position on Staffing Levels: especially Public Safety?

Since you can read a Transcription of the Interviews by CLICKING HERE, I am not going to them all on this page. For those of you who might be interested, here is  Mr. McCabe’s answer to the question about his 5 TOP GOALS/PRIORITIES:

    • 1) Water Quality. Working with the Council and what ever jurisdictions and groups to make sure we reach our Goals on Water Quality.

    • 2) Focus on continuing to educate the public. We’re going to continue to see backlash as our rate increases over time. I’d like to be there to make sure that we are properly educating the public when it comes to our water issues.

    • 3) Do what I can to improve the overall economic or business systems here in Livingston. We have a lot of outdated codes that we can (do) that would make us more appealing to Local Businesses. Right now we’re always fighting for the businesses and people can choose Turlock, they can choose Atwater, they can choose Delhi, or they can choose Livingston. I don’t want us loosing on economic dollars because we have some antiquated codes that are preventing us from moving on or streamlining our process for business. In general, we are a very business friendly place. But we do have some things that limit us that we should address in the future.

    • 4) Continuing to bring all the cultures and groups in the community together. Right now, we have the 4th of July and … the Kite Festival are great examples of where we can see all of the cultures in our community coming together as one. And I’d like to do whatever I can to spur that, or to encourage that participation from all the groups in Livingston.

    • 5) Focus on my experience when it comes to producing budgets, when it comes to making the hard decisions; when dealing with the Unions and Union Negotiations. My district is Teamsters and I have experience when it comes to Union Negotiations and budgets: and just making those hard decisions. All of you up there know there’s going to be hard decisions to make over the next few years as we see ourselves continue to come out of this Economic crisis..and you’re not going to please everyone, be everyone’s fan. And I’m OK with that. I’ve had to experience that and go through that already.

    A NEW CITY MANAGER WAS CHOSEN by the City Council at the 07/21/2015 City Council meeting. But it didn’t take long before questions were raised about his background after The Merced Sun Star reported “he (had) filed for bankruptcy and was charged with a felony about a decade ago.”

    A subsequent article in the Sun Star reported that “the city decided to ask Duque to complete a “live scan,” a digital fingerprinting process that the Livingston Police Department uses for city employees.” 

    At the 08/04/2015 City Council Meeting, Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza made the following announcement:

    Closed Session Announcements. I have, I have, ah, something from the Council to read. At the last City council meeting, we appointed Eddie Duque as City Manager with a starting date of September 30th.

    Subsequent to us appointing Mr. Duque, it was brought up to our attention that he had a misdemeanor conviction in 2002 and he had filed for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in 2004. This information was not in the background check done by the recruitment firm we hired to help us with the City manager recruitment.

    This was all reported in the Merced Sun Star articles. Unfortunately, often times reporters decide not to include all the facts.

    What the news articles did not include was that Mr. Duque went back to court in 2007 to address the misdemeanor conviction. In 2007, the Los Angeles County Superior Court ordered that the finding of the guilt in the 2000 action be set aside and vacated and the plea of Not Guilty be entered.

    The court dismissed the complaint. The court further granted the Petition for Expungement.

    We are doing our Due Diligence and have ordered a Live Scan Background Check to be done by the Police Department. We are currently waiting for results.

    Given the 2000 {should be 2007? TGS} action of the court to Vacate any finding of guilt, for the misdemeanor charge, changing the plea to Not Guilty, and dismissing the claim and ordering it to be expunged, we, ah, are confident that Mr. Duque is qualified for the position and will be an excellent City manager. Thank You."

    LIVINGSTON MISSED WATER REDUCTION GOALS for the Month of June. As Reported in The Merced Sun Star Livingston fell well below its target of 32  percent, the board’s numbers showed. The city has conserved 3 percent…Gurpal Samra, Livingston’s mayor pro tem, said the numbers are skewed, because Foster Farms is the city’s biggest water user. He said the poultry producer uses at least of 65 percent of the city’s total.

    The Goal was 32%. The actual “savings” was 3%.

    Because Foster Farms uses at least 65% of the water produced by Livingston’s wells.

    I’ve asked the Council, more than once, “How are we supposed to meet State Water Reduction Goals when Foster Farms uses most of the water?” and “What will happen if we don’t meet those goals?” The answer I have gotten include vague references to how Industry will have to do it’s part and that Foster Farms is aware of the problem and working on the problem.

    At the 08/19/2015 City Council Meeting, we were told there had been a meeting with the Water Board and that Livingston has applied for a wavier.

    And that the City is continuing to work with Foster Farms. But, no real details on what that means.

    UmbrellasTHE CASE OF “UMBRELLA ENVY?” Before we jump into the Topic At Hand, I want to first point out the little “technical detail” that this discussion took place at a Special City Council Meeting and that “Discussion about City Owned Umbrellas” was not on the Meeting Agenda for that evening. Most of the time, If you want to talk about something that is not listed on the Special Meeting Agenda, you are told to hold your comment until a Regular Meeting.

    HOWEVER……. those of us who have been following the Council over the years, have seen that particular “rule” bent, depending upon who was doing the “commenting”.  

    Umbrellas IIDuring “Citizens Comments”at the June 09, 2015 Special Council Meeting , Planning Commissioner, (and Candidate-for-the-Vacant-Spot-on the Council), Warren Urnberg said he had a question about The Umbrellas.

    After some discussion by the Mayor Pro Tem and the City Attorney and Mayor Espinoza about how they were NOT going to talk about The Umbrella Situation (it being a Special City Council Meeting) Mayor Espinoza decided he was going to talk about it anyway.

    And off the discussion went: about stolen umbrellas and stenciled umbrellas, and stapled umbrellas; which umbrellas were in a “good” place, and which umbrellas were in a “bad place”, (and whose fault that was); and who actually paid for the umbrellas.

    IF YOU CLICK HERE, you can read a Transcrition of the whole thing for yourself.

    My Take…from reading what was said, and between the lines thereof, is this:

    • Before the City Manager left, Wells Fargo donated enough money to buy some Umbrellas and tables, so the Community could have some shaded places to sit in the Down Town

    • According to the Mayor, the money was spent without notifying anyone on the Council.

    • Some of the Umbrellas were put in the City Owned Temporary Park Area where the Court Theater used to be

    Some of the Umbrellas were put on the City Owned lot across the street from Klairs

    • Which is only a few paces from the City Hall Chambers

    • And is also on the same lot a Taco Truck is located (which is renting space from the City)

    • Because the umbrellas are on the same lot as the Taco Truck, some merchants believe the City spent City money buying umbrellas for the Taco Truck and complained to the Mayor about it, because they want umbrellas too

    • Which is the Former City Manager’s fault – Blame him.

    The City Council Approach to Employee Motivation

    AFTER FOUR RECRUITMENT TRIES, and four failures to find a “suitable” person for the Permanent Position of Public Works Director for the City of Livingston, the City Contracted  with Mountain View Environmental Services. Terms of the Contract were for 6 months to 1 year: 4 days a week.

    However, the ink was barely dry on the contract before it was canceled on July 17, 2015. 

    The “New Guy” had only been on the job a few days, and barely finished his first Report in Open Session before the Mayor and Pro-Temp launched into a series of complaints about broken sprinklers and “employee negligence”, at the June 16, 2015 City Council Meeting.

    IF YOU SIFT THROUGH EVERYTHING THAT WAS SAID that night, and throw out all the repetition, the “Complaints” By the Mayor and Pro-Temp could be succinctly distilled into the following:

    • A) All the Parks (and City Hall) look bad because sprinklers don’t work.

    • B) Sprinklers aren’t fixed because employees don’t notice.

    • C) A & B happens every Summer

    • D) It’s all because of Employee Neglect.

    The Response by the Contracted Public Works Director (Who has only been on the job 16 days, more or less) is:

    • A) You’re right. I noticed that too and we’re already getting sprinklers fixed.

    • B) I’ve discussed it with my people, made a few changes, and will continue to work on that over the next week or so.

    • C) It won’t this time

    • D) I already have some plans. We’ll work the plans and I will monitor the results.

    However, Mr. Johnson’s contract was canceled on the 17th of July: only a few “work days” later.

    MY TAKE ON THIS

    Communications Experts will tell you that only a small % of any message is actually contained in the words themselves: most of the “real” message is in the body language and the tone of voice used by the Speaker.

    If you go to the City Website and actually listen to what was being said, and how it was said, you will likely come up with the same conclusion I did: That was not just a simple list of grievances about brown grass: it was a very public “fanny whipping” of Public Works employees. The kind that contains the very real threat of someone (or more than one someone) getting fired.

    The amount of time between the “Council Rant about Brown Grass” and the Cancelation of the contract, doesn’t seem to give enough time to ensure that, not only are all the sprinklers getting fixed: but the grass is getting greener, and Public Works Employees are getting everything else “done” that is on their “to do list”.

    I can’t help but wonder if there is something else at play here. After all, the last Public Works Director in Livingston “disappeared”: after months of telling Council about how repairs and upgrades to the City’s Water Delivery System would not come cheap.

    This one lasted only a few days. Recruitment #5, has been put “on hold”: at least until the New City Manager takes over in Late September.

    In addition, at the 08/19/2015 City Council Meeting, it was confirmed that a “minor adjustment” in Part Time Employees had taken place.

    You can probably guess what that means.

    FOR MORE ON ISSUES AFFECTING LIVINGSTON

    State fell far short of water-saving target; Merced’s use fell 15 percent – By Fenit Nirappil – 05/05/2015 – The Associated Press – Californians conserved little water in March and local officials were not aggressive in cracking down on waste, state regulators reported Tuesday as they considered tough measures to force savings amid a continuing drought.—The State Water Resources Control Board received the update as it considers sweeping mandatory emergency regulations to protect water supplies in the parched state.—Brown has argued that the voluntary targets in place since early 2014 have been insufficient and that Californians need a jolt to take conservation seriously.

    Livingston councilman resigns – 05/06/2015 – By Thaddeus Miller – The Merced Sun Star – The Livingston City Council accepted the resignation of one of its members Tuesday and set into motion an effort to appoint his replacement before July.—Councilman David Mendoza officially submitted his resignation by email on April 30, interim City Manager Odi Ortiz said during the council meeting this week.—The council directed city staffers to advertise for a replacement during the next 30 days with the intention of doing interviews and picking a replacement by June 29. The replacement would serve out the rest of Mendoza’s term, which ends next year.

    Livingston looks to reduce water use, step up enforcement – 05/08/2015 – By Thaddeus Miller – The Merced Sun Star – The water restrictions in Livingston will tighten on Monday after a vote by the City Council this week to enact an “urgency” ordinance.—The council unanimously approved the new restrictions and the implementation date with two separate votes of 4-0. Councilman David Mendoza resigned on April 30, so the council has an open seat.—Unlike a typical ordinance, which takes two readings and a 30-day period to become law, an urgency ordinance becomes law immediately.—Under the new rules, residents will now be able to water only two days a week rather than three. The city had no time-of-day restrictions on sprinkling of outdoor plants and grass, but the new ordinance prohibits outdoor watering between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.—The water board on Tuesday began considering new regulations to enhance savings. Modesto, Merced, Oakdale, Ripon and Atwater face the biggest reduction of 36 percent. Riverbank, Turlock and Livingston face 32 percent reductions and Ceres is looking at a 28 percent cut.

    Ex-police officer from Merced County charged with assault – 05/29/2015 – Thaddeus Miller – The Merced Sun Star – A former Livingston police sergeant has been accused of felony assault by a public officer for an incident in 2012, when he allegedly shoved a handcuffed man’s face into the ground, the Merced Sun-Star has learned…

    Foster Farms launches organic, antiobiotic-free chicken lines – 06/01/2015 – By John Holland – The Modesto Bee – Foster Farms on Monday announced its first lines of organic and antibiotic-free chicken.–The company said it is now the West’s largest producer of organic chicken, made without the use of synthetic fertilizers or pesticides on feed, and the antibiotic-free version, which avoids the use of drugs that might become resistant to diseases affecting humans.

    Livingston council appoints new member – 06/10/2015 -  Thaddeus Miller – The Merced Sun Star – The Livingston City Council appointed a new member to the board Tuesday, filling the position left empty in late April by a councilman who resigned. – With a 3-0 vote, the council appointed Alex McCabe, 33, to fill the seat vacated by former Councilman David Mendoza, who resigned after he moved out of the city.

    New Livingston city manager acknowledges domestic violence conviction, bankruptcy – 07/21/2015 – Thaddeus Miller – The Merced Sun Star – The Livingston City Council unanimously hired its next city manager Tuesday. A Sun-Star review of public records shows he filed for bankruptcy and was charged with a felony about a decade ago. – It remains unclear exactly what the council members knew about Eddie Duque’s past or what process was used to vet the 20 applications they reviewed for the position.

    Livingston expects first budget surplus in four years – 07/22/2015 – Thaddeus Miller – The Merced Sun Star – The Livingston City Council on Tuesday adopted its 2015-16 budget, which reflects its first surplus in four years. – With general fund revenues of $5.18 million and expenditures of $4.86 million, the city projects a surplus of about $320,000. The council approved the budget with a 4-0 vote as Councilman Jim Soria was absent.

    A look at Livingston’s city manager recruitment – 07/23/2015 – Thaddeus Miller – The Merced Sun Star – A background check on the new Livingston city manager did not report a criminal charge or bankruptcy filing from a decade ago, city officials said Thursday, opening up questions about the vetting process for a highly paid public employee. – The recruitment process conducted during the past several months was completed by Los Gatos-based William Avery & Associates Inc. The city agreed to pay the firm $16,400, and to cover expenses up to $6,000, according to a copy of the contract.

    Merced County cities miss targets as state water use falls in June – 07/30/2015 – Thaddeus Miller – The Merced Sun Star – Livingston fell well below its target of 32 percent, the board’s numbers showed. The city has conserved 3 percent…Gurpal Samra, Livingston’s mayor pro tem, said the numbers are skewed, because Foster Farms is the city’s biggest water user. He said the poultry producer uses at least of 65 percent of the city’s total.

    Honor Flight to get $10,000 donation from Livingston 4th of July group -  08/04/2015 – The Merced Sun Star – The Livingston 4th of July Committee planned to donate $10,000 to the Central Valley Honor Flight during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, a month after having one of its most successful events. – Julio Valadez, committee chairman, said this year’s 4th of July three-day event gathered almost 60,000 people, about 20,000 more than usual. This year’s success, he said, was due in big part to the venue change.

    Merced County officer charged with assault on paid leave – 08/13/2015 – Thaddeus Miller – The Merced Sun Star – A Livingston police officer, who has been accused of felony assault by a public officer for an incident in 2012, is on paid administrative leave, the Merced Sun-Star has learned.

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

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

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

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

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

    TIMELINE OF SIGNIFICANT EVENTS OF APRIL

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

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

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

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

    • April 14, Planning Commission Meeting

    • April 21, 2015: Regular City Council Meeting.

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

      • Council approves contract for a Contract Public Works Director

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

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

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

    LIVINGSTON, CA 06/12/2015

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

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

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

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

    Well-Locations-with-Local-Landmarks6

    According to the Staff Report,

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

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

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

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

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

    April 14, 2014

    PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

    On the Agenda

    • Appointing a new Chair and Vice Chair

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

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

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

    APRIL 21, 2015

    REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING

    CLOSED SESSION Items included

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

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

    Regular Meeting

    AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

    Ceremonial:

    1. Color Guard by Livingston Police Explorer Post 518.

    Invocation by Police Chaplain Mike Outten.

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

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

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

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

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

    Pond Remediation Schedule

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

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

    PUBLIC HEARINGS

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

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

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

    CONSENT CALENDAR

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

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

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

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

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

    • 20% Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Program

    • 40% Seizure Funds

    • 40% Community Development Fund

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

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

    CONSENT CALENDAR – CITY COUNCIL/SUCCESSOR AGENCY

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

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

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

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

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

    DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Joseph Gallo Park Grant 

    ADJOURNMENT

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

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

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

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

    Livingston Kite Festival Photo Gallary – The Merced Sun Star

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

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

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

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

    You can find even more Livingston History if you CLICK HERE

    •  

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

    Livingston, CA – 04/22/2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Which would

    · Maintain safe and reliable drinking water for the community

    and

    · Address customer complaints

    via the

    Implementation of regular maintenance of the system

    and that the

    Program will use conventional flushing

    1) System wide flushing

    2) Spot flushing for specific cases

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

    · Flushing Plan

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

    – Flushing duration shall last 5-10 minutes

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

    In addition

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The MARCH 3, 2015 CLOSED SESSION included

    • 1 Case of Potential Litigation

    • Continued Labor Negotiations with All Represented and Unrepresented City Employees

    • Continued Discussion of City Manager Recruitment

    During OPEN SESSION on MARCH 3:

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

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

    CONSENT CALENDAR

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

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

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

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

    DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

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

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

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

    ADJOURNMENT

    The MARCH 17, 2015 CLOSED SESSION Included discussions about:

    • 1 Case of Potential Litigation

    • Continued Labor Negotiations with All Represented and Unrepresented City Employees

    ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

    CITIZEN COMMENTS

    During the OPEN SESSION of MARCH 17, 2015:

    CONSENT CALENDAR

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

    DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ADJOURNMENT

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

    LIVINGSTON, CALIFORNIA 01/13/2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ~~~~~~~~~~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Returning to the Staff Report, we find

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    HamburgerVFW FAMILY HAMBURGER NIGHT….. Join us for the VFW Hamburger Night, Thursday, January 30, 2014, from 5-7 pm at the Livingston Veterans Memorial Building, 1605 7th Street, in Livingston. The public is invited, and you do not have to be a member to attend.

    You will be able to enjoy hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fish sandwiches, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and chili. The sandwiches include your choice of homemade salads. Price ranges from $2.00 to $4.50 per meal. All proceeds go to help support our community programs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And that problem has to do with Livingston’s Water

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

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

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

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

    As will the residents of the City of Livingston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And THAT news goes National.

    Then what?

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

    And Now On To The

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

    CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, 1416 C STREET, LIVINGSTON

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

    Call to Order: 7:00 PM

    Roll Call – Chairperson/Commissioners Pledge of Allegiance

    Item No. 1- Consent Agenda

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

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

    Item No. 2 – Public Comment

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

    Item No. 3 – Public Heariugs

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

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

    Item No. 4 – Reports

    a. Planning Commission

    b. City Staff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    123

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

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

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

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

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

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

    11022013 Water is just fine

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

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

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

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

    Stuff like that

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

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

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

    1999-2006 Notices of Violation and the Beginnings of Litigation

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

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

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

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

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

    2007-2008

    Water Meters, Backflow Devices and Litigation Settlements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2010 The Year of the Recall

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Water Quality Problems Affect Production at Foster Farms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    One last thing, a question for the audience.

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

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

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

    Just sayin

    And Now On to the

    CONCURRENT JOINT MEETING

    CITY COUNCIL AND SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE

    CITY OF LIVINGSTON

    REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

    NOVEMBRER 5, 2013

    CLOSED SESSION: 6:00 P.M.

    OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.

    Notice is hereby given that the City Council and Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston will hold a Regular Meeting on November 5, 2013, at the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should contact the Deputy City Clerk at least 24 hours prior to this meeting at (209) 394-8041, Ext. 121. Any writings or documents pertaining to an Open Session item provided to a majority of the members of the legislative body less than 72 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Open Session will begin at 7:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held in accordance with state law prior to the Open Session beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held at the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street. The agenda shall be as follows:

    Closed Session

    CLOSED SESSION

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

    1. Call to Order.

    2. Roll Call.

    3. Successor Agency

    Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation

    [Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(1)]

    City of Livingston and Successor Agency to the Livingston Community Redevelopment Agency v. Ana Matosantos, et al Superior Court of the State of California – County of Sacramento

    Case No. 34-2013-80001460

    4. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

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

    Number of Cases: 3

    5. Conference with Labor Negotiator

    (Government Code Section 54957.6)

    Labor Negotiator: City Manager Jose Antonio Ramirez

    Employee Organizations: All Represented City Employees

    Regular Meeting

    CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2013-52

    Next Ordinance Number: 608

    Roll Call.

    Pledge of Allegiance.

    Closed Session Announcements

    Changes to the Agenda.

    AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

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

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

    ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

    Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

    City Staff Announcements and Reports.

    City Manager Announcements and Reports.

    City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

    Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

    CITIZEN COMMENTS

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

    CONSENT CALENDAR

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

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

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

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

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

    DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

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

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

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

    ADJOURNMENT

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

    LIVINGSTON CA / May 13, 2013 —

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Interesting.

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

    More on that a little later. But First.

    12345

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

    WITH APOLIGIES TO THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT

    IMAG0404

    This is a Corner of B Street.

    IMAG0405

    This is the Building

    That housed a Club

    and sits on a Corner of B Street.

    IMAG0436

    This is the Land

    Which was Owned by the City

    Where once was a Park

    and a small Parking Lot

    Which was counted as parking

    For use by the people

    who went to the Club

    That was housed in the Building

    that sits on a Corner of B Street.

    IMAG0435

    This is the Pharmacy

    That Bought the Land

    Which was Owned by the City

    Where once was a Park

    and a small Parking Lot

    Which was counted as parking

    For use by the people

    who went to the Club

    That was housed in the Building

    that sits on a Corner of B Street.

    Appeal - 444 Main Street CUP Page 5-2

    These are the Changes

    That were made to the Permit

    That belonged to the Building

    Across from the Pharmacy

    That now owns the Land

    Once Owned by the City

    Where once was a Park

    and a small Parking Lot

    That had counted as parking

    For use by the people

    who went to the Club

    That was housed in the Building

    that sits on a Corner of B Street.

    Appeal Page 6 - 1

    This is the Appeal

    Of the Changes That were made

    to the Permit That belonged

    To the Building Across

    From the Pharmacy which owns

    The Land purchased from the City

    Where once was a Park

    and a small Parking Lot

    That had counted as parking

    For use by the people

    who went to the Club

    That was housed in the Building

    that sits on a Corner of B Street.

    Mayor Espinoza

    This is the Mayor

    (Who was in favor of the Changes

    Before voting against them)

    And Who filed the Appeal

    of Changes That were made

    to the Permit That belonged

    To the Building now Across

    From the Pharmacy which owns

    The Land purchased from the City

    Where once was a Park

    and a small Parking Lot

    That had counted as parking

    For use by the people

    who went to the Club

    That was housed in the Building

    that sits on a Corner of B Street.

    City Council 2010 - 2012

    This is the Council

    That conducted the Hearings

    Along with the Mayor

    (Who had first been favor

    of the Changes to the Permit

    Before voting against them)

    Who had filed the Appeal

    Of the Changes  That were made

    to the Permit That belonged

    To the Building Across

    From the Pharmacy which owns

    The Land purchased from the City

    Where once was a Park

    and a small Parking Lot

    That had counted as parking

    For use by the people

    who went to the Club

    That was housed in the Building

    that sits on a Corner of B Street.

    Revoking The Cup for 444 Main

    This is the Decision

    To Revoke the Permit

    As was made by the Council

    That conducted the Hearings

    Along with the Mayor

    (Who had first been favor

    of the Changes to the Permit

    Before voting against them)

    Who had filed the Appeal

    Of the Changes  That were made

    to the Permit That belonged

    To the Building Across

    From the Pharmacy which owns

    The Land purchased from the City

    Where once was a Park

    and a small Parking Lot

    That had counted as parking

    For use by the people

    who went to the Club

    That was housed in the Building

    that sits on a Corner of B Street.

     Not Enough Parking

    This is the Issue

    Emphasized as the Reason

    For making the Decision

    To Revoke the Permit

    That was made by the Council

    That conducted the Hearings

    Along with the Mayor

    (Who had first been favor

    of the Changes to the Permit

    Before voting against them)

    Who had filed the Appeal

    Of the Changes  That were made

    to the Permit That belonged

    To the Building Across

    From the Pharmacy which owns

    The Land purchased from the City

    Where once was a Park

    and a small Parking Lot

    That had counted as parking

    For use by the people

    who went to the Club

    That was housed in the Building

    that sits on a Corner of B Street.

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

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

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

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

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

    According to the Inspection Report

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

    This inspection found that

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ABOUT LIVINGSTON’S WATER RATES the State Said.

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

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

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

    And now on to the

    LIVINGSTON PLANNING COMMISSION REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

    TUESDAY, MAY 14 ,2013

    7:00P.M.

    CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, 1416 C STREET, LIVINGSTON

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

    Call to Order: 7:00PM

    Roll Call- Chairperson/Commissioners Pledge of Allegiance

    Item No.1-Consent Agenda

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

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

    Item No.2- Election of Officers

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

    Item No.3- Public Comment

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

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

    Item No. 4- Public Hearing

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

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

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

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

    Item No.5- Reports

    a. Planning Commission

    b. City Staff

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

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

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

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

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

    .

     

    .

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The city of Livingston broke state law and health codes when it adopted a resolution that will increase water rates by an initial 40 percent.…The suit also claims the company will be negatively impacted by the city’s July 7 resolution and demands that the court order the city to rescind the increase. Foster Farms sues Livingston over water rate increase, Jonah Owen Lamb, Merced Sun Star, 07/29/2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

    More on that a little later. But first.

    1234

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

    FROM THE JOINT HOMETOWN NEWS SERVICE, Fort Meade MD

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

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

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

    He is a 2011 graduate of Livingston High School.

    KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS FREE THROW CHAMPIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    FOR MORE ABOUT WELL #15’S MANGANESE ISSUES

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • The Icky Iron Manganese in the water Issue

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

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

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

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

    And now on to the

    CONCURRENT MEETING

    CITY COUNCIL AND SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE

    CITY OF LIVINGSTON

    REGULAR MEETING AGENDA

    MARCH 5, 2013

    CLOSED SESSION: 6:30 P.M.

    OPEN SESSION: 7:00 P.M.

    Notice is hereby given that the City Council and Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Livingston will hold a Regular Meeting on March 5, 2013, at the City Council Chambers, 1416 C Street, Livingston, California. Persons with disabilities who may need assistance should contact the Deputy City Clerk at least 24 hours prior to this meeting at (209) 394-8041, Ext. 121. Any writings or documents pertaining to an Open Session item provided to a majority of the members of the legislative body less than 72 hours prior to the meeting shall be made available for public inspection at Livingston City Hall, 1416 C Street. The Open Session will begin at 7:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held in accordance with state law prior to the Open Session beginning at 6:00 p.m. The Closed Session will be held at the City Council Chambers located at 1416 C Street. The agenda shall be as follows:

    Closed Session

    CLOSED SESSION

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

    1. Call to Order.

    2. Roll Call.

    3. Conference with Legal Counsel – Potential Litigation

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

    Number of Cases: 2

    Regular Meeting

    CALL TO ORDER Next Resolution Number: 2013-7

    Next Ordinance Number: 600

    Pledge of Allegiance. Next Successor Agency

    Resolution Number: 2013-2

    Roll Call.

    Changes to the Agenda.

    AWARDS, PRESENTATIONS, APPOINTMENTS AND PROCLAMATIONS

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

    “Upcoming Bus Changes.”

    GRANT ANNOUNCEMENTS

    ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS

    Supervisor John Pedrozo Announcements and Reports.

    City Staff Announcements and Reports.

    City Manager Announcements and Reports.

    City Council Members’ Announcements and Reports.

    Mayor’s Announcements and Reports.

    CITY COUNCIL FUTURE AGENDA ITEM REQUESTS.

    PUBLIC HEARINGS

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

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

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

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

    CITIZEN COMMENTS

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

    CONSENT CALENDAR

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

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

    SUCCESSOR AGENCY CONSENT AGENDA

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

    DISCUSSION AND POTENTIAL ACTION ITEMS

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

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

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

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

    ADJOURNMENT