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City Manager's Weekly Report

February 27th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune

City Manager’s Weekly Report
For the Week Ending Noon on Thursday, February 19, 2009

FROM: Charles R. Martin, City Manager

Charlie’s Bon Mot : I shall not pass this way again; let me now relieve some pain, remove a barrier from the road, or lighten someone’s heavy load.

Highlights

● Scam re property tax reassessments is announced
● County asks city to extend Megan’s Law re sex offenders
● Council actions of Feb. 17
● The Emerald Necklace gets off the ground
● Improvement of Rosemead Blvd. gets started
● Jessica’s law to be strengthened by LA County
● Recent court cases that could impact city operations

GENERAL COUNCIL INFORMATION

1. Assessor Rick Auerbach is asking cities to put a vital announcement on their homepage with a link to this section of their website: http://assessor.lacounty.gov/extranet/list/newsList.aspx?newsid=89.

Private companies are mass-mailing Los Angeles County and the State with official looking letters that charge property owners an unreasonable fee to file a “Decline in Value Reassessment Application (Prop. 8).

These solicitation letters are formatted in a way that could mislead people to believe that they are from the County. These letters can confuse homeowners into paying as much as $179 to file for a Proposition 8 review when the assessor may be doing this FOR FREE!

2. Supervisor Antonovich has written the City requesting we adopt a new County-type ordinance relating to residential restrictions on the housing of sex offenders. The recommended ordinance has been provided to you.

This has been a controversial subject as to whether Jessica’s law preempts the
field – as was held in a recent case in New Jersey involving the City of Cherry Hill (and Megan’s Law), and where the local ordinance was invalidated and damages awarded.

Preemption is a matter determined ad hoc by the Courts, and perhaps my worries over preemption will be ruled out, but the City Council should be aware that a serious issue remains.

On the other hand, Los Angeles County, West Covina, El Monte and others have adopted similar ordinances; and if their ordinances are invalidated, and damages assessed, at least we will be in good company.

If any of the City Council wish to adopt a similar ordinance, let me know; otherwise we will wait for the inevitable challenge to the County ordinance by the ACLU or others.

3. At the last City Council meeting (2-17-09), the following actions were approved:

a) Deferred action on the proposed new gymnasium for Live Oak Park for 90 days to determine possibilities for governmental grants.

b) With the completion of the new concession stand, set fees for its use.

c) Authorized staff to begin a recruitment for a new City Manager.

d) Approved the start of a process to improve Rosemead Blvd with landscaping,
lighting, irrigation, electricity etc. in order to make it a true boulevard and more attractive for businesses to increase retail sales. The estimated construction costs for the project have already been procured by staff through federal, state, and county grants. After construction, the costs for maintenance will fall in whole or in part on the City’s proposed assessment district.

e) Joined a new organization called LA-RICS, which will facilitate communication and coordination of emergency services in Los Angeles County and its 79 cities by allowing all public safety personnel and responding agencies to communicate over mutually accessible radio frequencies in the event of any major emergency.

Administration (CRM)

1. As you may have heard, there is now an accounting requirement for cities to build a reserve for pensioners’ protection. This is called GASB 45, and requires us to build a reserve and keep the same on the books to protect in part the earned pensions of retired and future retired persons.

We are up to date with this program, although the costs of compliance will cost about $10,000 in accounting costs.

2. There is a local organization interested in a project called the “Emerald Necklace,” which is an effort to provide a 17-mile network of trails, parks, and landscaping between the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel rivers in the general area of the Whittier Narrows and areas north of there.

a) This involves land management and attendant costs to provide a scenic recreation area in a location that has been somewhat under used. The project does not actually involve any Temple City lands, but is relatively adjacent to a number of cities including Temple City.

– There is so much need for additional parklands in Temple City, and that approach may be more productive than the Emerald Necklace.
– Any participation by Temple City in this project would cost both time and dollars with (in my opinion) result in relatively little benefit to our residents compared to the same money invested in local parks.

b) I am sure that you have heard of this Project because of the city reps from the cities actually involved in the project. If any of the City Council feel that our participation in this project might be worthwhile, I shall notify the principals, and arrange for a presentation to the City Council – although, as I remember, we turned this project down about six years ago.

3 Because we are not meeting on March 3rd, some extra responsibilities fall on the City Manager to approve items ordinarily sent to the Council. An important conference is coming up on March 13-15 at Yosemite concerning the impact of SB 375 and its effect on local government – the conference is sponsored by CalTrans and various utilities.

Councilmember Vizcarra has asked to attend, and I think it could be worthwhile, especially if he makes a report to the Council on March 17 at the regular City Council meeting. We have adequate and unused funds in the conference budget to cover the $300 conference cost and the accompanying per diem fees.

From time to time, conference requests come in too late to go to the Council, and it has been my practice to approve if there are funds available, and if the conferences for the year are fairly split among the five Council Members. I believe that SB 375 will have a profound effect upon City’s plans for the future, and so I have approved Councilmember Vizcarra’s request.

Community Redevelopment Agency (CRM)

1. There has been no change in the status of the Piazza Development with no news from the developer in his attempt to modify the project, and no news from the courts or prosecutors.

Community Development & Housing Authority (CRM)
1. There has been no change in the matter of the Housing Element to the General Plan – the State HCD has not acted on our latest efforts.

The indicated writers have submitted the following items. All have been reviewed and approved (but may have been edited) by the City Manager.

Management Services Department (Assistant to the City Manager, Gary Flod)

1. Charter Communications has notified the City that it is now in the process of voluntarily filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Charter Communications is trying to restructure its debt and streamline its operations, which for service organizations like Charter means—employee layoffs and service reductions. To the Temple City community it means Charter is no longer covering community events, such as the Municipal General Election Candidate Forum, the Camellia Festival Parade, and the Miss Temple City Pageant. To subscribers in town it probably means longer wait times at the call centers and for service calls.

Department of Parks & Recreation (Director Cathy Burroughs)

1. Construction has begun on the new multipurpose/office facility at Live Oak Park.

a) You may have received an e-mail from a resident expressing her unhappiness with the removal of a large tree at Live Oak Park. Staff has been in contract with the resident and explained the reasons why the tree was removed, and informed her that, although only a few trees will be removed due to the construction, 19 new trees will be added.

b) As has been our past practice, whenever construction at the park results in a loss of trees, new trees are planted in their place. This ensures that, over the years, Live Oak Park will continually have mature trees for the residents to enjoy.

Department of Community Development (Manager, Joe Lambert)

1. This week we received the Draft Environmental Impact Report and Draft Environmental Impact Statement from Edison regarding the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP). This is a project to bring power generated by wind power from the Tehachapi Mountains to the southland. It will bring high power transmission lines roughly along the course of the 605 Freeway.

The documents are available for the City Council to review in the City Council office at City Hall. Anyone from the public may also view these documents by coming to the City Clerk’s window at City Hall.

2. At the Planning Commission meeting of February 24, 2009, the Planning

Commission will study the East Commercial (EC) District of the Downtown Specific Plan area to determine if the matrix of permitted uses should be amended to allow more uses. This is in response to recent requests by applicants to modify the zoning standards in the East Commercial District.

a) One was a request to expand the use of a tutoring business, and

b) Another was to allow a hair salon.

c) The tutoring school is a non-conforming use, therefore any expansion to that use is currently not allowable without a change in the Specific Plan; and

d) A hair salon is not allowed in this particular area; however, a hair salon is allowable everywhere else within the Downtown Specific Plan area.

Department of Public Services (Manager, Chuck Erickson)

1. As part of the Federal Government stimulus plan, we have submitted to the office of Congressman Adam Schiff the following proposed projects:
1. Storm Drain Installation on Green St. and Arden Dr.
2. Longden Ave. Sewer Project Sultana Ave. to Burton Ave.
3. Grind and Overlay the street on Arden Dr.
4. Slurry Chip and Seal Areas 1 & 2.

Congressman Schiff’s office is requiring that the City Submit a written request for approval of the projects. The request will soon be signed by the City Council or City Manager.

Division of Public Safety (Public Safety Officer, Bryan Ariizumi)

1. On Saturday, we had 44 participants (residents & employees) graduate from our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training class.

The training was held over a period of three Saturdays in the Civic Center. A database will be maintained for CERT volunteers, and the volunteers will be used to assist the City during a disaster. Volunteers will also attend continuous training and participate in the annual CERT refresher training.

2. The Crime Statistics Report for the week of February 8 – 14, 2009, is included with this Manager’s Report.

Office of the City Attorney (Charlie Martin, City Attorney)

1. As stated above, it was with a great deal of sadness that on August 28, 2008, I informed the Council that it was my intent to retire from my position as your City Manager.

I have enjoyed the past four years. I feel that much has been accomplished. Because of the cooperation of the City Council, we leave the stewardship of this city in better shape than I found it four years ago. Our streets are well paved. Our storm drain system is OK (but subject in a few years to NPDES and TMDL charges). Our sanitary sewer system has just been declared to be adequate, and we have new construction at Live Oak Park. We have brought our General Plan up to date with Planning Commission studies, and we have adopted a new Housing Element. We have adopted Rosemead Blvd. as a city street, and we have been successful in reducing staff and increasing the City’s reserves, and now that the recession is upon us, we are in far better shape than most cities.
It is regrettable that the Piazza has not been completed, but I believe that it will be as soon as Randy Wang decides on what he can build and when.

I have particularly enjoyed writing this column, and I hope you have found it interesting in style and content.

The Council has started the recruitment process, and a new Manager will be on board in due course.

2. Cases of the week:

Spielbauer v. S. Clara DAR 1851: Supreme Court rules that an employer may require an employee (under suspicion) to answer incriminating questions even without a promise that the answers will not be used in criminal proceedings; and. may discipline if employee refuses to answer unless he is asked to waive that immunity

Morongo v. State Water DAR 1862: It is OK for an attorney to prosecute before a commission when acts as an advisor to the Commission on unrelated matters – distinguishing Quintero 114CA4th 810.

Stockton v. Marina DAR 2187: In a condemnation action, the Resolution of Intent must include a comprehensive plan for development that is specific enough to inform the public of the specific public purpose; generalities such as a Mall or commercial center will not do – nor will a number of possible alternatives

Lakeside v. Multnomah (2/12/09: If an intermediate supervisor is prejudiced against an employee and in retaliation recommends dismissal, but the appointing power exercises independent judgment and disciplines for good cause, without input by the intermediate, the dismissal is OK

Riverwatch v. Olivenhain DAR 1570: If a water provider promises to deliver water to a proposed project for 20 years so that the development (a landfill) can obtain a city permit, then that promise is itself subject to prior CEQA

Co. S. Cruz v. Civil Service DAR : If the City Manager administers discipline to an employee, the City Council (on appeal) may not change the degree of discipline without full findings as to the issues.
It cannot change it on the basis that the offenses were minor or that the “punishment does not fit the crime”. Insubordination and dishonesty in a city employee are not minor offenses, and the public is entitled to be protected against this type of employee.

Council Calendar

Disclaimer

These City Manager’s Reports are compiled each week by the City Manager as a Report to the City Council of the week’s activities. It is intended to be a fair report from the City Manager, but is not intended to bind the City Council or any of its members to any particular statement or report. Opinions (in italics) are those of the City Manager or staff, and are not intended to reflect any position on the part of the City Council or any of its members.

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