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City Manager’s Weekly Report – For the Week Ending Noon on Thursday, March 12, 2009

March 19th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune

Charlie’s Bon Mot: Sympathize with the TURTLE – the only time he can make any progress at all, is when he has his neck stuck way out.

Highlights

●        The City has selected its “Stimulus” projects.   
●        City Manager Martin asks Council for a release date
●        The Council will hear proposals from economic consultants
●        There are vacancies on the Planning Commission and P&R Commission
●        Complaint filed about ficus trees on Las Tunas, east of Kauffman Ave.   
●        Tort claims against the City are at a low ebb.
●         Recent court cases that could impact city operations.
GENERAL COUNCIL INFORMATION

1.    Next Tuesday, March 17, Vincent Yu and Tom Chavez will be sworn into office.

2.    That will be followed by a presentation from two or three economic advisors as to what they can do to help the City with its current business zones stagnation.  This will be about a 45 minute presentation, Q&A, but probably no immediate decision  –

This meeting is traditionally somewhat celebratory to honor the new Council, but I have (as a management decision) put several things on the City Council agenda because I feel (and I believe the Council agrees) that some of these items are too important to yield to celebrations, especially since they were delayed because of the election on March 3rd.

3.    The City Council meeting will be followed by a reception for the new Mayor, Mayor Pro Tem, and new Council Members.  The reception is scheduled to start at about 9:15 p.m.

4.    At the end of February, eight months into the fiscal year, we had cash reserves, as follows:
City:        $31,412,000   
    CRA:           4,808,000  (owed to City)
                             36,220 ,000     
Thus, our reserves remain high, indicating that we are headed toward a balanced budget at year’s end – if nothing more drastic happens to the economy.  Next year’s budget will be a real challenge, because of reduced revenues (interest, subventions etc., including the possible loss of some of our COPS grant funds.)

5.     As I reminded you last week, we now have a vacancy on the Planning Commission, and another on the P&R Commission, and we are looking for input from the Council on Tuesday as to how to proceed.

a) Do you want to fill the two appointments as interim members until the terms expire in June – or do you want to appoint an interim with the intent to re-appoint them to a full term again in June?

b) Do you want to start with a fresh list of applicants (we have had several apply already), or do you want to re-work the group from last time?

c) This will be on the March 17th Agenda for your instruction.  Our City Clerk, Mary Flandrick, has some procedures to go through as well.

    d) I have been informed by Steve West of the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District that in accordance with State Health and Safety Code, the City Council’s appointment of Ken Gillanders to that Board will continue until 12/31/2010.  I have included a copy of that code section for your reference.

    e) The rest of Ken Gillanders’ assignments and all of Cathé Wilson’s will have to be re-assigned by the new Mayor. 

Administration (CRM)

1.    On August 28, 2008, I informed the Council that on the following February 5, 2009, I would like to be phased out of the City Manager’s position, which I have held (at the request of the Council) for the past four years.

    a) This has been the fourth time during my tenure of 44 years as your City Attorney that the Council has requested that I serve temporarily as City Manager in a dual position.  I have served in the same dual position for several other cities under a legal analysis that there was no conflict.

    b) The City Council (on February 17) started the recruitment process with an advertisement in Western City, the League of California Cities’ monthly magazine, commonly used for such recruitments. The recruitment process will end on June 18, and a new City Manager will be employed soon thereafter.

    c) The question now is what does the City do until June 18?  There are at least two alternatives:

1) The Council could hire an interim Manager for 3 or 4 months, and in June replace him or her with a permanent Manager – the trouble with that is that those 3 or 4 months will have to be devoted in large part to the formulation of the next budget which has to be adopted in June (for the fiscal year beginning in July) with judgmental estimates of revenues (subventions; interest, taxes, permits, etc.), and expenses involving new items such as new personnel.

2) I have been serving as a volunteer for almost 3 months, and could continue (as a volunteer) through the budget period.  As stated, I have been with the City for 44 years, and have prepared over 40 budgets for various cities.  I would do this as a favor, but with the clear understanding that I will vacate the position as soon as the new replacement is selected – as indicated or promised by most of the City Council Members.

    d) If not, it would be my request to replace me ASAP (at the next meeting) so that someone else can undertake the budget, with its decreasing revenues and increasing expenditures.  In my opinion, the Council may well face a deficit budget or cuts in programs or personnel, after adding a City Manager, City Attorney, Economic Developer, and one (or two) secretaries, plus monetary “loans” to the CRA to experiment with new projects. The up to $1 million extra that these items may cost may require means either a reduction of expenses in other areas or programs–or the start of deficit financing.

    e) I feel that we have accomplished a lot in the last four years. We have reduced staff by nine positions, had four successive years with a year-end surpluses, employed our own City Building Inspector replacing the L.A. County employee, replaced our Director of Public Works and Director of Community Development, re-established our relationship with our L.A. County Supervisor, added Code Enforcement personnel, improved employee morale, slurry-sealed almost all of our streets, acquired Rosemead Blvd., re-did the Live Oak Park Concession Stand, and are now building a new multi-purpose building at Live Oak Park; and we’re in the process of adopting a new General Plan and Housing Element .
    Financially, we are better off than any city I know.  A recent survey indicated that most cities had reserves of 6 to 9 months of the their General Fund expenditures, meaning that if substantial funds were cut off, they could exist for only 6 months at the current level. Temple City has reserves of 3½ years.
f) On the other hand, although we finally got Piazza developer, Randy Wang, to the table for a contract, he was not able to meet the terms of the contract, and litigation has ensued with bitter charges and countercharges.  Trying to overcome 20-30 years of “mis-management” of our commercial health has no
t been easy, nor will it be easy in the future unless the City Council is willing to take chances. The commercial “ship” has sailed, and (in my opinion) will not return for several years.
g) The request I made last August was that I also wanted to be replaced as City Attorney, in due course. Of course, that position is not as critical as City Manager, but a replacement of both Manager and Attorney at the same time would erode much of the “memory” of the history, facts, data, and experience necessary for appropriate reactions to problems as and when they may arise. Also, I believe that my testimony will be critical to the success of the trial of the Randy Wang litigation.

h) I have also been working as a “volunteer” as City Attorney, and while I am happy to do so for a while, I cannot serve as a volunteer forever.  Nevertheless, I sense that it is close to the time when Temple City may be happier with new management and legal personnel, and I am ready to cooperate in that effort, and with whatever timing may be involved.

2.    We have received the latest report from JPIA (our insurance carrier) to the effect that tort claims against the City are at a very low ebb, and that it is possible that our insurance premiums will be reduced again.       

3    We have received a letter requesting removal or severe trimming of the Ficus trees on Las Tunas Dr., east of Kauffman Ave.

a) The merchants claim that these trees block their store fronts and advertising signs, and in many cases, are root-bound or spreading into the sidewalks.  They want the trees abated or pruned back and allowed to re-grow as taller spindly trees similar to the ficus trees west of Kauffman Ave.

b) The Public Services Dept. has informed me that drastically changing the direction of growth of a mature tree does not make for a healthy tree, and that the new growth is weak, spindly, and more likely at risk of dropping limbs.

c) The arborists tell me that it would be better to take them all out and start over with young trees.  Taking them out would involve a lot of sidewalk replacement to get out the roots. 

d) The cost would be substantial either way.  Let me know what you want to do..

Community Redevelopment Agency (CRM)

1.    No filing yet by the Piazza developer for any revised plan for building the Piazza. It has now been four months since he said he would be filing.

2.    Still nothing from the D.A.’s Office on Mr. Wang’s unsupported charges against some of the Council Members.

Community Development & Housing Authority (CRM)

1.    Still nothing from the State’s HCD re our new Housing Element.  It’s taking the State a lot longer than we anticipated.   

2.     We remain hopeful that the economic experts who make their pitch at next Tuesday’s meeting will present novel and productive ideas.

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

Department of Parks & Recreation (Director, Cathy Burroughs)

1.    The asbestos discovered in the old multi-purpose building (former Historical Society Museum) has been abated.  The contractor is awaiting clearance from AQMD.  Once clearance has been obtained, demolition will begin – hopefully next week.

2.    The Kiwanis Club of Temple City has donated $250 for the purchase of candy for the City’s annual Easter Egg Hunt.  The hunt will be held on April 11th at Live Oak Park.  Thank you to the Kiwanis Club for their ongoing support of the City’s recreation programs throughout the years.

Department of Community Development (Manager, Joe Lambert)

1.     On March 10, the Planning Commission conducted two public hearings and had one continued “study session” on the agenda: 

A.    A modification of a conditional use permit (CUP 06-1645) was approved to allow the increase in the number of students allowed for a tutoring business (Ivy Institute) located at 5551 Rosemead Blvd. 
The applicant was permitted to increase the maximum number of students from 10 to 49, and was granted permission to tutor students from 3rd grade to high school instead of from 5th grade to high school as approved by CUP 06-1645.  In addition, the business operator was allowed to expand business hours into Saturday. 
The existing approved business hours are from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday, and they were granted permission to also operate from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

B.    A conditional use permit (CUP 09-1733) was approved to allow two accessory structures in the rear yard at 5533 Halifax Road.  One is a pool house that will be located adjacent to the south and rear property lines. The pool house will have a floor area of 500 square feet and a 221 square foot porch. 
Both the side and rear yard setbacks for the pool house will be five feet.   The second accessory structure proposed is a 12’x12’ barbecue gazebo, which will be built ten feet away from the southerly property line and ten (10) feet away from the house. The total square footage of the two structures is 865 square feet.

Pursuant to the Zoning Code, an accessory structure featuring plumbing fixtures, or an accessory structure exceeding 500 square feet, or one or more total accessory structures exceeding 500 square feet shall require a Conditional Use Permit.
The proposed project will have a bathroom in the pool house and the total size of accessory structures (pool house, patio, BBQ gazebo) is 865 square feet, both of which trigger the requirement of a conditional use permit.  

C.    We continued the study session regarding the East Commercial (EC) District of the Downtown Specific Plan area.  The purpose of the study session was to discuss and hear input from the public to help 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. 

After discussion at the February 24th meeting, the Planning Commission felt that perhaps certain prohibited uses should be permitted upon approval of a conditional use permit, and they would be “conditionally permitted” uses. 

Staff was directed to prepare a Draft Revised Land Use Matrix indicating the uses that Staff feels should be conditionally permitted, and the draft changes were presented to the Planning Commission. 

The Planning Commission directed Staff to set a Public Hearing to consider a Specific Plan Amendment (Code Amendment) to change the list of permitted uses in the EC District of the Downtown Specific Plan, pursuant to the draft changes presented by Staff at the meeting.

2.    I have had some discussions lately with Howard Poyourow and Jane Housden (Architect) regarding the revised Piazza proposal.  I have been answering their questions regarding the submittal requirements for a revised planning application.  In early February, they stated that the submittal should be in by mid-February, and as of our conversation yesterday, Howard stated that they are getting close to making a submittal.
Department of Public Services (Manager, Chuck Erickson)

1.    Staff (at the pushing of the City Manager) has made a timely filing for participation in the President’s Economic Stimulus Package, and will ask for ratification at the March 17th City Council Meeting. Here is a list of projects.

a) A new Traffic signal at Temple City Blvd. at Ellis lane:  $176,000 Construction is
funded @100%.

b) Traffic Signal upgrades on Rosemead Blvd. (Longden & Broadway): $275,000
Left turn arrows Construction is funded 100%.

c) Grind and overlay projects Pal Mal from Lower Azusa to Live Oak: $623,000
Freer St. from Santa Anita to Arden construction and Inspection 100% funded.
d) Total of new Economic Stimulus Projects:    $1,074.000

Division of Public Safety (Public Safety Officer Ariizumi)

1.    The Crime Statistics Report for February 22 – March 7, 2009, is included with this Manager’s Report.

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

1.    I have been studying the torts of: 1) “intentional infliction of emotional distress." ;  2) “filing false reports”, and 3) “malicious defamation”, under Times/Sullivan.     

2.    Cases of the week:

Native Plant v. El Dorado 88 CR3d 530: Just because Developer pays a Neg Dec fee as proposed by city, it does not mean that he has a vested right for a Neg Dec, but instead may have to prepare a full EIR, if the city changes its mind.

Building Industry v. Patterson MN 1265: A development permit issued on the condition that city may “reasonably raise” fees in the future is valid and binding on developer so long as the raises are reasonable.

U.S. v. Kincaid-Chauncey (9) 2009 WL 415567: To prove bribery or extortion, the prosecution must be able to prove (by word or deed) that the Councilman actually received (or at least demanded) a specific “quid pro quo” for his vote.

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.

                                            Exhibit #1

                               Public Facilities in Project Areas Threatened
“In response to a situation in San Diego, Senator Christine Kehoe has authored SB 93, which adds restrictions on spending redevelopment dollars on public facilities inside and outside all redevelopment project areas in the state.
CRA opposes SB 93 unless it is amended.  The bill was approved by the Senate Local Government Committee, 5-0, last week without the amendments CRA had recommended that would address only the situation Senator Kehoe has given as the reason for introducing her bill.  We do not think there is any justification for placing further restrictions on public facilities projects within redevelopment project areas.
SB 93 arises out of a dispute in San Diego where tax increment will be shifted from a project area to build a parking structure and improvements associated with a light rail line more than 10 miles from the project area. 

However, as currently drafted, SB 93 would impose new, expensive, and time-consuming mandates on all redevelopment project areas for spending on public facilities inside as well as outside of project areas.
CRA can support amendments to current law that would require projects funded outside of project areas to be of clear benefit to the project area. If passed in its current form, SB 93 would require agencies to make new findings of blight in the project area in order to spend money on a public facility inside the project area and certify that the public facility will remove blight. 

As we know, blight surveys are time-consuming and very expensive, commonly costing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  In addition, SB 93 would require blight findings to be subject to litigation which will subject projects to potentially expensive delays and legal fights.”                          -www.CaliforniaCityNews.org

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