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City Manager’s Weekly Report – For the Week Ending Thursday, March 26, 2009

March 30th, 2009 by Temple City Tribune

Charlie’s Bon Mot: The art of government is: how to satisfy the irritated; without irritating the satisfied.
                           

Highlights

●        Council selects Avant Garde to guide destiny of our commercial centers       
●        Super A Grocery coming to town
●         Planning Commission actions
●        City Council and TCUSD Board scheduled to meet on the 16th at TCUSD
●        City Manager Martin announces his retirement as Manager
●         Council starts recruitment for new City Manager
●        City sales tax receipts are down again       
●        Tolling Agreement re County Deputy’s crime
●         Recent court cases that could impact city operations

GENERAL COUNCIL INFORMATION
1    Last Monday evening, the Council heard proposals from three different firms for a ways and means of upgrading the sales climate of Las Tunas by one method or another including the possibility of a Redevelopment Project and property acquisition.
    a) After 2 ½ hours of input from the interviewees, the public in attendance, and the various members of the Council, the Council by a 4-1 vote selected Avant Garde as the selectee. The official contract will be before the Council at the next meeting.
    b) It is hoped that with the help of this firm, we will be able to find and implement the “stepping stones” to a better and more successful Las Tunas Drive and other business centers to the end that we will be able to derive more sales taxes and become less dependent on the interest income from the reserves we have built over the years.
    c) Certainly, this arrangement will cost the city a good deal of front money, but after 20-30 years of a downhill slide in sales tax receipts, we can hope for a turn-around, and a new day.
    d) The recommendations may include such items as additional Redevelopment Projects, land acquisition, aggregation, and banking,  public/private partnerships, open space, mixed use, higher structure, additional parking space including parking structures, etc.  The recommendations of the Planning Commission (as promulgated by the Task Forces) will be given to Avant Garde for guidance.
2.    There has been recent discussion about returning to the ICSC Conference in Las Vegas, which follows immediately following the Contract Cities Conference in Indian Wells.  Councilmember Yu has indicated a desire to attend ICSC, and has requested that this item be placed on the next Agenda.
3.    Next Year, the City will celebrate its 50th birthday.  If the Council is going to hold a celebration, it is time that a Committee is formed, together with a budget to start the planning. Interim plans are being developed by P&R, as per below
4.    The re-opening of the Concession Stand went off without a hitch, and it was nice to see such a turnout. We have seen improvements to the Park in recent years including the Concession Stand and the Multi-purpose building now under way.
5.    Remember:  7:00 p.m., Thursday April 16 is the next scheduled meeting with the School Board of TCUSD across the street. We will need a quorum.

Administration (CRM)

1.    We have received the sales tax receipts for 2008.  The information shows another substantial decrease for the 4th quarter and more of a decrease for the year.  On the other hand, Rosemead with its new Wal-Mart has almost doubled its receipts.  More detail is set forth by Monica, below.   
2.    Consistent with my declaration of retirement from my job as your City Manager, I have turned in the city car I have been driving, and will henceforth drive my own vehicle.  Please let us know whether you will hold the 2005 Honda for the new City Manager or whether you want Gary to trade it in for a new car for him/her.
    It may be that the Council will wish to appoint a temporary interim Manager to bridge the gap until the new Manager is actually hired.  If so, I shall be happy to render such help as he/she may choose.  I am trying to make my departure as your Manager (announced last August) as smooth as possible.
3.    We are getting a new Librarian at the Temple City (County) Library.  Susan K. Schlaeger (together with her District Supervisor,  Marilee Marrero) stopped by last Tuesday to present her credentials.
4.     We have a staff (Departmental) vacancy, I have decided to start the recruitment process ASAP, but it will take several months to complete.
5.     The Sheriff reports that the crime rate remains surprisingly low.

Community Redevelopment Agency (CRM)

1.    Still no filing by Randy Wang for his new Plan for the Piazza Project.
2.    Still no progress on the civil or alleged criminal charges and countercharges.   

Community Development & Housing Authority (CRM)

1.    As previously indicated: Super A Groceries is 99% sure that it will move into the vacated Albertson’s in Block B of the Redevelopment Project area.  They plan a $2 mil improvement and propose a 1st class market at that location.
2.    As stated above, Avant Garde will be taking over the advisory lead in trying to improve our commercial centers.
3.         We are still waiting for the State HCD to approve our Housing Element.
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 Management Services  (Personnel Analyst, Eva Hauffen)
1)    The City Council, at their regular meeting held on February 17, 2009 approved the recruitment of a new City Manager.  As a result of that motion, staff secured advertisement in the April and May issues of the Western Cities Magazine, as well as the Jobs Available.
The opening has been placed on the City’s website, and job flyers will be emailed and sent to a number of cities in Southern/Northern California.  The application filing deadline for this position is Thursday, June 18, 2009.  Periodic updates will be posted in this publication.

Department of Parks & Recreation (Director Cathy Burroughs)

1.    Temple City was well represented at various competitions last week.  In the Southern California Municipal Athletic Federation – San Gabriel Valley youth basketball tournaments, our “C” (3rd-4th grade) girls captured first place and “C” boys took second.  Both teams will advance to the Southern California tournaments.
    a) Our Super STARS and Mini STARS drill teams competed at the Sea World Spectacular last Sunday.  Super STARS brought home a 1st and 2nd place award and the Mini STARS placed 2nd and 3rd in their compet
itions.
    b) Congratulations to the coaches, participants and parents.
2.    The summer concert series has been finalized.  We are very excited about this year’s concert program.  This year the City will include the Independence Day Celebration with the Wednesday evening concerts.  Wednesday, July 1st will feature a concert by the Air National Guard Band of the Southwest.  Instead of the barbecue dinner (which has seen a decline the past few years) we will be giving away hot dogs and chips.  The concert schedule will be available in May.
3.    Our first annual Multicultural Day will be held in Temple City Park on Saturday, May 30.  The “Journey Around the World” will feature food and entertainment from various cultures.  Dance performances, demonstrations and music native to Asia, the Pacific Islands, Europe, North America, South America, Central America and Africa will entertain attendees throughout the afternoon.  Please save the date and join us for this exciting event.
4.    As the City Manager mentions above, the City’s 50th anniversary takes place next year, 2010.  Staff has been working on general ideas for the anniversary celebration and has included funds in the proposed 2009-2010 budget for this purpose.

Department of Community Development (Manager, Joe Lambert)

1.         In answer to the question posed at the last Council Meeting:  We currently have 13 bridal shops operating in Temple City as indicated by our business license records.
2.    This week, Wednesday through Friday, I will attend the League of California Cities, Planners Institute Conference in Anaheim.  Looking at the program, it promises to be an informative and helpful event.  This conference is budgeted annually for the Planning Commissioners and the department head (me) to attend.  None of the Planning Commissioners were able to attend this year.
3.    Last Tuesday night, the Planning Commission approved three applications and made a CEQA determination on the Consent Calendar:
a) On consent calendar, the Planning Commission certified that the placement of an outdoor fitness course and the replacement of playground surfacing at Live Oak Park is exempt from CEQA requirements.  This will mean that the fitness course will be under construction soon.
b) The Planning Commission approved Conditional Use Permit (CUP 09-1731) to allow the replacement of an existing light pole that would be slightly thicker and would feature a 5 ½ foot high cellular antenna extension at the top.  Associated cellular equipment would also be installed (underground) adjacent to the new light pole in the public right-of-way.  This light pole is located at the terminus of Kennerly Drive (a cul-de-sac) where it meets Temple City Boulevard.
c) The Planning Commission approved a Conditional Use Permit (CUP 09-1730) to allow the establishment of a ballet studio at 9026 Las Tunas Drive.  The applicant is proposing to occupy the 1,550 square foot commercial unit to teach ballet to students ranging from 5 to 18 years old; there would be no more than 12 students at any given time.  The business will operate from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm, Monday through Friday, and from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday.
[CRM note:  another non-retail business on Las Tunas!  It is difficult to attract any retail business where it is stranded and isolated by non-retail and service businesses – but on the other hand, we did not like the Moratorium banning non-retail businesses.]
   d) The Planning Commission approved a Conditional Use Permit and a Tentative Parcel Map to allow the construction of a four-unit condominium project at 5013 Farago Avenue.
The subject lot contains a land area of 15,750 square feet and the proposed building area will be 7,862 square feet. The subject site is located in the R-2 Zone and is designated as Medium-Density Residential by the General Plan. The subdivision complies with all city requirements.

Department of Financial Services (Manager, Monica Molina)

1.    As expected, 4th Qtr sales tax allocations decreased due to the lowering of gasoline prices.  In comparison to the fourth quarter last year:
a) Temple City had a decrease of 10.11%; the County had a 10.50% decrease; and the state had a decrease of 10.72%. HdL will provide more details on Temple City’s 4th qtr sales tax allocations within the next few weeks.
b) Overall, because of high gasoline prices in the beginning of the year the decreases for the year did not impact Temple City until the 4th quarter.  Below is a summary of the 2008 calendar year sales tax allocations.
    1st Qtr    2nd Qtr    3rd Qtr    4th Qtr    Calendar Yr
Temple City    11.41%     4.79%     3.32%    -10.11%     1.92%
Los Angeles County    -1.21%    -2.81%    -1.81%    -10.97%    -4.29%
California    -2.13%    -3.01%    -3.14%    -10.72%    -4.82%

Department of Public Services (Manager, Chuck Erickson)

1.    The required paperwork for all five projects using Federal stimulus plan monies has been submitted on time to Cal Trans. We were fortunate in being one of the few cities that were able to meet the short time requirements – thanks to the efforts of the City Manager, Avant Garde, Monica and me. 
Office of the City Attorney (Charlie Martin, City Attorney)
1.    A few weeks ago, I advised you that the County would be filing a claim against all of the contract cities seeking reimbursement (contingent) in case the County has to pay damages in a law suit brought against the County for the actions of the Sheriff’s deputies working for a city (rape of 3 women).
a) The County feels this case may not go to trial, but if it does, the County must seek reimbursement from the (County/Contract Cities) contractual Liability Trust fund – and to do that, it must now (within 6 months from the date of the incident) file a claim against all of the Contract Cities, and that period ends on March 30.
b)That Claim has now been served, and accordingly, we must start expending defensive moves along with all of the other Contract Cities.
c) An “escape” has been provided by the County:  If we – and all of the other cities – will sign a “tolling agreement” which provides that the Statute of Limitations on the proposed action by the County against us will be tolled or delayed until after the outcome or settlement of the Plaintiffs’ damage claims.
d) That way, if the County wins, no further action will be necessary, but if the County loses, then the County v. City litigation will be taken up and the tolling agreement rescinded. I notified the old Council that I thought this was a good idea and would save us money and travail.
e) The County made some minor changes to the Agreement and it has to be resigned. Because the changes from the original are technical, I do not believe that there will be any change in the Council’s thinking, and accordingly. I shall re- sign the slightly modified Tolling Agreement based on your prior OK
    f) In any case, this is a minor procedural delay normally handled by the City Attorney as a matter of course and is considered to be routine..

2.    Cases of the week:

Fire Fighters v. PERB (Richmond) DAR 4137) Lay-offs are not subject to MMB, as a managerial decision – but increased impact upon the remaining may be, if it is substantial and back-breaking. MMB holds that a city must negotiate with employee groups over working conditions except those decisions regarding management prerogatives. “A Baseball Manager shifting his short-stop to 2nd base with no loss of pay is a management decision”.
Hauselt v. Co. Butte DAR 4359: a natural water course on private land must be maintained and upstream add-ons are OK unless causing unreasonable harm to lower owners by over-flooding, provided that the lower owner first takes reasonable affirmative steps to self-protect his property.    
Lloyd v. Co. L.A.  MN 1684: Tort Claims Act immunizes cities against all common law tort claims. All tort claims against a city must be based on statutory claims under the Tort Claims Act.
Hildebrandt v. St. Helena  MN 1697: lay-offs (for financial reasons should be made on a seniority basis (LIFO), if practical, but part timers are not included as senor employees the same as full timers and cannot “bump” full timers.
Klein v. Laguna Beach (trial court #08-1369 C.D.): Ordinance banning (otherwise protected) amplified advertising sounds in or near sensitive areas at night (but leaving other times, areas and means as OK) may be valid as “content neutral” and leaving adequate alternative means and methods

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
City Sues to Stop LA NFL Stadium
“Looks like LA residents really don’t want an NFL team — or at least one city in LA  County doesn’t.  The City of Walnut, a neighbor of the City of Industry who has been angling to construct a new home for the NFL in SoCal, has sued to block stadium construction.  It seems NFL stadiums create a lot of traffic and other nuisances (who knew?) and Walnut isn’t so keen on pigskin as to swallow the Sunday sideshows.”         -CaliforniaCityNews.org

Exhibit #2
“This extract from the Tribune story ‘City Council Members Spend $20,000 on Travel,’ which focused on the West Covina council.
Locally, some area city councils have already opted to lower or cut out travel from their budgets until the economy gets better.
In Monrovia, “We’re pulling back on everything, and that would include staff and council member travel,” said Dick Singer, Monrovia assistant city manager. “They don’t do much travel to begin with, except to go to Washington, D.C. or Sacramento to lobby
In Monrovia, a city of nearly 36,929, the council lowered travel budgets by $1,100. Now, council members have $13,166 each per year to spend on travel and other community-promotion efforts.  [Editor’s note: That is a total of almost $66,000].
During the 2007-08 fiscal year, Monrovia Councilmembers spent a total of $33,649 on travel.
In West Covina, a city of nearly 105,000, council members spent nearly $20,000 in travel to cities across the country to attend conferences during the 2007-08 fiscal year.
Here’s how it broke down per council member: Councilman Michael Touhey spent $6,694; Mayor Roger Hernandez spent $5,255; Councilwoman Sherri Lane spent $3,655; Councilman Steve Herfert spent $3,058; and Councilwoman Shelley Sanderson spent $1,618.”                – CaliforniaCityNews.org         

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