Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Redding City Council, December 3, 2013

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

The Redding City Council met at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at City Hall on Cypress Avenue.  All five members were in attendance.

The first substantial item on the agenda (following the Pledge of Allegiance, the Invocation, Roll Call and Introductions) was the highly anticipated selection of the new Redding Mayor.  The Council may vote in any one of its members but Council tradition has been that the candidate who received the most votes in the general election is selected as Mayor.  Last year that tradition was broken when Councilman Patrick Jones was selected as Vice Mayor rather than Councilwoman Francie Sullivan.  Prior to the meeting many in the crowd speculated freely that Sullivan would be elected Mayor.  Sullivan surprised the crowd by nominating current Redding Mayor Rick Bosetti to serve for another term.  She said that he had done a good job of maintaining decorum and “being respectful”.  She suggested to those in attendance that this would be a good year to work on being respectful at City Council meetings saying that others watch the online videos of Council meetings and that we should be thinking of how others perceive our area.  Councilwoman Missy McArthur commented that Bosetti would be the best choice because he has already announced that he will not be seeking another term and would therefore not be influenced by election year politics.  Public comment was then opened on the matter of the Mayoral selection.

The first speaker was Greg Mann.  He said that two or possibly three of those sitting on the Council now were “bought and paid for” by special interests, mostly unions.  He said that Patrick Jones should be the Mayor.

George Clarke spoke next.  He said, “Mrs. Sullivan is not qualified to serve.”  He said she threatened him by saying a number of attorneys were looking into his statements about her.  He said that he did not speak for the next two City Council meetings out of fear but eventually decided to speak out again.  He said we “can’t allow someone like that.”

The Council voted 3 – 2 to install Rick Bosetti as Mayor, Francie Sullivan as Vice Mayor and Missy McArthur as Mayor Pro Tempore.  Councilmen Gary Cadd and Patrick Jones cast the dissenting votes.

There was a bit of confusion as to how to handle the next step in the process.  Ordinarily the first official act of the new Mayor is to present a plaque to the outgoing Mayor honoring his service in that office.  Perhaps believing it to be a bit silly for Bosetti to present the plaque to himself, City Manager Kurt Starman said, “We’ll just leave it in your office.”

Chief Paoletti and Mayor Bosetti with
RPD Volunteer Shirley Wood
2B on the Agenda was the recognition of City of Redding Police Department Volunteers.  Five volunteers were honored for their volunteer service to RPD.  Redding Chief of Police Robert Paoletti and Mayor Bosetti presented certificates to Helen Klinger, Lynn Herried, Bill Ivey, Shirley Wood and Debbie Young.

Public Comment Period Open Time was up next.  The first speaker was Gary Hollahan.  He said that we needn’t go to Sacramento or to Washington D.C. to see savvy politicking.  He held up a book titled Shadowbosses and suggested that reading it would give one some insight into Redding politics.  He said that City Manager Starman has too much power and that unions control the Council.  Councilwoman McArthur asked him if he was a retired school teacher to which he responded in the affirmative.  She pointed out that he himself draws from the same union pensions he was just criticizing to which he responded, “I paid into it.”

Greg Mann spoke again saying that the law requires a financial impact statement five days before a vote and that Redding did not follow this procedure.  He said that unfunded liabilities from pensions are out of control and that this was not being disclosed.  He suggested that the answer is to “elect fiscal conservatives.”

Tina Nelson said that speeding cars and motorcycles on Shasta View Drive are out of control.  She said that people in the Carriage Glen neighborhood are tired of it.  She said that she’s been seeking help from the city on this issue for 18 years.  “I am collecting signatures,” she added.

As she returned to her seat, Vice Mayor Sullivan addressed her saying that the Public Works Director had been taking notes during her presentation and that it can seem like the Council isn’t listening sometimes because the rules prevent them from responding directly to public comments but assured her that they were listening.

Dolores Lucero displayed a page on the overhead projector showing City Attorney Rick Duvernay’s position as Membership Director of Redding Rotary, a local non-profit organization.  She called it a conflict of interest.  She said that elections are coming up and that this is our chance to make a difference.  She announced her candidacy saying, “I will be running.”

Sally Rapoza told the Council that she had attended the Tehama County Board of Supervisors meeting earlier that day along with other citizens of Shasta County and that the Tehama County Board of Supervisors had voted 4 – 1 in favor of putting the State of Jefferson issue on the next ballot this June.

Connie Batesole said that she is also lives in the Shasta View neighborhood and that “it’s like a racetrack, especially on the weekends,” adding, “It’s really a bad problem.”

Terry Rapoza told the Council that he too had attended the Tehama County Supervisors meeting and that he was encouraged to see “a body of politicians actually doing what the people want.”  He questioned why the City Council had addressed Ms. Nelson earlier after she had left the podium.  He asked if it was a violation of the Brown Act.  He seemed to be suggesting the Council would hold the citizens to rules that it was itself not willing to follow.  He pushed the point until the Mayor asked for the City Attorney’s opinion.  City Attorney Duvernay said that the Council may have any type of brief exchange with speakers at the podium.  The Mayor said that perhaps Sullivan’s remarks should not have been allowed after the speaker had left the podium.  Rapoza thanked him for admitting that.

The next item on the Agenda was the Consent Calendar.  The Consent Calendar is intended for routine, noncontroversial items expected to pass easily without discussion.  Any Council member or interested citizen may ask to have a Consent Calendar item moved to the Regular Calendar for full discussion and debate.

Item 4.3(c) was removed from the Consent Calendar.  This item would have authorized the issuance of a purchase order to JRC, Inc., dba NorCal Presort for mail services.  This item was not moved to the Regular Calendar; it was removed from the Agenda entirely.

Dolores Lucero spoke on item 4.2(a).  This would authorize the extension of a non-binding letter of intent with the Northern California Veterans Museum and Heritage Center to June 30, 2015 for construction of the museum and related facilities on a 15 acre parcel near the airport.  Lucero urged the Council to “do the right thing.”  Mayor Bosetti seemed uncertain of her point.  “What is the ‘right thing?’” he asked her.  “Approve it,” she replied.  “It’s on the Consent Calendar!” he responded.  “That doesn’t mean anything,” said Lucero.

Greg Mann said that he appreciated this extension, referring the Veterans Museum.  He added that he thought it was interesting that it had been a struggle.  He said the Museum had been “stonewalled” by the Council.  He said it was the same group that routinely votes against veterans, flags and the First Amendment but votes for unions.  He asked the Council to help them find the funding and location they need.

The Consent Calendar, with the exception of item 4.3(c), was passed unanimously.

6.1 was a Public Hearing concerning the City’s Capital Improvement Plan.  The Council heard a detailed presentation by Director of Public Works, Brian Crane.  Crane told the Council that the Capital Improvement Plan is a five-year plan, but one that is updated every two years.  It is paid for mostly by revenue from utility bills, but also impact fees, grants, the general fund and a few other sources.  He went over in some detail the plan for the next two years, discussing roads to be widened or repaved, bridges to be repaired or replaced, water systems improvements both to delivery and wastewater systems and many other projects.  After Crane’s presentation the Mayor asked for Public Comment and there was none.  The Council accepted the plan 5 – 0.

9A on the Agenda was the proposal to eliminate item 11 from all future Agendas.  Item 11 is usually last on the Agenda and reads “Suggestions from Council Members Relative to Potential Topics for Future City Council Meetings.”  It had been suggested that this was being used for political speech-making too frequently.  But the Council voted 5 – 0 to leave it as it is.

Charles Alexander had filled out a speaker request card on this subject, but admitted the vote had gone completely opposite to what was on the Agenda and he thanked Council members Cadd and McArthur for suggesting it be left alone.

9.2(b) was the authorization of an agreement with FaithWORKS Community Coalition, Inc. for the sale of properties currently owned by the City on Linden Avenue near Mercy Medical Center for the construction of Permanent Affordable Housing units for low-income families.  Assistant City Manager Greg Clark told the Council that FaithWORKS currently operates two temporary four-plexes in which families who have been separated can be reunited.  Units are fully furnished by donations from local churches and when families move on, they are allowed to take the furniture with them.  FaithWORKS now wants to build six permanent units in which qualified families could stay with no time limit.  He said the program has a 92% success rate.  Part of the proposal includes a loan from the City to FaithWORKS in the amount of $40,000.  Councilman Jones asked about the terms of repayment.  City Manager Starman said that they would have three years to pay back the loan.  The Council passed this item unanimously.

9.6(a) was a report by Community Services Director Kim Niemer regarding the 2013 Community Creek Clean Up program which this year focused on the section of the River Trail on the other side of the Sundial Bridge from Turtle Bay.  She thanked the many individuals and organizations who had participated.

9.11(g) was part of an on-going process to update and modernize the Redding City Code.  This is being done in sections and this time the sections being updated were those concerned with water and sewage.  Some technical terms concerning valves and meters were antiquated and were replaced with more modern language.  References to programs and policies that no longer exist were altered or eliminated.  This passed 5 – 0.

9.11(h) concerned Impact Fees.  Impact Fees are charged to new retail businesses in the City based upon their impact to the traffic patterns in the area.  In the past traffic patterns were monitored for all new businesses for a certain period of time and the Impact Fee charged was based upon those results.  It was proposed that in the future, large “anchor” stores in shopping centers would be charged this way, but the smaller units would be charged a standard “shopping center rate.”  This should greatly reduce the cost of determining Impact Fees.  The “shopping center rate” would also be applied to businesses outside of shopping centers under a certain size.  This also passed 5 – 0.

Although item 11 was still on the Agenda, no one had any suggestions for future Council meetings.  This was the last City Council meeting of 2013.  The next Redding City Council meeting is scheduled for January 7, 2014.

Shasta County Board of Supervisors, December 3, 2013

by Joe McGarity

Photo by Joe McGarity

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors met at 9:00 am on Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at the County Administration Center on Court Street in Redding.  All five Supervisors were in attendance.

R1 on the Agenda recognized Lora Munday, Child Support Specialist III, Department of Child Support Services as the December 2013 Shasta County Employee of the Month.

R2 - The Board passed a proclamation designating December 7, 2013 as “Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day” in Shasta County.

The next item on the Agenda was the Public Comment Open Period.  One speaker said that residents near Keswick are “in the dark” about a project taking place there.  He was probably referring to Consent Calendar item C26 – County Service Area No. 25-Keswick Water Improvement Project.  Chairman David Kehoe, Supervisor District 1 suggested he speak with Public Works Director, Pat Minturn who would answer all of his questions.

A representative from State Senator Ted Gaines’ office spoke next.  She told the Board that Senator Gaines was very interested in seeing counties in his district receive the money they are owed by the State of California from the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program.  She encouraged the Board to authorize a letter to the governor to that effect.

The Consent Calendar was up next.  Supervisor Pam Giacomini, District 3 recused herself from item C6 which would appoint her husband and two others to the Grazing Advisory Board.  Chairman Kehoe noted that he votes no on item C9 which would approve the Calendar for 2014 Board of Supervisors Meetings.

The Board then recessed and reconvened as the Shasta County Housing Authority.  The Housing Authority adopted a resolution approving a revised Housing Choice Voucher Program Administrative Plan.  This passed 5 – 0.

The Shasta County Housing Authority adjourned and reconvened as the Shasta County In-Home Supportive Services Public Authority Governing Board.  In this capacity they voted in favor of approving an agreement with the California United Homecare Workers Local 4034.  The Governing Board then adjourned and reconvened as the Shasta County Board of Supervisors.

R3 – The Board considered approving a letter to Governor Brown supporting the resumption of Payment in Lieu of Taxes by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  This is the issue that the representative from Senator Gaines office had come to express support.  This passed unanimously.

R4 – The Board appointed Mike Hebrard Fire Warden and Chief of the Shasta County Fire Department retro-actively effective November 25, 2013.

R5 – The Board considered the County’s participation in a Permanent Supportive Housing Program for persons with mental health issues.  The Board had several questions about things such as fencing, security and selection of residents and seemed satisfied with the answers.  There would be social workers on staff during the day and on call at night.  Many mental health services would be available to residents including substance abuse counseling.  District 4 Supervisor Bill Schappell wanted to know if the County could end up owing money on the project if it is not profitable, but was informed that the County would be loaning the money not the other way around.  The developers would be responsible to make payments to the County.  This also passed unanimously.

R6 – The Board, having earlier approved a deal with the union representing In-Home Support Services workers, now unanimously approves a raise for IHSS workers in Shasta County.

R7 – Public Works Director Pat Minturn presented a report to the Board detailing some trouble encountered by the Elk Trail Water Improvement Project.  Minturn told the Board that they had had some trouble with the pumps shutting off in the summertime during high temperatures.  He said that PG&E had told the County that their transformer was not to blame, that it must be the County’s equipment.  The County then purchased new pumps and still had the same problem.  The County rented a generator and got the pumps up and running again.  PG&E did further investigation and discovered that their transformer was indeed the problem.   PG&E has agreed to reimburse the County $17,863 for the cost of rentals, gasoline and staff time.

R8 – The Board of Supervisors conducted a Beilenson hearing.  A Beilenson hearing is required whenever a public health benefit is removed or reduced in some way.  It was suggested that the County discontinue immunization and tuberculosis testing at the Enterprise and Anderson Regional Offices due to poor attendance.  These services are currently offered at the Main Office five days a week.  It was suggested that it would be more cost effective to offer bus passes at the Regional Offices for clients seeking these services.  This passed unanimously.