City Council: The Rotation Myth And Putting People First
The Santa Clarita City Council has elected to put the people first, or at least closer to the front. And what about the mayoral rotation?
Mayor Frank Ferry proposed moving the Public Participation portion of the city council meeting to the beginning of the evening with a 30-minute limit (ten speakers at three minutes each) for items not on the agenda, with the remainder of public participation to occur after all agenda items are heard, and to move Council Comments to the end of the meeting.
Currently, the public participation portion of a council meeting occurs after all agenda items are heard. During this portion of the meeting, members of the public may speak on any topic. Additionally, councilmember comments are heard after the Awards and Recognitions to the city, and before the Consent Calendar.
Cam Noltemeyer, a Santa Clarita resident, said the public’s business should be public. She said there was a “great big flaw” in the plan which was not having the city staff comment until the very end of the meeting.
Ferry said he didn’t want to have city staff commenting on an issue before everyone has been heard. The ten speakers limit would not allow that.
Alan Ferdman, a Canyon Country resident, suggested Public Participation should last 1 hour at the beginning of the meeting with the same three minute restriction.
Kellar supported the move, but wanted the city staff to respond immediately. He didn’t support Council Comments to the end.
“We get maximum exposure having it at the beginning of the meeting,” said Kellar.
Ferry agreed to amend his proposal to keep Council Comments at the beginning of the meeting.
McLean recalled her days as a community activist and having to wait until the end of the meeting.
“I have no problem bringing back the 30 minute comment,” said McLean.
She thought city council should respond right after the public speaks. Boydston wanted to ensure that Councilmembers could comment after a public speaker.
Boydston also wanted to know if there was a policy to pool the time of public speakers. This would avoid having multiples of people saying the same thing over and over.
Ferry suggested the practice could be abused by having one person speaking 30 minutes for him or herself plus nine others.
Kellar said there hasn’t been a problem with the three minute speaker length and it has worked out well. He said Ferry’s concerns are valid and people might try to “hijack” the council.
Boydston said he would withdraw the idea and merely brought it up at the suggestion of the public through emails he’s received.
“We can see how it works and retune it,” said Ferry.
“It’s all about the people and their ability to speak,” said Boydston.
The motion was carried unanimously.
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If you thought there was a method to the madness regarding mayoral rotation you were wrong.
“I want to make sure it’s out there publicly, there is no rotation. There is none. Every single time we vote for the mayor or mayor pro tem whether it’s in April or December, it’s a majority of three that decides,” said Mayor Frank Ferry.
According to the City Manager, the mayor and mayor pro tem could be appointed or changed at anytime.
“My understanding has always been that the majority of the council can pick a mayor, mayor pro tem at any meeting that it’s scheduled. If the council directs me to put this on the agenda next time and wants to pick another mayor, mayor pro tem they have the ability to do so,” said City Manager Ken Pulskamp.
Historically, the city council has selected its mayor and mayor pro tempore in December each year. When the council incorporated in 1987, they adopted a policy of rotating the mayor on an annual basis to coincide with the city's birthday on December 15.
For the first time in the history of the city a sitting mayor, Laurie Ender, was not reelected in last month’s election. Councilmember Timben Boydston, who took her seat on the council, recommended changing the date for choosing the mayor and mayor pro tempore from December to April each year to coincide with the certification of the election results, which occurs every two years in even years.
The change would avoid the potential of having recent committee appointments changed and leaving spots to be filled by the vacating mayor.
Boydston said the move from December to April would “take the politics out of the equation.” He’d asked the city clerk to compile election information from 2002 to this current year. The chart revealed that in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 and least two of the three city council candidates running for reelection held the position of mayor or mayor pro tem.
In 2012 the formula didn’t play out because Councilmember Kellar did not assume the mayor pro tem seat in a controversial move by Frank Ferry to nominate himself.
“That didn’t happen in 2012 because Councilman Kellar got bumped from the rotation which I can only guess is the result of some campaign to keep his profile down,” said Boydston.
Mayor Frank Ferry said he wasn’t trying to overstep or politically put Bob Kellar in a bad position. He said he’d met with Kellar and apologized if there was that misunderstanding.
Boydston says the mayor gets a lot of extra exposure. To make it a fair and level playing field he suggests it would be better to have a person running for election not be in the position of mayor in the year prior.
The motion to keep the December to December mayoral selection was approved 4-1 with Boydston voting against.
HONORING DEAN LALLEY
Mayor Frank Ferry asked for a moment of silence for city employee Dean Lalley who died in a motorcycle accident last weekend. He said as a city council and a city everyone “truly becomes family.” Dean joined the city January 2008 as a street maintenance worker. Last December he was promoted to Assistant Supervisor in recognition of his leadership ability. Dean and his wife Kelly have three children.
“He had a terrific outlook on life and was just a natural leader,” said Ferry.
The KHTS report on Lalley’s death can be found by clicking here. A viewing has been scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday at Church of the Hills in Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills. Services are scheduled at 10 a.m. Saturday at Liberty Hall on the grounds of Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills. Interment will be private.
AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS
Library Bookmark Contest Winners
The city council recognized the winners of the Santa Clarita Public Library’s Bookmark Design Card Contest featuring artwork from kids in the community.
The city received over 230 entries from local artists in kindergarten through 12th grade.
“Some of the designs were so good we used six of them to create the new city library cards,” said Councilmember Marsha McLean.
Winners were selected on originality and artistic execution and each winner received a $25 gift certificate from Aaron Brothers art store.
The 2012 Bookmark Design Contest winners:
Marcus Botros – 1st place for kindergarten – 1st grade category.
Nicole Augusta – 1st place for 2nd – 4th grade category
Kristen Mohrhoff – 1st place for 3rd – 5th grade category
Ilse Gomez – 1st place for 9th – 12th grade category
The young artists whose work will be featured on the new library cards:
Bethany Pro, Amanda Osorio, Emily K. Pro, Elise Wade, Mariah Tecson, and Natalie Toon.
Armed Forces Day
KHTS Co-owners Jeri Seratti-Goldman and Carl Goldman, Real Life Church and the Gas Company received proclamations from the City of Santa Clarita for Armed Forces Day, recognizing their work for veterans through their SCV Habitat for Heroes program.
“In honor of Santa Clarita’s veteran heroes Real Life Church will host a family fun comedy show on May 18 at the church on Newhall Ranch Road to benefit SCV Habitat for Heroes,” said Councilmember Bob Kellar.
The comedy show will feature the Stand Up Guys Robert G. Lee, Bob Smiley and Kenn Kington, a nationally recognized comedy team, whose members come from a variety of venues and experiences and who promise a night of side-splitting entertainment.
Funds raised at the show will be used to make $60,000 worth of needed repairs to the American Legion Hall Post 507.
“The American Legion, for those who don’t know, was set up by William Hart as the first movie theatre here to show his movies and I don’t think they’ve updated anything there since the silents went to talkies,” said Goldman.
SCV Habitat for Heroes is designed to address the needs of those heroes who have served our nation with courage and honor. KHTS AM1220 and Providence Health & Services of Southern California are sponsors of the event, along with Southern California Gas Company, the Home Depot Foundation, B+ Productions, Green Convergence, Feathers Digital Graphics, Burger King, The Sanctuary and The Church on the Way.
For more information on the Stand Up Guys show, click here.
For more information on SCV Habitat for Heroes, click here.
CPRS Award in recognition of the Open Space Program
The City of Santa Clarita received an Award of Excellence for its Open Space Preservation District (OPSD) and Open Space Program at 2012 California Parks and Recreation Society Conference in Long Beach
“Recognized in the category of environmental stewardship, the city’s Open Preservation District received this prestigious award because of its commitment to build a greenbelt of protected natural land around the entire of Santa Clarita Valley for all to enjoy,” said Laurene Weste.
Since its formation the OSPD has acquired over 6,100 acres of land and help reduce impacts on wildlife corridors, preserve threatened and endangered habitats and protect many species native to California.
COMMITTEE REPORTS/COUNCILMEMBER COMMENTS
Councilmember Bob Kellar mentioned a petition to prevent CEMEX from building their mega mine. He also offered his support for Measure CK for $72 million in upgrades for Sulphur Springs School District. The measure will be on the June 5 ballot. He mentioned Twin Oaks Equine as a new veterinarian business in town.
Councilmember Laurene Weste mentioned the “popular” beach fest.
“It really is a nice way to get to the beach,” said Weste.
She also spoke of an article about healthy Santa Clarita and people enjoying the city’s new website on trails.
“We are really getting active and out there,” said Weste.
Councilmember Marsha McLean spoke of representing Santa Clarita at the truck lane groundbreaking on the Interstate 5.
“That should be completed by 2014,” said McLean.
McLean also asked resident to mark June 11 at 6 p.m. on their calendars for the High Speed Rail public meeting at Sulphur Springs Elementary School.
“It behooves us to have a large turnout at that meeting,” said McLean.
She emphasized the effect the rail line will have on homes, churches and schools.
McLean also mentioned a “good piece of news” that Supervisor Anthonvich told her that he wants the “shovel in the ground” for the Bob Hope Airport station.
The SCV Chamber of Commerce is having an e-waste recycling event Friday, June 15 beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Councilmember Timben Boydston recalled his previous term on the council and lamented there has been no resolution on the CEMEX project. He said that state senators Boxer and Feinstein are supportive of legislation, but speaking for himself he called for local 25th District Congressman Howard “Buck”McKeon to bring the legislature forward. He called on McKeon to “redefine what an earmark is in this case” since earmarks seem to be a stumbling block for the congressman.
“A lot of people really need your help,” said Boydston as a message to McKeon.
APPOINTMENT OF COUNCILMEMBER BOYDSTON TO SERVE AS A MEMBER OF THE SANTA CLARITA BOARD OF LIBRARY TRUSTEES
On April 19, 2012, Mayor Ender submitted her resignation from the Santa Clarita Board of Library Trustees. To fill this vacancy the city council adopted a resolution appointing Councilmember Boydston to the Board of Library Trustees for a vacancy expiring June 30, 2013.
Boydston asked that the position, in the future, be held by a citizen who might have more background in libraries. McLean raised her voice at Boydston’s request. Mayor Ferry objected to Boydston’s suggestion that he was elected to return control to the county. Boydston said he his position was misunderstood, however he wanted to involve the citizens on the Board of Trustees.
McLean objected to Boydston’s use of the term “hastily” in regards to replacing the county library system. She said meetings with Supervisor Michael Antonovich were unproductive over 10 years before making the move the city took.
Boydston’s suggestion was tabled for a later discussion.
CONDUCT PUBLIC HEARING AND ADOPT AN ORDINANCE GRANTING A FRANCHISE AGREEMENT TO CRIMSON CALIFORNIA PIPELINE, L.P.
On March 27, 2012 the city council adopted a resolution to declare the city's intent to adopt the proposed franchise agreement with Crimson California Pipeline, L.P. for the purpose of transporting oil by pipeline in certain designated areas of the city. This second reading adopted the ordinance with appropriate revenue in the amount of $15,000 to the Franchise Fee Revenue Account.
Santa Clarita resident Cam Noltemeyer mentioned living near the area. She said the YMCA is located below the tanks. She said in the 1994 earthquake there was a leak that spread across McBean. She asked to have the item pulled and have officials check the pressure on the line.
Boydston had questions for a representative of Crimson California, Eduardo Ferrer, focusing on the issue of insurance.
Mr. Ferrer agreed that what could be transported on the line could be flammable.
“The pipeline runs right through the middle of Valencia. I’m not sure how many people are aware of that,” said Boydston.
Boydston said he needed more specific answers before would feel comfortable moving forward. He would be 100 percent against the agreement for revenue in the amount of $15,000.
Ferry said he didn’t want the council creating a panic. He mentioned the potential danger of gas lines running throughout the city and planes flying overhead from Burbank airport as comparison.
Ferrar said they have pipes running throughout California and even under airport runways.
“They run perfectly fine,” said Ferrar.
Weste said pipes are the preferential way to move oil. She asked if the city was adequately insured. Montez said they were according to the old agreement.
City Manager suggested the city council could approve the deal contingent upon matching the Shell insurance parameters.
Montez said that if the insurance change was requested then a new reading of the ordinance would be required. This was a second reading.
“There’s a point we need to trust our insurance people and our staff,” said Ferry.
The mayor said he was afraid Boydston was opening a Pandora’s Box. He didn’t want to see editorializing from the public and Councilmembers (referring to Boydston) bringing up past lawsuits of people doing business with the city.
The Councilmembers voted 4-1 to approve the revised ordinance. Boydston had the dissenting vote.
RENEWAL OF SUPPORT FOR SANTA CLARITA VALLEY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (SCVEDC) –
The SCVEDC is requesting a financial investment for its third year in operation in the amount of $200,000. In November 2009, the city council approved an initial first year investment in the SCVEDC of $200,000. The Economic Development Corporation’s request, for $200,000 for FY 11/12, represents the third and final year of that commitment from the city.
Councilmember Kellar expressed his support of the EDC. He said he attends the meetings and monitors the progress. Over the last year he says he’s seen extraordinary accomplishments. He says the city cannot just sit back and wait for businesses to come to them it’s a mistake.
“This helps all of our businesses,” said Kellar.
McLean asked if the EDC could continue without the city’s financial input. Jonus Peterson President/CEO of the SCVEDC said they want to minimize public investment in the future; however he believes a budget of a million dollars per year would be productive.
Ferry said they voted three years ago on an unknown. He said he saw the three years as a testing period and if there’s a benefit to the $200,000 he would want to continue the partnership.
According to the SCVEDC, since June 1, 2011, they have attracted or retained 10 businesses totaling 610 jobs for the Santa Clarita Valley. They have pitched relocation to over 350 companies and currently have 34 prospects that are actively evaluating the Santa Clarita Valley. They created a 10-page overview brochure, published a 50-page Economic Development magazine focused on the aerospace industry, held another economic outlook event earlier this year and just partnered with the dity to produce an event targeted to commercial real estate brokers.
During the first year, the SCVEDC hired an Executive Director; commissioned a target industry analysis which confirmed our top target industries of aerospace, biomedical, manufacturing, and film; installed City Manager, Ken Pulskamp, on the SCVEDC executive board of directors; and held an economic outlook conference on April 28, 2011. In addition, the SCVEDC participated with the city and the county in the successful application for a new and expanded Santa Clarita Valley Enterprise Zone for the region. The SCVEDC raised funds from private businesses to pay for the consultant who oversaw the Enterprise Zone application process, and is currently partnering with the city on the marketing of the program and outreach to local businesses to encourage their participation.
Moving forward, the expectations for the SCVEDC are to focus on business attraction with tangible results during the current calendar year that show major businesses relocating to the Santa Clarita Valley as a result of SCVEDC efforts.
The item was passed.
The terms of various Planning Commissioners, Parks, Recreation & Community Services Commissioners, Arts Commissioners, and Open Space Preservation District Financial Accountability and Audit Panelmembers will expire on July 31, 2012.
Additionally, there is an unscheduled vacancy for one term ending July 31, 2014, as a result of John Dortch's resignation April 8, 2012. This item initiated the process to fill these vacancies.
The item was passed.
SUBMISSION OF THE DRAFT 2012-2013 ANNUAL ACTION PLAN AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) FUNDING ALLOCATION RECOMMENDATIONS
The City of Santa Clarita receives CDBG Entitlement funds annually from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and is required to submit an Annual Action Plan. The city council approved the Draft 2012-2013 Annual Action Plan and the Community Development Block Grant funding recommendations.
The item was passed.
DEMOLITION OF BUILDINGS - OLD TOWN NEWHALL, PROJECT F2008 - AWARD CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT
The project will allow for the demolition of three existing buildings located in Old Town Newhall, located on property owned by the city. The city council voted to award the construction contract for the demolition to C & R Demolition Industries, Inc., in the amount of $37,500, and authorize a contingency in the amount of $7,500.
Councilmember Weste abstained on the 4 -0 vote for approval.
ANNUAL LEVY OF ASSESSMENTS FOR SPECIAL DISTRICTS
This required procedural matter orders, approves, and sets the Public Hearing for the annual levy of the Drainage Benefit Assessment Areas, Landscape Maintenance Districts, Street Light Maintenance District, Golden Valley Ranch Open Space Maintenance District, and Tourism Marketing District.
The item was passed.
ANNUAL LEVY OF ASSESSMENTS FOR OPEN SPACE PRESERVATION DISTRICT
McLean asked if there could be a cap on the amount of money that can be taxed. This year it will be a dollar. She said she is a big supporter of Open Space but thought the council would rule on the tax being raised.
“I have a problem with it going up every year,” said McLean.
The city council adopted the resolution initiating proceedings for the levy and collection of assessments within the Open Space Preservation District for Fiscal Year 2012/13; and adopt resolution declaring the city's intention to levy assessments and preliminarily approve an Engineer's Report in connection with the Open Space Preservation District for Fiscal Year 2012/13, and set a Public Hearing for May 22, 2012.
The item was passed.
AWARD CONTRACT FOR TRASH MAINTENANCE AND GENERAL CLEANING SERVICES OF BUS STOPS –
Award contract to Great Cleaning Service, Inc for the trash maintenance and general cleaning service of bus stops in the amount of $71,927, and authorize a contingency of 10% of the award, or $7,193, for a total of $79,120.
The item was passed.
AWARD CONTRACT FOR BID NUMBER LMD-11-12-30, FOR LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE SERVICES IN LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE DISTRICT ZONE 18 TOWN CENTER / TOURNEY AND T-1 CITYSCAPES
City staff facilitated a competitive bid process to secure new landscape maintenance service contracts for Landscape Maintenance Districts No. 18 (Town Center/Tourney) and T-1 (Cityscapes) and recommends award of contracts in the annual amount of $122,880, plus a 20 percent contingency of $24,576, for a two-year contract in the amount not to exceed $294,912.
The item was passed.
SANTA CLARITA PUBLIC LIBRARY REVISED INTERNET USE AND SAFETY POLICY
The Santa Clarita Public Library (SCPL) Internet Use Policy was originally adopted by the Board of Library Trustees in May of 2011 in compliance with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) to prevent minors from accessing harmful materials. This policy requires the SCPL to provide filtered internet access for all patrons under 18 years of age and holds parents and legal guardians responsible for any and all internet use by minors. The changes proposed to this policy will incorporate additional language found in the CIPA, so library patrons are more aware of the strict internet filtering practices in place and followed by the Santa Clarita Public Library.
According to the Internet Use and Safety Policy:
“Filtering software may not block all material users find offensive. Librarians cannot act in the place of parents in providing constant care and supervision of children as they explore the Internet. Parents and legal guardians are responsible for monitoring any and all Internet use by minors, and consent given on the part of parents or legal guardians for a Library card constitutes acknowledgment by the parents or guardians that they have a responsibility for monitoring their child’s use of all Library resources, including the public computers.”
Approval of this revised Internet Use and Safety Policy qualifies the SCPL to continue receiving “deeply discounted” eRate pricing for data and telecommunication services.
The item was passed.
TRANSFER TITLE OF TWO RETIRED SURPLUS BUSES TO ANTELOPE VALLEY TRANSIT AUTHORITY
In August 2010, Santa Clarita Transit took delivery of four new 2010 commuter buses and retired four 1998 buses that had reached the end of their useful life. Of the four retired buses, two are maintained as contingency vehicles, and two are considered surplus. The Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) has requested that the City of Santa Clarita donate the two surplus vehicles to their agency.
All Santa Clarita Transit buses are federally funded. In accordance with Federal Transit Administration (FTA) regulations, a grantee is allowed to retire a bus that has reached a life of 12 years or 500,000 miles. The AVTA, which operates commuter express service from the Antelope Valley to Downtown Los Angeles, Century City, and the west San Fernando Valley, has requested that the City of Santa Clarita donate the two surplus vehicles to their agency.
In partnership with Los Angeles County, AVTA intends to refurbish these vehicles and place them into service on a new route that will operate between the Antelope Valley and the Newhall Metrolink Station in Santa Clarita. The new service will operate Monday through Friday and will supplement the Metrolink train service between the two Valleys.
The requested vehicles would allow AVTA and the County to start the planned service this summer and avoid the 12- to 18-month delay associated with purchasing and taking delivery of new buses. It would also allow the city to discontinue Route 795, which operates between Santa Clarita and the Antelope Valley, and reallocate those resources and increase service frequency on Route 757 to North Hollywood.
The requested action is in full accordance with the city’s and FTA disposition guidelines.The city council authorized the City Manager to transfer ownership of two (2) retired and surplus commuter buses to the Antelope Valley Transit Authority.
The item was passed.