Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS

FROM: CITY MANAGER

DATE: MAY 20, 2003

SUBJECT: VARIOUS STATE LEGISLATIVE BILLS

RECOMMENDATION

Consider legislative bills as requested to be placed on the agenda by Councilmember Larry Clark.

BACKGROUND/DISCUSSION

This item was continued from the May 6, 2003 Council meeting.

In accordance with City Council policy, Councilmember Larry Clark has requested certain legislative bills to be reviewed and considered by the entire Council. Below is a summary of each legislative bill of interest. Should Council wish to support or oppose a legislative bill, staff will prepare the appropriate letters for the mayor and/or Councilpersonís signature. A motion for a neutral position on any legislative bill will result in no action by staff, although individual Councilmembers may personally prepare and send letters of support or opposition at anytime.

Copies of each legislative text are attached for review.

AB 299 (Lowenthal) Vehicles: taxicabs and passenger vehicles for hire.

Councilmember Larry Clark requests the Council to consider supporting this legislative bill. AB 299 requires an officer of the law to impound a taxicab or other "for hire" passenger vehicle for up to 30 days if reasonable cause exists to believe that the vehicle is operating in violation of local licensing requirements.

The City of Los Angeles is sponsoring this bill to curb "bandit" taxicabs operating without a City license. The City of Los Angeles contends that unlicensed cabs pose a threat to public safety and should remain out of operation as long as possible. According to the Taxicab Paratransit Association of California, "bandit" cabs generally do not have any insurance, are often poorly maintained are very difficult for enforcement to catch. The impoundment procedure is hoped to serve as a substantial deterrent to violators.

This bill passed the Assembly and a hearing in the Senate Committee on Transportation is scheduled for May 20, 2003.

AB 872 (Strickland) Speed limits, divided urban highways.

Councilmember Larry Clark requests the Council to consider this legislative bill. This legislative bill originally proposed a maximum speed limit of 45 mph on urban, divided, and restricted access arterial highways (such as Hawthorne Boulevard and Palos Verdes Drive South). However, AB 872 was amended in the Assembly Transportation Committee on April 22, 2003, and the original proposal was eliminated. AB 872 as amended simply clarifies an existing law by defining "urban, divided, and restricted access arterial highways". The net result is no significant change or impact. The bill was referred to the Senate.

As a matter of background information, the original intent was to allow government agencies to raise or lower speed limits, as they deem necessary, without losing the ability of radar enforcement. Generally, speed limits are determined on the basis of engineering and traffic surveys that measure prevailing speeds. Speed limits are then established at or near the 85th percentile. Although existing law permits local agencies to set speed limits below the 85th percentile due to safety factors such as residential density, and pedestrian and bicyclists, speed limits not set within 5 mph of the 85th percentile constitute a "speed trap" and therefore are not eligible for radar enforcement.

AB 872 passed the Assembly Committee on Appropriations on April 30, 2003 and it was read for the first time in the Senate on May 13, 2003.

Registered Support:

City of Thousand Oaks (billís sponsor)

Registered Opposition:

Automobile Club of Southern California

California Bus Association

California State Automobile Association.

AB 1544 (Simitian) Elections

Councilmember Larry Clark submitted this legislative bill request for Council consideration in favor of AB 1544. AB 1544, as amended on April 21, 2003, proposes to authorize cities with a population of 100,000 or less, school districts, and special districts to conduct all-mail ballot elections to fill a vacancy in a special election. The all-mail ballot election would be subject to the following conditions:

  1. the legislative body must authorize the use of mailed ballots by resolution;
  2. the election must be a special election to fill a vacancy;
  3. the election must not be held on the same date as a statewide primary or general election; and
  4. the return of voted mail ballots would be subject to the same regulations as absentee ballots.

On April 22, 2003, the Assembly Elections, Redistricting and Constitutional Amendment Committee passed this bill and referred it to the Assembly Committee on Appropriations.

Registered Support:

Association of California Water Agencies
City of Belmont
City of San Carlos
League of California Cities
Secretary of State Kevin Shelley

Registered Opposition: None filed.

FISCAL IMPACT

None associated with this report.

PREPARED BY
Gina Park
Sr. Administrative Analyst

APPROVED BY
Les Evans
City Manager

Attachment:

  1. Legislative Text
  2. Draft Support Letters

Date

Assembly Member Lowenthal

State Capitol, Room 4146

Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: AB 299 (Lowenthal)--Support

Dear Assembly Member Lowenthal:

On behalf of the City Council of Rancho Palos Verdes, I am pleased to report the Councilís full support of AB 299. AB 299 requires a magistrate presented with the affidavit of a peace officer establishing reasonable cause to believe that a vehicle is being operated as a taxicab or other passenger vehicle for hire in violation of licensing requirements adopted by a local authority under a specified provision of the Vehicle Code to issue a warrant or order authorizing any peace officer to immediately seize and cause the removal of the vehicle. In addition, AB 299 authorizes a vehicle to be impounded for a period not to exceed 30 days and provides procedures for release of the vehicle prior to the end of the 30-day period.

Currently, cities lack the legal authority to hold impounded unlicensed taxicabs for an adequate period of time. As a result, unlicensed taxicabs are immediately reused and these unlicensed taxicabs endanger the public. AB 299 will provide a State code empowering local authorities to impose up to a 30 day impound. Enacting legislation that will alleviate this problem is of particular importance to cities in order to ensure the safety of all its citizens.

Sincerely,
Douglas W. Stern
Mayor

Date

Assembly Member Strickland

State Capitol, Room 4098

Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: AB 872 (Strickland). Vehicles: Speed Limits: Divided Urban Highways.

Notice of Support

Dear Assembly Member Strickland:

The City Council of Rancho Palos Verdes is pleased to support AB 872, which clarifies the inclusion of urban, divided, restricted-access arterial highway under existing law for establishing maximum speed limits.

The City is disappointed that the original proposed language to increase a local agencyís ability to set speed maximum speed limits on specified types of urban streets, rather than relying on the current inflexible formula that essentially gives speeders a role in setting posted limits was eliminated. The City hopes this issue will return in future discussions.

Sincerely,
Douglas W. Stern
Mayor

Date

Assembly Member Simitian

State Capitol, Room 5119

Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: AB 1544 (Simitian). Elections.--Support

Dear Assembly Member Simitian:

The City Council of Rancho Palos Verdes supports AB 1544, as amended, which would authorize cities with a population of 100,000 or less, school districts, and special districts to conduct all-mail ballot elections to fill a vacancy in a special election.

The City supports AB 1544 because it reduces the otherwise costly procedures for conducting municipal elections, and allows citizens to vote without the burden of having to travel to a voting poll, which can be burdensome for those who do not have easy access to transportation.

The City appreciates your leadership in introducing AB 1544.

Sincerely,
Douglas W. Stern
Mayor