Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR & CITY COUNCILMEMBERS

FROM: ADMIN. SERVICES DIRECTOR/CITY CLERK

DATE: MARCH 2, 2004

SUBJECT: LOS ANGELES COUNTY WEST VECTOR CONTROL DISTRICT – CITY REPRESENTATIVE

RECOMMENDATION

At the request of Mayor Gardiner, continue this matter until the May 18th City Council meeting.

BACKGROUND

The City is a member of the Los Angeles County West Vector Control District (District), which is responsible for making policy concerning the eradication of various vectors such as mosquitoes, rats and the Africanized honeybees. The District was formed in 1944 and at that time contained about 5 square miles. Over the past 60 years, however, there has been a number of annexations and the District now covers approximately 600 square miles, contains 23 cities and unincorporated territory of the County of Los Angeles, and provides services for 3,166,000 people. This makes the District the second largest vector control district in the state of California by population served.

Besides the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, the District includes the cities of Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Culver City, El Segundo, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Hidden Hills, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lomita, the westerly portion of Los Angeles City, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Santa Monica, Torrance, West Hollywood, Westlake Village, and unincorporated territory of the County of Los Angeles. Attached is an "overview" of the District’s functions and the responsibilities.

The District is governed by a Board of Trustees and each city and county within its boundaries is allowed to have one representative on the Board. A fact sheet received from Bob Saviskas, the Executive Director of the District, describes the appointment process as follows:

1. The California Health and Safety Codes restricts the first time appointments of a Trustee to a two (2) year term. Following that term, a Trustee may be reappointed to a two (2) or four (4) year term at the discretion of the appointing body (city council).

2. Trustees who attend the regularly scheduled meeting are compensated with a payment of $50 in lieu of expenses.

3. A Trustee must be a resident and an elector of the city from which he/she is appointed.

4. If a reappointment is not made prior to the end of the Trustee's term, the Trustee will continue to serve and represent that entity until officially reappointed or replaced.

5. Verification of the reappointment or replacement is to be done by written notice certified by the city clerk and mailed to the District for filing.

6. Trustees do not serve at the pleasure of the appointing body. Specifically, the Trustee's appointment cannot be rescinded by the appointing body during the length of the term. This allows the Trustee to act in the best interest of public health free of any undue political pressure. Replacement during the term is permitted only in the event of the death, resignation, or incapacity of the Trustee.

Of the sixteen members currently on the Board, six are city council members and ten are at large appointees (residents of member cities). Former City Councilman John McTaggart has represented the City on this Board since July 1996. He was reappointed by the Council in June 1998 and again on May 21. 2002. His current term runs through July 16, 2004. In January 2004, however, Mr. McTaggart was appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees and that term runs through February 2005. Mr. McTaggart has submitted a letter (See Exhibit "A") requesting that the Council consider extending his term through that date.

CONCLUSION

The City is a member of the West Vector Control District and we are now represented by former Councilman John McTaggart who is three months into his term as Chair of the Board of Trustees. The City Council now needs to determine if Mr. McTaggart should continue to represent the City, or if another person should be appointed.

Respectfully submitted,

Jo Purcell

Reviewed:

Les Evans, City Manager

LOS ANGELES COUNTY WEST VECTOR CONTROL DISTRICT

6750 Centinela Avenue

Culver City, CA 90230

(310) 915-7370 ext. 223

Fax: (310) 915-9148

www.lawestvector.org

 

Mosquitoes, Vectors & Public Health

The primary objective of mosquito and vector control is to preserve or create an environment favorable to humans and animals by lessening the effect that mosquitoes and other vectors have upon our lives. California Health & Safety Code has defined "vector" as any animal capable of transmitting the causative agent of human disease or capable of producing human discomfort or injury, including, but not limited to, mosquitoes, Africanized honeybees, ticks, midges, or other insects but not including any domestic animal.

Even mosquitoes which carry no transmissible disease but are present in sufficient numbers to produce intense annoyance and distress to humans and animals are recognized as a public health problem. Public health, more than the mere absence of disease, includes the right to an environment free of mental and physical discomforts that destroy its positive values. For more than two generations, the control of pest mosquitoes has been a recognized function of mosquito and vector control agencies. Within this concept the role of mosquito abatement and vector control districts has expanded to include the control of biting midges and blackflies, Africanized honeybees, Red Imported Fire Ants, and ticks.

The history and importance of mosquito control are founded on the direct relationship of mosquitoes to the health, comfort, and economy of man. In early historic times some societies undertook drainage projects to remove the sources of mosquitoes and other biting insects that plagued them.

Today, mankind is most aware of and concerned about mosquitoes, ticks and other vectors for their disease transmission potentials which are of great significance throughout the world. Malaria, yellow fever, Dengue fever, filiariasis, and the encephalitides (West Nile virus, St Louis encephalitis, and Western Equine encephalitis) are well known infections of man that are transmitted by mosquitoes, but less well known are many prevalent diseases of domesticated animals such as equine encephalitis, heartworm of dogs and blue tongue of sheep.

Other vectors and carriers, such as cockroaches, filth flies, biting flies, ticks, fleas, and rodents are involved in the transmission of diseases such as dysentery, Lyme disease, relapsing fever, leptospirosis, and plague.

And other vectors, such Africanized honeybees and Red Imported Fire Ants can cause severe allergic reactions, pain and is some cases death from their stings and bits.

Economic Importance

Vector- transmitted diseases which affect mankind incur an expenditure of time or money or loss of health and productivity and lower the economic potentials of a community.

Economic losses from mosquitoes and other vectors are measured in reduced human and animal productivity, increased medical care expenses, and possible loss of life.

Additional economic losses are incurred by reduced tourist trade, recreational activities, real estate values, and land development.

The control of mosquitoes and other vectors can be expensive in that it requires public education, utilization of applicable physical, chemical, and biological control measures, and the employment of trained technicians and support personnel. All of this is paid for by a portion of each citizen's tax dollar

First Antimalaria Control Efforts

The devastating effects of malaria in California's central valley in 1908 led to an education and demonstration program on malaria and anopheline mosquito control conducted by Professor William B. Herms of the University of California, Berkeley, and sponsored by the Southern Pacific Railway. The first organized antimalaria program was undertaken at Penryn in the Sacramento Valley in 1910, and later the same year an anti-malaria program was started in nearby Oroville.

First Legislated Abatement Agencies

In 1915 the California Legislature adopted the "Mosquito Abatement Act" which has been incorporated into the State Health and Safety Code (H&S) as Chapter 5 of Division 3. This formed the basis for the creation, governing powers, and functions of mosquito abatement and vector control districts.

Current Status of California Vector Control Agencies

There are currently 64 organized mosquito and vector control agencies in California. They provided control measures for over 21 million citizens. There are 3,000 species of mosquitoes known throughout the world. Most, but not all, feed upon mankind and other animals. They feed upon birds, reptiles, and mammals. Fifty described species of mosquitoes occur in California, but only a dozen of these are considered to be of importance to human health and comfort. Mosquitoes are adaptable. All species originated in the wilds but many have accommodated to the easy living conditions provided by man in association with his use of water. Consequently, the mosquito populations of developed or urban areas may exceed those in the unimproved and rural areas.

Flight habits vary greatly. Some mosquitoes stay close to the water in which they developed, others frequently fly distances of up to 40 miles and extreme flights up to 110 miles with favorable winds have been documented.

More than 53,000 square miles of land are already included within the boundaries of local mosquito and vector control agencies in the State of California. However, the combination of existing unprotected regions and the development of new residential areas will ultimately increase the number of square miles requiring operational control programs.

Los Angeles County West Vector Control District

The Los Angeles County West Vector Control District (District) was formed in 1944 and contained about 5 square miles. Over the next 60 years, there have been a number of annexations into the District. The District now covers approximately 600 square miles, contains 23 cities and unincorporated territory of the County of Los Angeles, and provides services for 3,166,000 people. This makes the District the second largest vector control district in the state of California by population served.

The District includes the cities of Agoura Hills, Beverly Hills, Calabasas, Culver City, El Segundo, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Hidden Hills, Inglewood, Lawndale, Lomita, the westerly portion of Los Angeles City, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Santa Monica, Torrance, West Hollywood, Westlake Village, and unincorporated territory of the County of Los Angeles. The District is governed by a Board of Trustees. Each city and county within the boundaries of the District is allowed to have one representative each on the Board. This appointment is made by the governing body, either the city council or county board of supervisors. The regular meetings of the Board of Trustees for the Los Angeles County West Vector Control District are held every second Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the District's offices in Culver City.

The California Health and Safety Codes restrict the first appointment of any Trustee to a two (2) year term. Following that term, a Trustee may be reappointed to a four (4) year term by the appointing body. If a reappointment is not made prior to the end of the Trustee's term, the Trustee will continue to serve and represent that entity on a day-to-day basis until officially reappointed or replaced by the governing body. Verification of the reappointment or replacement is to be done by written notice certified by the city clerk and mailed to the District for filing.

As provided for in California Health and Safety Code ( 2200 et seq.), the District Board may take all necessary or proper steps for the control of mosquitoes, Africanized honeybees, ticks, or other vectors, in the district; abate as nuisances all standing water and other breeding places for mosquitoes or other vectors; enter upon any property either within the district for any of the following purposes: (1) to inspect to ascertain the presence of vectors or their breeding places, (2) to abate public nuisances in accordance with the California Health & Safety Code and local nuisance abatement ordinances, either directly or by giving notice to the property owner to abate nuisance, (3) to ascertain if a notice to abate vectors has been complied with, and (4) to treat property with appropriate physical, chemical, or biological control measures; and do any and all things necessary for, or incident to, the powers granted by, and to carry out the objects specified in, this chapter (California Health and Safety Code, Chapter 5). California Health & Safety Code has defined "vector" as any animal capable of transmitting the causative agent of human disease or capable of producing human discomfort or injury, including, but not limited to, mosquitoes, Africanized honeybees, ticks, midges, or other insects but not including any domestic animal. These provisions provide the authority for policies adopted by the Board of Trustees under which the District operates.

Present and Future Challenge:

Costs and the complexity of mosquito and vector control in California have increased markedly since the adoption of the Environmental Protection Act in 1969. Continuous increases in the number of governmental regulations and permitting bodies have greatly altered and restricted chemical usage for pest control. The rising cost of development of alterative chemical and bio-rational control products combined with the resistance of many vector species to existing pesticides continue to hamper and complicate control measures. In an era of increasing health hazards, regulatory restrictions, and legislation designed to reduce special district revenues, vector control agencies must continuously work to develop and maintain adequate, effective, and innovative approaches to provide the protective vector control services that the public desire.

These are the challenges which boards face to ensure the future health and economic stability of the communities in their districts.

Functions of the Board of Trustees

Boards of Trustees of vector control districts are empowered to undertake and carry out a vast number of duties under the State Health and Safety Codes.

The Board of Trustees is an oversight body. The primary function of the Board of Trustees is the establishment of policies and guidelines. The Board employs the Executive Director and delegates the authority to the Executive Director to execute, enforce, and interpret if necessary, these policies and guidelines on a daily basis. The Executive Director communicates with the Board and provides the information necessary to make intelligent decisions regarding such matters. Once policies are set, Trustees must, both individually and collectively, recognize and respect the separation of the functions of the executive (Executive Director) and the policy makers (Board).

The Executive Director is responsible for the planning, organization, direction, evaluation, supervision, administration and execution of the operations of the District. The Executive Director is empowered to define the organizational structure, and to assign functions and lines of authority to employees to carry out the objectives of the District.

 

Trustee Responsibilities and Liabilities

As public officials, Trustees are obligated to perform their duties in compliance with all applicable laws and, as fiduciaries of a public trust, to act in the best interests of the public that they serve.

Trustees are limited to acting collectively as a body at properly called meetings of the Board, and have no individual authority relative to District policies, procedures, staff or the public policies. All contact with staff or respect to public policy statements should be governed accordingly.

Trustees must conduct themselves in compliance with the Brown Act and with the Political Reform Act of 1974, two bodies of law that have particular significance to public officials and affect them on a daily basis. Trustees should spend special attention to the requirements of both of these laws and seek advise from the Executive Director should they have questions or concerns about compliance.

Trustees who act in good faith and perform their duties in accordance with the guidelines set forth in this manual are generally shielded from personal liability in the event that they are named in lawsuits brought against the District. The District may properly use public funds to defend and indemnify Trustees under those circumstances. Personal liability arises only when a Trustee commits a wrongful or malicious act outside the scope of his or her duties.