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D R A F T
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
AUGUST 3, 2004
The meeting was called to order at 6:00 P.M. by Mayor Gardiner at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, and was immediately recessed to closed session. At 7:00 P.M., the meeting was reconvened for regular session.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City Manager Petru; Assistant City Attorney Lynch; Director of Planning, Building, and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Director of Public Works Dean Allison; Finance Director McLean; Senior Planner Fox; Associate Planner Mihranian; City Clerk/Administrative Services Director Jo Purcell; and Recording Secretary Denise Bothe.
Councilman Wolowicz led the flag salute.
Mayor Gardiner advised that a free composting workshop is scheduled at Hesse Park on Saturday, August 14, 2004, 10:00 A.M.
Councilman Long mentioned that he was not in attendance at the last Council meeting because he was on vacation; stated that he attended various stages of the Tour de France; and he presented to the Mayor and Councilmembers small, symbolic gifts from that event.
Mayor Gardiner thanked Councilman Long for his thoughtfulness and generosity.
Mayor Gardiner announced the names of the three recyclers of the month winners, two from the first meeting in July and one from the last meeting in July: Scott Smith, Alex Bertolina and John Kashe, all who will receive a check for $250, which represents a year of free refuse service. He encouraged everyone to recycle and advised that a new batch of cards has been placed inside the drawing container.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Councilman Stern moved to approve the Agenda as submitted. Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Jerry Duhovic, 32415 Nautilus Drive, commented on his opposition to placing a number of "Do Not Enter" and other traffic-related signs within the view of his home and other homeowners living near East Vista Park, above Ocean Trails, on Palos Verdes Drive South. He explained that a number of signs have been erected to warn motorists of imposing traffic and to direct motorists to the scenic turnout areas. He stated that he has conferred with staff on this matter; that he had received a letter from Director Allison and Deputy Director Pfost in which they provided some analysis for the location of these signs. Mr. Duhovic stated that there are currently four points of conflict in this intersection and that the City is adding a fifth with this parking lot for East Vista Park; and stated that there are two additional scenic outlooks/parking lots -- one to the east and one to the west, both of which he believes could have easily been placed across from an intersection. He stated that the one to the east, which is across from the large homes in the Sea Cliff area, is directly in the middle between Sea Cliff Drive and Palos Verdes Drive East; and that he believes the scenic parking lot at the Abalone Cove area should have been placed elsewhere.
With regard to the Abalone Cove scenic turnout, just before Wayfarer’s Chapel, Director Allison explained that there are other overriding issues that were taken into consideration when trying to figure out where to place these traffic signs, such as the problems with the topography and terrain in the landslide area and the sewer pipes that are located above ground. With regard to the one near Ocean Trails, he indicated that it does not line up with the intersection at Sea Cliff and stated that he would need to research the placement of that signage to give Council a better answer as to why that site was chosen. Director Allison stated that what is important to Public Works in the placement of these signs is that they must be close to the park and where motorists can easily view the signage.
Mr. Duhovic noted his understanding that the City specifically graded the land to accommodate the placement of the signage, that it was not necessarily dictated by the topography.
Mayor pro tem Clark asked staff if they can envision any flexibility with the movement of these signs and yet preserve the Public Works concept for adequate placement.
Director Allison stated that he believes there is room between Concord, that it could possibly be moved to the east; but he expressed his belief that this would not be a good solution. He pointed out that the highest volume of traffic is on PVDE; stated that Public Works staff is trying to minimize the number of driveways onto PVDE; and explained that another location would be added in a short period of time and be too close to the deceleration lane into Ocean Trails. He stated that it could be done, but that the traffic engineer would not be in support of that proposal.
Mr. Duhovic noted his concurrence that moving it to the east would not be a feasible solution, and he suggested that it be moved further to the west.
Director Allison stated that moving it further to the west would not be advisable because its placement would be further away from the park.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned the status on the plans for painting the center lines for the proposed island and questioned if the painting could accommodate a wider path.
In response to Councilman Wolowicz’ inquiries, Director Allison noted that it was the preference of the Sea View residents for there to be no island between Concord and Forrestal, believing that no island would achieve a safer means of ingress/egress; advised that the road is currently paved with asphalt and that he is not aware of it being striped at this time; and explained that the painting could allow for a wider width to accommodate more traffic.
Mr. Duhovic noted his appreciation of Director Allison’s quick responsiveness to his emails and phone calls.
Mayor pro tem Clark suggested that Public Works staff meet with the Sea View homeowner’s leadership to provide them with an overview of the overriding issues that staff had to take into consideration when choosing a location for the signage and the location of the scenic turnouts; and he asked that this issue be returned to Council if there are significant issues that arise in the future.
Larry Sandoval, representing the American Cancer Society, invited everyone to participate in the first annual RPV Relay for Life event, a 24-hour team event to honor cancer survivors, those who continue to fight this disease, and to remember those who have died from the disease. He stated that the purpose of this event is to raise awareness and to raise funds for a cancer cure. He explained that there would be teams of 8 to 15 people who will take turns walking or running around the high school track over a continuous 24-hour period to help raise funds for the event. Mr. Sandoval added that there would be a survivors’ lap event and a luminary ceremony for those who continue to fight the disease and for those who have passed. He stated that the event would take place at Peninsula High School starting August 13, 2004, at 6:00 P.M. to August 14, 6:00 P.M.
Lois Larue, 3136 Barkentine Road, thanked Mr. Redfield for taking her home from some of the City Council meetings; and thanked Mayor Gardiner and City Manager Evans for their offers to take her home from the City Council meetings. She urged the public to pick up copies of the additions/revisions and amendments to agenda.
CITY MANAGER REPORTS:
Mayor Gardiner noted that old business is reflected on the City’s website.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, for approval of the Consent Calendar as submitted. (This motion was superseded.)
At this point Councilman Wolowicz requested removing Agenda Item No. 7 from the Consent Calendar, presentation of estimated general fund reserves with staff reports that include a request for a budget adjustment and monthly financial reporting - recommendation of ad hoc committee.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Consent Calendar as amended. The motion carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
Motion to Waive Full Reading.
Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at this meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all Council Members after the reading of the title.
Approval of the Minutes: May 18, Regular Meeting, and July 16, Special Meeting.
Approved the Minutes.
Treasurer's Report for the Month of June 2004.
Received and filed the Treasurer's report for the month of June 2004.
Commercial Refuse and Collection Agreement with Calmet Services, Inc.
Authorized the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute a Non-Exclusive Franchise Agreement for Commercial Refuse Collection and Disposal Services with CalMet Services, Inc., to be effective through December 31, 2004.
Border Issues Status Report.
Reviewed the status of border issues and provided direction to the City Council Committee and Staff, if necessary.
Amendment to Agreement between the City and the Peer Review Panel Reviewing the Ocean Trails Project.
Authorized the Mayor and the City Clerk to execute the proposed First Amendment to Agreements for Professional Services between the City and the Peer Review Panel Members.
Rejection of Bids Received for Storm Drain Project.
(1) Rejected all bids received on July 14, 2004 for the rehabilitation of storm drains in Rancho Palos Verdes; and, (2) Requested staff to revise the project plans and re-advertise the project.
Register of Demands.
ADOPTED RESOL. NO. 2004-64, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ALLOWING CERTAIN CLAIMS AND DEMANDS AND SPECIFYING FUNDS FROM WHICH THE SAME ARE TO BE PAID.
Presentation of estimated General Fund Reserves with staff reports that include a request for a budget adjustment and monthly financial reporting - recommendation of ad hoc committee.
The staff report of August 3rd recommended the following: (1) Staff will attach the proposed Schedule of Estimated General Fund Reserves (see Exhibits A and B) to every staff report that includes a request for a budget adjustment; and, (2) Staff will prepare a monthly City Manager report highlighting notable revenue and expenditure trends and variances to budget.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he, Mayor Gardiner, City Manager Evans, Director McLean, and Finance Manager Downs got together to help formulate this report; he thanked Mayor Gardiner for his participation in this effort; and explained that he requested this effort to take place in order to provide financial information to City Council in a non-burdensome manner that is both reasonable and practical to read. He advised that most municipal bodies do not routinely receive a standard set of financial statements each month, but more on an annual basis; explained that it is important for this body in its financial management to see changes as they are likely to occur, to see trends and single items that are unusual; that when there is movement of numbers, changes with the budget, new revenues or increases of fees, all these have an impact on revenues and expenditures; and that, frequently, this body does not get a chance to see all of that information. He pointed out that it is not his objective to inundate staff, but to provide the Council with some type of a score card it can look at during the course of the year so that Council can make more informed decisions in its consideration of managed funds. He stated that while this package still does not provide a traditional set of financial statements, it greatly improves the amount of financial information provided to make the Council more aware of the changes in the budget. He thanked and commended Director McLean and his staff for assisting him in this process and keeping the information practical, concise and for developing a helpful tool that can be used in the future.
Councilman Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to concur with staff recommendation. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
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Tract Map No. 52666 Revision 'B' (Applicant: 3200 PVDW, LLC)
Staff recommended that this matter be continued again to October 5, 2004.
Andrew Mottram, RPV, noted his delight with the reduction in grading; but stated that he is still concerned with excavation activities in terms of how it might affect his property; and he mentioned that staff did advise him of some assurances that are in place to protect his property – questioning whether his property will be covered if cracks result as a consequence of the excavation activities. Mr. Mottram stated that the most concern to him is the impact of Lot No. 12 on his view; and he noted his concern with potential future increases in the ridgeline because of raising the pad height.
In response to Mr. Mottram’s inquiry, Senior Planner Mihranian explained that there is a condition for the tract map that a bond must be posted for a Certificate of Insurance, demonstrating that the applicant has obtained a general liability insurance policy in the amount of not less than $5 million – adding that this has been done and that a copy of the insurance policy is on file with the City. With regard to the speaker’s concern with the ridgelines, especially that of Lot No. 12, he indicated that that lot is not proposed to be raised and that a condition runs with the property, the land, and that if a future request to raise this lot were to be proposed, it would have to go through the public hearing process.
City Attorney Lynch explained that the point of the insurance is to cover the grading of construction; and stated that she has not seen a copy of the policy and that at this time; she cannot say what coverage has been provided.
Mayor Gardiner expressed his desire that a copy of this insurance policy be presented so that it is clear the policy covers what the City is asking for; and he asked that staff research whether there is adequate insurance to cover any damages. He stated that if the policy contains exclusion about possible damages, that this matter is brought to City Council for review.
John Aube, 7420 Alida Place, RPV, with the aid of photographs depicting the elevation above his property, highlighted his concerns with the excavation activities so close to his home and noted his opposition to the planned elevations, expressing his belief that this is essentially placing his property in a pit; advised that as a result of the excavation activities, his property now has numerous cracks on the northerly perimeter wall, cracks in the driveway, patio, garage and inside the house; and he urged the City to allow his property to be at the same elevation as that of the one behind his property, which is consistent with the properties on Alida Place. He addressed his opposition to the dramatic reduction in his views because of this project. He stated that according to the City Attorney’s statement, since the applicant is asking for a change in elevation at this time, all elevations now come into question.
Mr. Aube noted his understanding that these elevations were approved in 2001; however, after three years of being approved, the plans were recorded only four months ago.
Senior Planner Mihranian explained for Councilman Wolowicz that Mr. Aube’s property was originally a split-level lot; and that when the home was proposed, there was a grading application to lower it to the elevation that is depicted in the photographs to allow a larger structure. He added that when the property was originally graded, the elevations would have been similar to what is proposed by the current applicant and that they could be relatively at the same elevation.
In response to Councilman Wolowicz’s inquiry regarding the grading, Senior Planner Mihranian explained that Lot No. 3, which is directly behind Mr. Aube’s property, was raised from Palos Verdes Drive West, working its way upward; and that the lots were terraced, raised, but that each lot is relatively at the same elevation as the adjacent properties on Alida Place, except for this particular lot.
Mr. Aube stated that when one looks at the original elevations, the original contour of the land prior to the excavation process was very similar to his backyard contour when he purchased this property; and expressed his belief that these contours which are reflected in the photographs are unnatural and that they’re not in compliance with the standards the City approved for this project.
Mayor pro tem Clark asked Mr. Aube if he inquired of City staff what would happen with the neighboring land when he purchased his property in October 2003.
Responding to Mayor pro tem Clark’s question, Mr. Aube stated that he had contacted City planning staff, a Mr. Ryan Luckert, who stated the elevations would be similar with the elevations that were currently in place.
With regard to the house that is now 18 feet above Mr. Aube’s patio, Mayor Gardiner asked if these 18 feet is due to the prior owner lowering the pad and how much of it is due to buildup.
Senior Planner Mihranian, in response to Mayor Gardiner, stated that he would have to research that information before providing an answer and that he will bring that information back to Council.
Sid Croft, representing the applicant, expressed his concurrence with staff recommendation to continue this matter in order to gather more facts to respond to the issues of concern.
Mr. Estefani, the project developer, expressed his belief that the angle the photographs depict are misleading and misrepresent the actual grading levels. He expressed his belief that Mr. Aube is misinformed.
Mayor pro tem Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to continue this public hearing to the City Council’s October 5, 2004 meeting.
The Mayor and Council indicated an interest in having site visits to get a clearer picture of the issues in this case and asked that staff facilitate the scheduling for Councilmembers to visit the site so as not to create a Brown Act violation.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered the continuance of this matter.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
Councilman Long stated that he attended the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo on Friday, July 30th.
Councilman Stern noted the following events/meetings he attended:
Mayor Gardiner noted the following events/meetings he attended:
Mayor pro tem Clark thanked Councilman Stern for his nomination to the board of the California League of Cities. He highlighted the history of the California League of Cities; and added that over the last five years, it has become a strong force in what it has been accomplishing for cities throughout California. He expressed his belief that Chris McKenzie is the main driving force behind its success.
Last week on behalf of Council, Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he represented the City at the League’s Annual Mayors and Councilmembers Executive Forum in Monterey; noted that one of the things most obvious with the timing of the conference was the negotiations on the state budget; and explained that this was the first time ever the League, in concert with the California Counties Association, had a seat at the negotiations table. He stated that Chris McKenzie briefed the 500+ elected officials at the forum on what took place in terms of final negotiations and what came out of those negotiations, which allowed the League to preserve a ballot initiative, now sponsored by the Governor and state legislature last week, to constitutionally protect local source of revenues in the future; in return, he stated that cities and counties would contribute $1.3 billion to the state budget over the next two fiscal years. He stated the legislature signed on only after coming to the agreement that in times of economic emergency declared in the state, they could suspend the constitutional protection twice in a decade and potentially borrow money from the cities, paying back with interest; advised that after an economic emergency being declared, it would take a 2/3rds’ vote of the legislature to be able to take some of those revenues from the cities and counties, borrowing it, and paying it back with interest before the legislature can do it for the second time within that 10-year span. He stated that the Governor himself attended the conference on Thursday, thanking the League and member cities that helped to sustain the negotiations with the legislature. He advised that some of the issues discussed at the conference were new strategies for hiring city managers, neighborhood traffic calming, promoting public confidence, cities’ contracting practices, creating great neighborhoods dealing with density – expressing his belief that in the near future, this City will need to address pocket infill development. Mayor pro tem Clark encouraged his colleagues to get involved in the League’s activities.
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
Ridgegate Traffic Concerns.
The staff report of August 3rd recommended the following: (1) Establish four-way stop controls, marked crosswalks and associated pavement markings at the intersection of Ridgegate Drive and Ridgehaven Court/Ridgepoint Court; (2) Establish four-way stop controls, marked crosswalks and associated pavement markings at the intersection of Ridgegate Drive and Ridgecove Court; and, (3) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO 2004-65, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ESTABLISHING FOUR-WAY STOP CONTROLS AT THE INTERSECTIONS OF RIDGEGATE DRIVE AND RIDGEHAVEN CT/RIDGEPOINT COURT AND RIDGEGATE DRIVE AND RIDGECOVE COURT.
Councilman Stern moved seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to concur with staff recommendation.
Councilman Wolowicz complimented staff on working with the residents on this matter and requested a copy of the City’s neighborhood traffic calming program description and to provide a distinction on the issues regarding the collector streets.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Regulation of septic systems on private properties
The staff report of August 3rd recommended the following: (1) Receive an update from the Director of Public Works regarding current activities of the Regional Water Quality Control Board regarding septic systems on single-family lots; and, (2) Authorize the Director of Public Works to submit a letter to the Regional Water Quality Control Board indicating that there is not adequate information currently available to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the regulation of septic systems.
City Manager Evans stated that the letter is to notify Council that the City is passing the deadline imposed by the Regional Water Control Board.
City Attorney Lynch explained that staff believes it is not appropriate to proceed at this time because there is insufficient information about what the County is actually going to do.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to concur with staff recommendation. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Request to Rename Ocean Trails Drive
The staff report of August 3 recommended that Council consider the request from the Trump Organization to rename Ocean Trails Drive to Trump National Golf Club.
Staff indicated for Councilman Long that this item could be tabled at any point in the discussion.
Mayor pro tem Clark noted that it was Mr. Trump’s intent, if he retained the property, to rename it; advised that he suggested to Mr. Trump that he consider renaming it Trump National at Rancho Palos Verdes or Palos Verdes; and noted that Mr. Trump stated that most people do not know where Palos Verdes is located. Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he explained to Mr. Trump that many peninsula residents have been offended with his plans to not identify the location as Rancho Palos Verdes or Palos Verdes and instead to identify it as Los Angeles. He asked Mr. Kaplinski if he knows whether Mr. Trump is willing to reconsider using Rancho Palos Verdes or Palos Verdes in that new title.
Jeff Kaplinski, representing Trump National, stated that Mr. Trump had indicated to him his intent to use Trump National Los Angeles in the title, not Rancho Palos Verdes; explained that a more familiar name is necessary to identify the location of the golf course, but that Mr. Trump had indicated he would not rule out that request at this time.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to table this item. Hearing support only from Councilman Long and Councilman Stern, Councilman Long moved to suspend the rules to allow discussion of the motion to table this item. Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Councilman Long stated that he moved to table this matter because the golf course has yet to be completed and opened, that he believes this request is premature, and that Mr. Trump has some issues to work out with the City and the School District; and stated that when the course is open, he believes that would be an appropriate time for Council to re-examine the request.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he is concerned with the ultimate longevity of the ownership of the course and whether the City may have to again change the name of the street.
Mr. Kaplinski stated that the Trump organization plans are under way to change the name of everything associated with this project and that they would like this to occur between now and before the course is open. He noted his expectation that the course will be open just after the first of the year.
Councilman Stern noted his concurrence with Councilman Long’s statements; and asked if an application had been submitted for the driving range.
Mr. Kaplinski stated that an application for the driving range has yet to be submitted because they are proactively seeking to have the proper environmental studies conducted for this site.
Noting a recent article in the Daily Breeze, Councilman Stern questioned if Mr. Trump is under the impression that the application had already been submitted to the City.
In response, Mr. Kaplinski stated that there was a permit application submitted originally; however, City staff sent a letter stating that a different approach would have to be taken; and advised that the Trump organization is not sure if they agree with that approach and that they are now waiting to come up with a design that they feel comfortable with.
Referring to the same newspaper article, Councilman Stern asked Mr. Kaplinsky if a permit application had been submitted for the bungalows.
Mr. Kaplinski stated for Councilman Stern that no application for the bungalows had been submitted.
Mayor Gardiner spoke in favor of tabling this item, but he expressed his desire that the two sides cooperatively work together in looking at the renaming.
Mr. Kaplinski discussed the possibility of making the roadway a private street.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to renew the motion to table this matter. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
RECESS AND RECONVENE
Mayor Gardiner recessed the meeting at 8:35 P.M. The meeting was reconvened at 8:41 P.M.
Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones
Senior Planner Fox presented the staff report and the recommendation to review the information regarding Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZs) in the City and on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and provide direction to staff to work with the other Peninsula cities to develop more appropriate boundaries for these zones.
Councilman Long reiterated his concern that some homeowners in his area and on Flaming Arrow Drive had been denied homeowner’s insurance coverage because of their proximity to what has been referred to as a high fire hazard zone.
Councilman Stern stated that other than more clearly delineating those areas that should be in or out of the high fire hazard zone, he questioned what the practical effect would be, such as, would it lead companies on a more rigorous basis not to insure people as a result of the City’s research.
Senior Planner Fox stated that staff does not have a good sense of this matter yet and that staff would like to do more research with the insurance companies to find out what the effect would be.
Councilman Stern stated that it is not a bad thing to require added fire protection on the Peninsula and extra precautions, stating that this is helpful for the safety of the residents.
Councilman Long addressed his concern that if insurers are going to treat this area as a very high fire hazard area for their underwriting purposes, it may force some homeowners into buying substandard insurance. He noted that on the other hand, depending on how these designations play out and what effect they have on developed areas as opposed to undeveloped areas, the residents may be able to lessen a problem in acquiring insurance.
Councilman Wolowicz questioned how this designation could have happened without the City’s knowledge and asked that the mapmaker be contacted to determine how this conclusion was reached.
Councilman Stern pointed out that most of the residents have been able to obtain insurance at an acceptable level and asked that research with the insurance companies be done on a low-key basis – noting his concern that under the guise of fine-tuning this, it may create a larger problem than what currently exists.
Councilman Long explained that this is not just an issue of whether there is competition, but that there could potentially be problems with the sale or transfer of property in a high fire hazard zone and the requirements for disclosure; and he suggested that staff consider consulting with the real estate community about it, and if it becomes an issue, what impact that rating might have.
Mayor Gardiner echoed Councilman Stern’s concerns.
City Attorney Lynch reiterated staff’s desire to further research this matter.
Councilman Long echoed the concern about keeping the research low key.
City Attorney Lynch suggested that no action be taken at this time other than to receive and file staff report and stated that she and staff will continue in their research of this matter.
Mayor Gardiner stated that one of the options should be to concur with the Fire Department’s position.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to receive and file staff report; to direct staff to proceed with additional investigation and bring the matter back to Council, as staff feels it appropriate, with recommendations and alternatives based on this evening’s discussion. No objection was noted.
City Council Badges
Councilman Stern presented staff report and the recommendation that (1) The City Council should adopt a policy eliminating the City Council badges; (2) If City Council members believe that it is desirable to have a medallion of some sort, I suggest that the City have a medallion designed like our City logo; and, (3) Said medallion should not be made to look like a law enforcement officer's badge of any sort.
Councilman Stern explained that he asked for this item to be placed on the agenda; advised that the issued badges are very similar in design to the Sheriff’s badges, but noted that the badges are different in that they reflect "City Official for Rancho Palos Verdes"; and explained that from his perspective, there is no legitimate reason for Council to have these badges. He stated that Council has also been issued by the Sheriff’s Department a pictured identification containing their signature, which he believes can easily be used during an emergency or disaster. He provided a history on the badges. He pointed out that the badge does not provide any identification, that it bares no name or picture; and reiterated his belief that the badges serve no valid purpose in terms of identification of the official. Councilman Stern stated that he is bothered by some of the unfortunate misuses of these badges, highlighting a series of articles and letters that ran in the Daily Breeze, where a Councilman from Redondo Beach improperly flashed his badge when he became angry at a disabled motorist in his city; and advised that the Councilman admitted to letting his temper get the best of him and that he acted irresponsibly when he displayed his ceremonial badge. He pointed out that a former Council member from RPV had inappropriately used the badge. He stated that given the fact that no one can keep people from losing their tempers and acting irresponsibly and that given the lack of justification for having this type of emblem, he suggested that RPV do away with the Councilmember badges. Because he understands that some people would like to have some sort of medallion to identify the stature of position, he stated that a nicely designed emblem/medallion could be designed to show the City logo and stated that it would serve the same ceremonial purpose, and that it would eliminate the potential for misuse of these badges. He asked that the City adopt a policy to eliminate the use of the badges and that if Council desires, that a medallion be designed, but that the medallion not look at all like the law enforcement badges.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that the badges are part of the identification given out to publicly elected officials to use in times of emergency or disaster, badges of elected officials that resemble law enforcement to facilitate the elected official being able to cross police lines and get to a disaster or emergency in their community. He stated that the badges are not unique to this county, but that almost every municipality distributes badges to the elected officials for these purposes. He pointed out that in today’s hostile environment, these badges are essential. While there have been a few incidences in other municipalities, Mayor pro tem Clark stated that he is not aware of any misuse of the badges in this City with this Council; that if Council is to develop policy based upon the lowest common denominator of behavior, then it ought to look at taking away Council’s ability to enter into and authorize contracts – pointing out that there have been elected officials in the South Bay area that have gone to jail for malfeasance. If there was an issue in this town, he stated that it would be addressed; he pointed out that this is a time-tested tradition of issuance that should not change; and he stated that he sees no need and has no desire to change this tradition.
Mayor Gardiner stated that because the misuse has occurred in a very small number of cases compared to the number of badges that have been distributed, he would not support doing away with the badges; but stated that he would prefer an approach to establish some protocols for proper badge use. He stated that the badge is a secondary identification to the identification card – pointing out that false identification cards can easily be manufactured; and noted his belief that this combination works well in emergencies.
Councilman Long stated that he has found little occasion to use the badge; noted that he understands the concept that a badge can be a useful secondary reinforcement to the identification card, but stated that he is not sure of the answer to the more specific question: does the badge have to be so closely similar to a law enforcement badge to achieve whatever the purposes are that the City wants it to achieve. Councilman Long advised that he has used the badge on two occasions: once to get the hotel tax removed in Sacramento when he was there on City business and once when he was running late for a flight where he was on a trip partly for City business. He explained that while flashing his badge at the airport got him ahead in line, it also caused some confusion when he continued to board the plane, that he was questioned about carrying any weapons. In conclusion, he stated that while he can see the advantages of having a badge that in an emergency can expedite him getting through lines, he is not sure he sees a benefit to it being confusingly similar to a law enforcement badge as opposed to being merely a secondary accompaniment to City Council identification.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he spoke about this subject with four current or retired police chiefs in the South Bay area, all who expressed an opinion that the badges were of benefit. He stated that he had occasion to use the badge to enter a gated homeowners community to attend a meeting. He expressed his belief that the badges help Councilmen fulfill their role during an emergency. He noted his support that a protocol sheet be distributed to everyone who receives a bad, which says that the badge is not to be misused and to always be prepared to show it. He added that if there is fear of abuse, that that abuse be reprimanded; and pointed out that because these are elected officials who have these badges, the residents have the power to remove these abusers from office if they desire. He stated that if a medallion is to be used in place of the badge that is similar to the Sheriff’s Department badges, that the Sheriff’s Department personnel be advised of this change so that there be no confusion during an emergency or disaster.
Councilman Stern pointed out that at least one RPV badge is unaccounted for; stated that while Mayor pro tem Clark believes the badge to be valuable, he expressed his belief that it is secondary to a photo I.D., which immediately tells people who you are, and stated that it is a far superior way to identify an individual. He stated that the comments that the misuse doesn’t happen real often still doesn’t mean that Council should have these when a photo I.D. card quickly identifies Councilmembers; and stated that to halt any potential for abuse of the badge, this body should direct staff to find an alternate symbol that can be put in place of the current badges.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to adopt a policy to eliminate the current badge; and, to direct City Manager Evans to get appropriate designs for a City Council medallion. The substitute motion ultimately superseded this motion.
Mayor Gardiner stated that if Councilman Stern is worried about abuse of the badge, that he is free to turn his in at any time; and stated that the ultimate arbitrator of all this body is the voter. He stated that these badges have a history of being used; those most elected officials throughout the nation have badges; and reiterated his belief that both forms of I.D. are essential.
By way of a substitute motion, Mayor Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Clark, to retain the current use of the badge and to establish the appropriate protocols for the proper use of these badges.
Councilman Long stated that he could support a portion of the substitute motion to develop protocol for the use of the badges; but stated that in his opinion, the difficulty with just writing the protocol is that it addresses only the side of the question of abuse by the holders of the badges and that it does not address the more important side of the question: the confusion of those seeing the badges. He expressed his belief that a badge with a medallion can be sufficiently designed so that it is not confusing to those that see it. He stated that the newly designed badge should include the City’s logo. In listening to all statements by the Councilmembers this evening, he stated that he has not yet heard a persuasive case for keeping the current badge, why the badge should continue in a design that so closely resembles law enforcement badges such that it can cause the type of confusion that he experienced at the airport.
Mayor pro tem Clark expressed his belief that the badge as currently designed is in place so that law enforcement officials can quickly recognize it; stated that it is too easy for an individual to falsely have an I.D. card made; reiterated that these badges are not made up by the City, that they come from the County and are in this shape to quickly facilitate the ability to recognize publicly elected officials and facilitate their movement in disaster areas or emergency situations; and noted his strong opposition for Councilman Stern to base the new policy on bad behavior that has been experienced elsewhere in the county and/or state.
Lieutenant John Herrera from the Lomita Sheriff’s Station stated that the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has been issuing these badges to 44 contract cities for approximately 30 years; and advised that the badge is well known within the county and the state. In response to Councilman Long’s inquiry regarding the possibility of altering the design, he stated that it would be possible to alter the badges if the City decided to change.
Councilman Stern pointed out that he is not implying that anyone on this Council is misusing the badge.
Mayor Gardiner stated that he would favor a policy to deal with the badge’s proper use; and that if it did not work, then he would support the removal of the badges.
City Manager Evans respectfully requested that the Mayor appoint an ad hoc committee of two Councilmembers who would develop a policy that can be presented to full Council for consideration; explained that after listening to the differing opinions, staff would be uncomfortable drafting the protocol for the proper use of these badges.
Councilman Long stated that in his opinion, ad hoc committees are developed for purposes of communicating and gathering information and not for formulating policy, that policy should be formulated by the full Council.
Roll call on the substitute motion to retain possession of the badges and to develop protocol for the proper use of the badges carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Wolowicz, and Mayor Gardiner
NOES: Long, Stern
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to split the motion. No objection was noted.
Motion to retain the badges carried as follows:
AYES: Clark, Wolowicz, and Mayor Gardiner
NOES: Long, Stern
Motion to establish a protocol carried as follows:
AYES: Long, Wolowicz, Mayor Gardiner
NOES: Clark, Stern
Councilman Wolowicz questioned how staff should proceed with the development of the protocol.
In response to the Council’s comments and desire for staff to draft the protocol, City Manager Evans noted that at this point, he would draft the protocol to state that it is inappropriate for a Councilmember to use the badge when boarding an airplane; that it is inappropriate to use it outside of this jurisdiction; that it should only be used to cross police lines in the case of an emergency or disaster; and he reiterated his discomfort with staff drafting this protocol.
In response to Councilman Wolowicz’ suggestion that this body provide suggestions to include in the protocol, Mayor Gardiner encouraged the Councilmembers to send any information that would help City Manager Evans and staff draft the protocol; and stated that Council will ultimately decide what protocol to adopt.
Mayor pro tem Clark suggested that staff investigate protocols that other jurisdictions have put in place.
Formation of Nonprofit Corporation for Municipal Fundraising Purposes
City Manager Evans presented staff report and the recommendation to (1) Amend the Articles of Incorporation for the Community Forum, Inc., to expand the purpose statement to encompass the desired fundraising activities and to change the name of the corporation rather than forming a separate nonprofit public benefit corporation to raise funds for City projects; and, (2) Appoint a City Council ad hoc committee to work on determining the purpose of the foundation, developing the by-laws and recommending an appropriate name.
Councilman Stern stated that he would like to get a copy of these bylaws; and noted his concern with the lack of information he has about the existing entity.
City Manager Evans advised that this nonprofit was formed in 1978 to publish a City newsletter that is still published; noted that in 1997, the post office advised the City that the nonprofit was no longer eligible for reduced postage rates; and that
the City stopped using this nonprofit at that time. He stated that the nonprofit board is made up of three individuals who are no longer with the City. He added that the City has been annually filing a statement to the state and IRS to reflect that no money has been spent since the post office stopped paying for postage of the newsletter in 1997.
Councilman Stern noted his understanding that if the City alters the purpose of this nonprofit, that the City may have to go through a re-exemption process.
City Attorney Lynch stated that she would need to double check whether the City would have to file for a re-exemption with any alteration; and advised that the original purpose for the nonprofit was to provide information to the City and its residents in the form of the newsletter; and stated that those bylaws would still remain but that the City would expand on those bylaws. She indicated that she would check with the IRS to make sure this change is appropriately made.
Councilman Wolowicz asked that the bylaws clearly define what the funds would be used for; and he generously offered the services of his firm, free of charge, to do the annual filings for the 501 (c) 3 – pointing out that he would be looking to facilitate this for the benefit of the community.
City Attorney Lynch advised that City Clerk Purcell has already been in contact with the board members to set up a meeting to appoint new members to the board; and she indicated that any individual who would be appointed to this board would have to be approved by the City Council.
Councilman Stern moved that this process be canceled if it will cost more to do rather than forming a new entity; that City staff do what is necessary to get this entity into a meeting with the City so that the board members could appoint new board members; that once the City has control of this entity, that the articles should be amended in some fashion to meet the purposes that Council articulates for a nonprofit – pointing out that Council has not yet discussed any amendments; and that Council appoint an ad hoc committee to recommend some of those amendments.
Mayor Gardiner requested that the motion be amended to include that Council authorize the appointment of City Manager Evans and Director McLean as the two new board members and that the current board members appoint them to the board so that the City would now have control of the nonprofit going forward.
Councilman Stern accepted the amendment to his motion.
Councilman Wolowicz seconded the amended motion. Without objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
City's Investment Policy
The staff report of August 3 recommended adoption of the FY 04-05 investment policy for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Councilman Stern moved to approve staff recommendation.
Councilman Long stated that he is supportive of staff recommendation, but urged staff to keep an eye on any changes that might take place with the legislature that would impact this City.
Councilman Wolowicz addressed his concern with the City having 100 percent of its funds in one area, stating that it is not the recommended method for investing; and stated that it would be prudent to consider some other sources for a more balanced fund.
Mayor Gardiner noted his support for considering other sources.
Director McLean explained that this investment policy does not preclude the City from making investments in other vehicles other than the State’s Local Agency Investment Fund (LAIF); and advised that the policy clearly states that the treasurer shall utilize LAIF to the extent feasible and practical, not absolute. He explained that staff had done informal research a year ago of other pooled funds that are similar to LAIF, where someone else is managing the cash portfolio; and advised that it was clear LAIF was outperforming those pooled funds by .3 percent, which on $30 million is a substantial amount of earnings difference – approximately $90,000. He explained that staff report indicates that staff is conducting an informal inquiry with a couple money managers with municipal experience; that the City’s goal is to determine – setting aside the issue that’s been raised about eggs in one basket – whether the cost of managing a portfolio with the professional advice of others offset against additional earnings might be gained versus only using LAIF; and then with that information, staff would present those findings to Council, make a recommendation as to whether to choose a managed portfolio, what the costs would be, including that of the money managers as well as staffing.
Councilman Long expressed his belief that it might be appropriate to slightly modify the proposed policy wording on page 5, third paragraph, and suggested the following wording: "The Treasurer shall utilize LAIF or substantially comparable pooled funds to the greatest extent feasible and practical." He questioned whether the City needs full liquidity across the board or can the City depart from some degree from liquidity and talk about laddering with some of the City’s funds.
Councilman Stern stated that safety of the funds is the most important consideration; and he questioned if LAIF has some internal laddering.
Director McLean stated that LAIF does stagger the term of its investments.
Councilman Long moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to adopt
staff recommendation; to modify the proposed policy constraints and guidelines
on page 5, third paragraph, as follows: "The Treasurer shall utilize LAIF
or substantially comparable pooled funds to the greatest extent feasible and
City Attorney Lynch explained that the City has adopted a very fiscally conservative investment policy over the years; and stated that during the 1990’s, the City narrowed down the financial institutions to the very largest financial institutions that had the largest asset value. She stated that she is not opposed to Councilman Long’s suggested language.
There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that he would still like to see what secure alternatives there might be.
In response to Councilman Long’s inquiry regarding liquidity, Director McLean explained that LAIF is liquid.
Councilman Long questioned whether the City really needs that level of liquidity and whether the City, without sacrificing safety or principle, could get better returns through some diversification outside of LAIF.
Real Estate Listing Agreement
The staff report of August 3 recommended that Council authorize the execution of the real estate agreement with Call Realty with the intent to sell the property located at 30678 Palos Verdes Drive East for fair market value.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to approve staff recommendation.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that it may be advantageous to keep this property in order to potentially attract and retain top caliber talent to serve the City in the future, giving an example of Beverly Hills providing housing assistance for its City Manager.
Councilman Stern noted Mayor pro tem Clark’s absence from the June 15 City Council meeting wherein this matter was discussed at length; advised that discussion included the point that Mayor pro tem Clark raised, but that Council determined there are risks associated with continued ownership of this property; and expressed his belief that the City should not be tying up public funds with this type of asset.
Councilman Long advised that this discussion took place in closed session and that the four Councilmembers decided to sell this property; and expressed his opinion that if the City were to decide to maintain a house for staff, he would not be convinced that this is the right house to offer. Because of the budget, he noted his preference to sell this property; and stated that if circumstances change, if the City has the adequate cash in the future, Council can at that time consider purchasing a house.
Councilman Wolowicz stated that a lot of ideas were discussed during that meeting; and mentioned that from his own perspective, he is uncomfortable with governments straying too far from their intended purpose, which is not to own this type of real estate.
Mayor Gardiner stated that discussion took place that offering this type of compensation to a staff member could also be a disincentive to city manager candidates, noting that this would not allow them to build equity of their own and that it would create the tendency to provide a smaller salary with that type of a setup. He expressed his belief that offering a good salary will attract very qualified applicants.
Councilman Long commented on the possibility of the City subsidizing a house loan or an equity sharing agreement.
City Attorney Lynch advised that staff needs to establish with the former property owner whether they wish to exercise their right to first refusal and, if so, if they wish to do it now or when an offer comes in.
Mayor pro tem Clark stated that the Council’s points had been well taken; pointed out that this community is getting less affordable for workers in the public sector; questioned whether this City is desirous of having its city manager live in the community; and stated that the City could consider some type of housing assistance if that were to become an issue. Mayor pro tem Clark stated that while he agrees with what is transpiring, he pointed out that a year and a half ago, this same issue came up wherein he was successful in convincing the majority of Council to hold on to this property; and that had they not held on to this property, the 6-figure net potential income from this transaction would not have occurred.
Councilman Long moved to accept staff recommendation, but to amend it and direct that staff determine if the prior owner plans on exercising the first option to buy now in exchange for 2.5 percent off the listing price. Councilman Stern seconded the motion. There being no objection, Mayor Gardiner so ordered.
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
City Attorney Lynch stated that with respect to the Cox negotiations, Council gave further direction to the City’s negotiators to try to wrap up the deal with Cox – pointing out that Councilman Long recused himself from the Cox matter; and stated that reports were given on the two litigation matters, but that no action was taken.
At 10:59 P.M., the City Council was adjourned on motion of Councilman Stern.