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The meeting was called to order at 7:01 p.m. by at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, Rancho Palos Verdes.
Roll call was answered as follows:
PRESENT: Stern, Long, Gardiner, Wolowicz and Mayor Clark
Also present were City Manager Les Evans; Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Carolynn Petru; City Attorney Carol Lynch; Director of Finance Dennis McLean; Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement Joel Rojas; Interim Director of Public Works Ray Holland; Deputy Planning Director Greg Pfost; and, Minutes Reporter Debra Presutti.
Interim Director of Public Works Ray Holland led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Mayor’s Did You Know presentation focused on the West Nile Virus. Mayor Clark stated that a Red Tailed hawk from Rancho Palos Verdes had tested positive for the virus and emphasized that no human cases have been reported and that Councilman Stern, the City’s representative to the Vector Control District, would keep everyone apprised if there were any breaking news in that regard. He outlined the risks associated with infection and prevention techniques to avoid contracting the virus and stated those interested in obtaining more information should visit the Vector District’s website at www.lawestvector.org.
Mayor Clark announced Mark Pope and Habid Tagala of Rancho Palos Verdes as recyclers of the month and urged everyone to participate in the City’s recycling program.
APPROVAL OF AGENDA:
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the Agenda.
Paula DiFiora, Rolling Hills Estates, invited everyone to attend the 33rd annual Music Faire featuring the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra at Palos Verdes High School on Sunday October 23rd beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Lois Larue, Rancho Palos Verdes, thanked the City for placing a fence at the entrance to the Portuguese Bend landslide area along Palos Verdes Drive South area and encouraged everyone to participate in the upcoming open house at the Lomita Sheriff’s Station.
Roland Driscoll, Rancho Palos Verdes, stated that a five-year moratorium on building permits was imposed when the City was incorporated 32 years ago. He indicated that there has been a tremendous increase in traffic and a significant loss of open space and wildlife since he and his family moved to the City 18 years ago. He suggested that residents will more fully realize the changes to their way of life once the Trump and Long Point projects have reached their full occupancy and urged Council to consider imposing another five-year building moratorium to allow time to assess the situation.
CITY MANAGER REPORTS:
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reminded the audience stated that items previously discussed and continued to a future Council meeting can be viewed on the City’s website at www.palosverdes.com/rpv.
APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported that late correspondence was distributed on Items No. 4, 6, and 7.
Mayor Clark requested that Item No. 5, Acceptance of the County of Los Angeles’s $1,000,000 Contribution Toward the Purchase of Open Space in Portuguese Bend, be removed for comment and noted he would be abstaining from Item No 2, Approval of Minutes, due to his absence at that meeting; and Item No. 8, Award of contract services for an Environmental Impact Report for proposed improvements to Marymount College, because he resides near the college.
Councilman Long requested that Item No. 9, Interim Improvements to McCarrell Canyon/Barkentine/Sea Cove and Miscellaneous Citywide Drainage Improvements, be removed for questions and indicated he would be abstaining on Item No. 7, Security Deposit for Benefit of Verizon and Sprint to Pole Use Agreement to enable connection between the City Hall Voice and Data Network and Point Vicente Interpretive Center” because of a potential conflict of interest.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz also requested that Item No’s. 7 and 9 are removed for discussion.
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 Minutes
Adopted the Minutes of May 3, 2005.
Repair of the Tarapaca Storm Drain
Reviewed and reconfirmed by a four/fifths (4/5) vote, the Council’s previous action on December 21, 2004 to authorize staff to conduct an informal bid process to repair the Tarapaca Storm Drain.
Claim Against the City by Lynn Hardwick
Rejected the claim and directed staff to notify the claimant.
The Acceptance of the County of Los Angeles's $1,000,000 Contribution Toward the Purchase of Open Space in the Portuguese Bend Area
The item was removed and discussed following approval of the Consent Calendar.
Tract Map No. 52666 Revision “C” (Applicant: 3200 PVDW, LLC)
1) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2005-108, ADOPTING ADDENDUM NO. 3 TO MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION / ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT NO. 708; 2) ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2005-109, CONDITIONALLY APPROVING REVISION ‘C’ TO TRACT MAP NO. 52666 AND GRADING PERMIT NO. 2282; and, 3) Executed and filed an amendment to the Affordable Housing Agreement.
Security Deposit for Benefit of Verizon and Sprint Pursuant to Pole Use Agreement to Enable Connection Between the City Hall Voice and Data Network and Point Vicente Interpretive Center
This item was removed and discussed following approval of the Consent Calendar.
Award of contract for services to prepare an Environmental Impact Report for proposed improvements to Marymount College (30800 Palos Verdes Drive East)
Authorized the Mayor and the City Clerk to sign a professional services agreement in an amount not to exceed $198,930, with RBF Consulting, to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project on property located at 30800 Palos Verdes Drive East.
Interim Improvements to McCarrell Canyon/Barkentine/Sea Cove and Miscellaneous Citywide Drainage Improvements
This item was removed and discussed following approval of the Consent Calendar.
Register of Demands
ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2005-110, 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.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to approve the Consent Calendar, as amended, with Item Nos. 5, 7 and 9 removed.
The motion to approve the Consent Calendar as amended carried on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Long, Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz and Mayor Clark
ITEMS REMOVED FROM CONSENT CALENDAR:
The Acceptance of the County of Los Angeles's $1,000,000 Contribution Toward the Purchase of Open Space in the Portuguese Bend Area
Mayor Clark stated that the $1 million from Los Angeles City Council Supervisor Don Knabe represents a significant contribution towards the preservation of open space on the peninsula. On behalf of the entire City and Council, he commended the Board of Supervisor and, in particular, Supervisor Knabe, saying that he believes it would be appropriate to send a letter of appreciation from the Council as a whole.
Barbara Dye, Executive Director of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, indicated that they truly appreciate the personal involvement of Supervisor Knabe and his assignment of bond money to this project, saying that it creates a great partnership which brings the City, the County, and the Land Conservancy together to acquire this open space.
Councilman Stern voiced his personal thanks to Supervisor Knabe, saying that he has been tremendously supportive as well as a wonderful friend. He expressed gratitude to Ms. Dye, Director Rojas, and City staff for their dedication, saying that he knows how much work this effort has taken.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Wolowicz, to ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-111, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES ASSIGNING THE RIGHT TO THE PALOS VERDES PENINSULA LAND CONSERVANCY TO APPLY FOR EXCESS FUNDS FROM THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES REGIONAL PARK AND OPEN SPACE DISTRICT FOR THE PURCHASE OF OPEN SPACE IN THE PORTUGUESE BEND AREA.
Without objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
Security Deposit for Benefit of Verizon and Sprint Pursuant to Pole Use Agreement to Enable Connection Between the City Hall Voice and Data Network and Point Vicente Interpretive Center
Councilman Long recused himself from this item and left the Council Chambers.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz inquired if there are similar agreements for pole use in the City.
Director McLean stated that the only other pole agreement is with Southern California Edison, the difference being that they did not require a security deposit.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz stated that he looks for good will from the utilities the City deals with and would like staff to explore whether the deposit is actually necessary or if there is some way of reducing it, suggesting that occur perhaps a year or two after this current project has been completed. He indicated that he understands it from a business perspective but believes it really is a bit over zealous on Verizon’s part.
Councilman Stern queried what the deposit is meant to secure.
Director McLean explained that the agreements include the right of the pole owners to conduct inspections to ensure that nothing different has been done to the poles than was initially represented, noting that the utilities have experienced situations in the past where they have leased poles only to discover later that far more was attached to them than what was originally agreed to.
Councilman Stern agreed with Mayor pro tem Wolowicz, saying that $15,000 may be a security deposit but it essentially is in perpetuity and is $15,000 in tax dollars from which the City’s residents will receive no benefit.
Director McLean indicated he that looks forward to reporting Council’s comments as well as their direction to revisit the issue to both Verizon and Sprint, saying that as a staff member this has been an extremely frustrating process.
Councilman Gardiner inquired if the fiber cable will be capable of connecting to the existing fiber-optic cable so that it can be linked into the City’s Channel 33 facilities.
Director McLean answered that its express purpose is to connect PVIC and City Hall through a network, adding that it will also have the ability to connect the Channel 33 facilities.
Councilman Stern expressed hope that the physical connection will have no constraints on the signal sent through it, saying that, if it does have the capability to connect to the studio, he would not want the agreement to limit the nature of the data transmitted.
Director McLean stated that the agreement does not control the data transmitted, noting that the only limitations might be firewalls and switches and perhaps the configuration of the network to enable connectivity between Channel 33 and PVIC.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Stern, to authorize the payment of a cash security deposit in the amount of $10,000 to Verizon California, Inc. and $5,000 to Sprint, L.P. pursuant to the proposed pole use agreement to enable connection of the City Hall voice and data network with the Point Vicente Interpretive Center.
The motion passed on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Gardiner, Wolowicz, Stern and Mayor Clark
Councilman Long rejoined the meeting.
Interim Improvements to McCarrell Canyon/Barkentine/Sea Cove and Miscellaneous Citywide Drainage Improvements
City Manager Evans stated that staff was recommending withdrawal of the proposed $65,000 in improvements to McCarroll Canyon at this time, explaining that, although an offer to purchase the right-of-way has been made to and received by the property owner, staff has not yet obtained a response and, therefore, does not have the right-of-way to proceed with those improvements.
Councilman Long inquired if there is any mechanism by which the City could take the property to perform the improvements prior to the coming rainy season if the owner does not respond favorably.
City Manager Evans indicated there is a mechanism available if the property is needed for the public good, saying that the owner has been given until November 11th to respond and, hopefully, will respond favorably so that the City can proceed with the project. He stated that, if the property owner does not respond or turns down the offer, staff would return to Council and ask it to consider the possibility of taking possession of the property through the eminent domain process.
Councilman Long noted his understanding that prior to last winter’s storms McCarrell Canyon was listed as a Priority 2 project in the City’s Storm Drain Master Plan.
City Manager Evans agreed that it was not a Priority 1 project, saying that, although it has a long history of attention, most of the Priority 1 projects are either corrugated metal pipes that have failed or are in the process of failing or they are located along Palos Verdes Drive East.
Councilman Long requested a summary of what the City has been doing to identify and address problems like McCarrell Canyon over the past year-and-a-half to two years.
City Manager Evans noted that actually the process has been ongoing since he began working for the City nine years ago, saying that the City hired outside engineers to evaluate the storm drain systems throughout the City; that those engineers identified deficiencies throughout the system which include old failed and failing corrugated metal pipes, undersized pipe, and inadequate inlets; that those deficiencies were placed into a Storm Drain Master Plan; that Council directed staff to place a ballot measure before the voters to address the issue of funding the necessary improvements; that those voters subsequently approved a storm drain user fee on August 30th; and, that over the next 20 years, the City hopes to address the majority of those deficiencies. He indicated that on March 15th Council also approved $2 million in General funds to “jump start” the Storm Drain and Water Quality Control Enterprise Fund which included adding approximately $665,000 to the City’s capital improvement program in order to immediately perform interim improvements; that a $600,000 program to line corrugated metal pipes was authorized and has nearly been completed; that a very difficult project on the east side in Tarapaca Canyon is also nearing completion; and, that several projects are lined up and ready to begin pending Council’s approval this evening.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz questioned if these projects are included in the FY 05-06 Budget or if a budget amendment is necessary.
City Manager Evans indicated that funds have already been budgeted and that staff is asking for authority to move forward with the construction.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz stated he is grateful for the aggressive manner in which staff has pursued this item.
City Manager Evans remarked that it is certainly former Public Works Director Dean Allison’s legacy.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to 1) Based on the facts set forth in the staff report, find that an emergency exists which will not permit a delay resulting from a competitive solicitation for bids and that the actions recommended below are necessary to respond to the emergency; 2) Approve plans for the construction of interim improvements at Barkentine/Sea Cove and permanent improvements at 30502 Palos Verdes Drive West, Crestmont/Salvation Army, Nobleview and Bronco; 3) Authorize the Interim Director of Public Works to negotiate and execute a construction contract for the aforementioned storm drain improvements with City’s On-Call Roadway Maintenance Contractor, Hardy and Harper, Inc.; 4) Authorize the Interim Director of Public Works to obtain needed staking and inspection services from KEC Engineers Inc., with which the City has an existing contract for On-Call Professional Services; and, 5) Authorize the expenditure of up to $295,000 (which includes a $20,000 contingency for potential change orders which may result from unforeseen conditions) for the items of work listed above as provided in the adopted Capital Improvements budget under Storm Drain Improvements, utilizing Infrastructure Improvement Program funds.
Councilman Long stated that his second to the motion includes the expectation that the McCarrell Canyon project will be brought to Council as soon as feasible. He thanked City Manager Evans for describing the City’s progress, saying that he believes it is important for the public to understand what has been taking place; that the process takes some time to orchestrate; and, that staff has been working diligently to line up various project on which to move forward.
Mayor Gardiner suggested creating a cumulative record of all projects in the storm drain repair system, detailing which ones have been funded, which ones remain to be funded, how much has been allocated, the projected costs, and the actual costs.
City Manager Evans indicated that staff will prepare such a matrix, noting that the projects currently being approved are all interim projects to prepare the City for the coming winter and that none of them are Storm Drain Master Plan projects being paid for out of the Storm Drain and Water Quality Control Enterprise Fund.
Mayor Clark agreed that a tracking mechanism is needed, saying it should be placed on the City’s website so information related to emergency projects as well as the Storm Drain Master Plan projects which the recent ballot initiative addressed can be easily accessed by the public.
The motion passed on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Long, Stern, Wolowicz, Gardiner and Mayor Clark
# # # # # #
In Lieu Affordable Housing Fund Program [Continued from September 20, 2005]
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru stated that notice of the public hearing was duly published; that no written protest was received; that late correspondence had been received and distributed; and, that there were no requests to speak on the item.
Mayor Clark declared the Public Hearing open.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz noted that certified affordable housing elements are a State requirement; that the adoption of inclusionary housing was included in the ordinance in 1997; that the City was certified in 2001 with a requirement to construct 53 new housing units, 13 of which were to be low and very low income housing; that approximately one fifth of the cities/counties in the state have inclusionary housing programs; that approximately 73 percent of the cities in the state have certified housing elements; and, that the City must fulfill its requirements in both the housing element and inclusionary housing categories.
Councilman Stern suggested addressing the applicability of the in-lieu fee to existing entitled projects separately, saying the balance of the matter is relatively easy and he believes staff’s recommendation can be adopted since it follows Council’s previous discussion of the matter.
Councilman Gardiner questioned whether the language indicating the default or preferred option is to build the affordable units and that the in-lieu fee is only available if an appeal is made and the case made for economic hardships is strong enough. He inquired when Council could expect to see the actual text of the proposed zone text amendment.
City Attorney Lynch stated that she believes the current language is already strong enough. She noted that Council directed that it be made even more stringent, saying that it is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission and will return to Council in the next couple months. She indicated that, while staff can certainly make changes throughout the zone text amendment to indicate the preference is to build the units rather than granting an in-lieu fee, the code is clear that the fee can only be imposed at the discretion of the Council; that Council is not predisposed to do that; and, that decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz mentioned that one of the items not included in the staff report, presumably because there is no recommendation to change it, deals with the number of units, saying that currently a project containing five or more units is required to provide affordable housing while a project with four or fewer units has no requirement to make a contribution towards affordable housing or to subsidize a low-income rental.
Councilman Long inquired if the representatives of Terranea have seen the staff report, saying that they might be very interested in the discussion of the applicability of the in lieu fee increase to existing entitled projects. He indicated that he would prefer to not consider imposing the new fee on the Terranea project without their representatives being present.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Wolowicz, to approve staff’s recommendation to adopt the resolution without the inclusion of Section 8.
Councilman Long opined that striking Section 8 before a decision is made establishes by default the standard that it would apply to existing projects and noted that he would be very disinclined to do that.
Councilman Stern indicated that he, too, does not want to make a decision on the Terranea project, saying that his motion is to set the fee amount with the inflator and administered fee and to send the code amendment to the Planning Commission.
Councilman Gardiner suggested continuing the entire item.
Mayor Clark agreed, saying that his inclination is to continue the matter since there are still some incomplete elements.
Councilman Stern stated that he is not opposed to continuing the item but would like to have at least some initial discussion about Terranea. He remarked that the numbers are daunting, going up from the current $900,000 figure to $15 million, saying that this issue certainly needs to be addressed. He suggested that it might be useful for staff to engage in some constructive negotiations with Terranea and attempt to reach an acceptable conclusion. He noted the staff report indicates the current fee for 70 units is $930,000, saying that number makes absolutely no sense and noted that as a rental subsidy that would equate to $14.00 a month.
Councilman Long agreed with the lack of wisdom of the prior fee but disagreed with instructing staff to negotiate the issue. He indicated that he would be interested in hearing from Terranea, saying that he suspects they are likely far along in their financing process and relied on the City to set the fee correctly. He commented that he does not believe that applying the old fee to them, as low as it is and inasmuch as it does not achieve the goal, is necessarily illogical, adding that, while it is extremely low, he is reluctant at this point to disrupt the developer’s current expectations.
Councilman Stern agreed with the validity of Councilman Long’s point.
Councilman Gardiner concurred as well, noting that government has an obligation to provide some stability for the people it conducts business with and it would be a grave disservice to, in essence, change the rules during the game even if those rules are ridiculous. He reminded his colleagues that Terranea could conceivably generate $4- to $6 million a year for the City and he would be loathe to see that jeopardized. He indicated that he would prefer to grandfather them in, adding that it is shameful that these rules have been in place for so long.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz agreed that the rules cannot be changed at this point, saying that, economically, he does not believe anyone would do business with the City if they saw changes of this magnitude. He remarked that Council could adopt the proposed changes to the Affordable Housing Ordinance and the proposed inflation factor index for the in-lieu fee but that the issue of applicability of the in-lieu fee to existing entitled projects needs to be resolved separately. He stated that he would prefer to move forward with the zone text amendment, saying that there is merit in beginning that process and dealing with issue of the Terranea calculation independently.
Mayor Clark agreed that it is too late to change Terranea’s business conditions, saying that, while he does not believe anyone on this Council agrees with the construct in place, it was in place when this project was entitled.
Councilman Long recommended that Council attempt to solve the entire issue as a single package and stated that continuing the matter would probably be the best path. He wondered why 70 units were chosen rather than 17 or 270, saying that the number is entirely arbitrary and, while $931,000 is probably not material to a project like Terranea, he suspects that $15 million would be.
Councilman Gardiner proposed a friendly amendment to the motion on the floor to except existing entitled projects.
Councilman Stern accepted the amendment to his motion.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz remarked that he hopes this explains why he previously proposed sending a letter addressing the matter to the State legislature, saying that, while this may have been a well-intentioned rule, it is the wrong rule. He declared that he is particularly disturbed by the concept of inclusionary housing, noting that the City really only has three choices -- to fund the purchase of affordable housing; to provide rental units; or, as other cities have done, to do nothing. He requested the City Manager comment on the matter.
City Manager Evans indicated it would be extremely difficult to prepare a letter reflecting the views of all five Council members, noting that a letter to the legislators from a single City would probably have very little impact. He reported that the League of California Cities is currently taking this matter on as one of their major initiatives.
Mayor Clark stated that the League recently established a multidisciplinary task force to deal with this issue, saying that they have developed some thoughtful and comprehensive ideas on the subject. He recommended that Council be provided a briefing from the League on the housing initiative and their attempts to provide a framework and legislation to implement effective changes.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz requested that staff keep Council apprised of the League’s progress, saying that this issue is extremely significant for cities like Rancho Palos Verdes with high-cost residential units and a low number of potential opportunities for building low income housing. He declared that the City is caught in this dilemma so it is appropriate to monitor the progress of the League’s position and, should it be determined that it is counter to the best interests of the City’s residents, that Council speak up most vociferously.
Councilman Stern moved, seconded by Mayor pro tem Wolowicz, to 1) ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2005-112 THEREBY INCREASING THE AMOUNT OF THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN-LIEU FEE TO $201,562, PLUS A 10% ADMINISTRATION FEE PER AFFORDABLE HOUSING UNIT, INCLUDING AN ANNUAL INFLATIONARY ADJUSTMENT BASED ON THE CPI FOR LOS ANGELES COUNTY; 2) Initiate a Zone Text Amendment specifying a preference for the construction of new affordable housing units over the payment of an in-lieu fee, which would include specific criteria to be used to determine when construction is financially infeasible; and, 3) Not to send a letter to the State legislature.
CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:
As a quick aside, Councilman Long reported that on September 11th the City Fielded its first triathlon relay team, saying that he, along with Director Rojas and Director McLean, participated in the event and finished 10th out of 17. Director Rojas presented Councilman Long with a medal honoring their team effort.
Councilman Long reported that he attended the Lomita Sheriff’s Station Open House on October 15th, noting there was a very good presentation on identity theft that will soon be available on Channel 33; and, with Councilman Stern, attended a presentation given by Supervisor Knabe at the Board of Supervisors meeting to the firefighters who assisted in combating the fire below Del Cerro Park. He stated that at the presentation he indicated that the equipment used to fight the fire is worth millions of dollars as are the homes that were saved, but that the courage and skill of the fireman who saved those homes is priceless.
Councilman Stern reported that he chaired the Regional Law Enforcement Committee in September, noting that Captain Zuanich stated that on an annualized basis the crime rate statistics for Rancho Palos Verdes in the first half of 2005 are lower than in any of the five preceding years. He declared that the City is fortunate to have a Sheriff’s Department with such an excellent force, saying that their good work is responsible for those statistics. Along with Councilman Long, City Attorney Lynch, and staff members, he met with representatives of the JPIA to discuss items including some of the City’s claims, saying that the City Attorney will report back on this shortly; attended the West Vector Control District meeting the previous week, reporting that, although the West Nile Virus has been discovered in the area, the good news is that the District is doing a fine job dealing with mosquito populations and the number of cases of human infection remains very, very low.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz reported that he attended the Coastal Cleanup Day sponsored by Heal the Bay on September 17th; the South Bay Council of Governments (SBCCOG) Board of Directors meeting on September 22nd; spoke at the Pacific View Homeowners annual meeting on September 25th; participated in the City’s Residential Standards Update Committee on September 26th; met with Barbara Dye and a representative from the Annenberg Foundation regarding possible funding assistance for the acquisition of open space; performed an on-site inspection on October 4th for an item on that evening’s City Council meeting agenda; attended the annual conference of the League of California Cities with the Mayor on October 5th through 7th, noting that it was wonderful to see Mayor Clark installed on the Board of Directors of the League; and, accompanied by Councilman Gardiner and City Manager Evans, attended a luncheon with Congressman Rohrbacher and other Council members from Rancho Palos Verdes’ sister cities. He reported discussions were held at that meeting regarding the problems on Western Avenue and reimbursement from FEMA and the FHA, saying that Congressman Rohrbacher offered to help champion the City’s cause in this regard.
Mayor Clark reported that he had provided a “State of the City” summary on September 22nd; assisted with the presentation of the winner’s trophy at the LPGA/Office Depot Golf Tournament held at Trump National, noting that the Trump organization did a wonderful job showcasing the City’s magnificent coastline; chaired the final meeting of the year for the League of California Cities at its annual conference; co-chaired a joint meeting of the League’s Revenue & Taxation Policy Committee and the Pubic Communication, Transportation and Public Works Policy Committee; and, served as the Vice-Chair of the Resolutions Committee. Mayor Clark stated that he is truly honored to have been elected to the Board of Directors of the League of California Cities, noting that there are now two Council members from the Palos Verdes Peninsula serving on that body.
Recess and Reconvene: Mayor Clark recessed the meeting at 8:40 p.m. and reconvened the meeting at 8:49 p.m.
REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:
An Ordinance of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes Granting an Extension to Southern California Gas Company of a Previously Granted Right, Privilege and Franchise to Lay and Use Pipes and Appurtenances for Transmitting and Distributing Gas for Any and All Purposes In, Along, Across, Upon and Under the Public Streets, Ways and Alleys Within the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and Declaring the Urgency Thereof
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to 1) READ ORDINANCE NO. 426U, “AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES GRANTING AN EXTENSION TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GAS COMPANY OF A PREVIOUSLY GRANTED RIGHT, PRIVILEGE, AND FRANCHISE TO LAY AND USE PIPES AND APPURTENANCES FOR TRANSMITTING AND DISTRIBUTING GAS FOR ANY AND ALL PURPOSES IN, ALONG, ACROSS, UPON AND UNDER THE PUBLIC STREETS, WAYS AND ALLEYS WITHIN THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AND DECLARING THE URGENCY THEREOF” BY TITLE ONLY; WAIVE FURTHER READING AND ADOPT THE ORDINANCE.
Councilman Stern inquired how the City got into this situation of needing to adopt an urgency ordinance, noting that it appears the County had a 50-year agreement with the Gas Company that is set to expire in three days.
City Attorney Lynch explained that in preparing for this meeting staff believed it best to request a brief extension since they were unable to resolve some remaining issues with the Gas Company or bring the item to Council with a report that sufficiently explained all the issues. She indicated that Mayor pro tem Wolowicz expressed some concern about the extension falling within the holidays, saying that staff sees no reason why it could not be extended 90 days if Council prefers to address the matter after the holidays.
Councilman Stern indicated he would prefer to make it a 60-day extension with an option to extend it an additional 30 days.
Councilman Long inquired as to the issues of contention.
City Attorney Lynch stated that there are couple areas of disagreement; one concerns the authority of the Director of Public Works to require, for instance, that roadways be fully restored following any construction activity, saying that the City wants to reserve the maximum amount of leeway to ascertain that the streets are improved appropriately but the Gas Company believes that this authority is too broad. She explained that a second issue concerns compliance with various hazardous substance laws. She indicated that staff believes these matters can be resolved and that efforts are underway to devise something that is mutually satisfactory.
Councilman Long queried what would happen if an agreement cannot be reached and the franchise is not renewed.
City Attorney Lynch indicated the Gas Company has an ownership interest in the infrastructure so it is preferable for both parties to resolve the issues, adding that she is hopeful that an agreement can be accomplished in the next 30 days.
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru stated that representatives from the Gas Company were present and available to answer any questions from Council.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz stated he is not opposed to the motion but would encourage staff to make absolutely certain that all the relevant issues are covered since this is a once in 50 years event. He indicated that he is not particularly fond of a 50-year extension for any agreement, noting that it seems logical in this instance that changing technologies would actually necessitate a shorter time period. He declared that, while the PUC may exert significant control over any company delivering gas, the City should exercise whatever control it has to make certain that its residents are duly protected.
City Attorney Lynch stated that the Gas Company requested an unlimited franchise term, which staff believed Council would not be inclined to grant, saying that staff initially suggested 10 or 15 years and the Gas Company countered with 25. She stated that if mutual agreement on some of the terms cannot be reached she would be recommending a shorter term of perhaps three to five years.
Councilman Gardiner suggested that there might be lessons learned from the City’s experience with Cox Cable and other franchise agreements that were drafted with what he would term “best practices.” He further suggested looking at what other cities are doing in terms of this type of franchise renewal.
City Attorney Lynch noted that many of the Gas Company’s existing franchises are for unlimited time spans, saying that most entities are not able to renegotiate this kind of agreement so staff is attempting to address matters to the best of its ability. She maintained that an unlimited franchise term is extremely ill advised, saying that she would never consider such a term to represent a “best practices” agreement.
Marcella Low, Public Affairs Manager for the Gas Company, indicated that the meetings have been going very smoothly considering the number of differences encountered at the beginning. She noted that the Gas Company has much more in common with electric utility technologies than it does with the cable television companies and noted that Southern California Edison has an indeterminate franchise with the City. She stated that the Gas Company believes many of the terms being added to the agreement are too stringent, noting that several of the Public Works items could be dealt with in an ordinance rather than being placed into the franchise agreement.
Ms. Low reported that their model ordinance has worked very well in other cities and there have been no reasons to reopen any of those franchises. She noted that a franchise agreement was not negotiated with the City when it incorporated, causing a default to the Gas Company’s preexisting agreement with the County, meaning that, technically, the Gas Company does not have an agreement with the City so this is actually the negotiation of a new agreement. She indicated that their understanding was that they were entitled to an extension of the current agreement with the County and only recently learned they were not eligible for such an extension.
Mayor Clark thanked Ms. Low for her input and asked for the City Attorney’s response.
City Attorney Lynch indicated that she agreed with much of what Ms. Low said; noting that both parties have been negotiating in good faith and have significantly narrowed the gap. She stated that she does not believe some of the provisions the Gas Company includes in their standard agreement best serve the interests of the City, saying that is where the issues have arisen that are currently under discussion.
Mayor Clark requested corroboration of the points with respect to the County franchise and the default.
City Attorney Lynch explained that the City inherited the franchise agreement when the City incorporated, noting that the County of Los Angeles has no authority to grant an extension to this agreement.
Councilman Stern remarked that he has the utmost faith that the Gas Company and staff will be able to reach agreement on the remaining issues. He noted that, while the technology and delivery of natural gas may not change, the nature of energy sources and supplies very well may. He stated that he could find no valid reason to grant a lengthy extension, such as the need to perform capital improvements, which would justify granting a long-term franchise, adding that he sees no apparent rationale for extending the agreement beyond five, seven, or ten years.
Susan Trigueros, Franchise and Fees Manager for the Gas Company, reported that they have narrowed the issues down and she feels confident they will be able to reach agreement with the City very soon. She noted that, while they understand that indeterminate terms are not the current trend for many cities, in researching her files she could find no terms as short as five or even ten years, saying that the minimum is fifteen years. She explained that this is due in part to the fact that not much changes regarding natural gas technology. She stated that another good reason for a long-term agreement is that the City and the Gas Company are investing time and resources into the negotiation process and, if nothing much changes, that time and money is being spent needlessly renegotiated the franchise.
Mayor Clark declared that Ms. Trigueros’ position does nothing to convince him to lengthen the franchise term, saying that he definitely favors a shorter term.
Councilman Long commented that he is confident everyone is doing their best to negotiate an agreement, saying that things must not be going too well or this discussion would not be taking place three days before the current franchise is set to expire. He declared that he is rather baffled by the Gas Company’s contention that the provisions should be in an ordinance rather than the franchise agreement, saying that argument seems extremely pedantic and he can see no difference where the provisions are, assuming they plan to abide by them.
Councilman Gardiner stated that his mention of the Cox Cable agreement was not intended to imply that the Gas Company is in any way equivalent to a cable television provider but to suggest instead that something of value might be taken from those negotiations and applied to this situation. He contended that the notion that natural gas technology will not change notably in the next 10 to 15 years makes no sense, saying that the projections he has seen indicate many energy sources will ultimately shift to LPG or LNG so there are a variety of interesting things that could emerge and impact how the City and the Gas Company choose to do business with one another.
Ms. Trigueros indicated that the trend is indeed shifting to LNG, saying that it is merely an additional energy source and will have no impact on the actual franchise agreement.
Councilman Stern stated he is interested in knowing what justifies the timetable the Gas Company is attempting to impose. He reiterated that he sees no legitimate reason for the City to grant a lengthy franchise. He contended that the argument that time and resources are wasted by having to renegotiate every few years is unfounded, saying that if a five-year agreement were negotiated, staff could simply return to Council, report that everything is working fine, and a one-page extension for another five years could be drafted. He stated that he is not convinced the agreement would require renegotiation and, absent any justification to the contrary, it makes sense for the Gas Company to give the City maximum leeway in the form of accepting a shorter duration to the franchise agreement.
The motion passed on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Stern, Long, Gardiner, Wolowicz and Mayor Clark
Citywide and Neighborhood Traffic Enforcement
Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru stated that late correspondence had been distributed and there was one request to speak on this item.
Mayor Clark invited Captain Zuanich to the podium.
Mayor Clark, noting that there is no traffic coverage in the City during the evening hours, inquired if a patrol car could be switched from days to evenings without a substantial financial adjustment.
Captain Jay Zuanich, Lomita Sheriff’s Station, stated that he would not recommend changing the hours of the existing traffic deputies, explaining that there are over two dozen schools on the Peninsula requiring attention at various times during the day; that there are also ten or more continuous requests for directed patrols in all three regional cities combined, which equates to two deputies providing coverage for almost 19 square miles and 55,000 people; and, that currently one patrol car and one motorcycle provide daytime coverage with the City paying 60 percent of the cost or the equivalent of 1.2 of the two deputies.
Mayor Clark stated that he thought the school sites were covered in part by the CORE deputies and that the Lomita Station also has augmentation staff to help monitor school activities, as well as during school start and end times.
Captain Zuanich answered that this is true, but that there are still only two dedicated traffic units for the entire Peninsula and they are needed during the day. He reported that they are barely able to meet the needs now and it would be highly imprudent to change the current deputies’ hours.
Mayor Clark recalled that Lieutenant Herrera recently reported statistics indicating that the City is the safest city for its size in Los Angeles County.
Captain Zuanich agreed, noting that the City is the safest of the 40 contract cities with the exception of Rolling Hills, which has 2,000 residents living behind guarded gates.
Lieutenant Herrera stated that those statistics refer specifically to the crime rate, which is separate from traffic issues.
Councilman Long, noting that the City is also in the top quartile in terms of having fewer accident-related injuries and fatalities, speed-related accidents, and pedestrian accidents, inquired if Captain Zuanich is aware of any information that would cause him to disagree that the City also has a high degree of safety from a traffic standpoint.
Captain Zuanich stated that only 60 percent of two deputies’ time is available to provide a visible presence throughout the approximately 13 square miles of the City. He indicated that Sheriff visibility is what causes traffic behavior to change, noting that it has repeatedly been shown that issuing traffic citations as a mechanism to lower collision rates is not effective. As an example, he cited a quarterly report for the City of Lomita, which reflected that, although 50 percent more citations were written than in the same quarter the previous year, the collision rate increased from 25 to 30. He stated that the common belief is that writing more tickets equates to fewer collisions, saying that his observations indicate that is not necessarily the case. He reiterated that visibility is the key to making people slow down, commenting that he has not heard much about speeding problems on Palos Verdes Drive East since the high-visibility detail the Sheriff’s Station effected there over the previous summer.
Councilman Long inquired why buying a few additional hours of enforcement here and there, as opposed to hiring a dedicated deputy, is not considered a workable option.
Captain Zuanich explained that deputies can only work for dedicated short periods of time on an overtime basis; that anyone can sign up for overtime duty, making it very difficult to control consistency; that there is no guarantee all overtime positions can be filled; and, that Contract Law does not allow a yearly overtime position to circumvent the hiring of a full-time deputy.
Councilman Gardiner asked if it is a fair statement to say that accident rates increase as speed increases.
Captain Zuanich answered that he would agree that is probably true, although a conclusive study has not been done to prove it scientifically.
Councilman Gardiner indicated that the process is actually stochastic, with the question being whether it is stationary or not. He explained that accident rates naturally fluctuate so that when an intervention is applied, the question becomes whether that fluctuation eventually changes or whether it remains about the same and how long it takes to notice a change. He stated that he does not believe data has been collected in that way. He reminded his colleagues that traffic slowed down, as did the accident rates, when Officer Lopez was patrolling near Marymount College, saying that, while that is not a scientific study, it is a categorical fact.
Councilman Gardiner indicated that he works in the safety business, noting that most safety budgets are written in blood in that money suddenly becomes available for a project or program when people die. He declared that there are problems on the City’s roads at times when those roads have no Sheriff’s coverage, saying that it seems advisable to not wait until something horrible happens to put money into traffic enforcement, because additional enforcement will slow drivers down, resulting in fewer accidents and the possibility of saving lives.
Mayor Clark reported that he recently received photos from a resident depicting a car full of students from Marymount College that wound up in a ditch, saying that, unfortunately, this still seems to be a prevalent theme on Palos Verdes Drive East. He stated that he personally witnessed two accidents there over the last summer, saying that there is documented evidence of many more and that this area continues to be one of the largest areas of concern in the City. He agreed with Councilman Gardiner that added enforcement would be prudent, even though its effectiveness is statistically inconclusive. He indicated that traditional enforcement alone will never be enough to completely stop speeding which has become a way of life with drivers today, saying that he believes that technology is a useful complement to traditional enforcement and he will continue to advocate and pursue this avenue. He stated that his personal observations have provided anecdotal evidence showing that traffic tends to slow down when sign board flash speeds in red and crosswalks light up when pedestrians are about to enter them.
Captain Zuanich reported that the number of citations issued during 2004-2005 was 2,821, noting that 62 percent or 1,739 of these were written during the a.m. shift from 7:00 am to 3:00 p.m. and 28 percent were written on the p.m. shift between 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. He stated that the total number of collisions for that same period was 256 with 39 percent or 100 occurring during the a.m. shift and 47 percent or 121 during the p.m. shift.
Councilman Gardiner stated it would be interesting to know the traffic volume during those time periods to make a comparison. He contended that the discussions about traffic safety could go on and on but, ultimately, it comes down to what the City is willing to spend to possibly prevent some accidents. He opined that there are three or four locations where an additional officer could be profitably employed at times where there currently is no coverage, saying that he would certainly be willing to spend $200,000, minus whatever revenue is generated from issuing citations, over a two-year period to see what lessons might be learned from the endeavor.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz echoed Councilman Gardiner’s sentiments, saying that he, too, is inclined to head in that direction. He inquired if Captain Zuanich would recommend an additional deputy be added to provide traffic coverage from the afternoon to early evening time period.
Captain Zuanich indicated that would absolutely be his recommendation, saying that during daylight savings time he would want deputies out when drivers are returning home from work and during all daylight hours from perhaps 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and then reduce that somewhat during standard time. He indicated that this would include weekend coverage as well, but not for both days, saying that one deputy would be able to adjust their shift to cover one weekend day each week.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz inquired if the City’s cost would be 60 percent with the other two cities providing the remaining 40 percent.
City Manager Evans stated that the city managers from the other cities indicated that their councils would most likely be interested in sharing the cost of an additional traffic deputy, saying that they believed it would be most appropriate for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes to suggest it to the Regional Law Enforcement Committee first.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz inquired if it might be possible to realign some of the deputies from their existing assignments.
Captain Zuanich stated that he has given that matter a great deal of thought. He stated that his goal is to serve the City within the confines of its budget, but the reality is that there are only two traffic deputies currently available; that there is no dedicated traffic enforcement during the evenings and on weekends; and, that coverage is woefully short of what is actually needed to effectuate any change.
Mayor Clark, noting the summer deterrence program on the Palos Verdes Drive East switchbacks appears to have had some impact, inquired if something similar could be created for a set period of time on the weekends using overtime volunteers to patrol trouble spots in different areas of the City.
Captain Zuanich explained that the summer program was different because the CORE deputy team and some of the station’s Reserve deputies were providing the coverage. He noted that the primary responsibilities of the CORE deputies make them unavailable during the school year and that the Reserve deputies have other jobs, so the personnel necessary to extend the program over the long term is just not available. He indicated that overtime could be posted for spot coverage, saying that the major problem with that approach is that those shifts are available for anyone to work, including individuals from outside the Lomita Station.
Mayor Clark inquired why overtime augmentation by deputies from outside the Lomita Station would not be a positive aspect.
Captain Zuanich stated that the individuals applying for overtime positions may be unfamiliar with the Peninsula and he does not believe that they will have the same level of dedication and interest as the personnel from the Lomita Station who provided the coverage during the summer program.
Councilman Stern remarked that what he is hearing from Captain Zuanich is that it does not make sense to piecemeal a program together because it most likely will not provide the desired result, saying that if the City is determined to attack the problem it should do so rather than attempting to piece something together in order to save a little money.
Councilman Gardiner noted that the main arterials are where the majority of problems occur, saying that in terms of being proactive the City needs to do something now rather than waiting for the new hotel to open which is likely to create an even bigger problem.
Tom Redfield, representing the Revival and Renaissance Coalition, stated that they have worked on the issue of traffic control and enforcement for the last several years. He commended Council for the progress they have made addressing the Council’s four strategic goals over the past two years, noting that the issue of traffic control is probably the most challenging because it is not as readily apparent as storm drains and sewers repairs. He opined that traffic issues are, nonetheless, of paramount importance to the City’s residents and that there is as much interest and passion on this topic in other areas of the City, was seen in the Mira Vista community regarding the installation of speed humps. He remarked that a recent accident on the Palos Verdes Drive East switchbacks involving a motorcyclist and a mother with her two young children in a car nearly forced the City to commit a great deal of money to this problem, saying that the pressure on Council would have been tremendous had that family been seriously injured or killed. He indicated that Palos Verdes Drive East has been identified as the single most dangerous stretch of road in the County, although the need for additional traffic enforcement is not confined specifically to that area.
Mr. Redfield urged Council not to address the problem in a piecemeal fashion by sharing a deputy with the regional contract. He stated that the analysis indicating $140,000 as the cost for one full-time deputy is misleading. He explained that the figure is accurate for the first full year but, if Council decided to take action and add one full-time sheriff for Rancho Palos Verdes alone, the cost would be reduced for 20 months; that there are 8 months remaining to the end of June, so the City would get the reduced rate of eight-twelfths (8/12) of $140,000 or $93,333; that the reduced rate would continue for the entirety of the following fiscal year, equating to nearly two years of coverage; that the estimated revenue from citations would further reduce that amount; and, that the total cost with the revenue enhancement plus the cost reduction for the 20 months would equal $116,667 for almost two years of a full-time dedicated traffic deputy.
Mr. Redfield reported that there are no other comparably sized cities in California without any dedicated traffic enforcement on the weekends and after 2:00 p.m. on weekdays. He stated that the City’s residents are very aware that the chances of speeders getting caught are very slim and are expressing their displeasure at every Traffic Committee meeting. He declared that Council has the opportunity to effect real change, saying that the cost down the road will be greater but right now the City can get two years of dedicated traffic enforcement with coverage on the weekends and after 2:00 p.m. on weekdays. He congratulated the Council for leading the effort on the Palos Verdes Drive East switchbacks during the summer, saying that, while that has made a difference, an ongoing program is what the City truly needs. He opined that, if millions of dollars can be committed to the Council’s other three strategic goals, perhaps $116,000 is not too much to devote to this crucial fourth goal.
Councilman Long agreed that a piecemeal approach is not a viable solution. He indicated that he would be interested in hearing what suggested budget cuts his colleagues have in mind to help fund the increased traffic enforcement effort since the City already has an operating deficit of $800,000. He stated that the solution of p.m. and weekend coverage under the Regional Contract at a cost of $84,000 is worth investigating, saying that the expectation of one citation an hour generating $42,000 in revenue from tickets would make the net cost to the City approximately $42,000 for the first 12 months and, while it would increase thereafter, it would still remain fairly low. He proclaimed that this would be a worthy investment and, although he is unhappy that it would add to the City’s deficit, the amount is low enough to be manageable. Councilman Long stated he is most persuaded by Councilman Gardiner’s comment about beginning to prepare now for the opening of the Terranea project and the increased traffic flow the hotel will create, saying that perhaps this cost is a necessary measure to help offset that eventuality.
Councilman Gardiner indicated that he found the alternative advanced by Mr. Redfield very intriguing, but was not sure if it was included in the staff report.
City Manager Evans stated that Mr. Redfield was referring to the alternate in the staff report where the City would contract separately for the p.m./weekend coverage using one full-time deputy at the Sheriff’s Department’s initial growth rate.
Lieutenant Herrera explained that he projected the cost for an eighteen-month period at $210,000, saying that this figure would be cut nearly in half by deducting the projected revenue of approximately $93,000 generated by the deputy issuing an estimated one citation per hour. He indicated that the cost for 20 months would be an additional $22,000, with the monthly cost being approximately $11,500, for a total cost of $232,000 with approximately $20,000 more derived from ticket revenues.
Councilman Gardiner declared that, based on these figures provided by Lieutenant Herrera, having a traffic deputy assigned only to Rancho Palos Verdes sounds like an extremely reasonable option, saying that he would certainly favor the City acquiring one full-time deputy for 20 months without having to engage in any negotiations with the other regional cities.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to 1) Authorize one additional traffic deputy to cover the p.m. and weekend shift dedicated only to the City of Rancho Palos Verdes under the growth rate until June 30, 2007; and, 2) Direct staff to bring back a contract amendment and budget adjustment to add the traffic deputy in FY 05-06.
Councilman Long indicated that he would consider supporting the motion if someone could identify enough cuts in the budget to bring the net cost down to between $40- and $50,000. He reminded his colleagues that the City’s operating budget reflects approximately $800,000 less coming in than going out, saying that the Five Year Model projects that the deficits will continue unless revenue is generated by Terranea, not to mention the possibility that the storm damage on Western Avenue could yield millions of dollars in liability to the City. He inquired if, when all that is taken into consideration, the City actually needs its own full-time deputy rather than sharing one with the other regional cities, as has been traditionally the case. He opined there are certainly things in the budget that are of lower priority than traffic safety, saying that various things come to mind such as the recently inaugurated Channel 33. He stated that he would leave it to his colleagues to articulate why he should support increasing the City’s deficit by the amount proposed or suggesting what items could be eliminated from the budget to offset a further increase in the City’s deficit.
Captain Zuanich stated that Lieutenant Herrera mentioned 18 months rather than 20 because, even if Council desired to implement the program immediately, the time necessary to interview and hire the proper personnel could take 30 to 60 days. He noted that, if the program were scheduled to begin January 1st, the time needed to hire someone would likely net a savings of $22,000 or $11,000 per month but, if the program were to begin as soon as possible, that $22,000 would be a cost rather than a savings.
Councilman Stern congratulated Captain Zuanich and his staff for the superb job they have done decreasing the region’s crime rate. He asked Captain Zuanich’s opinion regarding the wisdom of sharing a deputy versus hiring a full-time dedicated deputy as proposed.
Captain Zuanich recommended that the City hire a full-time deputy, saying that it seems prudent for a city with a population of 42,000 to 43,000 to have at least that level of dedicated traffic service. He noted the other two cities might not be pleased with the idea since they embrace the regional contract concept and are likely to want to maintain it.
Councilman Long contended that the city boundaries do not make any particular sense, noting portions of Rancho Palos Verdes are unconnected to the rest of the City by contiguous roads and, even if a deputy is dedicated to Rancho Palos Verdes and is not providing service to Rolling Hills Estates, there may be instances when they physically cannot get to a certain part of Rancho Palos Verdes without going through another city.
Captain Zuanich agreed that they might have to drive through another city, saying that does not mean they are going to stop and write tickets while in another city.
Councilman Long stated that, since it will take 30 to 60 days to implement the program anyway, it seems prudent for the City to utilize that time to determine the regional group’s interest in the matter, saying that the City would be creating a precedent by hiring a deputy on its own outside the regional contract and, if the concern is that the City will get only 1.2 deputies rather than 2, why not investigate the possibility of getting 2.4. He contended that the proposed motion spends more than is necessary given the City’s financial condition and he is not convinced his colleagues really want to set a precedent by acquiring additional enforcement outside the regional contract.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he does not find that precedent at all disturbing, saying that he favors the motion as proposed.
Councilman Long proclaimed that the matter is at least worth discussing with the other cities. He reiterated his concern regarding the City’s going outside the regional contract to hire additional traffic enforcement, noting that the staff report indicates this degree of traffic enforcement expansion is really unnecessary.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz stated that Council previously agreed to a reexamination of the Sheriff’s contract to assess the services being provided and whether any alterations should be made, adding that what Councilman Long is suggesting could fall under the aegis of such an examination.
Councilman Long clarified that he is not in favor of reexamining the regional contract because he believes the City is getting more than its fair share in that agreement, saying Rancho Palos Verdes probably has three quarters of the population and is paying 60 percent of the contract price which seems like a good deal that he would not be inclined to disrupt. He indicated that he is not suggesting the City wait until the end of the next fiscal year, saying that the City clearly needs the additional traffic coverage, but finances are limited and this type of service has traditionally been a part of the regional contract. He asked again if the City really wants to procure services on its own without even discussing it with the other cities. He contended that would be a mistake and that it seems more sensible and prudent for the City to attempt to include the additional traffic coverage in the regional contract since it will take 30 to 60 days anyway to hire someone and implement the program.
Mayor Clark agreed that there is merit in talking to the other regional cities regarding augmenting law and traffic enforcement on the Peninsula, saying that this issue has not been discussed with them and it is appropriate that the City extend the courtesy of asking if they are interested in participating. He requested that the motion be amended to indicate the City will immediately pursue a dialogue with the other two cities regarding joint traffic enforcement augmentation of up to two deputies and sharing the cost as outlined in the contract provisions but, in the event that discussion does not result in a cooperative agreement, the City will proceed to hire one additional weekend and evening law enforcement deputy for an initial period of up to 20 months.
Councilman Gardiner disagreed with the Mayor’s suggestion, saying that he is not interested in pursuing it even if the other cities are amenable to it. He stated that there is a definite need in the City and a map was included in the staff report indicating that there are enough problems to absorb 100 percent of a dedicated traffic deputy’s time. He reminded his colleagues that addressing traffic and safety issues is a specific goal of this Council and that definitive action needs to be taken to begin solving the problem.
With regard to Mayor Clark’s suggestion to negotiate with the other cities for up to two additional deputies, Councilman Long noted that his arithmetic indicates 60 percent of 2 is 1.2, which yields a better value.
Councilman Stern noted that the City’s population would lead to a different formula, saying that because the City has 75 percent of the population and is only paying 60 percent of the cost does not mean it is being over serviced but rather that it is only getting 60 percent of the service. He declared that he does not know whether taking this action will save a life or prevent another accident but he does know the City is understaffed in terms of traffic enforcement personnel and when Captain Zuanich, the professional in this matter, recommends hiring a full-time person, he takes that advice to heart and agrees that is what the City needs to do.
Councilman Stern indicated that as a member of the Regional Law Enforcement Committee he has not heard a demand for additional traffic enforcement from the other cities, adding that he does not believe they will view this action negatively and, if they are interested in pursuing additional traffic enforcement for their cities, that option remains open. He stated that given what this Council has articulated as a goal and the amount of time and effort put into investigating the alternatives it makes sense to hire a full-time dedicated traffic deputy, which is why he agrees with Councilman Gardiner and supports the motion.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz noted that Councilman Long’s comments were well thought out and articulated. He indicated that the discussion has focused on coverage through the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2007, saying that this is significant from an issue of fiscal conservancy and because it provides an opportunity to reconsider the regional contract prior to its expiration in June 2007. He stated that he feels very strongly about maintaining a balanced budget, saying that he is prepared to send a message to staff indicating that the budget from July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007 be balanced and include the cost for this item. He agreed with Councilman Stern that it is in the City’s best interest to follow Captain Zuanich’s advice, adding that, while what he has heard from Councilman Long is quite persuasive, he is willing to support the motion as stated.
Councilman Long indicated that, though he appreciates the intentions behind the motion, he does not believe it is the optimal way to approach the situation.
The motion passed on the following roll call vote:
AYES: Stern, Gardiner, Wolowicz and Mayor Clark
Mayor Clark noted that, although Councilman Long offered a compromise to move the City in the direction of interacting with the other cities, he supports the motion since Mayor pro tem Wolowicz and Councilman Stern, who are members of the Regional Law Enforcement Committee, are convinced that this is the correct way to proceed.
Channel 33 Underwriting and Sponsorships
Councilman Gardiner provided a brief outline of the staff report.
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz asked how the public will be made aware of the sponsorship opportunities.
Councilman Gardiner stated that he anticipates that, in addition to information being available on the City’s website, there will be a video bulletin board on Channel 33 displaying examples of what types of acknowledgments are available.
Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to 1) Adopt a City Council Policy Establishing Guidelines for underwriting and sponsorships for Channel 33 with rate card; and, 2) Establish a Channel 33 Special Revenue Fund to accept donated funds.
There being no objection, Mayor Clark so ordered.
Status Report on Performance Bonds for Vista Pacifica, Tract No. 39673
Mayor pro tem Wolowicz moved, seconded by Councilman Long, to receive and file the report from the City Attorney regarding the status of the performance bonds for Vista Pacific development’s common area improvements.
COUNCIL DISCUSSION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS & SUGGESTION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:
CLOSED SESSION REPORT:
City Attorney Lynch reported that no action was taken in Closed Session.
Mayor Clark adjourned the meeting at 10:47 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 22, 2005 for a Community Leaders’ Breakfast, followed by a Joint Workshop with the Planning Commission starting at 11:00 a.m., including a tour of the Point Vicente Interpretive Center at 12:30 p.m.