Rancho Palos Verdes City Council



MAY 16, 2006

The meeting was called to order at 5:00 P.M. by Mayor Wolowicz at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, and was immediately recessed to closed session. At 7:31 P.M., the meeting was reconvened for regular session.
Mayor Wolowicz explained that the meeting had begun late due to an extended closed session.

City Council roll call was answered as follows:

PRESENT: Clark, Gardiner, Stern, Long, and Mayor Wolowicz

Also present were: City Manager Les Evans, City Attorney Carol Lynch, Assistant
City Manager/City Clerk Carolynn Petru, Director of Finance/Information Technology Dennis McLean, Director of Planning, Building & Code Enforcement Joel Rojas, Interim Director of Public Works Ray Holland, Deputy Director of Finance/Information Technology Kathryn Downs, and Senior Administrative Analyst Lauren Ramezani.


The Flag Salute was led by Becky Clark, Chair, Finance Advisory Committee.

Mayor Wolowicz presented a City Tile to former Planning Commissioner Craig Mueller and thanked him for his dedication and hard work. Dr. Mueller thanked the Mayor adding that he had also served on the View Restoration Committee.
Mayor Wolowicz presented a City Tile to Bill Smith who he had served on the Finance Advisory Committee. Finance Advisory Chair Clark reviewed many of the Committee’s projects and thanked Professor Smith for his many years of service. Professor Smith thanked everyone for the honor and indicated he would be available for occasional projects that might come up.

The proclamation for Lois LaRue was deferred to a later date.


Moved by Councilman Clark and seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to approve the Agenda. Hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.


Mayor Wolowicz pointed out that camera placement for the meeting had been temporarily changed at the request of Cox Communications.


Mayor Clark announced Don Stuart and Akram Baluch as recyclers of the month from the City Council meeting of April 18th noting that all winners receive a check for $250 representing a year of free refuse service and he urged everyone to participate in the City’s recycling program.


Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported that there were no requests to speak and Mayor Wolowicz clarified that this was the time for the public to speak about items not on the agenda.


Councilman Stern reported that he had attended a meeting of the Los Angeles Division of the League of California Cities on May 4th and the topic was the issue of new technology and the delivery of video services. Industry speakers included AT&T and Verizon as well as the League’s spokesperson from Sacramento who spoke about the technological/political issue of the delivery of telephone and video services as telecommunication industries merge. He reported that later in the evening they adjourned to the City Selection meeting where representatives were appointed to various League boards.

Councilman Stern indicated that because the Palos Verdes Arts Center was seeking to lease property from the City, he wanted to mention that he attended their Art Show on May 5 consisting of pieces owned by residents on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. On May 11th he attended the Regional Law Enforcement Committee meeting for the Peninsula where crime and traffic statistics were presented and he noted that as a result of additional traffic enforcement, a lot more traffic tickets had been issued. Councilman Stern also reported attending the West Vector Control District Board meeting on May 11th and he was present for the Community Leaders’ Breakfast on May 13th.

Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that he had missed the League of Cities meeting but had attended the unveiling of the Whale Sculpture at the Palos Verdes Interpretive Center on May 13th donated by Long Family Foundation, which he clarified, he had no relation to. He added that he was present on May 10th for the lengthy Coastal Commission meeting when the Terranea project was heard.
Councilman Clark mentioned that he also attended the Los Angeles Division of the League of Cities meeting, that he visited the Art Center exhibit and he attended the California Coastal Commission meeting as a Commissioner. He complimented Mayor Wolowicz, Mayor Pro Tem Long, Director Rojas and Principal Planner Mihranian for their perseverance as they were at the meeting from 1:30 P.M. until 11:30 P.M. and commented that it is not uncharacteristic for Coastal Commission meetings to last 10-12 hours.

Councilman Clark explained that the Coastal Commission is witnessing a trend of new and existing hotels wanting to include sellable units, similar to the proposal made by Terranea, or to convert to condo hotels. He reported that the Coastal Commission staff has generally been opposed to this concept, although the Coastal Commission approved the concept for Terranea, as well as for a hotel in Encinitas. He noted that it was the City’s carefully crafted conditions of approval aimed at preserving the visitor-serving aspects of the project that convinced the majority of the Coastal Commissioners to support the modification to the Terranea project. He also indicated that the Coastal Commission would be conducting a workshop on condo hotels in August 2006.

Councilman Clark stated that he would be in Sacramento on May 18th and 19th for the League of California Cities quarterly meeting.

Councilman Gardiner reported that on June 6th the City Council would be receiving a proposed Memo of Understanding between the Southern California Regional Occupational Center (SCROC) and the City of Rancho Palos Verdes for the City’s multimedia studio to be used for conducting classes. He indicated that he attended the Del Cerro Homeowners Association meeting where clearing brush was discussed and he requested that a brush-clearing schedule be posted on the City’s web site.

Mr. Evans explained that weed abatement was done throughout the City at this time of the year by the County of Los Angeles, but that it would be difficult to post a dependable schedule on the City’s website.

Councilman Gardiner reported that paragliding had become a big issue at Del Cerro Park and that it is was not clear to the adjacent neighbors as to whether the City is serious about enforcing the ban. He suggested looking at the Sheriff’s response time to these complaints or perhaps encouraging the homeowners’ associations and the paragliding groups to come to an agreement to have paragliders self police their members so as not to inconvenience the neighbors.

Mayor Wolowicz, reacting to Councilman Clark’s earlier comments, indicated that it was apparent at the Coastal Commission hearing that many of the Commissioners had doubts in their minds about the Terranea project. He stated that he was, and the community should be, impressed by Councilman Clark’s actions, as he made the motion that was eventually passed in favor of the project and ensured that his fellow Commissioners understood the importance of the project to the community. He added that Director Rojas had left no doubt with his testimony before the Commission that the City would be actively enforcing the conditions of approval that Commissioners were concerned about.

Mayor Wolowicz reported attending the Regional Law Enforcement Committee meeting on May 11th and commented that other two cities had agreed to fund an additional regional traffic deputy beginning in the next fiscal year. He felt it was important for the region to have additional traffic enforcement and while it may not be exactly as Mayor Pro Tem Long had previously proposed, it is a step in the right direction. On May 12th he attended the Mayor’s Breakfast where the current Mayor meets with the Chairs of various Commissions or Committees. Mayor Wolowicz also attended the Community Leaders’ Breakfast on May 13th.

Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that outcome of the Coastal Commission’s decision on the Terranea project was an unexpected vote of 8-1 in favor of the project. He credited Councilman Clark’s leadership as instrumental in overturning the staff recommendation.

Mayor Wolowicz pointed out that had the Coastal Commission staff prevailed there could have been serious delays in the project.

Councilman Clark thanked Mayor Wolowicz and Mayor Pro Tem Long for their comments noting that the Coastal Commission’s Executive Director had attempted to delay the project until after the August 2006 workshop. He felt that the presence of the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem at the meeting, along with staff and the developer Bob Lowe, helped ensure that the project was approved.


City Manager Evans indicated that he had nothing further to report.


Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reminded the audience that items previously discussed and continued to a future Council meeting can be viewed on the City’s website at www.palosverdes.com/rpv.



Councilman Stern asked that Item No. 9, Broadcast of City Meetings at Hesse Park be removed from the consent calendar for further discussion.

Mayor Pro Tem Long requested that Item No. 5, Citywide Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District; Item No. 6, Formation of an Audit Committee and Award of Professional Services Contract for Independent Audit Services; and Item No. 7, Renewal of Agricultural Leases with James Hatano on the Upper and Lower Point Vicente Properties, be removed from the consent calendar for further discussion.

Councilman Clark also asked that Item Nos. 7 and 9 be removed for separate consideration.

Mayor Wolowicz asked that Item No. 10, Del Cerro Fire Settlement Agreement, be removed from the consent calendar for further consideration.

Pontevedra Emergency Storm Drain Repairs

Reviewed and reconfirmed by a four/fifths (4/5) vote, the Council’s previous action on December 6, 2005 to authorize staff to conduct an informal bid process to repair the Pontevedra storm drain line.

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 (301)

Adopted the minutes of October 22, 2005 Joint Workshop as amended by late correspondence.

Approve Design/Professional Services Contract for the Via Colinita/Roan Road Storm Drain Projects

1) Awarded a professional services contract to NBCE, Inc., for design services for the Via Colinita/Roan Road storm drain projects; 2) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a professional services agreement contract with NBCE, Inc. in an amount not to exceed $119,570.00; and, 3) Authorized the additional expenditure of up to $24,000.00 for unforeseen design requirements that may be required to complete the engineering, environmental review, geotechnical recommendations and design.

Citywide Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District

This item was removed and discussed following approval of the Consent Calendar.

Formation of an Audit Committee and Award of Professional Services Contract for Independent Audit Services

This item was removed and discussed following approval of the Consent Calendar.

Renewal of the Agricultural Leases with James Hatano on the Upper and Lower Point Vicente Properties

This item was removed and discussed following approval of the Consent Calendar.

$37.3 Billion Package of Bond and Related Measures Approved by the California Legislature

Received and filed this report.

Broadcast of City Meetings at Hesse Park

This item was removed and discussed following approval of the Consent Calendar.

Del Cerro Fire Settlement Agreement

This item was removed and discussed following approval of the Consent Calendar.

Register of Demands


Mayor Pro Tem Long moved to approve the consent calendar with Item Nos. 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 removed. Councilman Stern seconded the motion noting that the minutes were approved as amended per the late correspondence. The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Clark, Long, Gardiner, Stern, Mayor Wolowicz
NOES: None


Citywide Landscaping and Lighting Maintenance District

Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Long, City Manager Evans explained that General funds were being utilized because Proposition 218 limited how much money could be raised through the assessment districts which decreased the money available while at the same time maintenance costs have risen.

Mayor Pro Tem Long suggested using a larger portion of the 1911 Act funds to reduce the General fund contribution.

City Attorney Lynch explained that the City had to ensure that the money used from 1911 Act funds was commensurate with the benefit that property owners who contribute to that fund receive.


Councilman Stern seconded the motion and the motion carried on the following roll call vote:

AYES: Clark, Long, Gardiner, Stern, Mayor Wolowicz
NOES: None

Formation of an Audit Committee and Award of Professional Services Contract for Independent Audit Services

Director McLean stated that the staff recommendation was to approve the extension of the agreement with Vavrinke, Trine, Day & Co. to audit the current fiscal year and consider formation of an audit committee, which should have an active role in the selection of subsequent auditors or in retaining the current auditors for the current year or the next fiscal year.
Director McLean provided a brief overview of the issue noting that it had been brought to the fore as a result of Enron and WorldCom scandals. He pointed out that the public sector has used audit committees for years but the government sector has not, as the GFOA sets the rules and regulations for reporting in the government sector. Following a recommendation in Spring 2006 by the Executive Board of GFOA that cities and government agencies have audit committees, Rancho Palos Verdes is one of the first cities to bring a matter like this to its Council. He noted that this action likely to change the nature of the relationship between the auditors and the City Council.

Director McLean explained that staff’s intent was to ascertain whether the Council wanted to have an audit committee and if so, staff will do further research and return with a clear recommendation. He emphasized that the most important thing to understand about the GFOA recommendation is that the Council cannot delegate the responsibility because while management is responsible on day-to-day basis, the Council has the ultimate responsibility for financial reporting and the audit committee is essential to ensure an adequate review of financial statements. He clarified that the audit committee should be composed of no one other than the governing body.

Mayor Wolowicz indicated that he was in favor of the concept of creating an audit committee and related that four years ago he had learned about the move toward this when he attended his first in a series of continuing education classes about city government and accounting. He noted that audit committees were already in place in some of the larger cities and he felt it was merely a matter of time before it became a requirement for all cities. He indicated that he was heartened by the degree of participation and interest taken by staff as he felt it to be an important matter and supported staff returning with recommendations for the Council to consider. He favored forming a standing audit committee consisting of two Council members, possibly with a third person from the Finance Advisory Committee and additional participants.

Councilman Stern expressed support for the idea and Mayor Wolowicz asserted that the current contract should be extended.

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved to 1) Approve the formation of an Audit Committee; 2) Direct staff to provide a report identifying the alternatives regarding the composition of an Audit Committee; and 3) Approve the Professional Services Agreement for Independent Auditing Services with Vavrinke, Trine, Day & Co., LLP (“VTD”) for an amount “not to exceed” $34,000. Councilman Gardiner seconded the motion and the motion carried as follows:

AYES: Clark, Long, Gardiner, Stern, Mayor Wolowicz
NOES: None

Renewal of the Agricultural Leases with James Hatano on the Upper and Lower Point Vicente Properties

Mayor Pro Tem Long pointed out that he had previously raised concerns about these lease agreements because, while he is aware the lease can be terminated at any time, he would prefer to see a month to month lease as a five-year term may create an expectation in the mind of the lessee who might complain if the lease is terminated early. He also expressed concern that there was nothing in the staff report indicating comparable rental values and he did not support the staff recommendation.

Councilman Stern questioned the rationale for the five-year lease that is terminable on 30 days notice, noting that it is basically a month-to-month agreement.

City Attorney Lynch indicated that the lease could be month-to-month but indicated that the City and the tenant have a longstanding relationship.
City Manager Evans noted that the tenant would not want to terminate on 30 days notice with crops in the ground.

Councilman Gardiner moved the staff recommendation.

Mayor Wolowicz indicated that he was inclined to second but wanted to hear more.

Councilman Clark questioned whether proceeding with the current lease would have unintended consequences for potential use of the property in terms of the Civic Center Master Plan.

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru explained that the area being farmed on Upper Point Vicente Park is not part of the Civic Center Master Plan, but is part of the area that is in the NCCP preserve.

Councilman Clark asked about the lower farming area that was adjacent to the Point Vicente Interpretive Center

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru clarified that the PVIC docents had proposed to incorporate that farming area as part of their outdoor history museum.

Responding to an inquiry from Councilman Clark, City Attorney Lynch stated that approving the lease would not preclude other uses of the property in that the lease could be terminated with 30 days notice.

Responding to Mayor Pro Tem Long, Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru indicated that the rent was set historically, with the rent for Upper Point Vicente being the same amount that has been charged since the early 1970s and the rent for the Lower Point Vicente area the same rate that has been charged since the early 1980s.

Mayor Pro Tem Long questioned whether the rate was comparable for other areas in the vicinity for farming.

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru indicated that staff had not investigated comparable rates as these are the last two properties in the City under cultivation and the City wanted to encourage the current use as long as possible.

Mayor Pro Tem Long received clarification from City Attorney Lynch that there were no legal issues connected with the fact that it is a for profit enterprise.
Responding to Mayor Wolowicz, Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru and

City Attorney Lynch indicated that they were unaware of anyone else expressing interest in farming these two areas.

Mayor Wolowicz called for a roll call vote of the motion on the floor, which carried as follows:

AYES: Clark, Gardiner, Stern, Mayor Wolowicz
NOES: Long

Broadcast of City Meetings at Hesse Park

Mayor Pro Tem Long reported that because the discussion involved Cox Communications, which is a client of his firm, he recused himself on this matter and removed himself from the Council Chambers.

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru provided a brief staff report, noting that Cox had raised concerns in 2003 and again in 2006 regarding possible mold problems in the audio/video control room at Hesse Park. She reported that the City recently received a letter from a Cox corporate attorney indicating that the cable operator did not want its employees to use the control room due to health concerns and wanted to move equipment to another location, which would require re-wiring the room. She indicated that while the City and the cable operator work to resolve the matter, a stand-alone camera is being used in Council Chambers to tape the City Council and Planning Commission meetings until a final determination can be made.

Councilman Stern observed that staff had conducted mold testing over the years, which indicated that the audio/video room is safer than the main room and he questioned whether Cox disagreed with the report.

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported that Cox had not done any of its own testing, but has recently requested access to do just that, as they apparently disagree with the City’s findings. She indicated that Cox did not request the second mold study until early 2006 and noted that Cox’s conclusions that the room was unfit for its employees are based on copies of the reports provided by the City and their own visual observations.

Councilman Stern asserted that no one wanted Cox employees to be in an unhealthy situation and questioned whether the project to re-wire the cameras to feed out to a portable board would begin soon.

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru indicated that staff would work with Cox to make the building available, work to schedule around existing meetings and would identify a location for the equipment to be set up during meetings.

Councilman Stern suggested taking advantage of the changes to reposition the cameras to better angles of view for the television audience.

Councilman Clark echoed Councilman Stern’s concerns noting that if there is evidence of a real health concern it will of course be addressed. He was not happy to be reduced to one camera, noting that the City has always had at least two cameras filming the Council meetings. With regard to the permanent solution, he indicated that he wanted to see the cameras positioned better with telescoping mounts so that the ceiling-mounted cameras could be lowered to a reasonable height. He reported that residents had commented that Council meetings from other cities are of better quality than this City. He indicated that he wanted to see the situation corrected as quickly as possible and was interested in hearing input from Art Yoon with Cox Communications.

Responding to Councilman Gardiner, Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru explained that the number of robotic cameras had been negotiated as part of the 2000 franchise renewal agreement. She noted that Cox had provided one camera for the temporary arrangement, but indicated that the City could request two cameras if one camera is not adequate.

Councilman Gardiner felt that one camera was inadequate.

Councilman Stern agreed, adding that with one camera, a resident speaking at the podium is only afforded an extremely close side view and he felt they should be properly represented. He suggested that cameras should be positioned on the left and right sides of the room, with another camera positioned behind the Council to record the comments of the public speakers.

Councilman Gardiner agreed with Councilman Stern regarding the camera set-up.

Mayor Wolowicz commented that the list of things the City has tried to do to address the cable operator’s concerns is substantial and noted that a letter was sent to Art Yoon on April 18, 2006 making the City’s points.

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru added that, in addition to the items listed in the staff report, a verbal offer was also extended to Cox to allow it to conduct its own investigation of the park building.

Mayor Wolowicz expressed concern that Cox had written a letter to the City on May 8, 2006, which made it sound as though they were unaware of the City’s efforts.

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported that the dialogue between the City and the cable operator had been ongoing for several months, primarily with Mr. Yoon and added that staff had communicated that same day with Cox about access to the room for testing.

Art Yoon, Manager of Governmental Affairs, Cox Communications, asserted that that the company takes the health, safety and welfare of its employees very seriously and these concerns were based on the findings of the 2003 report and a comment included in the 2006 report. He indicated that there were elements of the report that give them pause and they want to determine whether there is a problem or not and work toward a permanent solution which should result in a better arrangement than what is currently in place as technology has progressed greatly since the existing equipment was installed in 2001.

Mr. Yoon said that he had not been previously aware that the camera placement was a problem but felt that now was the time to make any desired changes. He assured Council that the temporary solution would be short in duration, noting that his system engineer required two full days in the room and seven days to rewire the facility.

Councilman Stern clarified that Cox wanted to move the audio/video control panel to a portable units that would be placed somewhere behind the Council dais during meetings.

Mr. Yoon agreed that the configuration Councilman Stern described was the initial assessment, but indicated that Cox was looking at all the options and alternatives for the least disruption for the City. Mr. Yoon stated that he was hesitant to put an absolute timeline on the process as it depends on what the consultants find with their investigation but estimated that the process could take a month.

Councilman Stern pointed out that Cox’s own investigation determined that there were no problems in the room; there would be no need to change the current configuration.

Mr. Yoon indicated that they were erring on the side of caution and he agreed to have Cox’s video engineers look at possible changes in the camera placement. He asserted that Cox had pride in its workmanship, wanted to deliver the best product possible and would work to find a solution as quickly as possible
Councilman Clark indicated that he wanted speedy corrections to the current situation.

Responding to an inquiry from Councilman Gardiner, Mr. Yoon asserted that the summary findings in the 2003 report were troubling as they indicated that trained professionals should implement mold abatement procedures in the building. He indicated that to his knowledge these recommendations had not been followed.

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported that the 2003 report indicated that some mold amplification was found in Council Chambers, not in the room where the audio/video equipment is located. She stated that in response to the 2003 report, staff implemented some of the consultant’s recommendations including installing air filters in the room and requiring HEPA filters on the vacuums used by the City’s custodial service. She noted that these measured appeared to have mitigated the situation because when the area was retested in 2006, no amplification of mold spores were found in the building.

Councilman Gardiner felt that Cox should be able to have the room tested and if they do not want to use it they do not have to.

Mr. Yoon quoted page 6 of the 2003 mold report: “Although the level is lower than outdoors, the 80% troubles me.” He noted that although there has been an assertion by staff that things have gotten better, the 2006 study was a limited study and there was enough in the report for Cox to want to conduct its own study. He added that any changes made to the audio video equipment would result in better broadcasts of the City’s meetings.

Mayor Wolowicz asserted that the City was working to address the items of concern, and that he supported Cox conducting their own testing and taking whatever action they felt necessary. He pointed out that it was at the request of Cox Cable that the City had not provided janitorial service inside the audio/video control room. He expressed hope that there would be an open dialogue and better communication as the letter from Cox’s corporate attorney, Mr. Spaulding, had sounded very stern and did not seem to recognize the City’s efforts to work with the cable operator.

Mr. Yoon thanked City staff for working with them and he asserted that Cox had no motivation to extend the period of uncertainty. He indicated that he would work to get everyone on the same page and put a solution in place.

Mayor Wolowicz observed that having Mr. Yoon represent Cox was a good idea, as relations between the City and Cox had deteriorated. He indicated that he did not, however, want to leave the meeting thinking that everything was fine and end up with another stern letter from Cox’s corporate attorney.

Councilman Gardiner thanked Mr. Yoon for his gracious attitude, noting that Mr. Yoon had been very accommodating to the City’s recent request to conduct a franchise shoot at Founder’s Park during the Mike Douglas Tournament on short notice.

Councilman Stern reiterated that the Council was not pleased with existing camera angles.

Councilman Stern moved to receive and file the report. Councilman Clark seconded the motion and hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered, absent Mayor Pro Tem Long.

Del Cerro Fire Settlement Agreement

City Manager Evans summarized the material of record, noting that the City had filed a claim with the Edison Company following the Del Cerro fire in July 2005 and after negotiating with the utility company, a settlement figure has been agreed upon for the Council to either accept or reject.

Councilman Gardiner reported receiving email from the public commenting on an alleged history of problems with faulty Edison equipment starting fires in the community. He asked if this was in fact one in a series of incidents in the City or a one-time case.

City Manager Evans indicated that he was aware of fires caused by other circumstances, such as birds landing on live wires and starting brush fires when they fell to the ground, but indicated that he was not aware of faulty equipment causing fires.

Councilman Stern questioned whether the City had regulatory authority over Edison.

City Attorney Lynch indicated that the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) had that authority.

Mayor Pro Tem Long clarified that the City could not, as the email suggested, require Edison to do certain things as a condition of the City accepting the settlement.

Mayor Wolowicz questioned whether there had been conversation with Edison about what could have prevented the Del Cerro fire or any lessons learned from the incident.

City Manager Evans indicated that the Los Angeles County Fire Department had conducted an investigation and that he could get a copy of the report for Council.
Mayor Wolowicz thought that there had been another fairly recent situation on the Point View property where Edison had caused a fire and felt that perhaps there was something else the City could be doing to reduce the possibility of another occurrence of this type in the future.

Councilman Stern moved to 1) Approve a settlement of $54,000 from the Southern California Edison Company for damages stemming from the Del Cerro fire which occurred on July 13, 2005; and 2) Authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a Release on behalf of the City. Councilman Clark seconded and hearing no objection Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.


Review Results of Westside Pilot Area Survey

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported that late correspondence had been received and distributed for this item.

Mayor Pro Tem Long suggested continuing the item to try to get additional input from the neighborhood. He pointed out that 2/3 of the people on Browndeer and Elkridge wanted the proposed change to the trash collection schedule but the majority of people on the other 5 streets don’t want it. He referred to his comments included in the late correspondence indicating that it would be important to know the Browndeer and Elkridge residents would still favor the change if they know all the extra trash trucks would be coming down their streets in any event to serve the other streets and would the residents on the other streets favor the change if there could be a second pick up on a day other than Saturday, or if there was only one pick up, or if the City required the Saturday pick up to be done early or late in the day. He acknowledged that while Council could simply go with the majority, it is a narrow majority and he felt that obtaining more neighborhood input would be appropriate before making a decision.

Councilman Clark supported Mayor Pro Tem Long’s suggestion.

Councilman Gardiner was not opposed to gathering more information but noted that survey research is an inexact science and one is never quite sure what the results mean.

Councilman Stern felt that the City could survey many times and would never come to a consensus or a clear solution. He suggested changing the trash collection schedule on the two streets that have the direct problem with Rolling Hills Estates trash collection schedule and while that means those streets will have additional trash trucks passing through them, maybe that is not as bad for them since the residents on the two streets that would seem to be most impacted are the ones that want to make the change. He pointed out that such a decision is not necessarily permanent, but expressed concern that surveying the residents could go on forever if Council was looking for a clear solution to pop out.

Councilman Gardiner stated that in survey research if an outcome is close, either it is actually close or the survey respondents did not understand the differences between the alternatives.

Mayor Pro Tem Long pointed out that part of the issue is the strength of the preference: do the residents strongly oppose the change or strongly support it? Or are they mildly opposed or mildly in favor? He preferred to change the entire area and then if people are unhappy they can see what can be done to modify the Saturday pickup. He also wondered whether there was enough sentiment to eliminate Saturday pickup and go to once a week.

Councilman Gardiner expressed concern that once a week pick up would really make residents unhappy.

Mayor Pro Tem Long disagreed that the residents would be necessarily unhappy with once a week pick up if it resulted in other benefits.

Councilman Stern observed that based on the survey comments, a Saturday pickup is highly objectionable.

Councilman Gardiner questioned how the survey was conducted, if a resident made multiple comments, if they were counted individually or grouped together.
Senior Administrative Analyst Ramezani explained that each line in the survey summary represented a separate comment from a separate person so if one person made five different comments they are grouped together.

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved to continue the matter with instruction to staff to resurvey the residents in the Westside Pilot area posing the questions he asked in the late correspondence along with any other questions staff might want to add. He agreed that the objection to Saturday pick up is strong but wanted to know if residents wanted to reduce the number of trucks, would they also be willing to go to once a week trash collection. Councilman Gardiner seconded the motion.

Mayor Wolowicz commented that since Mayor Pro Tem Long lives in the pilot area, he would defer to him but felt that there was a danger of over surveying and felt it was time for Council to make a decision on this matter. Hearing no objection to the motion, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Residential and Commercial Solid Waste and Recycling Services

Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Petru reported that additional correspondence on the item had been previously distributed and that no requests to speak had been submitted.

Interim Director Holland indicated that there was a comprehensive staff report available on this complex issue; that this contract is important to the future of the City and introduced consultant Richard Tagore-Erwin with R3 Consulting Group, Inc.

Richard Tagore-Erwin, R3 Consulting Group, Inc., distributed handouts and assured Council that there was no conflict of interest in his firm working for the City because R3 Consulting Group does not work for garbage companies, landfills, recyclers, etc., but rather only works for cities and counties. With the aid of a slide presentation, he provided an overview of current programs and options available for residential and commercial trash collection services, noting that solid waste is a complex issue and with the City’s residential contracts expiring on June 30, 2007, the City has a variety of options that should be carefully considered.

Mayor Pro Tem Long pointed out that there are different areas in the City that had different trash collection needs.

Mr. Tagore-Erwin indicated that those differences could be accommodated in a new contract. He added that the key component is the amount of trash being handled, whereas recycling and green waste is unlimited. He noted that since landfill disposal fees and fuel costs were rising, using a refuse rate index is important because it better reflects costs for the industry including fuel. He indicated that the index captures changing costs, thereby creating a potential for a rate decrease as costs fluctuate.

Councilman Clark asserted that it was important to take action by December 31, 2006 in order to preserve the Council’s option to extend the current contracts or enter into a competitive RFP process. He complimented the Council subcommittee and staff on the work accomplished so far. He questioned whether they had explored the option of extending the existing contract since negotiating a new contract is a major undertaking, especially given the City’s current workload. He stated that he supported the competitive RFP process and wondered whether it might be prudent to extend the amount of time in which the City can exercise its option to extend the existing contracts, as he felt that more time was necessary to go through all the information and policy options in detail.

Councilman Gardiner agreed with Councilman Clark and expressed support for a motion to that effect.

Councilman Stern indicated that he and Councilman Gardiner had studied the information carefully, that he felt the proposed RFP was well thought out and listed appropriate options, and that he supported the competitive RFP process. He said that while Council had the right to exercise its one-year extension option of the existing contracts if it decided it was not ready to make a decision by the end of the year, he doubted if the City could push out the date by which it had to decide to extend the existing contracts as suggested by Councilman Clark because the existing residential contract expires at the end of June 2007. He noted that even if the current contractor agreed to push out the one-year extension deadline to March 31, 2007, there would not be enough time to bring in a new contractor by July 1, 2007, if that was the Council’s ultimate decision.

Mayor Pro Tem Long expressed support for the competitive RFP and indicated that he wanted the Council to review it before it was released, as the new trash contract is an important decision to the community. He commented that the City had neighborhoods with differing needs and noted that the RFP itself would include essential policy decisions and needed to be carefully examined with that in mind. For example, he suggested that the expiration date might be planned to coincide with the contract expiration date of the City of Rolling Hills Estates, so that if the cities wanted to jointly contract in the future, that option would be possible.

Mayor Wolowicz commented that smaller companies can be quite responsive and garner customer loyalty, as evidenced when the owners of Ivy Rubbish recently retired and their customers from the Portuguese Bend area came to a Council meeting to express support for them. He questioned whether the consultant had considered the requirements of unique neighborhoods in the proposed RFP.

Mr. Tagore-Ewrin indicated that he had visited Portuguese Bend and agreed that it was a unique area to provide service to, as large trucks cannot operate on the narrow private streets found in this area. He explained that companies who would be interested in responding to the City’s RFP would be large enough to be able to provide services to the City as a whole, including the areas with unique requirements.

Mayor Wolowicz related that from personal experience as a business owner, he had had the opportunity to negotiate with different commercial hauling companies and received startlingly different rates, some of which have been below residential rates. Due to unique circumstances with different commercial buildings and apartment complexes, he did not see how contracting with only one company to service the entire City would provide fair prices to business owners.

Mr. Tagore-Erwin clarified that in the City’s current contract residential services for apartments were covered by one company, but that commercial businesses could select from a list of City-approved firms. He indicated that contrary to what they had initially thought, his firm found in other cities that rates have actually gone down with a single commercial waste hauler because one contractor can better route its trucks, knows what its revenues will be and can provide a more competitive bid to the City because the firm understands that it will either get all or none of the commercial business in a particular city. He also noted that some commercial waste haulers are able to offer lower rates to a particular business chain because they have a national contract with that company, however, in an open system like the City currently has, the hauler cannot offer a contract to a business that is longer in duration than their authorization to do work in the City. He cited, for example, that commercial haulers in the City are currently limited to a one-year contract.

Mayor Wolowicz maintained that competition among commercial waste haulers was the best method to provide the lowest rates for businesses, and noted that he would await the results of the RFP process on this point.

Mr. Tagore-Erwin opined that providing a uniform level of service would result in a lower prices overall while complying with state laws. He noted that some business owners obtain lower rates by choosing not to comply with state recycling requirements.

Mayor Wolowicz expressed concern about the RFP adequately addressing the issue of overflow trash, including bulky items that would not fit in the trash cart and the ability for residents to set out extra bags of garbage if their cart was full. He indicated that he was familiar with two cities, Santa Barbara and San Francisco, which were rather restrictive on this issue.

Mr. Tagore-Erwin indicated that he was familiar with the City of Santa Barbara’s contract and did not recommend it as a model for the City to follow. He assured Mayor Wolowicz that provisions to address overflow trash would be written into the RFP and suggested that an allowance be provided so that overflow trash could be picked up occasionally, but if there is overflow trash every week the hauler would be required to address the problem with the individual resident.

Mayor Wolowicz questioned whether there would be a benefit to separating the community into different areas due to geographical differences and allowing the trash companies to bid to provide service in the various districts.
Mr. Tagore-Erwin indicated that option had not been considered, but noted that generally a city of the size of Rancho Palos Verdes is too small to divide up and still be attractive to vendors.

Responding to a question from Councilman Clark, Mr. Tagore-Erwin explained that his firm was recommending a base period for the contract of 7 years because this is the minimum time necessary to fully recapture the capital outlay cost.

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved to 1) Authorize R3 Consulting Group to prepare a proposed Request for Proposals for residential and commercial solid waste and recycling services and to have that RFP brought back to Council for consideration with direction that the consultant and staff should identify the various points in the RFP that are policy decisions and provide options for Council’s consideration and that the comments of any particular Council member on any one point expressed at this meeting are not the direction of the Council as a whole; and, 2) Direct staff to implement the process integrity procedures.

Councilman Clark seconded the motion.

Councilman Gardiner received clarification from Mayor Pro Tem that while the Council may stipulate certain items in the RFP, such as the duration of the contract, with regards to other aspects, the contractors bidding on the contract may be asked to examine several options, such as the frequency of trash pick-up during the week.

Councilman Stern did not think that the level of information Council would get back from the consultant and staff at the next regular meeting in two weeks would call for a lot of policy decisions and he hoped that Council would not narrow the various options down prematurely.

Mayor Wolowicz requested clarification from Mayor Pro Tem that his motion would not preclude multiple commercial proposals from being considered
Mayor Pro Tem Long stated that he expected that the draft RFP would include some options but noted that some policy decisions would be made when the RFP was issued.

Mr. Tagore-Erwin suggested that the RFP address all of the Council’s concerns regarding the commercial side of the contract and he noted that while his firm feels that in the long term it is better to have one contractor for commercial hauling, they recognize that this may not be true in every case, therefore, the RFP will be written with an option for one contract or multiple contracts.
Responding to Councilman Gardiner, Mr. Tagore-Erwin explained that an Invitation for Bid (IFB) was essentially the same process as an RFP except that an IFB is non-binding and indicated that the contractors responding to an IFB might not be providing their best proposal on that account.

Councilman Clark clarified the differences between an RFP and Request for Information (RFI), noting that many acquisition organizations use an RFI for preliminary information gathering to help shape an RFP. He added that in his experience draft RFPs often go out in advance to prospective bidders to illicit input before a final RFP is issued. He questioned whether this approach had that been considered.

Mr. Tagore-Erwin noted that sending out draft RFPs was generally not done in the solid waste industry because the proposal processes are pretty standard and not as sophisticated as other systems.

Mayor Wolowicz requested a roll call on the motion on the floor. The motion carried as follows:

AYES: Clark, Gardiner, Long, Stern, Mayor Wolowicz
NOES: None

Recess and Reconvene: Mayor Wolowicz recessed the meeting at 10:09 P.M. and reconvened the meeting at 10:22 P.M.

Consider Opposition to Senate Bill 1778, Restriction on the Recycling of Green Waste Materials as Alternative Daily Cover at Landfills

Responding to Councilman Stern, Interim Director Holland explained that there were some people who supported this bill because they believe that green waste should not be used as daily cover in landfills, because as long as it is used in this manner, there will be no economic incentive to develop products that will completely recycle green waste products. He noted that there is so much green waste generated that there is neither the market for, nor the ability to process all of the existing green waste materials. He indicated that no longer allowing green waste to be used as alternative daily cover at landfills will not create alternative markets or facilities to use these materials, but will instead cause cities to pay more to dispose of it.

Councilman Clark moved to authorize the Mayor to sign an opposition letter to Senate Bill (SB) 1778 (Alarcon). Mayor Pro Tem Long seconded the motion and hearing no disagreement, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

AB 2987 “The Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act of 2006” [Nunez]

Councilman Stern commented that this was a complicated issue and while some parts of the proposed legislation are objectionable, parts of it make sense. He suggested that the City providing specific comments about items in the legislation that should be readdressed or fixed, rather than just opposing the bill.

Councilman Clark agreed, noting that the League of California Cities opposed the bill as it is currently written, which signals that the subject is worthwhile, but that components of the legislation need to be changed.

Councilman Clark moved to authorize the Mayor to sign a letter opposing AB 2987, “The Digital Infrastructure Competition Act of 2006” (Nunez) as currently drafted. The motion was seconded by Councilman Gardiner and hearing no opposition to the motion, Mayor Wolowicz declared that the motion stood as presented.

Format of City Council Minutes

Councilman Clark recommended continuing this item until the issues with Cox Communications regarding audio/video control room and placement of the robotic cameras discussed earlier during this meeting are resolved.

Mayor Pro Tem Long agreed, noting that the decision regarding the format of the minutes would be influenced by the restoration of a high quality video record of the meetings, as opposed to temporary low quality record currently in place.

Councilman Stern agreed and suggested that the item be continued for 90 days.
Mayor Pro Tem Long moved to continue the item until the proposed relocation and upgrade of the audio/video equipment at Hesse Park is completed.

Councilman Clark seconded the motion and, hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Community Advisory Board for Ponte Vista

Mayor Wolowicz suggested that when the City sent notice to the advisory board volunteers, the notice should include the gratitude of the City Council for their work on this project.

Mayor Pro Tem Long suggested alerting the other two HOAs, Peninsula Verde and Rolling Hills Riviera, that they can also nominate alternates, as the Mira Vista HOA had done.

Councilman Clark moved to 1) Appoint Dick Brunner (Peninsula Verde HOA), Mark Wells (Mira Vista HOA) and Lucie Thorson (Rolling Hills Riviera HOA) as the City’s representatives to Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s Community Advisory Board for Ponte Vista; 2) Appoint Steve La Pine as an alternate to Mark Wells (Mira Vista HOA); and 3) Authorize Peninsula Verde HOA and Rolling Hills Riviera HOA to nominate alternates. Councilman Gardiner seconded the motion and, hearing no objection, Mayor Wolowicz so ordered.

Appointment of a City Representative to the Los Angeles County West Vector Control District Board

Mayor Wolowicz moved to 1) Appoint Councilman Stern as the City’s representative to the West Vector Control District Board for a two year term; and 2) Direct the City Clerk to notify the District of the appointment. Councilman Gardiner seconded the motion and hearing no opposition, Mayor Wolowicz let the motion stand.




City Attorney Lynch reported that no action was taken on the Monk’s case in closed session and noted that staff was not ready to move forward with the June 3, 2006 Landslide Workshop. She suggested that Council select an alternate date with notification sent out to the community.

Mayor Pro Tem Long moved to cancel the Landslide Moratorium Workshop scheduled for June 3rd and instruct the City Manager and staff to return to Council with alternate dates for this meeting. Councilman Clark seconded the motion and hearing no opposition, Mayor Wolowicz let the motion stand.

City Attorney Lynch indicated that staff would bring back this item at the next Council meeting, along with an extension to the temporary landslide moratorium to keep everything in place until the workshop can be rescheduled.


Mayor Wolowicz adjourned the meeting at 10:37 P.M.



City Clerk