SEPTEMBER 4, 2007 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES SEPTEMBER 4, 2007 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES







SEPTEMBER 4, 2007 CITY COUNCIL MINUTES

MINUTES
RANCHO PALOS VERDES CITY COUNCIL
 REGULAR MEETING
SEPTEMBER 4, 2007

The meeting was called to order at 6:00 P.M. by Mayor Long at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard and was immediately recessed into Closed Session.  The meeting reconvened at 7:04 P.M.
 
City Council roll call was answered as follows:

PRESENT:   Clark, Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
ABSENT:      None

Also present were City Manager Carolyn Lehr, City Attorney Carol Lynch, Deputy City Manager Carolynn Petru, Director of Planning, Building & Code Enforcement Joel Rojas, Director of Public Works Jim Bell, Director of Finance/Information Technology Dennis McLean, Associate Planner Kit Fox, Deputy City Clerk Teresa Takaoka, and City Clerk Carla Morreale.

FLAG SALUTE:

The Flag Salute was led by Councilman Gardiner.

MAYOR’S ANNOUNCEMENTS:

None.

RECYCLE DRAWING:

Mayor Long announced Recyclers of the Month from the August 21, 2007 Council meeting, Raymond Woodman and Sharon Maya.  He indicated that all winners receive a check for $250 representing a year of free refuse service and urged everyone to participate in the City’s recycling program. 

APPROVAL OF AGENDA:

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to approve the Agenda.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

PUBLIC COMMENTS: 

None.

CITY MANAGER REPORT:

City Manager Lehr commented on a recent article in the newspaper regarding traffic speed and safety issues on Palos Verdes Drive East, noting that the City had not lost its ability to enforce traffic laws in the area.

Council discussion related to this issue focused on the traffic studies and current speed limits in the area; traffic enforcement techniques used by the Sheriff’s Department; and, the public’s perception of traffic violations.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Knox and staff provided clarification and additional information on the item including the following:  specifics on the traffic surveys; State Administrative Rules concerning speed limits that resulted in tickets being overturned in court; factors such as speeding and accidents that could be used to lower the speed limit; specific areas where radar was not being used; and, the Traffic Engineer’s efforts to gather data needed to enable the use of radar in specific areas.

Council and staff discussion ensued regarding the concern that weaknesses in traffic enforcement were being publicized; and, the need for additional data to be gathered to strengthen criteria and enhance enforceability in specific areas.

NEW BUSINESS:

APPROVAL OF CONSENT CALENDAR:

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to approve the Consent Calendar with Items 8 and 9 removed from the Consent Calendar for separate consideration.

The motion carried on the following roll call vote:

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

EMERGENCY STORM DRAIN PROJECT:

Mossbank Storm Drain Rehabilitation (1204 x 604)

Reviewed and reconfirmed by a four/fifths (4/5) vote, the Council’s previous action on August 21, 2007, authorizing staff to proceed with emergency repairs to the Mossbank Drive storm drain.

OTHER CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS:

Motion to Waive Full Reading

Adopted a motion to waive reading in full of all ordinances presented at this meeting with consent of the waiver of reading deemed to be given by all Council Members after the reading of the title.

Approval of the Minutes (301)
 
Approved the Minutes of the March 24, 2007 Adjourned Regular Meeting, as amended; August 7, 2007 Adjourned Regular Meeting; and August 21, 2007 Adjourned Regular Meeting.

Border Issues Status Report (310)

Reviewed the current status of border issues.

Notice of Completion Palos Verdes Drive South Landslide Road Reconstruction (1204 x 1404)

1) Accepted the work as complete; and 2) Authorized the City Clerk to file a Notice of Completion with the County Recorder.

Professional Engineering Services for Residential Streets Overlay and Slurry Seal Program (FY 07-08) (1204 x 1404)
 
1) Awarded professional services to Harris & Associates in the amount of $57,660 and authorized staff to spend an additional $11,000 to pay for additional unforeseen conditions for a total authorization of $68,660 for the design services of Residential Streets Overlay and Slurry Seal Programs (FY 07-08); and, 2) Authorized the Mayor and City Clerk to execute a Professional Services Agreement with Harris & Associates.

Highway Safety Improvements Program (HSIP) Grant for: Upgrade of Traffic (1405)

1) ADOPTED RESOLUTION 2007-95, A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES AMENDING RESOLUTION 2007-70, THE BUDGET APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007-08, FOR NEW BUDGET APPROPRIATION IN THE AMOUNT OF $236,000, TO AMEND BUDGETS IN THE CITY’S GENERAL FUND AND CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS (CIP) FUND FOR FISCAL YEAR 2007-08; and, 2) Authorized expenditure of the above appropriation in the amount not to exceed $9,500 to design and prepare the bid documents per the attached proposal by Priority Engineering, Inc. and an estimated allowance of $5,000 for construction oversight for a total of $14,500 for the subject project.

Contract Extension CBM Consulting, Inc. (1204 x 604)

This item was removed from the Consent Calendar for separate consideration.

Additions to the Consolidated Loan between the City and Agency for Expenses Incurred During FY06-07 (602)
 
This item was removed from the Consent Calendar for separate consideration.

July 2007 Treasurer’s Report (602)

Received and filed the July 2007 Treasurer’s Report for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.

Register of Demands

ADOPTED RESOLUTION NO. 2007- 96, 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.

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PUBLIC HEARINGS:

Code Amendments (Case Nos. ZON2007-00076 and ZON2007-00311): Miscellaneous Amendments to Title 17 (Zoning) of the City’s Municipal Code to: 1) Waive Duplicate Penalty Fees for After-The-Fact Planning Applications in Certain Specified Circumstances; 2) Expedite Planning Review and Exempt the Reconstruction of Single-Family Residences that are Damaged or Destroyed by Fire from the City’s Neighborhood Compatibility Requirements; 3) Revise the Noise and Vibration Standards from the City’s Attached Unit Development Standards; 4) Add a Requirement for the Construction of Temporary Framework Silhouettes for Multi-Family Residential, Commercial, Institutional and Cemetery Projects Requiring Approval of a Conditional Use Permit; and, 5) Clarify the Development Standards for Legal, Vacant Extreme-Slope Lots [Continued from August 21, 2007] (1801)

City Clerk Morreale reported that the public hearing was continued from the August 21, 2007 City Council Meeting and she had received no requests to speak on the item.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to adopt the staff recommendation.

In response to Councilman Gardiner’s request to vote no on the revision to the noise and vibration standards, Mayor Long suggested splitting the items for separate consideration.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to consider the individual staff recommendations separately.

Councilman Stern suggested changing the language in F2 on the bottom of circle page 3 to read “Deny the waiver in its entirety or grant only a partial waiver.”

City Attorney Lynch agreed with the modification in the language.

Councilman Clark and Mayor Long accepted the amendment as the maker and seconder of the motion.

Mayor Long closed the public hearing.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to 1) Waive duplicate penalty fees for after-the-fact planning applications in certain specified circumstances; 2) Expedite planning review and exempt the reconstruction of single-family residences that are damaged or destroyed by fire from the City’s neighborhood compatibility requirements;  3) Add a requirement for the construction of temporary framework silhouettes for multi-family residential, commercial, institutional and cemetery projects requiring approval of a conditional use permit; and, 4) Clarify the development standards for legal, vacant extreme-slope lots.

The motion passed with unanimous approval.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to revise the noise and vibration standards from the City’s attached unit development standards.

The motion passed on the following roll call vote:

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

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Mayor Long, to:  1) INTRODUCE ORDINANCE NO. 463, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO PALOS VERDES, AMENDING MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS OF CHAPTERS 17.02, 17.06, 17.48, 17.60, 17.78 AND 17.84 OF TITLE 17 (ZONING) OF THE CITY’S MUNICIPAL CODE (CASE NOS. ZON2007-00076 AND ZON2007-00311); and, 2) Approve the proposed Non-Single-Family-Residential Silhouette Criteria.

The motion passed on the following roll call vote:

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

PAUSE TO CONSIDER THE REMAINDER OF THE AGENDA:

REGULAR NEW BUSINESS:

Management Consultant for the Organization-Wide Management Assessment (1101)

City Manager Lehr provided a summary staff report.

Council and staff’s discussion topics included the following issues: 1) the selection of prospective consultants by the City Manager to be interviewed by the Council for final selection in the performance of the Organization-Wide Management Assessment; 2) the positive experience reported by the City Manager of Rolling Hills Estates regarding Management Partners, Inc.; 3) perceived ambiguity of the objectives and the price of the contract; 4) the proposed tasks and goals and the order in which they are to be addressed; 5) and, the reconciliation of additional costs if the assessment reaches beyond its original scope.

City Manager Lehr explained that the proposal presented the basic service as described by the consultants, with the ability to add on options at the desire of Council.

Mayor Long opined that interviews with the Council should be included in the study and stressed that the study needed to examine the organization as a whole.
 
Andy Belknap, Management Partners, Inc., distributed copies of an organizational review and an action plan they did for another city.  He noted that their reputation depended on staying within the City’s budget while delivering the product the client has requested.  He presented a revised proposal to Council including optional elements based on information gathered at Council’s last meeting.

Jan Perkins, Management Partners, Inc., presented a brief summary of her experience in city government and outlined the approach she would take in conducting the Organization-Wide Management Assessment.

Councilman Wolowicz expressed concern that the Council’s objectives were not clearly defined in the proposed plan.

Ms. Perkins explained that the Organization-Wide Management Assessment would begin with individual interviews of all Councilmembers so that each person’s objectives would be clearly identified.

In response to a question from Councilman Clark, Ms. Perkins indicated that Management Partners, Inc. would be focused on the implementation and practical identification of opportunities for improvement within the organization.

Responding to Councilman Gardiner regarding the scope of comparison for best practices, Ms. Perkins explained that Management Partners, Inc. would expand the scope beyond that of municipal government to the private sector when appropriate.  Ms. Perkins clarified that Management Partners, Inc. would not be doing a fiscal analysis, but may be able to provide an order of magnitude of potential savings or cost of the implementation of a particular aspect, depending on the findings or recommendations.   Councilman Gardiner received clarification that Management Partners, Inc. would consider mandatory vs. discretionary tasks and the distinction between one-time and ongoing tasks.

Discussion between the Council and representatives of Management Partners, Inc. focused on the following issues: 1) cost-benefit analysis; 2) strategies for departmental smoothing of peak workloads; 3) performance measurements of existing tasks and demonstration of area of possible streamlining; 4) establishment of policies, priorities and goals to help determine the workflow ; 5) demand of unfunded state or federal mandates on staff time; and,6) demand on Council and staff when dealing with requests from the public.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to approve the staff recommendation on hiring Management Partners, Inc. as the consultants for the City-Wide Organizational Assessment, with interviews of Council members taking place as early as possible in the process.

Councilman Wolowicz suggested an amendment to the motion, stating that he viewed the base contract to include Option B (Homeowner/Board/Commission Interviews) and Option C (On-line Board/Commission Survey).  The motion to amend was seconded by Mayor Long for discussion.

The maker and seconder of the motion accepted the amendment.

Council and consultant discussion ensued regarding the incorporation of additional fees for interviews or online surveys to be conducted with representatives of the Council of Homeowners Association, City Advisory Board members.  Also discussed were the particulars of the additional scope of work, the potential value of a survey and interviews, and if that aspect was essential to the study.

The amendment to the motion passed on the following roll call vote:

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

Councilman Gardiner moved to amend the original motion, seconded by Councilman Wolowicz, to incorporate the Information Technology (IT) Review in the base contract.

Discussion between Council and Management Partners, Inc. consultants included the following issues:  1) the extent of the review and the components of Option A – the Information Technology Review; 2) importance of IT and the potential for significant gains in productivity by streamlining IT; 2) cost and benefits related to a specific study of IT and the type of results that study would provide; 3) consideration of evaluating IT services in phases; 4) the City’s history of a recently issued Request for Proposal (RFP) for refuse collection including its cost and lack of results; 5) growth of the City’s IT budget and how it compares with other cities; and, 6) specific questions on Internet services and network architecture.

Mayor Long proposed the approach of separating Option A (IT Review) into phases, where Council would decide after Phase 1 if they would authorize a further study of IT services, which would include the larger scope and more costly examination of the subject.

Further Council discussion continued on the phasing-in process of Option A.

Mayor Long offered, as a substitute motion, to instruct the consultant to return with Option A broken into Phase 1 (a top-level review of Information Technology) and Phase 2, such that at the end of Phase 1 the consultant would give their professional opinion regarding if the City should proceed with Phase 2 or not.  The consultant was instructed to return to the September 18, 2007 meeting with a revised proposal regarding the phased in approach of Option A.  Mayor Pro Tem Stern seconded the motion.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

The main motion was brought forward in which Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to 1) Approve the base contract with Management Partners, Inc., as amended, with interviews of Council members taking place as early as possible in the process, with Option B (Homeowner/Board/Commission Interviews) and Option C (On-line Board/Commission Survey) added.

Without objection, Mayor Long so ordered.

RECESS AND RECONVENE:

Mayor Long called a brief recess from 9:12 P.M. to 9:21 P.M.

Third System Performance Audit of the 2000 Cable Television Franchise Agreement with Cox Communications (605)
 
Mayor Long recused himself from the meeting for discussion of this item, because members of his firm perform work for Cox Communications, unrelated to the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.  Mayor Pro Tem Stern presided over the discussion of the item.

Deputy City Manager Petru provided a summary staff report.  She reported that the Third System Performance Audit found that Cox Communications was in compliance with the system performance criteria and noted that staff recommended the optional five-year extension of the franchise agreement with Cox Communications.

Council and staff’s discussion focused on the following topics:  1) the impact of the new state video franchise law; 2) the public’s dissatisfaction with Cox Communications moving the public access channel to Channel 35; 3) the reasoning behind the proposed five-year extension to the franchise agreement; and, 4) the potential loss of local control and consumer input due to state video franchise laws.

Responding to Councilman Wolowicz, Deputy City Manager Petru defined Cox Communication’s in-kind support for the City’s Educational Access Channel 33 as space on their Channel line-up and the connectivity between the Cox Communications studio and the RPV TV Channel 33 studio.  She reported that the City also received a 5% Franchise Fee under the current agreement, and if Cox Communications received a state franchise there was the possibility of an additional 1% Public Education & Government (PEG) access fee specifically for capital costs.

Further discussion between Council and staff included questioning the need and benefit of the extension to the City; the time period in which the extension could be executed; and the request for the Council Cable Committee to review the issues, options, and unanswered questions. 

Art Yoon, Manager of Governmental Affairs, Cox Communications, indicated that his company had yet to make a legal determination on their on-going service obligation, but they were operating under the assumption that they would be obligated to continue to maintain their current level of service to the City if the extension is agreed upon by both entities.  He acknowledged that the state franchise law has significantly changed the regulatory and competitive landscape and his company was examining all possible options.

Further Council discussion focused on the merits of the extension and whether to exercise it now or later.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to make the findings in connection with the Third System Performance Audit; to refer the item back to the Council Cable Committee for consideration and further review of the five-year extension opportunity granted under the Franchise Agreement; and, to identify an additional Councilmember to serve on the Committee, due to Mayor Long’s stated conflict on this item. 

In response to Mayor Pro Tem Stern’s questions regarding a dramatic improvement in the service record of Cox Communications in the past year, Art Yoon reviewed the significant technological upgrades within the company which have allowed Cox Communications to provide better service, decrease the number of customer service calls, and should ensure future performance is maintained at a high level.

Councilman Gardiner received clarification that future competitors of Cox Communications would be obligated to carry the PEG Channels 33 and 35.

Based on the motion on the floor, Deputy City Manager Petru suggested modifying the resolution to approve the performance audit, but eliminate any reference to the extension at this time. 

After additional Council discussion of the matter, City Attorney Lynch suggested continuing the entire item to a future meeting.

Councilman Clark moved, seconded by Councilman Gardiner, to 1) Continue the item to the September 18, 2007 meeting; and 2) Direct staff to include in the staff report a discussion of appointing a second Councilmember to the Cox Contract Renewal subcommittee (absent Mayor Long).

Without objection, Mayor Pro Tem Stern so ordered.

Mayor Long returned to Council Chambers.  He explained that he had recused himself from discussion of the previous item as members of his firm perform work for Cox Communications unrelated to the City of Rancho Palos Verdes.  He noted that the Channel 33 Cable TV/Cox Franchise Renewal Committee that he has been assigned to has only dealt with Channel 33 issues.  He stated that he remains very interested in that issue and has devoted much time to issues dealing with Channel 33.  He suggested that an item be placed on the next agenda to create a separate Council Committee to address issues that he would not be able to deal with related to Cox Communications and the potential extension of the Franchise Agreement.

Landslide Monitoring at Abalone Cove and Portuguese Bend; Budget Appropriation for the Joint Powers Improvement Authority Program (2200 x 602)

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to waive the staff report and adopt staff recommendation to Adopt Resolution No. 2007-97, a Resolution of the City Council of the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Amending Resolution 2007-70, the Budget Appropriation for Fiscal Year 2007-2008, for a Budget Adjustment of $20,000 to the City’s General Fund.

The motion passed on the following roll call vote:

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

ITEMS REMOVED FROM THE CONSENT CALENDAR:

Contract Extension CBM Consulting, Inc.

City Clerk Morreale introduced the item and noted that Councilman Gardiner requested the item be removed from the Consent Calendar.

Council discussion focused on the amount of the contract and inquired if the amount was included in the original transfer budget package.

Public Works Director Bell explained that CBM was essentially filling a pre-existing staff position that had not been filled.  He noted that at the beginning of the year a full-time contract employee was assigned to the Flood Control Protection Program which substantially advanced progress on certain projects, such as the McCarrell Canyon and Tarapaca projects.

Councilman Gardiner moved, seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Stern, to authorize a change to the contract with CBM Consulting, Inc. to increase the dollar amount of the contract for Professional Services up to an additional $125,847 for assistance in the administration of the Water Quality and Flood Protection Program.

The motion passed on the following roll call vote:

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

Additions to the Consolidated Loan between the City and Agency for Expenses Incurred During FY06-07

Councilman Wolowicz voiced concern with expense recovery revenue being recorded in the General Fund before it is actually received.

Finance Director McLean reviewed specifics of the loan and the source of the payments noting that the revenue was not being recorded prematurely in any fund and that growth of the tax increment used to repay the loan could result in future tax increment funds available to pay back the General Fund loan in the future.

Mayor Long clarified the reasoning behind reporting the Consolidated Loan between the City and the Redevelopment Agency.

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved, seconded by Councilman Clark, to receive and file the staff report, which provides information regarding the loan additions to the Rancho Palos Verdes Redevelopment Agency in the amount of $22,207 for expenses incurred by the City during FY06-07, with the Consolidated Loan Agreement dated December 1, 2003, authorizing the loan additions.

The motion passed on the following roll call vote:
 
AYES:            Clark, Gardiner, Stern, Wolowicz, and Mayor Long
NOES:           None

CITY COUNCIL ORAL REPORTS:

Councilman Clark reported on attending the Sanitation District Board of Directors Meeting on August 15, 2007, where the Chief Engineer for the County responded to Joan Davidson’s landfill presentation stating the proposal was for a new energy recovery system with lower emissions and no contaminant issues.  He noted that the Negative Declaration included a complete air quality emissions analysis.  He indicated that the public comment period had been extended to October 1, 2007.

Mayor Long reported on the possibility of offering staff the option of having health insurance through a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) program pending a Council committee report and recommendation.  He asserted that the options being considered would help to control the rate of increase of the City’s health insurance costs.

COUNCIL DISCUSSION & SUGGESTION OF FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS:

Mayor Long stated that he would like to see an item on the next agenda regarding the Cox Cable Franchise Extension being split from the Channel 33 Committee.

Councilman Wolowicz and Mayor Long asked to see the traffic speed survey item agendized once the speed surveys are complete, with Mayor Long suggesting that an item be placed on the agenda whenever the validity of a survey or speed limit is in question. Council discussion focused on how to proceed in future instances, including whether the item should be reviewed by the Traffic Safety Commission first, and the possibility of holding a special meeting to prevent any delay in action.

Councilman Wolowicz asked for assistance from the City Manager in researching the City’s percentage of property tax revenue as he wanted to achieve a higher percentage.  He also wanted to review the amount of property tax dollars collected in the City that are designated to the Los Angeles County Fire Department compared to the cost of the City’s contract with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department.  Mayor Long concurred on the lack of data for costs associated with fire protection and supported Councilman Wolowicz’s inquiry.

Councilman Gardiner wanted to revisit the Eastview school boundary issues.  Council and staff discussion focused on the pending meeting with Assemblywoman Karnette and representatives from the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Los Angeles School Boards.

ADJOURNMENT:

Mayor Pro Tem Stern moved to adjourn.

Mayor Long adjourned the meeting at 10:46 P.M.

                                                                                                /s/ Douglas W. Stern  
                                                                                                               Mayor
Attest:

/s/ Carla Morreale
      City Clerk