July 11, 2006

City Council Adopts Reimbursement Policy, Goes After Spartina

San Leandro Vice Mayor Surlene once again presided over the City Council on July 10, 2006, as Mayor Shelia Young was reported to be on city business and did not attend the meeting.

During the public comment period, Don Enriquez, who stated that he was raised in San Leandro and was here during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, lamented the frequent use of foul language and suggested that it was linked to violence. He asked the City Council to take actions to prohibit the use of foul language, especially in public, where it may be heard by children.

Republican nominee for State Senate Lou Filipovich turned the tables on the City Council when he said that he would "not make any statements" and instead gave the City Council the opportunity to ask questions of him. When his offer was greeted with silence, Filipovich repeated his offer and eventually gave up, stating, "let the record show" that none of the City Council took him up on his offer.

Harold Perez asked the City Council to refrain from planting a certain type of tree because one near his house was raising the sidewalk and had forced a neighbor to spend $6,000 in sewer repairs. Perez again complained about his neighbors with the pit bulls, noting that his drug-dealing neighbor was leaving the lights on all night long.

Vice Mayor Grant and Council Member Glenda Nardine both had questions about the approval of a contract with Neighborhood Solutions and it was removed from the consent calendar.

On a vote of 6 to 0, the City Council approved the remainder of the consent calendar, which included minutes of the June 5, 2006, meeting, the August recess for the City Council, the city's participation in the Alameda County Climate Protection Project, membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, and two resolutions approving non-competitive procurement of chemicals and aerial treatment of spartina.

Charles Gilcrest asked the City Council to open up bidding on the contract awarded to Neighborhood Solution to organizations like the Davis Street Family Resource Center. In response to a question from Vice Mayor Grant, City Finance Director Jesse Baloca observed that $25,000 is the informal threshold for putting city contracts out to bid and $50,000 is the formal threshold. City Manager John Jermanis noted that there are exceptions to the threshold as in the case where a qualified company has successfully fulfilled similar contacts in the past. Council Member Bill Stephens stated that the California Contract Code has a threshold of $65,000. Council Member Tony Santos also expressed support for putting the contract out to bid so local organizations such as Davis Street could bid. Jermanis said that he would get a statement of qualifications from Davis Street and similar organizations, but it was too late for this year.

The resolution approving the $92,000 contract with Neighborhood Solutions was subsequently approved on a vote of 6 to 0.

The last item was a resolution establishing a policy regarding the reimbursement of expenses for city council members, members of boards and commissions, and city employees. As summarized by Assistant City Attorney Stephanie Stuart, this policy was required by AB 1234 the "Local Government Sunshine Bill," which went into effect on January 1, 2006. It requires greater transparency in local government and covers ethics, expenditure reporting, and formal training requirements. Jermanis noted that Meyers Nave, the law firm of the City Attorney and Assistant City Attorney is certified to provide the AB1234 training. Council Member Joyce Starosciak noted that she attended training at the League of California Cities conference in January while Council Member Nardine said that all members of the Alameda County Mosquito Abatement District Board, except her, had already received training. Council Member Santos stated that he was interested in the policies for conflict of interest and and gift and travel restrictions, because "we are not following" the code of ethics. Vice Mayor Grant agreed with Santos' sentiments.

During City Council Comments, Council Member OB Badger asked that the meeting be adjourned in the memory of Yvonne Miranda, who recently passed away from cancer. Council Member Nardine spoke at length about fireworks issues, suggesting that the city provide more information about how much enforcement costs the city each 4th of July. Jermanis said that despite the 115 fireworks-related calls, the police and fire chiefs said that it was better than last year and credited proactive notifications about the city's zero-tolerance policy for fireworks.

Vice Mayor Grant wanted the city to consider specific regulations that would prohibit the parking of cars on the street that were there for the sole purpose of being sold. She asked that the minutes be published in a more timely manner, but acknowledged that the staff was already working very hard. Grant mentioned that she attended an event at the Chinese Art Gallery and reported that an elderly calligrapher will create a piece of art for the city.

The meeting was adjourned in the memory of Patty Price, Hayward City Council Member Matt Jimenez, who died on July 3, 2006, and Yvonne Miranda.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at July 11, 2006 7:32 AM | TrackBack
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