On the Agenda, February 21, 2012
Redevelopment is dead. There, I said it. It seems even the Tustin City Council agrees, finally. Running dueling agendas, the City Council will meet as both the Council and the “Successor Agency to the Tustin Community Redevelopment Agency”. An accurate, if somewhat lengthy, title (perhaps Elizabeth Binsack can come up with a cool name). At a meeting in January, the City Council went about the business of transferring assets and obligations to a successor agency. The new agency will, presumably, only be able to handle the current affairs of the old RDA with no new obligations. A tough blow to Jerry and his Kids, who thought RDA money would see them and their business cronies thought the tough times. Now, we will see just how much business is willing to put into business ventures in Tustin without the aid of corporate welfare.
A bit of advice to Councilmember Gavello. Item 4 on the special meeting agenda establishes bank accounts and signatures. I know you hate Jeffries but just go with the flow on this.
On to the City Council regular meeting agenda.
There are the usual suspects on the Closed Session agenda, including T-Mobile which has sued the city over the design review of a cell tower in Cedar Grove Park. By now, a response should have been made to the initial petition. The petitions and all pleadings are public knowledge, by the way. So, we would suggest the city consider placing the documents on-line for full disclosure. That is, unless the city has something to hide.
There are also three lawsuits between the City and Tustin Unified School District. The oldest of these is scheduled to be heard in Orange County Superior Court in April. Two councilmembers have assured me they hope for a resolution before this goes to trial. With control over school construction at stake, and considering the apparent conflict of state law, I doubt TUSD is inclined to settle this beforehand. Certainly Tustin’s lame attempt at a settlement, which appeared to be more of an effort to garner public support, would not be the basis for a permanent agreement.
The final lawsuit is one filed by Doug Poling against the city. No word on the specifics but it does involve the National Junior Basketball Association. I have asked them to comment.
It is that time of year again. The seven and a half labor unions representing Tustin employees will come again to the table to discuss wages and benefits. I was sure at least the TPOA and TPSSA had multi-year agreements so this may just be salary re-openers. We will keep an eye on things and let you know of any developments. At least the city is smart enough to bring in a hired gun to negotiate rather than let city staff do it.
The first item on the open session agenda is a public hearing for the Community Development Block Grant. This is a federal program to return funds to communities to be used to “provide decent housing, suitable living environments and expand economic opportunities” for low and moderate income persons. This year, the city gets $587,277 in grant money. The city is required to hold two hearings, one of which will be Tuesday night. Of course, the City Council can disregard any testimony by the public and make up their own minds as to how the money will be spent. And, it seems, the staff have already made up their minds as to how remaining money from 2009 should be spent. A quick look at the goals and objectives shows worthy projects around our town.
One in particular is “Helping homeless persons…” Unfortunately, this is a low priority. It must be because of the low number of homeless persons we have residing in our community. It might be a worthy goal to get the few we supposedly have (I suspect we have more than the two hundred claimed in the agenda report) to make that final step off the streets and into housing. However, there are lots of worthy projects on the plate for CDBG money and not enough money to go around. In fact, the city will receive approximately 20% less funding this year than last. I am not one for welfare of any kind but this is, after all, our money and should be returned to the communities.
Regular Business Items
Item 12, Planning Commission Authority- Redevelopment Agency – It appears the City Council will vest some decision making authority in the Planning Commission regarding former RDA property. Hmmm. Could this be where Jerry ends up after his stint on the council? Hopefully, they will take a serious look at those term limits for planning commissioners.
Item 13, Commission Appointments – In Jerry’s current endeavor to leave a lasting mark on Tustin, the various Commission appointments have become the focus of the council. Applications and interviews have been postponed while the council decides on term limits. Councilmember Gavello, in an effort to bring the issue into perspective, has asked for a background report on the appointment process. Good show, even if they disregard you Deborah. You are doing the right thing.
Item 14, 2011-2012 Mid-year Budget Review – Are they kidding? sub-item 3 asks for a supplemental appropriation of $585,651 to cover capital project expenditures. How about the City Council start by giving back its iPads?
All in all, it should be an interesting meeting. I remind our readers that we only have 10 1/2 months of Jerry’s rule (sure, John… we know you are mayor…).
Posted on February 20, 2012, in Local Government, politics, Tustin City Commissions, Tustin City Council and tagged cedar grove park, city manager, community redevelopment agency, conspiracy theories, cronyism, Elizabeth Binsack, Jerry Amante, John Neilsen, planning commission, Redevelopment agencies, TUSD, tustin planning commission, unions. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on On the Agenda, February 21, 2012.