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On the City Council Agenda – October 1, 2013

transparent governmentTwo Public Hearings head up the Tustin City Council meeting tonight. Prior to that, the dais will be treated to several presentations, including one for The American Legion Boys State Program made by The American Legion Post 227. We understand they fielded two candidates to Sacramento this year for a week of running a shadow government. Our personal opinion is they could do a much better job than our current crop of legislators.

The first Public Hearing will be to issue water revenue bonds in the amount of $15 million dollars. The money is ostensibly to be used for repair/replacement of the Simon Ranch Reservoir Booster Pump Station and Pipeline as well as the Tustin Avenu Well Replacement Project.

If we recall correctly, these items had been the subject of approved water bonds several years earlier when Deborah Gavello was around. It could just be a coincidence, however. Let’s not forget the city has allegedly been considering the purchase, either directly or indirectly, of desalinated water from the planned Poseiden Plant under negotiation in Huntington Beach. One has to wonder why anyone in this part of Orange County, with such a vast aquifer, would require water that reportedly will be selling for three times the price of local water.

One thing we agree with is the city’s consultants who have determined that, if you must issue bonds, this is a great time to do it, while rates are low.

The second Public Hearing will be on the City’s Housing Element Update. This is probably more technical than reality driven. A public workshop was held in April and the results have been incorporated into the proposed plan. Most of the response had been in the area of updating the plan for affordable and special needs housing. You can see the report here.

A couple items on the consent calendar should be pulled for discussion.

The first is Item 5, which calls for the electronic storage of records. It is a great idea and we are surprised out Community Development Director is just now thinking about it (although the last time the city got rid of records, they tried to use it against an Old Town Resident).

This deserves discussion if only for the fact that there is no indication the project went out to bid. Further, the item description is a bit confusing and it is unclear until one looks at the resolution whether it is for both the scanning and destuction (it is) or just the destruction of the documents. The report also states there is no fiscal impact. We seriously doubt ECS is providing their services for free. Likewise, it’s doubtful the city will just dump these records in the trash. Using a document destruction company will engender costs. And, have either been budgeted for or are funds expected to come out of reserves?

The city seems to be struggling with the strategic plan. Item 8 calls for a rejection of all recently received bids on the graffiti abatement contract. The reason? Staff can’t keep their records straight and allegedly put out obsolete data on the RFP.

The only other Item of note on the Agenda, is Item 9, Recommendation of the Finance Director’s Appointment as the City Treasurer. We previously said it would be a wise move for the city council to appoint the Finance Director, Pamela Arend-King, as the permanent Treasurer for the city. However, we do not see the minimal added duties as warranting an increase in salary of over $8 thousand dollars plus a commensurate boost in pension benefits.

If you remember, our former City Treasurer George Jeffries, a well-respected member of the financial and (Republican) political community, netted a salary of $4 thousand dollars a month for the exact same duties that Arends-King would be taking on as an addition to her “regular” duties.

There is no other justification for such a raise during this phase of the city’s economic recovery. It is also a slap in the face to the rank-and-file employees who just recently concluded a largely give-back contract with the city that resulted in zero pay raises for the majority of employees. Don’t look to this lazy city council to do anything but acquiesce to the will of the new Boss Tweed, Jeff Parker.

That’s it for the week. If this was too much doom and gloom for you, we will remind you that Tustin Tiller Days is coming this weekend at Columbus Tustin Park. Don’t forget the annual Tiller Parade down Main Street in Old Town Tustin. We will be in our usual place on our front porch ready to say hi to the good councilmembers. We wonder how many will be willing to face Our Town Tustin. C’mon, guys, we just want to say hi.

On The City Council Agenda – September 17, 2013

Hidden Agenda ClipartIt should be a  pretty short meeting for the Tustin City Council this Tuesday with only one item on the Regular Business Calendar and five items on the consent calendar.

The meeting begins with the Closed Session at 5:30pm. The usual suspects are listed with a conference with legal counsel on two items each for Initiation and Exposure to Litigation. There will also be discussion over three real estate items with the Real Property (aka Jeff Parker) Negotiators.

Prior to Regular Business, presentations will be made to Charles Tozzer, DDS, for his work at the Tustin Family Youth Center Dental Clinic. Congratulations, Doctor, and thanks for your efforts. The Family Youth Center serves some of the neediest in our town and we applaud their efforts.

Don Lamm of the Orange County Chapter of the American Planning Association will also be presenting an award. Although not listed, Tustin’s own Amy Stonich should also be on hand as she is the current Vice-Director of Programs for the organization.  Hmm. Wonder who the recipient could be?

A third presentation is indicated only as, “George Masson – National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

The only item on the Consent Calender that would be of concern to us is Item 5 that would be the first steps in authorizing the sale of bonds for financing municipal water system

"Lowest bidder???"

“Lowest bidder???”

improvements. The city would like to issue $15 million dollars in bonds to pay for rehabilitation of the Simon Ranch Booster Pump Station and Pipeline Replacement, as well as the replacement of the Tustin Avenue Well. The item should be pulled for discussion only so the residents understand the project.

The final item on the agenda is a second reading and adoption of the subdivision code. It’s interesting that the city has not published the video from the September 3rd Tustin City Council meeting where this was first discussed. What is it they don’t want us to know? In any case, this item will probably interest the contractors and builders more than the average citizen.

That’s it for the week. I would suspect the presentations will take the longest part of the evening. If, in the meantime, they get the video up for the previous meeting, we’ll let you know of any surprises.