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Cerritos City Council Meeting Minutes

MINUTES OF A REGULAR MEETING OF THE
CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS
HELD JUNE 14, 2007

CALL TO ORDER

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Cerritos City Hall, 18125 Bloomfield Avenue, Cerritos, California.

INVOCATION

Reverend Dr. Suk-Boo Lee of Artesia-Cerritos United Methodist Church offered the invocation.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Boy Scout Troop 72 led the assembly in the salute to the flag.

ROLL CALL

The City Clerk noted attendance of the following Members of the City Council:

Councilman Bruce W. Barrows

Councilman Joseph Cho, Ph.D.

Councilman John F. Crawley

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Edwards

Mayor Laura Lee

PRESENTATIONS

Ruth Martinez-Baenen, member of the Tournament of Roses Executive Committee, presented the City Council with a Participant's Float Photo for participation in the 2007 Tournament of Roses Parade at which the City's Nature Rocks float was honored with the Bob Hope Humor Trophy for most comical and amusing presentation.

The following proclamations were presented:  Jessica Rudolph for earning the Girl Scout Gold Award; Karthik Sridhar for earning the rank of Eagle Scout; ABC Unified School District Talent Show Winners Larina Palacpac, First Place, for singing O Mio Babbino Caro, Tiffany Tatreau, Second Place, for singing Popular from the musical Wicked, and The Fifth Element, Third Place, for its dance routine performance; Richard Gahr High School in recognition of being named a California Distinguished School; and 2007 Cerritos City Wide Pride school participants Haskell Middle School and Tracy High School.

PUBLIC COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS

Merri Wheaton, Cerritos resident, offered a prayer.

Chris Fuentes, Cerritos resident, thanked the City for supporting Memorial Day activities.

Mary Mikhail, Cerritos resident, shared her plan to go to Africa this summer and asked for the support of the community in her efforts to raise $10,000 toward the Hope Center in Africa to help those afflicted with HIV/AIDS.

Gladys Gutierrez, Long Beach resident, and Angel Soto, Cerritos resident, asked that the City Council place on the next agenda consideration of efforts of People for a Friendlier World, Inc. in support of a United States Constitutional amendment for world peace.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Cho and seconded by Mayor Lee to place on the next agenda the world peace Constitutional amendment of People for a Friendlier World, Inc.  The motion carried with Councilman Barrows and Councilman Crawley dissenting.

Cindy Chen, Cerritos resident, invited and encouraged the public to participate in a bone marrow drive on Saturday, June 16, 2007 at the Cerritos Chinese School on the Artesia High School campus for Joyson Szu, a Whitney High School student recently diagnosed with leukemia.

CONSENT CALENDAR ITEMS

Approval of Register of Demands

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Barrows and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Edwards to approve the Register of Demands dated June 14, 2007, Checks 91039 through 91598, in the total amount of $11,850,223.26.  The motion carried unanimously.

Approval of Minutes

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Barrows and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Edwards to approve the Minutes of the May 24, 2007 Regular City Council Meeting.  The motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

Information, discussion, and consideration to authorize further actions related to a proposed development involving the City of Cerritos/Cerritos Redevelopment Agency and the ABC Unified School District for the construction of an affordable senior housing community for individuals age 55 or older, a senior recreation center, a ±3.78-acre park, and remodel of an existing kitchen/warehouse facility for student lunch preparation located at 16700 Norwalk Boulevard in Cerritos (APN 7012-001-900) and for the construction of an administration building located at 12616 183rd Street in Cerritos (APN 7030-002-902).

Title was read to the foregoing item, the public hearing opened, and staff was called upon for a report.

Community Development Director Contreras reviewed the staff report dated June 14, 2007, including recommended actions, noting that the next joint City Council/Redevelopment Agency and ABC School Board meeting is scheduled for August 23, 2007.

Bill Ihrke of Rutan & Tucker, City/Agency legal counsel, discussed the process and applicability of a validation court proceeding.

The following points were raised during ensuing discussion:  recommendation one in the staff report dated June 14, 2007 related to finalization of architectural and landscape plans for the various components of the proposed project would involve the expenditure of additional funds, the amount of which has yet to be determined; the new legal opinion from the State of California Legislative Counsel's office regarding Article 34 compliance has not been completed; a validation court proceeding is a legal option; and reference to the intent of the law as it relates to considering the creation of a non-profit, benefit corporation composed of Cerritos residents.

Interested parties were invited to present testimony.

Chris Fuentes, Cerritos resident, spoke in support of the proposal, with the exception of placing the district offices at the southeast corner of 183rd Street and Bloomfield Avenue.

Gordon Quan, Cerritos resident, supported the proposal concept, cautioning the Council with regard to anticipated property value increases and the potential political and fiscal liability associated with changing the use of the property in the future.  He suggested the City look at other locations in which to locate this development.

Gale Swensson, Cerritos resident, noted that her residence is near 183rd Street and Bloomfield Avenue and spoke in support of locating the school district offices at that location.  She expressed her preference for low and moderate income housing for those of all ages, indicating that the senior designation for the housing is also acceptable.

David Shaffer, Cerritos resident, questioned the justification for the project at the proposed location and whether the district offices should be moved, noting that he does not dispute the need for affordable senior housing.  He referenced Article 34 of the California Constitution in asking that the project be stopped or postponed until residents are given an opportunity to vote on the matter.

Kamlau Ma, Cerritos resident, stated that the Council should carefully consider whether this proposal will benefit all of the residents of the City and will be a sound business decision.  He expressed concern for potential financial losses and negative impact of the development on property values.

Gavin Riley, Cerritos resident, retired ABC School District teacher, and spokesman for the teacher's union, asserted that the District will continue to lose money throughout the approval and development process.  He requested clarification regarding the research that was conducted to verify that no Article 34 election has been held for similar projects; the reason for creating a non-profit corporation; what other non-profit corporations the City is involved with; and the extent of the overlay project now that the moratorium has been lifted.

Kenneth Cha, Cerritos resident, urged approval of the project and noted the following benefits:  funds to schools, senior center, park, remodeled district kitchen facility, and meeting the state housing mandate.

Alon Barlevy, Cerritos resident and Parks and Recreation Commissioner, offered that the project sounds like a great project that consists of many complicated issues that have been addressed with outside of the box thinking.  He added that the land swap is in line with other City projects, that the Article 34 and rent schedule issues still need to be ironed-out, and that the principle of the proposal will result in City compliance with housing mandates and the School District getting more money.

Harry Hour, Cerritos resident, expressed concern that at the end of the 55 year lease, the School District could take back the senior apartment building, park and senior center; asserted that because of increasing property values the School District will be paying below market rents for the new district offices; expressed that the renters priority doesn't benefit Cerritos seniors; and asked for clarification of where the trust fund money is accounted for.

Benjamin Ao, Cerritos resident, supported a validation court proceeding to clarify whether the project needs to go to the voters and if the non-profit arrangement constitutes private ownership, and suggested the validation court proceeding occur before a decision is made on the project to avoid making a decision if the court does not agree with the proposal.  He added that the voters are the boss and the Council should listen to the voters.

Kuorong Chiang, Cerritos resident, suggested holding a town hall meeting to allow for a more effective dialogue process for residents, opining that the hearing process is one-way.  He also questioned whether the proposal would benefit the parties involved equally and stated that consideration should be given to the benefits to the City.

Sally Havice, Cerritos resident, President of the United Home Owners Alliance, former Assemblywoman and former ABC School Board member, expressed concern as an educator for the future needs of students, noting that enrollment trends never stay the same.

David Lee, Cerritos resident, indicated that money should be sent directly to the schools and not the School District, and he discussed the various donations asked of parents of students for a variety of basic school supplies.

No one else wished to comment and the public hearing was closed.

At the request of Councilman Barrows, City Manager Gallucci indicated that a validation court proceeding requires completion of all documentation associated with the proposal to enable the court to fully review what is being contemplated, noting that this documentation is scheduled to be presented to the Council/Agency and School District in August.  Mr. Gallucci also discussed the Regional Housing Needs Assessment and the redevelopment housing set-aside mandates as well as other non-profit benefit organizations affiliated with the City.  He added that, if approved, construction of the district offices would be with redevelopment funds, not housing funds.

With regard to validation court proceedings, City Attorney Steres indicated the courts must have an actual agreement to review, which is why it is being recommended that if a validation court proceeding is authorized it could not occur until after approval of agreements and financial relationships because the court's attitude would be that to provide otherwise would be speculative and the court does not review hypothetical situations or scenarios.  He continued that the court would tell us to come back once the documentation is approved and then a review and subsequent court decision can be made on whether proper procedures and authorities are in place and aspects of agreements follow the law.

In response to further inquiry of Councilman Barrows, City Manager Gallucci indicated that the Disposition and Development Agreement would contain provisions for catastrophic events such as earthquakes.  Councilman Barrows indicated a preference for Cerritos residents as the top priority of renters and expressed no objection to a town hall type meeting to encourage dialogue.

Councilman Crawley indicated that he would prefer to reserve comment until the final meeting on this matter, noting that he has commented in the past as well.

Councilman Cho expressed that Cerritos residents should be first on the renter priority list; noted that the previous State of California Legislative Counsel's opinion was based on incomplete information, which would not apply to this project; concurred with the holding of a town hall type meeting; and noted that if there are groups that would like him to discuss this matter at their meetings to contact him.

Mayor Pro Tem Edwards indicated that he had received inquiries about where the money for the proposal is coming from and reiterated that the funding for the project will come from the twenty percent set-aside redevelopment funds that can only be spent on housing, adding that the district office component would be constructed with redevelopment funds.  He noted that he would not favor the project if cut-backs in programming such as the recreation, library and performing arts were being contemplated.  He opined that the public hearing is a town hall meeting, noting that previous community meetings were also held, and commented on his professional demeanor.

Mayor Lee reiterated her concern with the 55 year lease payment arrangement, observing that future rents will increase similarly to rents that have increased since 1952 as well as corresponding increases in insurance, taxes and maintenance costs.  She questioned the benefit of such an arrangement to the City/Agency, particularly if general funds rather than redevelopment funds are needed in the future to support this arrangement; suggested that staff provide a future projection for office rents in the Los Angeles area; opined that termination options should be provided to both the School District and the City/Agency, not solely the School District; and observed that while during the course of the past year modifications have been made to other parts of the proposal including drawings, the senior component, and the park, there has been no progress in addressing the lease payment schedule, all of which compel her dissenting vote at this time.

Discussion followed regarding the recommended actions outlined in the staff report, including the possibility of not considering action item one at this time.  It was noted during further discussion that the lease payment arrangement as well as the order of priority of renters are among those items that are still being negotiated and that negotiations will remain in flux until final documentation is presented for a vote.

MOTION:  It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Edwards and seconded by Councilman Crawley to:

1.   Authorize City staff to proceed with finalizing the architectural and landscape architectural plans for the various components of the proposed project;

2.   Authorize City staff to proceed with the formation of a non-profit organization to own and operate the proposed senior housing project on behalf of the Cerritos Redevelopment Agency and the ABC Unified School District;

3.   Authorize City staff to proceed with the creation of a Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) or similar master agreement between the Cerritos Redevelopment Agency, the ABC Unified School District, and the non-profit corporation for the proposed project, in accordance with the proposed terms outlined in this agenda report, and its attached agenda report dated May 24, 2007, and bring forth a final draft of said agreement for review and consideration by the Cerritos City Council/Cerritos Redevelopment Agency and the ABC Unified School District Board;

4.   Direct legal counsel to prepare a validation lawsuit that would be presented to a court following the Council/Agency's consideration of the DDA; and

5.   Direct staff to prepare a report for Council/Agency review and consideration at a public hearing on August 23, 2007, regarding the items outlined in the recommendations above.

The motion carried with Mayor Lee dissenting.

Consideration of options regarding the continuation of the Los Coyotes Lighting and Landscaping District.

Consideration to waive reading of and adopt A RESOUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS, ORDERING A REASSESSMENT WITHIN THE LOS COYOTES LIGHTING AND LANDSCAPING DISTRICT, CONFIRMING THE FINDINGS OF THE ENGINEER'S REPORT, PROVIDING FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO, THE MAINTENANCE OF AND THE FURNISHING OF ELECTRIC CURRENT AND LANDSCAPING TO THE LOS COYOTES LIGHTING AND LANDSCAPING DISTRICT, AND ORDERING THE REMITTANCE OF ASSESSMENTS FROM RESERVES IN THE LOS COYOTES LIGHTING AND LANDSCAPING FUND AND OTHER AVAILABLE REVENUES.

Title to the foregoing item was read, the public hearing opened, and staff called upon for a report.

Budget Administrator DeMasi provided an overview of the assessment findings from the Engineer's Report and options pertaining to the Los Coyotes Lighting and Landscaping District, as outlined in the staff report dated June 14, 2007.

Those wishing to present testimony were called upon.  Hearing no response the public hearing was closed.

Discussion was held regarding the contractual obligation associated with the Towne Center sub-zone and clarification of Option #2, which would discontinue the levy on individual property owners and maintain the levy associated with the Towne Center.  It was further clarified during the discussion that Option #1 would continue the assessment and remit back the assessment amounts, while retaining the ability to levy the assessment in the future at the pre-Proposition 218 level without having to conduct a Proposition 218 mail ballot election, if that levy is upheld by the courts.

MOTION FAILS:  It was moved by Councilman Barrows and seconded by Councilman Crawley to approve Option #2.  The motion failed with Councilman Cho, Mayor Pro Tem Edwards and Mayor Lee dissenting.

MOTION:  It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Edwards and seconded by Councilman Cho to approve Option #1 and waive reading of and adopt Resolution No. 2007-9 entitled:

RESOLUTION NO. 2007-9

A RESOUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS, ORDERING A REASSESSMENT WITHIN THE LOS COYOTES LIGHTING AND LANDSCAPING DISTRICT, CONFIRMING THE FINDINGS OF THE ENGINEER'S REPORT, PROVIDING FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO, THE MAINTENANCE OF AND THE FURNISHING OF ELECTRIC CURRENT AND LANDSCAPING TO THE LOS COYOTES LIGHTING AND LANDSCAPING DISTRICT, AND ORDERING THE REMITTANCE OF ASSESSMENTS FROM RESERVES IN THE LOS COYOTES LIGHTING AND LANDSCAPING FUND AND OTHER AVAILABLE REVENUES.

The motion carried with Councilman Barrows and Councilman Crawley dissenting.

CITY COUNCIL COMMUNICATIONS/COMMITTEE REPORTS/REPORT ON MEETINGS

Councilman Cho thanked those who attended the Memorial Day ceremony in honor of former Cerritos resident Bernie Einson and suggested that a single Memorial Day service be held in the future to avoid a number of ceremonies being held on the same day, which is what occurred this year.  He encouraged residents to visit the City's website for information about the City and to access the City Council agenda reports.

Mayor Pro Tem Edwards commented on Memorial Day events, including a ceremony for Lakewood resident Craig Williams who lost his life in the Vietnam War; discussed the baseball awards program at Liberty Park; and congratulated Gahr High School for its Distinguished School designation.

Councilman Barrows also mentioned the Memorial Day ceremonies attended; commented on speaker cards at Council meetings; and received clarification that a memorandum regarding mileage reimbursement was forwarded to the Council and that the matter would be addressed further during the upcoming budget hearing.

Mayor Lee indicated she had previously requested a Memorial Day ceremony in the upcoming budget, and it was confirmed that the item was included in the budget; commented on her attendance at the volunteer appreciation luncheon; requested that the matter of free library cards for volunteers who are non-residents be placed on a future agenda; and requested the matter of dog parks be considered at a future study session.

It was noted that staff would provide the Council with previous staff reports on dog parks and that the Parks and Recreation Commission had reviewed the dog park issue at its last meeting and agreed to not move forward with the concept.

CONSENSUS:  It was the consensus of the Council to direct staff to report back at a future meeting on the matter of free library cards for non-resident volunteers.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the City Council, the Mayor adjourned the meeting at 10:05 p.m. in memory of her good friend Janet Ho who recently passed away.

/s/ Josephine Triggs               
Josephine Triggs, City Clerk

ATTEST:

/s/ Laura Lee            
Laura Lee, Mayor

Approved:  June 28, 2007

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