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Cerritos City Council Meeting Minutes

MINUTES OF A REGULAR MEETING OF THE
CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS
HELD JULY 24, 2008



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

Prior to offering the invocation Mayor Jim Edwards opened the meeting in memory of long-time Cerritos residents Mary Villegas and Marge Carson, commented on their contributions to the community, and offered condolences to their families.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Boy Scout Troop 693 led the assembly in the salute to the flag.

ROLL CALL

The following Members of the City Council were in attendance:

Councilwoman Carol Chen
Councilman Joseph Cho, Ph.D.
Councilwoman Laura Lee
Mayor Pro Tem Bruce W. Barrows
Mayor Jim Edwards

PRESENTATIONS

The Mayor accepted the Southern California Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award for the Cerritos Sculpture Garden from the architect Dave Larkins, Managing Principal of LRM Limited.

Proclamations were presented to Brittany Chen for being named the first runner-up and Miss Popularity at the 20th Annual Miss Asia USA Pageant; Troop 693 Eagle Scouts Branden Michael Pirkl and Bruce Shiao for earning the rank of Eagle Scout; Cerritos Parks and Recreation Commission proclaiming July 2008 as Parks and Recreation Month.

The Mayor highlighted accolades that the Cerritos Library recently received, including recognition from Los Angeles Magazine for the Best of L.A. 2008 – Best Library for Children.

CONSIDERATION OF APPOINTMENTS TO COMMISSIONS, COMMITTEES AND BOARDS

MOTION: It was moved by Councilwoman Chen and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows to confirm the following appointees:

Councilwoman Chen's appointees

Van Coleman Community Safety Committee
Bhavin Gandhi Community Safety Committee
LaVerne Tancill Friends of Arts Education at the Cerritos Center
Lily Kuo Economic Development Commission
George Ray Fine Arts and Historical Commission
Charles Carson Let Freedom Ring Committee
Candace Yee Let Freedom Ring Committee
Gail Grossman Parks & Recreation Commission
*Diana Needham Planning Commission
Jose Iglesias Property Preservation Commission

*New appointee

The foregoing motion carried unanimously.

The City Clerk then administered the oath to newly appointed Planning Commissioner Diana Needham.

PUBLIC COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS

Gail Grossman, Cerritos resident, called for a moment of silence in the memory of Marge Carson and Mary Villegas, Cerritos community volunteers who recently passed away, and requested the meeting be adjourned in their memory.

Steven Stallings, Cerritos resident, expressed concern with noise and security issues associated with residences along Shoemaker Avenue between 183rd Street and South Street, noting that he is pursuing action to raise the height of the block walls at the perimeter of the properties in that area.

Paul Bellenbaum, Cerritos resident, referenced Cerritos High School tennis team achievements; suggested footbridge access across Artesia Boulevard to Gahr High School to alleviate traffic congestion during peak student drop-off/pick-up times; and offered positive comments about the service provided by the City street tree trimming crew.

Chris Fuentes, Cerritos resident, expressed condolences to the families of Marge Carson and Mary Villegas, elaborated on Mrs. Villegas' contributions to the community, and commented on U.S. Constitution First Amendment rights.

Ed Butler, Cerritos resident, commented on the Bill of Rights displayed in the Council Chambers and called upon the Council to abide by them.

Howard Sachs, Cerritos resident, suggested the City have its own animal control and cable television service, citing the lack of adequate service response in these areas.

City Manager Gallucci indicated that staff is in the process of looking at alternative supplementary animal control service.

Anna Titus, Cerritos resident, commented on the difficulty in securing overnight parking permits and asked the Council to address this situation.

It was noted that staff is in the process of researching the concerns expressed by Mr. Stallings.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Approval of Register of Demands

MOTION: It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows and seconded by Councilwoman Chen to approve the Register of Demands dated July 24, 2008, Checks 101248 through 101510 in the total amount of $8,383,957.54. The motion carried unanimously.

Approval of Minutes

MOTION: It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows and seconded by Councilwoman Chen to approve the minutes of the Regular Meeting of July 10, 2008. The motion carried unanimously.

Miscellaneous

MOTION: It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows and seconded by Councilwoman Chen to award Bid No. 1071-09 for the printing of the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts 2008-2009 seasonal calendars to Colorgraphics, Inc. in the amount of $126,289.23. The motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

Consideration to waive reading of and introduce AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS AMENDING CHAPTER 9.75 OF THE CERRITOS MUNICIPAL CODE AS IT RELATES TO THE MAINTENANCE AND PRUNING OF TREES.

Negative Declaration
Development Code Amendment 2008-1


Consideration to waive reading of and adopt A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS ESTABLISHING A TREE PRUNING PERMIT FEE.

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

Advance Planning/Redevelopment Manager Lopez provided an overview of the staff report dated July 24, 2008 and the proposed ordinance and resolution provisions to regulate tree trimming and landscape maintenance within commercial, industrial, and multi-family zoned areas, as well as common areas within all residential developments that are governed by homeowners associations, and noted the regulations are not applicable to individual, single-family residences. He reported there were no comments received with regard to the Negative Declaration.

It was noted during ensuing discussion that the permit fee is a flat fee that represents the cost to administer the program; the proposed regulations will benefit increased property values and have positive impact on the City as a whole; information on how to properly trim trees will be posted to the City's website; and the regulations are not applicable to individual, single-family residences.

Interested parties were invited to present testimony.

Alon Barlevy, Cerritos resident, indicated that trees were the predominant complaint from residents during his campaign for City Council, and he requested and received clarification regarding the negative impacts of improper tree pruning and topping of trees. He suggested tabling this item until staff can provide information regarding comparison of the proposed fee with fees charged by other cities for this purpose.

At the request of the Council, City Attorney Steres noted that all City fees are based on the cost of service, including the proposed fee.

Chris Fuentes, Cerritos resident, suggested removal of nuisance trees and replacing them with more practical trees; and requested clarification regarding the misdemeanor provisions of the proposed ordinance and the data utilized to arrive at the $150 permit fee.

Paul Bellenbaum, Cerritos resident, asserted that Eucalyptus trees are a safety hazard in high winds and suggested the removal of all such trees in the City.

No one else wished to address the City Council and the public hearing was closed.

Discussion ensued regarding the need to trim parkway trees that block street lights and business signage; the approved use of acceptable dwarf tree varieties; and the City's reforestation program, which was implemented to slowly eliminate problem trees and replace them with approved tree varieties.

MOTION: It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows and seconded by Councilwoman Lee that the City Council:

A. Certify and approve the Negative Declaration for Development Code Amendment 2008-1, which was completed in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA); and

B. Direct staff to file a Notice of Determination in accordance with Section 3.5 of the Environmental Impact Report Guidelines of the City of Cerritos.

The motion carried unanimously.

MOTION: It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows and seconded by Councilwoman Lee to waive reading of and introduce Ordinance No. 940 entitled AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS AMENDING CHAPTER 9.75 OF THE CERRITOS MUNICIPAL CODE AS IT RELATES TO THE MAINTENANCE AND PRUNING OF TREES. The motion carried by the following vote:

AYES: Chen, Cho, Lee, Barrows, Edwards
NOES: None
ABSENT: None
ABSTAIN: None

MOTION: It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows and seconded by Councilwoman Lee to waive reading of and adopt Resolution No. 2008-23 entitled A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS ESTABLISHING A TREE PRUNING PERMIT FEE. The motion carried unanimously.

RECESS AND RECONVENE

The City Council recessed at 9:15 p.m. The meeting reconvened at 9:30 p.m. with all Members of the City Council in attendance.

PENDING LEGAL MATTERS

Ordinances for consideration

Consideration to waive reading of and introduce AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS AMENDING TITLE 9, CHAPTER 9.48, SECTION 9.48.070 OF THE CERRITOS MUNICIPAL CODE TO REMOVE CERRITOS PARK EAST COMMUNITY CENTER BUILDING FROM THE LIST OF FACILITIES THAT ALLOW THE SALE, POSSESSION, DISPENSING AND CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES.

Parks Superintendent Titus provided an overview of the staff report dated July 24, 2008 and responded to Council inquiries by noting that approximately ten percent of the Cerritos Park East facility use applications included requests for use of alcohol and that presentation of the ordinance was delayed to accommodate reservations that had been made in advance as well as to allow for publicizing of the new policy.

MOTION: It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows and seconded by Councilwoman Lee to waive reading of and introduce Ordinance No. 941 entitled AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS AMENDING TITLE 9, CHAPTER 9.48, SECTION 9.48.070 OF THE CERRITOS MUNICIPAL CODE TO REMOVE CERRITOS PARK EAST COMMUNITY CENTER BUILDING FROM THE LIST OF FACILITIES THAT ALLOW THE SALE, POSSESSION, DISPENSING AND CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES. The motion carried by the following vote:

AYES: Chen, Cho, Lee, Barrows, Edwards
NOES: None
ABSENT: None
ABSTAIN: None

Consideration to waive reading of and introduce AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS ADOPTING A FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM AND REGULATIONS AND ADDING CHAPTER 6.36 TO TITLE 6 OF THE CERRITOS MUNICIPAL CODE.

MOTION: It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows and seconded by Councilman Cho to waive reading of and introduce Ordinance No. 942 entitled AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS ADOPTING A FLOODPLAIN MANAGEMENT PROGRAM AND REGULATIONS AND ADDING CHAPTER 6.36 TO TITLE 6 OF THE CERRITOS MUNICIPAL CODE. The motion carried by the following vote:

AYES: Chen, Cho, Lee, Barrows, Edwards
NOES: None
ABSENT: None
ABSTAIN: None

EMERGENCY SITUATION

MOTION: It was moved by Councilwoman Lee and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows, that the City Council make a determination that an emergency situation exists with regard to opposition to fiscally irresponsible State budget decisions that would negatively impact the City; that the need to take action on this matter came to the attention of the City subsequent to the agenda being posted; and that consideration of the City's position on this matter be placed on this evening's agenda. The motion carried unanimously.

Consideration to waive reading of and adopt A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS OPPOSING FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE STATE BUDGET DECISIONS THAT WOULD "BORROW" LOCAL GOVERNMENT, REDEVELOPMENT AND TRANSPORTATION FUNDS.

Assistant City Manager Matsumoto reviewed the staff report dated July 24, 2008 and commented on the alert sent by the League of California Cities to all California cities to oppose the possible taking of local government funds by the State to balance its budget.

Those wishing to present testimony with regard to this item were called upon for comment. There was no response.

MOTION: It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows and seconded by Councilwoman Chen to waive reading of and adopt Resolution No. 2008-24 entitled A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS OPPOSING FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE STATE BUDGET DECISIONS THAT WOULD "BORROW" LOCAL GOVERNMENT, REDEVELOPMENT AND TRANSPORTATION FUNDS. The motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS ACTIVITIES

Consideration and award of a contract for street sweeping services for the City of Cerritos.


Environmental Services Manager O'Grady provided an overview of the staff report dated July 24, 2008, noting that staff is recommending award of a five-year contract for street sweeping services to R.F. Dickson Company. He responded to City Council inquiries regarding comparison of street sweeping service rates between Cerritos and surrounding cities, particularly taking into consideration the added curb-to-curb service and collected debris disposal service components outlined in the proposed contract. It was also noted during ensuing discussion that collected street sweeping debris does not count as disposal when the City's solid waste diversion is calculated; the proposed contract provides for service fee increases that are based on increased disposal costs; it would be unlikely that any more than the three service providers who submitted proposals as part of this process would submit proposals should a second request for proposals process be undertaken; and it has been observed that sweepers may be too full while sweeping streets and debris is overflowing onto the streets.

Paul Bellenbaum, Cerritos resident, asked about the cost of a street sweeper.

Steve Dickson, President R.F. Dickson Company, 12524 Clark Avenue, Downey, invited service calls should residents observe inadequate street sweeping, noting that the same level of service should be provided at all times. He commented that the cost of sweepers is approximately $262,000 and clarified that curb-to-curb service does include the middle of the street.

MOTION: It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows and seconded by Councilwoman Chen that the City Council:

1. Approve a five-year contract for street sweeping services for the City of Cerritos with R. F. Dickson Company, based upon the rates included in its proposal as detailed in Exhibit A of the staff report dated July 24, 2008; and

2. Authorize the transfer of $205,000 in general fund monies to the street sweeping budget for fiscal year 2008-2009;

as outlined in the staff report dated July 24, 2008. The motion carried with Councilman Cho dissenting.

NEW AND OLD BUSINESS

Consideration of a park guardian program.

Community and Safety Services Director Berg reviewed the staff report dated July 24, 2008, noting that the program would have minimal fiscal effect and further enhance park safety. During ensuing discussion it was suggested that the proposed letter include a business card or magnet with general contact information as well as emergency contact and graffiti hotline phone numbers. The possibility of automating or streamlining the process when reports of park activities are made by telephone and implementing a resident incentive program were also addressed.

Ed Butler, Cerritos resident, commented on the Neighborhood Watch and Volunteers on Patrol programs.

MOTION: It was moved by Councilman Cho and seconded by Councilwoman Lee that the City Council:

1. Concur with the Community Safety Committee recommendation and approve implementation of a Park Guardian Program; and

2. Direct staff to send a letter to all residents living in close proximity to a City park and ask their assistance in monitoring local parks by becoming extra "eyes and ears" of the Sheriff's Department;

as recommended in the staff report dated July 24, 2008. The motion carried unanimously.

Consideration of removal of an appointed Fine Arts and Historical Commission Member.

Councilman Cho indicated that Chris Fuentes is a long-time, active member of our community and one of his supporters, noting that he appreciates Mr. Fuentes' friendship and support over the years, however, during the past months he has concerns about whether or not he should continue to keep Mr. Fuentes as one of his appointees. Councilman Cho added that Mr. Fuentes has made inappropriate comments to the newspaper, at meetings, and at some events, and even though he appreciates Mr. Fuentes' service as a Fine Arts and Historical Commissioner, at this time he would like the Council to remove Mr. Fuentes as his appointee to the Fine Arts and Historical Commission.

Chris Fuentes, Cerritos resident and Fine Arts and Historical Commissioner, expressed his belief that he has done a very good job on the Fine Arts and Historical Commission, received the support of his colleagues on the Commission, and that most of the votes that he brought and motions he made have resulted in a pass or unanimous vote. Mr. Fuentes offered that the issue involves an attempt to limit his Constitutional right to free speech with prior restraint, asserting that Councilman Cho has requested that he withdraw a public records request for financial information regarding travel and meeting expenses that he made in response to the Council denying the Commission's request for $54,000 for arts observance based on lack of available funding. He cited questionable sculpture purchase activities and funds spent on the All America City Award process as areas of interest, and called for Councilman Cho's resignation or recall.

Ed Butler, Cerritos resident, expressed his disappointment in the way Councilman Cho is handling this matter, noting that sanctioning or a warning may be more appropriate.

Sally Havice, Cerritos resident, stated she is neither in support nor opposition to the matter before the Council, but is concerned that a volunteer commissioner is subjected to public humiliation in what appears to be an attempt to silence the voice of a fellow community member. She referenced the U.S. Constitution and California State Constitution with regard to free speech and access rights and called upon the Councilmembers to maintain the integrity of their office.

George Ray, Cerritos resident and Chair of the Fine Arts and Historical Commission, indicated he was saddened that the situation has come to this and noted he has personally spoken to each Councilmember regarding this matter. He indicated he believed in free speech, but expressed concern with Commissioner Fuentes' accusations during Commission meetings that staff and Councilmembers are doing things that are dishonest. He added that Mr. Fuentes has offered good ideas and has the potential to be a good commissioner, but not under the present circumstances. Mr. Ray added that if he were in the Council's position he would ask Mr. Fuentes to resign.

City Attorney Steres observed that commissioners serve at the pleasure of the Councilmember who appointed them and at the pleasure of the City Council, there is no right to be a commissioner, and the Council does not have to have good cause or a reason to remove a commissioner. He commented on disqualification of serving as a commissioner, noting that removal of a commissioner is a public process, appears on the agenda, and is considered at an open public meeting at which the public is free to comment on the matter, including the person who is the subject of the removal, which is the process that was undertaken this evening. Mr. Steres added that there have been accusations that could be inferred that the City is infringing on Mr. Fuentes' Constitutional rights or there is some type of prior restraint, however, the City is responding to Mr. Fuentes' public records request and will continue to do so. He indicated that Mr. Fuentes can continue to attend and speak at Council or commission meetings, noting that whether or not Mr. Fuentes is a commissioner does not speak toward infringement on his Constitutional rights. Mr. Steres commented further that if Councilman Cho after hearing comments still desires to make a motion to remove Mr. Fuentes from the Fine Arts and Historical Commission, it would be appropriate to do so effective immediately, the motion would require a second, and the Council would vote to either approve or deny the motion; and if the motion passes, tomorrow the City Clerk would post a notice of vacancy with the vacancy being filled at a future meeting.

MOTION: It was moved by Councilman Cho and seconded by Mayor Edwards to remove Chris Fuentes as a Member of the Fine Arts and Historical Commission effective immediately. The motion carried, with Councilwoman Chen abstaining.

Councilwoman Chen indicated she abstained because the City does not have criteria to evaluate a Commission appointee.

CONSIDERATION OF CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS

MOTION: It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Barrows and seconded by Councilwoman Lee to approve the 2008-2009 Revised City Council Committee assignments as follows:

Standing Committees
(Subject to the Brown Act)
Councilmember
ABC Unified School District 1. Jim Edwards
2. Laura Lee
Budget/Finance 1. Jim Edwards, Chair
2. Laura Lee
Performing Arts 1. Carol Chen
2. Joseph Cho
3. Laura Lee
4. Bruce Barrows
5. Jim Edwards
Personnel 1. Jim Edwards, Chair
2. Bruce Barrows
One-Member Standing Committees
(not subject to Brown Act requirements)
Councilmember
Auto Mall Jim Edwards
Business and Industry Bruce Barrows
Cerritos Community College–Liaison Laura Lee
Chamber of Commerce–Liaison Joseph Cho
County Health Department/Health Insurance Joseph Cho
Legislative Jim Edwards
Library Joseph Cho
Parks and Recreation Carol Chen
Senior Services/Senior Center Laura Lee
Other Organizations Councilmember Alternate
California Contract Cities Association Jim Edwards Laura Lee
California Joint Powers Insurance Authority Jim Edwards *
Consolidated Youth Services Network Joseph Cho Bruce Barrows
Gateway Cities Council of Governments Jim Edwards Bruce Barrows
Gateway Cities Council of Governments–91/605 Corridor Cities Committee Jim Edwards Bruce Barrows
League of California Cities/City Selection/Metropolitan Transportation Authority Jim Edwards Carol Chen
Orange Line Development Authority Bruce Barrows Carol Chen
Sanitation Districts 2, 3, 18 & 19/Waste Management Jim Edwards Bruce Barrows (1)
Joseph Cho (2)
Laura Lee (3)
Carol Chen (4)
Southeast Water Coalition Jim Edwards Carol Chen
Workforce Investment Board–Policy Board Laura Lee Joseph Cho
Staff Committees City Representative
California Joint Powers Insurance Authority *Art Gallucci, City Manager, Alternate
*Denise Manoogian, Administrative Services Director, Alternate
Central Basin Water District Joe Holdren, Water Superintendent
Gateway Cities Council of Governments–91/605 Corridor Cities Committee Art Gallucci, City Manager
Youth/Juvenile Diversion Greg Berg, Community & Safety Services Dir.

The motion carried unanimously.

CITY COUNCIL COMMUNICATIONS/COMMITTEE REPORTS/REPORT ON MEETINGS


Councilwoman Lee reported on the visit by our Sister City representatives from Loreto, Baja California, Mexico.

Councilman Cho expressed that the budget process should have more involvement from the Council and community and suggested conducting a public hearing in January of each year for the next fiscal year's budget.

Mayor Pro Tem Barrows commented on a review of City policies and a brief discussion followed.

CONSENSUS: At the suggestion of Councilman Barrows, staff was directed to report back to the City Council regarding the exact cost and benefits of membership in the Independent Cities Association (ICA).

CONSENSUS: At the suggestion of Councilman Barrows, staff was directed to report back to the City Council regarding the size, scope, and budget of program(s) that could result from the July 25, 2008 Cerritos business workshop.

CONSENSUS: At the suggestion of Councilman Barrows, the City Manager was directed to forward a memorandum to the City Council regarding an analysis of the City of Mission Viejo ordinance related to adults who permit under-age drinking of alcohol at parties at their residences.

Councilwoman Lee referenced the comments made earlier regarding difficulty in obtaining an overnight parking permit as well as complaints regarding cable television service and a brief discussion followed.

Mayor Edwards commented on his attendance at the Volunteer Recognition dinner and the City's visit with representatives from Sister City Loreto, Baja California, Mexico.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 11:45 p.m. in memory of Cerritos residents Mary Villegas and Marge Carson, both of whom recently passed away.

/s/ Josephine Triggs
Josephine Triggs, City Clerk


ATTEST:

/s/ Jim Edwards
Jim Edwards, Mayor

Approved: August 14, 2008

 

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