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Cerritos City Council Meeting Minutes

MINUTES OF A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE
CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS
HELD MAY 26, 2009

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

Pastor Carl Bernal with St. John Lutheran Church offered the invocation.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

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

PRESENTATIONS

Presentations were made to outgoing Commission/Committee Members; and proclamations were presented to:  Mary Su for dedicated service to the community; 2009 City Wide Pride school recipients from Wittmann Elementary School and Carmenita Middle School; and Cerritos High School Model United Nations Team for the Award of Excellence at the 35th Annual National High School Model United Nations Conference in New York from March 14-21, 2009.

PUBLIC COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS

John Watts, Cerritos resident, requested an amendment to the Municipal Code to require the use of crosswalks by those who take children to and from school, noting the amendment would increase public safety. 

Community and Safety Services Director Berg indicated that staff would look into the matter.

Jay Gray, Cerritos resident, referenced a previous suggestion to permit donations to a non-profit Rose Parade float group via resident water bills and indicated that similar fundraising opportunities should be made available to other organizations.  He added that the costs associated with offering donations through the water bills for the float should not be paid for by the City and he expressed hope that this endeavor is not a way to help fund this non-profit through the back door.

Pete Schnaufer, Business Agent, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Council 36, Local 619 AFL-CIO, asserted that as a result of a legal review it has been determined that the City's employee relations ordinance is out of compliance with state law, particularly with regard to contracting-out theater arts work.  He asked for an informal meeting with the City Council on this matter and confirmed that the Councilmembers had received a related letter from AFSCME attorneys.

Lisa Demidovich, attorney from Rothner, Segall, Greenson & Leheny, Pasadena, representing AFSCME, indicated that her firm had undertaken a review of the City's employee rules and regulations and found them to be in violation of the law, possibly opening the City to liability in a federal court.  She asked for the Council's full consideration of this matter either through informal discussions or as an agenda item.

John Nieto, President, AFSCME Local 619 and Cerritos resident, asked the Council to consider reviewing the employee rules and regulations in an open-minded way and to use their own judgment and intellect to figure this out.  He noted that it has been over 35 years since the rules and regulations were written and amended and it is time that it be looked at by staff for conformance with current case law and events.

Latha Anil and MaryAnn Ambrocio, Cerritos resident, indicated that they reside in Cerritos Villas and requested assistance from the City to address the unresponsiveness of its homeowner association board, which has resulted in decreased property values associated with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) removing Federal Housing Administration (FHA) eligibility for Cerritos Villas properties.

At the request of the City Council, City Attorney Steres observed that this is a private real estate matter, which may require consultation with a private attorney, and that the California Department of Real Estate oversees homeowner association rules pertaining to condominiums.

Paul W. Bellenbaum, Cerritos resident, commented generally on the recent May 19, 2009 Special Statewide Election and associated County precincts and polling places.

MOTION:  It was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Cho and seconded by Councilwoman Lee to place on a future City Council agenda an answer to the request of AFSCME representatives to consider reviewing the employee relations resolution.

At the request of the City Council, Charles Goldstein, labor attorney for the City, indicated that the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Union is lawful, has superseded the employee relations resolution, and was agreed to by the Union over successive negotiations, noting further that the employee relations ordinance has never been applied and has resulted in no injury.  He commented briefly on the waiver of bargaining provision in the MOU and asked that the Council carefully consider whether to pursue re-opening the contract at this point or waiting until the next negotiation cycle.  In response to Council inquiry, Mr. Goldstein indicated he would provide a previously requested letter on this matter to the City Council.

MOTION FAILS:  The foregoing motion failed, with Councilwoman Chen, Councilman Edwards and Mayor Barrows dissenting.

Andy Cheng, Cerritos resident and Whitney High School student, requested background information with regard to the AFSCME topic, and Mr. Nieto and Mr. Goldstein were asked to speak with Mr. Cheng.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Approval of Register of Demands

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Edwards and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Cho to approve the Register of Demands dated May 26, 2009, Checks 108688 through 108946, in the total amount of $6,070,090.75.  The motion carried unanimously.

Approval of Treasurer's Report

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Edwards and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Cho to approve the Treasurer's Report for the period ending March 31, 2009.  The motion carried unanimously.

Approval of Minutes

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Edwards and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Cho to approve the Minutes of the Special Meeting of May 11, 2009.  The motion carried unanimously.

NEW AND OLD BUSINESS

Consideration of Wi-Fi service in the Cerritos Civic Center.

Following a review of the staff report dated May 26, 2009, staff responded to Council inquiries and it was noted that Management Information Systems Division staff confirmed the records indicate Wi-Fi service is concurrent with Library hours; and the safety issues associated with after-hours use of the Wi-Fi in the Civic Center area as well as potential distractions with its use during meetings were addressed further.  It was noted by the City Attorney that there are no legal issues with regard to those in the audience accessing Wi-Fi during meetings.

Ken Cha, Cerritos resident, indicated he often experiences disrupted Wi-Fi service particularly just after 8:00 p.m.; commented on his technological background; noted the system may require upgrade since it was installed in 2002; inquired regarding monitoring of the system for proper operation; commented on the sacrifices made by audience members to attend the meetings and the convenience of Wi-Fi access during the meetings for those individuals; and addressed the general technological expansion in our environment today.

It was noted during ensuing discussion that use of Wi-Fi would tend to distract those attending meetings and it was suggested that Wi-Fi use during meetings when participants are in and around the Civic Center would reduce safety concerns expressed earlier.  A preference was stated to extend Wi-Fi service on meeting days to 12:00 a.m.; and it was suggested that Wi-Fi service begin at 8:00 a.m. to coincide with City Hall weekday hours.  It was also noted that there is no charge for the service, however, a City Library card is required.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Edwards and seconded by Councilwoman Lee to continue the Wi-Fi service as currently provided with the modification that service commence at 8:00 a.m. Monday through Friday to coincide with City Hall weekday business hours.  The motion carried, with Mayor Pro Tem Cho dissenting.

Consideration of a request from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) by the Cerritos City Council for a letter of support for Senate Bill 696 (Wright).

Derrick Alatorre, SCAQMD, noted the bill was pulled out of the Senate Energy Committee by the author to accommodate further negotiations between litigants and proponents of the bill.  He added that support of the bill from school districts is also being sought.

The potential ramifications of delays associated with the matter were addressed by the Council, and staff, at the request of Council, identified current permits that could potentially affect the City including certain schools, fire stations, Sheriff's Station, water facilities, Towne Center, Civic Center and the Sanitation District.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Chen and seconded by Councilman Edwards to approve the request from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) for a letter of support for Senate Bill 696 (Wright) on behalf of the City of Cerritos.  The motion carried unanimously.

A request by the property owner, Mitchell Bloom, President, Crown Associates Realty, Inc., 9777 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California, 90212 for an 18-month time extension to previously approved Conditional Use Permit 2008-3 and Precise Plan 2008-15.  The proposed project includes the demolition of an existing industrial building and the construction of a new industrial building on property located at 14141 Arbor Place, Cerritos, California, 90703.  The subject site is zoned M, Industrial (APN 7003-013-003).

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Lee and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Cho to approve an 18-month time extension for Conditional Use Permit 2008-3 and Precise Plan 2008-15 commencing on June 11, 2009 and ending on December 11, 2010, making the findings set forth in Cerritos Planning Commission Resolution No. PC 2009-14.  The motion carried unanimously.

A request by the property owners, represented by Satya Pal Jandial, for a one-year time extension to previously approved Precise Plan 2008-12.  The proposed project includes the demolition of the existing buildings located at 18810 Pioneer Boulevard and the construction of a new shopping center consisting of two, two-story commercial buildings and a two-level parking structure.  The subject property is zoned CC, Community Commercial, and is located in the Los Coyotes Redevelopment Project Area (APN 7040-024-012).

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Lee and seconded by Councilman Edwards to approve a one (1) year time extension for Precise Plan 2008-12 commencing on April 23, 2009 and ending on April 23, 2010, making the findings set forth in Cerritos Planning Commission Resolution No. PC 2009-15.  The motion carried unanimously.

PENDING LEGISLATION

Assistant City Manager Matsumoto reviewed Senate Bill 518, which has been placed in suspense.  During ensuing discussion it was noted that this bill, among other things, would take away local control over planning and zoning issues because it would mandate parking restrictions and reduce the number of parking spaces, which would make it more difficult for people to park and would also require charging for parking that is currently free. 

CONSENSUS:  It was the consensus of the City Council to authorize a letter of opposition to SB518 should it come out of suspense.

CITY COUNCIL COMMUNICATIONS/COMMITTEE REPORTS/REPORT ON MEETINGS

Councilman Edwards reported on his attendance at the California Contract Cities Association, the State of the City address held at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, and the Memorial Day ceremony at the Civic Center.

Councilwoman Chen reported on her attendance at the May 15 Meritorious Marine ceremony and the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event at Gahr High School.

Councilwoman Lee reported on her attendance at the Memorial Day ceremony, Picnic Reading Program at Bragg Elementary School, and the California Contract Cities Association.

Mayor Pro Tem Cho reported on his attendance at the California Contract Cities Association, American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event at Gahr High School, State of the City address at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Picnic Reading Program at Bragg Elementary School, and the Memorial Day ceremony.  He commented on crime in neighboring communities, noting that he attended the May 13 Neighborhood Watch meeting at the Senior Center, suggesting that it be televised in the future for the benefit of residents.

Discussion followed and it was noted that staff could look into the possibility of students participating in broadcasting the event.  Community and Safety Services Director Berg encouraged residents to visit the City's safety services website safercerritos.com, commented on the up-to-date information contained on the site, and encouraged residents to become members of the virtual block club, which provides current law enforcement and community safety information to members.

It was suggested that the credits at the end of Council meetings include reference to safercerritos.com.

Chris Tierheimer, Cerritos resident, suggested holding the Neighborhood Watch meeting in the Council Chambers.

Mayor Barrows commented on his attendance at Memorial Day ceremonies at the Civic Center and the Vintage senior care facility, suggesting the City provide transportation to senior facility residents to enable their attendance at the Memorial Day ceremony at the Civic Center. 

CONSENSUS:  Following a brief discussion regarding Mayor Barrows' comments about complaints received from residents regarding substantial code violations at a residence on Alexander Avenue and general concern regarding the upkeep of non-owner occupied residences, it was the consensus of the City Council to place on a future agenda the matter of reviewing the Municipal Code for options to ensure that property nuisances resulting in health and safety issues can be addressed expeditiously.

Mayor Barrows asked that staff distribute to the Commissioners and Committee Members the League of California Cities, Los Angeles Division, flyer regarding its workshop "Understanding the Basics of Public Engagement:  Best Practices and Other Resources to More Effectively Involve the Public in Your City's Decision-Making."

CLOSED SESSION

The City Council convened in Closed Session at 9:30 p.m.

PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE EVALUATION PURSUANT TO CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 54957 AND LABOR NEGOTIATIONS WITH UNREPRESENTED EMPLOYEES PURSUANT TO CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 54957.6

Title:   City Clerk

Agency Designated Representative:            Josephine Triggs

Agency Designated Representatives:          Mayor Bruce W. Barrows and Mayor Pro Tem Joseph Cho, Ph.D.

The meeting reconvened at 9:50 p.m. with all Councilmembers in attendance.  There was no action taken as a result of Closed Session discussion.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 9:50 p.m. in memory of Matthew Mascarenas who grew-up in Cerritos and recently passed away, and Wei-Pin Chiang, father of former Property Preservation Commissioner Rusty Chiang, who also passed away recently.

/s/Josephine Triggs                   
Josephine Triggs, City Clerk
 

ATTEST:

/s/Bruce Barrows                     
Bruce Barrows, Mayor

 

Approved:  June 9, 2009

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