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Cerritos City Council Meeting Minutes

MINUTES OF A REGULAR MEETING OF THE
CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS
HELD AUGUST 27, 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 Leonard Tan with the First Evangelical Church in Cerritos offered the invocation.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Boy Scout Troop 1005 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

A proclamation was presented in recognition of Muscular Dystrophy Association Day and Parks and Recreation Commission Members accepted the Playful City USA award.

CONSIDERATION OF APPOINTMENTS TO VACANCIES ON VARIOUS COMMISSIONS, BOARDS AND COMMITTEES

Consideration of nomination of a Private Sector Representative to the Board of Directors of the Southeast Los Angeles County Workforce Investment Board (SELACO WIB).

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Chen and seconded by Mayor Pro Tem Cho to nominate Gary Chomiak as a Private Sector Representative to the Board of Directors of the Southeast Los Angeles County Workforce Investment Board (SELACO WIB).  The motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC COMMENTS AND SUGGESTIONS

Lori Kim, representing Assemblymember Tony Mendoza, invited everyone to the Assemblymember's Community Labor Day Picnic at Heritage Park on September 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Al Barlevy, Cerritos resident, referenced the town hall meeting at which air quality issues were discussed as well as the Environmental Protection Agency reports as it relates to cancer risk and suggested the Council call upon Senators Feinstein and Boxer to move the Senate to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

MOTION FAILS:  Following a brief discussion, it was moved by Mayor Pro Tem Cho and seconded by Councilwoman Lee that the City send letters to the Environmental Protection Agency, California Air Resources Board and Air Quality Management District to improve domestic air quality and send letters to Federal representatives Senator Feinstein, Senator Boxer, Congresswoman Sanchez and Congresswoman Napolitano saying that we need to start working together internationally to stop global warming and save the earth.  The motion failed, with Councilwoman Chen, Councilman Edwards and Mayor Barrows dissenting.

Councilwoman Sanchez presented a facsimile check representing $350,000 in Federal funding for the 911 equipment at the Cerritos Sheriff's Station.

Jerry Jenson, Cerritos resident, commented on the fraud prevention presentation he provided on July 15 at the Cerritos Senior Center.

Paul Bellenbaum, Cerritos resident, noted a Senior Health Fair would be held at the Artesia Community Center on September 2, noted the U.S. Flag at Office Depot is not illuminated at night, and reported that an oversized Monster beverage advertisement has been wrapped around a pole near Carl's Jr.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Approval of Register of Demands

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Edwards and seconded by Councilwoman Lee to approve the Register of Demands dated August 27, 2009, Checks 110581 through 110837, in the total amount of $4,186,802.30.  The motion carried unanimously.

Approval of Minutes

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Edwards and seconded by Councilwoman Lee to approve the Minutes of the Regular Meeting of August 13, 2009.  The motion carried unanimously.

NEW AND OLD BUSINESS

The following item was taken out of order.

Review and consideration of potential ordinances relating to foreclosed property maintenance, presale inspection, and rental property inspection.

City Attorney Steres discussed his analysis of potential conflicts with regard to this item for Councilmembers Chen and Lee due to their real estate business entities and determined that he does not believe this discussion or possible regulations would have the type of effect related to conflict of interest statutes and that Councilmembers Chen and Lee would be participating in this matter.

Community and Safety Services Director Berg provided an overview of the staff report dated August 27, 2009 and responded to Council inquiries regarding Civil Code procedures related to an owner's duty to maintain property and the current process in addressing vacated properties, noting there were two pervious cases in the past that were similar to the abandoned property on Alexander Avenue.

Alan Wood, Cerritos resident, Merriwood Management Company/Handitech Maintenance Services President, and Chair of the Cerritos Property Preservation Commission, indicated he was appearing as a private citizen and not on behalf of the Commission and noted his opposition to any new ordinances regulating foreclosed property maintenance, presale inspection, and rental property inspection.  Mr. Wood stated that it appears that this issue was raised due to a single problem property, the City is currently handling property maintenance issues sufficiently, existing laws as well as code enforcement and the health department already address what potential ordinances would address, and costs associated with abandoned properties could be handled through property liens.

Phil Hawkins, Pacific West Association of Realtors, opposed potential ordinances related to the foreclosed property maintenance, presale inspection, and rental property inspection.  He noted the foreclosure process is lengthy and additional regulations would hamper efforts to sell these properties, pre-sale inspection does not work and has failed in other cities, and there is no evidence of large scale problems related to rental properties in the City.

Carol Rayburn, Cerritos resident and realtor, indicated she represented several real estate professionals in the City who are opposed to potential ordinances addressing foreclosed property maintenance, presale inspection, and rental property inspection.  She noted that realtors are committed to property maintenance and support the work of the Property Preservation Commission.  She added the complicated, time-consuming requirements associated with pre-sale inspections, indicating that agents will avoid communities with these requirements; commented that city ordinances would result in another layer of government when property issues are already addressed by state regulations; and referenced the economic environment and the negative impact of ordinances of this type on property sales.

Mark Anthony Ruiz, Cerritos resident and realtor, questioned the initiation of potential ordinances on the basis of a problem resulting from a single vacant property on Alexander Avenue and added that any ordinances would be redundant since existing state law regulates foreclosed property maintenance and pre-sale inspections, noting the City may be exposing itself to legal risk should they be named in a lawsuit between a buyer and seller.  Mr. Ruiz noted further that an ordinance for rental property inspection is not necessary because these properties represent a small percentage of the housing sector in Cerritos.  He commended the Property Preservation Commission for its work and opposed the adoption of any ordinances related to foreclosed property maintenance, presale inspection, and rental property inspection.

Jim McMahon, Cerritos resident and realtor, expressed confusion with what may be proposed and indicated that all residents should be notified of this matter, noting that regulations in this regard may result in a black market mentality.  He indicated that Councilmembers should disclose related conversations each has had with interested parties prior to the meeting.

At the request of the City Council, the City Attorney addressed the agenda report review process, noting that there is no proposed ordinance and this matter is a discussion item at this time, with further direction to staff or a commission and report back to the City Council if requested.

Sari Casar, Cerritos resident and realtor, opposed any ordinances related to foreclosed property maintenance, presale inspection, and rental property inspection, noting that state regulations address these matters and this is not necessary in Cerritos.

Ruth Hayles, Lawndale resident and Rancho Southeast Association of Realtors President, opposed any ordinances related to foreclosed property maintenance, presale inspection, and rental property inspection.  She noted that Cerritos has fewer rental properties than other cities mentioned in the staff report and indicated that presale inspections are not necessary in Cerritos.

Nancy Ahlswede, Apartment Association, California Southern Cities, Executive Director, expressed that one or two problem properties should not form the basis of broad regulation, noting that laws involving regulation of foreclosed property maintenance, presale inspection, and rental property inspection result in problems and unintended negative consequences such as the Systematic Code Enforcement System utilized in the City of Los Angeles.  She commended the work of the Property Preservation Commission and cautioned the Council to not move forward with ordinances without sufficient research in these areas.

Mayor Pro Tem Cho indicated that he is not now a realtor and has not been involved in real estate sales since the 1970s when he was a realtor, with the exception of his own properties.

MOTION:  Following discussion, it was moved by Councilwoman Chen and seconded by Councilman Edwards to have no further discussion regarding potential ordinances related to foreclosed property maintenance, presale inspection, and rental property inspection, direct staff to work with realtors and related associations to disseminate information and to use as resources, and direct staff to send code enforcement letters to the occupant as well as the property owner as a means of shortening the process to bring properties into compliance.  The motion carried unanimously.

RECESS AND RECONVENE

The meeting recessed at 9:05 p.m. and reconvened at 9:15 p.m. with all Councilmembers in attendance.

PENDING LEGAL MATTERS

Ordinance for consideration

Consideration to waive reading of and adopt AN URGENCY ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS ESTABLISHING A MORATORIUM TO PROHIBIT MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES IN ALL ZONES AND PROHIBIT THE ISSUANCE OF BUILDING PERMITS AND OTHER LAND USE ENTITLEMENTS THEREFOR, AND PROVIDING FOR ITS ADOPTION AS AN URGENCY ORDINANCE.

During ensuing discussion it was noted that subsequent staff reports regarding this matter would include a map identifying the locations of schools and recreation centers within the City.  At the request of the City Council, the City Attorney elaborated on the moratorium process and observed that tobacco retail license establishments are precluded from becoming medical marijuana dispensaries.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Edwards and seconded by Councilwoman Chen to waive reading of and adopt Ordinance No. 950 as an urgency ordinance entitled AN URGENCY ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS ESTABLISHING A MORATORIUM TO PROHIBIT MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES IN ALL ZONES AND PROHIBIT THE ISSUANCE OF BUILDING PERMITS AND OTHER LAND USE ENTITLEMENTS THEREFOR, AND PROVIDING FOR ITS ADOPTION AS AN URGENCY ORDINANCE.  The motion carried by the following vote:

AYES:             Councilmembers – Chen, Edwards, Lee, Cho, Barrows

NOES:             Councilmembers – None

ABSENT:        Councilmembers – None

ABSTAIN:       Councilmembers – None

Resolution for consideration

Consideration to waive reading of and adopt A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS AUTHORIZING THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS TO EXECUTE DOCUMENTS PERTAINING TO THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT (ARRA) PROGRAM.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilwoman Lee and seconded by Councilman Edwards to waive reading of and adopt Resolution No. 2009-15 entitled A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CERRITOS AUTHORIZING THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS TO EXECUTE DOCUMENTS PERTAINING TO THE AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT (ARRA) PROGRAM.  The motion carried unanimously.

Review and consideration of a directional sign and identification program for Cerritos Auto Square and Los Cerritos Center.

Kenneth Cha, Cerritos resident, suggested modifications to the proposed shopping bag icon, the banners, and the arterial street directional signs.

Discussion ensued regarding possibly modifying the shopping bag icon to more closely resemble the shopping bag art work at the Los Cerritos Shopping Center as well as re-orienting the banners for easier reading or reducing the number of banners to one per light standard.

MOTION:  It was moved by Councilman Edwards and seconded by Councilwoman Lee to authorize staff to implement the directional sign and identification program for Cerritos Auto Square and Los Cerritos Center as outlined in the staff report dated August 27, 2009 at a total cost not to exceed $40,000; with a possible modification to the shopping bag icon to coincide more closely with the shopping bag art work at the Los Cerritos Shopping Center, subject to approval of the artist and Macerich, which would not require bringing the matter back to the City Council.  The motion carried unanimously.

CITY COUNCIL COMMUNICATIONS/COMMITTEE REPORTS/REPORT ON MEETINGS

Mayor Pro Tem Cho reported on his attendance at Korean and Indian Independence Day events; commented on the recent town hall meetings at which air quality and traffic/pedestrian issues related to the Gahr High School area were addressed.  He suggested pursuing a retraction from those responsible for releasing inaccurate air quality data to the public, and requested the meeting be adjourned in memory of Republic of Korea former President Kim Dae-jung and Senator Edward Kennedy, both of whom recently passed away.

Councilman Edwards commented on the town hall meetings related to air quality and traffic/pedestrian issues associated with Gahr High School and surrounding areas.  He welcomed home USMC 1st CEB Charlie Company, returning recently from Iraq to Camp Pendleton.

Councilwoman Lee also commented on the town hall meetings held by the City Council with regard to the air quality issue and traffic/pedestrian issues associated with Gahr High School.

CONSENSUS:  At the suggestion of Councilwoman Lee, staff was directed to place on the next agenda the matter of assisting the victims of typhoon Morakot.

Councilwoman Chen addressed the town hall meeting regarding the Gahr High School traffic and pedestrian issues and commented on the Sheriff's Department fundraisers benefiting Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Special Olympics.

Mayor Barrows referenced the town hall meeting related to the air quality issue and thanked Congressional representatives Linda Sanchez and Grace Napolitano for their assistance.

CONSENSUS:  At the suggestion of Mayor Barrows, staff was directed to place on a future agenda the matter of SB 731 concerning massage establishments and potential amendments to the related City ordinance.

CONSENSUS:  At the suggestion of Mayor Barrows, staff was directed to provide information regarding any resolutions or ordinances appointing a City Clerk/City Treasurer, and in the absence of such, direct staff to bring the matter back to the City Council.

CLOSED SESSION

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 Manager

Agency Designated Representative:           
Art Gallucci

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

The closed session was not held.

ADJOURNMENT

The meeting adjourned at 10:25 p.m. in memory of Republic of Korea former President Kim Dae-jung and Senator Edward Kennedy, both of whom recently passed away.

/s/Josephine Triggs                   
Josephine Triggs, City Clerk
 

ATTEST:

/s/Bruce Barrows                     
Bruce Barrows, Mayor

Approved:  September 10, 2009

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