Home City Council Departments Services Calendar Contact Us Search
cherry blossoms in Central Park
San Ramon LogoCity Council Minutes title line

MINUTES OF THE
CITY OF SAN RAMON – COUNCIL MEETING

July 12, 2011

A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of San Ramon was held July 12, 2011 at 7:08 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 2222 Camino Ramon, Mayor Wilson presiding.
PRESENT:  Councilmembers Hudson, Livingstone, Perkins, Rowley, and Mayor Wilson.
STAFF PRESENT:  City Manager Greg Rogers, City Attorney Sheryl Schaffner, Police Chief Scott Holder, Public Services Director Karen McNamara, Planning Services Division Manager Debbie Chamberlain, Economic Development Director Marc Fontes, Interim Administrative Services Director Eva Phelps, and City Clerk Patricia Edwards.

* * * *

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Boy Scouts from Troops 60, 547, and 888 led those present in the pledge of allegiance. 

* * * *

ANNOUNCEMENTS

The City Clerk noted that there were no changes or additions to the agenda.  The City Clerk added that the July 19, 2011 Teen Council meeting has been cancelled.

* * * *

SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS

(#5.1) Recognition of Maintenance Coordinators Gary Manuel and Robbie Ortega as Employees of the Month for July 2011.  Presented by Mayor Wilson. 

Public Services Director Karen McNamara introduced Robbie Ortega.  She stated that Gary Manuel was unable to attend the meeting.  Mr. Ortega is being recognized for the assistance which he and Mr. Manuel provided to a patron at the Art and Wind Festival.  When the patron’s wheel chair became inoperable, they transported the patron in a passenger cart to his vehicle in a compassionate and dignified manner.  Mayor Wilson thanked him for his service.  At Mayor Wilson’s request, Alexi and Nicole Ortega presented a gold star and certificate to their father.  Mr. Ortega thanked the Council for this recognition. 

* * * *

APPOINTMENTS

Mayor Wilson announced that the Redevelopment Agency met earlier to interview applicants for the Housing Advisory Committee (HAC).  Redevelopment Agency Chair Perkins stated that the Agency interviewed excellent candidates.  He reported that Mary Dunne Rose, Kathy Stewart, and Dick Vesperman received the majority votes.  Mbr. Rowley’s motion to appoint Mary Dunne Rose, Kathy Stewart, and Dick Vesperman to the HAC for terms ending July 2013 was seconded by Mbr. Hudson and passed 5-0.

* * * *

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

(#7.1) Minutes of the June 14, 2011 regular meeting.

Cm. Rowley’s motion to adopt the June 14, 2011 regular City Council minutes was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 3-0.  Cm. Hudson and Vice Mayor Perkins abstained.

(#7.2) Minutes of the June 18, 2011 special meeting.

Cm. Rowley’s motion to adopt the June 18, 2011 special City Council minutes was seconded by Vice Mayor Perkins and passed 3-0.  Cm. Hudson and Cm. Livingstone abstained.

(#7.3) Minutes of the June 28, 2011 regular meeting.

Vice Mayor Perkins’ motion to adopt the June 28, 2011 regular City Council minutes was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 4-0.  Cm. Rowley abstained.

* * * *

CONSENT CALENDAR

Jim Gibbon requested that items 8.1 and 8.2 be pulled for comment.

(#8.3) Resolution No. 2011-080 – Authorizing the Mayor to Execute an Agreement with Ferreira Service, Inc. for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Services in an Annual Amount Not to Exceed $127,676 and a Cumulative Four Year Agreement Total Not to Exceed $615,000.

Vice Mayor Perkins’ motion to adopt item 8.3 was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 5-0. 

(#8.1) Minute Order No. 2011-13 – Authorizing the Mayor to Execute a Response Letter to Grand Jury Report No. 1104.

City Manager Greg Rogers provided the staff report.  The Grand Jury letter was directed at City Council compensation.  He stated that Grand Jury reports typically address City operational issues and the City Manager prepares a response.  Because this Grand Jury report specifically addresses the City Council, it is appropriate for the response to come directly from the City Council. 

Mayor Wilson opened the public comment.

Jim Gibbon, resident and San Ramon for Open Government (SROG) representative, noted that the Grand Jury is an investigative organization.  He stated that only one other city in Contra Costa County pays their Council more than San Ramon does.  The Council also spends twice as much as is needed on junkets, committees, commissions, and conferences.  He believes that the average cost of $34,000 per year is excessive for a volunteer, part-time, two meeting a month job.  He added that Councilmembers make this a full time job which then pays health and retirement benefits, cell phone costs, and vehicle mileage.  He recommended that the Council cooperate with the Grand Jury and suggested that the Council’s response be rewritten. 

Mayor Wilson closed the public comment.

Cm. Hudson stated that he does not know how the Grand Jury arrived at the figure of $36,000 per year and noted that County supervisors make about $140,000 per year.  He stated that he attends about 25 meetings a month and made $9,600 last year.  He added that his car allowance barely covers his mileage and that his average monthly cell phone bill is $30 per month.  He asked that people look at the value they receive and what they are paying and decide whether they are getting the City that they want.  He believes that some of the comparisons which the Grand Jury made are inaccurate.  He requested that residents read the letter to obtain the facts.

Cm. Rowley stated that the Council is generally fiscally conservative.  She takes the dental but not the medical benefit and pays for her own cell phone.  Councilmembers generally attend at least one meeting per day.  She believes that the letter addresses the issues raised by the Grand Jury and that the Grand Jury will request more information if needed.  Vice Mayor Perkins stated that Councilmembers attend between 10-25 meetings per month in addition to the two monthly Council meetings.  He reported that he spends over 1,000 hours per year on Council work and 2,500 hours per year on his full time job.  He does not feel that the Council’s compensation is exorbitant for the amount of work which they do.  Mayor Wilson stated that Mr. Gibbon does not understand how the City runs.  He explained that his trip to Washington, D.C. for the U.S. Mayors Conference brought more than $3 million in interoperability funding.  The Council operates correctly and this will be stated in the response letter.

Cm. Livingstone’s motion to adopt item 8.1 was seconded by Cm. Hudson and passed 5-0. 

(#8.2) Resolution No. 2011-079 – Establishing a Voluntary Campaign Expenditure Limit for the 2011 Municipal Election.

The City Clerk provided the staff report.  She stated that the courts have ruled that the amount spent by a candidate on behalf of their campaign cannot be limited.  The City addresses this issue in its Municipal Code which states that inherent in the high cost of election campaigns is the possibility and the appearance of improper influence, real or potential, exercised by campaign contributors over elective officials.  The objectives of the voluntary campaign expenditure limit are to: place realistic limits on the amounts of money that may be spent in political campaigns for city council elections; decrease the cost of campaigns; and prevent the appearance of improper influence.   The Policy Committee reviewed the initial staff report and resolution at its May 25, 2011 meeting.  At the July 6, 2011 Policy Committee meeting, staff provided information on the amount spent by candidates in neighboring municipalities for their campaigns.  The Policy Committee reviewed this information and determined that a rate of $1.25 per registered voter in the 2010 General Election was reasonable.  The proposed Voluntary Campaign Expenditure Limit for the 2011 Municipal Election is $42,368. 

Mayor Wilson opened the public comment.

Jim Gibbon, resident and San Ramon for Open Government (SROG) representative, stated that $42,000 per candidate is an egregious amount of money to allow City Councilmembers to spend.  This is an unreasonable amount of money to expect an unknown candidate to raise in order to run and that this amount is designed to eliminate potential candidates.  He stated that special interest groups and private entities spend $60-70,000 on behalf of City councilmembers making it almost impossible for anyone to run against incumbents.  He recommends that the Council retain the rate of $1.00 per registered voter.  He requested that the Council pledge to stay within the expenditure limit and also pledge not to accept money from other private organizations. 

Mayor Wilson closed the public comment.

The City Clerk reiterated that that this is a voluntary campaign expenditure limit.  City candidates in 2009 spent between less than $1,000 up to $12,000.  Candidates in neighboring cities spent between $6,000 to $66,000 on their campaigns.  Mr. Gibbon asked the Council why they are suggesting the increased expenditure limit.

Cm. Hudson noted that candidates do not have to spend the expenditure limit.  Mr. Gibbon stated that, when you see what is actually spent, this amount is a scare tactic for potential candidates who feel that they have to raise $42,000 in order to be competitive.  Cm. Hudson responded that all of the information is in the staff report.  He stated that people can interfere with a candidate’s election and that they have a right to be involved in the election.  The reality is that the Council is trying to decide what a reasonable amount is so that there is not undue influence in an election.  He stated that this is a reasonable amount after evaluating the information from neighboring communities. 

Cm. Rowley stated that the issue was reviewed twice by the Policy Committee.  All campaign expenses have increased.  Establishing a voluntary campaign expenditure limit does not mean that candidates will spend this amount on the election.  Vice Mayor Perkins noted that this is the maximum limit.  Candidates will have to be judicious about how they spend their funds.  He does not anticipate that he will collect or spend this much on his campaign.  He noted that the Supreme Court has made it clear that independent committees do not have a spending limit and can do what they want. 

Cm. Hudson stated that he is not running for office and will pledge not to take any money from anyone.  As a non-candidate and member of the Policy Committee, he believes that the voluntary expenditure limit is a reasonable amount for someone who wants to get their message out so that the residents can make a clear choice.

City Attorney Sheryl Schaffner recommended that the Resolution be amended to state “that the sum of $42,368 is established as the individual voluntary campaign expenditure limit for the 2011 Municipal Election”.  Vice Mayor Perkins’ motion to adopt item 8.2 as amended was seconded by Cm. Hudson and passed 5-0. 

* * * *

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

* * * *

NEW BUSINESS

(#10.1) Minute Order No. 2011-14 – City Council Designation of a Voting Delegate and Voting Delegate Alternates to the League of California Cities 2011 Annual Conference.

City Clerk Patricia Edwards presented the report.  The League of California Cities 2011 Annual Business Meeting will be held on September 23, 2011 in San Francisco.  League membership considers and takes action on resolutions that establish League policy at the Business Meeting.   In order to vote at the Annual Business Meeting, the City Council must designate a voting delegate and may designate up to two voting delegate alternates. 

Mayor Wilson opened the public comment.

Jim Gibbon, resident and San Ramon for Open Government (SROG) representative, stated that this is an example of another City junket.  He questioned the need for two alternates when the City has a $4 million deficit in its 2011-12 Budget.  He suggested that the Council should reconsider and send only one person. 

Mayor Wilson closed the public comment.

Cm. Hudson said that only one person will attend the Conference.  He asked the Council if there is any pertinent legislation which requires a vote.  Vice Mayor Perkins suggested that the Council designate the voting delegate and then review the legislative agenda to determine if there are any important issues.  The League of California Cities is an organization that supports cities.  If there is important business to be conducted, the Council has a responsibility to participate in the process.  Designating a delegate does not mean that that person will attend the Conference.  Cm. Rowley added that the Conference is a great opportunity to meet people, attend workshops and classes, and learn new things about government.  She stated that the Council should review the Conference agenda and determine who, if anyone, should attend.  Cm. Hudson suggested that the Council appoint the delegates and evaluate if there is pertinent legislation.  Mayor Wilson noted that the League will be actively addressing the state’s actions regarding city funding.

Vice Mayor Perkins’ motion to adopt Minute Order No. 2011-14 was seconded by Cm. Hudson and passed 5-0.  Cm. Hudson’s motion to appoint Mayor Wilson as the  Voting Delegate was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 5-0.  Mayor Wilson suggested that the Alternates be selected at a future meeting.  The City Clerk clarified that designating the voting delegate alternates cannot be accomplished by individual action of the mayor.  The League must be notified prior to August 26, 2011, regarding San Ramon’s 2011 voting delegate and alternates.  Vice Mayor Perkins’ motion to nominate Cm. Hudson as one Voting Delegate Alternate was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 5-0.  Mayor Wilson’s motion to nominate Cm. Rowley  as the second Voting Delegate Alternate was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 5-0. 

(#10.2) Reactivation of the Open Space and Conservation Advisory Committee.

Planning Services Division Manager Debbie Chamberlain provided the report.  The Open Space and Conservation Advisory Committee (OSCAC) was sunset in 2007.  The OSCAC was convened in September 2008 to discuss opportunities  and constraints for preservation of Open Space and to review the General Plan Open Space Policies and Programs as part of the update to the General Plan 2020. The changes recommended by the OSCAC to the Parks and Community Services Commission have been incorporated into General Plan 2030 adopted by the City Council on April 26, 2011.  The Policy Committee met on May 25, 2011 and supported staff’s recommendation to reconvene
the OSCAC. Additionally, the Policy Committee recommended that the Bylaws be amended to require the Geological Hazard Abatement District (GHAD) Liaison also be the Chair of the City Council Policy Committee. 

Mayor Wilson opened the public comment.

Jodi Bailey, representing Save Mt. Diablo, stated their support for the Council’s action to reactivate the OSCAC.  She offered the assistance of Save Mt. Diablo.  She noted that Measure WW has funding set aside for open space acquisition. 

Jim Gibbon, resident and San Ramon for Open Government (SROG) representative, stated that most members of the OSCAC resigned in 2007 when the Committee was changed to be under the Parks Commission.  This was not the intent of General Plan 2020.  The previous OSCAC was comprised of residents.  However, residents are not included in the new OSCAC and questioned why only Parks and Planning Commissioners were included.  He recommended that an ombudsman be appointed to the Committee.  He volunteered for the position and stated his qualifications.  He supports reinstituting the OSCAC and emphasized the need for community input.

Mayor Wilson closed the public comment

Cm. Hudson stated that only residents of San Ramon can serve on the OSCAC.  The City Council can only serve as a liaison to the OSCAC.  General Plan 2020 required that the Council establish Habitat and Open Space committees to report to the Parks Commission.  He added that the Council is responsible to develop solutions, answers, and direction to submit to the Parks Commission.  Members of the Parks and Planning Commission were selected because of their expertise on the General Plan and City issues.  He clarified that the 5% administrative costs in Measure WW comes out of the 25% which goes to the cities.  It has to be approved by the Park District.  There will probably not be sufficient funds in this revenue source to purchase open space.  The OSCAC, by the vote of the people on General Plan 2020, must report to the Parks Commission.

Cm. Rowley requested that the issue be referred to the Policy Committee to discuss the addition of other members to the OSCAC.  Ms. Chamberlain reviewed the composition of the OSCAC and noted that the OSCAC meetings are open to the public and agendized.  Cm. Livingstone asked what it costs the City to have the OSCAC.  Ms. Chamberlain stated that neither the Commission members nor staff are reimbursed.  The costs would be related to preparing the agenda, staff reports, posting agendas to the City website.  Cm. Livingstone stated that the old OSCAC was dysfunctional.  No one could agree on anything and they argued about their by-laws.  It may be some time before the City has funds to spend on open space and so the OSCAC may be a waste of City money.    

Cm. Rowley’s motion to table the OSCAC report and refer to the Policy Committee to have more discussion regarding the membership was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 5-0.

(#10.3) Minute Order No. 2011-15 – Authorizing the Mayor to Send a Letter to Contra Costa County Regarding the New Farm Development.

Planning Services Division Manager Debbie Chamberlain provided the report.  During the 2011 public hearings on General Plan 2030, San Ramon residents expressed their concerns with the potential growth and its associated impacts and the desire to maintain Tassajara Valley’s rural character.  Residents also raised concerns that any development which might occur within the Tassajara Valley will burden existing City facilities and resources, result in increased maintenance costs to residents, and cause a strain on natural resources.  On July 6, 2011, the Policy Committee reviewed and recommended minor changes to the letter for consideration by the City Council.  On May 26, 2011, the City provided comments to the County in response to the Notice of Preparation for the Environmental Impact Report for the New Farm Project.

Mayor Wilson opened the public comment.

Jodi Bailey, representing Save Mt. Diablo, stated their support for the Council’s action.  Given the resounding defeat of Measure W and the residents’ strong and clear message regarding the Tassajara Valley, she requested that the Council strengthen the language in the letter to communicate the degree of the residents’ concerns. 

Jim Gibbon, resident and San Ramon for Open Government (SROG) representative, stated that the letter was weak and did not reflect the potency of the 14,000 residents in San Ramon who voted against development and extension of the Urban Growth Boundary in the Tassajara Valley.  He stated that the Council should represent the will of the people rather than being concerned that the New Farm project will “burden existing City facilities and resources”.    

Mayor Wilson closed the public comment Cm. Hudson stated that the reason Measure W was put on the ballot was because the residents voted to put the Urban Growth Boundary on the 2010 ballot.  He emphasized that there was no developer or development planned for Tassajara Valley.  The only reference in the Housing Element is that “Much of Tassajara Valley and Bollinger Canyon is steeply sloped”.  He observed that no one opposed the County’s action regarding New Farm at the Board of Supervisors meeting.  General Plan 2020 requires the Council to do a cooperative venture with the County and the landowners in Tassajara Valley.  The County has the legal right to pursue the project.  

Vice Mayor Perkins stated that the entire Council supported open space and agriculture in Tassajara Valley.  Cm. Rowley complimented staff on the letter prepared in response to the Notice of Preparation for the New Farm Environmental Impact Report. 

Cm. Hudson recommended that the Council’s letter regarding the New Farm development also be sent to Kathy Casers, Supervisor Mary Piepho’s office, and Danville Town Manager Joe Calabrigo.  Mayor Wilson stated that the Council never advocated building in the Tassajara Valley.  Vice Mayor Perkins’ motion authorizing Minute Order No. 2011-15 was seconded by Cm. Rowley and passed 5-0.

(#10.4A) Informational Update on Potential Impacts of State Adopted AB X1 26 and AB X1 27 on San Ramon Redevelopment Agency Operations and the City of San Ramon. 

Economic Development Director Marc Fontes provided the report.  AB X1 26 eliminates Redevelopment Agencies.  AB X1 27 provides for the continuation of Redevelopment Agencies with the condition that they make certain designated payments to the state.  He stated that the payments are the obligation of the host city and not the Agency.  The procedures require cities to adopt a Resolution of Intent by October 1, 2011 indicating it intends to adopt an ordinance on or before November 1, 2011 agreeing to the provisions of AB X1 27.  Based upon the California Redevelopment Association calculations, under AB X1 27, San Ramon will be required to contribute an estimated $2 million in 2011-12 and approximately $.5 million in following years.  Staff needs to do more research and determine the City’s options.  Staff understands that, if the payment is not made, the Agency is dissolved but any additional ramifications are not known at this time. 

Mayor Wilson noted that part of the Redevelopment Agency funds go to education.  He asked staff to research what portion will go to education if the Agency is dissolved.  Mr. Fontes responded that an answer is not known at this time.  The final vote eliminated affordable housing funding.  Vice Mayor Perkins asked if there is an impact on the Housing Element or the Regional Housing Needs Assessment.  Ms. Chamberlain noted that providing affordable housing will be more of a challenge because the City currently depends on Redevelopment funds for these projects.  Vice Mayor Perkins’ motion to accept the report was seconded by Cm. Hudson and passed 5-0.

(#10.4B) Informational Update on State Budget Actions.

Interim Administrative Services Director Eva Phelps provided the report.  The State Budget (SB 89) shifted the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) to fund law enforcement grants previously funded from expired temporary taxes.  The City will receive $100,000 for law enforcement grants but no VLF resulting in an impact to the City of approximately $500,000.  She noted that the VLF funds were not included in the 2011-12 City Budget.  Vice Mayor Perkins asked if the VLF funds are subject to Proposition 22.  Ms. Phelps stated that the League of California Cities is researching this issue.  Vice Mayor Perkins’ motion to accept the report was seconded by Cm. Hudson and passed 5-0.

* * * *

CITY MANAGER COMMENTS

* * * *

PUBLIC COMMENT

Donna Kerger, resident, stated that she selected San Ramon for what the community could give to her family.  She reported that San Ramon was only one of two cities in Contra Costa County whose property values increased by 1.1% according to a report by the County Assessor.  She asked the Council to consider Mr. Gibbon’s offer to serve on the OSCAC.  She stated that the previous OSCAC had no vision.  The City needs to plan for these purchases so that they are ready when the funding is available.  Mayor Wilson noted that the Park District has funds and suggested that they use their funds to purchase open space and connect trails in San Ramon.

* * * *

COUNCILMEMBER REPORTS

Cm. Hudson reported that the state’s VLF will go to the Air District as Transportation Funds for Clean Air.  There is an opportunity from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to combine several funding items into the “One Bay Area” sustainable vision project.  In order to get the VLF funds back, cities need to have established Priority Development Areas, Environmental Impact Reports, and Specific Plans in place.  He noted that the East Bay Regional Parks District (EBRPD) has a project in Tassajara Valley.  Although the EBRPD collects money from Dougherty Valley park fees, Measure WW specifically excludes the Dougherty Valley Community Service Agreement. 

Cm. Rowley encouraged residents to support the Farmers Markets in San Ramon.

* * * *

MAYOR’S REPORTS AND COMMENTS

Mayor Wilson thanked staff for an outstanding Fourth of July event.  San Ramon is the only Tri-Valley city to provide fireworks but this year’s event generated an unusual amount of trash and traffic congestion.  He requested that the Policy Committee go to the Parks Commission to review these problems and evaluate how the event could be controlled in order to keep everyone safe in 2012.  The Nomination Period for the November 8, 2011 Municipal Election is July 18, to August 12, 2011.  Pre-election training session will be presented on July 14, and July 16, 2011.  He invited residents to attend the first “City Hall Comes to You” on July 25, 2011 at the Dougherty Station Community Center.  He reported that the County Assessor stated that San Ramon’s property values increased by 1.1%.  He stated that the City realized almost $3 million in savings on the City’s service debt after recently refinancing Certificates of Participation.

* * * *

CLOSED SESSION

(#14.1) Pursuant to Government Code § 54956.9(b) Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation:  One case - Branscum v. San Ramon Police Department, et al (U.S. Court, N. Dist.) Case No. C11-02190.

(#14.2) Pursuant to Government Code § 54956.9(b) Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation: One case.

At 9:05 p.m., the Council met in Closed Session to address the two Closed Session items.  At 9:37 p.m., Mayor Wilson reconvened the meeting.  All Councilmembers were in attendance.  Mayor Wilson reported that the Council took no action on Items 14.1 or 14.2.

At 9:39 p.m., there being no further business, Mayor Wilson adjourned the meeting.

 

 

Signed:
H. Abram Wilson, Mayor
Patricia Edwards, City Clerk

Approved as presented at the July 28, 2011 City Council meeting 4-0; Perkins absent.

We provide efficient delivery of quality public services that are essential to those who live and work in San Ramon.
2226 Camino Ramon, San Ramon, CA 94583 | Map | Phone (925) 973-2530 | Fax (925) 866-0547