MINUTES OF THE
CITY OF SAN RAMON COUNCIL MEETING
March 26, 2013
A regular meeting of the City Council of the City of San Ramon was held March 26, 2013 at 7:02 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at City Hall, 2222 Camino Ramon, Mayor Clarkson presiding.
PRESENT: Councilmembers Hudson, Livingstone, O’Loane, and Mayor Clarkson.
ABSENT: Councilmember Perkins
STAFF PRESENT: City Manager Greg Rogers, Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe, Police Chief Scott Holder, Division Manager Esther Lucas, and City Clerk Patricia Edwards.
* * * *
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Gayle Larson, Field Representative for Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, led those present in the pledge of allegiance.
* * * *
The City Clerk stated that there were no changes or additions to the agenda. The only change to the meeting information listed on the agenda is that the April 2, 2013 Planning Commission meeting has been cancelled.
* * * *
(#4.1) Recognition of the 9th Annual Street Smarts Storybook Poster Contest Winners:
Shishir Subramanya, Grade 1 Hidden Hills Elementary School
Grace Yang, Grade 2 Quail Run Elementary School
Enya Pan, Grade 5 Live Oak Elementary School
Meghana Nuthi, Grade 2 Quail Run Elementary School
Jalene Wong, Grade 5 Hidden Hills Elementary School
Darpan Singh, Grade 2 Coyote Creek Elementary School
Phedora Layanto, Grade 4 Montevideo Elementary School
Julianne Park, Grade 2 Coyote Creek Elementary School
Recognition of Dana Mentink, Street Smarts Storybook author.
Introduction by Cathy DeLuca, Street Smarts Coordinator.
Presentation by Mayor Clarkson.
Street Smarts Coordinator Cathy DeLuca reviewed the history of the Street Smarts Storybook contest. This year’s story focused on the distractions faced by children when biking and walking. She reported that 446 student entries were received for this year’s contest. She thanked San Ramon for its continued support of the Program. She recognized Dana Mentink as a great partner and author for the Street Smarts program. Ms. DeLuca announced the winners and Mayor Clarkson presented their certificates. Ms. DeLuca congratulated the contest winners. Mayor Clarkson recognized that the Street Smarts program helps to keep students in San Ramon safe.
(#4.2) Recognition of Sunset Development for their Sponsorship of the Street Smarts Poster Contest. Introduction by Cathy DeLuca, Street Smarts Coordinator. Presentation by Mayor Clarkson.
Ms. DeLuca recognized Sunset Development for the fifth year of their sponsorship of the Street Smarts Poster Contest. Mr. Chris Weeks, Director of Transportation for Bishop Ranch, accepted the certificate on behalf of Sunset Development. Mayor Clarkson thanked Sunset Development for its sponsorship.
* * * *
Cinda Conefry, resident and Vice President of the East Bay Symphonic Band, announced that the Association of Concert Bands’ Annual Convention will be held at the San Ramon Marriott. She invited residents to attend the free concerts which will be presented on April 3, 4, 5, and 6, 2013.
Paul Baldacci, representing Castle Companies, presented Chief Holder with a check to support the City’s K-9 program. He distributed materials to the Council regarding Tract 9272. He stated that the fees should be administered according to state statute and the enabling legislation that designs them. He said that the formula which the City used to calculate the fees is not correct per the Quimby Act. He asked that the City Attorney evaluate the proposed fees and provide a definitive direction and resolve this issue. He stated that the developer and the City both have an equal responsibility. He would appreciate if the Council would solve his problem. Cm. Livingstone asked if Mr. Baldacci’s comments relate to agenda item 8.5. Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe stated that a letter was received from Mr. Baldacci concerning a number of fees. Mr. Baldacci conveyed his feelings on these fees during Public Comment. Mr. Baldacci confirmed that he is not questioning the decisions made at the March 12, 2013 Council meeting.
Jim Blickenstaff, resident, stated that it is important to place issues on the ballot so that residents can provide feedback. He requested that the Council consider measures on: reenacting Ordinance 197; an advisory vote on the Norris Canyon HOV ramps; and a vote to find funding for open space purchases. He stated that these are relevant issues for the Council to consider putting on the ballot.
Jim Gibbon, resident, told the Council that is appropriate to listen to the residents of San Ramon. He stated that adding several measures to the ballot does not significantly increase the costs. He suggested that the Council schedule a meeting and allow residents to bring ideas forward for the Council to consider. He suggested that the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) be reduced and constricted to areas that are developed especially in the Dougherty Valley. He expressed concern that a future Council may abandon the Dougherty Valley open space easements and sell the property. Additional ballot measures could include: converting the zoning in the General Plan for the Mudd’s property to Park; ramps on I-680; light rail on I-680; and give residents the opportunity to create a fund for acquisition of open space.
* * * *
CITY COUNCIL APPOINTMENTS
(#6.1) Arts Advisory Committee Appointments.
Division Manager Esther Lucas provided the report. There are five vacancies on the Arts Advisory Committee (four committee members and one alternate position). The City Clerk announced the Committee vacancies and notices were placed on the City Website and posted in City facilities. Five applications were submitted for the Arts Advisory Committee by the deadline of February 25, 2013.
Vice Mayor Hudson’s motion to appoint Donna Batchelor, Ron LaRussa, Margherita Ryan, Patrick Tuohy, and Phyllis Morgan (Alternate #2) to the Arts Advisory Committee with terms to expire April 2015 was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0. Cm. Perkins was absent.
(#6.2) Library Advisory Committee Appointments.
Division Manager Esther Lucas provided the report. There are four vacancies on the Library Advisory Committee (three committee members and one alternate position). The City Clerk announced the Committee vacancies and notices were placed on the City Website and posted in City facilities. Three applications were submitted for the Senior Advisory Committee by the deadline of February 25, 2013.
Vice Mayor Hudson’s motion to appoint Isabel Lau, April Scott, Darryl Young, and Penny Prater (Alternate #2) to the Library Advisory Committee with terms to expire April 2015 was seconded by Cm. Livingstone and passed 4-0-1-0. Cm. Perkins was absent. Cm. Livingstone asked the Interim City Attorney if there was a conflict for Darryl Young to serve on both the Central Contra Costa Transit Authority Advisory Committee and the Library Advisory Committee. Mr. Saxe responded that there was not.
(#6.3) Senior Advisory Committee Appointments.
Division Manager Esther Lucas provided the report. There are four vacancies on the Senior Advisory Committee (three committee members and one alternate position). The City Clerk announced the Committee vacancies and notices were placed on the City Website and posted in City facilities. Three applications were submitted for the Senior Advisory Committee by the deadline of February 25, 2013.
Vice Mayor Hudson’s motion to appoint Susan Chen, Ethelyn Ryan, and Colleen Vitalis to the Senior Advisory Committee with terms to expire April 2015 was seconded by Cm. O’Loane and passed 4-0-1-0. Cm. Perkins was absent.
* * * *
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
(#7.1) Minutes of the March 12, 2013 regular meeting.
Cm. Livingstone’s motion to approve the March 12, 2013 regular City Council minutes was seconded by Cm. O’Loane and passed 3-0-1-1. Cm. Perkins was absent and Vice Mayor Hudson abstained.
* * * *
(#8.1) Register of Demands as Presented by the City Treasurer (Period ending February 28, 2013).
(#8.2) Resolution No. 2013-019 – Accepting Certain Drainage Dedications and Drainage Improvements in DA 0005 (Detention Basin) for Maintenance (Windemere BLC Land Development Company, LLC).
(#8.3) Resolution No. 2013-020 – Accepting Certain Landscape Dedications and Landscape Improvements for Maintenance in Subdivision 9143 (Windemere BLC Land Development Co., LLC).
(#8.4) Resolution No. 2013-021 – Authorizing the Mayor to Execute an Agreement with SHI International for the Purchase of Software Licensing and Desktop Computer Systems in an Amount not to exceed $77,500 for Fiscal Year 2012–2013.
(#8.5) Resolution No. 2031-022 –With Findings Denying the Requests of Castle Companies for Recalculation of the Park In-Lieu Fee and for a Private Open Space Credit (St. James Place Project APN: 213-020-055).
(#8.6) Introduction of Resolution No. 2013-XXX (next in line) – Establishing Fees and Charges for Various Municipal Services for Fiscal Year 2013-14 and Repealing Resolution No. 2012-049.
(#8.7) Resolution No. 2013-023 – Authorizing the City Manager to Negotiate Retirement Incentive Agreements.
Cm. Livingstone’s motion to adopt items 8.1 through 8.7 was seconded by Vice Mayor Hudson and passed 4-0-1-0. Cm. Perkins was absent. Interim City Attorney recommended that Vice Mayor Hudson abstain from voting on item 8.5. Vice Mayor Hudson voiced his abstention on item 8.5.
* * * *
* * * *
(#10.1) Report: Measures for November 2013 Ballot.
City Clerk Patricia Edwards provided the report and included the history of San Ramon’s ballot measures relating to even year elections. She read an example of ballot language which could be provided on the November 2013 ballot and its impact on the terms of the Mayor and Councilmembers and requested Council direction.
Mayor Clarkson opened the public comment.
Roz Rogoff, resident, stated that she is not actively opposed to the ballot language as written. She recommended that the Council offer two options: lengthening term option and shortening term option so that the voters can decide what they want. If a single measure to lengthen terms fails, it will not be clear if the voters are rejecting even year elections or lengthening terms. If two choices are presented and both fail, it will be clear that voters prefer odd year elections.
Jim Blickenstaff, resident, agreed with Ms. Rogoff. It is relevant to save money for the City. Voters should have the final say. He noted that some people may want to retain the odd year election but an even year election may expand the voter base.
Mayor Clarkson closed the public comment.
Vice Mayor Hudson stated that changing to even year elections will save money for the City. This was discussed at the budget meetings and at the Council’s Goal Setting Workshop. He disagreed with staff’s recommendation to hold the 2013 election. The decision to move the councilmember’s terms to even years is the responsibility of the Council. The responsibility to move the mayor’s election to even years has to go to the voters. San Ramon is the only city to hold odd year elections and this is very expensive because there are no shared costs. The Council should change their election to even years, extend the terms of all Councilmembers by one year, and eliminate this item on the November ballot. The mayor’s election should remain on the ballot. San Ramon has never had anyone contest an elected incumbent mayor. If the mayor is uncontested, the November 2013 election could be cancelled and $210,000 saved. He added that the election could not be cancelled if Council candidates are on the ballot. Putting a measure on an even year ballot costs considerably less than putting it on an odd year ballot. Other odd year election cities in the county have changed to even year elections by extending the terms of their council. The decision is whether or not San Ramon should vote every year. The Council should take care of the council’s election separate from the mayor’s election and then place a measure on the ballot in 2014 to determine the mayoral issue.
Cm. Livingstone stated that there is no question that San Ramon needs to change to even year elections. He concurs with Vice Mayor Hudson. Vice Mayor Hudson stated that the council’s terms are not part of the mayor’s Charter issue. Cm. O’Loane stated that Livermore recently changed to even year elections for fiscal reasons. He noted that voter turnout is higher in even years. He suggested that, as more people vote, there may be more interest in City affairs. Saving over $200,000 would pay for more than one police officer. Offering a choice provides residents with the opportunity to express their opinion for the candidates and for term extensions. He asked for clarification regarding the City Charter and the mayoral election. Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe stated that a change in the mayor’s term needs to be approved by the voters. It is not necessary to be presented as a Charter amendment because the Charter does not say when the election is to be held. The implementation process of potentially lengthening or shortening the mayor’s term needs to be approved by the voters. Cm. O’Loane stated that, although the Council can change its terms, he preferred that the public have the opportunity to weigh in on this option and express their opinion of the incumbents. Vice Mayor Hudson stated that, if the Council’s terms are extended and no one opposes the mayor, the election can be cancelled and the mayor would be reappointed for a two year term. The Council would put the mayor election change on the ballot in 2014.
Mayor Clarkson stated that he is uncomfortable with the presumption that no one would run against him because there was pressure in the community to save money for the City. This is an inappropriate way to structure an election and would generate criticism for the City. If the November 2013 measure fails, the result would be an odd year election for the mayor but an even year election for the Council. He is conflicted about lengthening the Council’s terms. He stated that the residents should have choices: no change and stay with odd year elections which are costly but makes it easier for a challenger to run; and lengthen the terms which should be determined by the voters. Proceeding with Vice Mayor Hudson’s suggestion puts the assumption on someone not to run against the mayor. He does not want to discourage challengers. Vice Mayor Hudson stated that San Ramon is the only city in the county that votes every year. He added that 92 of the 97 elected councilmembers in Contra Costa County extended their terms and changed to even year elections. It will be very expensive to put every action which the Council considers on the ballot in odd years. These are the decisions which the Council is supposed to be making. Mayor Clarkson noted that the problem is the mayor’s election. He said it is undemocratic and inappropriate for the Council to hope that no one would run against the mayor. Vice Mayor Hudson reported that there has never been a challenger to an elected incumbent mayor. It is the Council’s responsibility to change to even year elections. Cm. O’Loane stated that if a measure, mayoral race, and council race are on the fall ballot, voters can weigh in on all three items. If the Council’s terms are extended and not placed on the November 2013 ballot, potential Council candidates would not have the opportunity to run. He disagreed that the Council is elected to change their terms to even year elections. He prefers an option where residents vote to lengthen councilmember’s terms. Having the Council do it which may be viewed as self-serving. He suggested that the Council consider the item when they have a full quorum at their meeting on April 23, 2013.
Cm. Livingstone said that the important thing is that the Council change the election and save money which doesn’t need to be spent. The Council was elected to make tough decisions and this is a tough decision. Residents elected the Council to make decisions such as budget decisions. Given the opportunity, residents are not speaking at budget meetings and so they are trusting the Council to do their job. The Council should not push the issue down the road. Although it may be considered ‘directing’ and providing more incentive for people to vote for even year elections for the mayor if the Council terms are on even years, it is the sensible thing to do. It does not make sense to spend $210,000 every other year on elections when the City does not have to spend this money. Mayor Clarkson asked what would happen in 2014 if the measure failed. Cm. Livingstone responded that one cannot guarantee that the measure will pass but that it makes sense to change the mayor to even years and save money. Vice Mayor Hudson noted that Measure Q failed in 2008 by less than 200 votes. He stated that the problem arises when the council and mayoral elections issues are combined. He stated that the incumbent mayor does have an advantage. If councilmembers are on the ballot in November 2013, the City will have an election that it does not need to have. Cm. Livingstone stated that the problem arises when there are too many issues on the ballot without a clear choice. He stressed that it is very important to go to even year elections. If the Council is on even year terms, it is highly probable that the electorate will vote for the mayor’s election to be on even years. He does not believe that the cost of the election for the City will deter any one who wants to run for mayor. Mayor Clarkson suggested that the Council continue to think about the issue and discuss it with the full Council next month. Cm. Livingstone asked the Council if they all support even year elections. They do and so the issue is how to accomplish this for the mayor’s position.
The City Clerk asked the Council for direction and suggested that staff develop alternate measure language to be considered at the April 23, 2013 meeting. Cm. Livingstone said that there are two questions: does San Ramon want to go to even year elections and how do we get there. Mayor Clarkson stated that the voters need to decide how to deal with the mayor’s even year election.
* * * *
CITY MANAGER COMMENTS
* * * *
* * * *
CITY COUNCILMEMBERS’ AND MAYOR’S COMMENTS
Vice Mayor Hudson provided a report on the League of California Cities Planners Institute on February 27-March 1, 2013. He also attended the American Public Transportation Association’s 2013 Legislative Conference held in Washington, D.C. on March 9-13, 2013. Lobbying efforts included working to get funding for the I-680 corridor. He reported that the draft One Bay Area Plan has been released for review. He complimented San Ramon Golf for providing a great program for youth in its Future Collegiate World Tour Golf Tournament.
Mayor Clarkson reminded residents that information regarding Symphony Week Concerts is available on the City’s website. He encouraged residents to attend performances of Cinderella at the Front Row Theater on April 19-May 5, 2013. He expressed concern that the Contra Costa Council sent a letter to the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) endorsing the I-680 HOV ramps prior to the release of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). CCTA did not include input from San Ramon when it made a presentation to the Contra Costa Council on February 5, 2013. Residents are at a disadvantage because they are waiting for additional information and are not advocating for a position and getting political support. He said that the Council needs to place a marker for other public institutions to consult with San Ramon before making a decision on a project that impacts San Ramon. He personally would like Contra Costa Council to withdraw their endorsement and take a neutral stance until all the information is available and they have input from San Ramon. He stated that he is not comfortable with and does not support the Norris Canyon option and would like more information on the Executive Parkway option. Vice Mayor Hudson stated that the CCTA did notify people about the project. Information on the Norris Canyon Project has been out for many years for people to review. Mayor Clarkson asked the City Attorney if the discussion conflicted with the Brown Act. Mr. Saxe responded that item #13 is for City Councilmember’s and Mayor’s comments but no decisions or actions can be made. Cm. Livingstone stated that Mayor Clarkson made a decision without the EIR and that the Contra Costa Council has a right to their opinion without the EIR.
Mayor Clarkson complimented Interim City Attorney Bob Saxe for exercising excellent judgment in dealing with the Bay Area News Group and their Public Records Act request for City salary information.
* * * *
At 8:48 p.m., there being no further business, Mayor Clarkson adjourned the meeting.
Bill Clarkson, Mayor
Patricia Edwards, City Clerk
Approved as presented at the April 9, 2013 City Council meeting 4-0-1-0; Perkins absent.