“Whittier City Council Meeting Report”
The following is the report on the meeting that took place on the 27th April 2010 at the County Council Chambers, 13230 Penn street. It is the Joint meeting of the Whittier Development Agency and the Whittier utility Authority. This is because the two bodies deal with common issues that face the Whittier community, operating under the county council of Whittier. The meeting was called to order at 6.30 pm following a courtesy call for all present to switch off their mobile phones or to set them to silent mode so as not to disrupt the proceedings. The audience complied. This was immediately followed by a roll call. Several council members were present including;
Cathy Warner, Mayor Pro Tem.
J. Greg Nordbak, Mayor.
(Whittier City Council 2010).
The presence of the mayor was highly honored but it could be also noted that the Mayor pro tem was present. This is because she was sitting in place of the mayor during the last session and her input is regarded as in order and valuable. This was followed by the pledge of allegiance by those present in the meeting. This meeting is a series of meetings that have been taking place over a period of time during which a lot of resolutions were made. There were also a number of presentations to be made as highlighted in section 4. A and B. The presentations involved a number of issues that had to be raised concerning the meeting. They were made by individuals and various company representatives.
This is followed by Oral communications to the bodies, Redevelopment Agency and the Utility Authority, only. The issues to be communicated should therefore be on development or utility concerns from the public in attendance. It is in this session that the people of Whittier present can communicate their concerns directly to the representatives of the bodies present. The issues may vary in significance but all are treated as equal and are accorded enough time to be responded to. It is also a chance for the public to interact with the various development and utility bodies on close quarters. Issues raised in this session are considered serious and can even lead to a change of policy and resolutions if the public agrees. Unfortunately the participants are restricted to three minutes and should therefore make the time count. It is also necessary for someone to come prepared for such a meeting. There is also a clause that restricts the oral communications to the issues at hand. If one has issues of public hearing; announcements among others, he/she should wait till the time for hearings is reached. There is another clause that states that the bodies in questions shouldn’t approve or disapprove any comments made during the oral communication that is not written in the session’s agenda (Whittier City Council 2010).
The joint consent calendar is what comes next. All the proposals in the calendar may be approved by a single vote of consensus by the present members. This only applies if all the members present are in consent. If one member of the council or representatives of the bodies present should have an issue with a proposal, then the proposal is dropped from the calendar following the approval by any member of the council/bodies present, development agency/utility authority. The proposal is then subjected to a discussion through which a number of issues may be changed as agreed. This was followed by the approval of the previous minutes dated March 23rd 2010, followed by the approval of the minutes by the council members and directors of the two bodies’, April 13th 2010 regular meetings.
Topic of Meeting:
It being a joint meeting between two bodies involved in the development of the city, the topics covered were mainly centered on the issues of the two bodies and the council among them was the acquisition of land parcels around the city for development by the various authorities for example.
In this meeting it was recommended that resolution no: 8279 be adopted (6. B). The resolution was to approve the sum of $ 93,000 to cover the administrative costs of the Whittier Greenway Trail from the Transit Proposition C account. The amount will be spread through 2009-2010. Secondly, it was also recommended that action is to be taken regarding alpha beta property.
The council approved the sale of certain parcels of land sale of Parcels 8139-005-909, 8139-005-910, 8139-005-911, and 8139-005-912 to the Whittier Redevelopment Agency to the Redevelopment Agency.
This shows that the process of public land purchasing that involves the council is to be brought infront of a public committee for purposes of verification and avoiding un necessary conflicts in the future. This also ensures that the prices allocated are not inflated so as to benefit certain individuals within the involved bodies.
There was also another resolution that was moved for adoption that involved the approval of the purchase of Parcels 8139-005-909, 8139-005-910, 8139-005-911 and 8139-005-912 from the City of Whittier.
This shows that the various mechanism involved in the process of procurement of land are followed. The system therefore works (Whittier City Council 2010).
Another topic discussed was on matters of acquiring a loan from the city by the City Market Inc. This loan is supposed to go into various issues that surround the improvement of the market utility and development. The details are as follows:
It was approved that the agency take the necessary action as needed to cover the marketing reimbursement. It was agreed that the loan be accepted, from the city to the marketing incorporation, of $51,185 representing 50% of the sales tax generated by the Whittier Marketplace project during July to December 2009, pursuant to the Cooperation and Loan Agreement with the City and the Disposition and Development Agreement (DDA) with the property owner, Whittier Marketplace, Inc and approve reimbursement to Whittier Marketplace, Inc. of the November 2009 debt service payment on the Community Facilities.
Approval of Conditional Use Permit CUP10-004 and Development Review DRP09-056, to replace a 60-foot wireless telecommunications facility; allow the construction and operation of a new 70-foot tall wireless telecommunication facility (mono-pine) within the Whittier Boulevard Specific Plan, Shopping Cluster I District; and for the collocation of another wireless provider’s (d.b.a. T-Mobile Wireless)antennas array, for property located at 8308 Comstock Avenue; (Applicant: Coastal Business Group on behalf of T-Mobile Wireless; Owner: Walgreen’s Corporation).
Another topic of discussion is on the issue of research and the environment. The environment is therefore a key issue to the city and therefore proper investment and care should be in order. The details are as follows.
It is recommended the City Council approve the modification to the agreement with Marine Research Specialists for processing the Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Whittier Main Mineral Extraction by Matrix Oil; and authorize the City Manager to sign the amendment (Whittier City Council 2010).
The report is to ensure that the environment is safe and that the necessary steps are taken to ensure that the facilities are used as intended. During the meeting the board of directors was asked to take the following action regarding the main San Gabriel Basin. The details have been summarized as this, that the board should adopt Resolution No. WUA-10-01 authorizing the leasing of the water production rights. It was also discovered that the authority had the rights for the previous year up to 1500 acre-feet of the water production rights and that this was in excess and that the city water needs are covered adequately. The process is therefore all encompassing and even issues of the environment are covered within the local administration.
Employee relations are among the other topics discussed during the meeting. The employees of the city are of great importance to the city it’s through them that the council gets to function and implement the issues discussed above. On issues regarding the MOA
between the city and the workers union, the meeting recommended that the comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding with the Whittier City Employees’ Association (WCEA) for the period of July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010 to be approved. Secondly it was recommended that the comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding with the Whittier Police Officers’ Association (WPOA) for the period of July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2011to also be approved and finally it was recommended for approval the resolution No. 8280 entitled, “A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Whittier, California, to rescind Resolution No. 8217 and adopt a new 2009-2010 Salary Resolution”. There were other issues regarding the employee’s social benefits and it was recommended that the resolution be accepted as it was negotiated in the previous meetings. They were summarized in the following statements:
Approve FY 2010-11 Social Services funding of $64,250 from community Development Block Grant funds; and Receive and file the matching fund allocations of $111,500 and $5,000 for a Community Health Program to be incorporated and approved as part of the FY 2010-11 budgets.
Lastly among the issues discussed was the Councils approval of leases with Clearwire for the installation of wireless facilities at Penn Park, Founders Park, Lee Owens Park and Palm Park, subject to zoning approval; and authorize the City Manager to execute the lease documents and It is recommended the City Council take actions regarding the Phase I of the Bus Stop Improvement Plan:
1. Overrule the Letter of Protest by G Coast Construction, Inc.;
2. Award the construction contract to Cornerstone General, Inc. for the Phase 1 Bus Stop Improvement Plan and waive the bid irregularity;
3. Reject all other bids;
4. Authorize the City Manager to sign the contract;
5. Approve the issuance of a Contract Change Order to increase the quantity of bus shelters and associated amenities installed in conjunction with this contract by 25%; and
6. Adopt Resolution No. 8281 entitled, “A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Whittier, California, adding a supplemental appropriation to the Fiscal Year 2009-10 Budget for the allocation of Federal Transit Administration Section 5307 Grant Funds for installation of bus shelters improvements at various locations,” in the amount of $380,000 (Whittier City Council 2010).
Resolution of the Issues:
The level of interaction between the various parties has been of the highest quality possible. All suggestions I believe were considered and the appropriate recommendations taken. This process as said earlier is comprehensive enough and doesn’t exclude anyone at whatever stage. The resolution of issues was therefore reached through a clear process of communication; the parties involved engaged each other diligently, aired their issues as per the recommended procedure i.e. the grievances are made through a representative after a clear understanding has been made. The grievances are then aired at a meeting in which all the necessary departments are represented and proper council has been taken to ensure that all are within the stipulated rules of engagement. The grievances are then aired out so that all can listen to it and if any of the issues has been left out then the proposal will be pulled out and the necessary changes made.
The grievances are also handed in written form remembering the clause that says, issues can not be responded to or approved if they are in oral form. The written grievances will therefore be read and subjected to a vote. If it is passed then the board has no option but to approve it. Before the issue is even subjected to a vote, necessary steps are taken to ensure that the needed resources are available. The approval of the proposal/grievances is subject to the availability of the needed resources. If the council lacks the resources as in the case of the salary increase by the council workers the proposal is shelved until such a time when the council can meet the funds needed. If not resources will be diverted from other necessary issues to meet the needs.
This shows that the resolution process is long but all inclusive as all issues are taken into consideration. Before an approval all the members will have been informed accordingly. Informing the affected party is important as their views are needed for an all encompassing review of the issues. It is also important as it justifies the issues and therefore necessitates the needed changes.
The Political System:
The U.S.A political culture has for some time been considered as the most comprehensive in the culture. Political Culture has been described as the sum total of the deep-seated values and attitudes based on an emotive process developed over time and knowledge that give form and essence to a political process. Through this process it can be established that the U.S.A is a state that represents the interests of the people along all the divisions of power. Before a decision is reached that will interfere with the lives of people it is subjected through a long and vigorous process to justify if it is really the opinion of the people or of the few.
Within the City of Whittier the political process is much as the one described above. The council holds regular meetings that high profile representatives attend so that they can engage the people as they should. This is because the issues that face the city will also affect them one way or the other. The minutes of the session as of 27th April are evidence that the system is working as it is supposed to. The joint session is simply a merge between two bodies that have their functions almost the same: development and utility are basically issues to do with infrastructure and the improvement of the same.
The American Political system is therefore advanced enough to ensure that the needs of the individual have been catered for. That the needs have been identified and dealt with to the satisfaction of the smallest individual; unfortunately the smallest individual doesn’t get as much representation as he/she can want. But still the systems can cater for their needs. This is as result of an advanced political culture; the participation of the citizenry on matters of governance and development of their respective regions is high. The system can also be described as supportive or constructive as it protects the right of the people; it is the people who are engaged in the process of developing their regions and therefore it can be assumed that they do so with their rights and privileges in mind.
In conclusion the city council of Whittier city if working as it should. Though the participation as seen in the minutes is small, the process is still followed as it was intended in the first place. Funds and resources are moved as needed where needed and all the people get the necessary representation.
Whittier City Council. April 27, 2010. Whittier Redevelopment agency Whittier
Utility Authority joint meeting city council chamber, 13230 Penn Street.