November 7, 2016 Petaluma Tomorrow Council Watch Report

Petaluma Tomorrow
Council Watch Report
November 7, viagra buy 2016
Councilmembers Mike Healy, Chris Albertson, Kathy Miller, Gabe Kearney, Vice Mayor Dave King, Teresa Barrett and Mayor David Glass present.
Key Issues and Commentary
Whether the city needed to adopt an Urgency Ordinance drafted by the City Attorney in anticipation of the passage of Proposition 64 and the legalization of marijuana – that was the primary excitement at this busy and controversy-free meeting of the Petaluma City Council.
While doing so could have allowed Petaluma to maintain a legal moratorium on marijuana of up to two more years, it would, the Council agreed, be exceedingly undemocratic. Besides, as Zen Destiny noted during public commentary, we need weed “to combat an epidemic of Tight Assness.”
1. Approval of Minutes
A. Approval of Minutes of Regular City Council/PCDSA Meeting of Monday, September 12, 2016.
B. Approval of Minutes of Regular City Council/PCDSA Meeting of Monday, September 19, 2016.
C. Approval of Minutes of Regular City Council/PCDSA Meeting of Monday, October 3, 2016.
D. Approval of Minutes of Regular City Council/PCDSA Meeting of Monday, October 17, 2016.
Adopted with corrections.
2. Approval of Proposed Agenda
A. Approval of Agenda for Regular City Council/PCDSA Meeting of Monday, November 21, 2016.
Approved by unanimous vote.
Public Comment
Simone Moreno, a Petaluma Adult School student from Mexico, thanked the Council for their hospitality on behalf of her fellow students from Iran, Russia, China and Finland. “It’s a beautiful thing to see democracy in action and to see people working together to make our city a great place to live” said Moreno, as she left the microphone to widespread applause.
“Why is our water so expensive?” asked Razon Linzie on behalf of her sister.  “And what we do about our grass? Do we let it die, or continue watering and pay through our noses?”
“Also, why are our streets and roads so rundown?”
Mayor Glass attempted to provide Ms. Linzie a lesson in how our water rates are determined, and appeared successful, albeit in a puzzling and circuitous fashion.
In terms of the streets, he said, “We’re extremely challenged.”
Kathryn Babrowski of the Littlewoods Mobile Home complained of vandalism by her neighbors again, suggesting the PPD is shirking its law enforcement duties.
Zen Destiny’s three minute poem packed a remarkable critique of contemporary political and social affairs in the almost post-Obama era that I would not presume to reduce to a summary. See the City of Petaluma video archives if you’d like to see what’s on Zen’s mind these days.
3. Consent Calendar
A. Resolution Approving Claims and Bills for September 2016.
Zen Destiny used this opportunity to launch a lengthy critique of Harley Davidson motorcycles, calling the PPD to task for using “obviously inferior” Harleys, a waste of public funds according to Destiny.
Approved by unanimous vote.
B. Consideration and Possible Approval of Resolution Supporting Measure Y, a Countywide Quarter Cent Sales Tax Measure for the Sonoma County Library.
Mr. Healy noted it’s actually an ? of a cent tax.
Motion approved by unanimous vote.
C. Resolution Ratifying the Tentative Agreement Reached by the Duly Authorized Representatives of the City of Petaluma and the Petaluma Public Safety Mid-Management Association – Unit 10.
Approved by unanimous vote.
4. Unfinished Business
A. Adoption (Second Reading) of an Ordinance Repealing and Replacing Sections 17.20.010, 17.20.040, 17.20.050, and 17.20.060 of the Petaluma Municipal Code to Adopt the 2016 California Fire Code, California Building Standards Code, Title 24, Part 9, Based on the 2015 Edition of the International Fire Code.
Approved by unanimous vote.
5. New Business
A. Resolution Authorizing Award of Contract for the City Hall West Wing and Fire Station 3 Roof Overlay to Cornerstone Roofing, Inc.
Approved by unanimous vote.
B. Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Cooperative Agreement with Caltrans to Complete a Water Quality Mitigation Project Along Old Corona Road.
Taking the runoff from a segment of the freeway and from the back of Henry Curtis Ford. Caltrans is paying for the whole thing.
Motion approved by unanimous vote.
C. Discussion and Direction Regarding Regional Issues of Significance for the Mayors’ and Councilmembers’ Association of Sonoma County.
Pavement condition, transportation funding, climate change and possibly a joint meeting with Marin on sea level rise were agreed upon as topics of primary interest to the Council in this forum.
D. Consideration and Possible Adoption of an  Urgency Ordinance of the City of Petaluma Making Findings and Establishing a Temporary Moratorium on Nonmedical Marijuana Uses in the City, to Become Effective Immediately Pursuant to California Government Code Section 65858.
Zen Destiny objected to the city’s pimping of alcohol while considering restricting the people’s access to marijuana. We need weed “to combat an epidemic of Tight Assness,” said Destiny.
Councilmember Teresa Barrett objected to the fact that the city was effectively nullifying the vote if one side wins re: Proposition 64, the marijuana legalization initiative. She called it “absolutely the most undemocratic thing we could do,” taking a principled stand against this measure.
Councilmember Chris Albertson’s primary concerns surrounded issues of access if marijuana is legalized, and things like the location of smoke shops.
Councilmember Mike Healy was concerned about overreach by the City Attorney in writing a possible Urgency Ordinance, particularly in light of Barrett’s comments.
I think the public would notice if we did this too quickly. He suggested the Dec. 5 meeting, as we would still be within the thirty day window
Councilmember Kathy Miller echoed many of Mr. Albertsons concerns – locale of access points to marijuana, for example.
“I imagine there’s a tremendous amount of interest in the community on this particular topic, given the extensive commentary” received during the city’s previous medical marijuana discussion. Miller did not like the last-minute, emergency approach to this.
Councilmember Gabe Kearney sought to find another time in the near future to further discuss the marijuana issue in its entirety.
Councilmember Dave King suggested that if Prop 64 passes, the city should get more public input and respond in a deliberative fashion. He didn’t think we needed to add to the regulatory environment.
Mayor Glass thanked Mr. Danly for the effort to provide Petaluma with flexibility regarding marijuana.
Seems to be the council’s feeling that this measure did not need to be an urgency ordinance on this evening’s agenda. Perhaps we’ll consider an urgency ordinance at that time.
6. Public Hearing
A. Resolution to Modify the Lakeville Business Park Planned Community District to Add “Fitness/Health Facility” as a Minor Conditional Use on All Lots Throughout the Lakeville PCD and Adopt Technical Edits to the Zoning District Regulations.
Motion approved by 6 – 1 vote, with Chris Albertson dissenting.
Council Comment
Councilmember Healy noted that it’d been a busy time in the water world as the water advisory committee met in Santa Rosa. Both regional reservoirs are approaching 90% capacity, a far better state of affairs than we’ve been in in many years.
Councilmember Albertson discussed Rep. Huffman’s river dredging meeting, re: a five member partnership:  the cities of Napa & Sonoma, Marin & Sonoma counties, and the city of San Rafael, all working together to get dredging done. Dan St. John, Public Works Director for Petaluma, is chair of the group. There remains acknowledgement among all levels that it needs to be done, but where and when it’ll get paid for and done remains to be seen.
Councilmember Miller noted that Caltrans had begun taking down the Eucalyptus trees that had burned next to the freeway on October 31.
Councilmember King – the Planning Commission met to discuss a substantial 76 station remodel at the north end of town, as well as the windows of the Silk Mill.
Councilmember Barrett attended an annual statewide conference for LAFCOs. The issues which seem to be front and center for 2017 are the Sustainable Groundwater Management Agencies, JPAs of various kinds, are much discussed.
As for the BAAQMD, the summer Spare the Air season closed with a record 27 Spare the Air days due to the many summer fires which affected the air of all nine counties. Also, the bar which triggers Spare the Air days has been lowered, part of the effort to meet our climate goals.
Mayor Glass blasted our dysfunctional Congress for the fact that we’re still searching for money for dredging.
Adjourned at 9:34 pm in honor of Steve Simmons, a thirty + year Petaluma employee who passed away recently.
Posted in Council Watch | Leave a comment

Of Course Bill Wolpert Supports the Rainier Connector

Petaluma Tomorrow has endorsed Bill Wolpert, capsule an exceptional candidate for City Council. Wolpert recently released this statement on the Rainier Connector:

Of Course Bill Supports the Rainier Connector

My name is Bill Wolpert.  I’m running for Petaluma City Council.  And I’m learning that local politics is a full contact sport.

I’ve been accused by a robo call, sick paid for by my opponents, of being opposed to the Rainier Connector.  The accusation is untrue.  I believe that the Connector must play an essential role in Petaluma’s future.  It’s true that I have questions about the Connector for which we all need answers, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t support the Rainier Connector.  I’d like to be a part of the discussion about how it happens.

Providing stronger physical connections between the two sides of Petaluma is crucial to the community.  Eastside families should be able to easily travel by bus or car to enjoy an evening stroll in downtown.  Westside residents should be able to bike safely to SRJC or to conveniently deliver their kids to a soccer match.  Emergency responders need alternatives to get to the hospital and transit providers need more routing options. Those are elements of a healthy town.

But all of the crosstown connectors, existing and proposed, from Old Redwood Highway in the north to the Caulfield Crossing in the south, have challenges ranging from proximity to capacity to construction cost.

For many years, the Rainier Connector has been perceived as the next crosstown connector to be built, but it isn’t immune from the challenges.  It’s an alternative with many attributes, including good proximity and connectivity, but it’s not a magic bullet.

Here are my concerns about the Rainier Connector and the questions that we should all be asking.

  • Interchange – A 2004 advisory ballot measure described the Rainier Connector as the “Rainier Cross-Town Connector and Interchange Project”.  The connection to Highway 101 was a key project element.  But even now, twelve years later, Caltrans hasn’t approved an interchange at Rainier.Questions: Do we think Caltrans will approve the interchange?  If never, how does that affect the traffic relief?  When can we get clarity on this key issue?
  • Cost – Although my opponents bandy about an unexplained cost of $34 million, the Rainier Connector will be far more expensive.  Although barely more than a half-mile in length, the cost is usually estimated at $60 to $80 million.  Measured in dollars per mile, the Rainier Connector would easily be the most expensive street ever built in Petaluma.Question: Given that the interchange remains an uncertainty, how do we get a handle on the cost?
  • Burden on taxpayers – The robo call claims that the Rainier Connector can be built without taxpayer dollars. Really?  Let’s look at just one element of the financing.  The City holds an $11 million loan to help build the Connector.  The interest on the loan is now being paid with your taxes.  After the funds are spent, they must be repaid with your taxes.  That $11 million is your taxes building the road, despite what my opponents may say in their robo calls.Questions: After we have a firm handle on the cost, how do we put together a financing plan?  How much of that must be generated from new taxes?  And given the many other community needs, from restoring a full complement of police officers to repaving streets, how do we agree on spending priorities?
  • Traffic relief – Traffic engineers measures capacity with letter grades from A to F.  The traffic study done for the Rainier Connector Environmental Impact Report projects many of the traffic improvements at no more than partial grades, such as changing a C into a C+.  Any improvement is good, but the projected improvements are less than many seem to expect.Questions: For the final configuration, what will the traffic relief be?  Can we improve the traffic through stronger multi-use paths, more frequent transit service, or further walkable development?
  • Readiness to build – Despite the expectations of some, the Rainier Connector won’t happen anytime soon.  It can’t be built until Highway 101 is widened through Petaluma, a project that may be a half billion dollars down the Caltrans priority list.Question: What is a realistic schedule for construction?
  • Public support – The proponents of the Rainier Connector often point to the 72 percent approval achieved by a 2004 advisory ballot measure, a ballot measure that assumed a connection to Highway 101 but failed to provide an estimated project cost.  However, when a ballot measure was placed on the 2014 ballot to fund a portion of the Connector with a sales tax, only 44 percent voted in favor.   That’s a significant difference.

Question: Once we have a firm handle on configuration, cost, taxpayer impacts, andtraffic  relief, what will the public support be?

I believe in the Rainier Connector.  I’m convinced that it must be a part of Petaluma’s future.  But we need to have real conversations about what it will be, how it will work, and how the costs will be paid.  Robo calls with half-truths and outright deceptions don’t help.  Good leadership will help.  I’m committed to providing good leadership.

My opponents want the Rainier Connector to be a divisive issue.  I want accountability and a transparent process.  I hope you agree with me.

Posted in News and Updates | Tagged | Leave a comment

Petaluma Tomorrow Council Watch Report, October 17, 2016

Petaluma Tomorrow
Council Watch Report
October 17, 2016


Councilmembers Mike Healy, Chris Albertson, Kathy Miller, Gabe Kearney, Vice Mayor Dave King, Teresa Barrett and Mayor David Glass present.


Key Issues and Commentary


Lots of fun for public policy wonks in this meeting.


  • The city moved forward with its railroad Quiet Zones application after much pleading from the public.
  • The city agreed to expand its sewage storage capacity in the event of an emergency while everyone sought to avoid visualizing what 4 million gallons of crap looked and smelled like. Poop storage at 10 cents a gallon is worth pursuing, the council agreed.
  • The changing role of food banks is worth pondering if you have a moment. Take a tour of the Redwood Empire Food Bank and you’ll learn a great deal and appreciate the organization all the more, according to the Mayor. It’s far more than simply an emergency food pantry.
  • Councilmember Barrett once more noted in Council Comment that transportation continues to be the hard nut to crack in our response to climate change.




Domestic Violence Awareness Month – October 2016. Jane Gaskill of the Sonoma County YWCA accepted this proclamation from the city.


According to the CDC, on average, 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the U.S. Over the course of a year, that equals more than 10 million women and men. 1 in 4 women, and 1 in 7 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. The most at-risk population is of women between 18 – 24. Of that population, only 55% will report being victimized to the police.


National Park System Centennial – 410 nationally significant sites in the U.S.


Red Ribbon Week – a national campaign to encourage school kids of all ages to avoid drugs and alcohol and lead healthy, active lives which began here in Petaluma.




Redwood Empire Food Bank
David Goodman, CEO of the REFB, gave a brief presentation to the public.


82,000 people, 1 in 6 in Sonoma County, don’t get enough food to eat and obtain food assistance from the REFB, which also serves Lake, Mendocino, Del Norte and Humboldt Counties.


REFB gives $700,000 worth of food annually to Petaluma organizations. It also sells some foods to those same organizations at greatly discounted prices.


For example, COTS spent $11,000 at REFB last year for $525,000 worth of food. For every dollar they spent they received $46 worth of food.


REFB distributes 7.5 million pounds of fresh produce annually.


Open Counter Demonstration


Petaluma Economic Development Manager Ingrid Alverde gave the public a demonstration of the city’s new, now award-winning Open Counter online permitting tool.


Approval of Proposed Agenda


Approved by unanimous vote.


3. Consent Calendar
A & D  removed to be considered separately.


A. Resolution Authorizing Award of Contract for the PIPS Odor Control and Hopper Street Emergency Pumping Storage Improvement Project.
B. Resolution Accepting Completion of the Construction Contract for Transit Signal Priority Phase I Project, City Project No. C65101402.
C. Resolution Authorizing the Execution of a Professional Services Agreement for Design and Engineering Services for the Petaluma Community Sports Fields Baseball Field Project and Authorizing a Revised Project Budget.
D. Resolution Authorizing Approval of a Contract Change Order to the Community Center Roof Overlay and HVAC Replacement Project to Overlay Fire Station 2 Roof.
E. Resolution Receiving the Arbitration Panel Award and Ratifying the Tentative Agreements Executed of the Duly Authorized Representatives of the International Association of Firefighters, Local 1415, Unit 7. STAFF REPORT MADE AVAILABLE WITH AGENDA REVISION NO. 1 – THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2016.
F. Resolution Ratifying the Tentative Agreement Executed by the Duly Authorized Representatives of the American Federation of State, Municipal and County Employees, Local 675, Unit 1 – Confidential, Unit 2 – Maintenance, Unit 3 Technical/Clerical. (Brodhun) – STAFF REPORT MADE AVAILABLE WITH AGENDA REVISION NO. 1 – THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2016.


Items B, C, E & F approved by unanimous vote.


Mr. Healy wondered what the options were on 3A re: the storage of 4 million gallons of raw sewage, if there’s a problem with the force main.


According to Dan St. John, city needs some emergency sewage storage capacity available, in case of a catastrophic failure. The Primary Influent Pump Station forcemain is 35 years old and cannot be inspected, as it is in continuous use and cannot be shut down. 4 million gallon emergency storage would give us less than 24 hours’ capacity. It’s the most important pipe in our sewage system. Replacing the forcemain would be a $10 million project, by today’s estimates. This emergency storage would cost about 10 cents per gallon to construct, as opposed to the Paula Lane storage tank, which cost about $1 per gallon to build.


Healy noted that this is a much larger decision to make, given the possibility that this would take the old treatment plant out of consideration for future development.


Ms. Miller noted it was difficult to tell from the staff report where this storage capacity would go. Also, are there other possibilities for location?


Mr. Albertson asked if there were alternatives and ultimately offered to move the item.


Teresa Barrett noted that we do know the implications if we’re not prepared for such an emergency (earthquake, etc – today’s the anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake) , drawing people’s attention to the cost in fines to the city if it were forced to dump sewage into the Petaluma River in an emergency. Fines would be in the millions. Barrett called putting off this investment irresponsible.


Approved by a vote of 5-2, with Healy and Miller dissenting.


Item 3D approved by unanimous vote of 6 – 0, with Mr. King recusing himself


4 New Business


A. Introduction (First Reading) of an Ordinance Repealing and Replacing Sections 17.20.010, 17.20.040, 17.20.050, and 17.20.060 of the Petaluma Municipal Code to Adopt the 2016 California Fire Code, California Building Standards Code, Title 24, Part 9, Based on the 2015 Edition of the International Fire Code.


California changes and adjusts its fire code every three years and these are suggested changes from the 2013 code.


Mayor Glass asked about the 4th of July celebrations and fireworks at the fairgrounds in relation to fire code enforcement, as this was the best opportunity he’d encountered to do so. He noted having spoken with a southern California city mayor of comparable population to Petaluma’s, who said they’d issued 17 $1,000 citations in one season for illegal fireworks use on the 4th. Glass thought Petaluma had not issued a single citation. What would it take to actually enforce the fire code?


Last 4th of July, he said that he’d seen PFD personnel in close proximity to illegal fireworks, who’d responded by doing nothing.


Chief Thompson unequivocally noted that those personnel were mistaken, and should have acted.


Approved by unanimous vote.


B. Resolution Authorizing the Filing of a Notice of Intent with the Federal Railroad Administration, California Public Utilities Commission, Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit, North Western Pacific Rail Road Company and North Coast Rail Authority to Establish a Quiet Zone in Petaluma City Limits from Corona Road to Caulfield Lane.


Dan St. John – 60 days to comment on the notice of intent, meant that the Quiet Zone ought to be ready by the new start time for SMART, recently delayed to spring 2017.


Approved by unanimous vote


5 Public Hearing


A. Public Hearing to Hear Testimony Regarding the Formation of a Landscape Assessment District for Avila Ranch Landscape Assessment District (LAD) and to Declare the Results of the Balloting, Ordering Improvements, and Confirming the Diagrams and Annual Assessment.


Approved by unanimous vote of 6 – 0, with Mr. Kearney recusing himself


B. Resolution Approving the 2016 Petaluma Transit Short Range Transit Plan.


Transit Manager Joe Rye gave an update on Petaluma’s Transit Plan. As recipients of some federal aid for transit, the city is required to update its plan every four years. From 2012 to 2016 we more than doubled our ridership, according to Rye.


Mayor David Glass thanked Mr. Rye for the many improvements to Petaluma Transit’s service and its growth, noting there had been many issues with it in the past – seven, eight years prior, but has been improving ever since.


Approved by unanimous vote.


Council Comment


Councilmember Chris Albertson read a list of events from Petaluma Downtown Association – October 28, the Petaluma International Film Festival; followed by the Dia de los Muertos event downtown; Nov. 11 O + Fest from 4 – 6 pm. Veterans Day parade that day as well.


Albertson noted the collapse of talks between St. Josephs and the Petaluma Health Care District.


Councilmember Kathy Miller reiterated Albertson’s point about the Petaluma Hospital and reassured the public that the hospital would remain open.


Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee reviewed the North River Apartments project at its recent meeting, which has a Class 1 bike path. City staff is attempting to figure out a fifty foot gap between the end of that trail and the Lynch Creek Trail. The gap is due to an existing city pump station. Also 93 covered bicycle spaces associated with the project.


Miller on the SCTA meeting: CalTrans is looking at removing the trees near the freeway due to the recent fire – some damaged, some not – and is now likely to move forward with that and build the sound walls there, once the trees are gone.


Barrett asked Miller to clarify the tree removal. There was previously no plan to do the tree removal until the widening work on 101 was done, stated Miller, but now CalTrans is inclined to expedite removing the trees and getting the sound walls built afterwards.


King – SCP had a 4.5 hr meeting. JPA was finalized following a lengthy discussion.


King said the SCP Board committed $2.5 million over a 9 month period to a combination of rebates toward the purchase of electric vehicles from participating dealerships, in an effort to reduce the use of petroleum in our transportation system. No Petaluma dealers are participating.


Barrett – The Petaluma Arts Center successfully raised $65,000.


She recently attended the Climate Forward conference in San Francisco, sponsored by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.


The real problem in the Bay Area is transportation, the primary source of greenhouse gases – 40% of the overall. Transportation creates 58% of Petaluma’s ghg emissions (56% in Sonoma County) because we have little heavy industry.


The Metropolitan Transportation Commission doesn’t appear to have any strategic plan to address this problem yet.


“Transportation really does seem to be the hard nut to crack.”


Mayor Glass congratulated the service clubs of Petaluma for the new Petaluma Police Department’s substation at Walnut Park.

Adjourned at 9:42 pm

Posted in Council Watch | Leave a comment