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

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