Update of August 2, 2013...
Mayor & Council,
Well, in case you missed it, July just ended. While many enjoyed vacation time with family during this dark month from Town council meetings, we continued to make considerable progress on a number of fronts. Here’s what’s happening:
- Town Council meeting this Tuesday – Normal Town Council meeting schedule resumes this Tuesday August 6th, 2013. While there are just a handful of items, the agenda is rather thick as the Town Council examines:
o Development Code Update – Council is being asked to consider the new Subdivision Requirements that have been through the Planning Commission. Over the next several months, Council will be considering these changes to the Town’s development code, the result of our comprehensive update project;
o Park Maintenance Contract with Desert ARC – during this year’s budget development, the Town absorbed additional park maintenance responsibilities that were going to be addressed through the hiring of part-time staff. Staff has recruited for the positions, was not satisfied with the applicants, and has since examined the costs of contracting that service out;
o Review of Council Compensation – During the budget development process, there were recommendations from residents that the Council discontinue to receive benefits. The commentary indicated that cities were eliminating their benefits or didn’t offer benefits to their elected officials. Analysis shows that 22 out of 24 cities in San Bernardino County offer benefits to their elected officials, as do local special districts like HDWD, CMC, and Mojave Water Agency. Also, the Attorney General has opined that ANY changes to benefits cannot take effect until the next election cycles (2014 & 2016);
o BMX Lease Agreement – Yucca Valley BMX has assumed operations of the BMX track on Town property. Town Council is being asked to enter into an annual lease with this new non-profit;
o PLHD Right Of Way Consultant – as the PLDH project (sidewalks, medians, street lights, traffic signal at Church/62) nears bidding, additional right-of-way services are required through the Town’s consultant (Overland, Pacific, & Cutler Inc.). These services are all funded through the grant sources for the project;
- Unannounced Caltrans Surprise Project – The Town received notice of the Caltrans SR 62 safety project on Monday July 29th, at approximately the same time as the installation of the paddles began. No preliminary notification to local agencies was provided. While the work is outside of the Town boundaries, the turning movement controls will have an effect on motorists traveling through the Morongo Basin. Work is expected to be complete this week.
- Community Center Playground Equipment – The Playground Equipment replacement project at the Community Center is well underway. Construction fencing and removal of the non-compliant playground equipment was completed, and sand removal is underway. The new playground equipment for the 2-5 and 5-12 year old age groups will provide a greatly enhanced recreational experience for park users.
- Animal Control Joint Powers Authority (ACJPA) Replacement Animal Shelter – Finish grading is underway onsite. Curb & gutter and other flat concrete work were also completed this week. The exterior plaster is complete on all buildings. Southern California Edison was onsite and moving towards meter installation and power turn on to the new buildings. Plumbers have started on interior plumbing in kennel building 2. Fencing is scheduled to start this week.
- ACJPA Replacement Animal Shelter Part 2– The replacement shelter is scheduled to be completed in the coming month. When the construction contract was awarded, a contingency amount of over $300,000 was established to deal with unforeseen issues that can occur during construction. To date, less than $100,000 of those funds has been used. Staff is bringing forward a request of the ACJPA board to approve spending the balance on the start-up costs for the new shelter. Council will recall that these start-up costs were budgeted in the FY 13/14 Operating budget. The FY 13/14 operating budget will be reduced by the amount of construction contingency funds used for start-up expenses. Thanks and congrats to staff on this successful project – keeping a project within 3% of the construction amount speaks to the diligence shown during the design and construction projects.
- Slurry Project – After delays due to a little rainfall, the application of slurry was completed on Monday. Legend and stop bar striping has begun, with an expected completion next week.
- Park and Ride Gets a Minor Face Lift – Facility Maintenance staff spent a little time at the Park and Ride this week giving the shade shelters and information kiosk a minor face lift. After 13 years of sunshine, wind and rain, a little paint was needed to keep the site looking like it should. Thanks to Facility Maintenance staff for keeping Town facilities looking great!
- Joshua Basin Water District – The Joshua Basin Water District imported water pipeline installation on Yucca Mesa Road has been completed with the paving on Yucca Mesa Road and SR62. Street striping will follow in the near future.
- Hi Desert Water District Pipe Replacement Project – The HDWD is nearly complete with the street overlay trench repair paving in the Western Hills area following replacement of water lines in the neighborhood. HDWD this past week was also performing leak site paving repairs in various areas of the Town.
- Setting The Record Straight -- Over the past several months, there has been this legend perpetuated in the community about an incident on Linda Lee involving two representatives from the sheriff’s department, the Deputy Town Manager, and myself. For months now, a resident has chosen to attack the reputation not only of Town staff but two leaders of our police department – Captain Boswell and Lieutenant Toms. For months I have sat silent – I’m done staying silent based upon the most recent entry into this legend. Here is what the neighbor on Linda Lee recently blogged:
“The five of us, Mr. Nuaimi, Mr. Stueckle, Captain Boswell and Lieutenant Toms were standing together on the side of the road. On the OTHER side of the road a biker dumped his bike ... off the side of the road, actually. He was arrested for assault on an officer and the charged with battery on an officer, a more severe crime. In the time since I've learned more than I wanted to know about character and integrity of the many people and agencies involved in that case.”
I can tell you unequivocally that the incident on Linda Lee DID NOT transpire as this blogger is trying to lead the community to believe.
· This blogger must forget that he actually attempted to insert himself into the enforcement action by initially standing in the middle of the road, directing the motorcyclist to stop.
· He probably forgets being told by Captain Boswell to kindly remove himself from the road and allow the Captain and Lieutenant to do their jobs.
· The motorcyclist ignored their instructions to stop – instructions that were being given by the officers standing in the middle of the dirt road. In fact, the motorcyclist attempted to drive past the Captain & Lieutenant only to lose control, attempt to flee, and then be taken to the ground and arrested.
I can’t tell you why this blogger is intentionally misleading people to believe that this was somehow an improper arrest or that our officers acted inappropriately. I can’t tell you why he (the blogger) claimed to file internal complaints with the sheriff’s department, state attorney general, and others. I can’t tell you why he took this issue to our local congressman and now attacks his integrity as it pertains to this matter. What I can tell you is that our law enforcement professionals took a frequent flier into custody that day on Linda Lee. He had two outstanding bench warrants for his arrest. He plead guilty for his actions and served his time.
Why this blogger continues to mislead this community is beyond me. But it is clear that this blogger forgets why we were meeting with him in the first place – the blogger was concerned about Off-Highway Vehicle use terrorizing the neighborhood. We had four representatives from the Town meeting with him and when one of the more aggressive OHVers is taken into custody, he (the blogger) complains about that action as well.
Questions to the Town Clerk – The Town Clerk’s Office has been receiving a number of calls concerning the potential recall of two Yucca Valley Town Council members. Recently a brochure was mailed to residents in the community. A number of questions are resulting from that brochure:
o Why is the Town involved in this mailer? – Some residents have thought that the Town paid for and mailed the brochure. The Town didn’t have anything to do with the brochure. The Town Clerk is the election official for the Town. That is the extent of the Town’s role in this entire process.
o Is it legal to remove a signature from a recall petition? The simple answer is “yes.” The California Elections Code (11303) explains that if a person wishes to remove his or her name from a petition, the request to remove the name can be filed with the Town Clerk. Requests to remove a name must be received in the Clerk’s office prior to the petitions being filed.
o Are The Requests Public Records? – As with the recall petitions, the signatures (or requests to remove signatures) are not public records. The identity of a petition signer is protected.
Well, that’s all for now. As always, if there are any questions you have, don’t hesitate to contact me. If there are other items that you would like to see covered in the Town Manager update, please pass along the suggestions.