Small Earthquake Hits Berkeley
A small shaker
rumbled under San Ramon at 6:39 PM on September 4, 2003.
According to the US
Geologic Survey website, the quake was centered near
Berkeley. The quake is estimated at 3.9 magnituned.
City Employee Union
met in July and August to discuss how to deal with what many felt
was the opressive management style of new City Manager, Gail
Waiters. Many senior staff took early retirement or sought
other jobs, rather than continue working for the City after Herb
Moniz was fired, and then again after Waiters was hired.
who had not retired or resigned, were left to deal with
very tense and untenable working conditions. One individual
whose mother was seriously ill, was told by Waiters that she
could not take time off to visit her mother until after the City
budget was resolved. The Observer also received a report that
Waiters yelled at the new Police Chief about missing a meeting about
which she had not been informed. Waiter's has been accused of
having a closed-door policy, being difficult to see and speak to,
and being condescending and critical.
also complained about meddling by some City
Councilmembers. Two of the incumbants responsible for
firing former City Manager, Herb Moniz, are not running for
reelection. Staff may reconsider the need to form a Union,
after Councilmembers Donna Dickey and Nancy Tatarka are replaced in
November. Ironcially Dickey, Tatarka, and Cambra ran with
support from Unions. The Union would get their money's worth,
if over 100 City staff members form a new affiliate in San
Volunteers Needed for Odor Study
Contra Costa Sanitary District is looking for 10 good noses.
Central San will be holding a post-construction odor study for the
District's San Ramon Pump Station. One component of the ordor
study requires the participation of 10 people on an odor
The odor panel
will be conducted in San Ramon on Saturday, September 27, 2003 or
October 4, 2003 from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The date will be selected
based on the date that has the greatest number of people available
to participte. If you are intersted in participating, contact
Jackie Zayac at (925) 229-7168 or JZAYAC@centralsan.dst.ca.us by
September 11, 2003, to see if you qualify and to select a
neighbors complained about the stench coming from the
station. Zayac says that the station has been equiped with odor
control equipment and should not be smelling. If
anyone smells an odor at the San Ramon Pump Station, please call
(925) 229-7214. There is a live person on this
telephone line 24/7. The odor complaint must be called into the
District immediately so that they can investigate it. If
it is not called in when there is an odor, the
District cannot investigate the cause of the odor.
Dougherty Valley Overview Report
Council held a Study Session on Wednesday, September 3,
2003 for an overview of what's happening in Dougherty
Valley. The buildout of DV has been faster than
originally planned. The City is concerned about pending
traffic problems and existing overcrowding of California High School
and Coyote Creek Elementary. A new Elementary School, Hidden
Hills, is under construction in Dougherty Valley and will be ready
for occupancy by the next school year. However, the new
High School will not be ready until 2007, unless building plans can
be moved up.
Valley Agreement, signed in 1994, requires the City to provide
the same level of services to Dougherty Valley as to the
original portions of San Ramon. This means a Community Center
and Central Park equivalent, with a Senior Center,
Library, Police Substation, and one additional facility not
in San Ramon, a full-scale Community College. Some
Councilmembers fear that construction of this could create
major traffic tieups. The City plans to go after Measure C
funds to alleviate any potential traffic problems from the rapid
growth of Dougherty Valley.
Special Parks Commission Meeting
Commission will meet on September 10, 2003 at 6 pm at the San Ramon
Senior Center for a Tour of Dougherty Valley. Seating is
limited at the special meeting. Call 973-3205 for more
Council Meeting Recap
The August 26, 2003
City Council meeting got off to a late start. The closed session to
consider claims arising from the Sunny Glen flooding last year, and
another consideration to initiate litigation, ran half-an-hour
long. The meeting began
at 7:30 pm with the pledge of allegiance led by Boy Scout Troup
Appointments were made
to the Economic Development Advisory Committee and Senor Citizens
Wells Fargo Bank was honored for contributing $2500 to the
San Ramon Library. Head
Librarian, Joyce Gunn, said the donation would be put to good
Several speakers in
Public Comment were unhappy that the Cal High swim center was going
to be closed on Sundays during the fall and winter. The once-a-week
shutdown was a cost cutting measure, but it did not go over well
with diehard swimmers. One even volunteered to be a lifeguard or pay
a Sunday supplement, to keep the pool open on Sundays.
Roz Rogoff complained
about the odor from the Larwin Pump Station on Mangos Drive. Rogoff
said the Sanitary District has an agreement with the City to prevent
odor. Public Works Director, Joye Fukuda, said that Central San
wants to be notified whenever there is odor present. The Council directed Fukuda
to keep a nose on this.
Most of the Consent
Calendar passed with only a few questions. A large crowd from Country
View waited until the Council passed Item 8.4, Authorizing the Mayor
to execute an agreement with their HOA for Slope Repair and a
reimbursement not to exceed $10,000. Nobody spoke on the subject,
but after the vote about half the audience left.
Item 8.13, to extend
the mowing contracts with Pacheco Bros. and White Oak Landscape, was
moved from the Consent Calendar to a new agenda item. The issue concerned whether
bringing the mowing in-house would save money over contracting it
out. Public Works
Director, Joye Fukuda, did not have a finished report, and said the
numbers would be available by the Council’s first meeting in
Vice Mayor Jerry
Cambra said he already had numbers, and passed around a chart with
figures he said he got from a previous meeting with Fukuda. Cambra wanted to bring the
large area mowing in-house, but keep the contractors for the small
areas. His figures
showed this would save the most money.
The contracts with the
two landscaping companies expire on September 1, 2003 and needed to
be extended. The item
on the agenda was to extend the contracts for three months. Cambra
wanted to extend the contracts by only one month. However, at least
one contract said they would not accept a month-to-month
contract. Cambra then
suggested giving them a two-month contract or giving both contracts
to the other vendor.
Councilmember Dickey thought that it wasn’t worth
renegotiating a one or two-month contract with one or both vendors,
when the three-month extension would be up only a month-and-a-half
after Fukuda’s report in October. The Council voted 3-2
(Cambra and Tatarka dissenting) to extend the mowing contracts for
Director of Parks and
Recreation, Jeff Eorio, gave a presentation on the swim center
planned for the new Dougherty Valley High School. The High School is
supposed to be finished by 2007. The School District is
considering a swim center similar to the one at Cal High, if the
City is willing to invest $2,000,000 in a partnership. If the City does not invest
in the swim center, the School District will only build a 25-meter
pool, which the City could use seasonally in the summer when the
school isn’t in session.
Vice Mayor Cambra
challenged the need for another swim facility. The requests for swim
lessons and pool use were manually kept, which lead double or triple
calculated that only 300-400 requests were received, and not the
originally estimated 1400.
Speaking in Public
Comment, Michelle Cowles said that some people who criticized this
council for spending too much money now wanted to spend $2,000,000
on a pool that isn’t needed.
The council agreed that this isn’t the time to invest
$2,000,000, and unanimously directed staff to get more information
from the School District about their plans before making any
Officer Gwen Brady gave
a presentation on Character Counts, the new program the Police Dept.
will be conducting in San Ramon schools this year. Brady stressed that positive
values and roll models will influence the behavior of children from
pre-school through high school.
The Council voted to
support the League of California Cities’ resolution on their Bylaws,
but rejected the League’s opposition to Senate Bill 2535 the
“California Wild Heritage Act of 2002.” The City Council voted at
their April 22, 2003 meeting to support Senate Bill 2535.
the Contra Costa Transit Authority (CCTA) gave a presentation on the
I-680 Auxiliary Lanes Improvement Project. This project is already
funded, and will not cost the City anything. Entry lanes will continue to
the next exit, so that vehicles going from one entrance to the next
exit will not have to merge into traffic. Sound absorbing shrubbery
along 680 opposite Talavera, will be improved.
The City Attorney gave
a report on his analysis of the Bishop Ranch Annexation and
Development Agreement, which was negotiated in 1987 between the City
and Sunset Development. This Agreement limits the amount that can be
charged for a business license, and caps the Transit Occupancy Tax
(TOT) at 10%.
The City Council voted
unanimously on May 28, 2002 to extend the Agreement from an
expiration date of 2005 to 2010 with two more 5-year extensions to
2020. Vice-Mayor Cambra
said the wording on the Ordinance was confusing, and it wasn’t clear
that the whole agreement was being extended. Click here for a PDF of the Staff Report,
Ordinance,and Amendment from the May 28, 2002 Council
Councilmember Tatarka picked apart
the Agreement page by page and questioned the actions of the 1987
City Council with “What were they thinking?” Rosalind Rogoff,
speaking in public comment, wanted to know why Mrs. Tatarka didn’t
ask Diane Schinnerer that question earlier in the evening, since
Schinnerer was on that 1987 Council and attended the current meeting
just a few hours earlier.
Rogoff also wanted to know how this item got on the Agenda
without going through the Policy Committee, and without notifying
Melody Lundgren, also speaking in Public Comment, supported
Tatarka’s concern. Lundgren reiterated that she isn’t against Bishop
Ranch, but for the residents.
The next City Council
meeting isn’t scheduled until September 23, 2003.