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Showing posts with label city government. Show all posts
Showing posts with label city government. Show all posts

Monrovia City Council: Covering the Wash, Deals with the Gold Line

At its Tuesday, Feb. 21, meeting, the Monrovia City Council meeting (agenda: ) will consider, among other things:
~ Whether to award a $173,450 contract to Kormx, Inc., to build a cover over the Santa Anita Wash at Huntington Drive and Fifth Ave. New land for development, and the cover will connect the land on either side of the wash.
~ Whether to do street upgrades for the Gold Line near Myrtle and Duarte, California and Duarte, and
Mountain and Duarte. The Gold Line will reimburse the city for the work.
~ Whether to work a deal with the Gold Line for a parking facility at the coming Gold Line train station.
~ A report on the city's economic development efforts.
- Brad Haugaard

Opinion: Parking and the Hillside Reserve

In his weekly report Interim City Manager Mark Alvarado summarizes the City Council's vote (see his summary here: ) on what to do with the hillside area the city bought years ago, but there is one phrase I'd like to highlight.

In her motion to adopt the recommended plan, City Councilwoman Becky Shevlin added additional requirements, the one that concerns me here directs "the City Engineer to work with the Traffic Safety Committee and the property owners on issues relating to traffic and parking."

Great, but this should be understood as addressing the question, "How much parking do we add and where do we put it?" not, "Let's reduce parking near the trails."

I know more traffic and parking would be hard on the homeowners near the Cloverleaf trailhead, but they were in the forefront of asking all Monrovians to pay for this reserve-recreation area, and they got that! That was the trade-off. They avoided residential development right above their heads by agreeing to a bond issue that would make it a reserve-recreation area that people could use, and for a few dozen of them to now try and make it more difficult to access an area that all Monrovians own is just not right. So I hope the city engineer can work out a plan that will give people easier access to the area and minimize the impact on the neighbors as much as possible.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia City Council Adopts 'Minimalist' Approach to Hillside Management

The Monrovia City Council voted Tuesday night to adopt a "minimalist" approach to managing the hillside area above Monrovia, which means adding "new gates, signage, bear-proof trash receptacles, and mutt mitts" at each access point. The motion also required city staff to work with neighbors on an easement question as well as traffic and parking.

Three city council members, Mayor Mary Ann Lutz, Tom Adams and Joe Garcia, had conflicts of interest - they live too close to the wilderness area being considered - but that only left two voting members, which wouldn't be a quorum, so the city attorney had the three draw straws. Garcia drew the short straw and lost, so he had to stay on and vote. All three voted in favor of the motion.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia, California Sister City to Monrovia, Liberia?

Should Monrovia, California, become a sister city to Monrovia, Liberia? A Pasadena lawyer and a representative from the city of Monrovia, Liberia, suggested such an arrangement. Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said Monrovia (California) does not have a sister city and would need to "look into" the possibility 
- Brad Haugaard

State of City Address for Monrovia Youth | Fire Department Loses Friends

~ On Wednesday, February 8, Mayor Mary Ann Lutz will again deliver the State of the City address - but this time for Monrovia youth. This second annual address will be held for high school students at 2 p.m. in the auditorium at Monrovia High.

~ Monrovia Fire Department has lost two friends to cancer:

- Cathy Brooke, grants manager for the California Fire Safe Council, who helped Monrovia through the grant process for a decade. "Through Cathy’s advocacy, Monrovia’s hillsides are safer, and Monrovia’s residents are better prepared than we were a decade ago."

- Also, Arcadia Fire Captain Andy Troncale. "Monrovia Fire was particularly touched by the passing of Andy, due to the closeness of the two agencies, and the fact that his son, Clark, is a cadet with our Department.  Andy will be missed, but his legacy lives on in his son Clark who wants to be a firefighter just like his Dad!"

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Mayor to Attend Mayor's Institute on City Design

Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz will join an elite group of elected officials this week as she travels to Houston, Texas, to attend the National Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD), a conference intended to provide mayors from across the nation with tools to help them lead their cities in urban design. 

Mayor Lutz will be one of only eight western U.S. Mayors invited to contribute to this organization’s study of urban design issues on topics such as downtown revitalization, design of new public buildings, and transportation planning. “I am honored to be invited to this event,” Mayor Lutz said, “It’s a testament to the fact that Monrovia is at the forefront in urban design.”

The Mayors' Institute on City Design is a National Endowment for the Arts Leadership Initiative in partnership with the American Architectural Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors. Since 1986, the Mayors’ Institute has helped transform communities through design by preparing mayors to be the chief urban designers of their cities. The MICD achieves its mission by organizing sessions where mayors engage leading design experts to find solutions to the most critical urban design challenges facing their cities. “The Mayors’ Institute was founded both to educate mayors about design and to educate the design community about the latest practical needs of our cities,” according to MICD officials.

The sessions are designed to provide mayors with hands on experience and advisement from professional planners. Each session is limited to less than twenty participants, half mayors and half a resource team consisting of outstanding city design and development professionals. Each mayor must present a problem from his or her city for the other mayors and designers to discuss. Mayors present a range of challenges, including waterfront redevelopment, downtown revitalization, transportation planning, and the design of new public buildings such as libraries and arts centers.

The Institute has graduated more than 850 mayors and more than 600 design professionals.

This week’s session is being hosted by the University of Houston’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture. Other west coast invitees include representatives from the cities of Boulder, Colo.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Santa Barbara, Carson and Redwood City, Calif.; and the mayors from Baytown and New Braunfels, Texas.

Source: City of Monrovia press release
- Brad Haugaard 

Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz' State of the City Speech

Full text of Mayor Mary Ann Lutz's State of the City speech:

My take on the general tone of the speech: We're doing okay and will continue improving, but it's not going to be easy.

A few of her looking-ahead comments:

~  "We'll survive" the loss of redevelopment.

~  "We begin this new year optimistically, but with continued concerns."

~  "I can tell you, the County's ‘Most Business Friendly City' isn't going to miss any opportunity to stimulate jobs, attract business or reinvest in ourselves this year."

~ "If MAP [the award-winning 'Monrovia Area Partnership'] is now going to have to compete for limited General Fund dollars with other City programs, then something may have to give. More cutbacks may be needed, somewhere." But, she added, "we do not intend for MAP to go away."

~ ` Sales and property taxes are 'trending up,' but with the loss of redevelopment dollars, "we have a potential deficit of more than $1 million."

~ The city will be dealing with commercial recycling and waste-water runoff this year.

- Brad Haugaard

City of Monrovia to Take Over Dead Redevelopment Agency

With the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency killed off by the State Supreme Court - along with all the other redevelopment agencies in the state - the City Council will consider at a special Jan. 11 meeting whether to designate itself as the entity to take over its accounts and duties.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia New Year Party a Success, Redevelopment, Buick Commercial, Fire Department Toy Drive

In his weekly report Monrovia Interim City Manager Mark Alvarado said ...

~ The New Year's Eve event was "quite a success." He said the city is "evaluating this year's event in preparation for next year's celebration." Opinion: I attended and enjoyed it. Great for adults who drink beer and wine, but we should add something for teens or non-drinking adults (our teens got bored and left for Old Pasadena). How about a booth (with seating) that serves cocoa, coffee, hot cider and sodas.

~ The state Supreme Court's ruling essentially eliminating redevelopment agencies in California "really is a sad day," but, it does not appear that the state intended to eliminate redevelopment, but rather raise money to fix the state budget. So, he said, "there is discussion (within the legislature) about how to bring back redevelopment in some fashion."

~ There will be a Buick commercial filmed in Old Town this Saturday, Jan. 7, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. "The commercial will involve music tour buses following a picture car. The main location is Jenni B's dress shop at 106 E. Lime Avenue. Please note that Lime Avenue, from Myrtle Avenue to east of the Police parking lot will be closed during the filming hours."

~ Gifts donated to the Fire Department's Spark of Love Toy Drive not only stuffed a fire engine, but raised $2,332 in cash for additional toys, up 20% from last year.

- Brad Haugaard

Spicer is New Fill-In Monrovia City Council Member | Cheap Gifts

~ Larry Spicer will be Clarence Shaw's fill-in replacement while he is on active duty ( ). Councilman Tom Adams didn't like the choice ( ).

~ Need a last minute gift for a literary friend and you're down on dollars? The Friends of the Monrovia Library Bookstore has books on sale for as cheap as $1. It's just inside the Library doors on the left.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia City Manager Says Goodbye

In his last weekly report ( ), City Manager Scott Ochoa says goodbye:

Well, after nearly eight years, my tenure as City Manager is coming to an end. I've actually been with the organization for 19 years. Beginning as an intern while I was still attending Claremont McKenna College, it has been my honor to serve Monrovia since January 1993. Over the years, I was given opportunities to contribute to this team and to this community. I did my best and tried to make a lasting and positive impact on the people around me. I am happy with the successes we've enjoyed and grateful for the lessons I've learned. As I move on to the next chapter in my career, I know I will always rely on my experiences in Monrovia. To all of the residents, business leaders, elected officials and staff members, thank you for making me the City Manager I am today.
- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Finances: Better But Worse

Despite some bright economic news, Monrovia calculates that it will have $137,536 less money to work with this fiscal year, according to a report to the City Council by Mark Alvarado, Director of Administrative Services.
The good news: In the first five months of the 2011-12 fiscal year there has been an increase in sales and property taxes, and city staff expects this to continue.  "Revenue from auto sales and leasing are strong again," Alvarado writes, "after two years of huge decreases. Building and construction activity is still flat, as the housing market muddles through more foreclosures and high unemployment."
Earlier, the city projected a 5 percent increase in sales tax. Now it's thinking it'll be 8 percent.
Also, property tax revenue is up about 4 percent from last year, but - and here's the main problem - last year the city expected more revenue but got less, so it is behind by $289,147.
And the other negative is the state. In an attempt to balance its own budget, the state is not passing through $110,000 in motor vehicle license fees the city usually gets.
Lots more details here:
- Brad Haugaard

Will Monrovia Move to Merit-Based Pay System for Employees?

Monrovia needs to switch to a merit-based, rather than seniority-based, compensation system for its employees, according to a report to the City Council by Mark Alvarado, Director of Administrative Services.

He writes:

The focus must also be on restructuring the current compensation model so that the City pays only what it can afford. As a service delivery organization, personnel is the largest cost factor in the operating budget. Compensating employees for a job well done, as opposed to how long they have been employed, is a sound financial model to follow. All current labor contracts expire no later than the 2012-13 fiscal year. All future budget projections regarding labor costs are based on pension cost sharing and reasonable merit salary increases.

The City Council will decide on his recommendations at its Dec. 20 meeting.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Council May Choose a Temporary Member if Shaw Cannot Participate

Monrovia Councilman Clarence Shaw is on active duty and the City Council has left his seat open, but this resulted in a tie vote, so ...

Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa writes that the "Council directed that the City Attorney and I consult with Councilman Shaw to determine definitively whether he can participate in Council deliberations during his tour of active duty. If he is precluded from participation, then the Council may reconsider the temporary appointment."
- Brad Haugaard

City Manager: Monrovia Best Responder After Windstorm

Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa says he thinks Monrovia did better than any other agency during the windstorm:

I do believe that Monrovia responded faster and with more resources than any other agency affected by the windstorms. We kept field crews working all night, staffed the main City Hall switchboard so that folks could actually have a live person to talk to, and constantly updated all of our various media. Augmented by community members, such as our CERT volunteers and local contractor Steve Pokrajac's heavy equipment crews, Monrovia's clean-up efforts have been accelerated greatly!

But, he added, "I do worry that not enough of our homes are prepared to be self-sufficient for the first 72 hours."

Opinion: Agreed! I think the city did a fabulous job. I know a city worker who was on the job even though his own home had serious damage. Also, I thought the giant bins around town for yard waste were a great idea. Suggestion - since we couldn't put palm fronds in those bins, maybe next time add a few bins just for palm fronds. 

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Wins CIF Championship 53-14 :-)

The Monrovia Wildcats win the CIF championship - again.
San Gabriel beautifully played the Wildcats to a 14-14 standstill at the end of the first half, even leading briefly, but in the third quarter Monrovia exploded to a 36-14 lead, then in the fourth quarter pulled even further ahead to end the game at 53-14.
- Brad Haugaard

Details on Monrovia Cleanup Efforts

Some clean-up stats from Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz, from a press conference this morning:

- 5,138 Monrovia customers remain without power, down from 13,000 yesterday. So Cal Edison has been working around the clock.

- The city has lost about 252 trees, up from yesterday's estimate of 150.

- 31 cars have been reported damaged, up from 16 reported yesterday.

- 23 fences reported damaged, up from six yesterday.

- Still unclear on the extent of telephone and cable problems.

- New date for Holiday Parade still undecided, but the city has a tentative date of Dec. 7.

- There is still debris in the roads. Watch out.

But there have been no arrests, nobody taken to the hospital because of the storm, and no buildings "red tagged" (meaning they may not be occupied.)

Also, Lutz said that while City Hall staff may not be doing their regular jobs, they are on duty, and City Hall is sorta-open, if you need to pay a water bill you can do so at the front desk.

If you need help, call the city at (626) 932-5550.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Roll-Out Bins for Branches

Monrovia has a number of big roll-out bins (like in the picture) set out around town for residents to dispose of branches and other green waste, but not palm fronds, which mess up the branch grinders. Just set palm fronds next to the street; the city will have them collected.

The bins are at:

240 W. Foothill Blvd.

800 block of W. Foothill Blvd.

204 E. Foothill Blvd.

1300 S. California (2 bins)

148 W. Duarte Road (2 bins), in front of Santa Fe Middle School.

Overview of Windstorm from City of Monrovia

Public buildings and facilities will be up and running by Friday morning, however schools, Canyon Park and all wilderness access will remain closed.

High winds that swept across Monrovia and Southern California on Thursday resulted in a Local and County State of Emergency due to the damage, including fallen trees, downed power lines and the closure of some public facilities.

On Thursday night, nearly 13,000 Monrovia households were among the 211,500 Southern California Edison customers still without power since Wednesday night. Edison officials asked for patience as crews worked to restore power for customers, though they have advised Monrovia residents that power would not return until Friday, possibly longer.

Internet and cable service had also been down, though it was expected to be restored by midnight Thursday. Winds hit speeds of up to 100 miles per hour in some parts of Monrovia on Wednesday, but the National Weather Service forecasted winds of just 25 miles per hour Thursday night.

In response to the damage, City of Monrovia Public Works, Police and Fire crews have been working around the clock. As of 8 p.m., city officials received nearly 470 calls for service, including 150 fallen trees, 16 damaged cars, 7 buildings with structural damage, and six damaged fences.

On late Thursday, Police advised residents to be cautious when driving. Much of the City was still blacked out as of 8:30 p.m. As of 8:30pm, traffic signals on Huntington Drive, Highway Esplanade, and Duarte Road east of Myrtle are working and power was restored to the City Yard. Residents are urged to steer clear from downed power lines. Fire officials also encouraged residents to have enough food and water to last for 72 hours, and to practice safety at home by avoiding heating the house with gas stoves, barbecues or the oven.

Closures in place for Friday include: Monrovia Unified School District Schools, City Hall, the Library, the Community Center, Canyon Park, and all wilderness areas.
- Brad Haugaard (city press release)

Will Your Street Be Paved? | Buying Radios and Computers

At its Nov. 15 meeting ( ) the Monrovia City Council will ...

~ Consider paying Copp Contracting $523,172.50 for the fiscal year 2011-2012 to do street resurfacing. Streets to be repaved:

- Walnut Ave. from Monterey Ave. to Fifth Ave. – 2,740 Linear Feet
- Sunset Place between Violet Ave. and Foothill Blvd. – 2,270 Linear Feet
- Bella Vista – 433 Linear Feet
- Stedman Place from Foothill Blvd. to Hillcrest Blvd. – 2,760 Linear Feet
- Encino Ave. from Duarte Road to south City Limits – 765 Linear Feet
- Fifth Ave. from Colorado Blvd. to Chestnut Ave. – 1,140 Linear Feet
- California Ave. from Duarte Road to Hurstview Ave. – 485 Linear Feet
- Wildrose Ave. from Canyon Blvd. to California Ave. – 430 Linear Feet

~ Consider buying portable radios and accessories from Motorola for $148,686.88, and ruggedized Panasonic mobile computers from CDCE Engineered Solutions for $64,935.13, and paying Day Wireless $7,472.00 to install the lot. Mostly paid for by a grant from Uncle Sam.

- Brad Haugaard