City Held Hostage By Terrorists
by Judy Valadao, April 21, 2016
The Fort Bragg City Council meeting was held at Town Hall beginning at 6:00 on Monday April 11, 2016.
First on the agenda were the Mayor’s Recognitions and Announcements. Family and friends of the City’s newest employees were present to watch as the employees were introduced to the community. Congratulations go out to: Keyona Martinez, Community Services Officer; Mateo Ortiz, Audio-Visual Technician; Scott Schneider, Administrative Services Director; Natalie Gregory, Grant Assistant; Chantell O’Neal, Associate Planner; Pamela Davidson, Temporary Office Assistant, Finance; Isaac Whippy, Government Accountant II; Nancy Atkinson, Temporary Associate City Engineer.
The Mayor’s Well Done Awards were presented to: David and Karen Gidley,new residential construction; Paul Meyer, residential façade; Habitat for Humanity of the Mendocino Coast, new housing complex; Taco Bell, new commercial construction; Golden West, commercial façade; Point Noyo Restaurant, commercial remodel; Mendo Lake Credit Union, commercial landscaping; Cypress Ridge Apartments, sustainable design; Wrens Boutique, best sign; Astoria, best window display and Dot & Twine, best window display.
A presentation of Proclamation was made by Vice Mayor Lindy Peters acknowledging Douglas Moody as the recipient of the Jazz Journalists Association’s 2016 Jazz Hero Award.
A presentation, by LEAN Energy US regarding Mendocino County’s efforts in exploring a Countywide Community Choice Energy (CCE) program was very interesting (I did not get the presenters names). CCE allows local governments to procure and/or develop power on behalf of their communities.
Officer Brandon McGregor and K-9 Takoda were recognized for rounding up a suspect who tried to get away from Officers south of the Noyo Bridge. It took K-9 Takoda less than two minutes to find the suspect. The suspect was taken into custody without incident.
Matters from the Council started with City Manager Linda Ruffing announcing a big party in celebration of the Coastal Trail to be held on Saturday June 4, 2016. The party will be on the South Coastal Trail from noon till 4:00 p.m. There will be food, music, speakers, a beer garden and kids games. The Noyo Center will have the Whale bones out for display. Sounds like lots of fun so plan to attend.
Ms. Ruffing then gave a brief report on the Summers Lane Reservoir project. The project was put out to bid and 6 bids were received. Ms. Ruffing was very pleased with the pricing. Ms. Ruffing went on to say the City has “hit a road block with funding” coming from the Department of Water Resources (DWR). One of the conditions for funds to be released is for all permits to be in order. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has communicated with DWR that the City is not in compliance with section 1602. She went on to say it’s complicated and a mess but fortunately the City was able to obtain assistance from Senator McGuire, Assembly Member Wood and Staff at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services who helped us through the drought and water emergency last fall. They are trying to open up the communications. Ms. Ruffing will keep everyone posted on any more information she receives.
Mayor Dave Turner made the following statement: “They are holding our reservoir hostage. The people of Fort Bragg you know what we went through last year except they protested it to start with. We wouldn’t have gone through what we did last year if they hadn’t fought this. They lost that battle so they said ‘hey we can fight the money’. So, they are holding us hostage to get something they have been trying to get for five years which the court gave them. Now we are proceeding but we can’t just say ‘whatever you say’. So, they are holding us hostage and I don’t think we should negotiate with terrorists.”
Councilman Peters asked that anyone writing letters to The Department of Fish and Wildlife be kind and make their point about how they feel.
During public comment on non agenda items Linda Jupiter was the first to speak. Her comment was to ask the City to write a letter in support of SB 1288 Local Options for Elections. She stated in 2009 the City endorsed a similar bill AB 1121. That bill was vetoed by then Governor Schwarzenegger. She is hoping SB 1288 will do better under Governor Brown.
I was the next to speak and reminded Mayor Turner that referring to The Department of Fish and Wildlife as terrorists may just come back and bite him on the backside. I also asked Council and Staff if anyone is monitoring programs funded by the CDBG as required in the regulations. The CDBG regulations state: the Grantee shall monitor the performance of grant-supported activities to assure that time schedules are being met and the milestones in the work schedule are being accomplished. This review shall be made for each activity in the approved grant agreement. I had spoke with Jennifer Owen Special Projects Manager and was informed the City is not the Grantee. On page one of the agreement between the Hospitality Center and the City of Fort Bragg dated Feb. 9, 2015 it clearly says "City of Fort Bragg is the GRANTEE", and at the bottom of the document lists Jennifer Owen as Grantee. On Feb. 8, 2016 Mr. Gary Johnson President of the Hospitality Center Board stated: “the Giving Garden program is not designed for job training but instead teaches grooming, punctuality and how to interview for a job.” When he made the statement I questioned it because I thought $186,047.00 was a lot of money to teach grooming. No one from the Council or Staff questioned Mr. Johnson when he made the remark which leads me to believe they didn’t know why they had given the Hospitality Center/Giving Garden $186,047.00. (More on this later)
Doug Chouteau asked Council to take a similar approach to homeless encampments as Humboldt County has taken. Humboldt County authorities went into the homeless camps and gave warning if they did not leave they would face arrest. With fire season upon us perhaps the City could ask the Sheriff Office for help in clearing out the camps along the watersheds, train tracks and other areas around the City. Mr. Chouteau thought the City would carry more weight if they asked for the encampments to be vacated. He then suggested perhaps the Fort Bragg Police Department would take similar action with encampments inside the city limits such as squatters in vacant buildings and campers inside Johnson Park. Mr. Chouteau told of being approached in Johnson Park and warned by another park visitor not to go beyond a certain point because of potential homeless camps. Another visitor advised him not to in during the evening hours. He pointed out that those in greatest danger are the homeless who are forced to be in the park. Action needs to be taken to make the area safer and to make sure a disastrous fire doesn’t occur during the fire season.
George Reinhardt read from a letter that is published in the April 14th edition of the Advocate News regarding the Mill Site clean-up. Mr. Reinhardt asked that everyone attend a Community Workshop to be held Thursday April 21st at Town Hall in Fort Bragg at 6:30 p.m. The Workshop is being held by The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). Another Workshop is planned for June 2nd to obtain input on the Draft Remedial Action Plan. If you get a chance attend this workshop, I’m sure Mr. Reinhardt has a lot of questions for DTSC and the answers to those questions should be very important to the community of Fort Bragg, surrounding areas and visitors as well.
Item 6A on the agenda was consideration modifications to the “City Council’s Goals and Objectives” as discussed at the mid-year budget review session.
Item 7B adopt City Council Resolution confirming the continued existence of a local drought emergency in the City of Fort Bragg.
Item 8A on the agenda was closed session for the purpose of evaluation of the City Manager.
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THIS JUST IN
Update on Summers Lane Reservoir Project from Fort Bragg City Notes: “After a flurry of emails and a great deal of consternation, the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services stepped in to coordinate a massive conference call where agreements were reached to allow for the release of funds. The City Council will consider awarding the contract for construction of the reservoir on its April 25th agenda. Our hope is the reservoir will be constructed by mid-July and we can begin to fill it, thus having some water storage available for use in the late fall should stream flows recede to levels similar to those experienced last year.”