Weekly Report for the Week Ending August 18, 2006
August 18, 2006
This is the weekly report for the week ending August 18th, 2006.
1. Meeting Notes
There are no City Council meetings scheduled until Tuesday, September 12, 2006.
2. New City Website
The new and improved City of Richmond website will go “live” by midnight on Monday, August 21st, at the regular website address (www.ci.richmond.ca.us). This project is the result of significant effort by Sue Hartman and the IT Department staff (especially Wendy Schwartz), as well as by many staff members in various departments. It also is the result of the equivalent of approximately $40,000 in pro bono (free) consulting assistance by the company eCivis. Staff is planning to do a study session presentation regarding the new web site and its capabilities at your September 26th meeting. We will also be reviewing at that time the web-based COR-Connect system that allows City staff to respond quickly to and track citizen/customer service requests. In the meantime, your immediate and ongoing feedback on the City’s new website is appreciated.
3. Civic Center Meeting
As you know, City Planning and Redevelopment Agency staff hosted a presentation and discussion concerning the Civic Center Master Plan this past Tuesday in the Bermuda Room at the Richmond Auditorium. The meeting was fairly well attended by members of the public, as well as by members of the Planning Commission, Design Review Board, Historical Preservation Committee, Arts Commission, Economic Development Commission, and Chamber of Commerce. General Plan consultant, MIG, and City and Agency staff facilitated a presentation by the architectural team of the three basic master plan options, followed by an opportunity for small group discussion concerning the plan options. During the meeting, a number of questions and comments were raised regarding the design approach, including the design of a renovated Civic Center Plaza. At the conclusion of the meeting, the consensus view was that the plan option that places a new Public Safety building and a parking garage in the block bounded by Barrett and Nevin Avenues, and 24th and 25th Streets (“Option C”) is the most preferred approach. A discussion of the Civic Center project, including a discussion of project phasing, will be on your September 12th agenda.
4. Dedication of Junior Giants Field at Nicholl Park
Sue Petersen, Executive Director of the Giants Community Fund, reports that they are in the “home stretch” for completion of the Junior Giants Field at Nicholl Park. In particular, the irrigation lines, valves and sod are in place, and it looks like a “real field”. The fencing is being completed, and new green paint is going on the benches and backstop. Cement work is to be done during the next week, and the left-field banner, which resembles the left field fencing at AT&T Park, is in production.
As a reminder, the dedication of this field will be on Thursday, August 24th at 11:00 AM in Nicholl Park. Highlights of the dedication are planned to include the Junior Giants leading the crowd in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," a Junior Giants representative throwing the ceremonial first pitch to Giants pitcher Armando Benitez, and a Junior Giants exhibition game. The ceremony also includes a BBQ lunch.
5. Greenway Walk
I attended a walking tour of the Richmond Greenway project this past Tuesday. The purpose of this tour was to provide a glimpse of the trail in its early stages to interested parties, and to convene users and various groups that might be involved in the project’s ongoing development and maintenance. A Friends of the Richmond Greenway organization was initiated in May 2006, and currently meets on a monthly basis to develop recommendations for future maintenance, beautification, and cultural improvement projects for the trail. The site visit was very useful to understand the transformational impact that the Greenway can have on the surrounding neighborhood, if it reaches its potential as not only a pedestrian and bicycle amenity, but as a linear park that widens and narrows as it traverses the City.
6. Meeting with WCCUSD Superintendent Bruce Harter
I met this past week with Bruce Harter, the new Superintendent of the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD). Our meeting was intended to be nothing more than one during which to “get acquainted,” but we did talk about some substantive issues concerning which there might be some City-District collaboration. Dr. Harter commented particularly on how well he believes the new Police and School Resource Officer partnership is going with Captain Cleveland Brown and the Richmond Police Department. We also talked about establishing a closer linkage between our two organizations for after-school programs, and ways in which City staff members might be able to establish mentoring relationships for District students. We agreed that we would convene our respective senior staffs for a second joint meeting in October, which follows the first such meeting that we had this past April. I was extremely impressed with Dr. Harter and his vision for moving the WCCUSD forward for the benefit of District students.
7. Enterprise Zone Legislative Update
Dan Boatwright, the City’s Sacramento lobbyist, reports that he attended the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee earlier this week, and that AB 485 (Arambula), the Enterprise Zone (EZ) bill, passed the committee with a unanimous vote. The Committee adopted in principal the “gap language” amendment that he suggested to them last week. The “gap language” will prevent a possible hiatus between Richmond’s current EZ and approval or rejection of the City’s current zone application, and any other EZ application for which the City might apply prior to March 1, 2007. This language was offered as an alternative to a blanket one or two year extension of expiring zones. Mr. Boatwright indicated that he was advised by the author, Arambula, that the Governor would veto any EZ bill that had a blanket extension
8. “Meet and Greet” for Developers and Contractors
Employment & Training and the Redevelopment Agency are hosting a meet-and-greet for developers, contractors, sub-contractors, union representatives and staff from 4:00 to 6:30 PM on Monday, August 21, 2006 at the Bermuda Room of the Auditorium. The purpose of this gathering is to focus on the need for pre-apprenticeship training of Richmond residents for construction jobs. Several developers and local contractors have been invited. The agenda will include:
· Building relationships between local and national developers, contractors and sub-contractors;
· Richmond WORKS and First Source benefits; and
· A pre-apprenticeship initiative headed by Employment & Training.
Mayor Anderson will welcome everyone, and light refreshments will be served. Councilmembers are encouraged to attend.
9. City Personnel Changes
City Attorney’s Office:
Richmond’s first City Prosecutor, Thomas Min, began work this week. Before joining Richmond, Tom was a Deputy District Attorney with the Tulare County’s District Attorney’s office. Tom will be ceremonially sworn in at the Council meeting of September 12.
Parks and Landscape Superintendent
Tony Norris has accepted the position as Parks and Landscape Superintendent and will begin work in September. Tony previously worked with the City for almost a decade before leaving in March of 2002. Willie Haywood reports that Tony is an affable and demanding manager that cares about quality, and has the capability to do an excellent job in the City’s parks and landscape maintenance programs.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about these or any other items of interest to you.
Have a great week.
City of Richmond
1401 Marina Way South
Richmond, CA 94804