|City Manager's Weekly Report
for the Week Ending October 13th, 2006
October 14, 2006
This is the weekly report for the week ending Friday, the 13th of October 2006.
1. Meeting Notes
The regular City Council meeting on Tuesday, October 17th will convene at 5:00 PM for a Closed Session, followed by a Redevelopment Agency Meeting at 6:30 PM, and the City Council meeting at 7:00 PM. Note that there is no morning City Council session on Tuesday, October 17th.
2. Joint Staff Meeting – City of Richmond and West Contra Costa School District (WCCUSD)
This past Wednesday, the management groups from both the City and the School District met at the WCCUSD offices as a follow-up to our meeting last April. This was the first such joint meeting since Dr. Harter became the District Superintendent. As before, the purpose of the meeting was to (1) get (re)acquainted with one another, (2) begin to explore issues of common interest to our respective agencies, and (3) begin to explore areas where we might collaborate on addressing these issues of common interest. Our goal going in to the meeting was to come away with some specific joint projects on which District and City staff members can forge a partnership.
Although very short in duration, the meeting was very successful in accomplishing its objectives. Specific projects and staff assignments were made for:
a) Establishing joint recreation and after-school programs, especially (but not exclusively) using State Proposition 49 funding opportunities;
b) Creating student internships that link the District’s “Small Learning Communities” program with the City’s Employment and Training Programs;
c) Establishing an institutionalized program in which City staff can become involved in mentoring District students;
d) Implementing basic first aid and CPR training by City Fire Department personnel at school campuses;
e) Creating a “quick link” directory of City and WCCUSD managers to assist in problem solving.
The meeting participants also discussed, in general terms, land use issues and site design issues regarding school campuses, and facilities management issues.
This meeting was an excellent next step in establishing a stronger working relationship at the staff level between the City and the District. A follow-up meeting is being scheduled for January 2007.
Ironically, I testified later that evening, at Senator Tom Torlakson’s request, at a Senate Committee Hearing on school and community collaboration, which was organized by the Senator in Martinez. At that hearing, I was able to discuss the Nystrom area City/WCCUSD collaboration, some prior collaborative efforts in Orinda, as well as that day’s meeting with WCCUSD staff.
3. Meeting Regarding Parked Rail Cars on Tracks in the City of Richmond
This past Thursday, Councilmembers Butt and McLaughlin, along with Fire Chief Michael Banks, and myself, met with community member Sherry Padgett, representatives from the State Department of Health Services, representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and representatives from the Richmond Pacific Railroad to discuss issues regarding parked rail cars on tracks in the City. The purpose of the meeting was to get clarity regarding the regulatory environment associated with these rail cars, and any safety issues associated with hazardous materials that are within these parked cars. Without describing in this report the complexities of federal regulations regarding parked rail cars, the basic conclusion was that everyone (regulators and rail operators) seemed to be adhering to the rules associated with such cars. Surrounding this conversation, there was an interesting exchange of information regarding security of these cars and what materials are transported through Richmond. There were also some agreements made regarding continuing this exchange of information at the staff level.
4. Toll Brothers -- Seacliff Estates Bicycle Trail
Rich Davidson spoke with Ben Helber of Toll Brothers this past week, and Mr. Helber has agreed to execute the Construction License Agreement with Brickyard Landing before the metes and bounds of the final trail easement is formalized. Execution of this Construction License Agreement would allow Toll Brothers to begin construction of the trail immediately. Mr. Helber expressed concern, however, about grading during the winter, and, in particular, the legal requirement that they submit an erosion control plan to the City and file a notice of intent. He indicated that they would rather start construction in the spring of next year. Rich Davison asked Mr. Helber to provide a construction schedule showing how long it would take to construct the trail, with the idea that construction can be completed in several weeks, likely before it is affected by rain. Mr. Helber agreed to provide this information next week.
There are still other issues to work out regarding this issue (Brickyard Landing HOA’s approval, and dealing with landscaping design); however, staff’s interest is in seeing that Toll Brothers begin this project as quickly as possible.
5. Meeting with Chevron Refinery Manager
This past Thursday, I had the opportunity to meet with Kurt Anderson, who is the new manager of the Chevron Richmond refinery. As I understand from our conversation, Mr. Anderson’s most recent experience is in the marketing area of the business, although he has prior experience as a refinery manager in the Utah area, and has also worked previously at the Richmond refinery. Although the meeting was not much more than a “get acquainted” opportunity, we discussed, along with Dean O’Hair who also attended the meeting, some substantive issues concerning Chevron’s presence and role in the Richmond community, and their upcoming modernization project, for which preparation of an EIR has been initiated. I am hoping that there will be similar opportunities to further discuss these issues with Mr. Anderson.
6. Chip Johnson’s SF Chronicle Column Regarding Chevron
You may have read Chip Johnson’s interesting column regarding Chevron and taxation issues in Friday’s San Francisco Chronicle (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2006/10/13/BAG2VLOSUN1.DTL). I wanted to point out one minor correction: the article states that “city officials have signed a confidentiality agreement . . . to review the company’s energy-use records” (emphasis added). In fact, while an initial draft of such an agreement was prepared by Chevron attorneys for review by City staff, no such agreement has been signed.
7. Interstate 580 Bicycle Accident
As you are probably aware, there was a fatal bike accident on September 24th on westbound I-580 where the bike trail runs parallel to the freeway. The accident involved a collision between an automobile and three bicyclists, at which one of the cyclists was killed, another suffered severe injuries and is still at John Muir hospital with a titanium rod in his spine, and another was unharmed.
John Rudolph, Management Assistant for the West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee (WCCTAC) met with the Caltrans District 4 Bicycle Advisory Committee this past week, during which representatives from Caltrans, MTC, and the East Bay Bicycle Coalition agreed on necessary signage that should be installed in the area of the accident. First, there will be warning signs along WB I-580, alerting motorists to the imminent presence of bicyclists in the area, and increased wayfaring signage along the bike route portion of the westbound I-580 shoulder. Second, there will be more wayfaring signage in the area where the bicyclists on September 24th made the decision to pedal eastbound on the WB I-580 shoulder. Third, there will be more signage specifically warning bicyclists contemplating pedaling eastbound on the WB I-580 shoulder. The installation of the signage was to be expedited with a target date of Friday, October 13th.
Note that there are fifteen miles of freeway shoulders in Caltrans District 4 (where Richmond is) and one thousand miles state-wide, that are designated bike routes. These freeway shoulder routes are areas where it is deemed that there are no reasonable bike route alternatives or there are significant benefits to cyclists.
8. City of Richmond/East Bay Regional Park District Liaison Meeting
The City of Richmond/East Bay Regional Park District Liaison Committee (Mayor Anderson and Councilmember Butt, representing the City, and Boardmember Nancy Skinner, representing the East Bay Regional Park District), along with staff from both of these agencies, held a meeting this past week. Topics that were discussed at this meeting included trail issues and possible City/EBRPD collaborations, and the future of the Point San Pablo Yacht Harbor. On this latter issue, City staff agreed to talk informally with the current Yacht Harbor owners the fact that the Harbor is apparently for sale.
9. General Plan Workshop
As a reminder, two more General Plan community workshops are scheduled for:
· Tuesday, October 17th – Hilltop Mall Community Room
· Monday, October 30th – City Council Chambers
10. Richmond Plunge and The Maritime Child Care Center
As reported previously, the renovation of the Richmond Plunge and the Maritime Child Care Center are two of 25 projects that qualified for a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This grant has a different twist to it in that the public can vote to select the winners, with the winning projects dividing $1,000,000. The public can vote for a project on line by logging onto http://www.partnersinpreservation.com/index.php and following the directions. Please remember that you may cast one vote per day for these projects until the end of October. As of today, the Plunge was in 7th place in the voting (up from 8th place last week), and the Maritime Child Care Center was in 21st place.
All of the 25 Partners in Preservation candidate sites, including the Plunge and the Maritime Child Care Center are having open houses Sunday, October 15th from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
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