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City Manager's Weekly Report for the Week Ending January 18th, 2008

I forward this report along with commentary on two items that trouble me.


  • Item 10 notes that Public Works restored power at Point Molate because of wire theft twice in the last 30 days. The City pays for 24-7 security at Point Molate. Something is wrong here and needs to be investigated and explained.
  • Item 11 notes that The Chevron Hydrogen Recovery Project will be reviewed by the Design Review Board on Thursday, January 31st. I can’t believe that Design Review for the Chevron Hydrogen Recovery Project is proceeding while the Final EIR is not yet out and the inconsistencies among the three applications has not been resolved. This means that the public has about 10 days to prepare to testify at a hearing without sufficient information on the project. Not to mention that the Design Review Board has shrunk to four people, none of whom are licensed architects. This is just not fair to the public, and it’s like sending David against Goliath. I hope the DRB has a good slingshot. There have been legal opinions from credible sources that the DRB should not hear this project until the final EIR is completed and certified.



Mayor and Councilmembers:


This is the weekly report for the week ending January 18th, 2008.


1.         Meeting Notes


The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008, beginning with a 5:00 PM Closed Session, followed by a 7:00 PM regular session.


2.         City Offices Closed on Monday, January 21st


As a reminder, the City offices will be closed on Monday, January 21st, in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


3.         Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) Activities


The Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) continues to actively develop its Street Outreach strategy. ONS interviewed more than 20 candidates for 4 available Neighborhood Change Agent positions.  Six candidates have made the finalist list.  ONS will soon make its final selections for these positions.  ONS, the City Attorney’s Office and the Richmond Police Department continue to develop operating protocols and procedures to ensure proper implementation of the strategy.  The training and staff development modality for the Street Outreach strategy is being developed.  Once hired, the Street Outreach personnel will be provided an initial intense training to strengthen and ensure effective program execution. 


Key activities for the ONS this past week were:


·         The City of Richmond Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) received a $70,000 grant award from the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.  This award was provided specifically to support the ONS Street Outreach Project.


·         On Saturday, February 16, 2008 from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Shields-Reid Park and Community Center, the first of a citywide series of “Richmond Youth Sports Camps” will be held.  This represents a community/grassroots-based and public systems partnership to help fight violence by filling our children’s lives with sports alternatives. The Richmond Youth Sports Camps are designed to galvanize a spirit of unity and create an energy and atmosphere of positive activity within each of the community/neighborhood host sites. Sports “mini-camps” workshops and other activities will be offered with facilitated instruction.  A free lunch will be provided! 


We will continue to keep you informed of these activities.


4.         Status of Iron Triangle Street Light Upgrade


This past week, PG&E completed the street lighting upgrades within the pilot site selected in the Iron Triangle neighborhood.  As you recall, this project was to upgrade the 70 watt fixtures to 150 watt fixtures in the area between 5th and 10th Streets and between Pennsylvania and Lucas Avenues.  All 30 street light fixtures within this area were upgraded at a total cost to the City of $15,000.  This area will be monitored by Public Works to note the difference in energy usage, and by the Police Department for any noticeable difference in crime activity.


An additional pilot site has been selected in the Iron Triangle neighborhood to evaluate a new energy efficient LED light fixture.  Public Works and Engineering are working with Omega Pacific Electrical Supply of Richmond to replace 4 conventional 70 watt fixtures with new 70 watt LED fixtures.  The significant change with the LED fixtures is the use of white light for more illumination, using the same wattage. The result is more effective illumination at no increase in energy usage.  This pilot site is located on 8th Street between Pennsylvania and Ripley Avenues.  We are currently working on the costs for these fixtures before this project will start.


We would welcome your comments as these pilot areas are implemented. 


5.         Status of Current Year Pavement Management Program


A pre-construction meeting was held this past week with Engineering staff and the selected paving contractors, Bay Cities and Top Grade, to discuss their starting schedules for this year’s paving projects.  Bay Cities, which will be working mostly in the El Sobrante area of Richmond, has already started their prep work, and is scheduled to start paving by the end of January, weather permitting.  Top Grade, which has the North and East area of Richmond, is scheduled to start paving the first part of February, again weather permitting.


Engineering staff is working to bid out the next paving schedule by September of this year.


6.         Payoff of Point Potrero (Auto Warehousing) Lease Revenue Note


In May, 2004, the City issued its Point Potrero Lease Revenue Note, in the amount of $5.4 million, to fund the capital improvements necessary for the Auto Warehousing project.  This 15-year note, with an original maturity date of May 1, 2019, is secured by Port revenues received from Auto Warehousing.  Because revenues from these operations have exceeded projections, the City will be paying off this note on February 1, 2008.  This will result in $1.5 million savings in interest costs, as well as releasing future Auto Warehousing revenues for other uses.  In the first six months of this fiscal year (July-December, 2007), Auto Warehousing’s average monthly payment to the City has been $145,000.


7.         Finance Department Receives Excellence in Budgeting Award


The Finance Department has, once again, received the Excellence in Budgeting Award for the Capital Improvement Plan document from the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO).  This is the second year in a row the Finance Department has received CSMFO recognition. 


Government agencies can voluntarily submit their budget documents to the CSMFO award programs and get judged by their peers for an award.   Some of the things that CSMFO looks for in the budget document are whether or not numbers tie throughout the book, the use of artwork, charts and graphs, and whether or not the document includes historical data and future projections.  This is one way that the Finance Department measures the quality of its budget documents, and Finance staff values the comments that are received as part of the evaluation process. 


While the Finance Department received the award, they were quick, and gracious, in acknowledging the various departments and divisions for their contributions in assisting with the budget content and book assembly.


8.         Information Technology (IT) Department Activities


An organization’s IT Department is often thought of only in terms of its “internal service” function, but the City of Richmond IT Department is actively involved in projects that directly impact service to the community.  Two examples this past week include:


·         Richmond Build: IT staff completed the technology infrastructure for the Employment and Training Department to facilitate the computer job search and skills preparation services to Richmond Build’s already successful young adult employment training program.  A T1 line was installed, in addition to six PC’s.  These PC’s, connected to the City’s enterprise network, receive security and other software updates automatically via the network. This efficiency reduces failures that result in increased IT staff troubleshooting efforts and insures higher uptime of the PC’s for the community.


·         Branch Library: As the reopening of Bayview and Westside branch libraries are nearly complete, IT staff installed infrastructure that will ultimately enable patrons and staff to enjoy cutting edge computer services. IT staff installed routers and switches via T1 circuits that will connect computers at the branches to the main library’s ROSIE cataloging system and the City’s enterprise network.


9.         New Firefighters Sworn In


On Thursday, January 10, 2008, five Trainees graduated from the Fire Department Recruit Academy. The graduation ceremony was conducted at the Chevron Amphitheater. After completing a rigorous seventeen week recruit academy, Carolyn Conry, Steven Harris, Zachary Jenssen Eric Mendoza-Govan and John Stevens received their shift and station assignments last night and will begin fire duty next week.  Each of the new firefighters will have to complete an eighteen month probationary period, during which they will complete challenging practical and written examinations, as well as a monthly evaluation process. We look forward to their outstanding service as new City employees.


10.       Public Works Activities


A significant change in Public Works operations was implemented this past fall with Public Works crews now deployed on a regular scheduled basis from Tuesday through Saturday in order to provide weekend work coverage. Tuesday - Saturday crews are selected from volunteers with consideration for seniority, who then receive Monday as a regular day off.  Overtime work is still performed on Saturdays on an as needed to repair irrigation and deal with hazardous trees, but, for the most part, the weekend coverage is now implemented on a non-overtime basis.


Recent Public Works activities of note this past week include:


·         Continuing with graffiti abatement along Carlson Boulevard and I-580.

·         Restoring power at Pt. Molate – the problem was the result of wire theft for the second time in the last 30 days.

·         Restoring the MLK, Judge Carroll, and Nicholl Parks fields for the upcoming minor league season.

·         Repairing the Shields-Reid, and Lucas Parks irrigation systems.


11.       Chevron Hydrogen Recovery Project Scheduled for Design Review


The Chevron Hydrogen Recovery Project will be reviewed by the Design Review Board on Thursday, January 31st.



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 and a great New Year!



Bill Lindsay

City Manager

City of Richmond

1401 Marina Way South

Richmond, CA 94804


Phone:  510-620-6512

Fax:      510-620-6542

e-mail:   bill_lindsay@ci.richmond.ca.us