|City Manager's Weekly Report for the Week
Ending July 25th, 2008
July 28, 2008
Mayor and Councilmembers:
This is the weekly report for the week ending July 25th, 2008.
1. Meeting Notes
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 29th, beginning with a Closed Session at 5:00 PM, followed by a Study Session at 6:00 PM, and Housing Authority and Redevelopment Agency agendas prior to the regular City Council meeting at 7:00 PM. The subsequent City Council meeting is scheduled for September 2nd, after the summer break.
2. Ferry Service Update
Redevelopment Agency staff is continuing to actively work with PBS&J, the environmental consultants that are preparing the EIR/EIS for the Richmond Ferry. In particular, staff is providing them with information on all of the City’s potential shoreline developments, including any applicable project EIR’s for those developments, and is providing them with information on proposed grade separation projects. We are also working with WETA staff regarding the hiring of a terminal designer, as the terminal concepts need to be incorporated into the project EIR/EIS.
John Sindzinski, Manager of Planning and Development for the WETA, gave an update to WCCTAC members on the status of Water Emergency Transit Authority projects for West Contra Costa County (Richmond and Hercules) this past Friday.
We will continue to keep you informed as this effort moves forward.
3. Union Bank Approves City for Letter of Credit
As reported in recent months, the City has been experiencing higher than anticipated interest rates on its variable rate debt obligations, due to credit downgrades of the various bond insurers. While the recent restructurings of the Redevelopment Agency 2007 and Civic Center bonds has alleviated the problem for these bond issues, the 2006 Wastewater bonds, which are insured by Ambac, have seen interest rates of 6 to 8% on its recent weekly rate resets. Union Bank of California has provided a commitment letter to the City to back the 2006A Wastewater Bonds with a Letter of Credit, which will provide additional credit assurance to investors, above and beyond the current Ambac insurance policy. By combining this Letter of Credit facility with the Wastewater Enterprise’s recent rating upgrade to “A+”, the bonds’ variable interest rates will be significantly reduced from the recent high levels. Union Bank of California is the Trustee of several of the City’s other bond issues, as well as the Trustee for the City’s Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) investments.
4. Office of Neighborhood Safety Participation in Disproportionate Minority Contact Project
In the fall of 2005, Contra Costa County participated in a project to examine Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) within the juvenile justice system. This effort focused on the three specific areas: the City of Richmond, the Monument Corridor in Concord, and Bay Point. With technical assistance provided by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD), Contra Costa County formed a DMC Task Force coordinated by the Contra Costa County Probation Department that consists of City and County officials and staff, community organizations, and concerned citizens from across the county.
The mission of the countywide initiative is to develop a comprehensive strategy for raising the awareness of disproportionate contact of minority youth in the juvenile justice system and promote the best practices and policies to eradicate the problem of overrepresentation.
In collaboration with County Mental Health, local agencies, community based organizations, and education, the County Probation Department hopes to address the need for services such as mental health, drug and alcohol treatment, and education in the community, not only when youth are entrenched in the juvenile justice system, but at the front end of the juvenile justice continuum.
The Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) is now an active participant on the County’s Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC)/Diversion Sub Committees, which represents another collaborative effort by ONS in trying to reduce violence in the community.
5. Update on Recreation Department Activities
· Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pitched in to help at the Booker T. Anderson Community Center on Saturday July 12th. Over 70 volunteers removed and replaced broken furniture, donated and installed 2 foosball tables, planted flowers, and installed a fountain in the patio garden area. The volunteers also donated books for a future children’s library. Recreation staff prepared a barbecue lunch for the volunteers as a token of appreciation for the tremendous efforts and donations put forth by the group.
· Since the reopening of the Point Richmond Community Center, Recreation Department staff has continued to look for ways to offer new programs at this site. Department staff members are currently in the process of contracting for the services of an art teacher to conduct morning and evening classes at the Point Center. In addition, beginning in August, the Point Center will host Lango, Inc. for their 2 week Spanish Language Camp offered to children. On Wednesday, July 24th, the East Bay Vivarium conducted an hour-long presentation where 70 participants learned about the habits of various live animals that were brought in, with several animals used interactively during the presentation. A free Thai cooking class was conducted for 21 participants who learned 3 specialty dishes on Friday, July 18th.
· 65 athletes culminated their first year of participation in the U.S. Youth Games with commendable Silver medals in both Soccer and Chess. The flag football team and both boys and girls track teams came in 4th place. The participation of Team Richmond has brought national attention to the City of Richmond and we look forward to future competition.
· The Recreation Department, in collaboration with the Social Security Administration, launched Adult co-ed Softball at Nicholl Park on Tuesday, July 15th, with six teams participating in games on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Sea Wright Field and Junior Giants Field. This is the first organized adult softball league in Richmond in thirteen years.
6. Design Review Board Approvals
The proposed 64-unit Artisan Cove live/work project was unanimously approved by the Design Review Board at its meeting last Wednesday. This project had already been approved by the Planning Commission.
The DRB also unanimously approved a proposal to construct a new home designed by nationally recognized sustainability architect Michelle Kaufmann. Ms. Kaufmann’s home designs have been presented nationally and are setting new standards for sustainability throughout the Country. The McCabe residence in Point Richmond, will be one of the first homes built to the new LEED for Homes standards. Kaufmann's work is widely published, and her homes have been showcased in a number of museums including the National Building Museum, Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, the Vancouver Art Center, and MOCA in Los Angeles.
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