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City Manager's Weekly Report for the Week Ending November 7th, 2008
Mayor and Councilmembers:

This is the weekly report for the week ending November 7th, 2008.

1.      Meeting Notes

The next regular City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 18th, with the agenda times yet to be determined.  The Council will also meet later this month on Tuesday, November 25th.

2.      City Office Schedule

The City offices will be closed on Tuesday, November 11th in observance of Veterans’ Day.

3.      Confidential Investigative & Appeals Officer Don Casimere Receives National Lifetime Service Award

The National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) presented a Lifetime Service Award, and Founders Life Membership Certificate, to the City of Richmond’s Confidential Investigative & Appeals Officer (CIAO) Don Casimere.  The awards were presented at the 14th annual NACOLE conference, which was held October 27th - 30th in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The conference theme was “Impacting Policy & Practice,” and was attended by more than 250 delegates from across the country.  Delegates included elected and appointed officials, civilian oversight professionals, police executive and union officials, and academics.  The Richmond Police Commission was represented by Chairperson Cora Ward, and Commissioners Nemy Bautista and Glenn Stephenson.

CIAO Casimere, was honored for nearly 25 years of civilian police oversight service.  In particular, Don assisted in the start up of the San Francisco Office of Citizen Complaints; the Richmond Police Commission; and the Sacramento Office of Public Safety Accountability.  He is a founding member and past president of the International Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (IACOLE), and a founding member of NACOLE.  Mr. Casimere has also helped organize and has participated in civilian oversight training conferences annually since 1985.  He has spoken nationally and internationally on police oversight.

This is quite an honor, and one that is well deserved by an outstanding individual.  Congratulations Don!

4.      More Honors:  Recognition for Richmond Green Businesses

Two Richmond-based companies, MBA Polymers, Inc. and Vetrazzo LLC, were named among the best green businesses by the East Bay Business Times in October.  MBA Polymers produces a high-performance plastic resin from waste plastic recovered from end-of-life durable goods, such as computers, electronics, appliances and automobiles.  Vetrazzo manufactures countertops from all types of recycled glass.  Vetrazzo will be prominently featured in the renovated Civic Center, including countertops in the office building restrooms and at the “one-stop” Planning & Building Services counter on the second floor of the City Hall building.

5.      State Budget News from the League of California Cities

As you have undoubtedly heard, this past week Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger called the Legislature back for a special session to work on solutions to the state’s $11.2 billion budget shortfall, just six weeks after the Legislature passed and he signed the FY 2008-09 budget.

The League of California Cities is continuing to analyze the Governor’s budget proposal, but the immediate good news for cities is that it protects Proposition 1A (property taxes) and Proposition 42 (sales tax on gas) revenues and does not propose any additional shifts of local redevelopment funds.

Additional analysis on specific impacts for cities is as follows:

·       Proposition 1B Local Streets and Roads:  Among various “economic stimulus” proposals, the Administration proposes to allocate all remaining local street and road funds that have yet to be appropriated to cities and counties.  Local agencies would have to agree to encumber these funds by Dec. 31, 2009.  Of the $700 million, approximately $250 million remains available for cities and $450 million for counties.

·       Broadened Sales and Use Tax Base:  The proposal to broaden the sales and use taxes to apply to specified services is projected to generate $151 million in FY 2008-09 and $487 million in FY 2009-10 for cities and counties.  In addition, the broadened tax base would generate an estimated $27 million in FY 2008-09 and $89 million in FY 2008-10 for Proposition 172 public safety funds.

·       Temporary Sales and Use Tax Hike Benefits Proposition 42 Revenues:  The proposed temporary 1.5 cent increase of state sales and use tax also means that revenues collected under Proposition 42 for transportation would also increase.   The Department of Finance estimates this can generate approximately $1.035 billion over three years, of which 20 percent would be allocated per the Proposition 42 formula to cities, or $207 million.

·       COPS/Juvenile Justice and Booking Fees Backed Out of General Fund:  The Administration proposes to rescind 50 percent of the General Fund allocations provided in the recently adopted FY 2008-09 budget for the COPS/Juvenile Justice and Booking Fee programs, and replace most of that by funding them through revenues derived from vehicle license fees that are currently used to support the administration of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  When all is said and done, COPS and Juvenile Justice programs would experience a decline of 13.4 percent over previously budgeted levels in FY 2008-09, and 11.1 percent less in 2009-10 compared to the amount originally budgeted in FY 2008-09.  Booking Fee funding would remain at $31.5 million in both FY 2008-09 and FY 2009-10.

We will continue to keep you informed regarding the State budget impacts on the City of Richmond.

6.      Second Quarter Sales Tax Data

The City recently received the sales tax data for the second quarter of 2008 (April 2008 – June 2008), showing cash receipts for the City of Richmond down by 17.7% compared to 2007 cash receipts.  Much of the decrease is a result of a one time reallocation made by the State Board of Equalization benefitting one city in Contra Costa County. The original sales tax revenue had been incorrectly remitted 10 years ago and has finally been adjusted.

Additionally, because of the sluggish economy, transportation, general retail, business to business, food products, and construction have seen a decrease in sales tax revenue from the previous quarter.  The economic segments including auto sales (both new and used), apparel stores, and retail building materials are at their lowest sales tax revenue level since the first quarter of 2006, while service stations and department stores are at their highest over the same period.

This is the first quarter that the City of Richmond has seen a decrease in sales tax revenue since 2002.

7.      Youth Entrepreneur Program – Youth Retail Readiness and Employment Training

The Richmond Main Street Initiative will be conducting a five-week training program to address the needs of businesses that are seeking to hire local workers.  Many employers have expressed the desire to “hire local youth” for summer jobs in retail but are concerned that Richmond youth are not prepared to work in this industry.  Richmond Main Street’s Youth Retail Readiness and Employment Training program will address this need by training employment-age high school youth in job readiness skills.

Funding for this training program will come from the City of Richmond Community Development Block Grant program in the amount of $10,000; $10,000 through a Wal-Mart Economic Development grant; and $2,500 through a grant from Wells Fargo Bank.

The funds will be used to hire a retail trainer/consultant to work with Richmond youth on customer service, completing applications, mock interviews, professional/workforce dress codes, and time management.  Upon completion of the class, $10,000 from the Economic Development Grant will be use to place ten youth in summer jobs at a pay rate of $1,000 for 100 hours of work.  The Main Street Initiative will also work to create job matches between the youth and retail businesses within the Central Richmond Revitalization area and Hilltop Mall.

8.      Bi-Annual REACT/CERT Drill

On Saturday, October 25th, the Richmond Fire Department, the El Cerrito Fire Department and the San Pablo Police Department held their bi-annual REACT/CERT drill at the El Cerrito City Hall complex.  For the first time, CERT programs throughout the County conducted drills on the same day.  This drill is the culmination of twenty hours of life saving training for program participants, which includes fire suppression, search and rescue techniques, utility control, cribbing and lifting of heavy objects, and first aid.  Classes are free to residents and taught by trained volunteers as well as Richmond/El Cerrito firefighters.  The five week course was completed by a total of seventy five people, who will now go into their neighborhoods to form emergency response teams.  These teams will help residents become more self sufficient and increase survivability during a disaster.

9.      Disaster Preparedness for the Special Needs Population

The Richmond Fire Department Office of Emergency Services (OES) will be hosting a brainstorming session on how to more effectively respond to and assist the community’s special needs population in the event of a disaster.  The meeting will take place on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 from 9:30 AM to 12:00 noon in the City Council Chambers.  Representatives of supporting agencies in Contra Costa County, as well as caretakers of the special needs population, will participate in a discussion on how to more effectively use the new Fire Department/OES Life Safety Trailer, develop a plan for increasing distribution of emergency kits, and how to build a more collaborative effort in responding to the needs of these community members.

10,     Kaiser Family Foundation Site Visit to Office of Neighborhood Safety

This past week, the Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) hosted representatives from the Kaiser Foundation, which has partnered with and financially supported the ONS Street Outreach Strategy.  The recent site visit was designed to update the Foundation on the development, implementation and management of the strategy.  Representatives from Kaiser met with ONS staff, street outreach teams and law enforcement partners.  The Foundation continues to be interested in the ONS and its strategic directions, and is continuing to explore ongoing partnership opportunities.

11.     California Cities Gang Prevention Network Conference

As you may recall, the City of Richmond is a member of a grant-funded 13 California City Gang Prevention Network.  Last week, ONS Director DeVone Boggan, one of the City’s points of contact for this program, participated in the Network’s All-Points conference held in Berkeley.  The two-day conference was designed to help provide the technical assistance to help each of the 13 cities more effectively confront the policy and financial realities they face, explore promising “social responsibility” movement ideas, optimize city/county relationships, examine the state role in bridging/coordinating funding and services, determine policy direction of the network, provide opportunity for each site to share local successes, and celebrate potential of street outreach strategies.

At this conference, the ONS Director met with various funders to discuss ways to improve the City of Richmond’s ability to provide social services to gang involved youth, young adults and families.

12.     ONS Life Skills for Peace

The Office of Neighborhood Safety will be providing life skills training and group mentoring opportunities for up to 30 youth and young adults aged 14 to 24 at the Nevin Community Center.  Starting this Monday, November 10th and running for 16 weeks through Monday, March 9th from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM, ONS, with Opportunity West staff and other partners, will facilitate the training designed to give youth and young adults the life skills, behavioral change skills, and one-on-one and group mentoring opportunities they need in order to be successful.

13.     Partnership with Social Progress, Inc.

The Office of Neighborhood Safety has partnered with Social Progress, Inc. to support the organization’s Annual Youth Banquet.  The event is designed to expose and encourage youth and young adults to embrace alternatives to violence in solving their problems.  Social Progress Inc. is a Richmond based organization that helps youth focus on positive opportunities and seeks to reduce the number of youth hanging out on street corners.  The event attracted 18 adults and 20 youth.  Social Progress Inc. President Eleanor Thompson stated that their goal is to grow the event each year in quality, and increase the quantity of participants.

14.     Recreation Highlights This Week Include:

a.      Haunted House Fun:  The Recreation Department hosted the annual Haunted House on Thursday, October 30th and Friday, October 31st from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the Richmond Recreation Complex.  Over 300 participants enjoyed the guided Haunted House as well as the carnival-style activities. 

b.      Soccer/Poetry After School Program:  In collaboration with America SCORES (Soccer/Poetry After-School Program), the Recreation Department began the soccer and creative writing component of the Youth Activities after-school program at various Richmond elementary schools.

c.      Turkey Shoot Basketball:  The Recreation Department is currently conducting registration for the Turkey Shoot Basketball League to be held at the Richmond Recreation Complex during the month of November.  Teams will consist of boys and girls from various West Contra Costa County Middle Schools.

15.     Public Works Department Update

During the past two weeks, the Public Works Department completed the following major maintenance projects:

·       Resurfacing of West Bissell and Chanslor Avenues in the Atchinson Village;

·       Resurfacing of Andrade Avenue from 29th Street to San Pablo;

·       A “face lift” of the Richmond Museum adjacent to Nevin Park.

Next week, Public Works will resurface Moran Avenue from 29th Street to Howard Street, and begin the resurfacing of Humphrey Avenue from 29th Street to San Pablo Avenue.

16.     City of Richmond Annual “2008 Charitable Giving Campaign”

The City of Richmond’s 2008 Employees Charitable Giving Campaign is underway.  Its annual campaign kick-off was held on Thursday, October 18th, and was well attended by City staff as well as local federations and Richmond charitable organizations.  The purpose of the campaign is for every employee to make a contribution – no matter the size – to charitable organizations supporting the local community.  Last year, City employees raised $44,512, an increase of $13,375 over the previous year.  This year’s goal is to raise $50,000.  Finance Department staff member Theresa Austin is the coordinator for this campaign.

17.     Website Fun Facts

What are community members looking for on the City’s website?  The following shows what was entered in the search box during the last week of October as compared to the past 6 months:

7 days 10/23/08 - 10/29/08      6 months 4/29/08 - 10/29/08    
Search Term     Ranking Search Term     Ranking
Measure T       1       Business License        1      
Garbage 2       Housing 2      
Zoning map      3       Chevron 3      
Chevron 4       Jobs    4      
County  5       Map     5      
Election        6       Police  6      
Honda   7       Parks   7      
Jobs    8       Zoning  8      
Map     9       Employment      9      
MOU     10      Section 8       10     

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!

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