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SCVNews.com | Council Bails Out Senior Center, Boys & Girls Club | 08-29-2012
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The Boys and Girls Club of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Senior Center are undeniably in trouble. The Senior Center has 60+ seniors on a waiting list to get meals delivered to their homes. They are also turning away seniors at the doors. The Boys and Girls Club may have to institute Furlough Fridays that would lock kids out from their services. Not only would they be missing a supportive, instructional environment they could potentially find themselves under the purview of Sheriff’s Deputies.

The $100,000 dollars the City Council voted to give to each of these non-profit entities will keep the worst for happening in the short term, but it opens a Pandora’s Box of questions regarding the role of the City Council and the equally legitimate needs of other Santa Clarita Valley non-profits.

Councilman Bob Kellar says there was no intention to minimize the importance of other “philanthropics” but that the consideration of seniors is of utmost importance to the people in the community. He also pointed out that the Boys and Girls Club only gathered “less than half” of what they normally raise during their auction. He considers the Boys and Girls Club an extension of the city’s public safety program to keep kids out of trouble.

He had a solution provide $100,000 to each organization out of the council contingency fund. Kellar said when he came on the council that fund was $2 million a year.

“Right now, I believe it’s $750,000 and last year we didn’t use any of it. But I think we’re at a critical position here with both the Senior Center and the Boys and Girls Club and I think $100,000 to each of those organizations would be appropriate. It would be a one-time gesture,” said Kellar.

Senior Center Executive Director Rachelle Dardeau wanted to ensure the council that the money would be used specifically for the home delivered meal program that has a 60+ senior waiting list.

“We will be able to eliminate that waiting list. So that’s 62 seniors who will be able to have a meal, every day of the week, five days a week for a year, for almost a year. So that’s where the money will go,” said Dardeau.

Jim Ventress, Chief Professional Officer of the Boys and Girls Club for the last 27 years, explained that they serve 350-400 young people on a typical day. They are between the ages of seven and 17, many at risk, 45 percent are in a single parent home, 60 percent are from low or working poor families.

“Without the club, in 27 years, I can tell some of these kids would be into the drugs, they would be into the gangs, early sex, dropping out of school, etc.,” said Ventress.

He explained that since 2007 their budget has dropped from $1.6 million to $1.1 million. This has resulted in staff layoffs from 42 to 27. They’ve had to reduce programs from summer softball and basketball leagues and summer camp for two years in a row. Mentoring programs have dropped from 200 to 93. At the Sierra Vista clubhouse the art center has been closed for two years.

Tom Dierckman, Past President of the Boys and Girls Governing Board and current Vice-President of the Foundation Board, painted a bleak picture of shutting down the club for Furlough Fridays to save $71,000 a year or even closing one of the two clubhouses serving Santa Clarita (Placerita Junior High School in Newhall and Sierra Vista Junior High in Canyon Country.) He guaranteed the $100,000 would stave off Furlough Fridays.

“Without it the kids become a problem for the Sheriff’s Department. Law enforcement will be impacted, Parks and Rec is impacted. The ripple effect of not taking care of our kids, our youth is like not taking care of our future,” said Dierckman.

Councilwoman Laurene Weste seconded Kellar’s motion and emphasized the importance of the home delivered meal program.

“It may be the only time they touch another human being. It keeps them from mental illness, it keeps them from being hospitalized,” said Weste.

She was also supportive of the Boys and Girls Club as safe place from the streets and as an opportunity for mentoring.

Councilwoman Marsha McLean wanted the City Council to draft a letter to Fifth District Supervisor Michael Antonovich to request that he match their offer with money from “his nice, big discretionary fund.”

McLean said it was “a crying shame” that both organizations are in this situation.

Councilman TimBen Boydston requested the budgets for both organizations and insisted there be a six month written report ensuring the money was being spent the way they’ve stated. In the end, he was supportive of providing the funding.

“As the government our job is to take care of the safety net of our local citizens. That is critical and most important,” said Boydston.

Before the motion was passed unanimously, Mayor Frank Ferry ticked off a long list of other local non-profits that would feel just as deserving of this largesse from the city.

“I just want to make it clear to the other non-profits this is not a judgment by the council specifically that you’re not worthy. It’s more of a specific dire need that we’ve identified at this time,” said Ferry.

Ferry raised the specter of future problems and uncomfortable questions. Why shouldn’t every other non-profit demand the same gesture? The contingency funds are not the City Council’s personal bank account (nor Antonovich’s), but rather taxes collected from citizens. Have the citizens no say in how that money is spent? Perhaps they would like it to go elsewhere.

In the state and nationally there are debates about the social safety net in terms of Medicare, Medicaid, (Medi-cal in California), Social Security, the fair market, taxes and the size and reliance upon government to solve problems.

All politics are local they say, and some local politics is a Pandora’s Box.

 

Committee Appointments

We interrupt the dog days of summer to return to our drama “As the City Council Turns.” Flip the hour glass and cue the sentimental music. The Santa Clarita City Council is back in session. On the agenda there is an item called “Unfinished Business” and that could be an understatement.

When we last visited the chambers, Boydston received the Mount Rushmore treatment from his fellow council members when he made nominations to key committees.

Boydston had nominated Diane Trautman to the Planning Committee, Alan Ferdman for the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission, Valerie Thomas for the Arts Commission and James V. Farley for the Open Space Preservation District Financial Accountability and Audit Panel.

McLean requested that each nomination be introduced individually. Boydston bristled at being treated differently than other council members whose nominees were approved pro forma on a slate.

While Trautman and Farley were approved separately and the Ferdman nomination received no second, the Thomas nomination became more complicated.

Kellar seconded the Thomas nomination and the vote ended with a 2-2 tie and an abstention from Weste. Once Weste was informed her abstention would be considered an “aye” vote she asked for a second vote. City Attorney Joe Montes said there was precedent for another vote and on a second pass the Thomas nomination was shut down.

That tie rule would require further examination and was assigned to the agenda as new business under Norms and Procedures.

With no support for two of his nominees, Boydston was then advised that he would have to choose new nominees from the list collated from applicants. Rather than be forced into hasty decision he elected to make his nominees again at the next council meeting which didn’t convene until tonight.

Last night, fourteen members of the public expressed their support for Ferdman and Thomas (one spoke against Ferdman)as Boydston’s committee appointees. Many argued that both nominees were passionate but not adversaries of the council. Boydston read a letter written by Ferdman complimenting a member of the city staff, but was derailed by Mayor Ferry from showing a video in which Ferdman praises the City Council.

Ultimately Boydston was prevented from nominating Ferdman and Thomas a second time. His nomination of Michael Cruz to the Planning Commission and Gary Richard Choppe to the Arts Commission were supported by his fellow council members.

 

Item 20.

MASTER CASE NO. 12-052: CITY OF SANTA CLARITA CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

The City of Santa Clarita received direction from the Attorney General to complete a Climate Action Plan (CAP) as a part of the city’s new General Plan. Passed in 2006, Assembly Bill 32 (AB32) requires the State of California reduce statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

Girl Scout Isabella Clark working toward her Gold Award addressed the City Council regarding a walk to school program for Valencia Valley, Meadows and Old Orchard schools. Her intention was to suppor the CAP by promoting a healthy, walking lifestyle and help the environment.

Her cookies were crumbled when Kellar spoke out against CAP as being bad for business. Kellar would seemingly like to put CAP in the freezer like a box of Thin Mints.

The General Plan was adopted by the City Council on June 14, 2011. Staff committed to completing the CAP by January 2013. The CAP will implement programs to reduce the city’s GHG emissions to a level consistent with AB32. It will also establish a local significance threshold under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for review of GHG emissions from proposed development projects.

The initial task of the CAP was to define a base year. The base year is used as the basis for comparing GHG emissions to the target year of 2020. A base year of 2005 was selected for the CAP at the recommendation of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the state agency responsible for the administration of AB32.

The base year 2005 is also consistent with regional GHG reduction efforts including the Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy prepared by the Southern California Association of Governments.

The proposed CAP consists of the following elements:

Inventory : This element includes the quantification of community-wide GHG emissions during the base year. This quantification includes GHG emissions from all sources within the community including municipal uses.

Mitigation : This element compares base year emissions to those emissions forecasted for the target year 2020 and quantifies strategies for reducing GHG emissions to satisfy the state mandate.

Monitoring : This element establishes strategies for monitoring progress over time approaching the target year 2020.

The following items were passed on the Consent Calendar:

 

Item 3.

WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACT (WIA) ADULT AND DISLOCATED WORKER GRANT – FISCAL YEAR 2012-13

In July 1998, the City of Santa Clarita entered into a contract with the Antelope Valley Workforce Development Consortium to receive the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) grant for Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs from the Los Angeles County Department of Community and Senior Services. Since then, the City has been receiving annual WIA funding for the operation of the Santa Clarita WorkSource Center and providing employment assistance services to the residents and businesses of the Santa Clarita Valley.

The total cost of this program is estimated at $490,597 to be offset completely by grant revenue. Of the $490,597 grant award, $174,765 is designated specifically for training and workforce development funding; $192,432 will be awarded to COC for staffing and operations costs from September 2012 – June 2013, $31,820 was previously awarded to COC for staffing and operations costs from June 2012 – August 2012; and $91,580 will be retained by the City for administration costs including rent and marketing. Funds for this expenditure are budgeted in the Workforce Investment Act Grant. No General Fund dollars will be used for this procurement. There is no City match required.

 

Item 5.

RAILROAD AVENUE/DRAYTON STREET SIGNAL MODIFICATIONS AND IMPROVEMENTS, PROJECT C2023 – APPROVE THE PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS AND AWARD CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT

This project will upgrade the signal at Railroad Avenue and Drayton Street to provide protected left-turn phasing from Railroad Avenue onto Drayton Street and from Railroad Avenue into the shopping center. Efforts will include the construction of pedestrian ramps compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The project will improve the overall safety at this intersection. This project is federally funded under the Highway Safety Improvement Program.

 

Item 7.

TAX-SHARING RESOLUTION FOR SANITATION DISTRICT ANNEXATION 1064 The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District (District) provides wastewater treatment services within the District’s service area. To provide wastewater treatment service to property located outside of the District’s service area, the boundary must be expanded through the annexation process.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: City Council adopt the Sanitation District’s resolution approving and accepting the negotiated exchange of property tax revenues resulting from Sanitation District Annexation 1064.

 

Item 10.

PURCHASE OF 5.5 +/- ACRES OF REAL PROPERTY IN SAND CANYON

In May 2012, the City entered into negotiations to purchase approximately 5.5 +/- acres of real property in Sand Canyon for future infrastructure and road purposes. This property is vacant, undeveloped land.

The purchase of this property is expected to enhance the city’s ongoing efforts to improve traffic flow at the intersection of Sand Canyon Road and Lost Canyon Road. The acquisition will also provide additional trail opportunities for residents to use. This property, located adjacent to city-owned property at 16703 Lost Canyon Road, will provide additional right-of-way needed for the future roundabout installation at the intersection of Sand Canyon Road and Lost Canyon Road and will alleviate traffic congestion. The total estimated costs associated with the purchase of this property are $25,000.

FISCAL YEAR 2012 EDWARD BYRNE MEMORIAL JUSTICE ASSISTANCE GRANT (JAG) PROGRAM

The City of Santa Clarita has been awarded a grant for $31,168 by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance through the Fiscal Year 2012 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program.

 

Item 12.

AWARD CONTRACT FOR BID NUMBER LMD 11-12-43 FOR LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE SERVICES IN LMD ZONES T2, T3, T4, T5, T6, AND T7 – Consideration of award of a a two-year contract to Staygreen Inc. for the continued maintenance of Landscape Maintenance District Zones T2, T3, T4, T5, T6, and T7 in the annual amount of $216,000, and $149,000 for unforeseen repairs and maintenance that are not part of scheduled services for a two-year contract in an amount not to exceed $730,000.

 

Item 14.

JOINT RESOLUTIONS APPROVING AND ACCEPTING THE NEGOTIATED EXCHANGE OF PROPERTY TAX REVENUE RESULTING FROM THE PROPOSED ANNEXATION OF SOUTH SAND CANYON TO THE CITY OF SANTA CLARITA AND TO THE GREATER LOS ANGELES COUNTY VECTOR CONTROL DISTRICT –

This item is for the City Council to consider Joint Resolutions for the annexation of the South Sand Canyon area into the City of Santa Clarita and to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: City Council adopt a Joint Resolution Approving and Accepting the Negotiated Exchange of Property Tax Revenue for the annexation of the South Sand Canyon area to the City of Santa Clarita; and adopt a Joint Resolution Approving and Accepting the Negotiated Exchange of Property Tax Revenue for the annexation of the South Sand Canyon area to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.

 

Item 15

NORTH COPPERHILL ANNEXATION TO THE GREATER LOS ANGELES COUNTY VECTOR CONTROL DISTRICT

The City Council adopted a joint tax transfer resolution for the annexation of portions of the North Copperhill annexation are to the Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District.

 

Item 16.

RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING THE SUCCESSOR AGENCY AS A SEPARATE LEGAL ENTITY AND RESOLUTION ADOPTING A CONFLICT OF INTEREST CODE RELATED TO THE SUCCESSOR AGENCY

On June 27, 2012, Assembly Bill 1484 was signed into law which, among other substantial changes to the disolution of redevelopment, determined Successor Agencies are separate legal entities from the city. Therefore, the City Council must complete procedural actions, including the filing of a Statement of Organization, assuming the role of governing body, and adopting a Conflict of Interest code.  The City Council adopted “A Resolution Organizing and Designating the Performance of Certain Administrative Duties of the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Santa Clarita and Authorizing the City Clerk to File a Statement of Organization of Such Successor Agency with the Secretary of State and the County Clerk of Los Angeles County.”

 

Item 17.

PUBLIC SAFETY CONTRACTS: LA COUNTY PROBATION SERVICES AND DRUG INTERVENTION SPECIALIST

According to the city, cooperation among the local courts, the District Attorney’s office, the Sheriff’s Department and city staff helps to ensure that violating individuals are held accountable. The City Council approved two one-year contracts with up to three annual renewal options to effectively monitor the activities of probationers located in Santa Clarita, and to maintain aggressive efforts to keep drugs off the streets, away from schools, and out of the hands of our youth. A one-year contract for probation services with the Los Angeles County Probation Department costs $136,000, and a one-year contract for the Drug Intervention Specialist position assisting the Juvenile Intervention Team (J-Team) will not exceed $60,000.

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