City Council

Los Altos City Council Minutes – May 22 – Safer Blach?

Written by lalahpolitico

Here are the Los Altos City Council Minutes of May 22 as compiled and interpreted by Los Alos Politico. This time we are copying the “Minutes” remarks from the meeting agenda below to the top of this page. If you need more context, please scan below to the agenda item with its “pre-meeting” remarks from Los Altos Politico.

LALAH POLITICO MINUTES:
Consent Calendar Items 1 to 7 passed on consent. See City Minutes particulars.

LALAHPOLITICO MINUTES:

Miramonte-Covington Light

Residents for the 4th time provided at least 30 minutes of public speakers in opposition at a City Council meeting. The city engineer and consultant presentations stressed that the 2010 directive  to them had been to mitigate “congestion.” That’s what they did. Except for Megan Satterlee, council was easily persuaded by the 300 neighbors’ contention that a traffic light made it less safe for students coming and going to Blach and St. Francis. Val Carpenter spoke of the semi-rural atmosphere of the neighborhood.  Ms. Satterlee alone spoke up for the commuters who were not present to represent themselves. She spoke up for the ‘Los Altos Collector Street Master Plan.’ She spoke up for neighborhoods that were going to bear traffic that self-diverted from the daily grid-lock at the Miramonte-Covington intersection. OUTCOME: Council directed staff to come back with improvements for the intersection which did not include a traffic signal.

More on traffic :

Lalapolitico had an opportunity to discuss the traffic signal situation with our traffic volunteers in town.  They agreed that the light  for Covington and Miramonte was supposed to STOP the STUDENTS, not the cars, and in that way reduce the congestion. There is no car speed problem there, with or without the light; only low mph crushing opportunities.

One traffic contact pointed out that the  crosswalk for LA High at Gordon and Almond  ( intalled this summer ) is going to be dangerous and congestive.  He/she had recommended a light with a WALK/DONT WALK button.   Instead, the to-be-installed raised crosswalk with its asphalt flashing lights gives our student pedestrians a false sense of security  — which can get them maimed or killed.

 

LALAHPOLITCO MINUTES:

Wayfarer Sign Program

Council swore that the wayfarer signs would not refer to particular vendors, and therefore, it was ok for the city to be paying for them. Lalapolitico is not convinced.  Happily, Susan Ambiel of the BPAC Commission was there to volunteer to participate.  She seemed to know how to make such signs useful to pedestrians and bikers.  That will soften the blow of city spending for private benefit somewhat for Lalapolitico.

TIP TO MEGAN SATTERLEE and SUSAN AMBIEL: where possible install the Wayfarer signs onto existing bike route sign poles.  There has been an explosion of sign poles on collector roads.  These ever more numerous poles are hazards for falling bikers compared to landing in nice soft vegetation.

 

LALAPOLITICO MINUTES:

Appointments to the new Planning and Transportation Commission

We already reported this here with analysis.    The chosen are John Baer, Ronit Bodner, Pheoebe Bressak, Jim Chiang, Malika Junaid, Mike McTighe, Jerry Mosion.

 

LALAHPOLITICO MINUTES:

Civic Center ad hoc Committee creation

Val Carpenter did not convince her fellow council members of the urgency of moving ahead now with a new ad hoc committee to determine next steps – repair, redesign, refinancing – for the stalled Community Center Master Plan. The City recently abandoned a bond measure to pay for the plan, due to insufficient likely voter support.  LASD vs. Bullis, council elections, the idea of the same coterie rehashing the center plan were all negatives.  The idea was tabled for several months to be perhaps reintroduced in the fall.   LALAPOLITICO: this is a good thing because it let’s Hillview be more in play as part of the solution for LASD vs. BCS, if only as a place for moving schools to camp for a while.

LALAHPOLITICO MINUTES

City School Joint Meeting Agenda [and outcome]

We recommend the Patch. com coverage of the joint event. May 29. Look at the twitter stream in the Cover it Live box. The LASD board never did agree to send a letter promising not to exercise eminent domain on Hillview Center.  No arrangements for Hillview were confirmed or denied.  Lots of political theatre and public speaker venting. It’s a good way to get your political face and name in front of voters.

 


END OF MINUTES SUMMARY


HIGHLIGHTS of the Los Altos City Council Agenda
Discussion of the Covington Miramonte Traffic Light

 

The Appointees to the new Planning and Transporation Commission
Extension of the Application Period for the Design Review Commission (home reviews) due to lack of applicants

 

There are the candidates for the PTC, except as noted
Jonathan Baer
Ronit Bodner
Phoebe Bressak (applied for Design Review )
Jeannie Bruins
Jim Chang
Bob Jones
Malika Junaid
Kenneth Lorell
Robert Mabe
Michael McTighe
Sally Meadows
Jerry Moison

 

Discuss the Agenda of the forthcoming Joint City-School Special Meeting

 

Establish an ad hoc committee of Carpenter and Fishpaw and 7 residents to consider alternatives for the Civic Center Campus – Renovations? Redesign? Finance?

 


 


 

On a mobile this .pdf is best viewed with the Adobe Reader app.
New at losaltospolitico.com … the file has “bookmarks” for each agenda item.

 


 

TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2012
7:00 P.M. – REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING
City Council Chamber, Los Altos City Hall
One North San Antonio Road, Los Altos, California
ROLL CALL
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
PUBLIC COMMENTS ON ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA – If you want to speak for 2 to 3 minutes on a topic NOT already on the agenda, be on time, fill out a speaker card ( in atrium), and hand it to the city clerk ( the folks at the desks in front of dais).

CONSENT CALENDAR

Items here are not discussed unless a member of the public or a council member request the items be removed for later discussion.

LALAH POLITICO MINUTES:
Consent Calendar Items 1 to 7 passed on consent. See. City Minutes particulars.

.1. 1. Council Minutes
Recommendation to approve the minutes of the May 8, 2012 regular meeting

 

PRE-MEETING: The minutes look pretty good. I appreciate that staff is capturing more names of speakers.  Also the descriptions of the actions taken are useful.  Readers may want to see the losalsopolitico.com version of minutes.

 2. 2. Commission restructuring ordinance amendments
Recommendation to adopt Ordinance Nos. 2012-381, 2012-382 and 2012-383 amending the Municipal Code to:
A. Amend Chapter 14.76 to create a new Design Review Commission responsible for single-family home design and variance applications
B. Amend Chapter 14.78 to merge the Traffic Commission responsibilities with those of the Planning Commission
C. Change all references to the Planning Commission in Chapter 13.12 – Tentative Maps and Chapter 14.80 – Use Permits to Planning and Transportation Commission, and delete Chapter 14.64 – Architecture and Site Review Committee and Chapter 14.82 – Variances

 

PRE-MEETING: This is just the final language restructuring the land use planning, design review, transportation, bicycle-pedestrian functions in our city.  It has been through at least 3 public meetings and now it is at the last step, where it can be passed by consent.  Nothing new here.

MEETING MINUTES:

 

3. 3. Amendments to the Municipal Code regarding City Commissions
Recommendation to adopt Ordinance No. 2012-379 amending Chapter 2.08 of the Los Altos Municipal Code to establish the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission, the Design Review Commission, and the Planning and Transportation Commission

PRE-MEETING: more of  same as 2.

4. 4. Resolution to join Bay Cities Joint Powers Insurance Authority
Recommendation to approve Resolution No. 2012-12 to join Bay Cities Joint Powers Insurance Authority

 

PREMEETING: The City says it is getting a better deal from this provider and is making the change to the new provider. Details in a prior agenda packet.

5. 5. City of Los Altos Hazard Mitigation Annex
Recommendation to adopt Resolution No. 2012-11 approving the City of Los Altos Annex to the Santa Clara County Annex to the Association of Bay Area Governments Local Hazard Mitigation Plan

PREMEETING: This report detailing our City’s Compliance with Disaster Preparedness will pass by consent.  The report makes for some great reading if you are a fan of disaster movies.  It contains some great maps of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills showing 1) earthquake shake sensitivity, 2) Flood zones 3) landslide zones 4) fault zones 5) liquefaction zones 6) fire hazard zones and 7) dam failure zones. But where is the tornado map?

6. 6. Annual Street Resurfacing, Project 12-01
Recommendation to:
A. Award Annual Street Resurfacing, Rubberized Chip Seal, Project 12-01A to Graham Contractors, Inc. for an amount of $118,420 and authorize the City Manager to execute a contract on behalf of the City
B. Award Annual Street Resurfacing, Slurry Seal, Project 12-01B to Graham Contractors, Inc. for an amount of $83,943.25 and authorize the City Manager to execute a contract on behalf of the City
C. Authorize staff to include additional streets to the scope of work of Projects 12-01A and 12-01B in an amount not to exceed $210,000

 

PREMEETING: The  ($240K) bid for the resurfacing was about half a much as expected  ($450K).  So the city expects to just repair some segments of extra streets.

• Edge Lane,Pritchett Way, Pritchett Court, Lincoln Avenue, Pasa Robles Avenue, EI Sereno, EI Sereno Court, Becker Lane Riviera Drive, Kircher Court, Jones Lane

7. 7. Sewer Main Repair and Replacement
Recommendation to:
A. Appropriate an additional $88,405 from the Sewer Enterprise Fund to the South Sewer Main Replacement – Phase II, Project 11-14
B. Appropriate an additional $104,703 from the Sewer Enterprise Fund to Fallen Leaf Sewer Main, Project 11-15
C. Appropriate an additional $152,586 from the Sewer Enterprise Fund to Annual Sewer Main Repair FY2010-2011, Project 11-04
D. Award the Base Bid and Add Alternate Nos. 1 and 2 for the South Sewer Main Replacement – Phase II, Project 11-14; Fallen Leaf Sewer Main, Project 11-15; and Annual Sewer Main Repair FY2010-2011, Project 11-04 to Pacific Underground Construction, Inc. for $1,738,736 and authorize the City Manager to execute a contract on behalf of the City

 

 PREMEETING:  The city will be spending almost $2M this year to take care of this stinky business.  This is the among the most important functions of municipal government if you asked LALAPOLITICO.  Nothing worse than living in the county with a septic tank.  You will see below that our City of Los Altos sewer rates are going up 7.25% in the next fiscal year.

DISCUSSION

After the above Consent items either —  pass/approve/accept — by consent OR get added (usually to the end) of the DISCUSSION calendar, the below discussion items begin.

 

8. 8. Review of the proposed Miramonte Avenue and Covington Road traffic signal
Recommendation to:
A. Review original recommendation for installation of a traffic signal at Miramonte Avenue and Covington Road
B. Reconfirm Council direction to proceed with a design workshop for a traffic signal at this location

LALAH POLITICO MINUTES:

Residents for the 4 th time provided at least 30 minutes of public speakers in opposition at a City Council meeting. The city engineer and consultant presentations stressed that the 2010 directive  to them had been to mitigate “congestion.” That’s what they did. Except for Megan Satterlee, council was easily persuaded by the 300 neighbors’ contention that a traffic light made it less safe for students coming and going to Blach and St. Francis. Val Carpenter spoke of the semi-rural atmosphere of the neighborhood.  Ms. Satterlee alone spoke up for the commuters who were not present to represent themselves. She spoke up for the ‘Los Altos Collector Street Master Plan.’ She spoke up for neighborhoods that were going to bear traffic that self-diverted from the daily grid-lock at the Miramonte-Covington intersection. OUTCOME: Council directed staff to come back with improvements for the intersection which did not include a traffic signal

MORE:

Lalapolitico had an opportunity to discuss the traffic signal situation with our traffic volunteers in town.  They agreed that the light  for Covington and Miramonte was supposed to STOP the STUDENTS, not the cars, and in that way reduce the congestion. There is no car speed there; only low mph crushing opportunities.

One traffic contact pointed out that the  crosswalk for LA High at Gordon and Almond  ( intalled this summer ) is going to be dangerous and congestive.  He/she had recommended a light with a WALK/DONT WALK button.   Instead, the to-be-installed raised crosswalk with in asphalt flashing lights gives our student pedestrians a false sense of security  — which can get them maimed or killed.

 

PRE-MEETING:

Scores of residents who live at or near the intersection have spoken for at least 30 minutes at the beginning of the last 3 or 4 city council meetings.  An informational engineering meeting in the Grant Center was postponed, so that this item could be placed on a City Council Meeting agenda for exploration. Residents say a traffic light will make it more dangerous for students, walkers and bikers. They have gathered over 300 signatures objecting to the traffic light.  A different group in the Carmel terrance area has gathered over 60 signatures supporting the traffic light.

The engineering report says the signal would operate in 4-way stop mode for 22 to 23 hours of the day. For one or two hours it would be set on either 1) a 60 second cycle that would still generate queues of vehicles. [LALAHPOLITICO take this to mean that each car would start from a stopped or nearly stopped condition to pass through the green light. No vehicle could speed through the intersection.] 2) the signal could alternatively be set additionally offer a “scramble phase” when the signal stops all vehicle traffic, and walkers and bike walkers rare allowed to cross diagonally if desired.  “The plan also includes constructing built-up asphalt comers at the intersection to protect areas for students to wait without adding vehicle lanes. This would also provide a protected area for students to dismount or re-mount their bicycles to walk through the intersection.”

PRE-MEETING: LALAHPOLITICO has stumbled into this intersection in her car around 2:30 pm a few times. Yes there is a queue in all 4 directions for cars.  I can recall one ineffective crossing guard being there. The students arrive at 5 second intervals and a large fraction unfortunately exercise their California right to seize the intersection and to not look both ways and to not assess the situation.  Thus there can be  a continuous stream of students that does not stop. They keep coming and coming.  Yes, the crossing guard does stop the students and to gather them into groups.  But that was only on one of the four corners.

Putting 4 guards, one on each corner, might be an effective substitute for a traffic signal.  Each guard could gather groups on each corner by making all walkers and bike walkers stop and wait for a group to form. Then all 4 guards could signal each other and  simultaneously halt the vehicular traffic.  Then the walkers could cross diagonally as with the “scramble phase.”

How about we compare  the salaries of the 4 guards to the cost of the light.  The light is a robot and will not call in sick. But part-time employment for locals is nice too.

 

 

9. 9. City-wide Commercial Wayfinding Sign Program
Recommendation to select a Council representative to serve on the Wayfinding Sign Program Task Force

LALAHPOLITCO MINUTES:

Council swore that the wayfarer signs would not refer to particular vendors, and therefore, it was ok for the city to be paying for them. Lalapolitico is not convinced.  Happily, Susan Ambiel of the BPAC Commission was there to volunteer to participate.  She seemed to know how to make such signs useful to pedestrians and bikers.  That will soften the blow of city spending for private benefit somewhat for Lalapolitico.

TIP TO MEGAN SATTERLEE and SUSAN AMBIEL: where possible install the Wayfarer signs onto existing bike route sign poles.  There has been an explosion of sign poles on collector roads.  These ever more numerous poles are hazards for falling bikers compared to landing in nice, soft vegetation.

 

PRE-MEETING: The City want to design pretty signs that entice and direct cars from the major through fares into  to our retail areas – to downtown and also to Loyola corners. Good idea. Right now it’s just a task force that is forming.  Once everything is all planned LALAHPOLITICO hopes that the retail property owners will be ASSESSED for the signs.  I don’t want the city to pay for it, but just to allow it.

 

10. 10,Commission appointments
Recommendation to appoint commissioners to fill vacancies on the Planning and Transportation Commission and re-advertise vacancies on the Design Review Commission

PRE-MEETING: The Staff recommendation is to select the Planning and Transportation commissioners from this list.

Jonathan Baer, Ronnit Bodner, Phoebe Bressack, Jeannie Bruins, Jim Chiang, Bob Jones, Malika Junaid, Kenneth Lorell, Robert Mabe, Michael McTighe, Sally Meadows, Jerry Moison

There was only one applicant to the Design Review Commission (review plans for homes, almost always 2-story plans) so the staff recommended extending the application period.

 

LALAPOLITICO MINUTES:

We already reported this here.  The chosen are John Baer, Ronit Bodner, Pheoebe Bressak, Jim Chiang, Malika Junaid, Mike McTighe, Jerry Mosion.

 

10.a 10a. Civic Center ad hoc committee 
Appoint an ad hoc committee consisting of Mayor Carpenter and Mayor Pro Tem Fishpaw and up to seven Los Altos residents to consider alternatives for the 18-acre Los Altos Civic Center site.

 LALAHPOLITICO MINUTES:

Val Carpenter did not convince her fellow council member of the urgency of moving ahead now with a new ad hoc committee.  LASD vs. Bullis, council elections, the idea of the same coterie rehashing the center plan were all negatives.  The idea was tabled for several months to be perhaps reintroduced in the fall.

PREMEETING: An ad hoc committee is to be assembled to consider alternatives for the Civic Center Campus, given the recent poor poll results for the bond measure.  Val Carpenter and Jarrett Fishpaw will be the City representatives. Up to 7 residents of Los Altos also will be selected.    City staff has already created a draft list of alternatives — the draft was shared with the “bond outreach” group.  These were the PRO-BOND residents who attempted to help the city and the consultant sell the bond by giving Powerpoint presentations around town. Earlier these people were also on the committee of 30 that designed the site plan for the Community Center Master Plan.

PREMEETING LALAHPOLITICO:  Here is the concerning part. ” Residents who were actively involved in outreach will be considered [for the committee] before others.” Is that ever a mistake!  The group should include individuals who were CON-bond for one reason or another.  It looks like the city is NOT going to learn from its mistakes. It is closing ranks and is just stuffing the group with YES men and YES women.  How about some diversity here!?

 

11. 11. Designation of Voting Delegates – League of California Cities
Recommendation to designate a Delegate and an Alternate for the purpose of attending and voting at the League of California Cities Annual Conference and Business Meeting September 5-7, 2012 in San Diego

PREMEETING: This items goes with the next item.  It will cost from $250-$240 plus expenses to send a delegate to San Diego in September.

 

12. 12. Update on League of California Cities efforts to pursue amendments to possible California Forward initiative
Recommendation to:
1. Accept oral report regarding potential impacts of proposed legislation on local governments
2. Provide direction to staff regarding follow-up actions, as needed

 LALAPOLITICO MINUTES:

City Manager made some kind of case for our City going. More State encroachments on funding. Council member Fishpaw was appointed as a delegate., and Val Carpenter as an alternate.

PREMEETING: Marcia Sommers will talk about proposed State (?) legislation that will have impacts on local governments.  If she goes to San Diego, she can help shape the League positions and lobbying on that legislation. There is no information on the legislation in the attachment.

12.a 12a. Special joint City Council- Los Altos School District Board of Trustees Meeting 
Recommendation to review and finalize the agenda for the May 29, 2012 special joint City/School District Meeting

 

PREMEETING: Here is the proposed agenda for the May 29 meeting 5:30 pm in Council Chambers:
10th site – legal, locations, lease, traffic, joint use, process
Eminent Domain of public property
Tentative Agreement LASD-Bullis
Egan School Pedestrian and Bike safety
Report from the City-Schools Standing Committee

LALAHPOLITICO MINUTES;

We recommend the Patch. com coverage of the joint event. Look at the twitter stream in the Cover it Live box. The LASD board never did agree to send a letter promising not to exercise eminent domain on Hillview Center.  No arrangements for Hillview were confirmed or denied.

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS

 

13. 13. Consumer Price Index adjustment for sewer rates
Recommendation to accept an informational report on the Consumer Price Index applicable to the FY2012-2013 Sewer Service Charge

 

PREMEETING: For FY 2012-2013 the rate will go up from $3.03 to $3.25 per unit.  This is a 7.25% jump. The city will earn an extra $300K which will be used for either sewer operations or capital expenditures.

14. 14. Solid Waste Collection Fee adjustment notification
Recommendation to accept the informational item regarding Solid Waste Collection Fee adjustment notification

 

 PREMEETING:  The Mission Trail rate will increase by 3.86%.  For a typical user with one 32-gal garbage can, the monthly rate will go up from $26.11 to $27.12.

COUNCIL REPORTS AND DIRECTIONS ON FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS

LALAPOLITO:  All informational items were accepted. 

15. 15. Los Altos City/Schools Issues Standing Committee 
Recommendation to receive a verbal report from Standing Committee representatives on May 15, 2012 City/Schools Issues Standing Committee Meeting

 

PREMEETING:  This will be an oral report from David Casas and Jarrett Fishpaw on the discussion and understandings reached between Mark Goines & Doug Smith of LASD and themselves.  The main subjects were Egan School safety and the search for the 10th site. Here was our article on that May 15 meeting.
ADJOURNMENT
SPECIAL NOTICES TO PUBLIC In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Altos will make reasonable arrangements to ensure accessibility to this meeting. If you need special assistance to participate in this meeting, please contact the City Clerk 72 hours prior to the meeting at (650) 947-2720. Agendas, Staff Reports and some associated documents for City Council items may be viewed on the Internet at http://www.losaltosca.gov/citycouncil/online/index.html. Council Meetings are televised live and rebroadcast on Cable Channel 26. On occasion the City Council may consider agenda items out of order. All public records relating to an open session item on this agenda, which are not exempt from disclosure pursuant to the California Public Records Act, and that are distributed to a majority of the legislative body, will be available for public inspection at the Office of the City Clerk’s Office, City of Los Altos, located at One North San Antonio Road, Los Altos, California at the same time that the public records are distributed or made available to the legislative body. Any draft contracts, ordinances and resolutions posted on the Internet site or distributed in advance of the Council meeting may not be the final documents approved by the City Council. Contact the City Clerk at (650) 947-2720 for the final document. If you wish to provide written materials, please provide the City Clerk with 10 copies of any document that you would like to submit to the City Council for the public record. If you challenge any planning or land use decision made at this meeting in court, you may be limited to raising only those issues you or someone else raised at the public hearing held at this meeting, or in written correspondence delivered to the City Council at, or prior to, the public hearing. Please take notice that the time within which to seek judicial review of any final administrative determination reached at this meeting is governed by Section 1094.6 of the California Code of Civil Procedure. For other questions regarding the City Council meeting proceedings, please contact the City Clerk at (650) 947-2720.

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About the author

lalahpolitico

Norma Schroder is an economics & market researcher by trade and ardent independent journalist, photographer and videographer by avocation. Enthralled by the growth of the tech industry over the decades, she only became fascinated with business of local politics only in the past couple of years.