By Emily Aguilar
Eastvale – While the rest of the world celebrated the arrival of 2016, Eastvale city council members welcomed the new year by addressing exciting legal matters; such as the city amendment regarding marijuana dispensaries, and the selection of the PFM Asset Management LLC as the city’s investment advisor.
The January 13th meeting began with a closed session where the council members dealt with an existing proceeding entitled City of Eastvale v. County of Riverside. After discussing behind closed doors, the council announced that they would not take action on the unnamed case.
The first announcement of the evening was the introduction of the city’s New Fire Paramedic Squad Truck. Justin Schneider, who spoke on behalf of his squad, accompanied the council outside to show them the truck that was purchased. The truck comes with features including open space for the firemen to change into their attire and tools such as the Jaws of Life.
Also introduced this evening were the new Code Enforcement Officer, Avis Hatcher, and Senior Management Analyst, Tamara Irwin. Both women were selected because of their impressive employment history, education, and willingness to work with the city; they are expected to begin work soon.
All items on the consent calendar were motioned. The first request regarding business items for the council was to approve the selection of PFM Assessment LLC Management as the city’s investment advisor. At the moment, Eastvale currently invests funds with the State of California Local Agency Investment Fund (LAIF) and in Certificates of Deposits (CD’s). However, the city is seeking to improve the annual rate of return fees; thus, the city’s Finance Committee has sought business with PFM Assessment. The fiscal impact of the decision would include 10 basis points for the initial $25 million in assets managed, as well as 8 basis points for the next $25 million. Under this investment advisor, the city is expected to earn 1.12% yearly return fees. The city motioned the approval of this recommendation. Moving on from this item, the council then listened to an update status on the Flood Control Project. During a rainstorm in early January, the Public Works Staff noticed that the intersection between Citrus and Country Fair Drive, and the northeast corner of Hamner Avenue and Limonite Avenue both amassed heavy flooding. Due to the lack of drainage on these streets, the flooding was high enough to spill to other streets and reach over the sidewalks. The city is looking to install water drainages to not only get rid of the excess water, but to conserve it for later use as well. The city hopes to talk to JCSD and develop the water conservation plan soon.
Before concluding the first meeting, the council took a moment to share their committee reports. Council Member Adam Rush reflected on his trip to Washington, where he discussed the construction project on the 15 Freeway. There was also a Southern California Association of Governments meeting held on January 7th, where attendees discussed the possible growth of job employment in local counties. Mayor Ike Bootsma discussed the Fallen Soldiers event he attended, where in which the city council members were complimented for their contribution to respecting the legacy of the soldiers lost in the line of duty.
Two weeks later, on January 27, the second council meeting for January began with Sharon Link’s Community Foundation Update. Link first addressed the issue regarding damaged banners; a failure that is attributed to the company the Foundation hired to handle the banners. While the Foundation is hopeful that the replacement banners will arrive soon, they are also seeking to work with a different company. On a lighter note, the Sponsor Campaign is set to begin soon, a celebration for which fliers will soon be handed out. Also, Link overviewed some events for the upcoming year, including the State of the City event on April 5th.
Following the Community Foundation Update, the council took the opportunity to award Richelle Barrios, Alexia Hernandez, and Yvette Hernandez for volunteering their time to the Spark of Love Toy Drive.
Julia Sung, the Eleanor Roosevelt High School ASB member responsible for the Student Liaison Report, announced that RHIS had held their first Science Fair Exposition, where in which students showcased their science projects. Weeks ago, thirteen Eastvale Elementary students were recognized for academic achievements by the district, a testament to the good education that Eastvale schools deliver. In her final report, Sung announced that ERHS was visited by a business named LCAT, who hope to assist the school in the development of “real life” and “college readiness” programs.
All items were motioned on the consent calendar.
It should be noted that Adam Rush had not arrived when the meeting began, and because the heart of the meeting would be discussing the medical marijuana dispensaries and ordinances (which were initially going to be discussed after the consent calendar items were motioned), the council took a moment to reorganize the agenda items in hopes that Rush would arrive. Thus, the council sat in and listened to item 9.1 under the City Council Business Items: the comprehensive annual financial report for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The only recommendation for this item was that the council receive and file this information.
The council took a ten minute break hoping that Rush would arrive. He did not, and so the meeting proceeded without him.
In November of 1996, the passage of Proposition 215 legalized marijuana use for patrons who need the drug for health concerns. Throughout the years, other bills have been introduced to protect these legitimate patrons from legal punishment. Whether or not marijuana use (be it for medical purposes or leisure enjoyment) is questionable on a legal scale, Governor Brown has signed three bills into law, jointly called the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, or MMRSA, which allows California cities and businesses to prohibit the use of medical marijuana as long as the businesses have licenses to prohibit such actions. Brown’s law was taken into effect this year, and cities must conceive an ordinance by March 1st that claims whether or not they would allow the cultivation and use of medical marijuana.
Eastvale has already prohibited the use of marijuana dispensaries, but in the face of the MMRSA bills, the council was asked to motion two ordinances entitled Ordinance 16-03 and Ordinance 16-04, of which the council ultimately chose to motion. The first ordinance was motioned as an urgency ordinance, meaning that 16-03 would be taken into effect immediately; on the contrary, 16-04 was motioned as a non-urgency ordinance. The council chose to motion these two ordinances and prohibit access to medical marijuana under the pretenses that they want to “avoid the risks of criminal activity, degradation of the natural environment, malodorous smells and indoor electrical fire hazards that may result from such activities.”
After this discussion, the council listened to the Staff Reports. It was stated that Eastvale’s police department has organized a Homeless Outreach Team, which seeks help for homeless individuals in the city. As of now, they have reported that while the city has handled problems with panhandlers and other individuals, they debunked the rumor that homeless people were living near river bottoms or other out-of-zone areas.
Before concluding, the council members gave their communications report. Tessari gave an overview regarding the creation of the new STEM academy, stating that the groundbreaking event is set to happen in 2017, with Phase 1 of the construction being completed in 2018. The school will to be built near the Roosevelt campus. Mayor Bootsma shared the fact that the Riverside Transit System has increased the amount of riders over the past year, while other transit systems, such as those in the Los Angeles area, have decreased. Mayor Bootsma also mentioned that the city council members came together to discuss the traffic issue caused by entering and exiting Silver Lakes Park, and are hoping that the issue can be resolved through further communication and appropriate planning.