By Emily Aguilar
The Eastvale council welcomed April with a plethora of important topics pouring before them, so they didn’t waste any time at their April 13 meeting and went straight into discussion. The first meeting began smoothly by recognizing April as National Donate Life Month, which encourages people to become organ donors.
Then Erin Sasse, the Regional Public Affairs manager for the League of California Cities, presented an update on legislative actions taking place in Sacramento. Some of the bills Sasse mentioned include: SB-876, which deals with homelessness issues; AB-2501, which deals with condesity bonuses; AB2526, which limits parking; AB 2220, which states that cities with a population over 100,000 are required to participate in district elections; and AB 2614, which deals with operations of medical marijuana facilities.
Continuing with the topic of bills, Glenda Chavez gave a brief description about AB 1826. The bill, which was signed in October 2014, requires businesses that generate 8 cubic yards of organic waste to establish an organic recycling program by April 1. The state believes that the program will divert approximately 30 million tons of waste. This will help reduce climate change and preserve environmental resources. By January 2017, the state also requires businesses that generate 4 cubic yards of waste every week to create waste management programs. Also, by January 2019, the same would be required for business and multifamily properties that generate 4 cubic yards of organic waste per week. This is applicable to Eastvale because Waste Management will work to enforce the bill’s provisions on local businesses.
Breaking away from the serious discussion about bills and laws, Julia Sung delivered her student liaison report by providing some impressive details about Eleanor Roosevelt High School (ERHS). Since there were so many ERHS seniors who were accepted into UCs, chair woman Janet Napolitano was scheduled to visit ERHS on April 14 in order to inform students about the UC system and encourage Juniors to apply to UCs next year.
Another interesting event occurring at ERHS is the new tradition they want to begin with this year’s graduating class: from here on out, the school wants to create a mural of the graduating seniors. The idea is still under development, but the school is eager to start the tradition. Sung also announced that May 13 will mark River Heights and Eastvale Elementary’s 10-year anniversary.
Although ERHS students may be excelling academically, a series of residents expressed their annoyance and concern of the students’ their poor traffic etiquette. During the public commentary, the residents stated that many ERHS students park their vehicles in local neighborhoods instead of the school parking lot. In addition, some students were leaving trash in the front lawns of their homes. The council stated that they would look into the situation.
Next, the council motioned all items on the consent calendar. Then, before the council discussed the proposed changes in the Goodman Commerce Center, they went into a closed meeting that lasted over an hour. When they came back, they were ready to discuss the topic.
At the moment, Goodman Birtcher has constructed one of two buildings that are set to take place at the Goodman Commerce Center. At the same time, road construction on Hamner, Bellgrave, and Cantu-Galleanu were set to take place on the week of April 18. But Goodman Birtcher wants to occupy the building before major road changes and other installations are created, so a series of changes have been proposed. Planning Director Norris presented these recommended changes, which included the proposal to install a generator for six months and letting construction take place inside the building regardless of the scheduled work hours.
Before the decision, resident Caroline Martinez asked the council not to motion the changes because she was worried that the changes would cause noise and traffic disruptions. But Norris responded that construction would be regulated so it would not cause any problems around residents.
After taking into consideration that sales tax would not come off the changes and that the commerce center will overall boost employment in the city, the council decided to approve the changes.
The council moved on to the business items, where they discussed another pressing topic. After Bill Link’s retirement last month, the council had to figure out how they would like to fill the vacant position. According to AB 952, if a council member resigns before it is time to elect or re-elect their position, the city council has to fill the vacant seat until the next election. The question presented at the city council meeting was how the council would fill the vacant seat: by special election or by appointing someone to temporarily fill the vacancy. If the council were to hold a special election, the fiscal impact would cost them $66,000. Ultimately, the council decided to appoint a council member who would fill Link’s position until the November 2016 election.
Continuing with the meeting items, the council proposed no action on appointing someone to fill the vacancy in city committee groups. However, the council did motion the approval to sign a contract with Teaman, Ramirez & Smith Inc. for professional auditing services, and they also approved a funding agreement for the BEYOND framework fund program, as well as authorizing City Manager Nissen to sign the documents necessary for funding.
To conclude the evening, Bootsma stated that he would be attending the next State of the City Meeting and both Rush and Lorimore stated that they would continue their involvement in the Riverside Transmit Meetings.
The second council meeting was held on April 27, which began with proclaiming May 5th as the National Day of Prayer in Eastvale. The day is supposed to bring people together and create unification through “the power of prayer.”
After the proclamation, the Eastvale Community Foundation update included that the military banner program is still looking for more people to register for a military banner. Also mentioned was that the Community Foundation would be providing scholarships for ERHS students. City Manager, Michele Nissen, added that the scholarships, which are CDBG-funded, do include qualifications. These qualifications will soon be published on the city website.
Then, the Public Safety Commission Update included a report on the events of their last meeting, where residents discussed the topic of the CCTV program. This program involves setting up cameras in neighborhoods.
Before moving on, Michele Nissen introduced the council to the City’s newest Code Enforcement Officer, Vanessa Lopez, who has over 10 years of experience in Code Enforcement. Nissen also mentioned that she started as a police explorer at the age of 13. She has implemented several cleanup programs in the cities she has worked for, and at the moment, she is pursuing her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice.
Next, the student liaison update was presented by Julia Sung. Sung announced the Relay for Life Event on Saturday, April 30 at River Heights Intermediate. She also announced that ERHS choir teacher, Mrs. Mendoza, will be retiring this year and that her final event with ERHS will take place on May 13. May 19 will also be Senior Award Night, where “very important guests” will arrive. Lastly, June 1 will be the ERHS graduation date.
Moving forward with the meeting, item 8.1 was taken off the agenda. Therefore, the council first focused on the recommendation to approve Parcel Map No. 36487. The plan will include 205 acres that will be used to build two one-million square feet of logistic facilities, and the second phase will focus on the construction of a hospital, park, and retail center. The council motioned the approval. The next two items were also approved: an agreement with Minigar & Associates Inc. to work on a truck route study and the City renewing their contract with Calfire.
The last discussion was about the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDF) that is threatening litigation because the city’s current at-large voting system violates California’s Voting Act Rights. In response, the city was presented with the possibility of establishing a by-district election system for the final item of the night. This recommendation presented two possibilities: the city could either be divided into 5 single-member districts, where each council member will serve and represent those districts; or the council could choose to divide the city into 4 districts, where a Mayor, who was elected at large, could serve for a 2-4 year term. Criteria for this division require the districts to be divided equally, with no more than a 10% deviation between districts, and the districts should be large based on the location where the council member resides. The districts will have to be redrawn every 10 years. At a minimum, this will cost $35,000 – 40,000. The council decided to divide the district into 5 sections. Read more about this decision in the article on page 1.
The meeting concluded after the city staff shared a few events they were looking forward to in the upcoming weeks.