Santa Paula Council: Many Topics Many Voids

By Sheryl Hamlin

The agenda and pace of the February 20, 2018 Santa Paula City Council Meeting provided opportunity for an observant council watcher to dig deeper.

Santa Paula Police Badge Pinnings

Chief McLean announced two promotions: Ish Cordero to Assistant Chief and Scott Varner to Commander. The badge pinnings are a celebration of those promotions wherein the families and community can share. With 30 years in the force, Assistant Chief Cordero graciously thanked the management and the community for the opportunity to advance. Commander Varner thanked the council and hugged his two boys.

Assistant Chief Cordero and family

Commander Varner


Clean Power Alliance

Supervisor Parks introduced the Clean Power Alliance saying that a $10 million investment from LA county had made it economically feasible. She cited benefits of cost savings, jobs creation and climate change. She then introduced the county’s Chief Sustainabilty Officer who provided more detail. She did not provide the cost for Santa Paula to join the alliance.

Noting that Edison is a profit center whose CEO makes “4 million”, Supervisor Parks said that the Clean Power Alliance provided choice rather than a monopoly. See Edison executive pay here. Note that since the Thomas Fire suits, the Edison stock has dropped. The dividend has been regularly increasing for decades and is popular with dividend funds and retirees.

Supervisor Parks


Mr. Gero provided analyses showing expected savings, but the more “clean energy” used, the less the savings in the model. Edison can impose fees on departing customers of 10% of the total bill. The default status will be to opt-out of Edison. Twenty nine cities have joined to date. The idea is that more choice will create better service and thus better delivery of energy. The rollout will start with county properties first, then commercial and finally residential power users. He said, in response to Council Member Hernandez’ question, that Marin County had been deploying such a system for eight years.

Because this was an informational presentation only, no decisions or votes were taken.

Council Reports

Mayor Gherardi reported that the VCFPD annexation MOA is in progress. Council Member Hernandez reported on the Toland Landfill. Council Member Crosswhite reported on a “Senior Resource Fair” to be held in 2018. Council member Garman attended the SPUSD meeting as well as a cannabis town hall. Council Member Procter reported on a regional government meeting he attended.

Rock Report

The City Manager presented six important items.

First: the Regional Water Quality Control Board had permitted Santa Paula’s out of compliance waste water treatment plant for another ten years giving the city until 2028 to remove the chlorides.

Second: the city’s self-fill station should start construction soon. This was approved earlier. Read here.

Third: The city plans to partner with United Water and Farmers Irrigation to provide agricultural water. This item was completely new and there was no further detail provided nor questions from council.

Fourth: Needs Assessment for Youth Services in progress.

Fifth: LAFCO is holding an important meeting on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, to discuss the regional sphere of influence for services.

Sixth: The city had anticipated a development plan for Adams Canyon, but only received a concept. He also said there was “some interest” from two developers for Fagan Canyon, but these were in infancy. The Peck and Foothill project will also return with a new design. No details were given in the Rock Report, but according to a neighbor, they now plan for 53 homes clustered near Peck. Click here for history on this project.

Santa Paula Housing Authority

The council voted to rescind the 2014 motion giving the Santa Paula Housing Authority control and management of the in lieu fees. Read previous report here.

Executive Director Ramsey Jay spoke saying that the SPHA had submitted a written statement to council (not in packet). In this letter, the SPHA asks for consideration to any action taken relating to the 2014 resolution.

Ramsey Jay, SPHA Executive Director

Council Member Procter noted that the 2014 resolution was rescinded, but not replaced. The replacement action will occur at a future meeting.

Restructuring of Water Division

Lorena Alverez reported that a retirement in the Water Division precipitated a “complete restructuring” of the division. The details are in the staff report.

Renovation of the SPPD Station

Acting Public Works Director Butch Britt, formerly Ventura County Deputy Public Works Director, presented a request for $150,000 to renovate the Santa Paula Police Station, a midcentury design built in the 1960’s originally as a county courthouse. No information on the provenance of the building was given. Monies will be drawn from the Measure T fund, of which only about $300,000 used to date.

Chief McLean spoke to the need for more space and modernization. Note that the Ventura County Grand Jury cited security and health hazards in the current building.

The evening’s approval of funds allows for the selection of a design firm. The staff report details work to be done. It was suggested that the entire project might cost $2,000,000, funds for which were not discussed.

New Economic Development Council Standing Committee Approved

This item was presented by new Assistant City Manager Ikani Taumoepeau and is summarized here:

Because this is a mayoral committee, Mayor Gherardi presented two names for consideration: Vice Mayor Garman and Council Member Hernandez. The latter declined the nomination citing a busy county schedule, who then nominated council member Crosswhite. The council agreed for the appointment of Vice Mayor Garman, but the mayor said that she did not want to make the second appointment at this time. No reason was given. During this curious repartee, the Assistant City Manager watched the dais. The staff members to be on the committee are: City Manager Rock, Assistant City Manager Iktani and Assistant Planning Director Mason.

Assistant City Manager Iktani Taumoepeau

Note that this was the second council meeting at which Mayor Gherardi refused to appoint former Mayor Crosswhite to council standing committees.

Future Agenda Items

Mayor Gherardi suggested a “Goal Setting Meeting” to be held outside of the regular council meeting.

Still no word was mentioned about the CAFR (Comprehensive Audited Financial Report) of the city for the period ending 6/30/2017.

For more information on author click sherylhamlin dot com

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