Topping this week’s actions in local government, Seal Beach considers banning new electronic cigarette businesses, and members of Orange City Council set aside time for mystery discussion topics behind closed doors.
As e-cigarettes gain popularity, government agencies are considering whether and how to regulate them.
The latest local example is in Seal Beach, where council members are set to vote Monday on issuing a temporary moratorium on new permits for stores that sell the devices.
E-cigarettes vaporize liquid nicotine in various flavors and are being promoted by their manufacturers as an alternative to smoking tobacco.
City staff are using stark language in justifying an urgency ordinance on the issue, calling the unregulated operation of e-cigarette retailers “a current and immediate threat to the public health, safety, and welfare.”
The Orange City Council will allot time on Tuesday to discuss issues in closed session that aren’t specified on the agenda, which appears to conflict with the Ralph M. Brown Act.
The council’s agenda for Tuesday includes a closed session item:
b. To consider and take possible action upon such other matters as are orally announced by the City Attorney, City Manager, or City Council prior to such recess unless the motion to recess indicates any of the matters will not be considered in Closed Session.
When it comes to council meetings, the Brown Act requires that “each item to be transacted or discussed in a closed session must be briefly described on an agenda for the meeting,” according to the California Attorney General’s office. “The description must be sufficient to provide interested persons with an understanding of the subject matter which will be considered.”
Approving an estimated $25,000 in upgrades to City Hall, including installing new carpet in the front office and council chambers, new paint and executive chairs in the council chambers and repairing the main sewer line in the public restrooms.
Approving a final parcel map for demolishing an existing single-family home at 14101 Pacific Ave. and developing four condominium units, without mentioning whether the city conducted an environmental review per the California Environmental Quality Act.
Awarding a $438,000 contract to Macadee Electrical Construction for constructing a traffic signal at Newland and 15th streets and modifying traffic signal at McFadden Avenue and Ward Street.
Adam Elmahrek, Brendan Wiles and Thy Vo contributed to this report.
Cavazos, whose contract takes effect Oct. 21, has raised eyebrows over his compensation package of more than $500,000 per year. He will also be receiving more than $130,000 in yearly pension payments from his recent retirement as Phoenix’s city manger.
Among his more controversial moves as Phoenix city manager, Cavazos proposed a food tax, which was passed on a 24-hour public notice, arguing that it was needed to avoid painful budget cuts, including layoffs of police officers.
Then within months of the food tax’s approval, Phoenix leaders granted employees nearly $29 million in promotions and raises. Cavazos also received a $78,000 pay raise while the food tax was still in place.
Others have praised his work in Phoenix, such as creating an efficiency task force they said has saved nearly $100 million annually through such initiatives as eliminating paper paychecks and rerouting waste water to cool the city’s power plant.
Also in Santa Ana on Tuesday, school board members are set to discuss appointing a new superintendent. Previous Superintendent Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana’s retired after two years on the job.
And in Huntington Beach on Monday, the City Council will hold a study session on the draft bicycle master plan, which takes a comprehensive look at upgrading the city’s cycling infrastructure.
Members of the public are invited to comment on the plan before the council directs the city’s consultant to finalize it.
That council also plans to appoint new members to the city’s Children’s Needs Task Force, which exists to help ensure that “the needs of children will be included as a priority in all planning and policy decisions” by top city officials.
Here’s a rundown of agenda items this week across Orange County:
A letter of understanding with the city’s firefighters union to allow fire engineers to downgrade to firefighters and work overtime at the fire engineer pay level.
A letter of understanding with the city’s general employees to change standards for determining seniority employment.
An ordinance to simplify the permit process for certain businesses, modifying development standards on single family home sites and requiring conditional use permits for office-based auto sales agencies.
Approving a zone change of commercial to residential to parts of the former Foothill Ranch Auto Center to allow for Brookfield Towne Center residential development.
Approving zoning changes, general plan amendments and development permits to parts of the former Foothill Ranch Auto Center to Trumark Cos. to allow for the development of 72 single-family residences known as The Paseos at Foothill Ranch.
Considering an appeal of the Planning Commission’s denial of liquor license to Muirlands Market, Deli, Wine & Spirits.
Consider changing the municipal code to have 5 p.m. closed sessions and study sessions be part of the regular council meeting.
Consider a resolution implementing the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, including determining employees who may be eligible for coverage because they work an average of 30 or more hours per week.
Approve an action to modify bidding procedure to limit proposals from pilot vendors for a $6.2-million project to replace water meters and the meter reading system citywide.
Consider proposed changes to the city’s standard public works agreement.
Making appointments to fill vacancies on the Cultural Arts Commission, Financial Audit Oversight Committee, Heritage Festival Committee, Planning Commission, Recreation and Parks Commission, Traffic Safety Commission and Veterans Advisory Committee.
Approving an $18,000 contract with with Deloitte Consulting to create a preliminary plan to consolidate and share police dispatch operations with cities of Buena Park, Fullerton, La Habra and Placentia.
Approving a $24,500 cost-share contract with the city of Brea, which includes a 15% contingency for professional consulting services for a preliminary implementation plan to consolidate police dispatch operations.
Topping this week’s actions in local government, Newport Beach votes on whether to restrict protests near homes, and Garden Grove decides on an ambitious housing project.
The Newport Beach City Council is set Monday to adopt a ban on protesting on public sidewalks within 300 feet of a home that is the subject of the protest.
City staff say increases in protests in front of homes “interfere with a person’s right to privacy in their home, as well as their right to the enjoyment of tranquility, well-being and sense of security in their home.”
It’s unclear whether enforcing the ban on peaceful demonstrations would lead to First Amendment challenges. City staff say the courts have ruled that such protests “aren’t entitled to a high level of First Amendment protection,” though no specific rulings are cited.
Staff also point out that other cities such as Los Angeles and Riverside have adopted similar laws.
On Tuesday, the Garden Grove City Council is set to sign off on a development agreement with Brandywine Homes, which wants to build 18 single-family homes on two acres along Katella Avenue.
Instead of preparing an environmental impact report, the council is set to approve a mitigated negative declaration, because, staff said, “the project cannot, or will not, have a significant effect on the environment.”
The city didn’t attach to the online agenda item the mitigated negative declaration documents, which would detail foreseen impacts on parking or from demolishing existing buildings.
Garden Grove council members are also set to start issuing bonds to help finance a $42-million payment to the developer of a water park hotel rather than wait until the hotel opens in a year or two.
Under its contract with the city, the Great Wolf Resort’s developer, McWhinney Enterprises, is supposed to receive the payment 30 days after the hotel opens.
City staff stated that interest rates are expected to rise, so “it makes good financial sense to now fund and escrow the $42 million Water Park Hotel [developer agreement] recognized enforceable obligation, rather than funding it in 18 to 24 months when the hotel is expected to open.”
It’s unclear from the staff report whether this move paves the way for the developer to receive the money at an earlier date.
Here’s a rundown of what’s up for debate this week across Orange County:
Topping this week’s public meeting agendas in Orange County is an employment package in Santa Ana to hire David Cavazos, city manager of Phoenix, to be city manager in Santa Ana.
Cavazos’ appointment comes after a tumultuous period for the city’s leadership.
After longtime former City Manager Dave Ream retired in 2011, council members and Mayor Miguel Pulido haggled behind closed doors for months regarding his replacement. They eventually settled on former Police Chief Paul Walters, Pulido’s preferred candidate, after Pulido lined up enough votes to make the appointment.
But after Walters was credited with pulling the city from the brink of bankruptcy, council members grew increasingly unhappy with their decision to back Pulido’s candidate. A struggle ensued between the council majority and Pulido for power over the city’s bureaucracy, and the majority ousted Walters earlier this year.
Huntington Beach is scheduled to consider revising its alcohol laws in the wake of a riot after the U.S. Open of Surfing competition and opposing a confidentiality agreement between the Orange County Water District and Poseidon Resources to study a desalination plant for the city.
In Fullerton, the City Council will consider precluding future council members from joining the California Public Employees Retirement System.
Santa Ana City Council, Monday, Aug. 5, at 5:45 p.m.
Economic development agreement with IPC to relocate and operate in Santa Ana.
Agreement with David Cavazos to be city manager.
Zoning ordinance to allow emergency housing shelters.
Request for qualifications to develop Third Street and Broadway parking structure.
Request for qualifications for renovation and reuse of Y.M.C.A. property.
Contract in the amount of $1.7 million with Correctional Managed Care Medical Corp. to provide inmate medical services at the Santa Ana Jail.
Huntington Beach City Council, Monday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m.
Changing the city’s alcohol laws in the wake of a riot at the U.S. Open of Surfing competition.
A letter opposing entering into a confidentiality agreement between the Orange County Water District and Poseidon Resources to study the economic feasibility of a seawater desalination plant in the city.
Fullerton City Council, Tuesday, Aug. 6, at 6:30 p.m.
Forbidding future City Council members from joining the California Public Employees Retirement System.
Garden Grove City Council special meeting, Tuesday, Aug. 6, at 6:30 p.m.
Consideration of placing on the Aug. 13 agenda three resolutions to designate the Korean Business District, Little Saigon and Grove District as honorary city landmarks.