7/31/2012 Council Preview – Library, Civic Center, & Tasers

Lots of stuff going on this week.

We start the evening with a closed session regarding the Downtown.  Then we have an extended joint study session of some importance with the Board of Library Trustees to discuss options for future library and civic center facilities. This should be a very interesting discussion.   We’re going to be jumping back and forth a bit this night – starting in the West Conference Room for the closed session, going to the Library Program Room (A + B) for the joint study session, then returning to Council Chambers for the Council meeting.

The Council meeting has relatively few items, because we did quite a bit during our last meeting.  We start out with a short presentation by the Cities Association of Santa Clara County.  This is a really fun inter-governmental committee that I serve on, both on the executive board and as Sunnyvale’s representative.  It consists of representatives from each city in the county, and we discuss issues of regional importance, try to develop a consensus, then recommend to our respective cities to take actions of mutual interest.  This body goes a very long way to ensure civility and cooperation between cities, and it’s just a great group of people.

The consent calendar is almost empty – only item of interest is approval to accept a $6k grant from the Satterberg Foundation to purchase e-readers which our library will loan to patrons with pre-loaded books.  Then it’s on to general business.

Item 2 is an appointment to the Personnel Board.  The Personnel Board consists of employee-nominated and council-appointed boardmembers who adjudicate issues of labor discipline and practices.  The vacant seat is one of the employee-nominated seats, but the employees haven’t found a candidate in the allotted six month period.  As a result, Council can now appoint someone to fill the vacant seat, which is what we’ll be voting on.

Item 3 is what appears to be another pro forma annual item – approving the annual engineer’s report for the downtown parking district.  I’m just assuming it’s pro forma because I haven’t read the staff report yet.

Item 4 is the first of two meaty ones – a proposal to modify our zoning code regarding BMR housing and single room occupancies.  There are some interesting changes, if I’m reading the staff report correctly.  One would be to give developers of new property the option of buying, rehabilitating, and converting to BMR housing property elsewhere in Sunnyvale instead of designating some of the new development for BMR ownership.  One would be to offer units elsewhere in the city for BMR designation if the total count is more than the requirement in the new development.  There are some other proposed changes that I don’t yet understand.  It looks to me like all of the proposed changes are either wording or legal modifications, or they’re changes that will strengthen the BMR program, improve Sunnyvale more than the current requirements, or both.  But I haven’t finished reading it, and I’m still mulling some of the potential consequences of the changes.  So we’ll see.

And item 5 is another interesting one – authorizing the purchase and use of tasers by our Public Safety Officers.  There are a lot of details involved in this, but the basic issues appear to be officer safety, safety of the public, and, of course, cost.

That’s about it.  But note that there’s an information item that may be interesting to some residents, particularly in the Heritage District.  As part of the approval of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation project in the downtown area, staff was required to follow up on a couple of issues that Council inserted into the project’s conditions of approval.  Staff has included an update on a couple of the issues, specifically clear vision glass and mechanical window coverings.

After this meeting, we’re off for two weeks due to National Night Out, back on August 14th.

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