This was one of those short, almost entirely ceremonial evenings, although it was a bit long for some of us.
We started the evening with a long study session regarding the Lawrence Station Area Plan, which was the first study session I’ve ever run. It was a full crowd, with the members of the City Council, the Planning Commission, the Lawrence Station Area Plan Citizens Advocacy Group, and maybe 20 other interested people in attendance. We had a 30-minute presentation from both the Community Development Director and the Chair of the LSAP CAG, indicating the priorities they had identified and the issues they thought need to be resolved as part of this process. I could try to summarize the study session, but the Sunnyvale Sun did a pretty good job of capturing the session, so I’ll defer to them.
We then went into general session. First up was recognition of the outgoing Vice Mayor, Dave Whittum. I spoke a bit later on about the job Dave did as Vice Mayor. He really went above and beyond what most VMs do, and it was impressive to see what he was able to do with the position. It sets a pretty high bar for me this year.
After that came my ceremonial swearing-in as Vice Mayor. It gave me the opportunity to talk a bit about just how much we accomplished in the past couple of years, including:
- surviving the great recession with no lay-offs or furloughs among our city-funded employees – the only city in the county to do so.
- eliminating our structural deficit
- significantly increasing our road maintenance, including major structural upgrades to the Mathilda and Wolfe bridges and massive amounts of repaving and resurfacing
- restoring tree maintenance and library hours
- successfully negotiating two-tier retirement, 2 0% raise years, and increased employee contribution to retirement costs with all bargaining units
- adding millions to our budgetary reserves
And we did it all amidst the worst recession in generations, with the state taking funding from us at every opportunity and defaulting on a massive redevelopment loan that they promised to repay to us. I think we did pretty well. Still more to do, of course.
We then had a presentation from the Downtown Streets Team. This is an effort that gives work to homeless people cleaning up streets. Very inspirational.
This was followed by a presentation from Vision Literacy, an organization that provides adult and family literacy services. Another great presentation.
We then had a public announcement which wasn’t as much a public announcement as a complaint about a councilmember’s travel authorization being denied. There were some unfortunate and factually incorrect claims made, but it turned out later that the councilmember didn’t actually tell anyone anyone that he’d received a committee appointment. As a result, the appointment never appeared on a council consent calendar for ratification by the full council (we didn’t even know it had occurred), and the mayor rejected the request to travel to the committee meeting as part of his responsibility for council oversight. It should all get straightened out soon.
The minutes from the last meeting, the list of bills, and a legal contract amendment were pulled, and the balance of the consent calendar was passed on a 7-0 vote. Two items plus the bills were pulled – I called it right.
Public comments came next. A former mayor came to compliment staff on the most recent quarterly report, which really was an exceptional piece of work this time. We’ve gotten a lot of compliments from residents about this particular issue. There were also a couple of speakers who were clearly upset about the conduct of one of my colleagues, and they expressed their displeasure in no uncertain terms. Another resident came up to let us know that things appear to be getting worse in Fairoaks Mobile Home Park. The mayor and one other councilmember have been working with the park and the state ombudsman, so there will hopefully be some progress made. Then it was on to business.
A motion was made to modify the minutes which wasn’t seconded, and then the minutes were approved on a 6-1 vote (I agreed). The list of bills were passed, as usual, on a 6-1 vote (I agreed). And then the amendment to the contract for outside legal counsel was approved on a 6-1 vote (I agreed).
We then had IGR reports (a bunch of various ones) and non-agenda comments. Based on some unfortunate comments that have been made during the past couple of meetings, the City Manager explained to the audience that he’s in his fourth year here, his salary has never been increased, he hasn’t been offered an increase, and he has specifically asked council not to give him an increase if they were so inclined.
That was mostly it. Next meeting is on the 29th, which has a bunch of taxicab franchise renewals and a discussion of our legislative advocacy positions for the next year.