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Elections

Mark your calendar:

The Yolo County Presidential Primary Election will take place on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.

February 3 is the First Day to vote-by-mail.

February 18 is the last day to register to vote in the March 3rd election.

March 3 is Election Day! Polls are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Winters Community Center, 201 Railroad Avenue, Winters.


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Friday Update on November 15 2019

 

All,

A City Council Meeting on Tuesday. One real agenda item:

  • Staff is working on an SB 2 application with a focus on the City’s General Plan, zoning, densities, our ability to meet our regional housing needs allocation and by right development. We had a consultation with representatives of the State Housing and Community Development Agency who provided advice and guidance which was very beneficial. A resolution on for the grant will be on the City Council Agenda for Tuesday.

Some of the big items from the week.

  • On Saturday, Winters PD and Fire dealt with a deceased person found in Putah Creek behind the Community Center. A really tough situation for the family but the overall collaboration between both the Police, Fire, Yolo Sheriff and the Coroners’ Office was extremely well done. Everyone involved, including our Police Chaplain Robert Duvall were extremely professional in providing counsel and information to the family and dealing with the entire situation. Seeing these people do what they do makes me honored to work with these folks.
  • The Planning Commission dealt with two development projects and handled what turned into a pretty rough night extremely well. The design and site plan request for the Olive Grove Subdivision was continued pending and engineering update and the LDS Property Project subdivision was approved, but not the design elements. Look for both to be back on upcoming PC agendas.
  • Staff had an opportunity to meet with the new Senior Commission on Aging. We conducted an orientation of some of the more mundane tasks of financial disclosure, ethics training, meeting procedures and the open meeting laws. The group is absolutely wonderful with some folks relatively new to Winters. Overall, a really good evening.
  • City Council members attended an orientation on Valley Clean Energy on Thursday. To quote one person in attendance, “it was like drinking water from a fire hose”. Both Councilmembers Cowan and Loren were sworn in as Associate Members and will be representing Winters moving forward.
  • Staff attended our first Solano Economic Development Corporation Board Meeting on Thursday. It was an amazing experience with both public and private sector businesses talking jobs, opportunity and regional vitality. The focus on jobs and creating economic advances was incredible. The business to business collaboration is incredible.
  • This week marked the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Winters Community Library. The Library sponsored a really nice reception with deserts and a mariachi band. Lots of kids, adults and many of those associated with the Winters Friends of the Library. The place really is a catalyst in our community and it was nice to celebrate the anniversary.
  • Today, our Yolo City/County Manager’s met to discuss key issues in the County. Homelessness is growing and the need to address it County-wide in multiple ways is growing rapidly and will become the highest social priority very rapidly.  The problem is growing, public acceptance is shrinking and funding is minimal in relation to the real problem. In Winters, we are beginning to see it in multiple areas and expect more.

 

Finally, a couple things, each related:

  • On Thursday, as I left the ATM at Eagle Drug, a woman was laying on the bench near the intersection. She asked me for some money and I stopped to talk with her. She basically said she was homeless and was in Winters because she felt safe here. She has friends in town who she was visiting. I asked her what type of help she might need and I gave her a couple suggestions on some things. A nice lady, very tired and down on her luck in need of a place to live. I gave her my business card and suggested some places for her to get assistance. I did not call the police or offer to “take her” somewhere. I talked to her a bit, bought her lunch and wished her well.
  • At the Solano EDC Meeting, the talk about housing vacancies came up. Universally, the cities in Solano said their vacancies on rental housing is below 1% (ours is zero). The availability of affordable housing is a months, if not years long waiting list. Our real estate market is Bay Area and to hear the reports from these communities put a HUGE red flag up.
  • Our Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Affordable Project is still struggling to get through the State financing hurdles. I was given 100% assurance that we would be “in the ground” on the project in October. It must be “under the ground” because I do not see it.
  • The really long item at the Planning Commission was the discussion regarding an 18 unit subdivision off Anderson Ave behind the LDS Church. The concept is for “lower cost” houses with less design and fewer frills (the jargon for this type of housing is “affordable by design”). Staff, the developer and the Planning Commission all struggled with the entire concept and ultimately, the item was continued for more vetting.

California is again the leader in a national issue, and that is the national housing crisis. Many are to blame including developers, cities with the costs of fees, the entire planning process; and yes the NIMBY’s (not in my back yard) folks who want to thwart even the discussion of growth and new housing developments. A really interesting article from Bloomberg Media from last week.

http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001G90zxhDRQzV_eACXGlCC5mxzC8ljXrvlxEohwJvoM1UjpBk80b5jg0PCCttaNg1PDb86_87-QQ9WHgL6Ir4z_klY4Xzbz6-oTvgOTqP1m3g7aro_A2X5wZiTWJ9Bn7hye4pzz5lp0szg97zbvGSFODbnQ_Fggg3qsSP6Htr8ujK7pmgF1-Mz-dZxa5zpuxPzRKNmyCDDCizJZUuLJOiApl3hWnf5Zndu3-wzLD2ONZY=&c=jKccEq9fML9UdzA-ai8lVMwotfC6GM17zQUl460FJsHt–wQJ_1ceA==&ch=CVQCO2A5nH0DTBjyHwBPdBnDDlm6jDgvjHdVZ7K80h1S0j_abPzp8Q==

Questions and food for thought:

  • Where should the young people who grow up in Winters go to live if they cannot move back to Winters? Where?
  • Where would you live if you lost your lease, a fire burned your apartment or something else happened to where you live today?
  • If you were able to get an apartment here in town (which is about $2,000 a month), do you have (first month, last month and cleaning deposit) $5,500 cash to put down on that apartment?
  • Who should determine what happens in Winters. Local control and planning, or the State of California?
  • Do you know anyone on the cusp of homelessness generated by the housing crisis? The “working homeless” are single, middle aged folks with few local family who lose a lease only to see the prospects of their monthly rent tripling. The other demographic are low income families who cannot get to the top of the list on subsidized housing or, god forbid, low income families who cannot qualify because both parents work and are trying to get ahead!

Charles Dickens wrote a book called a “Tale of Two Cities” where he  is famously quoted “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. People get mad that some of us keep bringing this up, but it is the #1 issue in California, facing millennials, families, the middle class, middle aged and seniors. We are living in one of the greatest economies of most of our lives, yet some of the most fundamental means of our existence are at the very worst of our existence. A scenario of the haves versus the have nots.

The full quote by Dickens:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Winters Warriors are at home tonight in the first round of the playoffs. Go Warriors!

John


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11/19/19 City Council Meeting

City Council Meeting


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Friday Update on November 8 2019

 

All,

Just a few items this week:

  • The passage of the short term rental ordinance (Air bnb) means a couple really simple things. ADU’s are allowed to be rented, purveyors must get a business license, there are over the counter permits for the hosted units (with neighbor notification) and non-hosted will require a conditional use permit. The limit of occupants for any short term rental is 10 persons unless approved by the Planning Commission.
  • Staff is working on a $160k SB 2 Grant application which will include projects for the advancement of a Climate Action Plan and a thorough status review of the City’s General Plan. Both these are on the City’s “planning project list” and will be significant projects. We will be meeting with consultants helping the State’s Housing and Community Development Department on our application next week and a resolution will be before the City Council on November 19. The deadline for grant submittals in November 30.
  • The topic of housing is a major issue nationally and California is being called out as the worst offender in the housing crisis. Here is an interesting article from NYC media giant Bloomberg on their take on where things stand in our State.  https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2019-california-housing-crisis/?utm_source=pocket-newtab
  • Staff is working on a community outreach strategy for the many 2020 planning projects. While community meetings are nice, they are not very well attended by the younger generations who are essentially under represented on many issues involving housing and economic development. If anyone has ideas on surveys or means for community engagement outside of public meetings, I would love to hear from you. Send me an email!

Finally, today is the one year anniversary of the Camp Fire which essentially wiped out the communities of Paradise and Magalia in the Butte County hills. A day and occurrence which changed and shaped the lives of many.

What I remember most about the entire incident was that our Winters Fire Staff was on the fire less than 5 hours after it started. Their reports back were almost unbelievable as they were assigned directly into the middle of the Town of Paradise as the reported back that the “entire town was on fire”. As the night time came, I began getting calls from residents here in town who had family and friends who lived in Paradise and were curious as to whether their homes were standing. In all, I took 6 calls and asked our team to drive by the addresses. In each instance, they send back photo’s of fire places and chimney’s standing alone. It absolutely broke my heart for those folks.

During the next couple days Winters Police was deployed to the area for security as was our Police Champlain Robert Duvall and K9-Kepi. Without hesitation, our officers went to those communities to provide aid. Robert worked on some of the most heart wrenching assignments and notification.

I couldn’t have been prouder to say I was from Winters in the coming weeks as reports of the efforts of our staff came in. In total, our deployment was almost 14 days.

The next weekend, we held a fundraiser at Berryessa Brewing which raised almost $15,000 for fire victims which is pretty good for a community our size.

I have worked with the folks in Paradise on their recovery.

Thanks,

John


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11/12/19 Planning Commission Meeting

Planning Commission Meeting


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Friday Update on November 1, 2019

 

All,

A crazy couple of weeks with PSPS, wind and power outages. I will share that I don’t think I have ever been as swamped with some really serious issues in my time as City Manager in Winters.

Here are the items for the November 5, 2019 City Council Meeting: HERE is a link to the entire packet.

  • Vacation Rental Ordinance- Second Reading
  • Community Choice Aggregation- Second Reading
  • Civic Spark Fellow Presentation on Climate Resiliency
  • Inspection Agreement for Wastewater Influent Screen Project
  • Storm Drain Pipe Purchase for Second Street
  • Newt’s Expressway Undergrounding Easement
  • Budget Adjustments for the FY 2019-20
  • Human Resources/Payroll Software Purchase
  • SCADA System Software Upgrade Purchase

Some notes on things from the past couple weeks:

  • The PSPS, wind and outages wreaked havoc throughout Winters. Downed trees, power lines, blown transformers made for a tough couple of days for many. Lots of trees down or just broken. Our Public Works Staff has worked tirelessly trimming trees, taking out broken limbs and removing debris.
  • The Affordable Housing Steering Committee met on Tuesday and received a very impressive presentation from Neighborworks, a non profit agency which helps facilitate affordable “sweat equity” housing opportunities. The same company facilitated the Putah Creek Hamlet Subdivision in the early 2000’s and is looking to do a similar project on a two acre piece the City owns in the Winters Highlands Subdivision. We will work on moving this project forward through negotiations with Neighborworks and their architect.
  • Staff is in discussions with Homes by Towne regarding issues on densities and product in future phases of their subdivision to create more affordable units than their current product mix. The plan is to generate some ideas, take it before the Design Review Committee then get it before the Planning Commission and City Council. Lots of very preliminary and creative thinking based on input from many folks.
  • Staff was in Sacramento last week meeting with officials with the State Water Resources Control Board and Cal EPA on the topic of Hexavalent Chromium 6 and the upcoming release of an economic study and revised Maximum Contaminant Levels. In the meetings, I worked to stress the impacts of enacting regulation which would economically strangle the City’s water system, creating massive increases to water rates and impacting the most vulnerable parts of our community, Seniors and lower income. Looks like I will be going back in a couple weeks to meet with more officials and tell our story.
  • The costs of being a small city will become evident in 2020 with new stormwater regulations which will begin hitting California. As with the Cr 6 regulation, stormwater will become a HUGE issue in 2020, requiring new facilities, maintenance and monitoring. The City currently has no funding source for stormwater other than the General Fund and this simply will not support the needs we expect to encounter.
  • A biggie on the stormwater side will be the elimination of green waste in the street. We are one of only about 4 cities in California which allows our residents to throw trash in the street. This will be controversial and cause people to be upset, but it is an inevitable solution to alleviating forms of pollution into our waterways.
  • I had a wonderful meeting with someone who is working on a plan for teen activities in Winters. If you are interested in working on this or have ideas, let me know and I will forward your contact information.

Finally, a couple notes on amazing community leadership doing positive things for Winters.

  • The Hispanic Advisory Committee (HAC) will be hosting a Dia de los Muertos celebration at the Winters Cemetery from 4-6 on Saturday, November 2. The HAC not only brings us the Festival de La Communidad/Carnitas Festival, but also education workshop, citizenship forums and outreach into our latino community. These folks are some of the nicest and committed people in our community who bring positive energy and solutions to their outreach.
  • Project Playground celebrated the two year anniversary of the construction of the most amazing playground in the region at City Park. The project was a blessing and gift to the Winters Community, enabling regular folks to participate in building something larger than any one individual could accomplish. If you want to add some incredible vibes to your day, cruise by City Park and watch the children attacking all aspects of that structure and loving life on the zip line. Amazing leadership which gave us all a wonderful gift. I still sit amazed and impressed with the folks I had the opportunity to work with on getting that project done.
  • Winters Fire took resident Marie Hendrix and members of her family to a Sacramento Kings Game this week. Marie was severely injured when she and her father were tragically hit by a drunk driver on Road 31 literally days before her graduation from WHS in 2012. The team from Winters Fire showed that the little things in life can make a big difference. Marie is now a beautiful young woman dealing with some significant issues and it was wonderful to see her enjoying a night out with our firefighters.
  • Eagle Drug Owner Jodie Becker and resident Duane Davis were coordinators of the Inaugural Spooktacular 10k/5k/Fun Run on Sunday, October 27. Windy conditions did not deter 200 diehards who ran the race, helping raise funds for the Rotary College Promise which funds scholarships for Winters High School students to attend 2 years of community college, expense free. Jodie and Duane are amazing and selfless folks who have brought a new event which will grow and continue to benefit our town.

WHS Warriors are home tonight against Durham, the Winters Fire Shrimp Feed is Saturday Night, Dia De los Muertos at the Cemetery and Winters AYSO will conclude their season with their regional tournament at Waggoner School.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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11/05/19 City Council Meeting

11/05/19 City Council Meeting  (PDF): Agenda (Rev) / Packet (Rev)


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YCTD YoloGo – Upcoming Pop-Up Workshops

Help plan for the future of transit in the region.

YoloGO is a regional effort to improve Yolobus transit services so they better serve our communities.

To do this, we need to hear from you! Take a few minutes to learn about Yolobus’ services and some of the key choices we have to make. Then, provide your input by answering ten questions. Click and scroll down to get started!

YoloGo Upcoming Pop up workshops


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October Newsletter

City of Winters October Newsletter
October 2019 Newsletter


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Youth Basketball

Youth Title
Attention all Youth Basketball Players!!  (CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO AND REGISTRATION FORMS)

The City of Winters will once again be sponsoring youth basketball for boys and girls from kindergarten through the 8th grade.

Starting October 14th, registration forms will be available at City Hall in the finance office and on the City’s website at www.cityofwinters.org under the recreation tab. The registration fee is $ 40 for players that do not need a jersey and $50 per player that do need a jersey. There will be late registration but everyone will be put on a wait list. Late registration has a fee of $70 per player.

Drop off your completed participant registration forms and the appropriate registration fee by 5 p.m. on Nov. 8th at City Hall, or mail to City of Winters, Attn: Youth Basketball, 318 First Street, Winters, CA 95694.

For more information, message Coordinator Ruben Valencia at WintersYB@yahoo.com or call Diana Tafolla at City Hall, 795-4910, extension 100.

Volunteers Needed for Youth Basketball

The youth basketball program relies solely on volunteers to be coaches, assistant coaches, team parents, referees, etc. Your help is always needed and would be greatly appreciated.

For those that would like to volunteer, paperwork can be picked up and returned to City Hall. Volunteer paperwork can also be found on the City’s website at www.cityofwinters.org under the recreation tab but will still need to be turned into city hall.

For more information, message Coordinator Ruben Valencia at WintersYB@yahoo.com or call Diana Tafolla at City Hall, 795-4910, extension 100.


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Friday Update on October 18 2019

 

All,

A short recap of my week and the week ahead:

  • The Hispanic Advisory Committee will be holding a Dia de los Muertos Celebration at the Winters Cemetery from 4-6 pm on Saturday, November 2, 2019. Folks from the Winters Cemetery have stepped up to make this really wonderful cultural event happen. Look for more about this next week. Music, singing and the celebration of our dearly departed.
  • We met with neighbors of the Olive Grove Subdivision to go over progress made to help prevent water issues in the coming winter. Nice people with legitimate concerns. They proved the most concerned issues can be worked through and forward momentum can be achieved!
  • I had an opportunity to present before the Davis League of Women’s Voters to talk planning and General Plan stuff. Nice people with lots of really good questions.
  • Getting ready for round 2 of Chromium 6 presentations next week. I will be meeting with key folks from the Division of Drinking Water is what should be just a joyful time! This regulatory issue is one of the biggest threats to our community.
  • Getting ready for the 2019 Rotary Spooktacular 10k/5/k/Fun Run next Sunday, October 27, 2019 beginning at 7:00 in Rotary Park. This will be a really fun, family event to help raise scholarship monies for Winters High School Students!

Finally, we held our Bi-Annual Library Steering Committee meeting this week with the City, Yolo County and Winters Joint Unified School District.

Over the past year, we have worked to fund some improvements and repairs at the Community Library. The City/County/WJUSD funded $25,000 toward new flooring, paint and some key repairs in the public areas. The Winters Friends of the Library (WFOL) funded $30,000 toward a new audio visual system for the public meeting rooms. I was simply blown away!!!

WFoL really is one of the finest organizations in our community. They have funded key improvements, were a spearheading part of the construction of the library, fund extended hours, sponsor education programs and present an incredible speakers series and other programming. WFoL was also the largest community organization donor to Project Playground and has been very generous in mentoring other groups on the Big Day of Giving. The leaders of WFoL are some of the most gracious and community minded people I know in our town. To say I was surprised by the donation is not really true, more so that sometimes you have to cheer for their long term commitment to making things better for all who live in Winters. I am really grateful to be able to work with these folks on so many projects. Cheers to WFoL!

Have a nice weekend!

John


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Friday Update for October 11 2019

 

All,

The City Council Meeting for October 15 will include:

  • Public Hearing on Vacation Rental Ordinance
  • Fire Hydrant Ordinance
  • Community Choice Aggregation Ordinance
  • Resolution requiring Planning Applications with Annexation to be approved by City Council
  • Hotel Winters Pubic Improvements Acceptance
  • On-Call Map Checking and Surveying Services
  • Surplus Property Approval- Fire Truck

This week was full of Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). A couple highlights:

  • The key infrastructure for the City performed pretty well. There were no issues with water and sewer services which proceeded uninterrupted. We had an incident with one generator, but traffic services went without issues and overall execution was well done in our overall response.
  • Downtown lost all power for almost 24 hours. The businesses get a gold medal for working together on refrigeration of food and overall collaboration.
  • The City had Yolo OES in our staff meeting this morning and they will be using the efforts by our business community as a model for future business response in other communities. The use of a refrigeration trailer and the overall coordination get an A+ and will be used in future PSPS incidents.
  • Kudo’s to the local PG&E folks who coordinate the local lines for getting the City with power. Our understanding is that it was the locals who re-routed circuitry to get most power on before 6 am and the balance of the City on by the evening. There is a lot to this and unquestionably, the women and men in the field who do all the work had our residents back on things. Lots of appreciation to those workers in an impossible situation for them.

This Sunday, October 13, Berryessa Brewing will celebrate their 8th Birthday Party at their location on 128. This is a highlight of the year for an incredible local business who have put us on the national beer making map! Help celebrate 8 years of production, 7 years of tap room fun! Doors open at noon sharp! A day of specialty beers, live music of Dead Winter CarpentersAchilles Wheel, and The Casual Coalition with special guests! Climbing wall, food trucks and art booths make for a great day for the entire family! $20 in advance guarantees entry and comes with a 16oz double walled stainless steel souvenir cup. 10% of door proceeds are donated to Winters Schools Music Boosters. Tickets are available online via Eventbrite or cash only at the door while they last. Outside pouring stations and door charge are cash only so be sure to bring cash.

Lori and Chris Miller came to Winters with an incredible vision for brewing great locally crafted beers and they have more than set the standard for excellence in our community. Their creation of a destination business brings people from all over the west coast to sample award winning beers in an amazing location with a vibe which is second to none. They are a business which is very generous to our local organizations, sponsoring music, the arts and our local fire efforts to name a few.

Have a nice weekend and see you there.

John


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PSPS Update and Playoff Game Invite

No Power- Come watch the Dodgers/Nationals Game at the Fire Station Tonight

For those residents who do not have power or a place to watch tonight’s Game 5 of the NLDS between the Dodgers and Nationals, folks can come by the Public Safety Facility and into the Fire Apparatus Bay to watch the game with the Fire Department Staff.

All you need to do is bring a soccer chair and your own drinks, the Fire Department will supply the popcorn. The game starts at 5:37 so come on by.

PSPS Update on October 9 2019 at 12:00

As of now, approximately 2/3 of the City has power with the core area of town, including the Downtown without power.

In our discussions with key folks with OES and PG&E, they have said that if your power is off now, you will be off for the duration of the event which is Thursday in the afternoon. If your power is on, there is a very good chance you will stay on through the duration. It looks like they have tightened the maps and vulnerable areas to refine the shut offs.

The height of the wind event is predicted to occur Wednesday (today) afternoon into Thursday afternoon. The potential for additional shut offs will continue.

The Community Resource Center has been set up on the corner of E. Abbey and Railroad Ave in Downtown. If persons have need for charging, water or air conditioning, that will be the place.

Water and Sewer services have operated without interruption and we expect that to continue without issue.

Stay tuned for further updates.


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10/15/19 City Council Meeting


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