A short update in a week which has been pretty busy:
First, a recap of the City Council Meeting:
The March 3 City Council will be a short agenda with a reclassification of an Account Clerk, Downtown Car Show permit, municipal banking services and a presentation from the City’s Insurance Authority.
The Planning Commission will be considering a subdivision and affordable housing plan for the Walnut 10 Project. This is a 50 lot subdivision on Walnut Lane.
Finally, on Thursday, I attended the annual luncheon for the Solano Economic Development Corporation which provided their update on advancing the Solano economy and their overall strategies on business attraction. I would describe their efforts as “platinum” level with a highly experienced and professional management which will bring business, jobs and vitality to the region. The have been very welcoming to the City of Winters (we are the only non-Solano County member) and the overall experience from the day was awesome.
The keynote for the luncheon is a business locating into Vacaville called “Thistle”. They are a prepackaged, plant based meal business which currently employees over 400 employees and will eventually grow to almost 800 employees with their expansion. They are the perfect business for the region and their CEO provided a very dynamic view on how they will become an important community partner. To check them out, go to www.thistle.co
Have a nice weekend.
A quick review of the City Council Agenda for February 18, 2020:
Discussion Items are mostly direction on appointments and feedback:
The consent calendar:
Also presenting will be Ron Turner, representing the 100 Club of Solano & Yolo Counties presenting a donation to the Chaplaincy and Crisis Intervention Program for the Winters Police Department.
This weeks edition is just a download of things on the City Manager’s Calendar and key items on the horizon.
Finally, a little bit about planning and why the City does it. I tell every councilmember and planning commissioner that the decisions we make or don’t make today will determine what we have or don’t have tomorrow. People are worried about “change”, but the reality is that Winters is changing daily and the Winters of 2020 is dramatically different than the Winters of 2000. In 2000, half of the Downtown was empty and deteriorating buildings. Preserve, Steady Eddies, Chuy’s, Turkovich Wines Spin a Yarn, Berryessa Gap, El Pueblo, Ficelle, Velo City, Winters Healthcare, Scoop, Arc Guitar, Yolo Traders all did not exist. In 2003, we closed the old car bridge for two weeks in fear that the high creek flows would make it collapse. The Downtown “looked” very different with rusted cobra head streetlights, broken sidewalks, empty storefronts and literally a single business (Buckhorn) open on the busiest evenings. The planning for renewed vibrancy and investment, important infrastructure improvements “changed” things into what we have today.
This also has to do with the services we provide. In 2004, the swimming pool was condemned, the library was a wet, mildew filled mess on First Street and the public safety facility did not exist.
I will share a short story on where we have come from in the area of services.
In 2001, Winters Fire discontinued its basic life support (bls) ambulance services because they were unable to adequately staff the unit and adhere to the requirements of an ambulance license in California. For advanced ambulance service (like we have today from AMR), the acceptable response time for service was 20 minutes (our ambulance came from Davis then). Our current service response is under 4 minutes. When I started as the CM in Winters and they told me of the 20 minute response time, I thought they were joking. In Southern California, if you were more than 4 minutes, you lost your ambulance franchise. All I knew is that 20 minutes meant you were basically dead!
Recently, an anniversary hit on my calendar which I know has changed the lives of many people and embodies the reason why it is important to never settle for the way things are and to keep moving forward.. It also gives a perspective that some things take a lot of time.
In 2004, our Fire staff and volunteers were dispatched by these radio “pagers” which provided an audio alarm and call out for incidents. When the call was picked up by the responding unit, you could listen in on the call and what was happening.
One morning, the pager went off (I had one) for a very well known Winters resident who was “not feeling well”. Winters Fire staff responded to the call and met the person and their spouse in the dining room of their home. The call for the ambulance said they were responding from West Sacramento! They talked with the individual who was completely lucid and could talk and describe what was going on. Within seconds, the person dropped to the floor of their home in full cardiac arrest.
I listened as the ambulance was stuck in traffic on the causeway. Our staff began defibrillation procedures, then began CPR which they attempted until the ambulance arrived almost 30 minutes later. Over the radio I could hear the frustration of the ambulance crew stuck in traffic. I could hear the strain in the voice of our Fire staff (who never gave up) who would periodically come up on the radio with dispatch. I listened as they reported that the individual was deceased. All because advanced life support and medications were not available to save their life.
I immediately ran down to the Fire Station on Abbey Street and to talk with our Fire Chief Scott Dozier. Scotty was strong and stoic and basically told me “that these thing happen” in our area. I could not accept what I was being told and honestly, I cried. The result, we became an organization on a mission.
For the next 7 years, we worked to change ambulance services in Winters. This involved planning for a new public safety facility (which we moved into in 2011), gaining representation on local emergency medical response boards and mostly exploring every functional, political and administrative avenue possible to departing the then existing structure in ambulance licensing so we could improve things. As a small jurisdiction, our ability to maneuver services takes time and sometimes four times the effort.
On February 6, 2013, an ambulance drove into the first space of the apparatus bay of the City’s public safety facility where they have been stationed every 24 hours a day since. Because of this service, we have experienced more than a dozen “life saves” and countless responses which have changed the lives of countless numbers of people and their families.
From this entire experience, I learned what heroes really look like and realized that there truly are angels amongst us. They are staff like Brad Lopez and Art Mendoza and the entire Winters Fire organization which lived in the “old world” of EMS in Winters. It is volunteers like Barb and Terry Karlen who drove the Winters Ambulance (Barb drove while Terry worked on the people in the back). It is people like Phil Hoag and the AMR Ambulance Team who bring people back to life.
Probably my biggest hero was a guy named Scotty Dozier who not only lived all of this, but was the one who produced the documents which enabled us to perform an unbelievable political power play which got us to the service we now enjoy each day. Scotts legacy will live forever in our town.
Mostly, we learned to never give up trying to make things better and advancing the community. It may save someone’s life.
Happy Valentines Day.
A super busy week when I need to attend the State City Manager’s Annual Meeting and take care of things back at home. Not easy!
A couple items:
The bulky item cost is little over $60 a year to each residence. We keep this in the franchise as an outlet for people to get rid of excess and large trash items conveniently and with some cost controls. We also have it to help with overall code enforcement and to help prevent illegal dumping in the areas around the City. Some folks use it, some don’t and our attempts at addressing it are part of an overall management of the waste system. Stay tuned on this.
Finally, this weeks meeting of City Manager’s led to a focus on the really big issues facing our nation’s most populated State. The top issues without question are the homeless, availability of affordable housing, transit and the impacts of pension costs on the future of service delivery by cities. I also attended a presentation on economic development issues in rural communities. These are all enormous issues but I will share a couple takeaways.
Homelessness is not just an urban issue, it is quickly becoming a rural reality and the rights and obligations for homeless populations will accrue to all jurisdictions will quickly come upon all of us. The need to allow homeless in parks and open space areas will become the norm and the ability to enforce loitering and even trespass will become more and more difficult. At City Hall, we get many calls and complaints regarding homeless in the creek and other locations and frankly, there is not a whole lot we can do to restrict individuals doing so. Eventually, the requirement to consider housing alternatives may become more pressing and the need to outreach into our own community to help these individuals will come upon us. Monies for affordable housing previously was facilitated through redevelopment funding which annually provided more than $2 billion to generate housing for low, very low and even very, very low income individuals. That void has not been filled in the 10 years since the dissolution of redevelopment and last years housing funding legislation (SB 5) was vetoed by the Governor. Many cities and counties are now reaching into their General Funds to address homelessness and we can eventually expect that to become a reality in Winters. California is home to more than 130,000 homeless and almost a quarter of all homeless in the US reside in the State because of our weather, social services, the cost of housing, our economy and many other factors.
Rural economic development was a session I sat in and the reality is that Winters is the exception to the rule for most rural and semi-rural communities. While we have found success in the revitalization of our Downtown, most are not experiencing the same and for most, the classic downtown will become the relic of a bygone era. The advent of online purchasing has simply flipped the paradigm for how people purchase literally every product on the market from everyday food and clothing to car parts and valentines gifts. Believe or not, that Amazon Prime delivery person will now be your new butcher for many people!
The sustainability of our Downtown needs to be a constant focus. The vitality of the business community, generating customers and attracting people offline and into our local stores is critical. As one speaker said, “there has to constantly be a there- there” so people will want to come out of their homes, get offline, to visit, socialize and experience your downtown. Winters benefits from our proximity to urban areas but those same benefits create volatility which makes investment a risk. The ability for businesses to constantly reinvest in marketing the local “brand”, refresh themselves, make a profit, employ people and maintain themselves within a larger context is important. The job of the City in being able to shape a positive reality of the future to drive business and investment.
Winters always gets called out for our success which is mostly attributable to the fact that we have a tremendous business core and made a couple strategic investments in infrastructure. I tell people “we get more out of two blocks than most get out of 20”. In all honestly, I left the session both gratified and scared to death at the same time. Lot’s of opportunity and volatility on our horizon.
And really finally, for the folks who were upset with my prognostication misses on the Super Bowl last week need to just rest a bit and wait for next year. First, who knew both defenses would be absolutely shut down against tremendous offenses. Second, the momentum changer was the bogus pass interference call against George Kittle in the second quarter which would have put the Niners up going into the half. I also think some key players were more hurt than advertised which meant the rush against the pass just exhausted the 49er defensive line which allowed the KC come back in the fourth quarter. KC had a good game plan, mixed their overall defensive coverage and deserved the win. For the Niners, they have a very young team, room in the NFL salary cap and good leadership in their front office with John Lynch (super good guy) and Kyle Shanahan/staff. My prediction for 2021 is the 49ers will beat the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl LV!
Have a nice week.
Lot’s on the City Council Agenda for Tuesday.
A couple items for update:
Finally, my Super Bowl LIV Prediction. I am a staunch believer that you win with Defense. The 49ers have, without question the best defensive front 7 in the NFL, rivaling even their greatest years. Kansas City is probably weaker up front on D but overall they are better against the run than the embarrassing Green Bay Packers meaning Jimmy G will need to throw the ball. KC has better coverage from their linebackers and corners than the 49ers have faced in the playoffs which will benefit in dealing with the awesomeness of George Kittle. My favorite 49er is clearly Richard Sherman who will thrive in the Super Bowl atmosphere. Patrick Mahomes will also thrive but I really think Jimmy G who has been to multiple Super Bowls will have a better focus when it comes to the fourth quarter. My prediction is to take the “over” (the current Vegas line is only 54.5) and the 49ers will win the game behind 2 long Robbie Gould field goals, a Richard Sherman “pick 6” and Kittle shredding the weakness of the KC safeties with a couple long TD catches to become the MVP. Niners 39 KC 26
The City is interested in having a group of regular lap swimmers (around 5 individuals) to certify as volunteer lifeguards. For the upcoming swim season, the City’s goal is to always have two certified guards available during lap swim sessions. There will always be a paid guard on duty who is primarily responsible for guarding . The volunteer guard simply needs to be at the pool site for the entire two hour shift, however, the volunteer guard could swim during this time. The volunteer guard would be a backup only if something were to happen and the paid guard needed assistance to rescue an injured swimmer from the pool.
The City of Vacaville is holding its next Lifeguard Training Session during President’s Day Weekend. It is a comprehensive in-water course:
Participants must first complete an American Red Cross online course (approximately 7 hours). The cost for the Vacaville Course is $160. You can sign up online (although it appears that their website has been compromised) or in person at the main office on Alamo (near the Graham Aquatic Center).
City Manager Donlevy has offered that there will be some type or reciprocal deal, whereby the volunteer guards will get free swims in lieu of doing shifts – details to follow. Volunteer lifeguards will also have to be Live Scanned, but the City has agreed to cover the cost of this.
Just a few items today, but look for a very expanded update next week:
Don Saylor’s Soup’s On Event: Thursday, January 30, 2020
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
NEW LOCATION: Veterans’ Memorial Center
203 E. 14th Street, Davis
Ticket Info: https://soupsonacme.brownpapertickets.com/
Finally, Saturday night is the Winters Chamber of Commerce’s Year in Review which recognizes the Citizens of the Year, Business of the Year, Senior Citizens of the Year and the recipient of the Theodore Winters Award for recent service to the City.
Citizens of the Year are Barb and Terry Karlen. The reality is that their 35 years with Winters Fire has impacted this community in a manner which should beatify them into sainthood as they represent the many men and women who have saved lives and property in our community. From coordinating explorers to running on fires and medical emergencies, Barb and Terry’s dedication to the community continues day in and day out. One of their most important contributions was the time that they drove the Winters Ambulance. Because of their efforts, we now have paramedic level services in our town. The fraternity which are the Citizens of the Year is an amazing group and Terry and Barb will be amongst the top for their service.
Business of the Year is Turkovich Wines. Without question, Chris and Luciana have put Winters on the California wine map, but in reality they have brought so much more. Their entire team has set the bar for excellence in advancing the “Winters” brand, promoting our town to writers from throughout the world and making Winters the destination it has become. From www.Visit128.com to leadership within the Downtown on key issues and in the region, the generosity of time and commitment to raising the vitality of the business community puts them as one of the City’s biggest assets.
The Theodore Winters Award is going to Gino Mediati, the Manager of Pacific Ace Hardware. Gino does not know how to say “no” and has quietly been one of the number one benefactors to many community organizations from Project Playground to Winters High School. Gino and the entire team were honored a few years ago as a very deserving “Business of the Year”. Truthfully, it takes leadership and will at the top of the store and Gino is that guy!
Senior Citizens of the Year goes to the “Gorilla Gardener’s” who will be represented by Ellie Yeatman and Nikki Chapman. The best way to describe the Gorilla Gardener’s is that they are the ones committed to making Downtown Winters look really good. From planting flowers to just trimming everything up, they are constantly giving their time to keeping out town beautiful.
The Year in Review is really a special tradition for Winters in recognizing those who are unselfishly giving of themselves and making a positive difference in our town. Cheers to those being honored!
Have a nice weekend.
We are accepting applications to fill an alternate position on the Board of Winters Senior Commission on Aging.
The Application of Appointment to City Board and Commissions and the Resolution of the Winters City Council establishing the Winters Senior Commission on Aging can be found on the City of Winters website at http://www.cityofwinters.org/winters-senior-commission-on-aging/. Prospective applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have a Winters address. Please email completed Applications of Interest in Appointed Positions to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also drop completed applications off or mail to City of Winters, Attn: Tracy Jensen, City Clerk, 318 First Street, Winters, CA 95694.
For more information, call 530-794-6702.
An update on some key items:
A couple other updates:
Workshop on How to do Community Engagement- Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.
In 2020 and 2021, we will be working on a number of key planning effforts including the City’s Housing Element, SB 2 funded projects, the development of a Climate Action Plan and a City limits specific plan. The goal of the January 21 workshop is to begin the development of a community outreach and engagement strategy to help facilitate a broad crossection of community input into these important subjects.
This Joint Workshop of the City Council and the Planning Commission is to focus on the development of a Community Engagement Stratgy for the City of Winters. The workshop will NOT include or focus on any specific issues or topics other than community engagement.
We will be covering many issues over the next few years including our Housing Element, Climate Action Plan, SB 2 Planning Topics and a City Limits Specific Plan. THIS IS NOT THAT MEETING! This is an opportunity for us to get input on outreach and engagement before we begin anything specific on any topics. This is foundational and a chance for us to begin the groundwork for how we will get input on the bigger issues. How we outreach and communicate is a critical component, so we are starting now by trying to get input up front on the how we do it.
Some specifics on the goals of the meeting:
The workshop will include the following elements:
To watch the City Council Meeting on our Youtube Channel, go here: http://www.cityofwinters.org/live-city-council-meetings/
To join the meeting on Facebook Live, go here: https://www.facebook.com/City-of-Winters-CA-106291445827/