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Category Archives: City Manager’s Update

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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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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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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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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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PSPS Update on October 8 2019- Community Resource Center Location

 

PSPS Update at 5:00- Community Resources Center- Winters

A Community Resource Center will be available on the property located at the corner of Railroad Ave/E. Abbey Street in Downtown Winters, starting Wednesday, 10/9 at 8:00 am to 6:00 pm until the PSPS event has concluded. Available will be: restrooms, bottled water, electronic device charging, A/C, seating for up to 100 people.

Thanks

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager


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PSPS Update on October 8 2019 at 4:30

 

All,

In preparation for the planned power shut off, the City has implemented as follows:

  • Here is a map of the area affected by the Public Safety Power Shutdown https://yolo.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=5951a87cddb84b3ab684014dc3dd5456/
  • We do NOT foresee any issues with either Water or Sewer Services. We have backup generators which will power the City facilities which we expect to run normally.
  • The City is working with the Yolo Office of Emergency Services and PG&E for a “Community Resource Center” (CRC) to be located in town. These are air conditioned locations where people can also power up their devices and get a little power. Stay tuned for a confirmed location which will be in town
  • For residents who live in the country areas around the City (Golden Bear, Positas, Yolo and Solano County Areas) we will have a fire hydrant at the corner of Valley Oak and 128 with a hose for folks to get water. For residents in Golden Bear and the flatter area, Winters Fire will offer water deliver for folks with large animals. Go to this Google document to make a reservation https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSexQRkxsWFGg-H0JVEZ5rqh34QcoCJsemn_zhnJ4geMpIzc9g/viewform?usp=pp_url
  • No water deliveries will be available to Positas or Solano County but those residents can get water at the Valley Oak/128 location.
  • City Hall will relocate our operations to the Public Safety Facility, 700 Main Street beginning at 10:00 a.m. on October 9. Building Permit pick up and utility bill drop off will be available. For those just dropping off bill payment, the City Hall drop box is still available.

Thanks and stay tuned.

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager


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PSPS for tonight is ON!

City Manager Update
All,

Both through a conference call and direct notification from the PG&E spokesperson, they have made the decision to shut down power for Winters. Plan for power to be off early in the morning on October 9.

Stay tuned for more updates.

John


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Possible Public Safety Power Shutdown- October 8 thru 11 2019

City Manager Update
The City of Winters has been notified of the possibility that a Public Safety Power Shutdown may occur as early as the late evening of October 8, 2019, affecting the entire City of Winters, Golden Bear Estates, Positas and Winters areas in both Yolo and Solano Counties. The plan is also expected to impact other Yolo County areas west of the I505.

The outages are based on wind events which are predicted to come into the area beginning at 4:00 am on Wednesday, October 9 and last into Friday, October 11, 2019. Power may be out for as many as five (5) days.
The City is mobilizing our operations to facilitate water and wastewater operations, public safety and the possibility of the City being without power for a couple days.

Information from the City will be via the City of Winters Facebook Page as well as the Winters Fire and Winters Police. Folks can get information via the PGE Website by clicking HERE .
To get information directly to your cell phone, sign up for YOLO Alert by clicking HERE.

We will be updating our social media pages and sending emails through our distribution lists regularly as information becomes available, so please check back with us.

Thanks.

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager


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Friday Update on October 5 2019 – Being the Best – Buckhorn Steakhouse Edition

 

All,

Today’s update is simply about being the best!

We produce some of the finest food in the world in Winters, California. We are a leading edge area for agricultural production, innovation and excellence in the products which are produced and delivered throughout the world. Our economy is the “Pacific Rim”, we are international because our quality surpasses even the most rigid standards among nations. Nuts, oils, wine, rootstock, tomatoes and seed. Nobody compares to what we do around here!

Last week the Buckhorn was awarded the “Legendary Steakhouse” award while attending the annual Certified Angus Beef Conference in Asheville, North Carolina. An amazing award and accomplishment.

The Buckhorn embodies pride, care and excellence in how they conduct their business. Few restaurants have their own in house butcher or train their staff to the levels done in Winters. Few care about the quality which is experienced on every single plate. Its happening every day at 2 Main Street in Winters.

Check out this video on the Buckhorn. https://www.facebook.com/CertifiedAngusBeef/videos/583166725553169/UzpfSTEwNTAxMDA1Mjg3NjU4MjoyNjMxMTc1MTU2OTI2NzEz/?q=buckhorn%20steakhouse&epa=SEARCH_BOX

We are truly blessed by what goes on around here.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on September 27 2019

 

All,

A bunch of information for a busy couple of weeks:

City Council Agenda for October 1:

  • Bus Sharing Agreement with the Hotel Winters
  • March General Election
  • Senior Commission Appointments
  • Salmon Festival sound permit
  • Traffic Engineering On call agreement
  • GHG Analysis with Yolo County Region
  • Subdivision Improvement Agreement- Stones Throw Phase II
  • Utility Easement- Callahan Estates
  • Community Dinner Seed Money.

Discussion Items will include:

  • Fire Hydrant Distance Modifications from 15 feet to 5 feet
  • Lease Agreement for the John Rodgers Building
  • 2019 Planning Work Program
  • Valley Clean Energy Membership
  • Rotary Spooktacular 10k/5k/Fun Run on October 27, 2019

A presentation from the District Attorney’s Office on Elder Abuse will also be on the meeting. Get the entire City Council Agenda and Packet here http://www.cityofwinters.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/2019_1001CityCouncilPacket.pdf

A couple notes on things in the works:

  • Staff participated in a meeting with Yolo County and Caltrans to discuss the environmental review for projects associated with a $250,000 SACOG Grant for the I505 overcrossing, Russell Blvd Pedestrian Improvements and the City’s Complete Streets Program along Grant Ave. A really productive meeting which was facilitated by Supervisor Don Saylor’s Office. Really good partnerships are occurring and Caltrans is an important part of all of it.
  • The same meeting also discussed pedestrian concerns on Grant Ave in relation to WJUSD students crossing grant as well as other pedestrians.
  • Staff met with folks from the State Housing and Community Development Department regarding our unsuccessful grant application for the construction of the Senior Center. In the application period, they received 15 construction project applications and only funded 1. In 2020, they will be combining 2019 and 2020 funds into a single “over the counter” application process which will favor “shovel ready” projects which will be more conducive to the Senior Center application. This is good news and we will pursue this opportunity with vigor!
  • Staff participated in Yolo County Meetings on Homelessness, with the release of recommendations on streamlining and creating a more effective governance network for addressing this issue County-wide. Overall some really good stuff and the prospects for moving forward on what is becoming one of the biggest and most critical issues in California.
  • The Planning Commission met regarding the Air BnB Ordinance and revised part of their recommendations which will be forwarded back to the City Council. We have a stellar group on the PC who come prepared and provide some insightful review and recommendations. A real business atmosphere with people who are representing the town well.

Saturday is the Carnitas/Festival de la Communidad starting at 4:00. A real family event with music, information, food and festival. A first class event for everyone!

See you there.

John


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Friday the 13th Update for September 11 2019

 

All,

An early edition as I am dealing with a number of things over the next few days and next week.

A couple items:

  • Staff met with some folks this week regarding planning, growth and big picture issues and it was a really good meeting. Staff is working on an overall plan for community engagement, education and the ability for folks to get involved in some key projects like the upcoming Housing Element Update, Climate Change and General Plan Stuff. You can get the gist of what we are working on from the August 30 Friday Update or look for the initial staff report which will go to the City Council on October 1, 2019. Here is the link to the August 30 update (<click)
  • Disappointment last week when the City was notified that we were not awarded a grant for the construction of the Senior Center Project. We will apply again in Spring, 2020!
  • The Hotel Winters enjoyed a “soft” opening the weekend of September 6-9 where they had 3 wedding parties and almost 80% occupancy. The Hotel looked amazing and the staff were excellent representatives of our town. Reservations for the coming week can be gotten at www.hotelwinters.com .
  • As hotel guests arrived, the flow of people into the Downtown was very evident. I was in two establishments on Friday and the customer service from our restaurants and tasting rooms was simply first rate. It just warms my heart when I see our town shine! The excellence we have in Winters is beyond reproach and it showed last week.
  • Getting some complaints about construction on the weekends from the new subdivisions. We are working with the developers to get a handle on both time and days for the many subcontractors.
  • Lots of discussion among businesses and groups on insurance requirements and the viability of events. We are scheduling a meeting with key stakeholders and we are going to figure all of this out. Not need to worry about any of the events in town not happening. We just need to work together on all of this!
  • This morning I participated in the 9/11 observance at the Public Safety Facility with members of Winters Fire and Police. It was a very respectful observation of an amazing occurrence. Our public safety personnel paying tribute to the more than 3,000 people who died on that fateful day was simply beautiful. The passion, commitment and loyalty to service is an amazing thing to see. Thanks to both Winters Fire and Police!

Last week I shared a little bit about my first year working for the City and mentioned that 9/11 was my second day on the job. A little more on that fateful day.

I watched the second plane go into the second tower of the World Trade Center when I was getting ready to come to work on that Tuesday morning at my brothers apartment in Sacramento. He had the Today Show on and mentioned a plane crashing into one of the buildings. We watched in horror as a news camera picked up the second plane roaring through Manhattan and exploding into the second tower.

I jumped into my City car, fumbled with the radio and found a talk radio station which was talking about the attack. On the ride to Winters I heard about the attack on the Pentagon and that they were shutting down all air traffic around the Country. Simply surreal.

When I arrived at City Hall, I ran into the building looking for a television. It was janitorial day and the two people looked at me like “who the heck are you” when I asked them for a tv. I spent a couple minutes trying to convince them that I worked here. Finally I showed the one guy that I had a key to my office and he bought that I was a new employee! The City only had a single, 13” television, no cable with a really cheap antenna with only a 2’ cord on it. I put the tv on a chair, found a bay area news station and got a horrible, but watchable picture and things unfolded.

Staff began to arrive to work that morning a little before 8. We all gathered in the upstairs conference room and watched the news reports and the eventual collapse of the World Trade Center Towers. What I remember most about the moment of the first collapse was our Recreation Coordinator Gloria Marion grabbing and holding on to my hand as the first building went down. We all stood there in silence, me and Gloria holding hands as the massive dust cloud erupted like a volcano on the New York Skyline. The ghostly figures walking from the streets, covered in grey ash in utter shock. We all had a tear in our eye and nobody really said anything.

Later that morning, our Police Chief, Steve Godden came to my office. He told me that all the government offices in the area were closing as a security measure against terrorism. I told him, that being the new guy, I had to ask why Winters would be a target for international terrorism. He mentioned the dam and we talked it out a bit and decided that we would keep the doors open for folks to come by with any questions.

Gloria Marion was one of the most social people I had ever met. From the theatre productions to her side job styling hair, she seemed to know everybody (and she did). That day it seemed like hundreds of people stopped by City Hall to check in. Most of the people were older, many just looking for someone to talk and visit. I think many were as in shock as all of us and just looking for a little reassurance to share some sorrow. Gloria had an incredible personality and a deep, assuring voice. I can only imagine the number of people she gave solace to that day but it was awesome. She and Nanci Mills held court downstairs and made a difference for many.

Because it was a Tuesday, the town was basically closed during the evening. The Buckhorn was open but nobody was there. Downtown was very different that night than people see it today with the Buckhorn and Tienda Liquor Store being the only businesses open in Downtown. The place was just empty.

We had turned off the little City Hall tv and I remember working late into the evening. I called my wife Kathy and we decided that we did not want our kids to watch the television of what had occurred, so she read to them that evening.

As I got into the car to head to my brothers apartment in Sacramento, I ran into Gloria walking up the street from a hair appointment she had with a customer. I pulled over to offer her a ride (she lived only a block from City Hall but I did not know that) and she politely declined. I thanked her for being there for so many people who visited City Hall that day. I also thanked her for holding my hand that morning as things unfolded. She looked at me and said “You looked scared”. We both smiled at each, laughed and I proceeded to drive off. I knew at that moment that I would really like working with Gloria. And she was right, I was scared!

The warmth of a small town sometimes comes out in different ways. When horrific events happen, its nice to know that we have the type of place where when people have some fear and need comfort, they know they have a place to come.

Thanks,

John


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Friday Update on September 6 2019

City Manager Update Friday Update on September 6 2019
All,

Just a few items this week:

  • The City Council meeting this week had a focus on Valley Clean Energy (VCE) and the possibility of the City participating in their Community Choice Aggregation plan which allows local authority in the purchasing of power and energy. Lot’s of discussion and I encourage people to view the meeting on the City’s YouTube Channel. http://www.cityofwinters.org/live-city-council-meetings/ For more information about VCE and their programs, go to https://valleycleanenergy.org/
  • Lot’s going over the next few weeks, so the City Council decided to adjourn to October 1, 2019 as the next meeting, so no meeting on September 17.
  • Warriors are at home tonight against St. Helena and it will be a tough one!

So, Tuesday, September 10, 2019 will mark my eighteenth (18) year as the City Manager of the City of Winters. It was an exciting week because the terrorist attack on our nation was the following day, September 11, 2001! For those who do not know my background, I grew up in the greater Los Angeles area and that area is a little different than there!

A couple remembrances to share about my first year in town after these 18 years which give me perspective to this day about Winters, California………………..

  • The week following 9-11 was a town hall meeting at the Community Center which was organize in part by Debra DeAngelo and the churches in the community to bring everyone together about the attack. The place was packed with standing room only on to the rear patio. The community had come to share and unite in what had happened to our country. We had a number of speakers including me. The most memorable part of the evening for me was all of the volunteers of Winters Fire lining the back of the room. Many of the speakers talked passionately, but the thing I remember most was the standing ovation for the Fire volunteers in recognition of their service to our community. It was an amazing introduction to me of what was important about the little town of Winters, the volunteers and commitment to community.
  • The mayor of Winters at the time was Tom Stone. Not only is Tom a really great person, but he was highly influential and politically connected in Yolo County (I think he put up more signs for political candidates than anyone). My wife Kathy and I moved our two kids to a double wide mobile home in the middle of a walnut orchard two miles west of town. One of the kindest things is the entire City Council brought us dinner the evening that we arrived. It was one of the kindest gestures we could have ever imagined as our Welcome to Winters.
  • The week after Kathy and the kids arrived was Halloween, one of the most important holidays of the year for kids. Living in the middle of an orchard is not a great location for kids aged 5 and 7, so what the heck to do about trick or treating. I am in my office with long time City Attorney John Wallace talking City business when he looks at me and asks where my kids were going to trick or treat. I explained my dilemma and he proceeds to give me an address on Main Street where Bruce Guelden lived and said to be there with my kids at 6 p.m. and suggested I bring an appetizer and a bottle of wine. It was an amazing night, the kids went out trick or treating with a bunch of other kids from “the country” and it was a chance to for me meet some of the most influential and community minded people in Winters. John saving the day is something I will remember forever. One of the nicest things anyone could have done for a new family in town. If I learned anything from John and Winters is a very home spun perspective that it’s the little things in peoples lives which make all the difference with trick or treating being really important.
  • In March of 2002, we had an election which completely changed the City Council. The original Council who hired me included Chris Calvert, John Frazier, Tome Stone, Harold Anderson and Jiley Romney. In March, the City Council now included Robert Chapman, Dan Martinez, Bruce Guelden along with Harold and Jiley. Three new bosses who did not hire you can be intimidating for a “new” city manager and I was freaked out! I insisted that we have a “strategic planning” meeting for us to get on the “same page” in regards to the direction they wanted me to take the City. We met in the “green room” at the Community Center and the Staff in the meeting included me, Nanci Mills, Police Chief Steve Godden, Shelly Gunby and Fire Chief Scotty Dozier. I had pried a white board off the wall of my office and I asked them to list what was important and what they wanted me to focus on. This included a very measured and strategic approach to growth, Downtown revitalization, Putah Creek, public safety, a new library, working with the WJUSD, solid infrastructure and working to keep Winters as an incredible place to raise your children.

If I learned anything during my first year in Winters, it was about perspective and priorities. Volunteers and community values are critical, the importance of little things (being neighborly and caring about others) and mostly, the inherent goals of the community to move it forward yet maintaining a sense of place, identity and being unique.

In Winters, I have met some of the nicest and sincere people I could ever imaging knowing. I give thanks for the blessings of raising my kids in a town which really does care and the giving I have been able to do in return. 18 years is a while, but I still remember that Halloween at Bruce’s House as if it were yesterday. I’m a lucky guy!

Go Warriors.

John


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Friday Update: Planning Workshop Edition- August 30, 2019

City Manager Update Planning Workshop Edition August 30 2019
All,

On August 21, 2019, the City held a joint community workshop of the City Council and Planning Commission to discuss a number of key planning subjects including the status of any application regarding the North Area, an overview of the application and plan review process, the status of the General Plan and an overview of key planning issues in California. The Workshop was well attended and the public provided a number of important themes in their comments.

One of the most important takeaways was the importance that the City needs to ensure a very robust process of engagement, information and planning to bring the community into a process of planning all facets of the how, where and the pace of development within the City.

From the City Staff perspective and in my discussions with both City Council and Planning Commission, the message was heard loud and clear!

Key themes in the comments included:

  • The need for a robust community outreach and engagement of residents in planning the City’s future.  Multiple people noted that many of the City’s residents today did not have input on the current General Plan, and they should have input on how the City develops moving forward. Its time to get lots of folks involved!
  • Concerns regarding the pace, location and the phasing of growth within the City.
  • Questions and concerns regarding the current and potential growth boundaries of the City’s planning area.
  • Need for a review on the payoff of the debt owed on the 1992 General Plan.
  • The need for a review of General Plan policies and sections to reflect community values and aspirations.
  • The relevancy and applicability of the City’s current General Plan.
  • The importance of citizen input and collaboration in the planning process, review of the General Plan.
  • The need for a Climate Action Plan to establish baseline expectations for addressing this critical area.

Staff has taken these themes and is incorporating them into an overall land use planning work program which will be presented to the City Council on October 1, 2019.

At the end of the workshop, the Council provided staff with some specific direction on some key items including the following:

  1. Status of Northeast Area
  • Direct staff to maintain the informational website with current information regarding the project and application status.
  1. Land Development Application Process
  • Affirm the described land development application process for continued use with new applications
  • Direct staff to post the steps for a typical land development application process online as an informational tool
  • Direct staff to provide monthly updates to Council on activity related to land development projects.
  1. Status of General Plan
  • Direct staff to undertake an adequacy review of General Plan to identify required and other strongly recommended changes, as well as preliminary budget and funding information for making such changes
  • Direct staff to develop workplan for update of the Housing Element with preliminary budget and funding information
  • Direct staff to investigate mechanisms and a timeline to pay off the 1992 General Plan interfund loan

 Status of Annexation

  • Direct staff to undertake an adequacy review of the location and extent of the General Plan planning area
  1. General Plan Implementation
  • Direct staff to identify funding and prepare a workplan plan for adoption of a Climate Action Plan/Sustainability Strategy.
  • Direct staff to report on the status and adequacy of the City’s infrastructure master plans, including the status of the Flood Overlay Zone (FOZ), and the major projects financing fee program

Additionally, Staff is proposing projects to specifically address many of the themes which were presented at the workshop.  There are many details in development and some things will take time to prepare, (and may be modified) but will be presented at the October 1 meeting.

These include:

 

Public Outreach:

Without question, people at the workshop are interested in participation in planning the future of the City, and making sure that the City’s residents have input into land use and planning decisions moving forward. Making sure that our citizens have this opportunity will be the number one priority.

Staff is now working on the development of a public outreach strategy to maximize community participation in the review and prioritization of general plan policy development.

 

General Plan:

The work program will include the following to address concerns related to the General Plan:

  1. A General Plan adequacy review.
  2. The development of an overall strategy for the update of needed aspects of the General Plan, including funding and an overall framework.
  3. A General Plan Refresh Strategy which will include the overall scope and parameters for policy review, presentation and update of key General Plan Documents.

 

Fiscal Sustainability:

The important of establishing a clear picture of a sound financial future for the City to provide services, maintain infrastructure and sustain critical services such as school, public safety and the wide variety of quality of life services such as parks and projected senior services is critical. The work program will include a variety of fiscal models to help in the decision making process.

 

Public Information:

 

The importance of accessibility of information on planning is a critical part of the overall process. The work program includes:

  1. Maintenance and regular updates to the City’s North Area Planning Website to include project status reports, monthly updates, planning application information.
  2. Regular updates before the City Council on planning applications.

 

Climate Action Strategy and Plan:

 

The work program will include a program toward the update and adoption of a Climate Action Plan. This may include:

  1. Establishment of an Advisory Climate Committee/Commission to work with Staff and consultants in the update and review of a Climate Action Plan.
  2. Development of a Climate Action Plan Document which may include the update of the current draft document and a merge with the draft climate action strategy.
  3. The application of applicable Yolo Climate Resiliency Tool Box policies within City policies and programs.
  4. Environmental Review and adoption of a Climate Action Plan.

The proposal will be one of the most comprehensive planning and community participation efforts in many years for the City.

Stay tuned for more information!

Have a nice labor day!

John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager


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Friday Update on August 16 2019

 

All,

Happy Yolo County Faire Weekend! Getting this out so I can go support the Winters FFA students and pour beer for Rotary. Here is the update:

  • The August 20, 2019 City Council Agenda has a bunch of items on it including the Air bnb Ordinance, a Resolution requiring “any” application which goes beyond the City’s General Plan/Urban Limit Line be accepted for processing by the City Council, a bus sharing agreement between the City and Hotel Winters, and updates on the Parking Master Plan implementation and a City Projects Overview. Also included will be the Groundwater Monitoring agreement for our Wastewater Facility, a Proclamation in support of the Yolo Food Bank, Funding for the Salmon Festival and the Street Closure for the Earthquake Festival. For the Agenda or the full Packet click HERE.
  • The Planning Workshop on August 21 at the Public Safety Facility will be from 5:00-8:30. The Workshop will be mostly educational in nature but will cover some of the hot topics of the past few months. Think the ABC’s of planning, Topics to be covered at the workshop will include an update on any status of the North Area/Annexation Project, Overview of the land development application process, Status of the General Plan, Overview of the LAFCO and Annexation Process, the difference between General Plan and General Plan Implementation and Planning Trends in California. Good news on this is that the session will be facilitated and presented by both our Contract Planner Heidi Tschudin and City Attorney Ethan Walsh!
  • The First Street Parking Lot adjacent to the Hotel Winters was paved this week and we expect the marking of the stalls and finishing touches to occur next week. In total, 38 spaces which will include handicapped stalls and a high capacity electric vehicle charging station. Overall, it looks pretty good!

Finally, a big thanks to the “Guerilla Gardeners” who have become an important partner for the City of Winters in maintaining and manicuring the Downtown Area. All through the area from Railroad Ave to Main and First Street, these volunteers are doing an amazing job and showing a lot of pride and “Winters Spirit” in making our community look really good! A shout out and many thanks for a job well done.

Go to the County Faire, support our FFA and enjoy one of the last “free” experiences of its type in California!

John

 


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Friday Update on Thursday August 8 2019

 

All,

A couple of items this week:

  • From the City Council Meeting, the Air B&B Ordinance was continued to the August 20 Meeting with a request for more information on how Accessory Dwelling Units are treated within the scope of affordable housing and as vacation rentals.
  • Approved at the meeting was an upgrade to the City’s Building Permit System with direction to include a “citizen portal” to allow permit applications, payment and tracking online.
  • Mayor Pro Tem Wade Cowan was selected as the Alternate Board Member to represent the City on the Yolo Housing Authority.

Some miscellaneous items:

  • Due to unavoidable issues, the paving work schedule for Downtown streets and the First Street Parking Lot has changed: On Saturday, August 10, Vintage Paving will be doing road work on Railroad Ave and on Abbey St. The south bound lane on Railroad from Abbey to Main will be closed. The north bound lane will be open but moved over to the east side a few feet. Their will be no parking on the east side of Railroad from Main to Abbey during this construction period which is scheduled to be from 6am to 4pm. Abbey St will be closed on the West side from the west edge of the hotel to the First/Abbey intersection. There will be access to Napa Auto Parts and the Barber Shop from Railroad. Vintage will be paving the entrance into Newts Expressway, the entrance into the parking lot and will be paving Newts Expressway. On Monday, August 12, they will be paving the parking lot but no road closure.
  • Congratulations to the Winters Joint Unified School District for their open house and the launch of the new buildings on the Winters High School Campus. A really important sign of the upgrades to the school and the investment the community has in our education system.  10 new classrooms for our students. Well done!
  • Kudo’s to the Downtown Merchants for the Albarino Wine Stroll. A first class event which really took things to a new level! Estimates have the participants at about 400+.
  • For those interested in Planning and Development, mark you calendar for Wednesday, August 21 from 5:00 to 8:30 at the Public Safety Facility (700 Main Street). The Workshop for August 21 2019 will be mostly educational in nature but will cover some of the hot topics of the past few months. Think the ABC’s of planning, Topics to be covered at the workshop will include an update on any status of the North Area/Annexation Project, Overview of the land development application process, Status of the General Plan, Overview of the LAFCO and Annexation Process, the difference between General Plan and General Plan Implementation and Planning Trends in California. Good news on this is that the session will be facilitated and presented by both our Contract Planner Heidi Tschudin and City Attorney Ethan Walsh!

City Hall is extremely busy! A key project I am working on involves the development of a key project list to inform the City Council and the public about the myriad of issues and projects we are working on. Lots of projects which are interconnected means the need to plan the appropriate sequencing to maximize the overall efficiency and effectiveness of how we proceed. For some folks it may seem frustrating but it is just the reality for how we need to proceed.

Finally, I would like to highlight the Police Department’s Cadet Program which provides personal development and leadership opportunities for young people in our community. The young men and women in the program have the chance to not only learn about law enforcement and public safety, but to make a genuine impact on their community and become role models amongst their peers and especially with children.

In 2019, the Cadets have represented the community in a number of events, most notably at the services for fallen Davis Police Officer Natalie Corona. I will share that I saw the cadets the morning of the services, looking amazingly professional and ready to go represent. They shined at the event and those in the Department and I could never have been prouder to have such fine young people wearing the name “Winters” on their uniforms. It was special!

Cadet positions are non- sworn volunteer positions and complement the Winters Police Volunteer Program. The goals of the Police Cadet program are to expose men and women to the various aspects of police work in order to prepare them for a career in law enforcement. The Police Cadet program also helps to provide quality candidates for all law enforcement. Cadets increase services the Police Department can provide to our community and can provide support in the following areas:

  • School, Park, and Bike trail Patrols
  • Community Events and Festivals
  • Safety Presentations
  • Traffic control and scene management during emergencies
  • Senior wellness checks
  • Vacation checks
  • Clerical/ Office Support

The program is administered by Cadet Program Director Officer Alan Pinette and Coordinator CSO Gail Jimenez. For more information regarding the Cadet Program please contact: Cadet Program Winters Police Department 702 Main St Winters, CA 95694 (530) 795-2261 ext 146 tips.winters@winterspolice.org Or download our information brochure by clicking this link: Cadet Brochure

Have a good weekend!

John


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Friday Update on August 2 2019

All,

Back from a couple of days in a very hot and monsoon driven trip to Arizona. A couple items:

City Council Agenda:

Discussion items includes:

  • Air B&B Ordinance
  • Designation of Alternate City Council Liaison to Yolo Housing Authority Board
  • Building Permit System Software Upgrade
  • Natural Resources Element Review

Consent Calendar Items Includes:

  • Purchase of a Float Sensor for East Street Sewer Pump Station
  • Amplified Sound Permit for Thanksgiving Dinner Fundraiser
  • Delinquent Utility Bills
  • Claims Filed Against the City from Foxglove Flooding

The meeting will also include a presentation on Climate Change and Resiliency.

A couple more items:

  • The Planning Workshop for August 21 2019 will be mostly educational in nature but will cover some of the hot topics of the past few months. Think the ABC’s of planning, Topics to be covered at the workshop will include an update on any status of the North Area/Annexation Project, Overview of the land development application process, Status of the General Plan, Overview of the LAFCO and Annexation Process, the difference between General Plan and General Plan Implementation and Planning Trends in California. Good news on this is that the session will be facilitated and presented by both our Contract Planner Heidi Tschudin and City Attorney Ethan Walsh!
  • Transient Issues in the Creek have created work for our public works and public safety folks. A busy week with some law enforcement and emergency medical response.
  • First Street Parking lot and Newt’s Alley will probably be paved around the weekend of August 10. Overall both of these projects are looking really good.
  • Saturday is the Albarino Wine Stroll. Check in is at the Green River Tap Room. For full information, go to www.albarinowinestroll.com . It is going to be an amazing event.

Finally, the article in the newspaper on the Planning Commission was a little hard on my comments related to “millennials”. Mostly, my observation is that the overall processes need the participation of a broad cross section of the community, when it comes to issues, especially when looking at our future on issues like planning, economic development and shaping the future course for the community. Yes, I give a hard time to millennials, because they are a really tough group to outreach to in relation to community meetings. Millennials are good in their own forum (online, social media, etc) but when it comes to the melding of interests and groups in a community forum like a City Council or Planning Commission Meeting, they simply do not show up.

Some of this is clearly the fault of the City in trying to find those avenues which get into a more technical approach to engagement. We are looking into alternatives and if we have community members who know of effective community outreach tools in this area, I would appreciate hearing them. Social media seems to be a pretty difficult environment but there must be other avenues out there. Let me know.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Friday Update on Sunday July 28 2019

All,

The heat of summer is upon us and this time of year marks the start of our fiscal year budget and a lot start for many things, meaning smaller agendas with the City Council.

The tentative August 6 City Council Agenda has the following:

  • Public Hearing on the Air BnB Ordinance
  • Presentation on Climate Resiliency (effects of heat)
  • Designation of an alternate City Council liaison for Yolo County Housing Authority
  • Installation of a float level transmitter for the East Street Pump Station
  • Amplified Sound Permit for Thanksgiving Committee Fundraiser

A couple updates on things:

  • First, if you are feeling ignored by not getting response to emails to City Hall, you are probably not alone. We upgraded all of our computer programs last weekend and most of us feel like we have landed on another planet. Be patient and understand that the positive effects of an “upgrade” take months to be realized. We will get there!
  • Mark Wednesday, August 21 for a joint City Council/Planning Commission Land Use Planning Workshop as an education forum on many of the topics brought up regarding the north area including Specific Planning, Annexation, General Plan and LAFCO Process. This will be an opportunity for the City, community and stakeholders to get on the same page on the status of many key issues. Look for details to come out in the coming weeks.
  • Staff met with about 20 community members with concerns about the North Area Planning issue. It was a facilitated meeting with many questions and some amazing input. I will share that I was grateful for the honesty and directness of folks along with some pretty direct questions to try and clear the air on things. Winters is blessed with many people who love the community. From the meeting, there is more common ground than disagreement on things and I am confident that we will get to understanding and agreement and move forward in a united direction. I will be scheduling a follow up meeting in the coming weeks to check in on some things we are working on at the staff level and get input. The meeting gets 5 out of 5 stars in my view.
  • The Planning Commission had a really good workshop on the Economic Development Advisory Committee Report.  Some really good input. We have an exceptional group on the Commission and the other night shows!
  • On July 9, I was on a panel for the “Sacramento Groundbreakers” which featured Visit Sacramento, Visit Lodi, Rob on the Road from PBS and me representing Winters. Click HERE for a link to the podcast, it came out pretty good for us.
  • The Hotel Winters is scheduled to have its grand opening on September 6, 2019.
  • The OLS Hotels Team who will operate the Hotel Winters have been training at City Hall and it is really pretty cool. Most of the hires are from here in Winters and the orientation process is absolutely amazing. This is going to be a first class hotel and the emphasis on excellence in the training of their staff shows. This is very exciting!
  • I personally walked through the Hotel this week with most of the rooms furnished and the ambiance beginning to emerge. The views from the rooms are amazing and really show off the town and vistas in a way unlike any other place in the City. We cannot wait for the community to see the project, the wait is absolutely worth it.
  • Look for the First Street Parking Lot and Newts Expressway to get rocked this week, concrete gutters installed and paving to happen over the next two weeks. The project is blessed with Vintage Paving as our contractor and their quality subs. The project is on schedule and will be really nice when we are done.
  • Rumor Control on the First Street Parking Lot- THIS WILL BE A PUBLIC PARKING LOT AND NOT EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE HOTEL.
  • Two HUGE projects on the City Manager’s desk are project lists for General City Projects from each Department and a Planning Project List. Both will be presented at the August 20 City Council Meeting. Lot’s going on and the project lists will show that.
  • The City hosted a quarterly meeting for the Sacramento Division of the League of California Cities with about 40 elected officials from the greater Northern California in attendance. An update on our Putah Creek Projects, a Tour of the PG&E Academy, a tour of our agricultural assets and finally a tour of Berreyessa Gap Winery and rootstock. It was a first class event organized by City Councilmember Jesse Loren with Buckhorn Truck Food, a presentation and welcome from Mayor Bill Biasi and a quality representation by our businesses. Our little town is the talk of the Sacramento Region and it did not disappoint! Kudos to all who participated!
  • The Albarino Wine Stroll is on August 3. Get your tickets at www.albarinowinestroll.com . $45 dollars per person which is a bargain!

Finally, controversy over the past few months has put a real critical eye on these Friday Updates. Social media has not been kind, often taking a different spin and taking something which is relatively non-controversial and making it the coming of the apocalypse. I have some folks telling me to end them.

I have been sending the Friday Updates out to a general distribution for the better part of eight years. In total, I hit about 8,000 people weekly through email, twitter, facebook and Instagram. The goal is pretty simple, to give folks a glimpse into things happening in the City in a concise format and some insight into things happening at Winters City Hall and my desk. I include some perspectives and stories in my own goofy way and sometimes bring a self-effacing approach to some situations. Yup, I am very patriotic, pro public safety, have a really dry sense of humor and put an unfiltered view on things (I get interesting feedback on lots of my views). Not trying to generate controversy, propagandize or proselytize, just my view which can be totally ignored and deleted.

The Friday Update is going to continue. For those on my  email distribution who don’t want to be on the list anymore, just respond and Ill take you off. On social media, just ignore it!

Try and avoid the heat and see everyone at the Albarino Stroll.

John


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Friday Update on June 28 2019

Friday Update on June 28 2019

Friday Update on June 28, 2019 City Manager Update
All,

A crazy busy week with lots going on!

First, a review of the City Council Agenda for Tuesday, July 2. Pretty short being a holiday week. The entire agenda and packet (with all the details and reports) can be located HERE.

  • TEFRA Public Hearing for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Affordable Apartments. This will be a mandatory hearing for the conduit financing for the project.
  • Memorandums of Understandings and Salary Schedules for most of the City’s employee organizations.
  • General Plan Element Review. The fifth of the nine (9) part series. This month we will focus on the Public Facilities and Services Element.
  • Contract with Switzer Enterprises for the City’s Information Technology Services.

Some of the items hot and going this week.

  • Good news, Burger King is ready to be opened. Final inspections and testing was completed today and they can open at any time!
  • The street and frontage improvements for the Downtown Winters Hotel were paved and concrete installed which is a major milestone for the project. Mattresses and furniture are starting to be loaded into the hotel which is very exciting!
  • OLS Hotels, the parent company of the Hotel Winters held employee orientations and training at City Hall. A very exciting day as we watched first hand the local jobs and opportunity being realized from the project. It looks like a first class organization and the new employees seemed to be just beaming!
  • The First Street Parking Lot and Alley Improvements are well under way. Grading for the project is almost completed, so additional geotechnical work is under way in the alley and they are setting up for the concrete work. Vintage Paving of Winters is the general contractor and we could never wish for better. Former City lifeguard, lifelong resident and recent Chico State Grad Kevin Hyde is the foreman on the job and doing an amazing job of managing the operations. Look for the project to come to completion over the next couple weeks!
  • The Planning Commission reviewed and is advancing a recommendation for the adoption of an ordinance to cover short term rentals such as Air B&B, Vacation Rentals by Owners, Etc. The review and work took almost a year and was very thorough, with multiple hearings, workshops and outreach. Look for it to be on the City Council Agenda in August.
  • Housing is becoming the State’s #1 priority with the Governor and Legislature announcing sweeping legislation, funding and penalties for achieving their goals on the expansion of housing. Look for much of this to come to the forefront by September with the release of the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments. For more information on RHNA, go HERE.
  • For an overview of key housing issues in Winters go HERE for a report delivered to the City Council and Planning Commission in May.
  • Staff attended multiple County meetings on the growing issue of The problem is growing significantly throughout the State and Region with Sacramento seeing an almost 25% rise. The most significant takeaway is that there are many people literally one lost job or rent increase away from being on the streets. The number of people living in their cars is increasing. The cycle seems to be from housing to eviction to couch surfing to living in a car to living on the street. Each of the Yolo cities (with the exception of Winters) have dedicated “homeless coordinators” extending services and providing a social aspect to city operations. The issue is serious and growing!
  • The City held its “2X2” with the WJUSD on Wednesday. The District is moving forward on their facility plans and many other projects. Lots of really good stuff for students in the coming years.
  • Saturday will be one year since the “County Fire” which burned almost 120,000 acres along the Blue/Berryessa Ridge. Let’s root for NO FIRES in 2019!
  • We had technical issues on this month’s edition of “Ask the City Manager”. We have a few folks in attendance in the Council Chamber and it was a good afternoon. We will fix the camera issue and be back next month.

Finally, the murders of Sacramento Officer Tara O’Sullivan and Davis Officer Natalie Corona were brought to reality for me over the past week with the amazing funeral for Officer O’Sullivan on Thursday and a chance for me to meet the parents of Officer Corona last week in Davis. The shattering of such bright futures and potential which would have undoubtedly have made incredible contributions to the law enforcement community is just heart breaking and hits to the core on the violence which exists in our society and is faced by law enforcement daily.

On Friday of last week (the day following the murder of Officer Tara O’Sullivan), I participated in the Special Olympics Torch Run from the Davis Police Station to the ARC Arena at UC Davis. Leading the procession and the first torch bearers were Merced and Lupe Corona, the parents of slain Davis Officer Natalie Corona. They were the nicest, most affable people, joking with the officers and laughing about Natalie’s affinity for running. They brought strength and resolve to all the officers present. They were absolutely wonderful!

One thing I noticed were the many females participating in the run and how young they all looked. I asked who they were (thinking they were relatives of some of the officers) and I learned that they were either new officers or cadets! First, I felt really old (everyone seems to look really young these days), but mostly I was encouraged to see the motivation of these young female officers coming into law enforcement. As we did the run, they had a number of chants and you could hear these young officers yelling loud and exuding pride and enthusiasm for their chosen profession. It was inspiring!

The tragedies of both Tara and Natalie are simply unconscionable,  but there is no question that they will be the heroic symbols to motivate the growing next generation of female officers who will choose to lead from the front in our public safety future. Law enforcement has yearned to recruit women into the ranks for many years and we are now seeing it grow even in the shadows of the recent tragedies.

From tragedy springs eternal hope and without question, the legacies of Tara and Natalie will be our law enforcement future.

No Friday update next week!

John


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