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Friday Update on July 29 2016

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Friday Update on July 29 2016

All,

In all, a pretty good week in the City.

  • The City Council on Tuesday will have a pretty routine agenda with the City Conservation Permit Application for the Yolo Conservancy,  Second Reading of the Ordinance for the Freeway Hotel, an appointment for the Planning Commission, an update on the expansion of the detention pond near the cemetery, sound permits for the Earthquake Festival and St. Anthony’s Fiesta, new conference room at City Hall and the lien resolution for delinquent utility bills. Click HERE to look at the Agenda or click HERE for the entire packet.
  • Also at the City Council Meeting will be a presentation on the new Police Cadet Program.
  • Chromium 6 is still the #1 priority for the City. Staff will be finalizing our overall plans and will schedule a meeting with the State Department of Water Resources to discuss the $24-40 million project. It is amazing that the State can put such a huge expenditure on a small community like Winters, which they know will present significant financial burdens on seniors and lower income folks. Just silly!
  • Winters Fire spent most of the week near Santa Clarita helping fight the Sand Fire. All of our staff arrived safely home and will invariably be called to the next big situation. Our firefighters and leadership have built a strong reputation throughout the State for dependability and excellence. We are really proud of how they represent our community and are glad for what they do.
  • Winters Police will be participating in two National Night Out events on Tuesday August 2.
  • Walnut Park Phase II (on Walnut Lane) will begin work over the next month. Look for the dust to start flying in the coming weeks for what is anticipated to be a 3-4 month process.
  • City Hall turns 100 in September and we are preparing for some improvements to make the start of the next 100 even better. In the coming weeks we will begin a thorough power wash, painting and some new carpet.
  • Staff is working on some improvements on Niemann to improve the safety for students walking to school. The traffic before and after school is an issue, so we are looking into speed signs near the school to tell people how fast they are going to bring awareness. Stay tuned on this.
  • The construction company for the Downtown Hotel will be moving in next week, so hopefully they will get things going.
  • The subcommittee for the Parking Committee completed interviews with prospective consultants to assist in a Downtown Parking Plan. The group has culled the consultants to 2 and will begin negotiations on the final choice.
  • Enough cannot be said for the commitment and leadership of the persons on the Downtown Parking Committee. The time and energy they have put into the process has been exemplary. Kudo’s to Sandy Vickery, Gino Mediati, Chris Turkovich, Peter Hunter, Devon Vickery and many others for their persistence and effort. From the City Council, Pierre Neu, Bill Biasi and past councilman Wade Cowan all have given a ton of time to addressing the issues. 5 stars for all!!
  • The Hispanic Advisory Committee is working on the upcoming Festival de la Communidad. The next meeting is on August 1 at 7:00 at City Hall.
  • Hot items coming up for the Planning Department includes a look at the zoning code, expansion for a downtown business and more economic development leads!!
  • Winters Ranch saw six new building permits issued this week. They are closing purchases at a rate of one a week!
  • The City has welcomed our newest employee Dagoberto Fierros who will be working as a Management Analyst in Community Development and Public Works. Dago is from Winters, is a graduate of WHS and recently received his undergraduate degree from Sacramento State. He will be doing professional work in support of both departments.
  • Tonight at the City Pool from 8-10 will be a swim night in support of the Relay for Life and cancer research. $5 for swim and a hot dog dinner! Come out and support this fun event!

Finally, the tragedies in law enforcement continue to occur throughout our nation and hit home to California today. At some point “we all just need to get along”.

Being a police officer is one of the most important and heroic jobs in our country. They bring security to those in danger and are often the first persons someone sees and gains comfort from on the worst day of their life. They do a job most simply cannot and will not do. Much of what they do to keep us safe is unseen.

In many respects, our police officers are truly unsung heroes in today’s society. Some of what they do is viewed as unpopular, but it is universally important (enforcing speed and traffic laws as examples). Police become scapegoats in a society instantly ready to shift blame for personal failures of judgment.

One of the toughest aspects of law enforcement is the two roles they are expected to play. One is to be everyone’s friend, kind, gentle, appeasing and affable (Andy Taylor). That is until the person has a firearm, is assaulting someone or even worst, they have done something truly heinous. Then we want the incredible hulk. There are so many unknowns in today’s society, it is often impossible and indistinguishable for the officers to determine.

In California, the lack of mental health care and the release of thousands of once incarcerated persons makes the job tougher and tougher for our police officers. Police now have to baby sit the once incarcerated “non-violent parolees” who probably were not rehabilitated and to become sidewalk psychologists and deal with those burdened with mental health issues which bring erratic behavior and often violence. In encourage anyone to try and respond to a call about someone acting erratically and try to instantly solve the situation to everyone’s satisfaction under the current situations in society.

Their job is amazingly difficult.

Unfortunately, the past few years has shown a negative light on actions by a small number of law enforcement officers. Should those who commit egregious offenses be held accountable, absolutely!

Winters is a quiet and safe town by its very nature. Most of us know each other, including the police officers responsible for enforcing the law. We have seen that quiet turn instantly in recent years and it is really ugly. We are blessed with officers within our Police Department who are capable of switching those gears to address the bad amongst the mostly good of our community. They represent our town well and are a part of the national law enforcement community who often quietly risk their lives so we can stay safe.

Hopefully people will hear the thousands of voices looking for an open dialogue and reconciliation for how people view our law enforcement personnel. They are critically important to an open and free society. We can only pray that the violence being directed towards our police officers will stop to allow the healing and dialogue to continue.

I can tell you that being a City Manager with a police department brings many sleepless nights as we watch what is unfolding nationally. I know each of our officers, their families and the quality individuals they are. I can tell you that I am very proud of what our law enforcement does for our community given the impossible tasks we give them.

Have a nice weekend.

John