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Friday Update on October 5 2018

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Friday Update on October 5 2018

All,

A couple items this week:

  • Staff met with Caltrans at the annual Yolo/Caltrans Annual Update Meeting. Many big projects in circulation including the I80 widening project, the “World Class Bikeway” between Davis and Sacramento, the Metropolitan Transportation Plan and the purported impacts which may result from the repeal of the Statewide Gas Tax should Proposition 6 pass.
  • For Winters, I provided an update on the roundabout, a pending application to install Automated License Plate Readers on Grant Ave traffic signals and our recent planning project to widen the I505 overpass and to implement the last parts of the City’s Complete Street Program along Grant Ave. Caltrans was receptive to all elements fo the work we have been discussing. Overall a really good meeting. I would describe the overall customer service sense for Caltrans as very good with a strong amount of leadership from the top driving collaboration and the need to get projects done.
  • Under projects done with Federal Transportation Dollars (the roundabout project was done), there is an incentive for the State with rebates as a result of “project delivery”. For the past fiscal year, Caltrans received almost $400m from the Feds as a result of project delivery. This is really good news for localities as the money is then deposited into the SHOPP funding program which is then eligible for additional local projects.
  • The biggest takeaway are the ramifications for the entire State should Proposition 6 pass. In total, over 6,500 improvement projects in practically every community will be affected including streets, sidewalks, road safety and bridges along with the impacts on public transit. According to SACOG, the regional transportation plans will essentially need to be completely redone, which will jeopardize federal finding, including the I505 Overpass Project in Winters. The City has an adopted plan for spending these gas tax funds which I will forward in next weeks update.
  • A review of legislation passed by the State Legislature and being signed by the Governorwill bring many changes to society. Food carts can basically set up shop anywhere in town (including parks), streamlined permitting is upon us which will impact the City’s ability to plan and work with developers is drastically limited; and anyone below the age of 16 years of age cannot be tried as an adult which is retroactive and will most likely free a horrific Davis murderer in just a few years and many other murderers. Crazy what is happening!
  • Staff will be participating in a webinar next week regarding SB35 which was passed along with 15 other housing bills. The legislation requires a streamlined subdivision permitting process for communities which have not met their Regional Housing Needs Allocation, which is practically every city in California. The wording essentially gives a green light to developers to move forward with project with minimal public review and input. For Winters, it could be significant!
  • Staff has received a very affordable proposal for a Winters APP which will allow residents and visitors to access a litany of information about the City. Key features include the ability to report maintenance issues, graffiti, abandoned cars, a community calendar, locate businesses and much more. Look for this on the October 16City Council Agenda.
  • October 6 is the Public Safety Faire at the Public Safety Facility, 500 Main Street from 10-2. Lots of displays from police, fire, fish and wildlife and much more. This has become an incredible event for kids and adults alike.
  • Good news on a number of fronts for both the Downtown Hotel and the Fairfield Inn along the I505! Look for plenty of lodging in 2019!
  • A HUGE congratulations to the Winters Healthcare Foundation on the start of construction for their new campus on Grant Ave. This is a major project for our community and kudos need to go to the visionary leadership of many on their Board and Staff. Well done.

Our Winters Warriors have a bye this week, so come Downtown and enjoy a great evening on what is supposed to be a windy weekend.

John

 


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Public Hearing Notice for the Impact Fee Update 09/24/18

THE PUBLIC HEARING SCHEDULED FOR OCTOBER 16, 2018 HAS BEEN CANCELED AND RESCHEDULED FOR NOVEMBER 6, 2018.


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Friday Update on September 27 2018

A couple items this week:

First, the Festival de la Communidad/Carnitas Festival is this Saturday at Rotary Park and the Community Center from 4:00 to 11:00. The highlight is the “Carnitas” competition and dinner. This is one of our communities top events with food and entertainment for the entire family.

October 2, 2018 City Council Agenda

  • Salmon Festival Funding and Street Closure
  • Repairs for pumps at East Street Pump Station
  • Installation of Flashing Crosswalk Beacons on Railroad Avenue
  • Final Acceptance of Callahan Subdivision Public Improvements
  • Harvest Festival Street Closure on October 26
  • Strategic Planning Process and Schedule

Other happenings:

  • The Economic Development Advisory Committee is a really good group, brining perspective and vision on moving Winters forward in a measured and sustainable manner. At the September 27 Meeting we reviewed the SWOT analysis from previous meetings and started what we call the “idea building” process which involves folks from the committee offering ideas and concepts which will eventually form the recommendations from the group. Key issues discussed thus far including the flood zone and fees, the lack of key industrial and office locations, the vast ratio disparity of economic land zoning versus residential/public land and the need for a focused concerted public/private economic development team to recruit business. The group is exceptional and will be working on finalizing recommendations over the next month.
  • The “strategic planning process” on the City Council Agenda will be a very important program for moving things forward for the City over an almost 20 year period. The following is the main parts from the agenda report:

In 2007, the City Council, Staff and key community stakeholders held a two day workshop at the Abbey Street Fire Station 26 to set goals and priorities. In that workshop, many important priorities were established which included:

  • Downtown Renovation
  • Water and Sewer Projects
  • Utilities extended to I505
  • Construction of the Public Safety Facility
  • Putah Creek Improvements

The process included presentations on key needs, outlines of priorities from stakeholders and a number of exercises to gain input and consensus on the direction the City should be taking to achieve many of the goals. Without question, the process was an enormous success and the results can be seen all around town.

2018:

Staff is proposing that the City Council host a series of workshop on five (5) topical areas with key stakeholders to begin establishing goals and priorities for each area, which can then be funneled into a comprehensive “Strategic Plan” which would cover the next 15-20 year period.

Topical areas might include:

  • Planning and Economic Development
  • Community Facilities and Services (parks, facilities and services)
  • Infrastructure (Water, Wastewater, Streets, etc)
  • Public Safety
  • City Organization and Structure (succession planning)

Each topic will have an individual workshop to include City Council, Staff and Stakeholders in attendance. Projects and Priorities will be discussed, listed and ranked for each area. All meetings are open to the public and will be held in an open format.

From the topical workshops, theses priorities would then be brought before the City Council in a two day strategic planning workshop coordinated by professional facilitators. Each of the stakeholders from the previous meetings will be invited to attend the workshop and participate in a more global look at all topics and asked to help participate in a consensus process. Day 2 of the workshop will afford the City Council the opportunity to provide direction on the final priorities and give directions to the City Staff.

Stay tuned for the schedule as we move forward.

Happy Homecoming to the Winters High School Warriors as poor Live Oak faces a very impressive Warrior Varsity.

John


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10/02/18 City Council Meeting


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09/25/18 Planning Commission Meeting


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Friday Update on September 21 2018

All,

Some items to end the week:

October 2, 2018 City Council Agenda

  • Senior Services Presentation
  • Resolution regarding Proposition 6
  • East Street Pump Station Repairs
  • Flashing Beacon Crossing Signals for Railroad Avenue
  • Salmon Festival – Request for Funds, Street Closure & Amplified Sound Permit
  • Waste Management Contract Amendment for Overage & Contamination
  • Winters Healthcare Public Improvement and Maintenance Agreement
  • Callahan Phase 1 Public Improvements Notice of Completion

Some notes on items occurring:

  • First, Congratulations to City Councilember Jesse Loren and local super involved resident Kate Laddish for being recognized by Congressman John Garamendi as Women of the Year for 2018. Jesse was recognized for her leadership roles within the City with the Hispanic Advisory Committee, League of California Cities and with the many regional agencies she represents the City on. Kate was recognized for her advocacy on affordable housing and work within the Winters Community. Congrats to both VERY deserving Women of the Year!
  • Lots of work occurring with the Heartland and Stones Throw Subdivisions. The interior roadways along with a section of Moody Slough Rd are well under construction and should be completed some time over the next few weeks. The projects are taking shape and will be nice additions to the community.
  • The City’s Building Department will have a “launch” of the same day permitting program on Wednesday, October 3 beginning at 3:30 at City Hall. Contractors and their representatives are welcome to attend to learn about the program as it gets ready to begin on October 9, 2018.
  • On Thursday, the City Council and I attended the one year anniversary on the opening of the PG&E Gas Operations Technical Training Academy. Key project personnel from PG&E were in attendance, including Gas Operations President Nick Stravopolous. It was nice to see this world class facility in operation and the overall commitment the utility is making to training their personnel and advancing gas safety at a very high level. During our conversations, we learned that the facility is considered a benchmark for other utilities throughout the country and by utilities world wide. Having such a world class facility in Winters is simply amazing. The facility trains over 150 personnel daily from all over the greater PG&E service areas in California. Kudos to PG&E and their entire team!
  • This Sunday is the inaugural “Porchfest” a series of mini-concerts and performances to be held on front yards and porches on Main Street between Second and Fourth Streets. Food trucks and performances will also be held at City Park. The event will be between Noon and 5 and is free to all attendees.

Finally, the City Council has approved the Downtown Parking Master Plan. The three (3) year effort was driven by community members and businesses concerned about the future of congestion and parking availability within our Downtown.  Some of the key recommendations and implementation programs which will be taking place include:

  • The establishment of the Winters Business Association, a compilation of business and property owners to guide management and policy implementation for parking within the Downtown. The partnership between the City and the private sector will be a key in the overall success in implementing the overall plan.
  • Construction of the new 38 space parking across for City Hall which will happen in conjunction with the opening of the Hotel Winters.
  • Re-striping of parking spaces throughout Downtown Winters. This will include a re-measurement and painting of all parallel spaces and re-painting of current diagonal spaces.
  • Establishment of parking time limits for the Downtown, re-signage and then enforcement. For most of the area, limits will be 2 hour from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with 30 minute zones in some key retail spaces and near the bank.
  • Alternatives for special event parking including remote parking lots and shuttles.
  • Working with businesses to have employees park in parking lots versus key visitor and customer.
  • Parking enhancements for bikes, accessible parking and electric vehicles.
  • Opportunities for the Winters Business Association to do assessments for future parking needs, structures, services and other alternatives including valet parking and enhanced security and lighting.

To see the entire Parking Plan and Report, go to http://www.cityofwinters.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/ParkingMasterPlan-FinalDraft073118.pdf.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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Winters Salmon Festival 2018

Great Food • Music • Face Painting • Kid’s Parade
Winters Salmon Festival 2018

Saturday, November 3, 2018 • 11am-4pm • Rotary Park • Winters, CA

Click Here for more info.


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Carnitas Festival de la Comunidad 2018

Carnitas Festival de la Comunidad 2018

10th Anniversary
Saturday, September 29, 2018

4:00-11:00pm
Rotary Park

$13 Carnitas Plates
$5 Beer and Sangria

Entertainment:
Bonanza Kings 4:00PM – 5:00PM
Karaoke 5:00PM – 5:30PM
Mariachi Puente 5:00PM – 6:00PM
Woodland Folklorico Latino 6:00PM – 6:30PM
Latidos Musical 7:00PM – 8:00PM
Banda La Marinera 8:00PM – 11:00PM

Food and Drinks, Carnitas Cook-off, Live Music and Entertainment and Dancing. 
Fun for the whole family.

For more information about this event, please contact Dagoberto Fierros at (530) 794-6760 or dagoberto.fierros@cityofwinters.org


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City of Winters Mission Statement

We are committed to providing highly effective public services in a professional, cooperative, and adaptable manner. We will be a proactive, informative, and responsive government through communications and actions that welcome participation from all segments of our community. We are committed to excellence through respectful, responsive, and responsible customer service. We will carry out our responsibilities in a manner that enhances the quality of life in Winters. As employees we will always strive to improve ourselves, our position, others, our departments, and most of all, the City of Winters.

(found here)


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Friday Update on September 14, 2018

All,

A busy City Council Meeting:

September 18, 2018

 

  • Executive Session:  Public Employee Performance Evaluation-City Manager, Conference with Joint Powers Agency-Insurance Liability
  • (2) Final Acceptance & Notice of Completions for Well #6 Rehab and Futsal Court
  • Sacramento Yolo Mosquito Vector Control District Appointment
  • Proclamation Recognizing 9/22-9/29 as Falls Prevention Awareness Week
  • Street Closure & Amplified Sound Permits for PorchFest Winters Music Stroll (9/23) and the WHS Homecoming Rally (9/28)
  • Public Hearing and Resolution Authorizing Additional Funding from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and from HOME Program Income for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Housing Program
  • Public Hearing to Consider the Proposed Downtown Parking Master Plan
  • Golden State Finance Authority PACE Programs
  • Additional Funding from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and from HOME Program Income for the Domus Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Housing Project

A couple notes on things:

  • City Staff held a “rating call” with representatives from Standard and Poors (S&P) to gain a credit rating on the upcoming refinancing of water and sewer bonds.  The presentation included a comprehensive review of our utilities, discussion regarding water utilization, regulatory issues and extensive talk about the City in general. The City has regular calls with S&P each year but this was a marathon with over 50 slides in the presentation and lots of questions surrounding being a city in California. The S&P reps on the phone were from New York and Denver and they seem to be amused at what happens in California in terms of regulation. Overall, a good call! S&P give single letter ratings (A, B,C) in difference to Moody’s who gives three letter ratings (AAA, BBB,CCC). We have consistently rated high (A-) with our size and small customer base being the negatives.
  • The Putah Creek Phase III is well under way and the overall project is proceeding extremely well! The heavy tractor work will continue for the next week or so, followed by some plantings and erosion control to prepare for winter. We walked the flood planes today and the wildlife viewing is amazing as is the new channel and the backwater pond. For those worried about the otters, beavers and turtles, you can stop worrying, all is fine in their world and their presence is all over the place!
  • Putah Creek Clean-up Day is this Saturday, 9/15 from 9am-12pm (lunch is provided.) Meet at the Rotary Gazebo.
  • Staff met with a representative from the Bellvue North group which owns the 400 acres in the north part of the City. We discussed some procedural and planning topics in anticipation of moving forward with a process which will ultimately result in the annexation of approximately 250 acres and a specific plan for the property. In the meeting, Staff emphasized that the annexation and planning will need to include all properties within the City’s General Plan area. Bellvue indicated that their desire is to mitigate agricultural land directly to the north of the properties which are currently within their farming operation. Also discussed was the importance of a comprehensive solution to flood issues. Generally, a really good meeting.
  • Kudos to Councilmember Jesse Loren who is representing the City this week at the League of California Cities meeting being held in Long Beach. During the meeting, Jesse is being sworn in as a “Director” on the Board of Directors (a really big deal) and she has been working on the formation of a “rural communities working group” to bring better representation and focus to issues to smaller communities outside the urban core. On Thursday she facilitated a meeting of small communities advocating for the rural communities working group. Jesse has brought a significant level of leadership and is an important voice on issues for communities like Winters. Her selection as a Director on the League Executive Board is a reflection of her accomplishments within the City and Sacramento Valley Region along with her being recognized as a successful collaborator and knowledgeable elected representative. Well done, Jesse!
  • The focus of the Economic Development Committee this week was land use. We reviewed the zoning plan for the City, provided an update on the Flood Overlay Zone and identified a number of areas which might generate job producing projects. A really good group!

Finally, a court hearing was held on Monday regarding the Putah Creek Phase III project where an “emergency injunction” had been filed seeking to stop construction on the project. The request for an injunction was denied and the project is proceeding.

Phase III will provide enhanced access to the creek along with restoration of the area once the City sewer ponds. The collaborators on the project include the Putah Creek Council, leading UC Davis biologists and scientists, Lower Putah Creek Coordinating Committee and both State and Federal Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The permits for the project are numerous and from literally the most judicious agencies any permittee may need to face. The ecological and biological review has been extensive. There have literally been hundreds of meetings and thousands of hours spent working with key stakeholders.

Yes, part of the view shed along the creek is being removed, but it will be replaced with incredible direct access to the waters edge along with what will become a marquee nature park. It will take some time for plantings to grow, but the reality is that in 5-10 years, the place will be amazing.

The critics will be critical of the project and that is their prerogative, but the reality has been seen for years with salmon spawning, children swimming and people reconnecting with a creek once inundated by arrundo, blackberry and almost completely inaccessible.

If you have a chance, head down the north bank trail to seek things starting to shape up. Access to the new areas will be available once the construction is completed and planting have a chance to mature.

Have a nice weekend.

John


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09/18/18 City Council Meeting


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Friday Update on September 7 2018

All.

  • On Monday, September 10, 2018, City Staff and our financing team will be making a bond presentation before the bond rating agencies in preparation for the sale and refinance of Water and Sewer Bonds. This is a really big deal as it determines credit rating and the attractiveness of buyers to purchase the bonds at the desired interest rates. A solid presentation has been prepared and we are confident that we will be able to get high marks which leads to lower interest costs which equates to tens of thousands of dollars.
  • At the Tuesday City Council Meeting, the Council gave the green light on the implementation of a same day permitting program to help contractors and regular builders gain expedited permits for routine residential and commercial improvements. The Staff is working on a date for a workshop and a release date for an updated website to help folks to navigate the new system. At the workshop, attendees will receive a coupon for $25 off their next permit.
  • Tuesday night also saw the recognition of members of our public safety team who literally saved the life of Mr. Ramiro Garnica from cardiac arrest. Lifesaving awards were presented by the Yolo Emergency Medical Services Agency (YEMSA) to Brad Lopez, Jon Hunt, Adrian Draper, Steve Grisham from Winters Fire and Lisa Dolezal and Hollay Shayegi from AMR Ambulance. Also present were Jose Ramirez and Gordon Brown who were on the call. These members of the team provided lifesaving measures which brought Mr Garnica back to life and with all of us that evening. Truly hero’s in all meaning of the word!
  • Also awarded a lifesaving award was Oswaldo Garnica, Ramiro’s son who provided lifesaving CPR in the initial minutes of the call. Without question, Oswaldo is a hero to his family and the community for his quick action and willingness to begin CPR while emergency personnel were in route to the residence. Oswaldo is a graduate of the Winters Fire Cadet Program through the Winters High School Capstone Program where he learned the CPR which helped him save his father’s life.
  • Also in attendance at the meeting were representatives from the Yolo Emergency Medical Services Agency (YEMSA) including the director Kristen Weivoda. In 2013, Kristen was the lead in helping form YEMSA which resulted in an ambulance being stationed at the Winters Fire Station 26. The previous response times from Davis were typically 20 minutes but now they are less than 4. Prior to 2013, the chance of surviving cardiac arrest in Winters was very low. Today, we see the results with the saving of Mr. Garnica. Without question, Mr. Garnica’s positive outcome is attributable to the professionalism and effort made by Kristen and the entire team at YEMSA.
  • The City also recognized and thanked Mike Sebastian for his tenure as City Treasurer. Mike is an incredible asset to the Winters Community and the City is appreciative of his service over the past 12 years.

Finally, this week saw the notification of parents by the Winters Joint Unified School District regarding a possible threat on students. The notification brought a number of comments on social media which showed the good and bad of that entire medium.

The incident involved a juvenile student which carries significant confidentiality and is a delicate situation for both the WJUSD and the Police Department. I can share that the Staff at the District acted immediately as did Winters Police personnel in launching an investigation. The appropriate outside agencies were included and a thorough process involving authorities, parents and District personnel was implemented. This included the local FBI who investigated the issue and were the ones who directed the notification of parents. The determination of the investigation was there was no focused threat against any individuals.

The “duty to notify” is a new FBI protocol following the tragedy at Parkland High School in Florida. The School District was acting to prevent potential unnecessary concern from parents by receiving a “robo-call,” a call from an “anonymous” FBI agent, or a form letter from the FBI regarding a matter determined to be unsubstantiated but still merited notification out of a preponderance of precaution. The Police Department was involved in the decision process and completely supported the School District’s desire for a “personal” approach.

The District and Winters Police Department provided resources for the student and their family to address the delicate situation. The reality is that kids do some things which are not wise at times and they need to be dealt with in a measured and effective manner. It’s tough when those in authority cannot give many details about sensitive issues, which naturally leads to suspicion and guessing by many.

Unequivocally, I can share that Dr Todd Cutler, Chief John Miller and the staffs of the WJUSD and Winters Police put the safety and interests of students first along with addressing the sensitivity of the matter and the individuals involved. During a busy time when school was just starting and many key priorities were on tap, they worked diligently to address the issue, including interviews and meetings with a number of outside agencies, including the FBI. To theorize differently is simply ridiculous. Their professionalism and concern regarding the issue is without question. The community can be very confident in the manner and protocals of how they handled the incident. From the City perspective, we appreciate the team at the WJUSD!

Have a nice weekend.

John


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REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL

IMPLEMENTATION OF AFFORDABLE SENIOR RESIDENTIAL HOUSING
CONSTRUCTION PROJECT
Deadline for Submission: September 26, 2018 at 4:00 P.M.
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL LATE PROPOSALS BE ACCEPTED

More Info (PDF)


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Putah Creek Restoration Project

A major restoration project will begin September 2018 on Putah Creek in Winters, to connect prior phases of the project through the south bank terrace (old sewer pond site), restore the river’s natural function, on a smaller scale, taking into account the current water flows and land use. The project will create a new narrower flow channel, lower the floodplains, increase flow
velocity, and restore the connection of the creek to its floodplains. It will also greatly enhance public access including an earthen ramp to the north bank trail where it drops down closest to the water. Native vegetation will thrive, supporting a greater diversity and abundance of wildlife, and the creek and its banks will diversify the opportunities to enjoy nature in a publically accessible area. Prior phases of the project have already brought salmon to spawn in the park for the first time in living memory.

The new channel will be about 30 feet wide, with alternating pools, riffles, and runs, and it will meander through the park. Invasive species including eucalyptus, Himalayan blackberry, arundo, and tamarisk will be removed and native species will be planted in their place.The project will link existing floodplain trails through the middle of the park and extend these trails on the south bank to 505.

When: Project is scheduled to begin September 4 through Mid‐December (weather permitting). Plantings may continue as needed in subsequent years.

Where: Area just east of wastewater plant heading east to Hwy 505
Project Coordinator: Rich Marovich, Streamkeeper‐ Solano County Water Agency

City Contact: Carol Scianna, Public Works 530‐794‐6715 carol.scianna@cityofwinters.org

Funding Provided by: California Natural Resource Agency “River Parkway Program” with parks and water bonds via Prop. 50 and 84, and the North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA)

Permits Acquired: Army Corps: 404 and 408, DFW 1600 permit, Flood Board Encroachment Permit, CVRWQCB: 401 permit, SWPPP. The work is also supported by a biological assessment, cultural resources assessment and CEQA Mitigated Negative Declaration.

Possible Adverse Activity: Dust, noise, removal of vegetation, occasional access limitations

During construction, area near the creek channel and floodplains will be off limits to the community in the construction zone. Thank you for your cooperation and patience during the
completion of this project.

(PDF HERE)


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Friday Update on August 31 2018

All,

A couple things:

  • Permits are being issued for both the Stones Throw and Heartland Generally, things are looking really good for both, the units are in line with approvals and we can expect to see some new homes going up over the course of the next couple of years.
  • Solar seems to be a big emphasis with the Heartland Project. Each of the units issued permits will be fully solar making this an exceptionally energy efficient project. Each of the new subdivisions will be covered under the “California Green” building code. This means from construction methods to the actual structures and landscaping will use very little energy. Stones Throw will also offer solar on each of their models.
  • The Downtown Parking Master Plan will go before the City Council on September 18. Initially, the big emphasis of the plan will include striping, signage for time limits, enforcement throughout the core area and the establishment of a “Winters Business Association”.
  • Staff is working on an ordinance to provide regulations for food trucks throughout the City. Some basics of the plan include that they can be located on private properties in zones which allow retail food sales, all must be permitted through Yolo Health, during special events they will be allowed in public rights of way and the direction is to avoid permits which allow for them to cluster.
  • Winters Fire has transitioned to Art Mendoza as Interim Fire Chief for the next four months. Chief Mendoza relieves Captain Matt Schechla who has served since May. The interim fire chief assignment has been a boon for Winters Fire, allowing for considerable professional development for the full time staff in the role of Fire Chief along with the “Acting Captain” position which has allowed a number of our reserve staff to see promotions on an interim basis. Overall, the programs have allowed for professional development and made Winters Fire a stronger organization.
  • Staff and the Mayor met with some key representatives from our playground community to discuss maintenance and future issues regarding the quality of experiences in our parks. The discussion included upkeep of playground structures, vandalism, trash and the decorum for renting park facilities for private parties. We kicked around the idea of the formation of some type of advisory group for parks as well as financing options and sources for facilities and maintenance. A really good meeting!
  • The Affordable Housing Steering Committee met to consider additional financing for the Blue Mountain Terrace Senior Affordable Housing Project. Staff presented an option to loan approximately $700,000 to the developer to help assist the project move forward. The Committee’s recommendation will move to the City Council in September 18.
  • Staff is working with the Winters Express on a means for getting the Police Report out to residents. The issue has been the deadline for the newspaper (Tuesdays) and the ability of Police Department Staff to come in on a Monday and gather the information for the paper along with the many other duties required. Frankly, its tough coming in on a Monday and trying to get many reports input into State criminal data bases, address weekend issues (there are more on the weekends than weekdays) and meet the deadline for the newspaper. One option is publishing the report on the Police Department Facebook page during the midweek and sending the information to the press concurrently. The issue is that it misses the print newspaper or the information there is almost a week old. We will find a solution!

Finally, this week has a call to talk about the importance of newspapers and the free press. Unquestionably, the viability of print media is under enormous stress with the many sources available through the internet and other media. Personally, I prefer the local print newspaper versus the online versions. Given what social media has become, it is hard to find reliable sources for information out there, but one common and key resource is the printed newspaper.

The Winters Express has seen a transition in the past number of months. The passing of Newt Wallace, retirement of Charley Wallace, the departure of Debra DeAngelo and the tragic passing of Julia Millon has brought us a new publisher in Taylor Buley and an almost entirely new set of reporters. Taylor has changed the format and many aspects of the newspaper. Some support them and others not so much. The most important thing for which we need to count our blessings is that we have a weekly local print newspaper.

Whether someone agrees with the format or opinions of the newspaper, I would argue that Taylor is working diligently to make the paper sustainable. Without question, the Winters Express Staff are working hard, being creative and walking a balance between old school print journalism and bringing local reporting into the online era. Newspapers across America are folding due to the shrinking bottom lines. When that happens, an important part of the soul of those communities leaves and is gone forever.

As someone who is a frequent topic and sometimes a target of criticism and critique in the paper, I find the transparency and accountability that City Hall is held to as an important part of our democracy. Journalism plays an important role in both informing people and keeping those of us who hold key positions accountable for actions and recommendations. I tell people that my chubby demeanor is not what you think, I am actually all skin and bones, my skin is just really thick! The Winters Express is what provides this in our town.

Whether people agree or don’t agree with some of the stuff in the paper, we need to rally and support this critical resource. The Winters Express is an amazing institution of our town, recording our history and telling our stories on a weekly basis. The Winters Express is important, as is the free press.  Be grateful and support what we have.

Thanks and have a nice weekend.

John


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09/04/18 City Council Meeting


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