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Tonight's City Council Meeting, Brought to you by Mutual Of Omaha...

Getting the thread going early- there is potentially a lot to see at tonight's meeting, one wonders if we are going to get updates on all the myriad topics that are flying around our fair City right now??

If children allow I will be live blogging- and I am certain John or someone else will post the link to the festivities here.

More in a bit!!



Here is the first topic that the City Manager should be willing to address tonight, and yes, it is a doozy.

A detailed report on the failures of the City to properly submit the TIGER application for a Federal Grant which would have netted the City $4.5 million for Coastal Trail renovations and ongoing maintenance.

So far the City has been completely mum on what happened in this process- and the public (and Council) are owed a detailed explanation, with supporting evidence, of exactly what happened and why. It would also be nice to see the plan going forward to prevent failures like this from happening in the future.

Given the City Manager's usual attention to detail I am confident we will get the full scoop on this tonight.

Here's teh second report we should expect tonight from terh CIty Manager:

The test results from the Main Street Bridge testing project should be released to the public- as well as an update on action items going forward to remedy any deficiencies found during the testing process.

A member of the Bridge Advisory committee posted a piece in the review four weeks ago detailing the initial findings of the team working on evaluating the bridge. Those findings were expected to be in final form and submitted by mid-August at the latest.

These documents should be in the public domain- especially since it is evident that other "privileged" individuals have already seen them, and there is no exception or reason for confidentiality at this point. (Except the usual proclivity of the City to hide everything possible from sight...)

Meeting Link: Web Link

Next Up: Mac Dutra Park Update

The continuing construction at Mac Dutra Park has killed business for shops to the south of Main and Kelly. A recent survey taken using cell signals confirmed that in the 400 block of Main Street roughly 3800 people per day on a weekend were walking on the sidewalks of the street. In the 500 block it was only 1700 people. In other words: People are walking south to the intersection of Main and Kelly and turning around and walking back without continuing onto the 500 block.

Clearly Mac Dutra park is having a negative impact on the businesses to the south of Kelly, and as the project has now taken a full two times longer than originally planned the City owes them (and us) an explanation of why this project is taking so long, and a definitive date as to when it will be completed for good.

Passegiata update

Passegiata has now been completed, and anecdotally the impact on the merchants on Main Street was negligible. Staff and/or the Chamber should update us on what the results were, how much was spent, and what the return on investment really was (Or at least basic estimates if the final numbers are not in yet.)

This was not an inexpensive project, and based on the $69,000 spent last month (paid to the Chamber) plus the $8,000 or so that we spend every month on the Chamber, we deserve a description of how it went, and whether or not we got our money's worth.

The next update from the City Manager: Measure J Update

The Measure J committee met on Monday and reviewed the most recent expenditures. From those numbers it appears (I say appears because we don't yet know) that a full $1.25 million of Measure J funds (the sales tax increase from three years ago) have been reallocated to the library- apparently without Council approval or oversight.

This information is incomplete, but since the Committee met yesterday this is as good a time as any for the City Manager to report on Measure J expenditures for the current fiscal year- and any alterations that have been made recently.

Measure J was intended to pay for a wide variety of capital projects. IF the quoted $1.25 million is correct then it is clear that the current (and final) year of Measure J funds will be spent almost entirely on the library- and not on any of the twelve or so other projects which were originally slated to be funded by Measure J. The public deserve and are entitled to clarity on Measure J revenue and spending- before it gets spent, instead of as an afterthought.

Maybe the final update- this one from the City Attorney: John Muller's conflict of interest and subsequent failure to recuse on matters in which he has a financial and material interest in the outcome:

At the last meeting (and on previous occasions as well) John Muller not only sat at the dais while the Kehoe watercourse hydrology study was discussed, he also voted on it and participated in the discussion.

This is improper in the extreme as Mr. Muller has a leasehold interest in the property directly abutting the watercourse in question. Thus he has a direct financial interest in the outcome of any matters pertaining to the Kehoe Watercourse and should as a result, and as a matter of CA Government Code, not be on the dais when any issue related to the watercourse is discussed.

For unknown reasons the City Attorney has failed to advise Mr. Muller on the inadvisability (and frank illegality) of his participation in such decisions, and the public is owed an explanation tonight as to why that is the case.

If the City Attorney can explain why and how Mr. Muller is legally entitled to participate in decisions related to the Kehoe watercourse then he should immediately do so. If he cannot explain he should acknowledge this fact as well.

Almost forgot- one more: The Taxpayer Protection Act

The City Clerk or City Manager should update the Council and the public on the status and details of the Taxpayer Protection Act. 946 signed petitions were turned in last Monday, so an update on the status and the implications of this are appropriate so that the Council and community know what is happening- and can prepare for the future (if necessary).

Thanks for the agenda information

Measure J: Updated

OK, there are a few more questions that are apparent at this point.

1. What happened to the following capital projects, which were to be funded by measure J but have been replaced by "Library Improvements. Each of these projects now has Zero funding allocation from Measure J."

a) Poplar Beach Access $400,000

b) Downtown Gateway $250,000

c) Smith Field Park Improvements $500,000

d) Seymour Trail Bridge $45,000 (Moved to FY 2015-2016)

e) Main Street Bridge $50,000

Is it a coincidence that those projects total exactly $1.245 million and the amount now allocated to the library is $1.25 million??


2. In Fiscal Year 2014-2015 (July 1-June 31) Measure J was budgeted to spend $167,000 on library improvements. Yet according to the most recent numbers the real number was $917,000. Who authorized this expense of Measure J resources?? (There is no evidence we can find to show that the Council ever approved amending the original budget as adopted a year and a half ago.)

John Muller's Conflict of Interest- Updated

A concerned citizen just pointed out that technically the property that Mr. Muller farms does not abut the Kehoe watercourse, although it is within 50' or so of the Landstra parcel- which is considered to be a likely part of the solution, and just a few hundred feet from the stream and ESHA itself.

The legal ramifications do not change, but we do strive for accuracy- hence the update.

Bad News: Deborah Ruddock has been scratched from the lineup- she has fallen afoul of something she ate. :(

50 minutes till first pitch!!

Is there a vote on anything tonight Wonk?

A few things- the Agenda is fairly light all in all. But realistically- if voting is the issue it doesn't really matter whether or not either Deborah shows up- the outcome is (so far perfectly) a foregone conclusion.

The reason they are both so important is they are the only light that's shed on everything that is otherwise happening in the dark- and there will be that much less light tonight- which is a loss for us all.

You know Seal- your question has sparked an interesting thought-

Penrose and Ruddock were elected by an overwhelming majority of voters here in HMB, yet if one looks at their actual impact they have actually NEVER impacted a council vote.

In other words: The majority members have declared- over the course of ten months, that everyone who voted for Ruddock or Penrose- in such huge numbers, is simply to be ignored- 100 percent of the time.

No wonder they are falling from grace in such ungainly form.

Bad news Folks...

John got stuck at work and then in traffic and won't even be back to HMB until after 7:30, so tonight's broadcast is unfortunately cancelled. :(

He expressed his apologies to everyone- to which I pointed out he's a volunteer- no apologies were necessary or even appropriate.

Regards- and over and out!!


There's a huge delay on 92 so maybe the meeting will be delayed too.

If we're stuck on this road any longer they should issue us a CDP...

"Clearly Mac Dutra park is having a negative impact on the businesses to the south of Kelly"

Nonsense. Utter nonsense with absolutely no proof. Perhaps a financial interest is involved?


Brian, go see the owner of Oddysea- which I have no financial interest in. Ask him about the tool he uses to track foot traffic on Main Street using cell phones and antennas placed at each corner. (He's a bit of a geek after all...)

Ask him what the numbers were when he looked at it a few weeks ago. He will tell you that it was 1700 and 3800.

Then come back here and apologize for being a divisive and ugly contributor to this forum.

Thank you as always for listening!!


Brian- here is a comment from the owner of Ink Spell books- who I do not even know:

"*sighs* We at Ink Spell Books have been holding our breath. It hurts business tremendously. Is it possible to open the sidewalks going our way as they did for the sidewalks on Main Street?"

I'm sure you are tripping yourself in an attempt to apologize now that you've been shown to be wrong, but instead why don't you pick up the phone and call you friend Rick and see if you can't move things along- or find a way to make them better for ALL of the business what are being harmed by this stupid project.

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