Santa Clarita City Council Meeting from Tuesday, September 27, 2022

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To navigate to a specific part of the video, simply click on the timestamp links below. Each timestamp corresponds to a different section of the video, allowing you to jump to the parts that interest you the most easily.

00:00:00 In this section of the video, the Santa Clarita City Council Meeting is called to order and council member Smythe gives an invocation for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The council then proceeds with roll call, the pledge of allegiance, and discussing items on the agenda. One speaker card is brought up for item number eight, and the agenda is approved. The council moves on to Awards and Recognitions and recognizes local skaters who medaled in the United States National Showcase Figure Skating event.

00:05:00 In this section, the Santa Clarita City Council honors several young female athletes for their achievements in roller skating. The Council expresses a sense of pride and admiration for these young ladies and the values they represent, specifically highlighting the positive influence of Santa Clarita on its families and children. Following the recognition of the athletes, the Council shifts its focus to recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month and emphasizing the importance of inclusivity and representation for building stronger communities and a stronger nation. The Council notes the positive influence of generations of Hispanic Americans on Santa Clarita and the local economy.

00:10:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council meeting, Laura Gloria Mercado Fortaine was called up to accept a proclamation on behalf of Hispanic Heritage Month. She expressed her gratitude towards the City for acknowledging the rich Hispanic heritage in Santa Clarita and recognized how much the Hispanic community has contributed to the City. Laura discussed how her Hispanic heritage played a role in her education and her desire to become a role model for young children. She also recognized Frank’s contribution to the community as a leader for the Latino Business Alliance and the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce. Finally, German American Heritage Month was also mentioned, and the City acknowledged and recognized it.

00:15:00 In this section, the Santa Clarita City Council honors German Americans by proclaiming October 2022 as German-American Heritage Month. The council acknowledges the significant contributions of German immigrants to the growth and development of the United States, such as building cities, museums, and bridges, designing the United States Capitol building, and fighting for the country’s freedom. The council invites Professor Heidi Esslinger and Steve Petzold to the dais to accept the proclamation, and Professor Esslinger leads the Pledge of Allegiance in German. She thanked the council for their honoring of German Heritage Month, citing that it helps to keep the German program at College of the Canyons alive, and invited the public to two movies in the German language with English subtitles presented at the Valencia campus.

00:20:00 In this section of the transcript, a German language instructor at the local college announces an upcoming film screening of “Das Boot” and “Wings of Desire”, as well as a celebration of German Christmas traditions and heritage. A local German American business owner shares her family’s personal immigration story and highlights the importance of remembering history, especially in times of war and displacement. The city also honors staff from Information Services for receiving the Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award for the 12th time from the National Procurement Institute.

00:25:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council Meeting, the council announced that the city has received an award, being recognized as one of just 171 public agencies to receive recognition for public procurement best practices. This confirms the city’s commitment to professional, transparent and responsible purchasing policies and procedures. The council then moved on to an update on Southern California Edison’s plans to expedite grid hardening and wildfire mitigation strategies in the Santa Clarita Valley. Representatives from Southern California Edison shared a brief update on their progress in improving infrastructure throughout the city and mitigating the risk of extreme weather on their service area. They also recognized the hard work of the city council and staff in maintaining safe, reliable, and efficient utility services for customers and community members.

00:30:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council Meeting, the focus was on wildfire mitigation measures and the effectiveness of the city’s strategies. The city highlighted the multiple tools available for mitigation, including vegetation management, aerial inspections, and green hardening, which focuses on cost-effective strategies. The latest addition to their toolkit is machine learning, which has improved weather monitoring. The results of these efforts have been impressive, with a 73% reduction in outage time system-wide and a 98% reduction specifically in the city of Santa Clarita. The meeting also presented a map showing the circuits completed by the crews and highlighting the city’s expected improvements over the previous year.

00:35:00 In this section, the Santa Clarita City Council discussed their partnership with local firefighting agencies and their wildfire mitigation strategy. They contributed $18 million to create a quick reaction force of aerial firefighting assets, including the world’s largest tele tankers, which were used on over 50 fires in 2021. They also highlighted the importance of preparing residents with access and functional needs by encouraging them to contact 211. The council expressed gratitude to Southern California Edison for fulfilling their promises and completing everything the council asked for regarding their hardening project. They concluded by moving on to public comments.

00:40:00 In this section, three members of the Santa Clarita community address the council. Tony Maldonado expresses concern regarding the strength of the employee whistleblower program in the city after researching case studies of failed California cities. He questions the effectiveness of the city personnel’s rules and policies against harassment, discrimination, and bullying in promoting positive whistleblowing. Elaine Dallas inquires about the energy usage of the many Teslas in the city and questions the grant process for 5013c organizations, expressing suspicion about some organizations ripping people off.

00:45:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita city council meeting, residents bring up their concerns about the lack of resources and aid for those in need, including the rising cost of living due to gas prices and food, and the need for businesses and public transportation to extend assistance. One resident also discusses their formal complaint of ethics violations and abuses of discretion within the city, along with claims of cronyism and favoritism for employment opportunities. Another resident commends the city on the Parent Resource Symposium, which aimed to educate parents with children in school.

00:50:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council Meeting, various speakers addressed concerns related to school safety, drugs, mental illness, and homelessness. While some speakers thanked the Sheriff’s department for organizing anti-drug events, others criticized a City Council candidate for promoting white supremacy and defunding law enforcement. Moreover, many speakers blamed a failed administration and open borders for contributing to the challenges faced by the community. The speakers urged City Council members to stand up and fight harder to preserve a safe and healthy future for all citizens, especially children.

00:55:00 In this section, Santa Clarita City Councilwoman discusses the growth of diversity in Santa Clarita, including the increasing black community. She also mentions a new round table initiative to spread awareness about individuals who have dealt with diversity and helped eliminate racism. Additionally, another council member expresses concern about the fentanyl crisis, but pleads for unity in fixing the problem rather than politicizing it. Finally, the community expresses its concerns about the new homeless shelter being built and requests updates on the project.

01:00:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council Meeting, community members address concerns about homelessness, wildfire prevention, and electricity bills. One speaker asks for an update on the timeline for a new homeless shelter, expressing frustration over a lack of progress. Another suggests using the YMCA and senior centers to help the homeless community. A different community member proposes using goats to eat brush as a preventative measure against wildfires and suggests adding extra lights at intersections for emergency vehicles. Additionally, a resident questions a recent surcharge on their SCE electricity bill and asks for recognition of taxpayer funding towards wildfire mitigation efforts. Finally, a speaker asks the city council to oppose the issuance of $95 million in bonds for College of the Canyons.

01:05:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council Meeting, a member of the public expressed concerns about the College of the Canyons issuing $95 million in bonds, which will increase property taxes for every owner in the city. They accused the college of not caring about the taxpayers, and asked the council to issue a statement to protect them. The city manager addressed questions about the city’s ethics policies and whistleblower protections. A council member suggested researching the use of lights at intersections to alert residents of approaching emergency vehicles. The meeting then shifted to committee reports.

01:10:00 In this section of the transcript, the Santa Clarita City Council announces a 2022 hiking challenge inviting residents to hike all seven trails at the local East Walker Ranch open space. The challenge will run until December 31st, with the first 50 participants receiving a prize and all participants entered to win a grand prize. The council also thanks the local Blue Star Moms for facilitating Sunday’s traveling Fallen Warriors exhibit and discusses the dangers of fentanyl, a drug that is responsible for many deaths in the community. Finally, the council celebrates the Hispanic heritage celebration and congratulates the brand new Girl Scout Troop 582 on their first bridging ceremony.

01:15:00 In this section of the transcript, a council member announces an opportunity to visit an exhibit honoring California soldiers who died after 9/11. The member then moves on to a remembrance of Jose Sanchez, a beloved member of the community who passed away. Sanchez was known for his many decades of work at the Way Station Cafe, where he was always friendly and helpful. Members of the council express an interest in honoring him with a painting on the side of the cafe that would show him serving famous movie icons who frequented the restaurant, and the council member suggests that she is willing to help fundraise for the project.

01:20:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council Meeting, the council discussed a proposal to implement and finance the city’s energy infrastructure modernization program. The program aims to revitalize the city’s aging infrastructure, address issues with HVAC equipment, and mitigate the impact of future rate increases from Southern California Edison. The city received five proposals, and climatech was chosen for their reputable qualifications and experience. The public had the opportunity to comment on the proposal during the hearing.

01:25:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council Meeting, staff presented a program developed with Climatech to address aging infrastructure and utility usage in the city. The program will replace critical infrastructure, modernize systems, and generate utility savings to fund proposed projects. With solar panels, battery storage, LED lighting, HVAC upgrades, irrigation controllers, and more, the program will cost a little over 35 million dollars and will be managed and completed within 24 months by Climatech. The program demonstrates the city’s commitment to environmental stewardship, as it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 3,000 metric tons per year, equivalent to taking 716 gas-powered cars off the road each year.

01:30:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council meeting, staff presented a proposal for the implementation and financing of the city’s energy infrastructure modernization program, which would cost $46.5 million but generate a total savings of $46.6 million. The savings would come from utility, operational, and inflation savings, with utility and operational savings of over $35 million guaranteed by the contractor, climatech, over the useful life of the equipment. The proposal was recommended for approval, and speakers expressed support for the council’s efforts.

01:35:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council Meeting, a member of the public expresses concern over the City Manager’s Office’s decision to release a 10-page Agenda Report and 17 attachments with just a few days’ notice before discussing the issue of $50 million in bonds. The speaker argues that this leaves little time for fiscal due diligence by fiscally responsible citizens given the significant magnitude and complexity of the issue. They propose a deferral of the discussion and approval of the Bond measures until the next City Council meeting in October to ensure everyone has a reasonable amount of time to review the documents thoroughly. Another member of the public seconds this proposal, expressing frustration over the issue of bonds and the mismanagement of finances, notably at the Cube rink, and the lack of foresight in the decision to reopen it.

01:40:00 In this section, members of the public express their concerns and skepticism over the city council’s proposed upgrades that aim to save energy and money. While some urged the council to give residents more opportunities to investigate the details of the proposal, others questioned the effectiveness of the upgrades and presented doubts about the cost-saving estimates presented. One speaker inquired about the ability to save the energy collected from solar panels, while another called for a delay in the vote and deeper analysis of the proposal with experts.

01:45:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council Meeting, the Council moves to discussing and asking questions about a large bond item cost. The mayor pro tem expresses initial hesitancy, but recognizes the opportunity for the city to turn operation and electrical costs into actual infrastructure costs, especially with a program that is environmentally friendly and pays for itself over the life of the project. The council trusts the staff’s conservative, data-driven approach to these projects and costs. They discuss the proposed nem 3.0 system and how it could impact the city’s ability to store energy credits, potentially saving them five million dollars before implementation. They also inquire about projects that were not recommended by climate tech and how the measurement and verification agreement works.

01:50:00 In this section, city officials discuss a proposed project to upgrade infrastructure in Santa Clarita, which would include solar panels and energy-efficient improvements to 14 buildings, fields, and irrigation systems. One council member expresses concern about not being able to bank the electricity and savings, which would result in higher fees. However, the council agrees that this type of innovation is necessary for a growing city and the proposed project would pay for itself over time. They also recognize that the bond market is changing daily, and delaying the project could have a significant impact. The council ultimately approves moving forward with the project and expresses appreciation for the guarantees negotiated with the contractor.

01:55:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council meeting, city officials discussed environmental upgrades to promote efficient energy use and save residents money. They emphasized the importance of being environmentally conscious and making community goods more efficient. The council also addressed false claims about bond issues and tax increases and highlighted the successful investment in the Cube facility. Council members then moved on to discuss a sponsorship agreement with Kaiser Permanente for the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center.

02:00:00 In this section, Chris Page presents a potential sponsorship agreement with Kaiser Permanente at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center. The agreement would generate $50,000 annually over a span of five years, amounting to a total of $250,000, and would rebrand the facility as the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center presented by Kaiser Permanente. The sponsorship will provide a benefit to both the city and local businesses in terms of subsidizing programs and activities, and expanding brand awareness and customer outreach. However, during the public comment section, some residents express concerns that this branding could alienate members of the community who are not Kaiser Permanente members and argue that certain aspects of city services should remain non-commercial.

02:05:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council Meeting, several speakers express concerns about the commercialization of city-owned properties and the branding of facilities by large corporations. Tony and Elaine both question the need for additional revenue streams that do not benefit the residents or the lowest-paid employees. Elaine also suggests exploring local business sponsorships instead of teaming up with large corporations. Lastly, Santa asks for clarification on the CV fund and suggests promoting local businesses instead of corporations.

02:10:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council meeting, council members discussed the success of the sponsorship program, which provides opportunities for businesses to engage in events and other opportunities that benefit the city and community. The money goes towards the general fund, which enables the council to provide services and programs for residents, such as the sheriff’s department and recreation programs. Kaiser Permanente’s $50,000 sponsorship for the Aquatic Center was also discussed, with council members suggesting that they ask for more money in the future. The council eventually voted in favor of the recommended action.

02:15:00 In this section, a speaker questions the city council’s knowledge of the purchasing policy and recommends taking a pause on development to focus on fiscal responsibility. The council members explain that the updates to the purchasing policy are routine and mostly pertain to contractual signing and procurement processes, with no relation to development. The policy ensures a responsible and efficient procurement of services, materials, and assets, and is subject to change as laws and prices fluctuate.

02:20:00 In this section of the Santa Clarita City Council Meeting, the council discusses the inclusion of the design-build element to the bidding process, and the fact that staff no longer requires council approval for the method of use. However, the council still has the ultimate authority and approval responsibilities, and requests for design-build still come to council for approval. The council is not in the development business or contract city, and this change does not change the council’s authority or approval responsibilities. Consent calendar is approved unanimously, and the meeting is adjourned in honor of Jose Sanchez.

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