Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

March 30, 2004 > Union City

Union City

City Council Meeting for March 23

by Jeremy Inman

Start time: 7:21 p.m.
End time: 10:15 p.m.

Union City presented a number of certificates in honor of teen volunteers who represented just a few of the hundreds of individuals who volunteer their time for local nonprofit organizations and city sponsored events and programs. 90% of these volunteers are teenagers. The city recognized the teens for their hard work and dedication over the past year.

A second recognition was by the California Park and Recreation Society (CPRS) District III awards of Excellence and Achievement. Leisure Services Aquatics Program won the award of Excellence from the CPRS for being the only cost-covered aquatics program. The Leisure Services Halloween Community Carnival won an award of Achievement. These two awards are of the highest and most prestigious awards of their type in the state of California. Mayor Green called it a "major accomplishment."

The City also recognized the Knights of Columbus, who advocate the strong moral values necessary for the survival of civilization. 2004 is the 20th anniversary of the chartering of council 8627 of Union City, who continue service to "church, country, and community." March 24-30 of 2004 will be recognized by the city as Knights of Columbus Week.

A Union City Soccer Board member informed the council that many children were leaving the organization. He said that people have taken over without fair election. He asked if the city would send someone to see if the board was adhering to the bylaws. Further validating these claims was a duo of young girls who said that they were prevented from handing out fliers that would urge people to vote for their parents, and that most people didn't know that elections were even held. Several more individuals came to the podium and exposed problems such as unfair elections, and disorderly conduct that was both unconstitutional and unfair. Mayor Green told the soccer representatives that things don't always go as planned and that from a process standpoint, the city is unable to become legally involved in the problem. He urged them to take their case to a higher level in the soccer league.

Other concerns involved the placing of a group home for the mentally challenged into a community without first informing that community. The speaker said that patients roam the area, that there have been several incidents, and that it no longer feels safe to let children play outside. This also hurts the community financially because when selling a home, the seller must disclose the fact that the group home is nearby. Mayor Green acknowledged the home as a destructive force and directed the question to staff. Mark Leonard said that the State had taken over authority on group home permits, and that the said facility happens to be legally licensed. The only course of action for the city is to request investigation. Green said that just permitting the home and letting it go without the community approval is "not acceptable in Union City."

It was requested that a hearing for the cost recovery for the demolition of a bowling alley at 14 Union Square be extended once more for the settlement process to occur. The hearing was originally continued from the council meeting on February 10 due to illness of the property owner. The hearing was extended once more to allow time for the owner to make payments.

An authorization to issue Pension Obligation Bonds and proceed with judicial validation action was approved. A report was given that provided information on the opportunity for the City to issue Pension Obligation Bonds (POBs) to refinance its unfunded liability in the pension plans the City provides for its employees through the California Public Employees Retirement System (PERS).

A Recommendation of the Park and Recreational Commission for adoption of an Ordinance of the City of Union City Municipal Code banning the use of skateboards, in-line skates, scooters and BMX bicycles from City Facilities was approved because the unregulated use of such devices is becoming increasingly problematic due to the proprietary damage that their usage causes. The Union City Police Department would be in charge of enforcing this law.

A motion was made by Mayor Green to continue a recommendation of the Park and Recreation Commission for establishment of a sports field maintenance fund for another 4 weeks, Elias seconded the motion and it unanimously passed. A staff report revealed that in order to properly maintain Union City sports fields, a $20,000 per year stipend will need to be raised through user fees. The report discussed the options for such an implementation, but Green wanted to extend the item in order to acquire more solid figures.

The consent calendar included:
A resolution of the City Council of the City of Union City approving the donation of one Sun MCA-3000 engine analyzer to the James Logan High School auto shop.

A resolution accepting improvements for Union City Boulevard Park & Ride lot.

a resolution authorizing the filing of applications with the metropolitan transportation commission for allocation of transportation development act article 4 and 4.5/State transit assistance funds and with the Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority for allocation of Measure B funds for Fiscal year 2004-05

A resolution approving tentative parcel map TPM 8348, a resolution of intention to annex lands into community facilities district No. 96-1 (DIPSA) for the Pacific States Steel corporation (PSSC) property

A resolution authorizing the destruction, without duplication, of police records that have exceeded their legal retention, a comprehensive annual financial report

A rejection of Claim No. 551, and resolution rejecting all bids and redesign specifications for Union City boulevard median landscape renovation. This last item was pulled by Vernaci, who asked where the funds would come from and what kind of renovation would occur. The item then passed unanimously.

A request was made by councilmember Vernaci for discussion on requiring City Council candidates to pay a fee for pulling nomination papers and to pay the cost of the candidate's statement. She suggested that the item be added to the agenda for the next meeting for the benefit of interested parties. Mayor Green stated that the City had never had a candidate pay before, and that it remain ideally so, but that they would perhaps not charge candidates the full fee. The only reason Green stated for supporting such a measure is because of current budget predicaments.

A request was made by Councilmember Elias for a discussion on reducing Council compensation by 5%. He said "we want to send a message to the City that we are participation in what they're going through." Councilmember Valle agreed that such an action would send a good message, and Mayor Green stated that it would be valuable for the council to "lead by example." The item will be on the agenda for the next meeting.

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