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City Manager's Blog - Week of November 27, 2017

Post Date:12/04/2017 10:27 AM

Welcome to this week's edition of the City Manager's Blog. You can also download the Blog as PDF. To get caught up on prior posts, please visit the City Manager's Blog at www.santaclaraca.gov/cmblog and subscribe to e-Notify to be alerted of future posts.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Annual Holiday Tree Lighting 2017 was held on December 1: The City celebrated the Annual Holiday Tree Lighting in Central Park on December 1 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event included proclamation of George Santich as the “2017 Honorary Tree Lighter,” a Santa Claus Meet & Greet, Fireworks, Food & Beverages, Live Music & Entertainment, and Ice Skating sessions. The event was livestreamed on the City’s YouTube and Facebook channels.

Elks Hoop Shoot Contest 2017 held November 5: In the 18th year of partnership with the Elks Lodge, the Youth Activity Center (YAC) hosted the Annual Elks Hoop Shoot Contest on November 15. 102 kids between the ages of 8-13 participated in the free throw contest. The Elks Lodge provided snacks for the youth and trophies were presented to the division winners. 

Earl R. Carmichael Park Basketball Court receives new upgrades: Replacement of four new acrylic backboards and goal posts at Earl R. Carmichael Park were recently installed. The neighborhood youth have started enjoying the new upgrades to the basketball court.

Central Park Master Plan Update Online Survey Available: The Central Park Master Plan Update survey is now available online from November 29 to December 13 to gather resident input to guide future potential rehabilitation, improvement and/or expansion projects. The Plan Update will balance current uses, historic character, and the unique blend of park and active recreational spaces with new proposed uses and/or facilities for community use. When updated, the Plan will support the accomplishment goals including:  increased community health, fitness and development of inclusionary, sustainable, and age-friendly facilities for community sports, recreation, leisure, and natural habitat. To complete the online survey, visit: https://www.peakdemocracy.com/portals/98/Issue_5692.

City of Santa Clara 2017 Holiday Home Decorating Contest is Back! Nominations for the annual Holiday Outdoor Decorations Contest are now being accepted through December 12. Decorate the exterior of your home or business in cheerful, colorful holiday décor. Homes, businesses and trees will be judged on use of color, lighting, festivity and originality. Nominate yourself, your neighbor, or one of the brightly lit homes or businesses you’ve seen around the City. Judging will take place the week of December 8. Awards for the four categories (residential, business, neighborhood, and best tree) will be announced by December 15. Visit the website to place your nomination: http://santaclaraca.gov/residents/events/2017-holiday-decorations-contest-nomination

Winter Activity Guide released on November 29: The Park and Recreation Winter Activity Guide was released on November 29 and were mailed to residents this week; online resident registration begins December 5 for classes and events.

City of Santa Clara Annual Report and 2018 Calendar: The 2017-18 Annual Report and City Calendar is in final design stages and will begin to be delivered to residents by the second week of December.

Mission Branch Library Renovation Celebration held on December 2: The community celebrated the kick-off of the renovation for Mission Branch Library on December 2. The event included performances, tours of the library, renovation project information, and a book sale. Mission Branch Library will be closed starting December 4 to begin the renovation work. During the temporary closure, the new Book Mobile service will be providing full library services beginning on January 22, 2018. The branch is projected to reopen in late Spring to early Summer 2018.The grand reopening is slated for July 2018.

Santa Clara City Library awarded Innovation and Technology Opportunity Grant: The Santa Clara City Library was one of the award recipients for the 2017-18 Pacific Library Partnership Innovation and Technology Opportunity Grant for $8,000. The grant is awarded to libraries to support innovation and technology and improving communities through accessible technology. The Santa Clara City Library received the grant for the project California 360: Our Community Creates a Virtual World.

Pilot Residential Food Scraps Recycling Program Update: Santa Clara residents have recycled 83 tons of food scraps during the first five weeks of the pilot residential food scraps recycling program. The City is currently conducting a customer survey of participants in the pilot residential food scraps recycling program. Surveys were mailed to the billing address for all pilot food scraps recycling collection route customers on December 1. The survey will gather information on customer satisfaction, participation, issues and challenges, and recommendations for improvements. The information collected by the survey will be included in a staff report on the implementation of the pilot program at the January 23, 2018 City Council meeting. 

Statewide Initiative Mandates Lead Monitoring in School Water Systems by July 2019: While California generally has newer infrastructure and lead service lines are not a prevalent issue, the issues in Flint, Michigan have elevated concerns about any potential exposure to lead, particularly for children, who are considered to be the most vulnerable to lead exposure. In 2016, the City’s Water and Sewer Utilities completed lead and copper testing as required under the Federal Lead and Copper Rule. All results met Federal and State requirements and were well below the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action level, however the Federal Lead and Copper Rule focuses on residential homes and does not require testing at schools.

On January 17, 2017, the State Water Resources Control Board - Division of Drinking Water (DDW) directed all water agencies to provide testing for lead in drinking water for all K-12 public, private, and charter schools directly served by the water agencies. Furthermore, AB 746, signed on October 13, 2017, made lead testing mandatory for all local education agencies (Includes K-12, preschools and child daycare located on public school property) with buildings constructed before January 1, 2010. This new statewide initiative now requires schools to test their onsite water fixtures for lead by July 1, 2019.

In addition, water providers, such as the City’s Water and Sewer Utilities, are required to perform the lead sampling and analysis upon written request from a school official. The City has prepared to assist schools by developing draft sampling plans for each site. Once schools send their request for testing, City staff will work with school officials to finalize a sampling plan and test the water for lead at the most commonly used drinking water fixtures. Results from the testing will be given to state and school officials as well as be published in the City’s annual Consumer Confidence Report. More information on lead sampling is available at: https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/drinking_water/certlic/drinkingwater/leadsamplinginschools.shtml

Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Graduations throughout Santa Clara: Over the last two weeks, five separate D.A.R.E graduations were held at elementary schools throughout Santa Clara. D.A.R.E. is a drug abuse prevention education program designed to equip elementary school children with knowledge about drug abuse, the consequences of drug abuse and skills for resisting peer pressure to experiment with drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

Santa Clara pays tribute to “Jax” from the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety: On November 21, Santa Clara Police Department personnel attended the funeral for “Jax”, who was a Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety canine that was killed in the line of duty. Members of the police department’s Special Response Team (SRT) also provided safety and security for the event, which was held at Juniper Networks.

Fire Station Emergency Alerting Equipment Installed at City Fire Stations: On November 27, the Fire Department installed fire station emergency alerting equipment in each of the City’s ten fire stations. The equipment allows dispatchers at the Police Communications unit to quickly alert firefighters when emergency response is needed from the Fire Department. This equipment enhancement was scheduled to be completed in advance of the 2018 Police Department Computer Aided Dispatch upgrade, and was funded through the capital improvement budget at a cost of $150,000.

Santa Clara Fire Department Recruits Reach Mid-point in Fire Academy: On November 23, nine new recruit firefighters completed a live-fire training exercise with the Mountain View Fire Department at their fire training center. Utilizing a structure-fire simulator, firefighters were exposed to multiple, live-fire scenarios in a controlled training environment.  Fire recruits are currently at the mid-point of their 16-week fire academy.

Holiday Season Fire Prevention Tips: The Fire Department is providing holiday season fire prevention advice through the Fire Department’s social media platforms to help residents stay fire safe, especially when live holiday trees and decorations are brought inside the home. Check out these important fire prevention tips online at: http://santaclaraca.gov/government/departments/fire/divisions/fire-prevention-hazardous-materials-division

Silicon Valley Power (SVP) will provide Coal-Free Energy in 2018: Silicon Valley Power has been committed to eliminating coal as a source of electricity for our customers and is exiting from the San Juan (coal) generating station located in New Mexico, at the end of December 2017.  This shift will effectively reduce the carbon footprint of our power supply by about 50 percent. Also beginning in 2018, SVP will be providing residential customers 100% carbon-free default service, with a 50% renewable power and 50% large-hydroelectric power generation mix. The residential rates will remain unchanged for the new default service which are currently 47% to 48% below the rates for PG&E and below the rates for Silicon Valley Clean Energy (the local Community Choice Aggregator). Residential and commercial customers still have the option to join the “Santa Clara Green” Program for a 100% renewable power generation mix, which has a residential rate 36% below similar programs in surrounding communities. A Press Release announcing SVP’s departure from coal power was issued on November 29 and was promoted through the utility bills, social media, and articles in Inside Santa Clara and SVP’s Outlet newsletter. The press release resulted in a KCBS radio segment.

Removal of Dead Trees and Maintenance at Serra Water Tanks: The City received public concerns regarding dead trees and landscaping maintenance at the Serra Water Tanks site located at 200 Lawrence Expressway. City staff removed 13 dead trees from the site in August 2017 and continues to assess the area for any necessary tree removal.  The City is in the process to hire a landscape contractor for weed abatement and brush removal to be completed by end of January 2018.

El Camino Real Specific Plan Outreach Underway: In addition to the outreach conducted at the September Art & Wine Festival, staff engaged with community members at “pop up” outreach events on November 28 at the Santa Clara Cal Train station and on December 2 at the Santa Clara Farmer’s Market. Online surveys for the El Camino Plan will be available on the El Camino Specific Plan in the near future.

Notices for 2018 public workshops will be sent to neighborhood residents to seek their input and to invite their participation, as well as online engagement for those unable to attend. The City is planning a second speaker series on topics related to place making, density and urbanization of Silicon Valley in 2018. These speakers are being selected to address topics related to the El Camino Real Specific Plan effort as well of general citywide interests.

A Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) is being organized for the El Camino Real Specific Plan.  The TAC will be advisory and non-voting, consisting of technical experts such as realtors, developers, architects, transportation agencies (CalTrans, VTA, etc.) and other relevant stakeholders. A Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) will begin meeting in 2018. The CAC will provide high-level strategic thinking on the direction of the plan at key moments in the project and will include, but is not limited to, local residents, homeowners associations, businesses, property owners and community organizations.

Tasman East Specific Plan: For the past two months the Tasman East residential developer stakeholders have been working with a consultant to prepare a mutual response to the input provided by the City Council at the June study session. The residential developers provided staff with a proposed new alternative site plan for the Tasman East Focus Area just prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. The proposal includes modifications to the proposed Area street network that would require additional work to modify the Traffic Impact Analysis already under preparation. Staff is currently evaluating the proposal to determine next steps.

VTA BART Station Planning: The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is conducting a planning process for Phase II of the BART to Santa Clara project. The “BART Phase II Access and TOD Strategy Study” is being funded by a Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) grant in the amount of $1,520,000 along with $380,000 of VTA funding.  The intent of the study is to integrate land use and transportation planning for the BART project in order to improve economic development and ridership, promote multimodal connectivity and access, identify infrastructure needs, enable mixed-use development around the BART stations and engage the public in the planning process. While BART staff and their consultants will be leading the process, City staff is actively engaged and will be reviewing recommendations provided by the VTA through the study related to land use planning around the Santa Clara BART station as the process proceeds through FY 2018-19.

Climate Action Plan (CAP): City staff has compiled a list of all development projects and relevant project conditions subject to monitoring under the City’s Climate Action Plan and will be reviewing those projects for compliance. A standardized list of Transportation Demand Management conditions is under development for future projects. The City will be reaching out to potential consultants in early 2018 to initiate a comprehensive update of the CAP.

2nd Website Redesign Community Meeting: The City hosted the 2nd Website Redesign Community Meeting on November 30 at the Senior Center. Community members had the opportunity to hear about the latest update on the website redesign process and give input on the website. The website redesign is still underway and is projected to be complete in Q1 2018.

Safe Routes to Schools Program Kicks off Phase 2 in Santa Clara: On November 29, the City of Santa Clara, in partnership with the Santa Clara Unified School District joined students and teachers at Westwood Elementary School in Santa Clara to kick off Phase 2 of the Safe Routes to School Program. Students demonstrated safe traffic behaviors in a mock city course which reminds students to obey the law. The City of Santa Clara’s Safe Routes to School Program will integrate health, fitness, traffic relief, environmental awareness, and safety under one program. A media advisory and news release were sent for the event.

RESPONSES TO COUNCIL INQUIRIES

Cannabis Consultant: On October 27, a Request for Proposals (RFP) was released for consulting services to assist the City with the development of cannabis regulations. Seven proposals were received by the November 13 deadline. City staff representing City Attorney’s Office, City Manager’s Office, Community Development, Finance, and Fire conducted interviews with two firms on November 19. SCI Consulting has been selected as the firm to assist the City with community engagement and the development of cannabis policies and regulations. Staff is working with SCI to finalize a contract for City Council consideration on December 19. Funds for this activity were not included in the FY17-18 budget. Staff will be requesting approximately $200,000 from the Working Capital Reserve to fund this new contract

Freedom Circle and Patrick Henry Specific Plans: Staff is completing the consultant selection and contract scope processes and anticipates presenting a contract to the City Council for consideration in January 2018.

LEVI’S STADIUM RELATED UPDATES

49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks Game: On November 26, a football game involving the 49ers and Seattle Seahawks occurred at Levi’s Stadium. An individual flew a drone into the stadium and dropped anti-media pamphlets over the stadium. This is a violation of the Santa Clara Municipal Code. The Santa Clara Police Intelligence Unit was able to identify the suspect based on the pamphlets. The suspect then drove to the Oakland Coliseum and committed the same act.

PAC-12 Championship Game held on December 1: In preparation for anticipated visitors and traffic issues, City staff utilized social media to reach out to colleges in advance. A Traffic Advisory for Levi’s Stadium and the Surrounding Area was issued on November 29. The Pac-12 College Football Championship game between USC and Stanford took place on December 1.

Upcoming Levi’s Stadium Events:
December 17 – 49ers vs. Titans

Stadium Authority Fiscal Year 2018-19 Budget Process: Staff is organizing for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2018-19 Stadium Authority Operating, Debt, and Capital Budget process.  Budget discussions have started with StadCo and ManCo representatives to ensure that all required budget documents will be provided according to the agreed upon budget timelines.     

The Preliminary Budget Calendar for the Stadium Authority is as follows:

February 27, 2018

Study Session to receive Board and Public input on the proposed Stadium Authority Budget

March 13, 2018

Tentative adoption of the Stadium Authority Budget or further discussion

March 27, 2018

Adoption of the final Stadium Authority Budget

 

UPCOMING EVENTS & MEETINGS

Central Park Ice is Open! The winter season of recreation is not complete without ice skating in Central Park. Come enjoy a fun time on the ice and sip on hot chocolate! Daily operations, classes, schedules and fees can be found at www.santaclaraonice.com.

Central Park Nights on Ice will begin on December 8 with free events held each Friday night during the ice rink season. Come enjoy performances and family friendly entertainment starting at 6 p.m on December 8.

El Camino Real Specific Plan Pop-Up Workshop on January 26:  Community members are invited to Pop-Up workshops with the opportunity to receive updates and provide feedback on the El Camino Real Specific Plan. The next Pop-up event is scheduled for January 26, 2018 at Santa Clara University (Specific Location and time TBD). Additional information on the El Camino Specific Plan is available online at www.santaclaraca.gov/ecr

Community Engagement Meeting for San Tomas and Monroe Property on December 7:
The City of Santa Clara will host a Community Engagement meeting on December 7 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the City Hall Cafeteria located at 1500 Warburton Avenue. Members of the public are invited to provide feedback regarding the development of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the property at 2330 Monroe Street (San Tomas and Monroe).

Contact Information:
City Manager's Office
(408) 615-2210 manager@santaclaraca.gov

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