Chair Miller called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
Commissioner Quirk led the flag salute.
Present: Kathleen Baier Dalton, George Miller, Sharon Quirk, Nancy Spencer, Neil Swanson
Absent: Virginia Han, Craig Russell
Staff Present: Susan Hunt, Community Services Director; Community Services Managers Alice Loya and Randy McDaniel; Rick Stock, Building and Facilities Supervisor
Commissioner Quirk MOVED to APPROVE the Minutes of the May 10, 2004 regular meeting as written, and Commissioner Dalton SECONDED the MOTION.
Per Chair Miller, the Minutes stand APPROVED AS WRITTEN.
Commissioner Swanson arrived 6:35 p.m.
Community Services Analyst Alice Loya presented the issue of marketing events in public parks, stating that the Department had recently received an application for a special event for commercial purposes in Adlena Park. The issue was brought up to the Commission because it fell in a gray area of the Citys Municipal Code and the Departments Policy Statement and Fee Schedule regarding marketing events. Therefore, Community Services was requesting that the Commission discuss the benefits and disadvantages for the public, the parks, and the City, and provide direction. Analyst Loya also noted that this request could be one of many, or it could be the only one. She also introduced the applicant, Juan Salas, stating that he and she were available to provide further information.
A commissioner asked if the staff had a recommendation. Analyst Loya responded that the staff had no recommendation because the issue was in a gray area of the Code. Referring to the attached materials, she outlined the relevant areas of the Code and Policy Statement and Fee Schedule which do not specifically forbid a marketing event but do not allow advertising for a service or product, signs, or solicitation. Analyst Loya stated that Mr. Salas would not have any advertising or signs other than the fact that it was sponsored personally by him. She said he will send out 800 flyers to residents near Adlena Park, and expects 100 residents at his event at any given time; however, the actual numbers are another unknown.
Asked how other cities ordinances address this issue, Analyst Loya said she hadnt researched this, but believed they would be similar. Staff pointed out that the fee resolution and ordinance allow a commercial company to hold an event at a park, but normally, its closed to the public. The fee resolution also directs the Department to approve special events and determine the security or City staffing levels. It was clarified that any extra security or staffing would be paid for by the applicant. For this low-key event, it was believed that two City staff would be sufficient.
A commissioner mentioned that there was a riot at one park many years ago; staff responded that an experience like this was why the issue was being brought to the Commission for discussion, adding that there have also been many other events with no incidents. A commissioner asked about setting precedence and how the City could say no to the next applicant. Commissioners and staff agreed that if this event were approved, approval for similar events in the future would be dependent on the positive or negative outcome of the event. It was also noted that City staff at the park could call for additional staffing or security immediately, if needed.
A discussion ensued regarding the location of Adlena Park, its amenities, and activities. The park was also described as completely surrounded by homes which reflect pride of ownership. Analyst Loya assured commissioners that there would be no liquor, cooking of food or rides although there would be free hot dogs, snow cones and drinks. She also described the applicant as a real estate mortgage broker.
The applicant, Juan Salas, made a presentation, noting that there would be no alcohol or music. He reiterated that he was only advertising to families in the immediate area near the park and planning a six-hour event with a total of 400 to 500 people throughout the entire day. There would be attendants at each moon bounce and tickets to regulate both the moon bounce and the food.
When asked what he was marketing, Mr. Salas said nothing except name recognition which would be easier than and cost the same as sending out several flyers. He said he wont be handing out flyers at the park because its prohibited, but will be mailing out flyers and business cards.
One commissioner again expressed concern about a small neighborhood event sponsored by the Citys Redevelopment Agency many years ago at Gilbert Park on the Fourth of July, getting totally out of control, even with security. She said there were gangs and 12 police officers were injured. Mr. Salas described volunteers using walkie talkies wearing easily recognizable Hawaiian shirts helping with traffic control and checking for alcohol, and said they would call police if there was any problem. Another commissioner said there was a recent Little League event at Chapman Park targeting the surrounding neighbors and there was no problem; however, he said it would have been easier to make a decision regarding the Adlena Park event if he had a flyer to look at.
Asked how he came up with the decision for Adlena Park, Mr. Salas said he lives across the park, is on the Fern Drive Elementary School Site Council, knows many parents and has clients in the area. Another commissioner noted that Faces of Fullerton, also a free family event with 1,000 people attending, has had for two years running, zero issues. She believed that the proposed event would be worth trying, and that the family theme would deter trouble makers.
Chair Miller asked for a Motion. Commissioner Dalton MOTIONED to, on a pilot basis, accept the applicants plan to hold a commercial community event at Adlena Park, within the parameters of City policy and the fee resolution, and, afterwards, to have Mr. Salas and staff return to make a report, provide for discussion of the event. Commissioner Quirk SECONDED the MOTION.
Commissioner Spencer asked about liability, and Analyst Loya said that the applicant was required to take out a TULIP insurance policy, an event policy for the day, with the Citys Risk Management, naming the City as an additional insured. Further discussion ensued with Commissioner Spencer expressing misgivings due to the past experience at Gilbert Park. Director Hunt noted that there have been many community events conducted by the Department at parks without incident. Commissioner Dalton asked if there had been previous similar requests, but Director Hunt said that there probably havent been many commercial businesses wanting to spend money with no advertising allowed. Commissioner Dalton said because of Mr. Salas community connections to the area, she feels more comfortable about favoring this community and family event. Director Hunt said that any neighbor comments before and after the event would be factored into the discussion and report.
Commissioner Swanson asked about frequency of these events, saying he would like to AMEND the MOTION to include a stipulation that another like event would not be approved until the outcome of the current event had been reviewed. Commissioner Dalton SECONDED the amendment.
AYES: Baier Dalton, Miller, Quirk, Swanson
NOES: Spencer NOT PRESENT: Han, Russell
The AMENDED MOTION was accepted as the MOTION. Commissioners then voted to accept the MOTION:
AYES: Baier Dalton, Miller, Quirk, Swanson
NOT PRESENT: Han, Russell
The MOTION carried.
Director Hunt said the outcome of the proposed event would most likely be discussed at Septembers Commission meeting.
Director Hunt noted the May 14, 2004 letter commissioners received from the City Clerks office regarding changes to the commission/committee structure and appointment process, and the City Councils request to agendize the issue. She noted that the issue was under Action Items in the event that the commissioners chose to make this an action item, but commissioners could instead or in addition, submit their individual comments to the Council.
Chair Miller asked for comments for the record. Commissioner Swanson mentioned the many poignant letters written regarding this subject as well as his own comments at the last Commission meeting to which he had asked that his name be attached. He asked for clarification regarding the format for comments. A discussion followed as to what format commissioners would like to record their comments to City Council: as a group statement, individual submissions, and/or prior comments recorded in the May Commission minutes. It was noted by Commissioner Spencer that individual comments had already been forwarded with an opportunity to still do so prior to a June 24th deadline. Director Hunt stated that the Commission could provide comments in whatever format they preferred. Due to the individual comments already forwarded, Commissioner Dalton suggested that they entertain dialogue as a group regarding concerns they have.
Commissioner Quirk asked for clarification on Council decisions regarding the committee process. Director Hunt said she had no further information and probably would not until the Council meeting; she said her best guess was that the Commission minutes would be compiled and sent to the City Clerk, and included as part of the Council packet for an agenda item.
Director Hunt noted that the current format of Commission minutes included general comments with no commissioner names attached except under Commissioner Comments, as was the agreed-upon practice. She asked if commissioners would like the practice changed as that decision was the Commissions to make. Commissioner Spencer noted that there were pages of comments in the last minutes, and said this might be sufficient.
Commissioner Quirk asked for and was provided information about the terms of office for the Community Services Commission. Commissioner Swanson asked if there was any notification to commission and committee members regarding the Council action, particularly as Mayor Pro Tem Nelson termed the issue highly publicized; Commissioner Dalton responded that there was no notification other than what was put on the Council agenda, and that the item would not have been brought to the commissions except on the insistence of one council member. There was further discussion as to whether there was any Council decision made; the consensus was that the item was tabled for further discussion and review, to be continued at the July 20, 2004 Council meeting. Commissioner Quirk asked if City staff were working on the item. It was explained that most likely City Council would have its discussion at the July 20th meeting, and then vote, which would provide direction to staff for their logistical work. When asked, Director Hunt said the Commission should provide its opinion on the committee size and appointment process.
Commissioner Quirk said she doesnt agree with Council members having decision-making powers to individually appoint commission members. She felt strongly that their action would eliminate a process that may need some restructuring, may need some fixing, but certainly is not broken. She said the Commission is a good example of how seven members work well together, and that they dont pass items without dialogue and a process. In addition, the Commission represents Fullerton with women, men, and diversity. She expressed concern that the appointment process would no longer be residents submitting applications, but would be friends of the Council members or very well-known people. She said this seems to be the case with Supervisor Norby who supports the appointment process. Commissioner Quirk closed by saying she wants others to have the access and experience she had.
Commissioner Dalton said one of her concerns about changing the process summarily is that, having been involved for quite some time with the Commission, she does not see the commission/committee process as cumbersome, or that it has produced bodies that dont work. She noted that she is on the Community Services Commission and attends Planning Commission, RDRC, Council, and Transportation and Circulation Committee meetings, and hasnt seen a problem with these organizations doing what they were appointed to do. She said she is having some trouble understanding the motivation for the action although she has heard that the main motivator was better Council/Commission communication and more efficiency in government. While greater efficiency in government could be argued, Commissioner Dalton felt that the commission process had not been particularly cumbersome, and had not heard such from anyone. Thus, she was confused as to why the process was being summarily dumped.
Commissioner Dalton further stated that her problem with the direct appointment process is that the City of Fullerton is not a district government, but rather a government at-large with Council members elected by and responsible to the community at-large, not a specific district. She said when she first heard about direct appointment, she thought that that sounded like appointing staff members which, at certain levels of government, is an important practice to have people working for a legislator in the field and reporting directly back to him or her. But because Fullerton does not have a government with districts, the process is better served by the current process which allows anyone in the entire City to apply, within the parameters set down by the committees and commissions, with an application screening, interviewing, and decision-making process.
If the goal is to get Council input for appointments from all members, Commissioner Dalton suggested the ballot process used by some cities which allows Council members to publicly interview and then provide direct input on each applicant; this could be a refinement of the current system and would allow the system to be more open and communicative per the Councils apparent goal. Commissioner Spencer concurred. However, Commissioner Dalton felt that the proposed direct appointment process would be counterproductive in a general government city like Fullerton. Further, as a commissioner, she would prefer to answer to all the Council members rather than only a specific Council member as doing otherwise would more likely lead to a further breakdown of general communication between Council members and commissions.
Commissioner Swanson stated that the first word that came to mind with the direct appointment process was cronyism. He was concerned that when a commissioner is appointed, he would then feel obliged to that Council member and would vote as he believed the Council member wanted him to vote. He believed the application and interview process the commissioners went through with two Commissioners and two Council members sitting in on the interview process was very healthy. He believed that this Commission was healthy, although perhaps there were some others that hadnt met when they should. But, Commissioner Swanson said, to make a wholesale change was not the right process. He reiterated the diversity of the Commission, that there are disagreements, but that the Commission fights to find something that makes sense for everyone. He said if one is appointed, there will be an agenda that would have to be taken care of first instead of taking care of the City of Fullerton which is the Commissions main concern.
Commissioner Spencer agreed with Commissioner Dalton, saying that while the mechanics or procedures could be changed or tightened up, she believes the basic commission structure works and has always been pretty impressed with it. She noted the expertise and different ideas brought by each member, for example, Commissioner Swanson has expertise in sports, she has expertise in the Commission area of trees, being a part of Fullerton Beautiful. She stated that they werent selected for their connections to Council members, but, hopefully, for a background that would contribute to the Commission. Commissioners listen to the evidence from that standpoint, too, each have different ideas, and usually develop a consensus, but they dont just mirror staff recommendations.
Commissioner Spencer noted that she belonged to a County commission for six years, and although she was appointed by a Supervisor, she didnt see it operating differently from the current commission in terms of the validity of information from staff because there really wasnt another way to obtain information. She suggested tightening up the interview procedure, allowing all Council members to participate, if they can avoid a conflict with the Brown Act, and agreed that the ballot process was a good idea.
Commissioner Dalton reiterated that the ballot process could work, that such a public process would be a good thing: the public at large would be aware that interviews were occurring, Council members could ask any questions of any applicants, and then could vote. She further noted that this was an efficient way of getting the maximum amount of Council input into each individual applicant for each individual commission. The Commissioner also said that she had asked some council members about the interview process and learned that there has never been an exclusion of council members for interview panels; there is discussion and consensus about who will interview. She suggested another, perhaps less efficient process than the current or ballot process, of perhaps two council members and a commission member who use rating sheets to interview 10 applicants for a variety of committees, with another round of applicants interviewed by a different set of Council and Commission members. All the rating sheets are compiled and recommendations would be made from that information. Commissioner Dalton pointed out that there are many ways to change process, allow for more direct input from each Council member without changing the entire process to a one-to-one appointment, if the real goal is that all council members want specific input into each commission or committee.
Chair Miller agreed with most everything said by Commissioners, but there was one thing he might agree with in the Council action of the last six weeks, which is that a reduction in the number of Commission members from seven to five would be more efficient. However, although he believed the system could be tweaked and improved with a little out-of-the-box thinking, Chair Miller felt an appointment system would reduce the trust between the commissioners, each believing the other is speaking for a council member. On top of that, the Director would not trust the Commission as the Department might feel they were being spied upon. He reiterated his approval of the reduction of commission members to five, and Commissioner Spencer agreed with him.
When asked again, Commissioners Quirk and Swanson said they could use names, Commissioner Dalton said she doesnt feel strongly because shes planning on sending in her own letter, but was more concerned about the overall structure of the proposed changes and how they could be half as efficient as the current process. She noted that the appointment process would mean that if there was a change in council members, people on commissions would be gone, that everybody currently on commissions would have to thrown out and new people re-appointed, and many other logistical issues. Although she didnt mind the idea of reducing the size of the commission as smaller groups are typically more efficient, because of the breadth of issues covered by the Commission (trees, seniors, youth, sports, arts and culture), the larger member number might bring more expertise and experience; however, she was willing to go with a smaller number if the rest of the Commission believed five was the better number.
Chair Miller said he is sending his own comments to the City Clerk and Commissioner Spencer said her name could be used, but since shed already made her comments clear to Council, she would not be sending a letter. Commissioner Dalton asked if the Commission wanted to discuss the logistics if the proposed changes were made as there would be a lot of resulting problems. Miller agreed, saying that the only thing one could do is probably just wait to see what the Council does, then bring those concerns up to them. Chair Miller confirmed that the commissioners had agreed the minutes would reflect the comments of the Commissioners.
Commissioner Spencer returned to the issue of commission numbers, saying that if a quorum for five was three, this was something to consider when thinking of all the fields the Community Services Commission represents. Commissioner Dalton added that if efficiency was the goal in terms of communication, perhaps the Council could just eliminate all commissions and committees and deal with all the issues themselves, agendizing everything that comes up before them, especially if they want ultimate control. Commissioner Swanson also commented on the current terms of commission members, saying the ebb and flow of different members leaving and coming at staggered times allowed for the refreshing of the Commission as well as diversity. He said he needed clarification on whether commission members would be swept out with every change of Council members because if this was so, a great deal of expertise could be lost at one time. Commissioner Swanson noted how he has learned a lot by being on the Commission. Commissioner Spencer concurred, reminding everyone that Commissions are an advisory board which is very different from the Council which makes decisions, and that the kind of expertise needed to provide advice is not gained in a short period of time. Chair Miller thanked the commissioners and said their comments would be recorded and forwarded.
INFORMATION ITEMS (Items 4 - 9)
Park Projects Manager Randy McDaniel introduced Landscape Architect Intern, Riaz Addaikalam, who made a visual presentation on the proposed Independence Park Pool facility renovation. He indicated the location of the park and provided a history and basic information on the 30-year old, 4,400 square foot facility. The purpose of the project was to improve functionality, bring the facility up to code, and to plan for future additions. He noted existing conditions including wasted space in the lobby area, insufficient plumbing fixtures, and overall deterioration.
To address these and other problems, Intern Addaikalam stated that the renovation would maximize use inside the facility, improve public entry and circulation, plan for the future addition of a concession building and storage, conform to ADA standards, and maximize the number of fixtures including showers, water closets and lavatories. The project provides a separate locker room facility for City employees, both male and female, as well as a first aid station, replaces deteriorating and damaged infrastructure to reduce maintenance costs, with a re-design of the landscape to improve the aesthetics outside.
A commissioner asked what the total costs would be, and Manager McDaniel said the total cost is estimated at $1 million. The project is funded with Redevelopment dollars and park dwelling funds. Originally, the City wanted to completely replace the facility, but has scaled down the project. The project will be flexible to allow for bid alternatives as directed by the City Council.
A commissioner suggested that Manager McDaniel take the Council members to Independence Park to show them, firsthand, the needs at the facility. Another commissioner asked about the design timeline and about coordinating construction with the FAST swim team. She was told that the project design was started in January, is currently in the construction document phase which should be completed by September, and that the Department expects to go to Council with its request in October. Commissioners were told that more information would be available by late August or the first of September when City recommendations for pool operations would be brought to Council. However, no further action by the Commission was anticipated at this time; the issue was being brought to the Commission as a status report. Staff also confirmed that there is $750,000 in Redevelopment bond money earmarked for Independence Park.
A commissioner suggested that it was important to take sufficient, almost too much, time to plan right, perhaps delay the project a year, to ensure that the construction takes less time and inconveniences the fewest number of people. Another commissioner asked if there were any really urgent needs; Manager McDaniel said Building and Facilities Supervisor Rick Stock could also speak to this issue during his Maintenance Report. However, currently, the building doesnt meet ADA standards and fixture counts although the facility is grandfathered in so the City is still in compliance.
Director Hunt provided an informational update to the Commission regarding the Lions Field Clubhouse, noting the attached letters that were sent to both Pop Warner Football and Fullerton Hills Softball. She stated that Fullerton Hills Softball was in agreement with using the Clubhouse after 5:00 p.m., retaining their office and storage, and allowing community use before 4:00 p.m. However, Director Hunt has requested to meet with Pop Warners board because, although it was thought that Pop Warner agreed with the Departments decisions since they had moved out of the Clubhouse, recent comments by citizens indicated otherwise. She said she will be attending their June 22nd board meeting, noting that the Citys offer to Pop Warner is the same as Softballs: the League can use the Clubhouse after 5:00 p.m. weekdays and all day on weekends while the City would use it for classes Monday through Friday, until 4:00 p.m.
Asked what the problems were with this arrangement, Director Hunt replied that Pop Warner had not spoken officially with her regarding any problems, so she didnt know what their specific issues were although she knew they wanted to use the bathrooms and remain in the building, perhaps storing some equipment although Pop Warner has a storage facility at Lions Field. When asked, Director Hunt reiterated that Fullerton Hills Softball has no problem with the joint-use arrangement and that the City was only going to utilize the building before 4:00 p.m. She also affirmed that the Department needed the space at the Clubhouse: new pottery classes meet there which could not be located elsewhere, and tot basketball classes are also being held in the building. She agreed that she will report back to the Commission after meeting with the Pop Warner Board.
The Landscape Division Report for May 2004 was received and filed.
The Building and Facilities Division Monthly Maintenance Report for May 2004 was received and filed. Rick Stock, Building and Facilities Supervisor, made himself available to the commissioners for questions. When asked what was urgent in the Independence Park renovations, he replied that the most pressing issue was the plumbing, toilet and shower fixtures, noting that the shower fixtures were so bad, one couldnt get hot or cold water, and that plumbing fixtures werent designed to last 30 years. The Maintenance Department doesnt have a lot of money budgeted for Independence Park because they are waiting for the renovations.
Director Hunt told another commissioner that the Engineering Department is overseeing the project, saying that after receiving an update last week, she is not entirely comfortable with the schedule over which the Department has no control. However, she recommended continuing on a fast track, have shelf-ready plans and wait for the Councils decision, noting that FAST would certainly have an opinion, too. Supervisor Stock said Maintenance has worked well with Community Services and developed a good product line that will work well for the facility.
A commissioner asked about and was provided a brief report on the outcome of the budget process at the last City Council meeting including the fact that Council had decided to hand over Independence Park pool operations to FAST. It was noted that Mayor Clesceri is partnering with Janet Evans to solicit corporations on behalf of FAST which is planning on raising funds. Staff has been directed to negotiate a contract to turn the pool over to FAST. It was noted that there were questions at the Council meeting regarding liability insurance and liability for the City. Commissioners were told that the negotiation team lead is the City Attorneys office and the Risk Manager. Director Hunt answered questions about City staff at the pool, and agreed there are many questions about the change. Commissioners expressed concerns about FAST taking over such a major operation with no details included, and an entity possibly using public property for private use similar to the Muckenthaler Center.
A commissioner asked if the Commission/Committee agenda item at the July 20th Council meeting would be in the evening session. Director Hunt responded that she didnt know but that the minutes could reflect this suggestion.
Chair Miller stated that the City Council should ask for proof from the people making the claim that the Department, as Pop Warner maintained at the last City Council meeting, evicted Pop Warner. He noted that one thing he has learned from being on the Commission is that people will come up and say anything they want, and that one doesnt know who to believe, and that no one challenges accusations that are made. Chair Miller also asked what was happening at Malvern and Bastanchury, and Director Hunt said that the park will start taking shape, with an estimated completion date of November. The delay was the project being half a million dollars over budget, so they had to work with the developer, Sun Cal, to make changes.
Asked how the Laguna Lake project was proceeding, Director Hunt said there was a pre-construction meeting last week. There will be a Laguna Lake Gazette to keep neighbors informed about the projects progress. She pointed out that it is a long project with a June 2005 completion date for the $2 million project, and another half million dollars from the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, the latter project taking a long time for approval. She described the draining of the lake, removal of wild life, and scooping and removal of soil.
Commissioner Dalton said she wont be at the August 9th Commission meeting.
Commissioner Swanson MOTIONED to ADJOURN the meeting and Commissioner Spencer SECONDED the motion. Chair Miller adjourned the meeting at 8:25 p.m.
ADJOURNMENT - The meeting of the Community Services Commission of July 12, 2004 has been cancelled. The next regular Community Services Commission meeting will be held on Monday, August 9, 2004 at 6:30 p.m. in the Fullerton City Council Chamber, 303 W. Commonwealth Avenue, Fullerton, California.