|City Manager's Weekly Report for the Week
Ending June 5th, 2009
June 5, 2009
Mayor and Councilmembers:
This is the weekly report for the week ending June 5th, 2009.
1. Meeting Notes
The next City Council meeting is a noticed special meeting for this Tuesday, June 9th. As you will recall, this meeting was scheduled to allow the Council to act on initiating proceedings to establish a Landscaping and Lighting District in the Marina Bay area. We have also taken the opportunity to add a Closed Session item for a very brief update on existing litigation matters. The Closed Session has been noticed for 6:00 PM, prior to the special (one item) City Council agenda at 7:00 PM.
The next regular City Council meeting is on June 16th.
2. Move to 440 Civic Center Plaza
The move to 440 Civic Center Plaza is on schedule and the Redevelopment, Fire Administration, LEAP, Police Commission, Office of Neighborhood Safety, Paratransit, Arts and Culture, City Council, and satellite offices for the Richmond Housing Authority and Public Works will be moving into this building on June 26th. The first City Council meeting is scheduled to be held in the new City Council chambers at this location on Tuesday, July 7th.
As you may recall, the City Council recently approved implementation of the ShotSpotter gunshot detection system, which has now been operational for approximately two weeks. The Police Department is actively utilizing this system, and it has already succeeded in saving a life.
The ShotSpotter system currently covers a significant portion of the central and southern portions of the City. Through a series of acoustical sensors, ShotSpotter uses a triangulation process to identify the precise location from where gunshots are coming. Monitors in the Richmond Police Department’s Dispatch Center and at the Police Department then alert officers to these incidents. The system can distinguish between gunfire and fireworks, and can determine if the gunshots are being fired from a vehicle and in which direction the vehicle is traveling.
On the first night after the system monitors were installed in the Police Department’s Dispatch Center, ShotSpotter alerted officers to the precise location next to a residence in central Richmond where several individuals had just fired off a semi-automatic weapon. Officers detained six suspects and recovered three semi-automatic firearms.
On June 1st, shortly after midnight, over 50 gunshots were fired from two semi-automatic weapons in the vicinity of Cutting Boulevard and Stege Avenue. Incredibly, no one called in a report of shots fired. One individual was struck and lay critically injured at a location where, in all likelihood, he would not have been found until after it was light outside (probably sometime the next morning). By that time, there is no question he would not have survived his injuries. Thanks to the precision of ShotSpotter, officers were able to find this critically injured individual shortly after the shots were fired and obtain emergency medical treatment for him. As a result, he is expected to survive this incident.
Funds for Phase One of the ShotSpotter system were allocated by the Richmond City Council from City resources. Phase Two of the ShotSpotter system will cover a number of other Richmond neighborhoods in Richmond north of the current coverage area. Funding for this second phase of the system (approximately $600,000) was made possible through a federal appropriation designated by Congressman George Miller. The Phase Two installation of ShotSpotter will likely start sometime this fall.
4. “Caught in the Crossfire” Project
The City of Richmond’s Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS) is working with John Muir Health’s (JMH) Trauma Department, Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS), and Richmond PAL to launch a nationally recognized best practice violence interruption strategy, “Caught in the Crossfire” (CIC), for Richmond and North Richmond gunshot victims ages 14 to 25 and their families. The program is funded by the John Muir Community Health Alliance.
The CIC is a hospital-based peer intervention program that involves hiring local residents who have overcome violence in their own lives to work with youth who are recovering from violent injuries. These trained Intervention Specialists offer long-term case coordination, linkages to community services, home visits, and follow-up assistance. The purpose is to promote positive alternatives to violence and to reduce retaliation, re-injury, and arrest.
Data published by the US Department of Justice shows that, without a CIC-type of intervention, hospitalization for violence-related injuries is recurrent, with hospital readmission rates for subsequent assaults as high as 44% and subsequent homicide rates as high as 20%.
This past week, after nine months of planning with all program stakeholders, the ONS staff and John Muir trauma unit personnel participated together in the first in a series of orientations and trainings before strategy implementation. The one-year pilot launch is set to launch July 2009.
During the orientation and training session this week, Executive Director Lynn Baskett of the John Muir Community Health Alliance, which is funding the project, stated that, “We have been eager to do this kind of work in the City of Richmond for a long time. We feel that the Office of Neighborhood Safety, its leadership and the role that it facilitates, along with the expertise provided by its outreach team, provides a great opportunity to implement a strategy that we believe can have a dramatic impact on saving lives.”
We will keep you informed as this program begins to move forward.
5. Green Job Training Program to be Supported by DTSC Settlement
As you may recall, the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) reached a $510,000 enforcement settlement some time ago with Zeneca, Inc. and the University of California (UC) resolving violations of hazardous waste management laws at the former Zeneca property and at the UC Field Station. The settlement resolves violations of various hazardous waste laws during the time period from 2002-2005. You may also recall that the City Council voted to encourage DTSC to allocate this settlement money within the Richmond community, where the violation took place.
This past week, DTSC announced that they will provide $254,000 of these settlement funds to the RichmondBuild green technology job training and placement program. In providing these settlement funds to RichmondBuild, DTSC acknowledged the broad training curriculum, including basic electrical, safety and CPR, power tools, framing, sheet rock, roofing, scaffolding, basic plumbing, basic welding, and solar installation, that is provided by the program. It also noted the 90% job placement rate for RichmondBuild graduates.
6. GREAT Graduation
Richmond Police Department Sgt. Eddie Russell was recently acknowledged at the graduation ceremony for his Gang Resistance and Education Training (GREAT) program work at Peres Elementary School.
The GREAT Program is a school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curriculum. With prevention as its primary objective, the program is intended to help young people steer clear of delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership.
GREAT has developed partnerships with nationally recognized organizations, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the National Association of Police Athletic Leagues. These partnerships encourage positive relationships among the community, parents, schools, and law enforcement officers. GREAT lessons focus on providing life skills to students to help them avoid using delinquent behavior and violence to solve problems. The GREAT Program offers a continuum of components for students and their families.
Sgt. Russell had 75 students participate and complete the program. They all gave presentations on what they learned and gained from the program. Sgt. Russell is the Richmond Police Department's only GREAT instructor currently — but plans are to expand the program in the coming school year.
7. Reduction in Sales Tax Receipts
The State Board of Equalization has informed the City of Richmond of lower than expected sales tax figures for the May 2009 advance. Economic conditions have caused a continuing decline in taxable sales activity and sales revenue flowing into the state’s coffers. Cash receipts for the first quarter 2009 were down dramatically below the State’s projections. The early assumption made by the State of California Department of Finance was an estimated decline in cash receipts of -7.4%. Actual cash receipts for that period were approximately 18% below the same period last year. These factors have made it necessary for the State to make additional reductions to the first quarter 2009 advances to cities, reducing the payment to the City of Richmond from $772,000 to $622,000. City Finance staff will continue to monitor the State’s projections, and recommend adjustments as needed.
8. State Budget Update from the California Redevelopment Association
Over the last week, the Legislature's 10-member joint Budget Conference Committee heard testimony from the Department of Finance outlining the Governor's latest budget proposals to close a budget deficit of $24.3 billion projected by the end of the next fiscal year, as well as alternative proposals from the Legislative Analyst's Office. While none of those proposals call for a take of redevelopment funds, there are indications that such proposals may be in the works behind the scenes.
In recent days, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass has stated on two occasions that "redevelopment reform" may be a potential budget solution. We also know that a few legislative staff members are scheming to find ways to get around the recent Superior Court ruling that the State's attempted take of $350 million in redevelopment funds is unconstitutional (CRA v. Genest). We have additional information that other legislators are looking at redevelopment funds as a way to close the deficit.
It should be noted that, since May 11th, 211 cities across California have declared a state of severe fiscal hardship and have opposed a proposal to take local property tax revenues to finance the state budget. Cities across the state are already struggling to balance their own budgets: enacting drastic cuts including public safety reductions, employee layoffs, hiring freezes, project delays, program reductions and more.
State Controller John Chiang has indicated that the Legislature needs to provide solutions by June 15th, and legislative leaders have indicated their intention to present a budget package for a vote to meet that deadline. Controller Chiang has also noted that the State will not be able to pay its bills and will become insolvent by July 29th if a solution is not found.
9. Grant Received from the West Contra Costa Waste Management Authority
In September 2008, the City of Richmond received a grant from the West Contra Costa Waste Management Authority in the amount of $8,142 to fund the “Greening Richmond City Offices” project. Environmental staff used the funds to support a comprehensive waste reduction program in City buildings, improving recycling infrastructure, providing recycling education, facilitating the use of reusable dishware in City Hall, and implementing a composting program.
The final report for this grant summarizes the successes of the waste reduction program, and is attached to this Weekly Report.
10. Recreation Highlights
The following are highlights from the Recreation Department for the current week:
§ Senior Night Out: The Recreation Department hosted Senior Night Out, presented and organized by the Commission on Aging, at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium on Friday, May 29th. Over 350 participants enjoyed an elegant evening with dinner and entertainment.
§ Financial Support: The Recreation Department received funds in the amount of $1,000 from Kaiser Permanente in support of the 27th Annual Senior Health and Information Fair held at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium on May 19th.
11. Public Works Significant Issues
§ Public Works staff completed the resurfacing of 24th Street between Barrett and Macdonald Avenues and Ripley Avenue between 7th Street and Harbour Way this week. Next week, Public Works will resurface 27th Street between Barrett and Macdonald Avenues.
§ The Public Works Parks Division is reviewing the list of proposals submitted by consultant firms to rehabilitate the Shields Reid Park. The Parks Division is also reviewing the list of proposals submitted by consultant firms to rehabilitate the Burg Park. Additionally, Public Works is in the process of soliciting Requests for Proposals for lighting contracts for the skate park at Nichol Community Park, Kern Play Lot, Atchison Park basketball court and La Moine Park.
§ Public Works will be opening bids on June 5th at 2:00 p.m. for the Main Library and the Booker T. Anderson Community Center roof repairs.
12. Second Annual Volunteer Appreciation Lunch
As you know, the City hosted the Second Annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon this past Thursday in the Craneway Pavilion. The event was well-attended, well-catered by the Boilerhouse Restaurant (soon to open in the Craneway), and well-organized by Trina Jackson, with assistance from the City Council interns and several others. Thanks to all of those individuals who helped with and attended this new, worthwhile tradition.
13. Web Fun Facts
The following 2009 web site statistics are compiled from the new Urchin web reporting tool:
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments about these or any other items of interest to you.
Have a great week!
City of Richmond
1401 Marina Way South
Richmond, CA 94804