Documenter: Ramiro Merino


  • The Madera County Public Health Department provided a report on the marketing in store-fronts and the influence they have on youth. 

  • There were many supporters and opposers on the pending Cannabis Regulatory and Related Procedures, regarding making the system a merit-based or lottery system. The item was presented by the City Manager as a workshop and was not before the Council for a vote.

  • The Council approved the agreement with WSP USA for the development of the Madera Transit Plan in the amount of $100,000.

Madera City Council Members

  • Santos Garcia, Mayor

  • Cece Gallegos, Councilmember for District 1

  • Jose Rodriguez, Council Member for District 2

  • Steve Montes, Council Member for District 3

  • Anita Evans, Council Member for District 4

  • Vacant, District 5

  • Artemio Villegas, Mayor Pro Tem and Council Member for District 6

The Scene

The Madera City Council meeting was called to order at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 by Mayor Santos Garcia. The meeting was streamed live virtually through the City of Madera’s website at, the City’s Youtube channel and conference call. The meeting consisted of the six council members, including Mayor Santos Garcia, Councilmembers Cece Gallegs, Jose Rodriguez, Steve Montes, Anita Evans, and Artemio Villegas. All the Council members participated in the meeting at home so they did not wear masks. 


Department of Public Health Update on COVID

The Madera County Public Health Department gave an update on COVID-19. 

“Madera County remains in the red tier. The earliest we can move is May at this point. As more activities are going on, we will have more cases, particularly in our mountain community, which has never happened. Now that they are engaging in activities, they would have less immunity since they originally quarantined from activities for a while. If there are symptoms of COVID in the household, everyone in the household needs to quarantine because it can take up to three days for you to develop symptoms. There are more pop-up clinics, we go to schools and ask students to bring their families so they can all be vaccinated. We encourage people to visit the state website to learn about guidance regarding COVID. There are a lot of activities resuming even in the red tier in regards to in-person events.” 

Building a Healthy Community: Youth and the Retail Environment

The Madera County Public Health Department representatives reported on the impact storefronts have on the youth. “We conducted this survey in 2013, 2016, and 2019 so we wanted to present on those specific efforts. Our mission is to lead, protect, empower.” “In order to support California’s health, we are collaborating with retailers to offer healthier options and educating the community about how advertising influences people’s choices between healthy and unhealthy products.” Jasmine Gallegos shared how far Madera has come, where a graph was shown to demonstrate the comprehensive data from 2013, 2016, and 2019. This included vaping products, sugary drinks at check-out, alcohol ads in kid-friendly locations, and condoms. Graciela Vasquez presented on Advertising in Madera and California. “Locally, we have more unhealthy storefront ads in comparison to state rates. Compared to the state, 3 out of 4 stores sold tobacco products. They also sold smaller cigars, which makes it more accessible to youth and low-income individuals.” A map was shown which is a tool that measures the density of tobacco retailers. “Stores in our communities play a critical role in our health. The types of products available, many of which can contribute to chronic health issues, and how they’re promoted, influence us all, but especially our children”, stated Maria Baragan.

Key findings included: 90 stores near schools sold flavored tobacco products, 93 stores sold flavored tobacco, 75 stores are near schools with unhealthy store fonts, and 42 stores with marketing in storefront ads are near schools. 

“ Madera is a walking community, where people can get around by walking. It has become normalized for people my age to smoke and vaping, which has been facilitated by the stores selling tobacco products.” Tobacco ads are placed within eye-reach of individuals going to these stores. Kids are more likely to get influenced by marketing ads than peer pressure. 

Three proclamations were recognized, including Proclamation Recognizing April as Earthquake Preparedness Month, Proclamation Denouncing Asian American Racism, and Proclamation Recognizing Sexual Assault Awareness Month. 


Roger Sanchez introduced Alex Estrada, who is filling in for the Accountant 1 role. He recently helped support the grants department. Estrada stated he looked forward to learning and growing with the City of Madera. The Mayor thanked him for his work and welcomed him aboard. 


Arnoldo Rodriguez presented on the Pending Cannabis Regulatory Ordinance and Related Procedures. He stated “this is to help us move forward. Continue the conversation from January. We have been in the process of putting together a draft ordinance. Staff has gathered feedback and has prepared a draft ordinance. The draft ordinance is being presented to the Council. The draft is a hybrid model because there is a merit princess where all applicants go through to participate in the lottery. The Cannabis Ad-Hoc Committee recommends establishing a housing fund to be made available to district and local government employees. The conditions of the project approval include the labor peace Agreement (permit labor Peace Agreements for establishments with at least 10 employees), Health Certificate (requires a minimum of 30 hours of training for managers as provided by Cal-OSHA), Local Hire preference  (requires that a minimum of 80% of non-management employees), Social Equity Retail Outlets (allows for 2 social equity retail establishments, for a total of 8 retail stores, 6 traditional and 2 social equity). 

Consent Calendar

The Council unanimously approved the items on the Consent Calendar. 

  • Minutes – 01/02/21, 01/28/21

  • Informational Report on Register of Audited Demands for March 6, 2021 to April 9, 2021

  • Informational Report on Personnel Activity

  • Informational Report on Contract City Attorney Services and Litigation Expenditures

  • Amendments to Applications for Transportation Act (TDA) – Local Transportation Funds (LTF) and State Transit Assistance (STA) Funds for Fiscal Year 2021/21

  • First Amendment to Agreement with Carollo Engineers for Professional Engineering Design Services for a Water Storage Tank, Pump Station, and Transmission Main

  • Agreement for the Use of the Firing Range at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) by the Madera Police Department

  • Ellis & D Street Subdivision (Tract No. 19-S-07)

  • Consideration of Fresno River Trash Removal Project

  • Purchasing Agent Agreement with County of Madera Relating to CalFresh Healthy Living Program

  • Consideration of a Minute Order Acceptance of the Submittal of a Support Letter Expressing the Madera City Council’s Support for AB 559 San Joaquin River Conservancy: Governing Board

  • Appointment of Councilmember Cece Gallegos to the City’s Golf Course Ad-Hoc Committee

Public Comment 

  • “I do not agree with the lottery process for the cannabis process. We want to keep jobs local. There will be those who have done more for the community that will stand out.”

  • “I strongly disagree with the lottery process. The chosen applicant should be qualified, not because of chance and luck. Imagine applying to jobs and someone gets it because of a lottery system, this does not make sense.” 

  • “I would like to applaud the cannabis business in Madera. The tax money from these businesses can go a long way. There is a need for preference for disadvantaged persons or persons of color, there needs to be rules against big corporations that have a permit and direct the money out of Madera. The council needs to look at other cities and see what they have done. The council needs to stop doing a lottery system.”

  • “While a lottery process can make the playing field equal for anyone over the age of 21. The industry requires experience managing finances and operations of the cannabis industry.”

  • “Adopting a solely merit based application to ensure businesses meet certain workplace standards, provide equal opportunity for women and people of color. 

  • “Are considering opening a cannabis industry in the City of Madera. Will they sponsor youth programs? Will they give back? Will they hire local employers? Merit based for Maderas for people who love and care for their community.”

  • “I strongly encourage you to adopt a merit-based approach. Good employers create good paying jobs.”

  • “I am an attorney in Turlock, representing several companies in cannabis. A lottery system does not deliver what you need. You need to review a cannabis applicant, take a look at their performance and at subjective, not objective. It’s possible for a business to make a substantial amount of money. Eliminating the lottery is a smart decision if you decide to go that way. Discourages people from applying. The consumer will go to the best operation. Unlimited cultivation licenses are important because of low property.”

  • “A merit based system gives everyone a chance. The cannabis industry will be good for the City of Madera.”

  • Cece Gallegos thanked everyone for speaking. She stated “Applicants will be measured on the merit-based system, at which a lot of them will reach the criteria. At that point, they will be placed in the lottery. If they want to be a part of it, let’s rock and roll.”

  • Rodriguez stated that “The council will set the standard where they will need to get in order to participate in the lottery. At the end of the day, the council will have the discretion to approve, modify, deny the cannabis ordinance.”

  • Councilwoman Evans stated she’s been contacted by various individuals. “In going through this, I am sorry, I am going to swing to merit. I have to with my gut right now. I am weary of the lottery because I am about the jobs here. That’s who put me in this office so that’s where I stand.”

  • Councilmember Rodriguez stated “You allow this by chance. The hybrid allows people to meet the merit first. You generate a point system. The fees are still going to be paid. We are doing something different. We are pioneering in looking at businesses differently. We want to give everyone an opportunity I would even propose to. I don’t want to show nepotism or favoritism, we want to try this approach. There is a merit based system that everyone will go first. We are just giving everyone a fair, equal opportunity. I hope we can come together, find middle ground so we can move forward.” 

  • Councilmember Montes expressed his gratitude for everyone commenting. “The applications will be reviewed, which has not been created. There will be an application vetting process. Only the approved will be in the lottery. The council will then select the top operators for each category. This does feel like a true hybrid. At the end, the council has full discretion.”

  • Councilmember Villegas said “We should go by merit because we should listen to the people. The best process to do this kind of business in Madera, we need to bring more businesses and make Madera better. Everyone recommended a merit-based system.” 

  • The Mayor said, “We made progress in our discussions. Regarding social equity, small business being a part of the process, businesses made up of people of color, local folks. We did come to an agreement for a basis for this. The only disappointment I have is that we decided to go with a hybrid process without hearing from people first. It sends a wrong message. We don’t have a lottery system for any other type of businesses that open up Madera. I am okay with continuing the conversation even though I know people do not want to wait. We are at a disadvantage because we are down to two councilmembers on the ad hoc committee.”

  • Dave stated “they do not understand the dynamics of the process. The last 245 applicants where they scored 95% or higher have a 20% chance of getting a permit. Assuming 30 applicants, with a 95% or higher score, they still have a 20% chance of getting a permit.”

  • Arnold Rodriguez stated “staff is here to work at the will of the council. Collectively, the will of the council and community move forward. We have a slight disagreement on how to get there, but the goals are the same. We need clarity from council and put pen on paper so it can be easier on staff in clarity. No matter what process the council decides, there will be winners and losers.”

  • Jose Rodriguez said “Here we have a good opportunity for a merit-based system that is also hybrid. Regardless if you are an operator who has $10 million or an operator who has $10,000. We are looking out for our city. There will be many operators who you like, who I like, but at the end, there will be winners and losers. We can make this historic. We can create a trend. I served to represent the city as a whole.”

The council unanimously approved the merit on retail, quality compliance on non-retail without a cap on the number of permits with 6 votes to 0. 

Petitions, Bids, Resolutions, Ordinances, and Agreements

  • Agreement with WSP USA for the Development of the Madera Transit Plan (Madera Metro) in the amount of $100,000 

    • Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution Approving the Agreement with WSP USA for the Transit Consulting Services for the Development of the Madera Transit Plan (Report by Ivette Iraheta)

  • Agreement to Complete an Updated Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Self-Evaluation and Transition Plan (SETP) and Related Budget Amendment

    • Recommendation: Adopt a Minute Order 1) Approving a Consulting Services Agreement with Sally Swanson Architects, Inc., to complete an updated ADA SETP for a total project cost of $244,550, inclusive of Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping of sidewalks and streetlights; and 2) Approving an Amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020/21 Budget for the Human Resources Department in the amount of $60,000 (Report by Wendy Silva)

  • Amendment No. 2 to Professional Services Agreement with Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group

    • Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution Approving Amendment No. 2 to Agreement for Professional Planning Services with Provost & Pritchard Consulting Group, Designating Source of Funds for Amendment No. 2, and Approving Amendment to the General Fund Budget for a Budget Line Item Increase of $150,000 (Report by Keith Helmuth)

  • Professional Planning and Environmental Review Services Agreement with Rincon Consultants, Inc.

    • Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution Approving the Professional Services Agreement between the City of Madera and Rincon Consultants, Inc. for City Planning and Environmental Services and Rescinding Resolution 20-45 (Report by Gary Conte)

  • Professional Planning and Environmental Services Agreement with QK 

    • Recommendation: Adopt a Resolution Approving the Professional Services Agreement between the City of Madera and QK for City Planning and Environmental Services in the amount of $50,000 (Report by Gary Conte)

Administrative Reports

  • Receive and File of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for the Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2020

    • Recommendation: It is recommended City Council receive and file of the Audited Financial Statements for Fiscal Year ended June 30, 2020 (Report by Roger Sanchez)

  • Informational Report on the American Rescue Plan

    • Recommendation: This report is submitted for informational purposes and action is not being requested from the City Council at this time (Report by Arnoldo Rodriguez)

Councilmember Reports/Announcements/Future Agenda Items

  • Council Member Gallegos – Thanked Wendy for being patient with a committee meeting.

  • Council Member Rodriguez – He stated “There will be a support letter for the widening of Highway 99.”

  • Council Member Montes – Thanked the staff for their hard work.

  • Council Member Evans – Thanked fellow Councilmember Cece Gallegos for taking her around the City. She also thanked Chief Larson and his awesome team, John Shelton and his assistant for showing her around, Chief Watson and Chief Larson for their work with the river.

  • Council Member Villegas – No report. 

  • Mayor Garcia – Thanked the people for getting the vaccine. He also thanked the staff for all of their hard work and their patience. 

Closed Session

The Council went to Closed Session at 10 p.m. 


The meeting adjourned at 11:03 p.m. 

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