Documenter: Ramiro Merino
Here’s what you need to know:
New California law AB-1475 had opposition during Council meeting as law enforcement agencies can no longer upload mugshots of people accused of non-violent crimes on social media.
The Council approved the Mutual Aid Agreement between the City of Lemoore and the City of Hanford to provide mutual response to fire and other emergencies.
City Attorney to present on the Brown Act and Public Records Act at future City Council.
Purpose of Agency
The five City Council members are elected at large to serve four-year, overlapping terms. Municipal elections are held in November of even-numbered years. Council selects one of its members to serve as the Mayor, who presides at meetings and represents the City in all official matters and at official functions. Councilmembers do not spend all day at City Hall; they have regular jobs like everyone else. The variety of experience they bring to meetings helps them as a group to make wise decisions.
Lemoore City Council Board Member Duties
The City Council is responsible for approving all legislation and formulating City policies. The Council’s objectives are broad and include translating public attitudes and service requirements into policies and programs, so that desired levels of service can be provided efficiently and economically. The Council keeps abreast of current State and Federal legislation. By participation in the League of California Cities, Council members are able to compare policies, techniques and procedures with other cities throughout the state. Close liaison is maintained with other Kings County elected officials to ensure that Lemoore’s policies and programs are coordinated with other public agencies.
Lemoore City Council Board Members
Stuart Lyons, Mayor and Council Member for District A
Patricia Matthews, Mayor Pro Tem and Council Member for District E
Jim Chaney, Council Member for District B
Frank Gornick, Council Member for District C
David Orth, Council Member for District D
The Lemoore City Council meeting was called to order at 5:36 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022 by Mayor Stuart Lyons. The meeting was streamed live virtually through Zoom, where eight participants joined the meeting virtually. The five Council members met physically for the meeting. This included Mayor Stuart Lyons, Councilmembers Patricia Matthews, Frank Gornick, Jim Chaney, and David Orth. City staff and contract employees also present included City Manager Nathan Olson, City Clerk Marisa Avalos, City Attorney Mary Lerner, Police Chief Michael Kendall, and Fire Chief Bruce German. Those who met in the Chambers did not wear masks during the meeting.
Resident Suzie Banuelos said “I unequivocally state that I proudly and wholeheartedly support all of our first responders. My family is a huge supporter of the men and women of the Lemoore Police Department, I want to make that very clear. With that said, I have great concern with Lemoore PD’s new policy of not releasing the booking photos. It seems like the Lemoore PD is the only department in the whole Central Valley taking that stand. Many of the people arrested locally are serial offenders who are booked and released. We deserve to see the faces that are returned to our community. A local news station even reported on our department’s lack of response to requests for booking photos. In the report, our City Manager was quoted as saying ‘He doesn’t want to open the city up to lawsuits because of AB-1475.’ Well I ask you, what is more of a liability to our city? AB-1475, which the penalty for posting a booking photo on a law enforcement social media is only removing it, which is not what we are asking. We are asking that it be posted to the media. And it’s also in accordance with public records law to release it to the media. Or a city employee arrested for DUI while driving a city vehicle and having a city on-call phone? My question is, is the City looking out for all the residents and all of our property in our taxes or only the tax money that we contribute directly to the city itself?”
Ceremonial / Presentation
There were no ceremonies or presentations.
Department and City Manager Reports
City Manager Nathan Olson said “I received this morning from Assemblyman Salas’ office regarding AB-1642. They are looking for a letter of support from the city. Basically what the law does is it exempts any new wells that need to be dug for disadvantaged communities or say even Lemoore if we had a well fail. It exempts the sequel process to save thousands of dollars and months and sometimes years going through the sequel process. We typically bring it to the Council for approval but I just received it after so we didn’t have 24 hours to post it. I intend on unless you guys tell me not to, I intend on sending this letter out to the Assemblyman tomorrow.”
Councilmember Orth said he was ok with it. Councilcmember Orth expressed his concerns. “We have some issues with our local county not approving transfers of water, they do not have an ordinance on the books. There are a lot of other issues he can certainly help us out with. If you want to do it, go ahead. I don’t support it.” The City Manager said “Ok, thank you.”
At this point, Councilmember Gornick asked “How about the request that was made at the podium. Are we going to respond to that?” City Attorney Mary Lerner said “Right now, we are at Department Reports. Nathan just gave his report, I would recommend that the City Manager contact the resident and update her.” Councilmember Gornick said “Why can’t we talk about it now with the City Manager?” The City Attorney said “It is not an agendized item.” Councilmember Gornick said “I know it’s not. I guess I have a question with our instructions to the public. So when does the public get an opportunity to talk about an agendized item?” City Attorney Lerner said “When the agendized item is called, the Mayor opens it up to the public for comment or questions.” Councilmember Gornick said “But there’s no instruction that says the public can talk about an agendized item at the time the agenda is brought up in the meeting.” The City Attorney then answered with “One way to remedy that is to have an agenda that outlines questions, comments, then open it up to the public, then bring it back to Council, those are steps, but you’re right. We want to let the public know that that’s when they comment or it can be a statement the Mayor makes at the beginning of the meeting as well. There’s a number of ways to address it. Actually, your public comment period, when it’s not a special meeting, they actually aren’t supposed to talk about things that are agendized items for exactly that purpose because they’ll have the opportunity to talk about it when the item is called.”
The Council voted to approve agenda items 3-2 through 3-7 on the consent calendar as presented.
3-1 Approval – Minutes – Regular Meeting – February 1, 2022
3-2 Approval – Approval – Specialized Utility Services Program (SUSP) Proposal for Chief Plant Operator
3-3 Approval – Resolution 2022-06 – To Review and Renew the Declaration of a Local Emergency, and the Related Declarations and Orders Therein.
3-4 Approval – Resolution 2022-07 – Authorizing Submittal of Applications for all CalRecycle Grants
3-5 Approval – Mutual Aid Agreement between the City of Hanford and City of Lemoore for Fire and Emergency Services
3-6 Approval – Change Order from Todd Companies for Bush Sewer Repair Project
3-7 Approval – Change Order from VSS International for the 2021 Street Maintenance Slurry Seal Project
City Clerk Marisa Avalos pulled item 3-1 because there was a typo in the voting of item 4-1, where the ayes and nays were inaccurate, from the previous Council meeting minutes. The updated meeting minutes with the correction were presented to the Mayor for his signature. The Council voted unanimously to approve this item.
There was no public hearing.
There was no new business.
Brief City Council Reports and Request
Councilmember Orth: “I went to the County Commission for the Kings County Rural Area Rural Transit and they told us the bridge replacement on 41 and Nevada has been pushed off. It was supposed to start in September, but they are pushing it back another year. It’s going to be a very long process, it has something to do with environmental. We get another year off from having to drive all the way to I-5 to go to the coast. I want to thank the Fire Department for the great report about all they do. We have to support everybody and do the right thing.”
Councilmember Gornick: “I got great concern with the potential feedlot and slaughterhouse that’s proposed for the intersection of 41 and 198 adjacent to the city. I think the City of Lemoore is in peril if we don’t take that seriously. The developer likes to get his way and I think we have to marshall our forces a little bit stronger in terms of showing our dissent for that project. We had a couple of citizens come up here at the last meeting expressing their concerns. I think it would really affect the quality of life in the City of Lemoore if that project goes through. I would like for us to at some point, develop a strategy or have our City Manager begin focusing on rallying some sympathetic forces. I know he’s already had some work with that in terms of gathering some letters but there may be more than just letters we have to begin to focus on.
Councilmember Chaney: “I want to thank the police department and fire department for their hard work throughout the year, as well as for the annual report they gave to us. I appreciate their help. I also appreciate the employes , city manager, they help keep this city afloat.”
Councilmember Matthews: “To keep it brief, I will piggyback on everything my fellow Council members have said. I also want to add that tonight, the LHS boys basketball are participating in the playoffs so good luck to them. Tomorrow boys soccer will also be in the playoffs. Mark your calendars for the Downtown Easter celebration for April 16th. There is also a blood drive on February 26th from 10 am to 1 pm at Living Water Fellowship. The last blood drive, there were a lot of people that got turned away. I hope those that did not get a chance to donate blood can come out to this one to donate. The Valley is in great need.”
Mayor Lyons: “Mr. Orth, Mr. Gornick, Mr. Chaney, Mrs. Matthews, thank you all for your time and dedication. Mr. Aaron Ash, it was nice to see him back in Council Chambers tonight. And Suzie Banuelos, thank you for your comment. Nice to see you back in the Chambers as well. The Lemoore Fire Department is having a golf tournament.”
Councilmember Orth added “Nathan, can we add an agenda item to explain how citizens can add agenda items so we can talk about it, especially with what happened today. If we can agendize her request [referring to Suzie Banuelos] for the next meeting so we can talk about it. If it’s possible, can we do that Mary?” City Attorney Mary Lerner stated “Can I make a request? Could I do a presentation on the public records act request?” Councilcmember Orth said “Yes.” Councilmember Gornick said “I am still puzzled with why this Council can’t have a conversation about a public member’s comment, even if they are not on the agenda.” The City Attorney said “I can also address some Brown Act concerns as well, or questions related.” Councilmember Gornick interrupted and said “I’m not so much interested in concerns, I’m interested in the law.” The City Attorney said “Sure, and that is what the Brown Act is, it’s the law and so if I can also do a presentation on the Brown Act, that might be helpful. And the short answer is other members of the public may want to participate in the same discussion and we need to give everybody the opportunity.” Councilmember Orth then said “I guess my question is, I understand we have to agendize something so we can talk about it.” Then Councilmember Gornick said “Not necessarily, there is nothing in the law that says we can’t do that.” The City Attorney stated “We do not want to deprive the public the opportunity to participate.” Councilmember Gornick said “The public is participating at the podium.” The City Attorney said “Others that may be interested in the same topic.” Councilmember Gornick siad “But in terms of responding to a public member who comes to the podium, we can have a discussion, a limited one.” City Attorney Lerner said “You can have a limited one. You can give brief directions, brief comments, so you could say City Manager, please contact this person and update them or if the lights go out, City Manager, please contact Public Works.” Councilmember Gornick said “I would like to hear our policy on that from the Chief and City Manager.” The City Attorney said “Yea briefly. And I think the Brown Act and procedure would be helpful if that’s Council’s desire.” Councilmember Orth said “We all heard about it. We all know and everyone knows what’s going on. We just want everyone in the public to know. We all know we have the answer, we just can’t give the answer in this forum. That’s his forum, and it should be our forum but we can’t.” The City Attorney said “To a certain degree, Councilmember. You can say Ms. Lerner, can you give the short answer of what the public records act requires and I would say we need to be custodian of record in order to produce it under the Public Records Act and so that would be the short answer. Quick answer, no discussion. In addition, the City Manager could also follow up with the discussion with the resident.”
At this time, Councilmember Chaney said “I would love for the City Attorney to educate us on this and I agree, we should have a discussion with your facilitation.” Councilmember Gornick said “You know what struck out to me in this report? The Police Cheif’s report identified 49 sexual offenders this year, right? So we don’t have the opportunity, according to the way we’re operating, to post those mugshots.” Councilmembers spoke and said “There’s a website.They’re required to register.” Councilemmebr Gornick said “Oh, I didn’t know that. I am talking about what happened with the newspaper. But my point to you is we are talking about public safety. If you see something, say something. That’s all I’m talking about. It’s a small community. I think we allow the laws, the interpretation of laws, to make us behave stupidly.” City Attorney Lerner said “Council, I will do as directed and prepare a presentation on the Brown Act and on the Public Records Act.” Councilmemebrs said “Very nice, great, thank you.
With no further discussion, Mayor Lyons adjourned the City Council meeting at 6:05 p.m.
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