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From all of us at VIB!!

 

(EVEN MR. SCRATCHY)


 

Your City Council Report

 

 

for December 18, 2012

Retirements, Day Reporting Center & Critters


By Marc Garman

12/23/12


Councilmember Bob Sampayan began the meeting with a moment of silence for the victims of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.


Presentations and Commendations

Vallejo saw the retirement of two long time employees; Code enforcement Officer Lina Perez and Police Lieutenant Abel Tenorio with 33 and 25 years of service respectively.


Perez gave her “heartfelt appreciation,” adding that, “working for the City of Vallejo has been a journey.”

 

Tenorio's comments were both very telling and sincere. “I gave everything I had for the citizens,” he said. The emotion was evident in his voice. He also spoke highly of newly hired Police Chief Joseph Kreins advising, “The City has made a good choice with Chief Kreins,” and going as far as to add that the hiring of Kreins made him, “rethink (his) retirement.” Such comments are considered very near to treason among the ranks of the PD. It is however an interesting statement on the dissatisfaction with Vallejo's previous police chief, even among some of the more seasoned officers.


Mayor Davis expressed his appreciation for both; “It is difficult to try and put into words what you have meant to the City of Vallejo.”


Hannigan Departs


Councilmember Hannigan is now Supervisor Hannigan. “Wow, that was a fast five years,” said Hannigan, (who was first elected in 2007) adding that she was, “humbled,” by the retiring employees and looking forward to representing the interests of Vallejo at the County level. “I'm not really leaving Vallejo,” she said, “I'll still be working with you.”


Mayor Osby Davis presented Hannigan with the obligatory “Cheese Board” adding that he would look forward to working with Hannigan in her new position.


Councilmember Sunga, referring to the time he shared with Hannigan on an exchange mission to the Phillipines, bemoaned the loss of his, “water drinking buddy.”


Councilmember Brown thanked Hannigan for her candor.


Councilmember McConnell expressed his appreciation for Hannigan's “financial insight and questionings.”


Burky Worel expressed his appreciation for Hannigan: “I am grateful that you took on the job and have elected to move on and represent the city at the county level.”


Vice Mayor Gomes did not comment.



First Community Forum


Haters Gonna Hate

Last week, Vice Mayor Gomes asked (then) Interim Police Chief Kreins if there was a drug testing policy for police in the City of Vallejo. This was primarily in reaction to the continuing concerns expressed by the family of Mario Romero who was shot and killed by VPD.

Kreins replied “No.”


However, in a later exchange outside City Hall after the 12/11 meeting VPOA President Matt Mustard indicated to Gomes that there is in fact a drug testing policy for Vallejo PD. It seems there is some confusion over whether the drug testing policy which appears in the contract is in fact being implemented. At any rate, the fact that Gomes even asked the question seems to have enraged Vallejo's favorite Hula shirt afficionado, obstinate contrarian and past VPOA President Burky Worel. The rage seems to have built itself into frothy head for an entire week achieving a critical pressure and bursting forth on the dias with great vigor...or something like that...

  
“I was, to say the least, outraged at what I heard,” began Worel who continued to indicate that there has been a drug testing policy, “in place for 25 years.” Worel continued to berate Gomes for her inquiry, accusing her of being, essentially, too lazy to “pull up,” the contract on the city website. “That's where it's at!” he announced shaking his head in disgust. “Maybe if you would read the contract, you wouldn't have to ask,”


Worel continued to launch into an assault on other comments made by Gomes at last week's meeting, specifically her statement that she had been refused access to Vallejo PD General Orders by former Police Chief Nichelini.


Worel's regular and focused angry criticisms of Gomes have become so regular, and irrational that even Mayor Davis, not always a Gomes ally came to her defense. “I didn't read the contract either, that's why I have a city attorney,” he admonished Worel, clearly having grown weary of the regular Ad hominem attacks.


City Attorney Quintana chimed in reminding Worel that “A policy is different than a clause posted in an MOU.”


Gomes, waiting patiently with her light on and a slightly disgusted look on her face was given the floor and responded to Worel: “Mr. Worel, I have had this conversation before,” she began, once again reminding Worel that Vallejo has a City Manager form of government, and that councilmembers serve in a legislative role and count on staff and the City Manager and City Attorney for legal, contractual or management related duties and information.


She continued to address the issue over the disclosure of General Orders: “As far as those General Orders go, it was Nichelini I asked for them. It was Chief Kreins who gave them to me.”


Worel responded with a chuckling, clucking, sighing heckling series of breathy gurgling sighs of obvious disgust and disbelief from the audience.


Excuse me, Mr. Worel,” responded Gomes, “I am the one who asked for them (General Orders). I should know.” Worel laughed and shook his head.





Local musician, and multiple-run City Council candidate Darrell Edwards thanked Hannigan for her service and dove right into item 10A, the proposed Solano County Day reporting Center in Vallejo. “the City of Vallejo cannot afford this influx of parolees. We do not have the resources to handle it,” he said emphasizing the need for more police.


Anzel Lofas thanked all of Vallejo for coming out and supporting the recent Mad Hatter's Parade. “Everybody needs to support it,” she said


BA Groves of the Civil Liberties Action Coalition began by congratulating Hannigan and mentioning that she and Edwards had worked with her on CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) issues. Groves moved on to express concerns over Vallejo's police, the Mario Romero shooting and the lack of clarity over drug testing. Groves, who has been critical or the PD did sound a conciliatory note stating, “There are some wonderful police officers in Vallejo,” and commending Chief Kriens for, “stepping up to the plate,” but making clear that she, “meant everything,” she had said in the past, was “uncomfortable” with the demeanor of the officers she had to walk past when leaving City Hall last week. She asked, “Is there a drug testing policy in place?' and, “Why were the two officers who shot Mario Romero not tested?” She also noted several imperfections on the Consent Calendar exercising rapier like linguistic scrutiny.


Consent Calendar

Approved Unanimously with slight wrangling.



Action Calendar


10A Adoption of a Resolution regarding the Proposed Solano County Day Reporting Center in Vallejo


Councilmember Hannigan recused herself from this discussion due to a conflict of interest with her new position as a County Supervisor. “This item will come before me on the County Board,” she stated before leaving the dais.


Supervisor Linda Seifert was present. No other officials from Solano County were there to give input.


The ordinance proposed by VM Gomes with input from councilmembers Brown and Sampayan is designed to clarify the position of the City Council in that the proposed Vallejo Parolee Day Reporting Center is not desired. It also requests a number of additional considerations and supportive concessions by the county should the supervisors determine to push the facility through, an eventuality that seems almost certain.


Vice-Mayor Gomes began...excerpts from her opening remarks as follows:


The county essentially decided that they wil put it right in the middle of Vallejo and hadn't consulted us,” she stated emphasizing the lack of outreach on the project from county officials.


quite surprised and upset,” about the process


not acceptable”


Not once have we been asked for our opinion.”


Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) “Didn't involve a representative from Vallejo.” “The fact that we will likely end up with a Day Reporting Center (DRC) in Vallejo doesn't seem like a coincidence.”


Quoting Supervisor Spering from a Daily Republic Article: “This is coming to Vallejo.”


prefer not to be a test case”


I want to make sure the county knows our position.”


Supervisor Seifert (in favor of DRC) responded to Gomes and addressed the citizens and council:


I just saw the resolution.” (from Gomes) to hoots and admonishing oooh's!! from the audience.


want to really have a dialog”


want to mitigate a problem with parolees already in the community”


Seifert continued a nervous and impassioned plea, asking the council to delay moving forward with the ordinance. The tension was so thick you could taste it. Obviously Seifert is unaccustomed to the heat generated by Vallejo politics as compared to the Country Club atmosphere usually enjoyed at the County level. She looked a bit shocked and changed color from crimson to slightly green as the evening progressed.


Let us work together,” she said reading from a letter and asking Gomes and the council to act “in the spirit of cooperation.”

 

Seifert promised more community meetings, a delay on the vote by Supervisors until February and additional community outreach. She admitted that mistakes had been made in the area of public outreach on the county level and wrapped up with, “Please delay your actions this evening.” to the very focused attention of councilmember Gomes shaking her head.


The exchange between Gomes and Seifert revolved around Seifert angling for delay with Gomes refusing to pull her motion. Gomes emphasized that her resolution is not an edict cast in stone. Not a refusal to work with the county, but rather a clarification of the position of the council and for city staff which could be modified as needed in the future.


At one point the exchange got so heated with Seifert cutting into the dialog that Gomes felt compelled to remind her, “I have the floor.”


You guys admittedly had a poor process,” said Gomes to which Seifert replied that “The county met with the mayor, city manager, YOU. It is unfortunate there was not mor input from Vallejo”


At this point the disgust on both sides was getting thick.


I talked with the County Administrator for a couple of minutes,” Gomes said, describing the interaction as a “hallway discussion” and indicated that the issue was too important for such minimal attention. She then called for speaker cards followed by councilmember Brown who also called for cards.


Mayor Davis took the opportunity to speak, holding off the requested public comment. He began by emphasizing that there is, “enough blame to go around.” Davis urged Gomes et. al to delay until more facts were available.

They're (parolees) already here, and as such they're going to be here whether this DRC comes here or not,” he said, adding, “We're operating, not on the facts...” and urging delay.


Councilmember Sunga trotted out his usual excuse. He doesn't have enough information ...or some configuration thereof and will be voting NO. It was almost sad to watch the man dance around his words up there. Hermie knows that if he actually says, “I don't have enough information,” people will laugh at what has become a worn out idiom. What he actually means is: I have been told how to vote and I haven't done my homework and am not familiar with the issues and so therefore I will re-use the same excuse and do as I am told.


Having watched Hermie for quite a few years now it is clear that the man lacks the mental capacity to even fabricate a decent or at least moderately entertaining excuse for his total and complete lack of comprehension. Predictable, boring and incompetent but obedient. That's our Hermie. Caramba! Or as Homer Simpson says: “Doh!” So pathetic was the charade that one of Sunga's colleagues on the dais was overtaken by an uncontrollable fit of eye rolling.


The scary thing is that both Osby and Hermie took “lack of information” as their position on the issue. If we were in the land of Oz; however, Osby might actually pull off a role as the man behind the curtain (he's not stupid) while Hermie would without a doubt be the scarecrow.


Councilmember Brown opined that “The council can move forward with this resolution,” calling the measure “good due diligence” and emphasizing that the ordinance could be modified in the future should need be.



Public Comment (a lot)


Jim Mulholland – “If you're going to do something for the parolees, I think we ought to do something for Vallejo.” “Don't do this.”


Robert Schussel – “I support the resolution.” “I don't know how to thank the county enough.” (sarcasm) Schussel continued to lay out a number of potential issues with the lack of proper studies done on the efficacy of this sort of program, possible conflicts of interest and the problem with concentration parolees in one part of town.


Ann Carr – thanked Gomes and referred to the actions by the county as “colloquially a brain fart” adding that the DRC would be bad for Vallejo. “We already have enough crime here. Don't kick us while we're down.”


Monica Tipton – who works as a behavioral analyst shared her professional knowledge. “You were sold a pig in a poke,” she said to Seifert raising questions about the efficacy of the proposed DRC program. Tipton continued to dissect the lack of proper empirical “evidence based” studies done on this sort of program. She has gone into detailed examination of the studies cited by the county. Many are either unavailable on the County website, not applicable, or not encouraging. “Evidence based?” she asked rhetorically, “Ladies and gentlemen, there is no evidence”


Anzel Lofas – “My supervisors did not represent me.”


Coleen Cole-Morrison – “Those requests fill in the hole in the actual plan.” re: Gomes ordinance provisons. Cole-Morrison continued to cite numerous examples from her research questioning the budget expenditures and priorities of the proposed DRC. “Mrs, Seifert, I am so angry I'm shaking.”


Ken Spreckert – asked “Is one officer enough?” citing the request in the Gomes ordinance for county funding for one additional Vallejo police officer.


Cameron Shearer – has worked as a psychologist at the Vacaville State Prison for 35 years. He noted that Dr. Hansen, the head of parole for Solano County is “not a clinician” He also shared his experiences with many people I the prison system who are afflicted with mental disorders and meth addiction. “For many it's a terminal addiction,” he said adding that, “putting active meth addiction,” in the face of Vallejo's diminished police force was a serious hazard. He concluded that the resolution was a “starting point”


BA Groves – shared her experiences working in transitional housing facilities. She had a knife pulled on her by a disturbed resident and agrees that ther is a need for additional resources and support should Vallejo take on having a DRC. “I support you for this resolution,” she said to Gomes.


Bj Conrad – “A big thanks to Stephanie” Conrad continued to describe a harrowing event in which an armed parolee was pursued through her back yard by police. “I don't want to see more of this stuff happen,” she said, “especially in my back yard.”


Natasha Clark – of Dance Unlimited is opposed to the DRC. “It's time to help people who pay taxes!” she announced describing parolees as: “They live life in and out, in and out. Everything free,” adding, “I don't have nothing free here.”


10 Minute Recess called by Mayor Davis


Susan B. Anthony – “Thank you Ms. Gomes for setting this proposition together, I do support you.”


Dennis O'Campo – representing Vallejo Homeowners' Association “I can't get police to respond to shootings in my neighborhood.” Noting the many speakers who had done extensive research: “The people in this room hve done more due diligence than the county.” He accused Supervisor Seifert of “not paying attention,” and concluded with: “And Councilwoman Gomes, please run for mayor.”

To which Burky Worel groaned and grunted from the audience.


Marianne Swanson – representing the Heritage Neighborhood Association – addressed Linda Seifert: “I voted for you. I respect you.” but urged passage of the Gomes ordinance.


Doug Darling – “I support the resolution and I urge you to pass it tonight.” Re: Board of Supervisor meetings on the DRC: “obvious to me that there was no concern about us, the community.” To Sunga, Davis: “I can't accept from the council that you need more facts.”


Darrell Edwards – “Supervisor Seifert wants us to wait? We have been waiting for over a year.” Edwards supports the resolution.


Burky Worel – “I am against the center being built in Vallejo.” Worel continued to say that he does not oppose the resolution, but questioned “Is this the best way to do it?” He queried if the resolution would be seen as a “poke in the eye” of the Board of Supervisors.


Sheila Dunmore – “The parolees are here. They live here. C'mon y'all gotta do something,” she said in support of the proposed DRC


Sam Kurshan – started by complaining about the negative crowd reaction to his vitriolic verbal assault of Supervisors Seifert and Kondylis at the 11/14 fairgrounds meeting on the DRC, “I really don't appreciate the way I was manipulated off the podium at the fairgrounds,” he said.


In a reversal of his usual position, Kurshan generally supported Gomes' resolution. Kurshan, of course, did attempt (repeatedly) and fail to launch a recall effort against councilmembers Gomes and Brown. “I would really love to see a program like this here, in Vallejo, but we don't have the resources,” he said.


Judge Dan Healy – “If I sound a little depressed, I've been depressed for a reason,” he said describing the daily challenges he faces in the courts in impassioned monologue outlining how overwhelmed the system is and how frustrating it is for him. “We are not an importer of damaged human beings. We are an exporter of damaged human beings,” he explained outlining the violence, mental illness, and meth addiction he sees on a daily basis in the Solano County Court System. Healy desperately wants to see any program that may have a positive impact reducing the revolving door recidivism in the courts and criminal justice system.


Further Council Discussion


Council discussion continued. Gomes emphasized her agreement with Healy, and pointed out that the amendment supported more resources, and a better chance of success should the DRC move forward in Vallejo.


Osby Davis pointed out that the DRC might not be a done deal, citing the uncertainty of the position held by newly elected Supervisor Skip Thompson. He also referred to the Gomes resolution as a “poke in the eye” of the supervisors.


Councilmember Robert McConnell not only offered his support of the Gomes Resolution, he offered a series of carefully thought out friendly amendments adding more demands and teeth to the resolution. Provisions include:

  • county funding for a second additional police officer

  • more assurances that parolees will come from the Vallejo Benicia and unincorporated area and not beyond

  • a “telephonic contact” for neighborhood complaints

  • a requirement that two DRC facilities, in Vallejo and Fairfield be opened concurrently

  • more surveillance cameras in the area of the DRC

  • DRC to only serve those who have resided in Vallejo area



Sunga felt a need to further include the business community in any resolution or action regarding the DRC. “I don't think any of us have all the facts about the DRC at this time,” he said stating his intention to vote NO.


Councilmember Brown bemoaned the constraints of the Brown (no relation) Act, but embraced the “iterative” process of council governance and the Democracy taking place. She noted the need for public involvement. “We need to do this work publicly,” she said. “Excluding the public makes me uneasy.”


Mayor Davis apologized if his “poke in the eye” comment was insulting after some remarks from Gomes.


Vice Mayor Gomes addressed councilmember McConnell: “ I would agree with your other amendments,” she said caling for the vote.



Resolution Approved 4-2

Sunga, Davis – opposed

Hannigan – recused



10B Animal Control Services Memorandum of Understanding


In short, the local animal shelter has some issues which I won't go into here. This item is for a contract between Solano County and Vallejo for Animal Care Services to the tune of $130,043 cost to the city. Bottom line: Animal Control, shelters etc. are damn expensive. Be intelligent and spay/neuter your animal so they do not create another burden for the taxpayers.


Approved Unanimously


10C – California First


This has to do with access to low cost financing for projects that provide:


a tangible public benefit, contribute to social and economic growth, and improve the overall quality of life in local communities.


According to the California First website. More info: https://californiafirst.org/about


Approved Unanimously




Second Community Forum


Sam Kurshan – wished now Supervisor Hannigan “godspeed and good luck” in her new elected position thanking her for being a “wonderful caring council member.” Although, Kurshan's accolades fell on deaf ears as Hannigan had already left the building.


VM Gomes adjourned the meeting in honor of Janet Cappello. Mayor Davis adding that Capello would “be missed for the things she did to help our city and people.”