Downey to help in effort to clean L.A. River

DOWNEY - The City Council Tuesday approved a Memorandum of Agreement with the San Gabriel Council of Governments for the preparation of a coordinated implementation plan to reduce the amount of metal pollutants in the Los Angeles River and its tributaries.The plan will include a Metals Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) requirement for the cities along the waterway. According to Deputy City Manager Desi Alvarez, several segments of the Los Angeles River have been identified by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board as having "exceeded water quality objectives for a variety of metals." To offset this, the Clean Water Act mandates that a TMDL be developed to "restore the impaired waterbodies to their full beneficial uses." This means limiting the amount of heavy metals such as copper, lead, zinc and cadmium that can be carried by runoff into the Los Angeles River. The Control Board has previously divided the Los Angeles River into six different jurisdictional groups, or reaches. The city of Downey is located within Reach 2, which also includes Alhambra, Arcadia, Bell, Bell Gardens, Bradbury, Commerce, Compton., Cudahy, Duarte, El Monte, Huntington Park, Irwindale, La Canada-Flintridge, Long Beach, Lynwood, Maywood, Monrovia, Montebello, Monterey Park, Paramount, Pasadena, Pico Rivera, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino, Sierra Madre, South El Monte, South Pasadena, South Gate, Temple City, Vernon, as well as Los Angeles, unincorporated Los Angeles County and Cal Trans. To comply with the above requirements, Reach 2 cities, with the exception of Los Angeles County which has chosen to develop its own separate plan, have contracted with the San Gabriel Council of Governments to help them develop the required coordinated plan. Total estimated cost is $260,000 which will be apportioned according to drainage area. Downey's cost amounts to $13,000. A draft implementation plan is due by Jan. 11, 2010, with final report submittal by July 11, 2010. In other action, the Council: •Approved the contract with the Fair Housing Foundation (FHF) in the amount of $15,600 to provide fair housing services to city residents and property owners for FY2009-10. The city has been providing these services since 1990 through a contract with nonprofit FHF, using Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, on condition that it further the objectives of the Fair Housing Act (42 U.S.C. 3601-20) and Executive Order 11063. Among the services provided: 1) counseling, mediation, and dispute resolution service (for landlords, tenants and home seekers); 2) responding to complaints and inquiries on housing discrimination (including "providing referral services to low and moderate income housing consumers, giving priority to handicapped persons, members of minority groups, elderly persons and other persons who are or have been unable to find suitable, safe, decent, and sanitary dwelling units") ; 3) providing education and community outreach on fair housing issues, as well as conducting community workshops and seminars (for the benefit of landlords, apartment managers and tenants); to further these objectives, FHF distributes fair housing-related educational materials, brochures and videos; and FHF agrees to provide monthly, quarterly and annual status reports on these activities; •Approved the agreement with the County of Los Angeles for the disbursement of 2008 State Homeland Security (HSGP) grant funds totaling $179,881 earmarked for the purchase of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), which completes the replacement of DFD's SCBA inventory that was started in 2006. Such funds are generally channeled by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for local training, exercise and planning, in addition to equipment purchase. In this case, the reimbursed amount includes $56,043 for terrorism/hazardous materials training: the funding will at the same time support interoperability between fire departments throughout the region; •Approved the improvements and maintenance responsibility for the Old River School Road Improvements Project (cash contract No. S.S. 604), and approved the final construction amount of $695,310.65-the project included construction of various pedestrian-related improvements along Old River School Road (ORSR), and involved "a variety of additional work, unforeseen site conditions, upgrades, and credits for deleted work." To take advantage of economies of scale, DPW combined the ORSR at Muller Street/Rio Hondo Golf Club Traffic Signal Project, the ORSR Pavement Rehabilitation/Arnette to Dinwiddie Project, and the S.S. 604 Project. The Council also reallocated $139,544.09 from S.S. 601 (the Paramount Blvd. at Firestone Blvd. Intersection Improvement Project) and $8,846.05 from the same S.S. 601 to the Old River School Road at Muller Street/Rio Hondo Golf Club Traffic Signal Project (S.S. 578); •Approved the Green Task Force's recommendation to sponsor a "Gardening with Blue" drought-tolerant gardening workshop, absent the Central Basin Municipal Water District which had originally scheduled to conduct it yesterday (Aug. 13) at the Barbara J. Riley Community & Senior Center but was unable to do so because of financial difficulties. (According to Desi Alvarez, the MWD has an educational outreach program that focuses on making the public aware of the importance of reducing water consumption in its service region). In assuming the onus of conducting the workshop, Downey's Green Task Force also takes over responsibility for funding it. At last count, some 35 residents had already signed up for the workshop. The workshop covers: low water-use native plants, landscape design considerations for a drought tolerant yard, sprinkler system basics for homeowners, and irrigation scheduling; •Adopted a resolution providing the destruction of certain obsolete records of the City Clerk's department. These include: statements of economic interests (retention period for originals-7 years, and for copies, 4 years); miscellaneous correspondence/requests for records (originals-3 years, copies-2 years); agenda memos-5 years; and receipts-5 years; •Adopted an ordinance amending the Downey Municipal Code by adding Ch. 9 to Article III, relating to residency restrictions for sex offenders. Modeling the amendments to the ordinances passed by the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the city attorney's office emphasized that the Downey ordinance "forbids sex offenders from living in a 'residential exclusion zone' (an area located within 2,000 feet from a child care center, public or private school, park, or public library), as well as preventing them from living in the same residence or multi-family dwelling as other registered sex offenders, unless they are related by blood or if they established residency before the ordinance is enacted." Mayor Mario Guerra said the amendments greatly enhance the provisions of Megan's Law which to him was "not strict enough"; •Adopted an ordinance amending Sections 5(A), 6(E) and 17 (A)(iv) of the lease with the Downey Community Hospital Foundation, now Downey Regional Medical Center, to allow for hospital accreditation by a federally-authorized accrediting body and incorporating by reference the amendment of lease (this was discussed in the last Council meeting coverage by this paper); •Adopted a resolution designating Councilmember Luis Marquez as Downey's voting delegate for the League of California Cities annual (business) conference, Sept. 16-18, in San Jose; •Approved the amendment to the 2009 Inter-Government Committee assignments, removing Councilmember Marquez as the primary representative (because of time constraints) for the Southeast Water Coalition and appointing Councilmember Roger Brossmer as the primary representative; •Heard the mayor present the Diakonia Award to Gene Dalugdug, a mail carrier in Downey who has been responsible for the establishment of several Neighborhood Watch groups along his beat and beyond; •Recognized Mary Bakjian, founder of So CA USA Track and Field, upon her retirement; and •Recognized the 9-member Downey High School girls' cross-country team, as well as a couple of 'mountain bikers' (who turned out to have ties to Downey High), for their heroic efforts in resuscitating track coach and heart attack victim John Kosarich along a stretch of Turnbull Canyon in Whittier; giving profuse thanks and praise for his rescuers/saviors, Kosarich exclaimed: "Life is precious!." The next regular public meeting of the City Council will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 25, at City Hall.

********** Published: August 14, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 17