Feline Friday: Remember Older Cats Need Affection, Too

It’s Feline Friday. Cats rule the internet for good reason. Their cuteness is irresistible.

photo-381Remember that older cats need affection, too.

It’s easy to coddle your kitten. But as they age, cats need their owners to take steps to show affection:

  • Greet your cat with kind words and tone when you come home
  • Search for your cat when she’s off on her own
  • Call for your cat and be happy when you are reunited . . .

Read more in Pam Merritt’s 28 April 2008 article Cat Poker in the Way of Cats Blog by clicking here.

Copyright © 2014 Barbara Denny, Esq.

 

Councilman Attacks Coronado Historic Designation Law and Seeks Overdevelopment with Agenda Item 13a

If you think Coronado is overdeveloped and our unique village atmosphere is fast disappearing now, be forewarned that things could get even worse tomorrow if council votes YES on agenda item 13a. 

House with picket fence and sunshineCouncilman Richard Bailey put item 13a on our agenda.

Obviously by the plain language of his email, Bailey seeks to make changes to our Historic Resources Code to make it EASIER to demolish historic homes by LOWERING the standards for council to OVERTURN decisions of the Historic Resources Commission (HRC).

The Coronado HRC is tasked with saving historic homes in order to preserve our unique village atmosphere.

The Coronado Historic Resources Code is the result of our local adoption — after extensive city staff research and public input — of the California Mills Act for Historic Preservation. California State Senator James R. Mills, who carried the legislation in Sacramento, is a resident of Coronado.

It’s common knowledge that the Coronado Historic Resources Code is already very weak compared to codes in other California towns. Bailey seeks to weaken it even further.

Below is his agenda item that you can also read on page 271 of the complete agenda package by clicking here:

  ——     Original message    ——–

From: Richard Bailey [mail to richard.patrick.bailey@gmail.com]

Sent: Monday, March 24, 2014 8:20 am

To: King, Blair

Subject: HRC Guidelines

Hi Blair-

For the council session on April 1st, please place on the agenda my request for council to discuss the criteria for historical designation and the process for reviewing involuntary historical designation.

The purpose of the request is to see if council wishes to update the criteria/language used for establishing a historic designation and/or whether council wishes to change the process for reviewing involuntary historic designations to possibly include higher standards than a voluntary designation, a super majority vote requirement, irrefutable historical evidence, etc. when upholding an involuntary HRC decision.

Thank you

Richard

For the DailyCoronado piece on the full 1 April 2014 agenda outline of the Joint Meeting of the Coronado City Council & Coronado Redevelopment Agency, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Barbara Denny, Esq.

 

 

Was the 5.1M Quake Really a Foreshock for Another Earthquake to Come?

Residents displaced by the unusual sequence of earthquakes went to Red Cross shelters in Fullerton and La Habra. Business owners lost thousands in merchandise along Whittier Boulevard in La Habra. Gas pipe leaks, water main breaks and power outages occurred, too. 

That’s what a shallow 5.1M earthquake and its foreshock and aftershocks will do.

Still the question remains. Was the 5 .1M quake itself a foreshock for a larger earthquake to come in the next few days?

Seismologists say the sequence of these earthquakes was unusual.

According to Louis Sahagun, Catherine Saillant and Rong-Gong Lin II in their 29 March 2014 LA Times article entitled 5.1 Quake Displaces Los Angeles-Area Residents; Aftershocks Continue:

The first of a swarm of earthquakes hit the border of La Habra and Brea shortly after 8 p.m. Friday with a 3.6 temblor. At 9:09 p.m., the 5.1 shock hit, followed by at least two more aftershocks in the magnitude-3 range in the next half hour.

The 5.1 quake was relatively shallow, which “means the shaking is very concentrated in a small area,” Caltech seismologist Egill Hauksson said Friday night. Hauksson said the quake sequence was unusual in that the 5.1 quake was preceded by the weaker foreshock.

U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones said there was a 5% chance of there being a foreshock of a larger temblor.

“There could be even a larger earthquake in the next few hours or the next few days,” Jones said during a media briefing at Caltech soon after the 5.1 temblor.

Continue reading their LA Times article by clicking here.

For more facts read yesterday’s DailyCoronado article entitled Earthquake Activity in Coronado Today by clicking here.
Caltrans workers and Brea police officers inspect a BMW that was overturned in a rock slide in Carbon Canyon after a magnitude 5.1 earthquake.

Photo credit Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times / March 29, 2014

Copyright © 2014 Barbara Denny, Esq.

Seven Ways City Government is Different from Business

In well-run cities, decisions are made from the ground up through community consensus. Well-run cities have a high degree of citizen involvement, the utmost respect for residents, and courteous patience for residents’ opinions and input.

In his 24 March 2014 article entitled Seven Ways Community Decisions are Different in PublicCEO.com, Otis White writes:

. . . community decision making is different [from corporate and non-profit decision making] not in one or two ways, but in a number. And because it’s different, it means we need different kinds of leadership in communities, leadership that is far more patient, collaborative and comfortable with ambiguity than we expect in CEOs or executive directors. I think you’ll see why as we move down the list of differences . . . So when you hear someone say that your city should be run like a business, just say two words: Not possible.

Coronado Bridge and Port of San DiegoContinue reading White’s article by clicking here.

For one example of how Coronado city lacks respect and courteous patience for residents and residents’ input and opinions, you can read prior DailyCoronado articles about Coronado Bridgegate and the Bridge Toll Revenue Fund misappropriation by clicking here and here.

 

Copyright © 2014 Barbara Denny, Esq.

Earthquake Activity in Coronado Today

In Coronado, our B Avenue seismograph recorded activity today, which comes in the wake of yesterday’s 5.1M earthquake that originated near La Habra, Orange County. In Los Angeles, Disneyland shut down its rides as a safety precaution. 

Today’s recorded seismic activity in Coronado is a good reminder to be prepared.

My husband and I enjoy being volunteer seismologists for the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS’s) Netquakes program.  The B Avenue seismograph is located on our property.

To learn about our B Avenue seismograph, read my 15 December 2012 DailyCoronado article entitled Yes, We Measure Earthquake Activity Here in Coronado by clicking here.

NetQuakes: Station Q0039_CI_01

B Ave, Coronado, CA

System Requested Data

  • Mar 29, 2014 16:01:27 UTC

    plot for 2014-03-29 16:01:27

  • Mar 29, 2014 10:31:18 UTC

    plot for 2014-03-29 10:31:18

  • Mar 29, 2014 05:36:37 UTC

    plot for 2014-03-29 05:36:37

  • Mar 29, 2014 04:46:37 UTC

    plot for 2014-03-29 04:46:37

  • Mar 29, 2014 04:30:18 UTC

    plot for 2014-03-29 04:30:18

  • Mar 29, 2014 04:11:18 UTC

    plot for 2014-03-29 04:11:18

  • Mar 29, 2014 04:09:07 UTC

    plot for 2014-03-29 04:09:07

  • Mar 29, 2014 03:02:57 UTC

    plot for 2014-03-29 03:02:57

Cap and diploma

Educator Alert

Read more DailyCoronado articles on the B Avenue seismograph by clicking here and here.

Learn more about the USGS Netquakes program by clicking here.

Did you feel the earthquake activity in San Diego County yesterday?

There was a 5.1 magnitude earthquake that originated in Orange County, about 20 miles east of Los Angeles. Daisy Nguyen’s Associated Press (AP) article entitled Magnitude-5.1 Earthquake Shakes Los Angeles, as printed in the San Francisco Gate with photos, gives the facts:

The temblor struck at 9:09 p.m. Friday and was centered near Brea in Orange County, about 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, at a depth of 5 miles. It was felt as far south as San Diego and as far north as Ventura County, according to citizen responses collected online by the U.S. Geological Survey.

More than 100 aftershocks followed, including a magnitude-3.4 that hit Saturday morning. The main shock was preceded by two foreshocks registering magnitudes 3.6 and 2.1, scientists said.

To read Daisy Nguyen’s complete AP article, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Barbara Denny, Esq.

 

 

 

Feline Friday: Smitten Kitten Cafe Coming Soon to Toronto

Toronto, located on Lake Ontario, will soon have a new attraction – a cat cafe.

Green eyed catCat cafes are starting up in North America.  In her 26 March 2014 article in the Toronto Star, Barbara Turnbull writes:

Toronto marketer Jennifer Morozowich thinks she has found a purr-fect business opportunity — a cat café she’ll call the Smitten Kitten Café.

Riding a trend that began in Japan, Morozowich is planning a fall launch for this hang-out for people who don’t or can’t have cats at home.

Up to 10 adoptable cats will reside in an as-yet-to-be-found location. She will get the cats from local shelters. Visitors, will be charged an hourly rate that includes a pastry, unlimited coffee or tea and plenty of feline company.

“It’s a commitment to animals. . . community and helping out shelters,” Morozowich says.

She envisions a space for board games, book clubs, movie nights, workspaces and quiet corners —with high shelving and hiding nooks for the kitties.

“The whole goal is to connect guests with cats,” Morozowich says.

Copyright © 2014 Barbara Denny, Esq.

Agenda for 1 April 2014 Joint Meeting of Coronado City Council & Coronado Redevelopment Successor Agency

Anticipated lawsuits against the city, labor negotiations, one councilman’s attack on our Historic Preservation Code to speed overdevelopment, Senior center, code enforcement, summer bus shuttle, and more on the agenda for 1 April 2014.

Below is the complete agenda outline in full. You can also read it online by clicking here.

If you want to review the complete agenda packet online, then click here.  The reason you may want to review the complete agenda packet is that it contains the draft minutes of our prior meeting along with the full staff reports with supporting materials for each individual agenda item for the upcoming meeting.

Agenda icon yellowAGENDA

CITY OF CORONADO CITY COUNCIL &

THE CITY OF CORONADO ACTING AS THE REDEVELOPMENT SUCCESSOR AGENCY TO THE DEFUNCT REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY OF THE CITY OF CORONADO

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Coronado City Hall Council Chambers 1825 Strand Way Coronado, California 92118

CLOSED SESSION SPECIAL MEETING – 3 P.M. REGULAR MEETING – 4 P.M.

In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), if you need special assistance to participate in a City meeting or other services offered by this City, please contact the City Clerk’s office, (619) 522-7320. Assisted listening devices are available at this meeting. Ask the City Clerk if you desire to use this device. Upon request, the agenda and documents in the agenda packet can be made available in appropriate alternative formats to persons with a disability. Notification of at least 48 hours prior to the meeting or time when services are needed will assist the City staff in assuring that reasonable arrangements can be made to provide accessibility to the meeting or service.

CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL

ANNOUNCEMENT OF CLOSED SESSION

  1. CLOSED SESSION: CONFERENCE WITH CITY’S DESIGNATED NEGOTIATORSAUTHORITY: Government Code §54956.8
    AGENCY NEGOTIATORS: Blair King, City Manager; Tom Ritter Assistant CityManager; Johanna Canlas, City Attorney NEGOTIATING PARTIES: Marty Jensen and Mike Baker, Operators, CoronadoBoathouse 1887 UNDER NEGOTIATION: Lease terms and price
  2. CLOSED SESSION: CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL – ANTICIPATED LITIGATION
    AUTHORITY: Pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9(d)(2)
    Facts and circumstances need not be disclosed pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9(e)(1)One (1) potential case.
  1. CLOSED SESSION: CONFERENCE WITH LABOR NEGOTIATORSAUTHORITY: Government Code Section 54957.6
    CITY NEGOTIATORS: Blair King, City Manager; Tom Ritter, Assistant City Manager;Leslie Suelter, Director of Administrative Services; JohannaCanlas, City Attorney
    EMPLOYEE ORGANIZATIONS: Coronado Police Officers’ Association; CoronadoFirefighters’ Association; AFSCME, Local 127; Self-Represented Employees
  2. CLOSED SESSION:CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL – ANTICIPATED LITIGATIONAUTHORITY: Pursuant to Government Code section 54956.9(d)(2)
    Facts and circumstances need not be disclosed pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9(e)(1)
    One (1) potential case
  3. COMMUNICATIONS – ORAL: Each person wishing to speak before the City Council

on only matters listed on this agenda shall approach the City Council, give their name, and limit their presentation to 3 minutes.

ADJOURN TO CLOSED SESSION RECONVENE AND ANNOUNCE ACTION

REGULAR MEETING (SA items are denoted by an *.) – 4 P.M.

  1. CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL.
  2. INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE.

*3. MINUTES OF CITY COUNCIL/SUCCESSOR AGENCY: Approval of the minutes of the Regular meeting of March 18, 2014

4. CEREMONIAL PRESENTATIONS:
a. Proclamation: National Volunteer Week. (Pg 01)

5. CONSENT CALENDAR: All items listed under this section are considered to be routine and will be acted upon with one motion. There will be no separate discussion of these items unless a member of the City Council or the public so requests, in which event, the item will be considered separately in its normal sequence.

a. Approval of Reading by Title and Waiver of Reading In Full of Ordinances on this Agenda. (Pg 05)

Recommendation: Approve the reading by title and waive the reading in full of all Ordinances on the agenda.

*b. Review and Approve that the Warrants, as Certified by the City/Agency Treasurer, are all Correct, Just, and Conform to the Approved Budget for FY 2013-2014. (Pg 07)
Recommendation: Approve the Warrants as certified by the City/Agency Treasurer.

c. Appropriation of Funds and Authorization for the City Manager to Execute Purchase Agreements for an Amount Not to Exceed $197,100 through Cooperative Purchasing Programs for the Following Vehicles and Equipment: One Ford Expedition Special Services Vehicle and Two Ford Explorer Police Interceptor Sport Utility Vehicles. (Pg 63)

Recommendation: Authorize the City Manager to execute the purchase agreements for an amount not to exceed $197,100 and approve an additional appropriation from the Vehicle and Equipment Replacement fund of $121,600 in order to replace two vehicles not currently programmed for FY 2013-14.

d. Approval of a Resolution Authorizing the Execution of an Agreement for the Receipt and Appropriation of Regional Realignment Response Group Funds in the Amount of $26,200 Provided by the Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) through the County of San Diego Sheriff’s Department. (Pg 73)

Recommendation: Approve “A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Coronado Approving and Authorizing the Execution of an Agreement with the County of San Diego for the receipt and appropriation of Regional Realignment Response Group grant funds in the amount of $26,200 provided by the Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) through the County of San Diego Sheriff’s Department.”

e. Support the Application for Active Transportation Program (ATP) Grant Funding for Both of the Following Projects: 1) A Safe Routes to School Education Program (Grant Amount of $25,000 to $35,000); and 2) Selected Projects Included in the City’s Adopted Bicycle Master Plan (Grant Amount of $356,000). (Pg 93)
Recommendation: Support the application for grant funding for both of the following: 1) the Safe Routes to School Education Program; and 2) selected projects included in the City’s adopted Bicycle Master Plan.
f. Appropriation of Funds and Authorization for the City Manager to Execute a Purchase Contract with AMS Global Inc., in the amount of $88,000 for the Purchase of a Portable Restroom. (Pg 117)
Recommendation: Authorize the appropriation of funds and authorize the City Manager to execute a purchase contract with AMS Global Inc., in the amount of $88,000 for the purchase of a portable restroom.
g. A Resolution of the City Council to Authorize the City Manager to Execute an Agreement with Gary Brown for Temporary Employment as the Interim Director of Public Services. (Pg 133)
Recommendation: Pursuant to Government Code Section 21221, authorize the City Manager to execute an Agreement for Temporary Employment Services with Gary Brown to act as the Interim Director of Public Services.
h. Authorization to Present City of Coronado Mementoes and “Gifts” to the United States Ship Coronado (LCS 4). (Pg 141)
Recommendation: Authorize the following mementoes and gifts: (1) artwork by Uwe Werner of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge and Village; (2) six street signs of various Coronado streets; (3) two City of Coronado flags; (4) a key to the City presented by the Mayor; and (5) 80 rounds of golf at the City’s municipal golf course.

6. COMMUNICATIONS – ORAL: Each person wishing to speak before the City Council on any matter shall approach the City Council, give their name, and limit their presentation to 3 minutes. State law generally precludes the City Council from discussing or acting upon any topic initially presented during oral communication. (ORAL COMMUNICATIONS WILL BE LIMITED TO A TOTAL OF 10 MINUTES; ANY FURTHER COMMUNICATIONS WILL BE HEARD PRIOR TO THE MEETING ADJOURNMENT)

7. CITY MANAGER/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR:
a. Update on Council Directed Actions and Citizen Inquiries. (Informational Item)

8. PUBLIC HEARINGS:
a. Public Hearing: First Reading For Introduction of “An Ordinance of the City

Council of the City of Coronado, California, Rescinding Chapter 1.20 of the Coronado Municipal Code and Adopting a New Chapter 1.20 in Order to Add the Active Transportation Planner, Secretary to the City Manager, and Community Development Technician Positions to the Conflict of Interest Code and to Make Other Minor Clean-Up Corrections.” (Pg 143)

Recommendation: Conduct a public hearing and approve the introduction of “An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Coronado, California, Rescinding Chapter 1.20 of the Coronado Municipal Code and Adopting a new Chapter 1.20 in order to add the Active Transportation Planner, Secretary to the City Manager, and Community Development Technician positions to the Conflict of Interest Code and to make other minor clean-up corrections”; and direct the City Clerk to read the title of the introduced ordinance.

b. Public Hearing: Adoption of a Resolution Implementing the Annual CPI Adjustment to the EMS/Ambulance Fees and Development-Related User Fees and the Annual CCI Adjustment to the Wastewater Capacity Fees for Fiscal Year 2014-15. (Pg 153)

Recommendation: Adopt “A Resolution of the City Council of the City of Coronado Adopting the Fiscal Year 2014-15 Schedules of EMS/Ambulance Fees, Development User Fees and Wastewater Capacity Fees to be Charged by Various City Departments and Repealing Previously Adopted and/or Conflicting Fees for Such Services.”

  1. ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS: None.
  2. COMMISSION AND COMMITTEE REPORTS: (Questions allowed but no discussion or action.)

a. Report from the San Diego County South Area Cities’ Representative to the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

11. CITY COUNCIL:

a. Council Reports on Inter-Agency Committee and Board Assignments.

(Questions allowed to clarify but no responses, discussion or action.) (Pg 211)

b. Status Report on the Adult Activity Center Project Consultant Team and Request for Either Approval of the Substitution of the Subconsultant or to Seek Another Prime Consultant Team. (Pg 215)

Recommendation: 1) Review the current status of the project; and 2) Direct staff to amend the agreement to reflect the substitution of a new subconsultant and extend the time frame for the completion of Phase I and II; or 3) Direct staff to take other actions to meet the desired program schedule including, but not limited to, seeking another consultant team to complete the design of the Adult Activity Center.

c. Authorize the Addition of a Part-Time Police Services Officer for Enforcement of Ordinances on the Public Beach and Authorize the Placement of Three Additional Hot Coal Containers on the Beach. (Pg 247)

Recommendation: Authorize the addition of one Police Services Officer dedicated to code enforcement on the beach for 900 hours per year utilizing savings from the FY 13-14 Police Department personnel budget to staff said position as soon as practical and include an appropriate budget amount in FY 14-15 to fund said position; and 2) Authorize staff to install three additional hot coal receptacles, one each at the stair access point of Avenida del Sol, Avenida de las Arenas, and Avenida Del Lunar.

d. Authorize the Free Summer Shuttle Bus Service Starting as of May 23, 2014 or June 8, 2014 and Ending September 14, 2014. (Pg 259)

Recommendation: Authorize the City Manager to execute the necessary contract(s) for implementing a free summer shuttle bus service serving the business districts for either: the period of May 23, through September 14, 2014 and include $62,000 in the FY 2014-15 budget; or the period June 8, through September 14, 2014, and include $52,000 in the FY 2014-15 budget for this purpose.

e. Review and Establish Code Enforcement Priorities. (Pg 263)

Recommendation: Review common code enforcement complaints and establish code enforcement priorities.

  1. CITY ATTORNEY: No report.
  2. COMMUNICATIONS – WRITTEN:
    1. Consideration of Request from Councilmember Bailey that the City CouncilDiscuss the Criteria for Historical Designation and the Process for Reviewing an Involuntary Historical Designation. (Pg 269) For an explanation of how this is an attack on our HIstoric Resource Code because suggested changes would make it easier to demolish homes and overdevelop our island while killing our unique village atmosphere, click on the DailyCoronado article here.
    2. Receive and File a Copy of Letter Sent Expressing Support for AB 2149 – Regional Communications System Procurement Process. (Pg 273)
  3. ADJOURNMENTA COPY OF THE AGENDA WITH THE BACKGROUND MATERIAL IS AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC

INSPECTION IN THE OFFICE OF THE CITY CLERK AT CITY HALL, AT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY OR ON OUR WEBSITE AT
www.coronado.ca.us

Writings and documents regarding an agenda item on an open session meeting, received after official posting and distributed to the Council for consideration, will be made available for public viewing at the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 1825 Strand Way, during normal business hours. Materials submitted for consideration should be forwarded to the City Clerk’s Office at cityclerk@coronado.ca.us.

Tsunami Ready Week: Are You Ready?

Tsunami Evacuation Route SignCoronado is tsunami-ready this week and every week. Are you ready for all hazards, too?

March 23 to 29 is Tsunami Ready Week. Ready more about it on the National Weather Service (NWS) website by clicking here.

I’m proud that Coronado is tsunami-ready as part of the NWS community ready program.

We want you to be ready for all hazards, including tsunamis, too.

Cap and diplomaCoronado CERT will help you get ready.  To join our CERT family, call 619-522-7374 today and enroll in free CERT classes. You’ll earn 20 hours of priceless training for all hazards, including tsunamis and more.

Coronado Emergency Radio Operators (CERO) helps Coronado First Responders during disasters, including earthquakes, fires, tsunamis and man-made disasters. To join our CERO family and receive help to earn your Amateur Radio Operator license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), go to www.ceroinc.org and connect with CERO, or click here.

Copyright © 2014 Barbara Denny, Esq.

 

 

 

 

Here’s Proof that Coronado Officials Misappropriated the Bridge Toll Revenue Funds

A local weekly paper published my article in response to their one-sided, biased article that they printed.

Councilwoman Denny Provides Proof of Misappropriated Public Funds

by Barbara Denny, Esq., Coronado City Councilwoman

Background

Coronado Bridge and Port of San DiegoThrough the annual budget process over many years, city officials in our council-manager government misappropriated millions upon millions of public dollars from the Bridge Toll Revenue Fund (BTRF) by diverting them away from their mandated special use to unauthorized projects. Last year city officials doubled down by finagling a cheap administrative trick that failed to legitimize their misappropriation of funds — an “amendment to the RTIP at SANDAG.” Their attempted “amendment” to SANDAG’s 2012 Regional Transportation Improvement Plan is null and void because it violates the law. City officials corrupted the governmental process with their actions.

Facts

For a concise analysis of this complex legal matter, go to www.DailyCoronado.com. Scroll down to my 21 February 2014 article entitled Coronado Corruption: City Officials Misappropriated Bridge Toll Revenue Funds. Or, click here.

In [a local weekly] paper on 12 March 2014, Dave Axelson reprinted parts of Councilmember Woiwode’s self-serving, false and misleading screed. No, this isn’t a case of “narrow statutory interpretation” on my part. As an attorney, the reasonable application of the controlling law to the facts undeniably proves that city officials are wrong. No, the District Attorney doesn’t have to “charge” city officials in order for them to be proved wrong in court. Through their attorney, Corridor residents will do that. Their representative stated at a past council meeting that they plan to sue the city a second time to compel city officials to use the BTRF as mandated — to help Corridor residents.

Bridge Toll Revenue Fund

There would be no BTRF if Corridor residents hadn’t sued the city. The BTRF is a result of the Settlement Agreement of 2000, which is a result of the first lawsuit brought by Corridor residents in the 1990s as a uniquely affected group faced with bridge toll removal at the time. The controlling Settlement Agreement mandated that the city put aside tens of Coronado bridge toll boothmillions of dollars of bridge tolls, a form of government tax as defined by law, for the special use of helping Corridor residents. In this way, the BTRF is a Special Use Fund.

As the only source of legal authority for the BTRF, the 2000 Settlement Agreement mandates in plain language that the BTRF shall be spent “in the Corridor” to “reduce negative impacts” that are “caused by bridge toll removal.” Some of those negative impacts are increased traffic, increased noise and increased vehicle emissions. For the past 14 years, Coronado officials have refused to help Corridor residents. Yet the BTRF has dwindled to around $6 million because city officials spent it on unauthorized projects that are outside of the Corridor, or increase negative impacts, or aren’t caused by bridge toll removal.

Settlement Agreement Violated 

City officials violated the controlling Settlement Agreement by misappropriating the BTRF to unauthorized projects through the annual budget process. By voting YES on city budget plans, they also rubber-stamped the included capital project plans that clearly describe in black and white the BTRF misappropriation to unauthorized projects. Some of those unauthorized projects are the Pomona roundabout, drainage projects on Sixth & Orange, and drainage problems on Third, Fourth & H.

Brown Act Violated

Businessman Handing Over Stacks of Hundred Dollar Bills.City officials violated California Government Code Sections 54950 et seq., called the Brown Act, last year when they sought an “amendment to the 2012 RTIP at SANDAG” because they conducted city business without the required agenda item and without the required opportunity for public input in Coronado. In further violation of the Brown Act city officials decided among themselves, behind closed doors, without full council deliberation, and without a council vote to divert the BTRF away from its mandated use through their “amendment.” On 19 July 2013 they voted YES for their “amendment” at a SANDAG transportation committee meeting outside Coronado, but those votes in San Diego city are null and void because they violated the Brown Act as well as the controlling Settlement Agreement.

Conclusion

City officials must fix the mess they created by replacing the millions upon millions of public dollars that they misappropriated from the BTRF with public money available in the General Fund because it’s the right thing to do. It’s also less of a burden on Coronado taxpayers than paying the city’s litigation defense costs plus financial restitution out of the Hundred dollar bill stacksGeneral Fund when the city inevitably loses the next lawsuit because the facts and law are on the side of the Corridor residents.

The city attorney’s opinion that a form letter from SANDAG gives Coronado officials “legal permission” to misappropriate the BTRF is ridiculous because a form letter from a regional planning agency isn’t a source of legal authority. In reality, by stating that BTRF spending is within the “sole discretion” of Coronado city, the SANDAG form letter simply denies any SANDAG oversight responsibility and places all legal liability for misappropriating the BTRF entirely upon Coronado officials.

Copyright © 2014 Barbara Denny, Esq.