At its Aug. 12 meeting, Carpinteria City Council received staff updates on the Public Safety Power Shutoff program, installation of a new recycling center and beach neighborhood parking, along with the Sheriff’s Annual Report, three new contracts and a commendation for Relay For Life.
Public Safety Power Shutoffs program
City Manager Dave Durflinger informed council that the Public Safety Power Shutoffs program allows major power companies like Southern California Edison (SCE) and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to shut off power when there is a major fire risk. This program is one component of a plan to mitigate wildfire risk, explained Durflinger, noting areas of concern, particularly for people who rely on electricity.
The program leaves it to local municipalities to reach out to community members and help them prepare. Critical local agencies have necessary backup generators to operate during a shutoff (for an unstated amount of time). To date, Southern California Edison, which serves the Santa Barbara area, has not initiated any public safety power shutoffs, while PG&E has carried one out in a small community in northern California.
During the first week of August, rePlanet, California’s largest recycling company, went out of business, shutting down 284 recycling centers, including the one located behind Carpinteria’s Albertsons on Casitas Pass Road. The state’s Convenience Zone law requires that there be a recycling center where beverage containers can be redeemed at grocery stores that have over $2 million in sales. In Carpinteria, Albertsons and Smart & Final are in the same zone, and require at least one recycling depository. With the rePlanet now defunct, the supermarkets are no longer in compliance with the state law.
While the city is working to support the supermarkets, it is the responsibility of Albertsons and Smart & Final to become compliant, according to Durflinger, who noted that city staff is in communication with Albertsons corporate office to determine if the supermarket can become a recycling depot, which it is currently not set up to do. “CalRecycle, the oversight agency for the Convenience Zone law,” said Durflinger, “are well aware and are working with the grocery stores to find a solution.” In the meantime, Carpinteria residents will have to go to Ventura or Santa Barbara to redeem recycling.
City Manager addresses beach neighborhood parking
The city hosted the California Surf Lifesaving Association’s (CSLSA) Regional Championships for the first time on July 26 and 27. During the two-day event held at Carpinteria’s beaches, an open space owned by the city was used as a parking lot for participants with the moniker City Lot #4. Beach neighborhood residents called the city and sent letters to CVN with concerns that the parking lot was an imposition and unsafe for residents.
Durflinger took the opportunity on Monday night to respond, stating, “This was our first time hosting this event, so there were some lessons learned. I want to acknowledge some complaints that were made… some residents … were very concerned about the use of a parcel south of the railroad tracks for parking. I have apologized for the lack of notice on that.”
The city manager was adamant that the use of the space for parking was no indication of City Council’s plans for the permanent use of that space. Durflinger explained that it was a one-time event and that the parking lot was geared towards event participants. “There were some concerns about how we addressed it as ‘Parking Lot #4,’” stated Durflinger. “The council has not made any decision about making that a permanent parking lot.” He also stated that city staff did not intend to use the space for event parking in the future to avoid confusing the public on land use issues.
Sheriff’s Annual Report
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Ugo Peter “Butch” Arnoldi, who serves the Carpinteria Valley, noted significant decreases in crime in the Sheriff’s Annual Report. “Part 1” crimes, including murder, homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle and larceny theft and arson are down 25 percent from 2017. “Part 2” crimes, including simple assault, forgery, counterfeiting, embezzlement, fraud, weapons violations, crimes against family/child, prostitution, sex crimes, drunkenness, gambling, DUIs, disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct are down 7 percent from 2017. Calls for service are also down, 11 percent, while traffic collisions increased 22 percent.
Arnoldi also noted steps that the Sheriff’s Office would take to ensure a safe California Avocado Festival this October. “We’re going to enhance our visibility and staffing level at this year’s avocado festival,” he said, noting that he has already secured two motor officers, two bicycle officers and four officers on foot in addition to himself, Carpinteria’s community resource officer and the regular patrol shift officers.
“We depend on the eyes and ears of the general public,” Arnoldi said. “If they (the public) see somebody pull up in a vehicle and he’s acting strangely or pulling a gun case out of the trunk, by all means call us. That’s what we’re here for. And by having these various teams around, we’ll be able to react before it becomes a problem. That’s my goal this year. We don’t want Carpinteria to get on the map like Gilroy did. Not on my watch.”
Relay For Life: Outstanding Community Partner
City Council presented the city’s summer 2019 Outstanding Community Partner award to Relay For Life Coastal Santa Barbara County at the Aug. 12 meeting. Co-organizer Sally Green thanked the council and volunteers, saying, “It was a community effort… small but mighty.” Relay For Life raised over $70,000 this year.
Medicare for All Act
Councilmembers voted unanimously to support the Medicare for All Act with a resolution urging Congress to support and pass this legislation.
Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care – Carpinteria office
The council approved a directive to staff to engage in lease negotiation with Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care for office space at the Veterans Memorial Building complex, 941 Walnut Ave. Visiting Nurses has served the Santa Barbara area for 110 years. The organization currently serves 50 families in Carpinteria. Visiting Nurses social workers and nurses work in personal homes and at GranVida Senior Living; the Veterans Building space would be for office work only.
Contract with Designcorp
Councilmembers approved a contract with the company Designcorp Build Better for the installation of demountable partitions in City Hall as part of the building’s current renovations project. Designcorp’s bid of $429,000 was the lowest bid by a satisfactory candidate and required a project budget increase of $9,000, which was also approved.
Contract with TVSB
The city’s government channel will have new management soon. Councilmembers unanimously approved entering into a contract with South Coast Community Media Access Center, commonly known as TV Santa Barbara (TVSB), to manage and operate the city’s government channel. Currently, city staff facilitates this operation. TVSB will receive $30,000, funded through the city’s Public, Education and Government Program account.