City Manager's Blog

The City Manager's Blog is an online educational tool to provide general information to the community in open communication style. Periodically, the City Manager will post articles of general interest covering topics such as the Town's budget, budget process, capital projects, upcoming meetings, community issues, public safety, and general Town operations.

Articles in the blog are not designed as press releases or Town publications, rather, they are written in more of a conversational style. The Blog does not have a comments feature but readers are free to respond to the Blog and its entries view email directly to the City Manager.

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Dec 17

December 2015 City Manager's Monthly Report

Posted on December 17, 2020 at 10:29 AM by Francesca Reyes

City Manager's Monthly Report - December 2015

Monthly-report.pngWelcome to the City Manager's Monthly Report Blog.

The City Manager's Monthly Report Blog is a consolidation of issues, communications, and Town activity during the prior month that have been reported to the City Council as part of their weekly email from the City Manager. Sometimes information is duplicated over the course of several emails to the City Council to ensure that it is reviewed.

As I review the information to include in the Monthly Report, to the extent possible, I remove duplicate updates in favor of the most recent; I remove information regarding events that have already occurred; and I edit information that requires update - hopefully to make it more useful. Overall, the information is generally the same as it was presented to the City Council in their weekly Council email.

The Report reads with the most recent first. As always, if you have any questions or comments regarding the Monthly Report, please feel free to contact me via email or phone.


George Rodericks
City Manager
Town of Atherton
(650) 752-0504

December 21, 2015 - Weekly Report to Council

1. Regional Water Subcommittee (C/CAG)

As the Council is aware, C/CAG has initiated a Regional Water Subcommittee to address regional issues related to Sea Level Rise and Drainage. Mayor Lewis presently serves on the Subcommittee. The Subcommittee meets on the 1st Wednesday of every month at 5:15 pm. The Mayor has asked if the Council would consider moving our Study Session up from 4 pm to 3 pm to allow attendance at this C/CAG Committee by the Council representative. 

Feedback thus far is that moving up the time of the Study Session will cause conflicts in work schedules. 

2. Animal Services Report - October 2015

3. Park Events and Revenue Logs

Linked here are the November Park Events Log and the November Park Revenues Log

4. RWQCB - Marsh Road Channel

With the most recent DUI vehicle in the channel, Gordon sent a copy of the newspaper article to the Regional Water Board representative. This elicited an immediate response from the RWQCB saying that they expect to issue a 401 Certification at the beginning of January to allow the Town to move to the next step - which includes finalizing any approvals/reviews from the other participating JARPA Permit agencies. Advertising/Bidding the project at the January meeting will be excellent timing. 

5. Civic Center Advisory Committee - Naming Conventions

The CCAC has been reluctant to discuss the naming convention opportunities for the new Civic Center in order to provide the City Council with a recommendation. Atherton Now is providing supplemental information to the CCAC Staff Report for their meeting in January. I have the item on the January 20 Regular Meeting as a Study Session item for Council discussion. 

6. Art Foundation Thank You

Betty Ulman from the Atherton Arts Foundation sent in a nice email complimenting staff for their unsolicited assistance during a recent art installation at Town Hall. Positive feedback is much appreciated. 

7. Regional Storm Water Permit

As the Council is aware, the Town is one of a number of jurisdictions permitted under the Regional Water Quality Control Board Stormwater Permit. We have our permit via C/CAG and the County of San Mateo. Linked here is a very informative PowerPoint presentation from Matt Fabry posted to the C/CAG website on the topic. Here you can also view a dropbox link to the various jurisdiction maps (as shown in the PowerPoint). Atherton included. 

8. Transportation Committee Member Share

Committee Member Gary Lauder has asked that the California Department of Transportation TRIP Report for 2014 be shared with the Council.

9. Security of Firearms (excerpt from the Chief)

There has been a sharp increase in vehicle thefts and auto burglaries throughout the State. In a number of the incidents, unsecured firearms have been stolen and used in high-profile crimes. Although not as tragic, but certainly embarrassing were several other firearms taken from vehicles in the Bay Area belong to peace officers - including a Police Chief. The Department is updating its Lexipol policies to address this concern. Additionally, the Town will be purchasing five (5) gun storage vaults to be secured inside the trunks of our unmarked vehicles. 

Officers (on duty and off) are responsible for the security of all firearms under their care and control (privately owned as well as Department issued). The policy will address the securing of a firearm in an unattended vehicle for even a short period of time. 

10. Surf Air Working Group Letter to Surf Air - December 2015

Linked here is a letter outlining the list of four (4) items identified by the working group that they have been diligently working toward. There is good news noted on three of the areas. 

11. EPC Work Plan and CAP

As the Council is aware, the EPC has been working on their 2016 Work Plan that includes a number of the priority focus areas from the Climate Action Plan (CAP) that has yet to be approved by the Council. I have discussed this issue before and the feedback has been consistent that the Work Plan and Climate Action Plan need to be reviewed by the Council concurrently not independently as they are intertwined. 

The CAP has been delayed due to some insurance and indemnification issues with the consultant. These are being worked through; however, the Plan will not be on the Council agenda for January 6. We anticipate it reaching the Council for the February 3 Study Session. We will bring forth the Work Plan as well as an opportunity to provide congruent feedback/changes to the EPC Charter at the same time. It will be important for this Committee to have clear charter direction consistent with Council approval of any work plan or Climate Action Plan. 

At their last meeting, the EPC voted to approve and recommend their Work Plan to the City Council with three (3) key program items: 1) Atherton 2020/Home Energy Efficient, Water Conservation and Education; 2) Advisory and Support for Environmentally Based Building Code and Drainage District Upgrades; and 3) Resource Use Disclosure Requirements for Home Buyers. The Work Plan was to assign rough cost estimates to each of the items. The Work Plan will include a policy that discusses requested funding mechanisms in support of the effort. Discussion of a UUT was removed as an action item but remained as a potential/suggested funding source for consideration by the Council. The EPC also approved a categorized/prioritized list of EPC-recommended GHG reduction measures as part of the CAP. The EPC categorized each recommended GHG measure included in the CAP as measures to be considered as part of the EPC 2016 Work Plan or measures for the Town to consider as a matter of ordinance, policy or other guiding language. 

The EPC is recommending that the Town hire a consultant to implement the programs in the Work Plan primarily related to home energy efficiency, water conservation and public education/communication. The EPC is interested in resurrecting a number of the Atherton 2020 program components with revisions or tweaks as needed. This would include performing home energy audits and having a consultant assist with developing a public education website, marketing and other outreach efforts. 

Lastly, the EPC has requested a program that provides the EPC with an advisory and/or recommendation role for all Town-related ordinances, codes, policies or other issues that include any matters/topics that have an environmental relation. I have advised the staff liaison and the City Council representative that I believe that that request is too far-reaching to be supported. With CEQA, nearly all decisions of the City Council are tangentially environmentally related or determined. I believe it would be inappropriate to pass all ordinances, policies, or codes considered by the City Council first through the Town’s subordinate environmental programs committee. 

12. Proposed Constitutional Amendment to Provide Local Agencies with New Optional Funding to finance Stormwater Management

On December 14, 2015 the League of California Cities  joined the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) and the Association of California Water Agencies (CWA) in filing a proposed constitutional amendment with the Attorney General’s office. The measure would create a new, optional funding system local agencies can use to finance stormwater management, flood control, sewer and water supply projects, set rates for customers to encourage conservation and reduce water and sewer bills for low-income customers. The League Board of Directors formally authorized the League’s participation in this effort.
The proposed constitutional amendment includes strict accountability and transparency requirements for any local agency that chooses to avail itself of this new funding system. The measure would amend Art. X of the California Constitution, concerning water resources, and would add a new Sec. 8. It makes no changes to other parts of the constitution, including Proposition 218, which would continue to remain available for funding stormwater, sewer, flood control and water supply projects. It merely provides another financing alternative to local government agencies that could be used at their discretion unless their ratepayers object.

13. League Peninsula Division Representative

The League’s new Peninsula Regional Public Affairs Manage is Seth Miller. This week Seth has joined the ranks of the regional managers where he will establish and maintain relationships, implement ballot measure advocacy campaigns, and engage in other forms of strategic outreach and activities in the Peninsula Division. He will start on January 4, 2016.
Seth has fifteen years of experience working on region-wide challenges such as air quality, affordable housing and workforce development. He has extensive experience in the development of policies and programs related to transportation planning, land use and public health. He has worked closely with state, regional and local government to develop comprehensive public engagement strategies including the San Joaquin Valley Regional Transportation Planning process, the Southern California Association of Government Compass Program, and the California Department of Public Health’s Safe Routes to School effort. Seth served as Public Outreach Director with the UC Davis Institute for Transportation Studies from 2009-2013 and the Public Policy Director for the California Center for Regional Leadership from 2001-2008. He co-founded the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps in Taos, New Mexico in the 1990s. He has worked on statewide propositions throughout California and a host of local initiatives to create more livable communities. He serves as a Board Member for the Root Cause Institute and Technology Against World Blindness.  Seth has a Bachelor’s degree in History from The Colorado College and an MBA from Boston University. He lives in San Francisco with his wife Ruth Bond and sons, Max, Ben and Julian and daughter Phoebe.

14. Committee Assignment List

Theresa is putting together the Committee List for you to select the various committees or regional positions on which you’d like to participate. The Mayor will be making the assignments at the January Council meeting. Theresa will send out the list (name of committee, meeting times, description, etc.) with a due date back to her to send it to the Mayor for consideration. 

15. Event Garden Status

The rain has affected Event Garden progress at the Park. The working crews have been reduced in size and if the rain continues, the project will shut down until the site dries out. At this point, they are looking at a mid-January completion schedule. There are no significant events that will be impacted at the Park and notice will be provided to any potential renters during the time period. The contractor continues work on steel edging and planting trees. About 60% of the site has been unworkable due to the wet conditions. All the plant material has been delivered to the Site and is being watered daily.

16. Quiet Zone Status

We have released requests for Statements of Qualifications to various consultants and have scheduled interviews for the week of January 5. Stephanie Anzia (consultant referenced by Nerissa Dexter) will participate in the interviews. It is anticipated that we will have someone on board shortly thereafter. 

A question was asked about the construction period for the quad gates at Fair Oaks. Caltrain pulled a “no fee" encroachment permit via the Town in September 2009 for installation of the gates.  

17. Cal Water H20 Challenge

To continue to promote water conservation, Cal Water’s H2O Challenge is open for the 2015-16 school year. Now in its second year, elementary school students design innovative programs to practice water conservation and increase awareness about the impact of the state's historic drought. Information about this contest has been shared with principals in our service areas; while we recognize that schools are governed by school boards, Cal Water would like to invite the Town of Atherton to support and encourage schools in Cal Water's Bear Gulch District to participate.

The competition, developed in collaboration with the North American Association for Environmental Education, is open to classrooms in grades 4 through 6 in Cal Water’s Bear Gulch District. The winning class will receive an all-expense paid, three-day camping and hiking trip at Circle X Ranch, located in the Santa Monica Mountains, as part of the NatureBridge environmental science education program.

The Cal Water H2O Challenge builds on principles linked to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning, as well as Next Generation Science Standards. Students learn how principles can be applied in the study of the water cycle, how water quality affects the survival of plants and organisms, and how they can impact water conservation.
Last year, the winning school, Shasta Elementary School in Chico, designed a rain collection system to water plants in a native garden they created on school property that would have an enduring impact on the school's efforts to conserve water. The class took a field trip to a local nursery, learning about gardening and native plants. It also sought the expert advice of a longtime local rancher about building its rain collection system.
The Cal Water H2O Challenge is a project-based competition for schools seeking to enhance students' understanding of water-based science concepts. To ensure educators have access to the support they need, teachers will be provided with technical, expert, and monetary support through educational resources, consultants, and up to 20 $500 teacher grants chosen by lottery. The deadline to register for this challenge is December 31, 2015.
For more information about the program and eligibility, visit You can also contact Bear Gulch’s District Manager, Dawn Smithson, at 650-561-0014 or
18. Alameda de las Pulgas Traffic Recorder Results
Staff placed our Radar Recorder on northbound Alameda de las Pulgas, between Atherton Avenue and Callado Way, between 12-12-15 and 12-19-15. The results were as follows:
1)      During this time, a total of 90,516 vehicles traveled on Alameda de las Pulgas (combined northbound and southbound)
2)      61.8% of the vehicles were traveling at 31 MPH or greater
3)      24.2% of the vehicles were traveling at 35 MPH or greater
4)      7.4% of the vehicles were traveling at 38 MPH or greater (the current 85th percentile for Alameda is 37 MPH)
5)      0.7% of the vehicles were traveling at 43 MPH or greater
6)      0.1% of the vehicles were traveling at 48 MPH or greater
The Radar Recorder gave us an 85th percentile of 35 MPH combined, with 34 MPH northbound and 35 MPH southbound. A majority of the vehicles were traveling at 32 MPH combined, with 31 MPH northbound and 32 MPH southbound. Of all of the vehicles: 1,528 vehicles traveled at 41 MPH or greater, 146 vehicles traveled at 46 MPH or greater, and 16 vehicles traveled at 51 MPH or greater.

December 11, 2015 - Weekly Report to Council

1. Affordable Housing Nexus Study

As part of a San Mateo County Partnership Program (all jurisdictions), the consultant (Strategic Economics and Vernanzza Wolfe Associates, Inc.) prepared a nexus study for commercial linkage fees and residential impact fees related to increased demand for affordable housing in San Mateo County. The Town was provided with a copy of the study; however, at this time does not have any interest in pursuing any affordable housing impact fee on new residential development. The study was provided as part of a regional effort and, although locally focused, is informational only. At this time, staff has an internal draft of the results. However, we have been advised that if the Town wish to use the data in the study, we would be obligated to fund our portion of it ($20,000 ). 

2. Las Lomitas School District

Staff met earlier this week with the Bond Manager for Las Lomitas School District. The District continues their design work on the campus at ADLP. They are preparing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Town to consider that would allow them to analyze the benefits to the Town of storm water detention on their site. They have an engineering team (and designers) that will prepare the analysis as part of their design. The primary purpose of their project is to meet their storm water needs in concert with playing field upgrades; however, they are willing to consider additional improvements that might benefit the Town as well (Town cost). Funding has not yet been discussed but it is anticipated that the District would expect some compensation for use of their property. 

3. Tree Downed

Yesterday at about 10 am a tree feel blocking the street and driveway on Bergessen Court off of Stockbridge Avenue. Staff responded and cleared the roadway. Sally will be in contact with the homeowner regarding the remaining debris removal. The roadway was closed for approximately 45 minutes. 

4. Peninsula Clean Energy

The December Agenda includes the Resolution and Introduction of Ordinance for the Town’s moving forward with Peninsula Clean Energy. The January Agenda will include the 2nd Reading and Adoption of the Ordinance. Once the JPA is formed, the Town (upon adoption of the Ordinance) will become one of the first members of the JPA - Peninsula Clean Energy. The Mayor will need to appoint a member of the City Council to serve as the Town’s representative to the JPA. The Mayor may appoint a member of the Council to serve as the alternate or may appoint a member of staff. 

5. Civic Center Advisory Committee - Naming Conventions

The CCAC has been reluctant to discuss the naming convention opportunities for the new Civic Center in order to provide the City Council with a recommendation. Atherton Now is providing supplemental information to the CCAC Staff Report for their meeting in January. I have the item on the February 3 Study Session for Council discussion. I will be out of town (City Manager’s Department Meeting in Indian Wells) for that meeting. 

6. Cartan Field Neighbor Meeting

I will assist in facilitating a 2nd round of neighbor meetings for the proposed Cartan Field Project with Menlo School and Menlo College on December 14 at City Hall from 6 pm to 8 pm. The Mayor has been in attendance at these meetings. 

7. Santa Cruz Fiber

Linked here is an interesting article on Santa Cruz Fiber and their initiative for 2016 -

8. Removal of Building/Planning Trailer

Bids for removal of the temporary trailer for the Building/Planning Departments and restoration of the outside wall came in considerably higher than expected. As a result, the Building Official and Public Works Superintendent (Brett/Steve) opted to do the work themselves to seal off the wall (creating David’s office) and then leave the trailer “in place” rather than demo it. The trailer can be demolished/removed as part of the Civic Center Project staging and demo work. Kudos here for saving the Town considerable funds. 

9. SFPUC Water Line

The relocation letter will go out to the SFPUC this month. However, as we request relocation of the line, it is important to note that the current design of the Civic Center can accommodate the line in its present location from a major building foundation perspective. The line will traverse the Town’s secure Police Department parking lot and will have smaller buildings and foundations within the required easement - the revised location is the preferred location for those reasons. 

10. EPC Special Meeting - December 15 (1 pm)
The EPC is holding a Special Meeting on December 15 to finalize their proposed Work Plan and Overall Policy Statement to present to the City Council at the January 6 Study Session. The EPC will also be prioritizing their list of recommended GHG reduction measures for Council consideration as well. 

The EPC Chair has advised that the EPC would like to evaluate the concept of using a ballot measure to fund Atherton’s programs. The Chair has asked that staff obtain from PG&E, CalWater and Recology what Atherton’s revenue base is for electricity, natural gas, water, and waste. The Chair has also asked that staff obtain information about the distribution of energy bills by home in Atherton so that the Committee can conduct their analysis. 

I provided the Chair with links to the 2014 Staff Reports to the City Council on the revenue alternatives wherein the Council had a healthy discussion of various revenue alternatives. These reports provided summary revenue information for various utilities as part of the utility user’s tax analysis. I also advised the Chair that staff can contact PG&E regarding the committee's request for by home data; however, I suspect that a per home detail level is not something PG&E will release publicly as I suspect there may be privacy concerns. 

Lastly, I advised that discussion of a utility users tax has political and practical considerations that must addressed before publicly moving forward with any recommendation that the Town impose a new tax for whatever purpose it may be. The Council has not directed the EPC to have this discussion or provide this analysis. If the EPC moves forward with the recommendation to the Council on a utility users tax after the Council has already had a conversation about it (2014), it may back the Council into uncomfortable position that some will not appreciate. I advised that I was not suggesting that the EPC table the discussion given its connection to green energy use incentives; rather, I strongly suggested that the Committee discuss it carefully. 

11. Art in Public Places Program

I sent an email to the Atherton Arts Foundation advising that the Art in Public Places program seems to be working well at Town Hall and the displays are quite nice; however, I do not feel they are getting the recognition they so richly deserve. 

I suggested that the Foundation consider offering up a monthly Art Walk program through which the Foundation and/or Artist host an Open House at Town Hall one day a month (wine/cheese/etc.) say either over the lunch hour or at Post Office closing hour (4:30 pm) or 5 pm.. I suggested that we could open up Town Hall to allow visitors to browse the Art (planned in advance) and the Art Foundation would of course, host (any $). We could advertise in our Friday email to the community with pictures of the art/artist, etc.