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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Feb 07

January 2016 City Manager's Monthly Report

Posted on February 7, 2016 at 12:14 PM by grodericks grodericks

City Manager's Monthly Report - January 2016

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

January 29, 2016 - City Council Report

1. Joint MPFD Meeting

After speaking with the Fire Chief, the best date for the Fire District Board to get together for a Joint Meeting is July 13. At this time I have heard from only one member of the Council on the July 13 date. Another possibility is to try and tack the meeting onto an existing Council Study Session. Please advise as to your preference. 

2. Event Garden Status

The Event Garden continues to move along, but with the rain, its finish has been delayed. I have approved an extension for completion to March 1, 2016. 

3. Highway User Tax  Estimates - Local Allocations

Linked here is a publication from on the Share Revenue Estimates for Highway User Tax - also known as the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax. The Town budgets for Gas Tax revenues at about $225,000 per year directly into the Town’s CIP Fund. These funds are used for road improvement projects each year. This is another State funding source that has been targeted for reallocation and reduction over time. The publication is a detailed, albeit confusing, description of how the funding works and how it has changed over the years. It is estimated that our allocation will drop from $225,000 to $159,000 and then, increase again to $184,000 if the Governor’s budget is approved. 

4. EPC Earth Day Discussion

The EPC met earlier this week to discuss the proposed Earth Day event. The Committee approved the following (3-0) directing staff to prepare a proposed EPC 2016 Earth Day Event Work Plan and budget to present at the February 17, 2016 City Council meeting with the following components:

a) A 2016 Earth Day Event Work Plan will target dates around Earth Day (April 22nd) with pre-activities to be conducted during the week prior to the main Earth Day Event and with the main Earth Day event to be conducted on a weekend.  Final dates to be determined.  Committee members will research what and when other community groups, schools and/or agencies are planning for Earth Day so as to propose dates/times for the Town event that do not overlap to the greatest degree possible and then coordinate venue locations accordingly.

b) The 2016 Earth Day Event Work Plan will consist of four targeted phases:
(i) Pre-Event Marketing and Outreach – The Chair will work with Planning Staff and City Manager’s office on creating a survey to be distributed Town-wide to gage community interest on environmental issues so as to tailor the educational sponsors and activities of the Earth Day event accordingly as well as to alerting residents of upcoming Earth Day events. This survey to be distributed well in advance of actual Earth Day event activities. The Committee would then create public outreach materials and efforts for the event once final dates, times, and venues are secured and work with Town staff on distributing such accordingly.

(ii) Pre-Event Activities – The Committee would like to host an environmentally-based movie for the community in which the movie director will be in attendance and available for a Questions and Answers session after the movie.  The Committee would also like to host a guest speaker/panel discussion on an environmental topic.  These two activities can be separate or possibly combined.  These activities to be conducted prior to the main Earth Day event, with specific dates, times and venue location(s) to be determined.

(iii) Main Earth Day Event – The Committee would like to host a main Earth Day event on a weekend day, around the actual Earth Day of April 22, 2016.  The specific date, time and venue location to be determined. The Event would have numerous educational booths/tables of agency vendors providing educational information on matters such as energy, water, and solid waste.  The Committee would work with the Town on inviting selected vendors.  A student competition with prize giveaways would also be held.  The Committee would like a representative(s) from the Civic Center Advisory Committee and any other Town Committees/Commissions to also have a booth to provide the community information on other environmental happenings in the Town.  The Committee would utilize existing available supplies (shirts, bracelets, light bulbs, etc)  from the prior “Atherton 2020” program as free giveaways. Coordinating an E-waste drop off spot at the event is also desired. Some food, beverages, and live music would like to be made available at the event.  

(iv) Post Event Communication – The Committee would like follow up with the community after the event to gage interest and ideas to consider any future next steps and actions. 

c) The 2016 Earth Day Event Work Plan will request a budget of $5000.00.  The Committee would work to implement the ideas targeted within Item #1 above within the approved budget.  Supplementary, the Committee would solicit cash or other donations from private individuals and/or agencies which would need to then be referred to Town staff for follow up.  Additionally, the Committee would charge the identified vendors a fee for hosting a booth at the event.  Any collected funds would like to be used as prize giveaways for the student competitions and/or to off-set any of the costs with activities as noted in Item #1 above.  Any use of any funds collected would be used strictly for the Earth Day activities identified. 

5. AirBnB Support

I received an email from Dona Abbey regarding the Town’s policy with respect to AirBnB or VRBO rentals. Ms. Abbey noted that she is an advocate in support of changes to the policy. I responded to Ms. Abbey noting that the restriction on short-term rentals such as Airbnb or VRBO is codified into law; not merely a Town policy. I advised that at this time, the Town is not considering any changes to that law.  I suggested that if she would like the Town to consider changes to the law it would be appropriate for her to send a letter to the City Council outlining what changes she would like to see. I advised that if there were other signatories to that letter, that would be fine as well.

6. Special Events - POTUS and the Super Bowl

As advised, we have confirmed the POTUS visit for February 11. We are working with the Secret Service and the hosting property owner to work through event planning and the Town’s Special Event Permit requirements. 

In addition, we have been in contact with the property owner hosting the Super Bowl Party. At that time, the event was private and the expectation was that no Special Event Permit would be required. The event has now been released to the general public for attendance via the internet. We have reconnected with the property owner to advise that this may trigger the need for additional town resources in response to the event. There is a provision that allows a Special Request for Police Services (such as is done for events at Menlo College). The event can be handled in this manner if it is merely an officer on site that is necessary; however, if the event attendance expectation is of a sufficient amount, the Town may call in overtime services to mitigate potential issues. This would trigger the need for a Special Event Permit. We are working these issues out with the property owner. 

Presidential Candidate Hilary Clinton may also have a visit toward the end of February. We will be connecting regarding this event as well. 

7. Cal Water Emergency Response

On January 26, Cal Water was able to repair the nine (9) main line water breaks in their system. The cause of the “perfect storm” of main line failures was apparently due to the failure of two PRV’s (pressure reduction valves) in the system that went down following the Atherton Ave/Alameda break last week. These failures caused a huge influx of pressure and “hammer” to the main line system, culminating in the 9 failures that proceeded the recharge of the system.  As of January 26 at about 6PM, all breaks had been repaired (including replacement of the two failed PRV’s). The system had been restored to full pressure, and the EOC was closed down. The leaks were located in the following locations:
  • Euclid and Stockbridge – repairs completed; service restored
  • Fifth and Middlefield – repairs completed; service restored
  • First and Williams – repairs completed; service restored
  • Roble and University – repairs completed; service restored
  • Felton and Encinal – – repairs completed; service restored
  • Fremont and Fremont Place – repairs completed; service restored
  • 445 Fifth Ave. between Park and Middlefield –repairs completed; service restored.
  • Stockbridge between Santa Clara and Hillary – repairs completed; service restored
  • University between Partridge and Cambridge – repairs completed; service restored
Learning from this type of system meltdown is important. Along with the lessons learned from Cal Water concerning their infrastructure, there was some important lessons learned regarding communication between Cal Water and the Town. Dawn Smithson, Cal Water District Manager, has added the following to their protocol for such emergencies:
  • Town awareness – Cal Water has promised to make it part of their protocol to inform the Town earlier in their process of these types of large scale water issues. The Town can play an important role for them in notifying the public of real/potential delivery issues of their product through our many types of community contact devices.
  • Town communications – the Town has set up a “chain of contact” with Cal Water so that it is convenient for them to notify the correct Town staff during these circumstances with as little effort as possible. Town staff will then elevate this information to the appropriate parties under the guidance of the City Manager.
  • Partnership – The Town can help Cal Water during these types situations with labor, equipment or materials if necessary to help expedite these types of emergencies for the good of our residents. These costs can be reimbursed back to the Town following the emergency.
 All in all, a great effort by Cal Water. This was a huge emergency for them, and they brought in assets from all over northern California to help them stabilize the problem. Steve Tyler have personally thanked them for their herculean efforts and they have in turn thanked the Town residents for their patience and inconvenience during this time and Town staff for our offers of support and assistance.

As I mentioned to the Council, I agreed with the assessment above from Steve Tyler. Cal Water’s response was diligent and effective. However, I also agree that it is important that Cal Water engage the Town earlier. Cal Water is a member of the Town’s EOC Team and practiced with the Town during its last exercise. Communication was a key emphasis of that exercise. Nevertheless, small scale emergency situations will often “creep up” on you and before you know it, you’re knee deep in something that you should have reached out to others for support to address. I suspect this is what happened with Cal Water. They believed they could address the issue(s) internally and then when they realized they couldn’t - it was too late. Lessons learned. 

It continues to be important for the Town to engage and exercise with our partner agencies locally as well as regionally. This takes time, effort, and resources - but in the end, if we do not do so and issues arise - we will not know how to. Local EOC Teams are designed to “stand up” when needed. While the Cal Water situation may not have necessitated standing up our full EOC, it could have made sense to stand up the Operations Section of our EOC Team to work with Cal Water to address local issues. It would have been critical for the Town and our EOC Operations Team (Fire, Police, and Public Works) to know what water systems were not online in the off chance that a contemporaneous emergency situation arose. 

Work continues at the Atherton Avenue/Alameda de las Pulgas location. 

8. County of San Mateo - Shelter Services Bid

As the Council is aware, I serve on the review committee for the proposals received by the County of San Mateo for the construction of their new Animal Services Shelter. The County has received approximately 9 preliminary responses to their RFB/Design/Build project. We will be reviewing the statements of qualifications due by February 16. 

9. Camphor Trees

As part of the Event Garden, 4 large pieces of the camphor tree were saved to be turned into benches for the event garden. These have been stored at the edge of the site adjacent to the restroom and will be moved for a short-time behind the restroom. Tevita Taufehema, who assisted with moving the trees that were retained and assisted with moving the roses, will make the benches. He will be working behind the restroom area with appropriate safety measures in place (use of chain saw and plainer). 

10. Water Reductions

Cal Water recently reported December water conservation data to the State Water Resources Control Board (Board). For the month of December, Bear Gulch District, which encompasses the Town of Atherton, reduced its water consumption by 42.4% when compared to December 2013. For this service area, the Board set a cumulative water reduction goal of 36%. So far, the Bear Gulch District has reduced its water use by 35.8% when compared to the same period in 2013.

11. Little League Fencing

Season to begin soon. Field fencing will be installed on Monday, February 1. 

12. Bike Sharrows

We have had a couple of complaints regarding the bicycle sharrows. Staff and the contractor are aware of the quality issues (over pour, thickness, etc.). The contractor has had issues with their thermoplastic equipment and they have purchased a new stencil to control overflow. They will be repairing those sharrows that do not meet the Town’s requirements. We will not be paying for corrections. The sharrows are standard size per the MUTCD. If you are aware of any particular area where there is excessive overflow or “blobbing” - let me know and I will pass it along to Public Works. We will be inspecting all locations prior to sign-off. 

City Manager Major Goods, Use or Service Agreements/Contract Awards as of January 29, 2016

As a reminder, the list below is provided as informational only. All items listed are authorized pursuant to the Town’s purchasing policy requirements and within the current year’s program budget(s). 

  • None
Special Event Permits Authorized as of January 29, 2016

This is a list of the upcoming Special Event Permits approved.
  • January 
    • Approved events for the Circus Club under their blanket permit for Annual Events and Activities:
      • April 23 - SPCA Fur Ball
      • May 21 - ECR Cancer Benefit
      • May 30 - Memorial Day BBQ
      • June 11 - Polo Match
      • June 18 - Polo Match
      • June 19 - Father’s Day BBQ
      • July 4 - July 4 BBQ
      • July 9 - Polo Match
      • July 16 - Polo Match
      • August 8-14 - Horse Show - Requires separate Permit
      • September 3 - Polo Match
      • September 5 - Labor Day BBQ
      • September 10 - Polo Match
      • October 27 - Halloween Party
    • January 21 - VPRIV Advertising - 8 am to 6 pm, 58 Winchester, Photo Shoot for Advertising

January 22, 2016 - City Council Report

The next meeting of the City Council is the Study Session of Feb 3 from 3 pm to 5 pm on the Climate Action Plan and EPC Work Plan. I will be in Palm Springs at the City Manager’s Department meeting that Wednesday through Friday. Lisa and Stephanie will be presenting the item for Council discussion. My direction to them has been as follows:
  • Present the Council with the full Climate Action Plan and EPC proposed Work Plan related thereto. 
  • Recommend that a discussion of the language/verbiage of the CAP and EPC Work Plan be discussed at the end of the program discussion to allow the Council to discuss the programs themselves without getting side-tracked by the language in the CAP.
  • Have the Council make the policy decision up front with respect to apples-to-apples data - i.e. should we use the same methodology as other communities so that we can compare our programs directly with them and the State or should we use Atherton-specific methodology that does not allow an apples-to-apples comparison
  • Provide the Council with the programs that staff recommends (no cost, low cost, already doing, etc.). as easy to do and continue to do.
  • Provide the Council with a summary of GHGs mandates that are met by those staff-recommended no cost, low cost, already doing programs and what the gap is, if any, needed to meet the State mandate. 
  • Provide the Council with an "a la carte" selection of other programs recommended by the EPC that are designed to reach and/or exceed the State mandate with voluntary/mandatory GHG #’s
  • Decide what additional programs, if any, and in what form (voluntary versus mandate) should be undertaken by the Town.
  • Discuss the language/verbiage of the CAP and EPC Work Plan and revise as deemed appropriate
  • Consider an additional Study Session Special Meeting in February, if necessary, to finalize (Feb 10 or Feb 24)
1. Sacred Heart Project on the Horizon

Sacred Heart Schools has a project on the horizon that would replace the Sigall Building; the existing Prep School classroom building located near the corner of Valparaiso and Elena; and the McGanney Gym located between Valparaiso and the Main Building. At present, they are planning to replace two buildings and swap uses. Staff is discussing what planning steps need to be taken with respect to the SHS Master Plan in late spring or early summer 2016. The item might be before the Planning Commission in early Fall 2016. 

2. Special Meeting of the Transportation Committee

The Special Meeting of the Transportation Committee on Feb 9 has been cancelled. Staff will advise when rescheduled. The meeting was scheduled to allow further discussion of the Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan; however, the consultant was unable to make that date. The next regular meeting is March 10. 

The issue of the Hoover pedestrian lights will be placed on the regular agenda for March 10. 

3. Atherton Fiber

Robert Hayes has been appointed as the CEO of Atherton Fiber. Staff has a meeting set for Feb 10 to discuss the Development Agreement with Atherton Fiber. 

4. Shelter Services Report - December 2015

5. Quiet Zone Status

The Agreement has been executed by R.L. Banks & Associates, Inc. and is being returned to the Town for a Notice to Proceed. Once executed, they will begin work on the project. Specific tasks include: 1) Inventory of the Fair Oaks Grade Crossing; 2) Assessment of the FRA QZ Calculator and Applicability; 3) Prepare Study Report and Notice of Intent and Notice Letters; 4) Respond to Comments after Issuance of Notice of Intent; 5) Assessment & Inventory of Watkins Grade Crossing; 6) Determination of Inclusion in Fair Oaks QZ and/or assess additions necessary; 7) If applicable, Study Report & Notices. Not to Exceed Fee of $12,350. 

Staff will provide written updates as the project moves along. 

6. Speed Monitor on James Road

We had a complaint about a speed monitor on James Road and the flashing strobe that warns drivers of excessive speed. As part of the response, we advised that the radar speed indicator sign functions as designed. The strobe feature (designed to get the attention of the speed violator) has a setting for the speed at which it activates to get the driver's attention. The setting for the monitor on James Road was set too low. Public Works has since raised the setting and it is fixed. The radar sign was placed in the location of the radar sign that had been there before (same pole) but was removed due to malfunction and inability to be repaired. The Police Department requested that a new sign be installed to replace the old one due to excessive speeders on that thoroughfare despite vehicle enforcement. 

7. Camino Al Lago & Park Lane

Staff received a complaint regarding the intersection of Camino Al Lago at Park Avenue - specifically the turning movements from Park Lane to Park Lane (no stop bar) where it intersects with Camino Al Lago. Staff and our traffic engineer investigated. Without conducting a detailed radar speed survey, or geometric measurements, staff found that travel speeds and sight distances were operating at acceptable levels.  The Police Department reviewed the Town’s collision database and found that between 01-01-2011 and 01-16-2016, there were zero (0) intersection collisions at the subject intersection. After reviewing and rejecting several traffic engineering options (stop sign, yield controls, removal of stop bar, etc.) staff will be adding additional warning signs on the existing stop signs. The MUTCD allows the use of alternative supplemental messages such as TRAFFIC FROM RIGHT DOES NOT STOP (W4-4aP) or ONCOMING TRAFFIC DOES NOT STOP (W4-4bP) to be used in combination with a STOP sign when engineering judgment indicates that conditions that are causing, or could cause, drivers to misinterpret the intersection as an all-way stop are present.  When used, installation of these supplemental messages is required to be mounted under the Stop sign. Staff believes these supplemental messages will help clarify the intersection’s right of way and operations for approaching motorists. 

City Manager Major Goods, Use or Service Agreements/Contract Awards as of January 22, 2016

As a reminder, the list below is provided as informational only. All items listed are authorized pursuant to the Town’s purchasing policy requirements and within the current year’s program budget(s). 

  • None

January 15, 2016 - City Council Report

1. Open Salaries

Local government has long dealt with open salary information. Linked here is an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal on open salaries in the private sector

2. The Brown Act - Court Action

We talk about how violations of the Brown Act rarely have repercussions or “make the news” - linked here is an article from Marin about how the Marin County Supervisors recently ran afoul of the Act and we slapped by a judge as a result. 

3. Manus/Salzman Event

Attached is a recent article from Gentry magazine. Staff found a reference to a Super Bowl Party at the Manus residence in Atherton - marketed as the “largest Super Bowl philanthropy party in the country.” The Police Department is contacting the property owner to determine if the event will trigger a Special Event Permit. There is a heightened level of security around the Super Bowl and associated high-profile events this year (local, state and federal). 

4. Quiet Zone Status

Staff has selected R.L. Banks and Associates, Inc. as the top consultant. We are finalizing an agreement. Work will begin next week once we give authorization to proceed. 

5. Marsh Road Channel Project

On Monday we received an email from the Water Resource Control Engineer at the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board advising that the 401 Certification for the Town’s project is being completed for review by “management.” The representative advised that they expect to have it signed off by Friday of this week (today) or Monday of next. 

As of now, I have not had any further update. 

Road Detours - I have been in contact with David Fleck regarding possible detours when the project begins. I asked if he had anyone in the neighborhood (Holbrook Lane) that might be interested in working with staff to develop an appropriate signage and detour plan (to include notification). I have not yet heard back. But, staff will mention the detour plans at the next Council meeting as part of the item. There are plans to allow 2-way traffic in 1 lane, using flaggers, as well as a full road closure when required. We anticipate that many days, the contractor will stay within the channel to place rebar and forms, thereby saving the cost of flaggers and placement/removal of k-rails. We will have an extensive public outreach program to encourage the use of alternate routes. 

6. Historic Designations - HPP

Susan Masetti has advised that the Carriage House/Water Tower National Registry application is “on the desk” at the State Registration Unit and that it may be set for hearing on April 18. 

7. Cameras at the Park

The cameras and equipment recently installed at the Park have been very successful. The system works well. We will be requesting a budget amendment at mid-year for additional cameras to address the parking lots and entry/exit to the Park. 

8. Planning Commission - January Meeting

The January meeting of the Planning Commission has been cancelled due to a lack of items. The next scheduled meeting is February 24. 

9. Why Clean Energy is now Expanding

10. PCE Meeting - January 28 

Peninsula Clean Energy has asked that an elected official be in attendance at the next Advisory Committee meeting on January 28. The Advisory Committee meets on the 4th Thursday of each month from 7 pm to 9 pm at 101 Twin Dolphin Drive, Redwood City. 

At the January 20 Council Meeting the Mayor will make Council appointments to the PCE. At this time, Council Member DeGolia serves as the primary and I serve as the alternate. As PCE takes its final form, it is recommended that the primary and alternate be members of the Council. If you have asked to be a part of the PCE, please hold January 28 on your calendar for possible attendance. 

11. Leaning Water Tower

As the Council is aware, we engaged a surveyor to assess the “lean” in the water tower at the Park. The investigation revealed that there is a slight lean (about 1/10th of 1%). Further monitoring will detail whether the lean is historic or active. It appears that most of the lean is in the building slightly “bulging,” not so much the foundation moving. After a few months of monitoring there does not appear to be any significant activity. All of the activity recorded is within the tolerances of the equipment used. We will monitory again every couple of months to assess. 

12. Water Conservation Program

Cal Water has extended their water-use efficiency evaluation program to commercial industrial, and institutional properties. The program is similar to the residential program. The California Conservation Corps will conduct a thorough evaluation of a customer’s property, including plumbing fixtures, industrial processes, and irrigation and landscape uses. Customers will be provided with a water-use report detailing recommendations on how the property can be made more efficient. 

13. Valparaiso “in pavement” crosswalk lights

We have been having maintenance issues with the in-pavement flashing lights for the Valparaiso crosswalks. The brand that the Town selected when installed are no longer made or maintained for parts. Numerous lights continue to fail. Staff is putting together a recommendation to the Transportation Committee for either replacement with new in-pavement flashers (continuing maintenance issue) or installation of some other device. Neighbors will be advised of the Town’s next steps in this regard and will have an opportunity to talk to the Transportation Committee about the item before they make a recommendation to the City Council for inclusion in the 2016/17 Budget. 

The side flashing lights activated by the pedestrian work fine. It is only the in-pavement flashers that have been failing. 

City Manager Major Goods, Use or Service Agreements/Contract Awards as of January 15, 2016

As a reminder, the list below is provided as informational only. All items listed are authorized pursuant to the Town’s purchasing policy requirements and within the current year’s program budget(s). 

  • DNV GL Energy Services (Climate Action Plan Consultant) - $10,785
  • R.L. Banks & Associates Inc. (Quiet Zone) - $12,350

January 8, 2016 - City Council Report

1. Chickens Ordinance - Public Hearing February 2016

The Planning Commission, at its December 2, 2015 meeting recommended the City Council adopt an ordinance to update the Town’s chicken keeping regulations.  During the Planning Commission’s consideration process, staff provided Town-wide mailing of this topic to all Atherton residents, posted the item on the Town’s Open Town Hall portal for feedback, provided updates through the Town’s e-notify and posted public notice of the topic in the local newspaper and town bulletin boards. 
Since the Planning Commission meeting, the Town has received several requests for additional information on this topic and for additional time to study the proposed regulations.  Staff will be conducting additional public outreach by providing residents with a summary of the recommended ordinance through the town’s e-notify and scheduling the item for consideration at the February 17, 2016 City Council meeting.

2. HP Park Revenue and Event Logs

Linked here is the December 2015 HPP Revenue Log and Event Log

3. Wireless Antenna Upgrade

The wireless antenna(s) at the corner of Alameda de las Pulgas and Atherton Avenue will be upgraded. Equipment will be removed from one pole and replaced on a second. All permits were obtained and a hearing, with notice to property owners, was conducted. No one attended or provided any feedback. All equipment will be screened and camouflaged. The new pole will not be a tree, but will be appropriately screened. 

4. Upcoming Transportation Committee Meeting

The next meeting of the Transportation Committee is Tuesday, January 12. The primary item of new business on their agenda is the Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan.

5. EPC Work Plan and CAP

My role as your City manager and the role of staff is to support and implement the policy initiatives of the Council that are directed and adopted by the Council as a body (typically via a City Council meeting). Our role is not to champion or defend the specific policy initiatives of any singular Council Member or Committee. 

My specific role is to facilitate a policy discussion in the hope of formulating a policy that most if not all of you support. As we move through the EPC Work Plan and the climate action plan directives, please remember, that staff will support and implement any policy direction the Council ultimately adopts and during the meeting staff will answer any questions posed by the Council that we are able to answer, but we are not the champions of any particular policy direction.  

With respect to the Work Plan, my recommendation, as I have mentioned to each of you individually, remains the same. Given the disparate opinions and level of passion associated with climate action programs and policies, the Council should review the EPC Work Plan in the context of and concurrently with a review and detailed policy discussion of the climate action plan. That discussion is something you have not had yet. Pulling up pieces of the environmental programs committee workplan out of context with the climate action plan could impact the successful discussion and implementation of both. 

Can the EPC host an Earth Day event?  Sure. Earth Day is an event that is consistent with the policy direction of the Council in the past. They should develop what they would like the event to look like, develop a budget, and a program. That should then return to the Council for approval of the event and the budget. In the past, the event has consisted of tree-planting, green bag giveaways, and other educational material designed to inform the community about energy savings programs and opportunities that exist today. 

But, if you want to do more than that, to include development of local programs and policies, or the resurrection of older programs and policies that have not yet been re-adopted by the Council – that, I suggest you wait until you review the full climate action plan and adopt a EPC work plan that is consistent with it.  

6. CCAC Outreach Committee

The CCAC Ad Hoc Outreach Committee met the week to discuss ways to enhance outreach for the February 22 Public Meeting on the Schematic Design. This is one of the last full-community outreach meetings in the design process. Once we move past Schematic Design, the project and its aesthetic are pretty much nailed down. 

Linked here is the brief agenda of that meeting. 

7. Animal Services Report - November 2015

8. GHG Article - Berkeley Study

Staff was recently contacted by a reporter regarding a recent UC Berkeley study on GHG emissions. The Study noted that Atherton has the highest carbon footprint of any city in the San Francisco Bay area at 86 tCO2e - nearly 3 times the carbon footprint of Stanford and over 2.5 times higher than Emeryville. 

The study uses household income as the key driver in calculating emissions. The researchers calculations were made regardless of where the emissions occurred. For example, if a computer was made in China but purchased by a household in Atherton, all emissions from the production of the computer were assigned to Atherton. Since Atherton has the highest median income of anywhere in the Bay Area, this is likely the key contributing cause. It is the opinion of our consultant that this “consumption based” study, unlike the geographically-based inventory the consultants created, is based substantially more on estimates.

We had the consultant look at how Atherton’s median household income compared to some of the other cities/towns with the highest per household emissions mentioned in the study. Atherton’s household income is significantly higher than the other affluent town’s in the Bay Area. However, the MT CO2e per household per dollar of income is actually lower in Atherton than in any of the other towns/cities included in the table.

Median Household Income
MT CO2e per Household
MT CO2e Per Household Per Dollar of Income
Portola valley
Los Altos
Moss Beach

Household income (and to a lesser extent average square footage and vehicle ownership of households) is a key driver in the calculations for most emissions categories (transportation, housing, goods, services). The only category where income is not a key driver is food (where the per household emissions for Atherton are very similar to other towns/cities in the Bay Area). 

Here is a link to the Study

City Manager Major Goods, Use or Service Agreements/Contract Awards as of January 8, 2016

As a reminder, the list below is provided as informational only. All items listed are authorized pursuant to the Town’s purchasing policy requirements and within the current year’s program budget(s). 

  • Reflex Engineering, Inc. - Class III Bike Route Project - $80,921.30
  • Columbia Electric, Inc. - Almendral HAWK Beacon Project - $148,414.20
  • Hatch Mott MacDonald - Middlefield Road/Oak Grove Complete Streets Improvement Project - $45,570.00