Council Goal Setting – Phase 2

Previously, the City Council set four major thematic goals for the coming two-year cycle. On April 18th, the Council ranked from among dozens of possible projects to fulfill those goals. City staff will further evaluate the feasibility and cost of the priority goals and return to Council for final approval before the budget is adopted in June. Here are some of the highly ranked projects organized by goal:

1. Protect Vulnerable Populations and Preserve Socioeconomic and Cultural Diversity

    • Study of registry, Sanctuary City, and Freedom City policies
    • Age-Friendly City initiatives (World Health Organization designation)
    • Homelessness and mental health services
    • Additional access to information and resources for immigrants
    • Initiatives for workers (local hire, wage theft)

2. Improve the Quantity, Diversity, and Affordability of Housing

    • Short-term residential rental regulations (Airbnb)
    • Request for proposals for development of downtown parking lot 12
    • Terra Bella area Visioning and Development Principles
    • Below Market Rate Ordinance update – Condo Mapping
    • Exploration of strategies to increase ownership

3. Strategies to Achieve Mobility, Connectivity, and Safety for People of All Ages

    • Comprehensive modal plan involving regional transit agencies and stakeholders.
    • An automated guideway connecting downtown to North Bayshore.
    • Exploration of a tax on employers to fund transportation improvements
    • Transit Center Master Plan
    • Bicycle corridor on Evelyn

4. Promote Environmental Sustainability with Measurable Outcomes

    • Reform the Environmental Sustainability Task Force
    • Explore new strategies for acquiring park land
    • Participate in South Bay Salt Ponds project with CA State Coastal Commission
    • North Bayshore Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Measures & Performance Measurements

Appointment of Rental Housing Committee Members

Also on April 18th, after a lengthy and contentious interview process lasting several months, the Council formally appointed the five members and one alternate to the new Rental Housing Committee, established by the Community Stabilization and Fair Rent Act (adopted as Measure V in November 2016). The Committee is charged with developing the regulatory framework for the rent stabilization program, appointing hearing officers, and adjudicating petitions by tenants and landlords.

In a surprise change, the Council decided by a 4-3 vote to appoint Human Relations Commissioner Evan Ortiz to the Committee instead of designating him as the alternate. Attorney Julian Pardo de Zela was instead appointed as the alternate. The remaining members of the Committee are former Mayor Tom Means, landlord Matthew Grunewald, property manager Vanessa Honey, and mechanical engineer Emily Ramos. Of the members, only Ortiz and Ramos are renters.

City Budget and Five-Year Capital Improvement Program

Council continues to craft the budget for the next fiscal year. In a special study session on Thursday, April 27th, City staff reported an estimated $18.9 million operating balance for Fiscal Year 2016-17, prior to $4 million contributions to City employee retirement and post-employment health benefits and $2.5 million to reserves. The remaining $12.4 million is recommended to fund limited-period expenditures, supplement reserves, and make additional contributions towards the City’s unfunded employee benefit liabilities. The Council largely approved the staff recommendations, the most significant of which is to allocate a one-time $10 million contribution to pay down the unfunded liabilities and use revenue generated from the Google Amphitheatre parking agreement to pay down an additional $10 million. The first public hearing of the budget is scheduled for June 13, and final adoption is scheduled for June 20.

On the same evening, the Council reviewed the Five-Year Capital Improvement Program. Again, the Council largely accepted the staff recommendations. Significant projects include the Rengstorff Aquatics Center design and construction, All-Inclusive Playground, Shoreline Boulevard Interim Bus Lane (a reversible bus-only/transit lane down the median of Shoreline Blvd), Shoreline Blvd at Highway 101 Pedestrian/Bicycle Overcrossing Construction, El Monte Corridor Study (for bicycle/pedestrian safety), and Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts Second Stage Addition (to allow concurrent use of the Main Stage and Second Stage). “Community Benefits” funding, a new source of money from development that precedes precise plans or receives exceptions to development standards, was also discussed by Council. Four projects received priority for Community Benefits funding: Rengstorff Grade Separation Environmental Clearance, Mayfield Tunnel (extending the San Antonio Caltrain Station tunnel across Central Expressway), Library Remodel, and Transit Center Master Plan Next Steps.

—Lucas Ramirez, Julie Lovins, Observers