May 15, 2014

To My Fellow Arcadians:

I have been very busy representing you since I was sworn in on April 15, 2014. An update to my letter of April 10, 2014, is as follows:

  1. Transparency on Employee Compensation – Our City is presently working on an improved City website that I’m told will make it easier to see what we pay our City employees.
  2. Additional Code Enforcement – We are putting funds in the 2014/2015 budget to hire another Code Officer. I am in favor of hiring a fourth Code Officer in the 2015/2016 budget.
  3. Ambulance Drivers – I had a private meeting with our Fire Chief Kurt Norwood and asked if he would evaluate hiring ambulance drivers (at a fraction of the cost of a Firefighter/Paramedic) and free up paramedics to cut down on overtime. My instincts tell me that this will save us money.
  4. Improve South Baldwin and Live Oak Shopping Areas – The City will be doing cosmetic improvements in these two areas. I have identified two developers that would like to put a new shopping center on the northwest corner of Santa Anita and Live Oak. The Council approved on May 6, 2014, allowing residential on the Live Oak/Las Tunas “island” and a development of condos is being evaluated by the City Development Office.
  5. Wilderness Park – I am the Council representative to the Parks and Recreation Commission. I will work to make Wilderness Park the full City asset it is capable of being.
  6. Freeway Sound Walls – The missing sound walls are about two years from construction.
  7. Protect the Sycamore Tree – I plan to introduce this discussion at the City Council meeting on June 3, 2014.
  8. CalPERS Unfunded Liability – Our employees (who are in CalPERS) do not appear to be as concerned about this as I was. I don’t ever want to let our employees down on what they earned and expect and will continue to evaluate ways to raise our funding percentage.
  9. Business Friendly – I have been working on getting new businesses to relocate to Arcadia. When appropriate, I will push to apply for awards.
  10. Business District Improvments – I will be meeting with leaders in both business districts.
  11. On and Off-Ramp Cleanup – I have met with Tom Tait, our Public Works Services Director. The cost he quoted seems unreasonably high. This project may take some time, but it is something that I think makes sense and would be worth it.
  12. Sunset/Michillinda Landscaping – Per my meeting with Dominic Lazzaretto (our City Manager) and Tom Tait, this is in the queue to be done.
  13. Businessman’s Problem Solver – I am told that we have a Businessman’s Problem Solver currently. I believe this position needs to be developed.
  14. Single-Use Plastic Bags – I will be introducing this discussion at the May 20, 2014, City Council meeting.
  15. Replacing Grass Parkways – I had this discussion with our City Manager. I think a more palatable start would be the parkways south of the freeway and replacing the grass with decomposed granite. This would save on weekly maintenance (forever) which we pay for and the weekly watering when water is becoming a more and more valuable and expensive resource.
  16. Soccer Tournaments – I have discussed these ideas with our City Manager.
  17. City Walk Loops – I have discussed this idea with our City Manager.

We have been discussing the City budget for the 2014/2015 budget year. I have been asking appropriate questions, always remembering that we need to be fiscally conservative with our tax dollars.

It is a pleasure to work on your behalf.

Tom Beck