As part of the redesign of the NOVA website, NOVA also explored a new website for NOVA’s Promatch program. (Promatch, a partnership between NOVA and the CA Employment Development Department, is a networking program that provides assistance to Silicon Valley’s unemployed professionals.) In response to this need, several Promatch customers took on the leadership role in redesigning this website in a way that would be tailored to the unique needs of the individuals that would be using the site. The website is now completed and exceeded NOVA’s expectations. To view it, visit www.promatch.org . The site includes information about the Promatch program and how to enroll, a calendar of events, resources, networking opportunities and inspirational testimonials from customers. The individuals who designed this site have also established a system whereby the site can be continually updated to remain relevant to its customers on an ongoing basis. This state-of-the-art website was also shared nationwide through the U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council’s weekly electronic newsletter.
Updates with NOVA’s New Veterans Program
Back in the fall, NOVA took over operating a veterans' employment program that had been previously contracted out. Also in the fall, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), in partnership with the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS), launched the Gold Card initiative, http://www.dol.gov/vets/goldcard.html , that will offer intensive employment services and up to six months follow-up services for veterans through the local one-stop career centers.
Over the past few months, NOVA has been working to establish an exemplary veterans program and is well on their way to accomplishing this in a relatively short period of time. NOVA staff has transitioned the individuals, who had been previously served through the former provider, to the CONNECT Job Seeker Center to begin to receive the portfolio of services that is available at the center. In addition, staff has attended trainings to better understand the unique challenges facing veterans as they transition from the military to the business world and effective strategies for making the transition successful. NOVA has also outreached to veterans and organizations that serve veterans, attended various community events and job fairs for veterans, and is collaborating with the local offices of the CA Employment Development Department and neighboring workforce areas that also provide services to veterans. And, finally, NOVA has created a new webpage on its website to provide better access to resources for veterans and the community, http://www.novaworks.org/JobSeekerServices/Veterans.aspx .
NOVA’s goal is to serve 105 participants with 50 percent of participants recently separated from the military, which NOVA expects to achieve and exceed as more veterans return home and as awareness of NOVA’s services grows.
National Employment Figures Released
The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics released the national employment figures for December and the unemployment rate declined to 8.5 percent, down from 8.6 percent in November with employment growing by 200,000 jobs across most sectors, 212,000 jobs in the private sector: transportation and warehousing added 50,000 jobs; retail added 28,000 jobs; manufacturing added 23,000 jobs; healthcare added 23,000 jobs; leisure and hospitality added 24,000 jobs; with construction, government and business and professional services changing little. To read more, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm
With the release of the latest employment figures, NOVA Director, Kris Stadelman, was interviewed by ABC-7 News reporter, Karina Rusk, for the evening telecast on January 6. Promatch customers were also interviewed, http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/south_bay&id=8493966.
Six New Study Issues from January 10 Public Hearing
Six new study issues were sponsored at the January 10 Study/Budget Issues Public Hearing. Assigned department, study issue topic, and sponsoring Councilmembers are noted below. Staff-prepared study issue papers on these topics will be included in Council’s January 27 study issues packet, and will be posted to the City’s website.
As a reminder, Council's last date to submit sponsored study issues (requires two sponsors) is January 13. Any sponsorship between now and then should be sent directly to the City Manager.
The City Clerk’s budget Election Services for the FY 2011/12 cycle was $ 469,487. Billing for services provided by the County Registrar of Voters for the November 8, 2011 election for four Council seats and two ballot measures totaled $340,830. Based on this significant difference, the City Clerk’s office has reduced the budget request for Election Services for FY 2013/14 to $381,790, projecting a two-year reduction of about $87,000.
2012 Starts Off on Fire
On January 1, at 11:36 a.m., Department of Public Safety units responded to Tenaka Place on a report of an apartment fire. Upon arrival, smoke was emanating from the apartment, the windows were blackened, and there was water flowing from the apartment into the carport. Crews entered the apartment and discovered a fire in the bathroom. The fire was extinguished, and crews pulled sheetrock to ensure the fire did not spread into the common attic. During the fire, the toilet broke apart from the heat, causing the water flow. The involved apartment suffered fire damage to the bathroom and heavy smoke damage throughout; the apartment below suffered water damage from the broken toilet above. Both apartments were unoccupied, and there were no injuries.
A total of 23 personnel were involved in the firefighting, salvage, and overhaul efforts. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Fatal Hit and Run
On January 5, at approximately 6:51 a.m., a fatal hit and run accident occurred involving a motorist and pedestrian. In this occurrence, the pedestrian was walking southbound in the crosswalk at Sequoia and Reed Avenue. The unknown driver of a dark colored SUV was making a left turn from northbound Sequoia onto westbound Reed and struck the pedestrian in the crosswalk. The driver of the vehicle did not stop (felony hit and run) and continued westbound on Reed Avenue.
Upon arrival of emergency personnel, it was determined the patient had major injuries and was not breathing. CPR was initiated and the patient was transported to Valley Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased. The driver of the fatal accident has not been located. Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety is asking the public for help to locate a witness or someone who may have information in regard to this tragic accident.
Avoid the 13 DUI Checkpoint
In December of 2011, Sunnyvale DPS was awarded a $32,000 Mini-DUI Grant from the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) State Office. This grant will allow Sunnyvale DPS to participate in four separate DUI checkpoints throughout the 2011/2012 year. DPS wanted the first DUI checkpoint to be conducted during the Holiday "Avoid the 13" campaign. The Sunnyvale Traffic Safety Unit made this possible by organizing and conducting a DUI checkpoint on December 29 from 9:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. the following morning. This checkpoint took place on Mathilda Avenue, between Maude and San Aleso and consisted of Public Safety Officers, Nuisance Vehicle Inspectors, and Cadets. DPS officers also received the assistance from their volunteers, which included Explorers from Post 417.
The purpose of the DUI checkpoint is to educate and bring awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving. At this checkpoint, hundreds of people were contacted and approximately 100 drivers were randomly screened to determine if they possessed valid California Driver’s Licenses and to check their alcohol sobriety. This resulted in the following:
During the Avoid the 13 campaign Sunnyvale Officers recorded a total of 20 arrests for DUI.
Sunnyvale Canine Finds Armed Suspect
On January 5, at approximately 1:30 a.m., the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office requested the assistance of Sunnyvale DPS Officer Silas Mutz and his canine partner, Zac. A Sheriff's deputy had stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation. One of the passengers ran from the vehicle into an apartment complex. The other occupants of the vehicle said the person who ran was armed with a handgun. PSO Mutz and four other officers responded to assist the Sheriff’s Office in searching for the suspect. At 5:00 a.m., K9 Zac found the subject hiding in a shed in the apartment complex. The subject was arrested and booked on various charges. The weapon is still outstanding.
$6,000 Buys Facelifts for Two Neglected Homes
Since the mid-1990's, the property owner of homes on Balsam Avenue and Borregas Avenue has been negligent in conducting regular landscape maintenance at both properties and securing them against entry by homeless persons. Several years ago, both single-family homes were deemed uninhabitable by the Chief Building Official due to housing code violations. Neighborhood Preservation (NP) regularly monitors both properties and sends compliance notices to the property owner when violations occur. The owner occasionally makes marginal improvements, but only after several warnings or citations are issued.
In December 2011, NP hired an abatement contractor to significantly clean up both properties because the owner failed to correct all of the violations by the given deadlines. The contractor trimmed all of the overgrown trees and bushes and removed weeds, dead vegetation, and junk and debris from the front, side, and rear yards. Small homeless encampments were also removed from the yards of both properties. All of the windows were boarded up with weatherproofed wood cut to match the frames and painted to match the house colors. The front and side doors and gates were secured to prevent illegal entry by homeless persons. Furthermore, the contractor removed several hundred square feet of carpeting covering the entire rear and side years at the Borregas Avenue property and completely removed the front door awning because of structural deficiencies. The property owner will be charged the full cost of the abatements totaling over $6,000.
Streetlight Wire Thefts
As of this writing, over 16,000 feet of copper wire has been stolen, putting at least 57 lights out of operation until new wire can be replaced. Costs are running into several thousand dollars just to purchase new wire, and then the necessary staff hours spent pulling the new wire into existing conduits. In some locations, where the conduit is old, restoration is further delayed by the need to lay new conduit.The City has been struck by streetlight wiring thieves that began mid-December. We have experienced isolated cases in the past, however, not as serious or to the degree as now. The current case of thefts concentrates on highway frontage locations and industrial neighborhoods. Thieves avoid residential areas which allow stolen wire to go unnoticed.
Street Operations staff has reported all thefts to Public Safety, and DPS is investigating and helping to monitor potential sites for suspicious activity. DPS reported that one subject has been apprehended. In some cases, wire was cut yet not removed, suggesting that the thief may have been interrupted and forced to flee. Unfortunately, cut wire has to then be removed by staff and replaced with new wire to reach the necessary connection points. Any lights not working should be reported to Field Services at (408) 730-7510. A streetlight out does not necessarily mean that the copper wire was stolen.
Staff is evaluating options to make the theft of copper lighting wire less vulnerable. Some deterrents have already been installed to hopefully make streetlight wire theft not quite so appealing to thieves.
New Telephone Number for Sunnyvale Tennis Center
Beginning January 1, tennis players will need to call a new telephone number for reservations and information at the City’s Sunnyvale Tennis Center. Staff will be available by phone and on-site seven days per week from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. to provide assistance. Please contact the center Pro Shop at (408) 735-7285 to schedule a court, book an event, or to receive information on tennis instruction.
Home Buyer Workshop on January 19
Staff will hold a workshop for prospective first-time home buyers on Thursday, January 19 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers, Sunnyvale City Hall, 456 W. Olive Avenue. For more Info/RSVP to the Housing Division at Housing@ci.sunnyvale.ca.us or (408) 730-7250.
Staff will provide an overview of home buyer assistance programs available to the community, including Below Market Rate Housing, and will explain how interested buyers can qualify and apply for City programs and others available to home buyers. Individuals planning to attend are asked to RSVP. This workshop is open to the public.
Energy Upgrade Workshop in Sunnyvale on January 19
Make a New Year's resolution to reduce your carbon footprint and save money in 2012 by doing an "energy upgrade" on your home! Staff of the Energy Upgrade California and Sunnyvale Home Improvement programs will provide a free public seminar in Sunnyvale on January 19, 7 p.m. at the Community Center (Neighborhood Room), 550 E. Remington Drive, to explain the rebates currently available to local single-family homeowners to reduce home energy and water use, make home interiors more comfortable, and lower utility bills.
The County is offering rebates of up to $800 on home energy assessments through March 2012, and rebates of up to $6,000 for the upgrades and retrofits are available from Energy Upgrade California. Testimonials from local homeowners who have completed energy upgrades are online at: www.youtube.com/sccenergyupgrades .
The Housing Division offers additional assistance for lower-income Sunnyvale homeowners: the Energy Efficiency Matching Grant of up to $5,000 for energy assessments and upgrades, which can be combined with the other available incentives. Contact Rich Gutierrez, Housing Rehabilitation Specialist, at (408) 730-7459 for more information, or attend the Sunnyvale workshop on January 19.
Mobile Home Park Conversion Update Public Hearings
Proposed amendments to the Mobile Home Park Conversion Ordinance were discussed at the Housing and Human Services Commission meeting on January 11. The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on January 23 to receive public comments on the proposed changes to the Zoning Code related to the relocation assistance requirements imposed on park owners proposing to close or convert a mobile home park. Following the public hearing, the Planning Commission will make a formal recommendation to Council which will be incorporated into the Report to Council being presented to City Council on February 28.
Lehigh Permanente Quarry Reclamation Plan Amendment EIR
On January 3, Planning staff received a Notice of Preparation (NOP) from the County of Santa Clara for a new Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared to address potential impacts from proposed amendments to the existing Reclamation Permit for the quarry in the hills above Cupertino. Staff will review the EIR and respond to the NOP by mid-February to ensure Sunnyvale’s concerns are considered. The permitting requirements and history for the quarry are complicated, as are the many layers of regulation by federal, state and local agencies.
In general, the quarry proposes to amend the existing reclamation plan, which the County approved in March 1985 and would result in the reclamation of an approximately 1,238.7-acre area (the Project Area) within the Applicant’s overall 3,510-acre ownership in an unincorporated area of Santa Clara County.
146 S. Murphy – Pure Lounge
This is the site (originally a movie theater) that was formerly the Abyss nightclub, closed down by the City. On August 23, 2011, the Planning Commission approved a Special Development Permit for a restaurant with full liquor bar and evening entertainment. The project applicant has been working on the interior tenant improvements and the repair of the roof parapet. The applicant has also been working with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to finalize the security plan for the site. The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) will be issuing a license on January 12 for a Type 47 (on-Sale Eating Establishment), which is consistent with the Conditions of Approval for the Special Development Permit.
The applicant is anticipating a soft opening on the weekend of January 13, pending final inspection of the current building permits for the interior tenant improvements and parapet and DPS inspection.
Apple is Expanding to Sunnyvale
Apple has leased several offices throughout Sunnyvale for various business services (i.e. finance functions, human resources, etc.). Building Division staff has met with Apple employees and contractors on several occasions to discuss the building permit review process and various code requirements. The first building permit plan review for a $4.4 million tenant improvement for the 56,000 square foot building at 1070 E. Arques Avenue was reviewed and issued over the counter at the One-Stop Permit Center.
Mid-Year Construction Activity Update
The Building Safety Division has been very busy this year due to the high level of construction activity. The following table summarizes the activity with a comparison of last year:
Current Fiscal Year
Last Fiscal Year
Plan Checks Reviewed
Building Permit Revenue
* Projected revenue for the entire fiscal year was $6.9 million
The current fiscal year is shaping up to be one of the busiest in the history and potentially a record breaking year for the Building Division. The types of construction projects vary widely from new residential (ownership and rental), office, medical office, to major tenant improvements in existing office buildings. Construction activity is anticipated to remain at this high level, or even increase for the remainder of the fiscal year as several major projects are in plan review or the early stages of construction.
Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) Data for 2011 Shows Improvement from Previous Year
Sewer Program staff annually analyze Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) data and the 2011 numbers show an improvement from 2010. In 2010, staff reported 16 SSOs in the City’s sewer mains. In 2011, that number only dropped to 15. However, a closer look at the data shows improvement in the operation of the program.
The total volume released from the sewer system via an SSO in the calendar year 2010 was 34,964 gallons. In 2011, that number dropped to 9,595 gallons, a drop of almost 73 percent. In addition, though staff recovered 95 percent of the volume spilled in 2010, that number went up to 100 percent last year.
As preventive maintenance activities such as zone flushing continue, the expectation is that both the number and volume of SSOs will continue to decline.
Immediate Legislation Sought to Postpone RDA Dissolution
The League of California Cities (League) and the California Redevelopment Association (CRA) are working aggressively on legislation to temporarily postpone the formal redevelopment dissolution process currently scheduled to take place on February 1, 2012. An extension to the dissolution date is the immediate priority. If the dissolution process starts it will be nearly impossible to stop. It is expected that emergency legislation authored by Senator Alex Padilla (SB 689) will be introduced very soon with the purpose of postponing of the dissolution until April 15, 2012. The League and CRA are encouraging local government officials to talk to legislators about the need for an extension to the deadline and are focused on the potential direct job loss that could occur as a result of the dissolution of redevelopment agencies.
Follow-up on List of Bills Inquiry
In response to Councilmember Meyering's inquiry on the payment of $170,568 to the California Bank of Commerce, this represents a transfer of a portion of contract retention proceeds into escrow, per the terms of the Escrow Agreement for Security Deposits In Lieu of Retention established with the construction company (RGW Construction) and the bank for the Mathilda Bridge Project. As construction proceeds and progress payments are made to RGW, a corresponding retention amount (in this case the $170,568) is held in escrow until the project is completed.
Budget Manager Elected to the CSMFO Board of Directors
Drew Corbett, Budget Manager, was recently elected to the Board of Directors for the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSMFO) for a three-year term starting in January 2012. CSMFO board members are very involved in the key fiscal issues facing cities in the State of California.
Drew has spent the last three years serving on CSMFO's Career Development Committee, coordinating introductory and intermediate governmental accounting training courses throughout the state. CSMFO promotes excellence in financial management through innovation, continuing education and the professional development of their members.
Insurance Recovery for HazMat Response
A quick response by staff allowed the City to receive full cost recovery for the City’s expense in cleaning up a recent hazardous material spill. On August 1, 2011, a tractor/trailer hit the center median of North Mathilda Avenue near Highway 101, causing a diesel fuel spill. The Department of Public Safety responded with Engine 2, Engine 5 and the HazMat/Rescue truck. Department of Public Works staff also responded to the incident.
Finance worked with all departments involved in the cleanup effort to determine the full cost accounting of the incident and coordinated with the Risk Management Division to open an insurance claim for the City's incurred costs of $24,511.86. These costs included staff time, materials and contracted hazardous material transportation services. Risk Management filed a claim with the truck owner’s insurance company, and on January 9 the City received a check for the full amount of the costs.
The Library Is the Place to Be!
On Tuesday, January 3, after being closed for four days, 3,910 customers visited the library, about double an average day and a new record for visitors on any previous day in the Library’s history. On the same day, 17,417 items circulated, 2.4 times more than the daily average number of items that circulated in December.
Library Partnering with NASA to Promote Science Education to Girls
Sunnyvale Public Library is honored to be participating in a NASA pilot project, Astro4Girls and Their Families. Sunnyvale Library is one of nine libraries across that country that was invited to partner with NASA educational programs to empower women’s success, especially in science, starting in childhood. The Library will work with a NASA partner to introduce and host events on astronomy and women in science at the Library, during Women’s History Month, March 2012. The goal of the programs is to inspire girls and their families to discover the universe for themselves. Stay tuned for dates of upcoming science activities!
Sunnyvale Public Art Update
At the December Arts Commission meeting, staff formally announced completion of two Art in Private Development projects. Because Sunnyvale requires developers to install public art as part of major building projects, the stream of new artwork is evidence that development is picking up pace.
The first, at Pacific Design Group’s retail center along El Camino Real, consists of two large, colorful, food-inspired artworks by Petaluma artist Robert Ellison. The 3-D sculpture in the restaurants’ outdoor seating area features food shapes, including a giant fork, and a wall sculpture on the facade of the Safeway building.
The second project, installed at Peery-Arrillaga’s office buildings at 975 & 995 Benecia Avenue, is an abstract sculpture designed and fabricated by East Bay sculptor Dan Winterich. The stainless steel piece’s shape subtly incorporates the curve of the iconic satellite dishes at nearby Onizuka Air Force Station and memorializes Challenger Astronaut Ellison Onizuka, for whom the base was named.
In addition to the two recently completed projects, two more projects are nearing completion and an additional 11 projects are in varying stages of development, Art Commission approval, or fabrication. Staff estimates that Sunnyvale residents and visitors will have six or more new public art pieces to admire by the close of 2012.