NOVA

NOVA Launches Digital Literacy Campaign

Digital literacy — the ability to understand digital technologies and know how to apply them — is a growing concern particularly here in Silicon Valley where the success of businesses and this economy is dependent on a highly skilled workforce. To gain access to the growing and high wage technology sector, workers must possess foundational digital skills and be able to build on these skills in order to secure jobs and contribute to their success and the success of this community. This is important for youth preparing for future careers, disadvantaged workers who are seeking to gain entree and advancement leading to self-sufficient employment and professionals needing to transfer to a growing field from now obsolete industries. And it is not just the traditional technology industries that require these skills. All growing industries today require a technically proficient workforce.

On September 26, the NOVA Workforce Board adopted an Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) digital literacy resolution and committed to promote: 1) access to information and communication technologies by workers regardless of income or advantage; 2) opportunities for students and workers to acquire ICT digital literacy skills in order to benefit academically and economically; and 3) the development of training programs that incorporate ICT digital literacy training as part of training providers’ portfolio of services. The Board has also asked the Governor to adopt a digital literacy policy for the state. NOVA is now launching a digital literacy campaign as part of a larger ICT Career Ladder initiative, known as TechLadder.

To obtain more information about this campaign and to review a copy of the NOVA Board’s resolution, visit: NovaWorks.org/SpecialProjects/TechLadder.aspx.

OFFICE OF THE CITY MANAGER

Candidate Intention Statements

Candidate Intention Statements for the November 5, 2013 election are now posted on NetFile, the City’s e-filing system for campaign statements. NetFile can be accessed from any City Clerk’s Web page, or by visiting: Elections.inSunnyvale.com.

Candidate Intention Statements can be accessed directly at: http://nf4.netfile.com/pub2/Default.aspx?aid=COS  .

Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters’ SCCVOTE App

The Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters’ Office has launched SCCVOTE, a free mobile app for iPhone®, iPad® and Android™ mobile devices.  The SCCVOTE app offers features such as voter registration information, sample ballot pamphlet, vote by mail ballot tracking and the location of assigned polling place (with driving directions). The app is free to download from the App StoreSM and Google Play™. Additional information is available on the County’s website at:
http://www.sccgov.org/sites/rov/Voter%20Education/Pages/Mobile-Apps.aspx

USPTO Silicon Valley Regional Office Update

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officials have confirmed they are very close to announcing the name of the Regional Director for the Silicon Valley office. The local General Services Administration has provided the USPTO selection team with city-by-city comparison data for consideration in determining the delineated area within Silicon Valley that will be the focus of a process to solicit bids for potential office space.  A decision on the delineated area is expected within the next month. City staff is working on a letter from the Mayor to the USPTO to request more information on the city-by-city comparison data that was considered. 

They Really, Really Like Us

The City of Sunnyvale has had a Facebook page since mid-2010, but the social media tool was not heavily used for digital communications until earlier this year. When Facebook reinvented their pages to be more visual and added event scheduling capabilities, the City received an exponential bump in “Likes,” or followers, to our Facebook page by embracing this more image-driven way to communicate.

At the time this update was written, our page had 1,155 Likes and a weekly reach of 52,566 people who viewed, shared or interacted with our content in some way. This exceeds the content engagement of all other cities in the South Bay and about 87 percent of those people state they either live or work in Sunnyvale. But it’s the content that the City staff and residents have been providing that has made it so successful.

Outreach for the Stevens Creek Trail Citizen Advisory Workgroup resulted in five applicants directly attributing our Facebook posting for their application. Response to the posting about Public Safety rescuing an adventurous toddler went viral and was viewed by hundreds of thousands of Facebook users within the first week it was posted. During the week of October 8, we had posted traffic alerts about the Mathilda Avenue resurfacing project. At the completion, we posted photos from the Public Works crew, which were viewed by more than 5,500 people over the following weekend and received a lot of positive feedback.

While some Facebook users make comments or communicate with the City, others use our page to share information with one another. Pictures from the two-alarm fire on Lakehaven received a post from a citizen asking why the firefighters were kneeling down with the hose and another user responded correctly with the explanation. One Facebook user asked if the City had any programs for the victims and how she could help, and another user responded with some additional resources provided by the American Red Cross for fire victims.

We hope that City staff will continue to use this communication channel to help inform, educate and interact with Facebook users who live, work and play in Sunnyvale. To submit new content to the page, email Communications@ci.sunnyvale.ca.usor to comment on content that is already posted, go to Facebook.inSunnyvale.com and Like us.

Sunnyvale Commercial Vacancy Rates on a Downward Trend

Sparked by planned commercial expansions, Sunnyvale’s office and warehouse vacancy rates fell by two to three full percentage points during the third quarter of 2012. This is one of the lowest office vacancy rates reported in more than two years. Office vacancy rates have now returned to pre-recession levels.  Sunnyvale’s office vacancy rate was once the highest in Silicon Valley (about 42 percent in 2009) and now it is one of the lowest. 

Below is a chart showing the vacancy rates for 2012.  Lab126’s deal for 582,000 square feet in Moffett Towers was a major contributor to the office vacancy decrease. 

First Quarter 2012 Office R&D Industrial Warehouse
         
Sunnyvale 10.52% 10.42% 5.23% 3.66%
Mountain View 4.87% 6.76% 2.27% 0.00%
Santa Clara 12.94% 19.74% 4.55% 12.51%
San Jose 15.45% 18.45% 6.27% 9.74%
         
Second Quarter        
Sunnyvale 10.44% 9.73% 4.78% 8.50%
Mountain View 6.54% 5.29% 2.63% 0.00%
Santa Clara 15.56% 18.52% 4.08% 12.29%
San Jose 15.55% 18.22% 6.37% 10.76%
         
Third Quarter        
Sunnyvale 7.00% 9.41% 7.32% 1.36%
Mountain View 4.50% 8.87% 3.07% 2.10%
Santa Clara 13.98% 17.88% 4.10% 5.51%
San Jose 15.69% 17.67% 6.21% 10.09%
**Source Cornish & Carey Commercial Newmark Knight Frank

PUBLIC SAFETY

The Ghost with Sunnyvale PAL boxing clubSix-Time World Boxing Champ Visits Sunnyvale PAL Boxing Club

On Monday, October 1, Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, the current six- time world boxing champion, came to the Sunnyvale Police Activities League (PAL) boxing gym to film a music video about perseverance through the trials and tribulations that one may come across in life. The underlying story of the song highlights Guerrero’s wife Casey’s fight with leukemia. Now four years since she was diagnosed, she has been in remission for two years. With the video, they hope to bring awareness of the need for bone marrow donors for leukemia patients at BeTheMatch.com .

Guerrero posed for many photos with all of those present and gave words of encouragement.  He talked about the “3 Ds” of a champion: “Dedication, Discipline and Desire,” which are the cornerstones of the PAL boxing philosophy.   Guerrero explained to those present that if you apply the “3 Ds” in their own lives they could become a champion in the ring and in life.

For more information email info@sunnyvalepal.com




Public Safety Speaks Out Against Cyber Bullying on ABC 7 NewsLt. Hern and PSO Lawrence on ABC 7

On Wednesday October 3, Public Safety Officer Holly Lawrence and Lieutenant Tracy Hern took part in an episode of “Beyond the Headlines” with ABC 7 news anchor Cheryl Jennings.  ABC 7’s Emmy award-winning public affairs show, “Beyond the Headlines,” provides in-depth coverage of the topics and issues facing the people of the Bay Area.  Throughout the year, “Beyond the Headlines” airs half-hour specials on issues ranging from the affordable housing crisis to obesity.

This Cyber Bullying prevention program developed by DPS in cooperation with Yahoo! has been presented to law enforcement agencies throughout California as well as to State and Federal officials.  During the interview, which aired on Sunday October 7, the topics of “sexting,” how to prevent Cyber Bullying, and what to do if you are being bullied, were covered.  Officer Lawrence provided tips for parents on dealing with their children while Lieutenant Hern spoke directly to the children about how to avoid becoming a victim.

For more information about Cyber Bullying prevention or what you can do to help, please contact the Crime Prevention Unit at (408)730-7154.

Public Safety Utilizing New Digital Evidence System

Public Safety has purchased and implemented a new digital evidence system from DataWorks Plus for storage of photographs, audio files and video recordings.  This software suite provides new tools for Public Safety Officers who serve in the capacity of Crime Scene Investigators to analyze and work with digital photos taken from crime scenes.  Officers will now be able to quickly upload audio and video files from interviews making them more easily retrieved reducing evidence requests. 

The new system provides a significant level of security that ensures only those needing access can obtain access but at the same time reducing significant workload for the purpose of officer review when needed.   DataWorks Plus has the capability of allowing the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office controlled access to reduce reproduction demands on Public Safety.  The Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office is also a DataWorks Plus customer, which will help facilitate this capability.  Public Safety will be working with DataWorks Plus and the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office in the near future to see how both agencies can benefit from this common vendor.

Bank Robber in Custody

On September 5, a lone male suspect entered the U.S. Bank on Hollenbeck Avenue and handed a bank employee a note informing her that he was robbing the bank.  While the employee read the note, the suspect showed the pistol grip of a handgun in his waistband.  The employee complied with the suspect’s demands, gave him the money and the suspect fled out of the bank.  Patrol officers responded to the bank to take the report, interview witnesses and collect evidence.  DPS Crime Scene Investigators collected the video from the bank as well as what appeared to be a fingerprint left by the suspect on the counter.

DPS detectives followed up the investigation by re-interviewing the employees, reviewing the video from the bank and requesting the fingerprint to be processed through the various data bases available to law enforcement.  The fingerprint came back to a known criminal by the name of Adam Kiedrowski whose last known address was in Lodi, California.  A photograph of the suspect was obtained from one of his previous arrests and it closely resembled the suspect depicted in the bank video.  It was also noted during one of the employee interviews that the suspect was in the bank the week before and had introduced himself to an employee as “Adam.”

With this information, DPS detectives obtained an arrest warrant and started the search for the suspect.  On September 25, the suspect was located at a motel by DPS detectives in San Jose and taken into custody with the assistance of officers from the San Jose Police Department.  The suspect subsequently admitted to committing the robbery in Sunnyvale as well as another robbery at a U.S. Bank in San Jose in late August.

Burglary Suspects Arrested in Stolen Vehicle

On the morning of October 11, a vehicle was stolen from the 400 block of E. Maude. The victim had left his vehicle unoccupied and running in his driveway to warm up the vehicle.  Several hours later, an auto burglary occurred in the 1100 block of E. Arques. Witnesses provided a description of the suspect vehicle and it matched the previously reported stolen vehicle.  An iPhone was among the items stolen during the auto burglary. 

Public Safety Officers developed information through investigative efforts and identified two possible suspects in the area of San Aleso and Mathilda.  As officers attempted to contact the suspects, they entered a third vehicle with paper license plates and fled the area.  Officers continued tracking the suspects and located them in the area of San Juan Drive where they were taken into custody.  The vehicle stolen from E. Maude and the iPhone taken in the automobile burglary on E. Arques were later recovered. 

These two incidents highlight the importance of safeguarding property and not allowing an opportunity to those involved in criminal activity.  As a reminder, never leave your vehicle running and unattended and do not leave items of value inside a vehicle unless they can be locked inside a secure compartment. 

Remember to call (408) 730-7181 to report non-emergency situations and always call 9-1-1 to report emergencies.

Regular Sign Enforcement Promotes an Attractive and Safe Community

Sunnyvale is very fortunate to have a strong and vibrant business community. These businesses strive to promote their goods and services to the public in all types of effective and creative ways. Sunnyvale’s business community is very dynamic; owners and operators change frequently. For this reason, Neighborhood Preservation (NP) staff regularly conducts education and enforcement to ensure that temporary signs are in compliance with Municipal Code requirements. They often meet with business owners and operators in person to explain the sign code, answer questions, and request voluntary compliance. The vast majority of businesses comply quickly by either removing the sign or obtaining a permit. In Fiscal Year 2011/12, NP opened 546 sign cases, of which, 98 percent were initiated by staff. 

Permits for most temporary signs (which are generally free) are required because they regulate the size, location, duration, and number of signs. Temporary signs, with a few exceptions, are not allowed to be located beyond the property line of the associated business, may not be located within the public right-of-way or obstruct the visibility of vehicle or pedestrian traffic in a corner vision triangle, and must be secured against a structure. Sunnyvale is unique in that enforcement of the temporary sign code is a routine practice throughout the city. Regular sign enforcement is a critical element in maintaining an attractive community, particularly along high-traffic roads, and promoting safe paths of travel for pedestrians and vehicles alike.

PUBLIC WORKS

Update on Mary Avenue Street Space Allocation Study

Staff and the project consultant are currently conducting traffic simulation modeling for the Mary Avenue Street Space Allocation Study.  This will provide a mathematical and visual analysis of the effects of eliminating one lane in each direction of Mary Avenue from El Camino Real to Evelyn Avenue, which is one of the alternatives being studied.  Initial intersection-specific analysis showed that this alternative may be feasible without causing significant congestion.  However, it was deemed advisable to conduct a more detailed analysis to study the level of queuing at merge points and the impact on corridor travel speeds/times.  Staff is currently reviewing an initial work product and anticipates additional public outreach and a Council study session to present the outcome of the analysis.  Staff anticipates that outreach will be concluded by February 2013, and a Report to Council will be presented by May.

Public Works Construction Projects Activity:  Four-Month Period

The Engineering Division is pleased to announce that in a four-month period, nine Capital Improvement Projects have gone to construction stage totaling approximately $13 million dollars. Two projects are in construction, six in award and contract execution stage and one will open bids by end of October.

Projects in Construction:

Street Resurfacing – Rehabilitation of City street pavements at Evelyn Avenue between Sunnyvale Avenue and Reed Avenue; Hollenbeck Avenue between Fremont Avenue and El Camino Real; Maria Lane between El Camino Real and Wolfe Road; and Mathilda Avenue between California Avenue and Washington Avenue.

Manhole Rehabilitation – Replacing and Rehabilitating Sewer Manholes Project at 73 various locations in the City.

Awarded Projects (construction commencing soon):

Streetscape Improvement Project – Pedestrian, bicycle and lighting improvements on Morse Avenue between JWC Greenbelt and Tasman Drive and on Java Drive between Tasman Avenue and Crossman Avenue. This project will add approximately 600 linear feet (LF) of sidewalk, curb and gutter along with miscellaneous lane, electrical and irrigation improvements. 

Safe Routes to School – Residential and School Area Sidewalks Project will enhance pedestrian safety and access by adding approximately 2,400 LF of sidewalk, curb and gutter at miscellaneous locations; widening sidewalks; adding in-road warning light crossing systems with flashing beacons at five locations; and replacing pedestrian countdown signal heads at various locations. 

Wright Ave Water Plant Reconstruction – Project provides for mechanical, electrical and access improvements at the Water Plant.

Sidewalk Replacement Project replaces deficient sidewalks, curbs and gutters at 350 locations in the City.

Caribbean Drive Lighting Conduit Replacement – Project replaces approximately 8,000 LF of damaged electrical lighting conduit at Caribbean Avenue and installs approximately 8,000 LF of interconnect traffic signal cable.

Landfill Improvements – Flare Station Equipment Replacement Project replaces existing enclosed gas flare, blowers and appurtenant components for the Sunnyvale Landfill Gas Flare Station at the Water Pollution Control Plant.

Bids open October 31, 2012 (contract award and construction follows):
Water Line Replacement 2012-2013 – Project replaces approximately four miles of existing water lines at various streets and avenues citywide. 

Parks Activity Work During Winter Months

With fall in the air and rain in the forecast, the Parks Division begins to shift focus from the busy demands of summer to the equally busy demands of winter.  During spring and summer, the focus is on maintaining Sunnyvale’s park resources to accommodate heavy use by a variety of groups and individuals.  During the fall and winter months, focus turns to helping park sites recover and preparing facilities for the coming spring.  All of which is difficult to accomplish during the warmer months. 

Following is a listing of park sites/features that will be closed during this time:

  • Athletic fields will be renovated prior to being closed from December through February.  A few fields will remain open through the winter depending upon the weather and field conditions.
  • Baseball diamond grass infields were closed for renovation on October 1 and will be opened in March for the Little League baseball season.
  • Ornamental water features at Serra, Braly and Las Palmas Parks have been drained and will not be filled again until Memorial Day (May).
  • Water play areas will be closed late October through March. 
  • Picnic area permit season finishes in late October and reopens in March.

One will also see new trees being planted, site evaluations performed, irrigation systems repaired, drainage systems readied, median landscaping pruned and plans for the coming season put into place.  Though the demand for park facilities by the community may lessen somewhat through the winter, the workload for Parks staff remains consistently demanding regardless of the season.  

Golf Course Snack Shack Re-opening

Sunnyvale Golf Course patrons will be pleased to see the re-opening of the on-course snack bar, known to all as “The Shack”. The snack bar was an unfortunate victim when Sunnyvale’s golf course restaurant operator ceased company operations in August of this year. The Shack was re-opened to golfers on October 15 with help from Michaels at Shoreline restaurant. The menu will include a wide range of hot and cold “to go” foods, snacks, beer, and soft/sports drinks. The City is very appreciative of the assistance provided by Michaels at Shoreline, who have agreed to operate The Shack until a new restaurant operator is permanently in place.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Fall 2012 SVLG Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Housing Tour

Sunnyvale residents are invited to attend the fall 2012 TOD Housing Tour on Saturday, October 27, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., presented by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, VTA, and the cities of Sunnyvale, San Jose, and Santa Clara.  The starting and end point is at the  Kensington Apartments, 1220 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Sunnyvale. This year, tour participants will board the VTA light rail to visit notable TOD housing sites in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and San Jose.  The program begins in the morning with a keynote address by Sunnyvale Mayor Spitaleri at the breakfast site in the heart of the Tasman Crossing neighborhood.   Sunnyvale's Planning Officer, Trudi Ryan, will speak at the Sunnyvale luncheon site about the years of advanced planning and coordination between the City, VTA, and others that allowed redevelopment of the neighborhood around Fair Oaks VTA light rail station into a mixed-use, transit friendly community.   Community and neighborhood leaders and residents of Santa Clara County are welcome to attend. For more information please contact Sandra Escobar of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group at sescobar@svlg.org or (408) 501-7873. To register please sign up online with Eventbrite: FallHousingTour2012.eventbrite.com . The tour limited to the first 40 registrants.

October Housing and Human Services Commission Meeting

The Commission will meet on Wednesday, October 24, at 7 p.m. in the West Conference Room at City Hall, 456 W. Olive Avenue,  to hold a public hearing on Priority Needs for Human Services for the next two fiscal years (FY 2012/13 and 2013/14), as required under the Citizen Participation Plan of its HUD Consolidated Plan.  This hearing will help the Commission and Council determine which community needs for human services should be funded with the limited pool of CDBG and other funds available to the City for this purpose.  Residents are encouraged to attend and participate in the hearing.  The meeting agenda and materials will be posted on the Commission's Web page by the evening of October 19, please visit:
http://sunnyvale.ca.gov/CityGovernment/BoardsandCommissions/HousingandHumanServicesCommission.aspx .

Planning Applications—Milestones and Highlights

The Planning Division has been very busy the last two weeks – 68 applications were filed for planning permits (compare to last year’s average of 35 per two-week period). Of these 68, nine applications require a public hearing and include those listed below.

Recently Filed Applications

  • 142 S. Murphy Ave. – Application to modify the hours of operation for Pure Lounge. (This was formerly the Abyss Nightclub. Council revoked the former use permit due to a number of violations, including not operating as a restaurant. The current tenant was approved as a restaurant with entertainment. Their ABC license requires them to close at midnight, however the current city permit allows closure at 1:30 a.m.  Planning and Public Safety staff will coordinate on the review of this request).
  • 295 E. Washington Ave. – To expand the hours of operation to include breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. in addition to the already approved entertainment, beer and wine established hours of 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. (The site is at the corner of Carroll Street. Planning will coordinate with Public Safety on the review of this request).
  • 151 W. Washington Ave. – New restaurant with general alcohol sales within a vacant 5,631 tenant space. (This restaurant is located between Frances Street and the alley behind Murphy Avenue. There was a fire in the building earlier this year. The owner hopes to establish two restaurants at the site. Planning will coordinate with Building, Public Works, Environmental Services and Public Safety).
  • 455 S. Mathilda Ave. – Application for a General Plan Amendment (GPA) to study elimination of the frontage road requirement along the west side of Mathilda Avenue in the Downtown Specific Plan (City Council authorized the filing of this application at the meeting of August 28, 2012).
  • 155 Moffett Park Drive – General Plan Amendment Initiation (GPI) to Amend the Moffett Park Specific Plan (MPSP) to change MP-I parcels to MP-TOD (allowing FAR up to 70 percent FAR or 80 percent with higher green building levels). (This application is currently scheduled for City Council consideration on November 20. A copy of the applicant’s letter has been forwarded to the City Council).

Recently Approved Applications

During the same two-week period that staff received 68 applications, action was taken on 54 (again, compared to last year’s average of 35 per two-week period). No action was taken on public hearing items during this time frame.

Lawrence Station Area Plan (LSAP)

On October 10, Planning held a community meeting to discuss the Lawrence Station Area Plan Phase 2. Approximately 25 members of the public attended the meeting held at Ponderosa Park, plus members of the Citizens Advisory Group (CAG), and Councilmember Davis. The main purposes of the meeting were to: get feedback on what type of land uses would be appropriate for the area, review open space concerns, and discuss circulation concepts. The meeting started with a presentation by BMS Design Group, the consultant working for the City on the project, after which community members broke into smaller groups to discuss the issues. A survey was handed out, which was used by each group to lead the conversation. City staff and CAG members helped lead the groups in the discussion, after which each group reported back to the larger group about their ideas, concerns and recommendations. Finally, each community member was asked to place a dot on posted land use alternative maps to show their individual preference.

The discussion was lively and thorough. In general, results and feedback show that the majority of community members present (65 percent) liked the land use alternative that provides the greatest flexibility for land use type, with highest density located closest to the Caltrain station. A majority (66 percent) also preferred a balance between housing and employment uses. No definition of density or balance was discussed.

Notes from the meeting, along with the presentation provided that evening, will be put on the project website: LawrenceStation.inSunnyvale.com .  On November 7, the CAG will meet at 6:30 p.m. in the West Conference Room at City Hall to discuss land use alternatives.

Zoning Code Retooling

Staff held a study session with the Planning Commission on October 8. The discussion focused on possible findings for various types of planning permits, and whether the code should allow administrative adjustments to code provisions (e.g. extremely minor items that would not qualify for a variance, but can easily be determined as “not an impact” to adjacent properties or the purposes of the zoning code). A copy of the memo to the Planning Commission is located on the project Web page: ZoningCode.inSunnyvale.com .

A study session with City Council on the progress of Retooling the Zoning Code is planned for November 13.

Other Cities

The City of Santa Clara has advised us of a 133-unit , multi-family housing development on a 3.4 acre site on El Camino Real (near Calabazas Blvd.). The site is about a one-half mile east of Lawrence Expressway. Staff is evaluating the project to determine if comments are warranted.

Corn Palace Development Under Construction

Construction has been occurring at the Corn Palace for several months. Much of the work to date has been grading, installing underground utilities, and widening Timberpine Avenue. The sales office and associated parking area has been completed and is open to the public. Foundation work on the two model houses has begun and permits for an additional eight houses will be issued within the next week.

ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES

City Introduces Climate Action Plan to Hospitality Businesses and Encourages Sustainable Actions

On October 3, the City hosted a presentation that introduced the City’s draft Climate Action Plan and greenhouse gas reduction efforts to local hospitality businesses.  The program, conducted in collaboration with Ecology Action, provided an overview of the role hospitality businesses can play in the City’s greenhouse gas reduction effort and identified incentives and programs to help encourage energy efficiency, materials management, water conservation and green business certification. 

Representatives from the City’s Recycling Program, Santa Clara County Green Business Program, Santa Clara Valley Water District and Ecology Action spoke to the crowd of 15 about the benefits of sustainability efforts.  Representatives from Sheraton and Country Inn Suites spoke about the benefits and cost savings at their properties resulting from materials management, water conservation, energy efficiency and green business certification.  They reported energy savings of 30 percent by installing occupancy sensors in rooms that turn off lights and air-conditioning when rooms are unoccupied, significant water savings by installing low-flow shower heads and high-efficiency toilets, and reducing their garbage bills by half through materials management actions.   Overall, the program was well received by attendees and resulted in requests for sustainability audits from the City, Ecology Action and the Green Business Program.   

Landfill Gas Valve Replacement Temporarily Detours Walkers, Bikers

On October 16 and 17, Solid Waste Division staff, with assistance from two contractors, was scheduled to replace an inoperative main valve in the eight-inch diameter landfill gas collection system header.  The valve, known as “V-5,” was put into service in 1987 when the City installed the landfill gas collection system. It has become stuck in the “open” position, leaving staff unable to adjust the amount of system vacuum at this location.
The valve is believed to lie in native soil about nine feet below the landfill perimeter road on the north side of the West Hill. At that depth, replacing the valve requires a large excavation, along with sheeting and shoring to maintain safety in the trench.

Signs and barricades directed walkers, joggers and bicyclists who normally use the landfill perimeter road at this location to detour north to the Bay Trail to get to and from the northerly corners of the West Hill. At the City’s request, the facilities staff at Yahoo! sent email messages to the staff at nearby Yahoo! buildings, alerting them to the detour.

Replacing V-5 will improve staff’s ability to manage the landfill gas system to assure the capture and beneficial use of the methane. The installation will also add sampling ports that will enable staff to measure gas quality on either side of the valve to aid troubleshooting and diagnosis of the system.

The landfill, which closed in 1993, contains an estimated 2.5 million tons of garbage. Anaerobic bacteria that produce methane gas as their waste product are gradually consuming the garbage, sealed off from the oxygen in the atmosphere by the landfill’s  clay cap.

Blowers located at the Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) provide a source for vacuum that sucks the methane out of landfill gas wells drilled into the garbage. Although methane production has dropped substantially in the 19 years following closure, the gas collection system is still gathering landfill gas at a rate of 200-300 cubic feet per minute. The blowers pull the captured methane to the WPCP, where it is combined with digester gas and purchased natural gas to produce the electricity that powers the WPCP. A small additional amount of electricity is exported to the “grid” and sold.

FINANCE

Moody’s Reviews Credit Ratings of 32 California Cities

On October 9, Moody’s Investor Service announced it has placed under review certain bond and/or general obligation ratings of 32 cities in California, including Sunnyvale. The review is not targeting specific cities but is part of Moody’s overall negative outlook for the State of California based on the economic pressures they see for the State. In particular, based on the recent bankruptcy filings by Stockton and Mammoth Lakes, they are concerned bankruptcy has become a viable option for California cities.

Sunnyvale’s Issuer Rating of Aaa (triple A) is under review. There are only seven cities in California with a Triple A Issuer Rating. The other six are: Beverly Hills, Manhattan Beach, Newport Beach, Palo Alto, Santa Monica and Saratoga.  Sunnyvale is the largest city of this elite group. As part of the review, staff will be making a presentation to the Moody’s ratings analysts in mid-November. With effective management of expenditures, healthy reserves, long-range fiscal planning, investment in the City’s infrastructure, addressing rising personnel costs and the recent recovery in revenues, Sunnyvale’s solid financial foundation will be a strong story to tell.

Potential Financing Savings on Regional Water Infrastructure Costs

The City of Sunnyvale is a member of the Bay Area Water Supply and Conservation Agency (BAWSCA) which represents the interests of all 24 cities and water districts and two private utilities that purchase water wholesale from the City and County of San Francisco. Through our purchase agreement with San Francisco, the City, along with other BAWSCA members, is responsible for a share of approximately $387 million in capital debt that has accrued for the construction of regional facilities (e.g. dams, treatment facilities, transmission pipes, etc.). Currently, this debt is simply paid for through the monthly water bill.  The contract has a provision that allows for the prepayment of this capital debt due to San Francisco.

BAWSCA has been working with its members to potentially issue bonds (21.5 years in length) to prepay the capital debt, which would result in savings to the members due to the current favorable market conditions. It is estimated that based on current conditions, between $20 and $34 million in savings (present value) could be achieved for all BAWSCA customers, with approximately $1.2 million to $2 million of those savings going to Sunnyvale. Staff will be coming to Council prior to the end of the calendar year with a staff report providing more detail and requesting authority to move forward with this transaction.

Business License Renewals for 2013 and 2014

Finance staff is preparing for the 2013 business license tax renewal period.  Sunnyvale has a two-year business tax cycle, so businesses only have to renew their license every other year. Staff is planning to send approximately 5,400 business license renewals to the business community during the week of November 12. 

Once again, business representatives will be able to submit the renewal form online. To renew online, a business representative can log in at: https://ecityhall.sunnyvale.ca.gov/blweb/ and enter the pin number provided on the renewal form. The system will generate the tax that is owed.  In addition to being more convenient for the customer, the business will receive the business license tax certificate quicker than a business that renewed via the U.S. mail.  The City accepts Visa and MasterCard and this service is free.

LIBRARY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

Music in the Library

The Library is expanding its monthly program offerings to include Sunday afternoon “mini-concerts” presented by local musicians. In November, library visitors will be treated to an unusual ensemble, a bassoon quartet. Musicians will share stories about the bassoon and play popular tunes arranged for that instrument. This series came about because community members, at previous music programs, asked for more music in the Library. With music programs decreasing in public schools, the Library hopes to fill a gap by providing “up close and personal” musical experiences for the entire family. Check the Library’s event calendar at sunnyvalelibrary.org for dates of future performances.

Demand for Children’s Materials Continues to Rise

As seen in the chart below, the demand for children’s materials at the Library continues to rise steadily each year. The small decline in FY 2009/10 was due to the Library closure for 2.5 weeks for renovations. Between FY 2005/06 and FY 2011/12, children’s materials checkouts increased 61 percent. In FY 2011/12, children’s materials accounted for 43 percent of all of the Library’s checkouts. This figure is all the more staggering when one considers children’s services occupy just 8.4 percent of the existing square footage at the Library.

Children Materials Checkout Graph

Fremont Pool


Fremont Pool Bike Rack Installed

A new bicycle rack has been installed at Fremont Pool. As one enters the gate to the pool deck, it is located to the left and can accommodate approximately eight  to 10 bicycles. The bicycle rack was installed to encourage students to ride their bicycles to the pool and provide a safe place to store bicycles.

Jingle Bus Holiday Party and Tour

Columbia Neighborhood Center has been selected by the Santa Clara County Department of Parks and Recreation to bring 50 participants to the 3rd Annual Fantasy of Lights Jingle Bus Holiday Party and Tour on Saturday, November 17, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Vasona Lake County Park. Columbia Neighborhood Center was selected based on the demographics of their service area and the County’s interest to serve the northern part of Santa Clara County.

The Jingle Bus is free to families of participating agencies and will include round-trip transportation by school bus, a delicious hot dinner, a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, a ride on the Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad “Fantasy Train,” activities presented by Youth Science Institute, County Parks Healthy Trails registration and a full bus tour of the 1.5 mile holiday lights display.

Expanding Traditional Roles at Senior Center

The Sunnyvale Senior Center has long served as a place where seniors can enjoy social activities, such as bridge and billiards, and learn from lectures and special interest classes. In recent years the Senior Center has expanded its lifelong learning mission with a focus on wellness. Research from the National Council on Aging indicates that older adults who participate in senior center programming can learn to manage and/or delay the onset of chronic disease and experience measurable improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental and economic well-being.

In a recent example, the Sunnyvale Senior Center hosted Sharon Goodson, AuD (Doctor of Audiology), from Palo Alto Medical Foundation for a presentation on Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids. Forty-four individuals attended the lecture which covered the anatomy of the ear, how to recognize the first signs of hearing loss, ability for a hearing evaluation to determine degree and type of hearing loss as well as ways to protect your hearing. Sharon provided details on treatment options, including hearing aids, assistive listening devices and hearing rehabilitation.

Nobel Prize for Literature

In honor of the recently announced winner of the 2012 Nobel Prize for Literature, Chinese writer, Mo Yan, a special display of Yan’s works has been created in the Chinese language area of the Library. Additional copies of his works have been ordered and will be available to checkout soon.

Tennis a Hit at Sunnyvale Middle School

Between September 18 and November 1, 36 students in Sunnyvale Middle School’s after-school enrichment program will log 723 hours of tennis instruction, a 64 percent increase from the previous year. Due to the strong demand, staff worked with the contractor, Lifetime Tennis, to add a second session which will begin on Tuesday, November 6.