PUBLIC SAFETY

2013 Sunnyvale Crime Statistics
Crime reporting statistics for the calendar year 2013 have been compiled. A review of the numbers compared to 2012 shows that crime is slightly down overall and has only increased moderately in two areas: burglaries and stolen vehicles.

In 2012, there were 2,747 total crimes reported to the California Department of Justice and FBI. In 2013, the number of crimes reported has decreased to 2,552.

The following is a graphical representation of crime totals by year, for the past 20 years:

Further breakdown by category shows the following:

Additional information on crime statistics is posted on the City website at the following link: http://sunnyvale.ca.gov/Departments/PublicSafety/PublicSafetyStatistics.aspx

Tip From Alert Parks Worker Leads to Arrest
During the early morning hours of January 13, suspects vandalized the landscaping at Baylands Park by driving their truck through it in a reckless manner.  The vandalism was discovered in the morning and reported to DPS. While investigating the incident, officers found parts of a Ford truck lodged in some shrubbery that was damaged.  Later in the day, a Sunnyvale Parks employee called a DPS employee he knew personally to inform him of a suspicious truck in his neighborhood.  The Parks employee had heard about the incident earlier in the day and that the suspect vehicle may have been a Ford truck.  When the employee returned home, he observed a Ford truck parked in his neighborhood that had fresh front end damage and fresh grass stuck along the sides and inside the fender wells of the truck.  He provided the license plate and address of the truck to the officer he contacted.  Subsequent investigation led to the identification and arrest of two suspects who were responsible for the $30,000 in damages.  Without the employee’s tip, the persons responsible for the vandalism may never have been found.  

Sunnyvale Businesses Step Up to Meet Statewide Electronic Reporting Mandate
December 31 was the deadline for local businesses to comply with the California Environmental Protection Agency’s (CalEPA) statewide mandate to electronically submit detailed hazardous materials inventories, site maps, hazardous waste streams, emergency contingency and training plans, and general business information. This new mandate, along with the robust California Environmental Reporting System (CERS) database which is designed to collect and analyze the information, is intended to streamline and provide consistency in hazardous materials regulatory and enforcement programs across the state. In addition, CERS will provide emergency responders with more reliable information about the hazardous materials they will likely encounter when responding to fires and other emergencies.

Remarkably, more than 94 percent of Sunnyvale businesses met the December 31 statewide reporting deadline. Outreach efforts by members of DPS’ Fire Prevention and Hazardous Materials Unit played a significant role in the City’s compliance rate, but giving credit where credit is due, Sunnyvale business owners clearly stepped up to make Sunnyvale a successful standout.

The 94 percent compliance rate achieved by Sunnyvale businesses far exceeds the average statewide compliance rate of 60 percent and beats handily the compliance rate achieved by the three other Santa Clara County agencies responsible for collecting information: Santa Clara County Environmental Health Department (39 percent), Santa Clara City Fire Department (36 percent) and Gilroy City Fire Department (67 percent). Based on CalEPA’s reporting data, only three of the 84 agencies required to collect information across the State had a better compliance rate than Sunnyvale.

DPS Investigations Unit
The DPS Investigations Unit has begun to implement some changes in how they provide services for the department.  Previously, investigations had three lieutenants with 12 detectives distributed amongst three different work groups – Property Crimes, Person Crimes and Community Crimes Unit.  Recognizing changing conditions in the community and the need for focusing on different activities, the unit is being restructured.
Effective on February 2, there will be only two lieutenants supervising the 12 detectives which are broken up into primarily two work groups.  One group will be responsible for property crimes, sexual assaults, child abuse and domestic violence related cases.  The other group will handle homicides, robberies and all support activities within the investigations unit related to special tasks. 

This restructuring has allowed for one lieutenant to be reassigned to a new unit that is being established.  The Street Crime Unit, to be staffed by three officers and a lieutenant, is being developed.  Due to a current staffing shortage, the unit is still being designed and appropriate preparations put in place to ensure their effective use.  One lieutenant will be selected soon to lead the initial deployment of the unit once staffing rises to an appropriate level and after selection of the officers.  The Street Crimes Unit will provide patrol and investigation support based upon a flexible model that can adapt to identified needs within Sunnyvale.  The new unit will work closely to address current crime trends identified by the community, patrol officers and Public Safety’s crime analysis unit.

PUBLIC WORKS

VTA North-South Bus Service Study
The VTA is in the process of amending its contract for El Camino Real Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) environmental and technical studies to include a study of north-south bus service improvements in the North County, including Sunnyvale.  The recommended contract amendment is intended to respond to requests by the cities on the El Camino Real Corridor to examine north-south bus service connecting to the proposed BRT service. There has been particular interest from the public and from cities to study improvements to transit routes serving fast developing areas in Sunnyvale on Mathilda Avenue, in Mountain View’s Bayshore and Shoreline areas, and corridors in Cupertino and Santa Clara. The Parsons Transportation Group’s sub-consultant Nelson/Nygaard has already done extensive work analyzing the existing routes in the El Camino Real Corridor and will extend the scope of those efforts. The study will:

  • Evaluate the current range of transit services in newly developing employment areas in Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and Cupertino, in particular local bus routes and the range of employer-provided shuttles, to determine deficiencies.
  • Work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders including staff from those cities, and the Sunnyvale and Mountain View Transportation Management Associations and large employers.
  • Using the ridership thresholds identified in VTA’s Transit Sustainability Policy and Service Design Guidelines as a guide, recommend improvements to route structure and service levels as warranted.
  • Analyze the 2018 horizon year for the opening of the BRT lines.
  • Recommend changes in route structure and in service levels that will boost ridership, operating efficiency, or both.

The VTA Board of Directors took action on this item at its January 9 meeting.  The VTA anticipates the project kickoff to occur in early March.  City staff will prepare an informational report to the City Council presenting more detail on the project scope and schedule at that time. 

Water Conservation
The Parks Division is the City’s largest purchaser of water and for the past two years has been impacted by the lack of rainfall. In response, Parks staff has reduced turf in many areas that are non-essential and replaced it with drought-resistant native plants, improved the citywide irrigation controllers to run more efficiently based on daily weather updates, and made irrigation monitoring a top priority. If the current three-year dry pattern continues, future considerations may include examining water features such as ponds and spray pools for possible closure, and increased replacement of non-essential turf.

Teen Volunteers Plant Water Conserving Landscape
The Parks Division has begun the process of reducing turf areas to save on water as well as labor costs. One of the identified areas for this turf reduction was the frontage areas of Fire Station #4. Fire Station #1 was re-landscaped last year and the other four stations are in line for future re-landscaping.

The Saint Francis Lancers Wrestling team volunteered their time to help out with the project on Saturday, January 18. The 17 team members along with their coaches were led by a few Parks workers planting close to 250 native shrubs and spreading over 30 yards of bark mulch replacing the thirsty turf at the site. The undisturbed soil had not been touched for over 45 years and it was no walk in the park to get the holes dug for the new plants. The wrestling team muscled the plants to the ground and pinned them down getting the work done before lunchtime.

A big thank you goes out to Saint Francis Coach Mark Bertron, and the Lancer wrestling team for donating their time, energy and effort in completing this project. We wish them a great season!

Ortega Park Volunteer Event a Huge Success
Parks staff was approached by representatives of the Israeli Consulate in San Francisco looking for an opportunity to give back to the community while celebrating the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat “New Year for Trees.” It is around this time in Israel when the earliest blooming trees emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit bearing cycle. The holiday is typically marked by eating fruit such as figs, pomegranates and dates.

On January 12, Ortega Park played host to more than 400 volunteers for a day of family fun and celebration planting daffodil bulbs. The volunteer event was a joint effort by the Israeli House of San Francisco, the ICC of the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center and the Consulate General of Israel in San Francisco.  Under the guidance of Public Works staff, children and parents enjoyed a wonderful day planting hundreds of daffodil bulbs in a variety of locations within the park. Not only was there an abundance of bulbs, but an abundant sense of community, smiles and laughter as well. The daffodils should bloom sometime in early spring and provide beautiful bright yellow pockets throughout Ortega Park for this spring and many spring seasons to come.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Moffett Place Pile Driving
Construction at the Moffett Place project has begun on the first building at 1160 N. Mathilda Ave. Pile driving activity began late last week and about three complaints were received (one to the developer and two to the City). Staff has spoken with the developer and contractor and the pile driving has been occurring within the allowed construction hours (per City ordinance, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays). However, the developer has agreed to not start pile driving before 8 a.m. and to pile drive only on weekdays.

The developer has an accelerated schedule for the pile driving in order to reduce the duration of the noise for the residents as well as the workers in nearby buildings. The developer has indicated that the pile driving is scheduled to be completed by January 30. Per the conditions of approval for the project, the developer has designated a noise coordinator to receive any questions or concerns. His name is Casey Wend and he can be reached at 408-663-2162 or cwend@level10gc.com. Staff will continue to monitor the work for compliance.

Planning Applications – Milestones and Highlights

Recently Filed Significant Applications (Since January 7)

  • 305 S. Bayview Ave. – Allow removal of the property from the Heritage Resource List. This item will be considered by the Heritage Preservation Commission.
  • 815 W. Maude Ave. – Preliminary Review for a new 23,340 square foot office building (three stories), 55 percent FAR with LEED Gold certification. If a formal application is submitted for this site, it would be subject to the Peery Park noticing requirements (1,000 foot notification) and would be referred to Planning Commission for a recommendation with final action by the City Council.
  • 590 W. El Camino Real – Preliminary Review for a preschool with 100 students. This is the site of where West Coast Automotive is located (between the recently constructed Chick-fil-A and the hotel site currently under construction).

Planning Commission
The Council is aware that there are currently four vacancies on the Planning Commission.  As a result, the Planning Commission meetings for January 27 and February 10 will be canceled. Items scheduled for the canceled meetings will be continued to meetings in late February and March. Staff is still working on the appropriate dates for those agenda items. It is likely that a special Planning Commission meeting will be scheduled in March to assure that pending applications can be heard in a timely manner.

ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES

Drought Declared
On January 17, Governor Brown issued a Declaration of Emergency for the State of California due to drought and severe water supply conditions in many parts of the state. Sunnyvale has always had a firm commitment to water conservation, and this declaration will only reinforce our commitment. In addition, the City has always worked, through various infrastructure investments, to prepare for water supply interruptions and is confident that, with the help from City residents and businesses, it has the ability to adjust to whatever water supply circumstances that are to be faced in the coming months.
Sunnyvale is positioned better than some other water suppliers in that it has a diversified portfolio of water sources and City staff is committed to working with our water wholesalers to mitigate any negative effects to residents or businesses during the drought period.

As always, though, the City recommends that residents and businesses join the effort to conserve water. Drought conditions like the ones that the state is now experiencing are a reminder that water is a finite resource and it should be treated as such.  Staff is currently developing a website devoted to dealing with drought conditions and residents are encouraged to watch for a link to that site from the City’s home page.

SMaRT Station® Request for Proposals Update
Following Council approval on November 19, 2013, the City issued the Request for Proposals (RFP) for SMaRT Station operations on November 22. The RFP solicits proposals for operation of the Sunnyvale Materials Recovery and Transfer Station for seven years, 2015-2021.

The December 6 pre-proposal meeting saw a strong industry turnout, with 23 participants attending. Included were representatives of at least six potential proposers or proposal partnerships.

Proposals were submitted on January 22. Following review of the proposals by a panel comprised of staff representatives of the three SMaRT Cities (Mountain View, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale) and consultant HF&H, proposer interviews are scheduled for February 11 and 12.

A staff recommendation and Council action are anticipated in mid-March (tentatively March 11) with operations under the new, seven-year contract beginning January 1, 2015. A more thorough update will be made available in an upcoming Information Only Report to Council.

A Busy January for Sewer Crews
As has been the case for several years running, January has been an especially busy month for sewer crews clearing sewer laterals. City residents can make a call to the City’s 24-hour dispatch center at 408-730-7400 for assistance with determining the cause of a lateral blockage. City staff may attempt to clear blockages in private laterals if there is appropriate access at the property line. During the long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend alone, Sewer standby staff received and responded to 34 calls for lateral stoppages.
 
The City’s Sewer Collections Program has an aggressive preventive maintenance program, including inspection and cleaning of the City’s almost 300 miles of sewer mains. Additionally, capital investments are made each year to rehabilitate or replace sewer related infrastructure, such as pipes, manholes and lift stations. Sewer laterals, however, are on private property, and are not subject to comprehensive preventive maintenance or capital investments.

City residents or businesses that notice a sewer back up should call the City first at 408-730-7400 and, above all, always remember to “flush green”. More information can be found at: http://sunnyvale.ca.gov/Portals/0/Sunnyvale/DPW/WPCP/Flush%20Green.pdf

City Participates in Grant Proposal to Bring Public Electric Vehicle Chargers to Sunnyvale
The Bay Area Climate Collaborative (BACC) is developing a regional grant application to increase public access to Electric Vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.  Through their Bay Area Charge Ahead Project, BACC is pursuing a grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to fund the purchase and installation of EV chargers throughout the Bay Area. Sunnyvale is participating in the grant and is proposing to install an EV charger at four locations including City Hall, the Community Center Complex, the Main Library, and downtown Sunnyvale. Each of these chargers will have two charging ports and can serve two to four vehicles depending on final installation configuration. The City will be responsible for a local match estimated at $7,000. This local match would cover network fees and parts and preventative maintenance warranties. These costs may be recoverable through the fees charged to users. The BACC will be the lead grant applicant and administrator, and BACC has partnered with ChargePoint, a leading manufacturer of the EV chargers, on this project. The grant application is due February 4 and the selection and notice of award is anticipated in May 2014. Additional information on the project will be provided once staff is informed of the outcome of the CEC selection process.

Finance

Mid-Year Water Sales Update – Sales Higher Than Expected
As a result of the extremely dry 2013, citywide water sales are higher than expected this fiscal year.  To date, revenue from potable water sales is 6 percent higher than planned in  the FY 2013/14 budget. The majority of the City’s water supply is purchased from the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC).  Each of those agencies set minimum amounts of water which the City is obligated to purchase during the year.  Due to the strong demand for water, the City is currently 9 percent above its target with the SCVWD and nearly 3 percent above its target with the SFPUC.  While our revenue is increasing, our costs are also increasing as we purchase more water to meet customer demand.

It is expected that if our current weather pattern continues, demand for water will be curtailed as Sunnyvale residents and businesses cut back to conserve water.  While it is not unusual for revenues from spring water sales to be volatile, extreme weather years increase volatility.  Staff will continue to monitor sales and report on the financial condition of the water enterprise with the FY 2014/15 water rate development.

FY 2014/15 Budget Development in Full Swing
The development of the City’s FY 2014/15 budget is well underway.  Finance staff has conducted reviews with each of the operating departments and is currently closing out all of the follow-up items.  Staff is working concurrently to update all the equipment schedules and internal service funds, and has begun development on the FY 2014/15 proposed utility rates, which have to be noticed by the end of April for the June public hearing.  Staff is also working on development of revenue projections for the coming year, as well as beginning work on the 20-year financial plans for all funds.  The delivery of the recommended budget to Council is planned for early May.

Oversight Board Appointment Change 
The Santa Clara County Board of Education took action on January 15 to replace Ben Picard, Superintendent of Schools for the Sunnyvale School District from the Sunnyvale Oversight Board, with Maribel Medina, General Counsel for the Santa Clara County Office of Education.  Dr. Picard served as the Chair of the Oversight Board starting at its first meeting in March 2012.

The Oversight Board directs staff of the Successor Agency in winding down the affairs of the former Redevelopment Agency.  The dissolution legislation prescribes the number and types of members on the Oversight Board.  Sunnyvale’s Oversight Board is made up of seven members representing the City, County, Santa Clara Valley Water District, County Office of Education, and the California Community Colleges.  The following is an updated list of the appointed members of Sunnyvale’s Oversight Board:

City of Sunnyvale:

  • Grace Leung, Director of Finance
  • Mary Bradley, Former Director of Finance

County of Santa Clara:

  • David Snow, Fleet Manager, County of Santa Clara
  • Heather Bilich, Senior Financial Analyst, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

SCVWD:

  • Linda LeZotte, Director – District 4 and Board Chair

County Office of Education:

  • Maribel Medina, General Counsel, Santa Clara County Office of Education

CA Community Colleges, Foothill-De Anza Community College:

  • Kevin McElroy, Vice Chancellor of Business Services

Human resources

Human Resources Department Receives Award from NCCIPMA-HR
The Department of Human Resources won the 2013 Northern California Chapter International Public Management Association – Human Resources (NCCIPMA-HR) Human Resources Agency Award for Excellence.  HR submitted an application in recognition of the improvements made by the Recruitment and Classification Division in using Surface Tablets in the oral board interview process, eliminating the use of paper binders and applying the City’s zero waste policy.  The Principal Human Resources Analyst Vienne Choi wrote and submitted the application on the department’s behalf.  The NCCIPMA-HR President wrote the following, “Congratulations on a great submission and on the creativity demonstrated in applying the City's "zero waste" policy to recruitment and selection practices.”

Council Salary Rates to Be Included with Salary Table of City Website
The City has had a long standing practice of posting the Salary Table and Benefits information on the City's website for public view.  The Salary Table includes the salary rates for all City classifications, excluding the Mayor and City Council, and the benefits information is per bargaining unit.  In an effort to promote transparency, the City will begin posting current salary rates for the Mayor and City Council, along with the benefits summary information. Please note that only the current established salary rate for the Mayor and City Council will be posted, not specifically what the Mayor or each individual Councilmember has accepted for his/her salary.  The posted salary rates for the Mayor and City Council will be updated annually based on the methodology specified in the City Charter.
 

Library and community services

Hands on the Arts Seeks Artists, Volunteers
Sunnyvale’s 27th Annual Hands on the Arts Festival is looking for local artists and art lovers to be a part of its huge children’s art festival, planned for Saturday, May 17, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hands on the Arts is Sunnyvale’s signature event, attracting more than 1,200 children and their families for a full day of creative fun.

Approximately 30 artists will be chosen to offer a wide variety of art, music, dance and drama workshops for children ages 3-12. Workshops with cultural connections are especially encouraged. A modest stipend is offered, or artists may choose to volunteer their services. 

More than 200 volunteers are also needed to serve as artist assistants and help ensure the festival runs smoothly. Volunteers must be 14 or older.  All volunteers receive a commemorative t-shirt and all-day volunteers receive lunch. First-time volunteers over the age of 18 are required to be fingerprinted. 

For artist and volunteer applications, visit HandsOnTheArts.inSunnyvale.com.

Sunnyvale Youth Sports Leagues
Another fall season of Sunnyvale Youth Sports Leagues has concluded. While the Department of Public Works provided safe and well-maintained fields, the Community Services Division assisted with scheduling field use. Below is a chart showing the use of the fields by youth sports groups with Special Use Agreements.

YOUTH SPORTS ORGANIZATION

PARTICIPANTS IN FALL 2013

HOURS OF FACILITIES PERMITTED

AYSO Soccer

747

2,473

Alliance Soccer

1,971

4,396

Pop Warner Football

202

398

Pop Warner Cheer

62

545*

Southern Little League

146

84

Metro Little League

109

84

National Little League

60

65

Girls Softball League

49

108

*Pop Warner Cheer utilizes Park Buildings for program space.
With the spring season approaching, staff from the Community Services Division met on January 16 with the presidents of the Special Use Agreement youth sports organizations that utilize Sunnyvale fields and park buildings in the spring and summer seasons. At this semi-annual meeting, City staff review agreement expectations, field maintenance procedures, park project or closure information, permitting procedures and other current issues affecting field use in Sunnyvale. The next meeting is scheduled for late summer.
 
Silicon Valley Explores Books and Technology through Reading and Discussion
Now in its 12th year, the Silicon Valley Reads program encourages everyone in Santa Clara County to read the same book, at the same time, and talk about it. The 2014 theme, Books & Technology: Friends or Foes?, will feature two books: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan and The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Author Robin Sloan will speak at the Sunnyvale Public Library on Tuesday, February 18 at 7 p.m.  A book discussion of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore will be led by library staff on Wednesday, February 19 at 7 p.m.  Several related film screenings will also be held at the Library, including Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris on Wednesday, February 26 at 7 p.m., Out of Print on Wednesday, March 5 at 7 p.m., and Paperback Dreams on Monday, March 10 at 7 p.m. To learn more about Silicon Valley Reads, please visit siliconvalleyreads.org.

Managing Holidays at the Library for Better Service
Two years ago, close to 4,000 patrons visited the Library the day after New Year’s, causing overcrowding of the facility, long lines and overwhelming the returns equipment. Since that time, Library staff has extended the due dates of materials so that items that would have been due when the Library is closed for a holiday would be due at a later date. For example, items that would have been due on December 24 and 25 were due on Friday, December 27 this year. This practice has improved the customer experience by eliminating frustration over long lines at the return machines and customer service desk. Additionally, customers can enjoy materials a little longer. This year, 1,827 patrons visited the Library on December 26 and 2,484 patrons visited the Library on January 2.

LCS Receives $11,000 Grant to Provide Coding Camp to Students
The Department of Library and Community Services has been awarded $11,000 from Pacific Library Partnership Innovative and Technology Grant funds to provide a coding camp for students at Columbia Middle School. The project, called Code it!, is designed to introduce tweens to basic computer programming and promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) learning. Students will construct Raspberry Pi computers over five sessions taught by professional educators. At the end of the camp, a Coding Fair will be held at the Library so students can display their projects. In addition, each participant will receive a ticket to the Bay Area Maker Faire.

Investing in Youth Today for Stronger Communities Tomorrow
The Columbia Neighborhood Center (CNC) supports and empowers youth and families so that the children of the community will develop the life skills necessary to be successful in school and beyond. CNC programs support youth by offering them a chance to participate in activities that lead to increased self-esteem, a deeper understanding of their power and potential in the community, and real world volunteer experiences that help shape and guide them towards a successful future in the community and in the workplace.

Recently, CNC staff was thrilled to learn that they would be program planning and collaborating with a youth that had previously attended Columbia Middle School, served as a student aide, volunteered at many CNC events including Family Fun Night, Kids Camps, Fit & Fun Fair, and had been involved with the Community Advisory Committee.  Amadeni Guzman, age 19, is now a full time undergraduate student and is doing an internship with Reach Potential Movement (RPM), serving as a Program Coordinator.  Amadeni will be assisting RPM and CNC staff with the City’s Second Annual Cesar Chavez Youth Action Day. She is truly an example of how investing in a youth today can build strong communities tomorrow.

Home Gardeners Keep Valley’s Fruit Tree Traditions Alive
On Saturday, January 18, 144 home gardeners attended Vera Kark's talk on Backyard Fruit Trees at the Library. Vera's lively presentation included many photos and ideas for further information on the vast number of possibilities for growing fruit in Silicon Valley’s climate. At the end of the talk, several members of the Santa Clara County branch of the Master Gardeners assisted with the many questions that attendees had about their particular problems growing fruit.

Resolved to Be More Creative in 2014? Sunnyvale Community Center Can Help!
The Creative Arts Center’s Open Painting Studio and Open Pottery Studio are perfect for new artists looking to practice in a supportive environment; for lapsed artists looking to resume their craft; and for anyone wanting to connect with fellow painters and potters. Open Painting Studio is Mondays, 9 a.m. to noon, for a $5 drop-in fee. Open Pottery Studio is Mondays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays, 2 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Pottery Studio passes, which include glazing and firing, are $28 for residents and $34 for non-residents. Clay must be purchased in the studio for $31 per 25 lb. bag.

Similarly, Bluegrass Jam welcomes musicians and singers of all ability levels the third Sunday of the month, 1 to 5 p.m. in the Creative Arts Meeting Room, for a $5 drop-in fee. For Dancers Only offers Lindy, Charleston, Balboa, Shag and Blues dancing the first and third Fridays, 8:30 p.m. to midnight in the Theatre Dance Studio, for an $8 drop-in fee.

Check the Activity Guide at RecreationClasses.inSunnyvale.com for arts classes in watercolor, figure drawing, glass fusing, pottery, piano, ukulele, guitar, tap dance, belly dance, hula or ballroom dance.

Economic Driving School Has Been Partner for 20 years
Donald Meyer, co-owner and operator of Economic Driving School for almost four decades, has partnered with Sunnyvale’s Department of Library and Community Services for 20 years to provide top notch Driver Education classes for Sunnyvale residents. This became an important service for Sunnyvale teens when public schools stopped providing the important safety classes required in order to get a driver’s permit.

Don and co-owner, Donnell Jackson, earned their teaching credentials along with Designated Teaching Credentials in Public Safety and Accident Prevention, including Driver Education & Driver Training. All of Economic Driving School’s classroom teachers follow state guidelines and are credentialed public or private school teachers. Many have a credential in Public Safety and Accident Prevention, including Driver Education and Driver Training in addition to being certified by the State of California.

Sunnyvale’s Driver’s Education classes will be held at the Sunnyvale Community Center on April 5, 6, 12, and 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The cost is $130 for Sunnyvale residents and $169 for non-residents. To register, please visit RecreationClasses.inSunnyvale.com. Plans are also underway to offer a mature driver’s class this fall.

Online classes are also available. To register, go to economicdrivingschool.com/online and enter code 7350. The cost of the online class is $68.50.

Library’s LEGO League Reaches New Heights
The Library’s LEGO League continues to grow, with over 40 kids attending January’s session. The theme this month was “How tall… until it falls?” One group constructed a LEGO tower 4 ½ feet tall. The world record is 112 feet.

Electric Vehicles Will Be Showcased at Library Event
Bay Area electric vehicle owners will share their experiences at a round table discussion at the Sunnyvale Public Library on Saturday, February 8, at 10:30 a.m.  After the panel discussion and a Q & A session, owners will showcase their cars in the library parking lot in order to provide further insight into the world of gasoline-free driving. Once rarely seen, all-electric vehicles are now a frequent sight on local roads in the Bay Area yet many consumers still have questions and concerns. All are welcome to learn about the pros and cons of electric vehicle ownership from a driver’s perspective. No registration is required.

NOVA WORKFORCE SERVICES

Labor Secretary Perez Visits Silicon Valley
On January 22, NOVA Director Kris Stadelman was honored to attend a special roundtable discussion with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, Thomas Perez, that was hosted by Cisco Systems. This event was part of the Labor Secretary’s visit to the Silicon Valley to learn more about the needs of local business here that will enable them to compete globally and the workforce talent they will require to better position them for future innovation. Silicon Valley is considered the economic engine for the state, as well as for the country. Executives from some of the leading-edge companies joined the Director for this dynamic conversation with the Secretary.

NOVA Awarded HUD Regional Prosperity Grant
NOVA has been awarded a $150,000 grant through the Bay Area Regional Prosperity Plan for its proposed Bay Area Tech Career Advancement Initiative. NOVA’s was one of 10 grants awarded for this element of the plan totaling $1,050,000 in grant funding.

NOVA’s funded program proposes to create and deliver a career-related training curriculum to promote tech career advancement and family economic self-sufficiency for students and alumni through Oakland-based Stride Center’s entry-level tech training program. Additional partners and supporters for this new initiative include representatives from leading business, government and the community. This program is part of NOVA’s TechLadder initiative mission to promote digital literacy and career pathways to increase access to and advancement in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) industry cluster.

National Jobs Report Released for December
On January 10, the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics released the jobs report for December and the unemployment rate was 6.7 percent, down from 7.0 percent in November, with just 74,000 jobs added (the fewest in three years): retail trade added 55,000 jobs; wholesale trade added 15,000 jobs; professional and business services added 19,000 jobs; manufacturing added 9,000 jobs; health care jobs changed little; and information and construction each lost jobs of 12,000 jobs and 16,000 jobs, respectively. To read more, please visit, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm.

OFFICE OF THE CITY MANAGER

Sunnyvale’s Real Estate Market Continues to Thrive
Flight to quality remains a major trend in the Silicon Valley and Sunnyvale office and research and development (R&D) markets.  Companies view their space as a tool for attracting and retaining top engineering and creative talent. This, in turn, has fueled demand for well-renovated and newly constructed space.  Another trend is that companies, and their employees, are demanding access to transit alternatives.  Properties near public transportation, especially Caltrain stations, are in high demand.

Commercial real estate firm, Cornish & Carey Newmark Knight Frank, released the fourth quarter 2013 R&D and office market reports last week. Sunnyvale continues to be a market leader with very low vacancy rates.  Sunnyvale’s fourth quarter 2013 office vacancy rate is 6.83 percent compared to 7.58 percent in the third quarter 2013. The R&D vacancy rate is 8.90 percent in the fourth quarter 2013 and 8.70 percent in the third quarter 2013.

For comparison purposes, the following are rates for neighboring cities:

Office

2nd Q 2013

3rd Q 2013

4th Q 2013

Santa Clara

18.70%

20.88%

18.60%

Mountain View

3.09%

2.67%

3.03%

San Jose

15.88%

15.97%

16.03%

Sunnyvale

6.7%

7.58%

6.83%

R&D

2nd Q 2013

3rd Q 2013

4th Q 2013

Santa Clara

17.93%

15.57%

12.64%

Mountain View

10.98%

7.50%

5.98%

San Jose

17.69%

19.00%

19.54%

Sunnyvale

10.1%

8.7%

8.9%

For context purposes, the space Apple is currently leasing is considered primarily R&D; however, the Apple space in the downtown as well as on Benicia is considered office. The space Walmart.com leased on California Avenue is considered office.

Nerd Wallet Ranks Sunnyvale 14th in California for Job Seekers
Consumer education website Nerd Wallet issued their list of top California cities where job growth is thriving, ranking Sunnyvale 14th out of 20. To make their selections, Nerd Wallet assessed whether the city was growing, if you could afford to live there comfortably and whether most people were employed. The study analyzed 158 cities with population greater than 40,000 and based the results on factors such as population growth, median household income, monthly homeowner costs and unemployment rates. Read their article at http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/2014/best-cities-job-seekers-california/

Movoto Ranks Sunnyvale 3rd in Nation as Safest Mid-sized City
Real estate blog Movoto ranked Sunnyvale as the third safest mid-sized City in America. Six of their top 10 cities were in California and Sunnyvale was the only one in Northern California. Their methodology used FBI crime data and weighted rankings for three categories: total crimes, property crimes (burglaries, thefts, vehicle thefts) and violent crimes (murders, rapes, assaults). The study also used the number of crimes per year per 100,000 residents to make a fair comparison across cities. Read their full study here http://www.movoto.com/blog/top-ten/safest-mid-sized-cities-in-america/

2014 Council Study Issues Update
Between mid-December and the January 17 deadline Council sponsored several Study Issues. As papers are approved by the City Manager, they are posted to the City’s Study Issues website: StudyIssues.inSunnyvale.com; a list of pending papers is noted on the City Manager’s Info/Action Items Table which is included in the agenda packet under Information Only Reports/Items (at the end of the agenda). Staff-prepared Study Issue papers on these topics will be included in Council’s January 31 Study Issues supplemental packet.

International Friendly Exchange Relations Update
As of December 20, 2013, the City of Iizuka, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan formally signed the Friendship Exchange Relations Agreement with Sunnyvale, per Council’s previous approval of this item during its November 26, 2013 Council Meeting.  As per all Friendship Agreements, or Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs), this document will serve to promote a relationship of mutual cultural and educational exchange and the fostering of community and economic development.  Some past MOUs with other international jurisdictions include agreements with Pinghu, China and Suzhou, China.  The City also currently has a MOU with Dubna, Russia.  For additional details and sample MOU copy, please see Council Policy 7.3.24.