March 09 , 2009
What is Sunshine Week?
It’s not about finally getting a start on your summer tan. Sunshine Week, March 15 – 21, 2009, is a national initiative developed to open dialogue about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Though initially spearheaded by journalists, Sunshine Week is about the public’s right to know what its government is doing, and why. Sunshine Week seeks to enlighten and empower people to play an active role in their government at all levels, and to give them access to information that makes their lives better and their communities stronger.
The Sunshine Week initiative is increasing public awareness and is coming up more often in policy conversations. Citizens are more sophisticated about the kinds of information they have a right to see, where to get it, how to get it and what to do if someone tries to keep it from them.
Since her initial election in 2005, it remains a very high priority of the City Clerk that all our records are available as quickly and as completely as possible. She encourages our citizens to inspect our records via the city’s Website at: http://records.surfcity-hb.org/.
Quick Tip of the Week – Meet-n-Greet
Are your customers greeted when they walk in the door or at least within 30-40 seconds upon entering? Is it possible they could come in, look around, and go out without ever having their presence acknowledged? It is ironic it took a discount merchant known for price, not service, to teach the retail world the importance of greeting customers at the door. Could it be that’s because Sam Walton knew this simple, but important gesture is a matter of respect; saying "we appreciate your coming in," should have nothing to do with the price of merchandise?
COMMUNITY SERVICES DEPARTMENT
Huntington Beach Senior Services
Shared Housing – Because the need for affordable housing remains an ongoing need for seniors, Huntington Beach Senior Services designed an innovative Shared Housing program to try to meet this challenge. This new service was developed to increase options for seniors with the desire to age in place and increase the availability of housing options for people in the Huntington Beach area. Seniors Outreach Staff will collect information from both home providers and home seekers linking people with similar ideas. Interested parties can complete an in-person registration packet with photo I.D. at Seniors Outreach, 1718 Orange Avenue, Huntington Beach. For information call 714-960-2478 and ask to speak with the Social Worker of the Day.
The Community Services Department is offering several Spring Camps in April:
Details, fees, times, and locations can be found in the Spring SANDS Bulletin that was recently mailed to all Huntington Beach residents. You can also access the information at the city’s website at www.surfcity-hb.org. Mail-in registration is taking place NOW.
E-Bay Selling Basics
Learn the insider secrets of selling from an E-Bay trained Educational Specialist with over ten years of experience. Learn how to open your E-bay account, what to sell first, setting up your first auction, and creating an eye-grabbing listing. The class cost is $60 and is held on Tuesday, March 10, March 17, and March 24 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Murdy Park Community Center. See your SANDS Bulletin for registration information.
Junior Lifeguard Preparation
Summer is just around the corner which means so is the start of Junior Guards! This is an opportunity for your children to improve their swimming skills and learn tricks to improve their time in order to gain a spot in this summer’s Junior Guard Program, whether it is the city or state program. Classes are conducted at the Marina High School Pool on Springdale and Edinger. Classes begin THIS WEEK so check out the class details on page 39 of the current SANDS Bulletin.
Beach Clean Up
The City of Huntington Beach Division will be hosting a Centennial Beach Clean Up on Saturday, March 14, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Volunteers will be meeting on the beach under the white pop up tent in front of Lifeguard Headquarters located at Pacific Coast Highway and 1st Street (one block south of the Pier). Free parking will be available at that same location. Representatives from Beach Operations and Urban Runoff Management will be on hand distributing informational brochures and answering question about ocean pollution. Bags and gloves will be provided, but please bring your own sunscreen. All ages are welcome. Join us on the beach for a fun and rewarding day doing something great for the environment. For further information, please call 714 536 5614.
Parking & Camping
Sunset Vista continues to be an extremely popular camping spot with the RV community. Weekends are completely booked through May 31 - the end of the camping season. In addition, the week before and after Easter are booked to capacity and weekdays are running at about a 50% capacity. It is strongly recommended patrons check the camping availability on the city’s website at www.surfcity-hb.org as staff is constantly making and updating reservations.
Huntington Beach Art Center - City Reconsider
An opening reception for City Reconsider will be held on Friday, March 13, 2009, from
7:00 - 9:00 p.m. at the Huntington Beach Art Center. The exhibition will run from March 14 through April 12. Exhibition artists include: LAC, Luisa Cohrs, Mary Dessert, Anna Friesen, Trang Le, and Robin Repp. This contemporary exhibition is an experiment in using the Huntington Beach Art Center as an incubator for creativity. Utilizing the previous Ebb & Flow exhibition, cultural producers from HB met at HBAC to examine the history of the City of Huntington Beach. The artists reconsidered developmental aspects of the city such as transportation, planning of public and private spaces, and economic resource distribution.
The artists will engage, enrage, entertain, and uplift, inspiring citizens to reflect on their own opinions of how things could have/should have been. The HBAC is located at 538 Main St. and gallery hours are Wed. - Sat., from 12 - 6 pm. For more information call 714.374.1650.
Redevelopment Project Area Amendment
On March 2, 2009, the City Council/Redevelopment Agency reviewed the results of a feasibility study required to begin the process of adding additional commercial areas to the Huntington Beach Merged Project Area and increasing the cap on tax increment revenue that can be received from the Project Area. Adding additional commercial areas – primarily shopping centers - to the existing project area will allow the Agency to use its financial tools to assist businesses and property owners in making necessary upgrades, helping to attract quality tenants that provide increased service to the community, as well as increased property and sales tax revenues that can be used to support City services and can be reinvested into the project area.
Adding area to the Agency will assist in eliminating blight. This is the primary goal for which Project Areas and Redevelopment Agencies exist. The Council has directed staff to move forward with the studies necessary to begin the process. The studies will take varying degrees of time and the results will be presented to the Council for further discussion. For more information contact Simone Slifman, Project Manager at [email protected] or (714) 375-5186.
Commuter Summary Report 2009 – AQMD Annual Survey
The results of the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) Rule 2202 employee commute survey have been calculated. The City conducts this survey annually to comply with regulation efforts to reduce single vehicle employee work commutes and attain emission reduction standards set by Clean Air Acts for improved air quality. Mobile transportation sources account for nearly 60% of our air pollution. Alternative modes of transportation (carpool, walk, bike), compressed work week schedules (9/80, 4/10), and telecommuting are suggested methods for reducing emissions. The performance target for our region is an average vehicle ridership (AVR) of 1.5.
The City conducted the survey the week of December 15-20, 2008 to meet our annual compliance date of February 23, 2009. The Civic Center Complex surveyed 649 employees obtaining 612 responses for a response rate of 94%. This has exceeded previous years’ response rates.
The City has improved their AVR from 1.11 in 2007, 1.13 in 2008, and the current 1.168 AVR for 2009. These results are mainly attributed to the compressed work week schedules. The survey noted only 34 employees are using alternative transportation methods of walking (3), biking (7), bus (1), and carpool (23). Driving alone accounted for 565 employees, 92%. The remainder commuted by motorcycle. On the bright side, 282 employees requested RideGuide commute planners indicating an interest in alternative commute options.
The results indicate the City will require a vehicle reduction of approximately 375 vehicles weekly or 75 daily to meet the target goal of a 1.5 AVR. The survey indicated 275 employees live within a 5 mile radius of the Civic Center. These employees are potential walkers, bikers, and bus riders. Another 258 employees have commute distances of 5 to 25 miles and are potential carpoolers.
These figures clearly indicate City employees are in need of a “Low Carbon Diet.” Employees are encouraged to reduce their carbon consumption by collaborating with the Rideshare Coordinator (Noreen Swiontek) in developing an employee commute program. Take your first steps in this effort by completing the commute interest survey coming to your email this month. Let’s all commit to doing our part to Go Green! in HB.
Google has started a new information service that’s great for cell phones. Dialing 411 on most cell phone plans result in an extra charge, and another for the automatic connection to the number requested. The Google service is free for both. 1-800-GOOG-411
LIBRARY SERVICES DEPARTMENT
“It’s Your Money” – FREE Financial Workshops to be held at Central Library
Beginning Monday, March 23rd, the Huntington Beach Central Library will be hosting “It’s Your Money,” an eight-week series of workshops on personal finance and money management. The goal of the workshop is to provide attendees with tools to preserve their wealth, save estate, gift and income tax dollars, and learn how to find competent professionals.
Topics for the workshops include: Financial Planning, Annuities and Mutual Funds, Long Term Health Care, Equity Investing, Fixed Income Investing, and Investment Rules. These workshops will be moderated by Lisa Sellon of Professional Fiduciary Services, a company that provides trustee and executor services for individuals as well as charitable counseling for individuals and organizations. “It’s Your Money” will be held at Central Library’s Room C, on Mondays, from 1:30-3:00 pm, beginning March 23rd, for eight consecutive weeks. To RSVP for this event, or for further information, please contact Kathy Blassingame at 714-960-8836.
There’s Always Something New at the Library!
At the Library’s February kickoff of the free, downloadable audio book program, 402 visitors stopped by the information table or toured the Overdrive Digital Bookmobile. Technicians in the bookmobile demonstrated how easy it is to download audio books and listen to them on portable MP3 players. As a result of this successful program, library users of all ages are already accessing these titles and enjoying this popular new service. As patrons download audio books on topics such as leadership, financial planning, and foreign language learning, they’re also learning the many ways today’s cutting-edge library technology can help them in their daily lives. To download free audio books, visit the library’s new digital book website at http://e.hbpl.org.
Cast your Vote for your Favorite Book in the Children’s Department!
Children in the Primary (K-3), Intermediate (grades 3-6) and Middle/Junior High (grades 6-9) can help choose this year’s California Young Reader Medal award recipients by reading (or having read to them) all of the nominated books listed in their chosen reading category, and voting for their favorite! There are three books in the first two categories, and five in the highest reading category. The library has all the titles in its collection, so after a child has made his selection, there is a real ballot to fill out, a box to cast the ballot in, and a sticker with a book saying “I Voted!”. Votes are due on March 15, and once received, the winning results will be added to the ongoing lists kept in the children’s department.
P.T. the Therapy Dog to Visit the Children’s Library!
P.T., a three year old basset hound, visits the Children’s library and listens to children read once a month on Saturday afternoons. His next visit is March 14 at 2:00! Kids can practice their reading skills by reading aloud to P.T. Although some kids find it intimidating to read in front of classmates or other people, they love to read to a non-judgmental, calming dog. Teachers and principals find children in reading dog programs have greater self-esteem, better reading skills, and higher test scores. P.T. likes to snuggle with the kids and often gives them a bookmark or a treat for reading to him. He and his mom, Cathy, are part of the volunteer program B.A.R.K. (Beach Animals Reading with Kids) Reading Dogs.
Deadline for Design Review Board Vacancy This Friday
The deadline for applicants seeking the vacant position on the Design Review Board (DRB) is this Friday, March 13, 2009. The DRB assists the Director of Planning, Zoning Administrator, and Planning Commission with reviewing development plans and architectural drawings related to designated areas of the City, and providing recommendations. Ideally, the city is seeking individuals with a background in design, architecture, landscape architecture, or similar discipline. Any interested person must be a resident of Huntington Beach, and should be available to attend regularly scheduled meetings on the second Thursday of each month, at 3:30 PM, conducted at City Hall. Additional meetings are tentatively scheduled for the fourth Thursday of each month when necessary.
Individuals interested in the DRB position may go online at www.surfcity-hb.org./government/Boards&Commissions to fill out an application. The vacancies are open until filled. For any questions regarding the Design Review Board, please contact Andrew Gonzales, Design Review Board Secretary at (714) 374-1547.
2008 Calls for Service
In 2008 there were 239,643 emergency and non-emergency calls to the Huntington Beach Police Department Communications Center. Of these calls, 139,866 of them resulted in police officers being dispatched to calls for service. These calls for service do not include all the self initiated activity of police officers such as patrol checks, public assists, traffic enforcement, or handling crimes and disturbances they observe being committed in their presence.
In comparison, in 2007 there were 242,747 emergency and non-emergency calls to the Huntington Beach Police Department Communications Center. Of these calls, 134,757 of them resulted in police officers being dispatched to calls for service.
City’s Water Conservation Efforts
Total water consumption for the City was down 3.4% from calendar year 2007 to 2008. With Governor Schwarzenegger’s recent drought emergency declaration, Huntington Beach water customers are urged to continue and intensify their efforts to reduce consumption. Residents interested in a free audit of their water use should call the Public Works Utilities Division at 714-536-5921.
Construction going on in your neighborhood? Huntington Beach City Code allows for construction with an open building permit Monday-Saturday, 7AM-8PM. Work not requiring a permit may be completed Monday-Saturday, 8AM-8PM, and Sunday, 9AM-6PM.