City Administrators Weekly Report

November 4, 2008



Expanded Customer Service is Now Being Offered at the 3rd Floor Building Safety Counter

The department is now able to have a building inspector assigned to the counter to assist our customers.  Customers are pleased that when field questions arise daily, they are immediately being answered.  When times are busy, the inspector can issue permits in order to reduce customer wait times.  Inspectors are well equipped to answer questions about residential alterations and additions because of their field experience.  This staffing will continue on a rotational basis since the service does not only assist our customers, it also provides cross training to our inspectors.


Early Voting was a Big Success

The final tally of Orange County citizens casting an electronic vote here at City Hall during early voting was 1,405; an additional 86 voters turned in their Vote-by-Mail ballots to our election workers.  The City Clerk’s staff would like to thank those employees who fielded misrouted phone calls, who helped voters with directions to the polling place, and for allowing us to use B-7 exclusively for those seven days.  Human Resources was especially cooperative in relocating already scheduled meetings to other rooms.  The next voting opportunity is Election Day, November 4.  Citizens will not be able to vote at City Hall.  Orange County registered voters must either vote at their assigned polling place, which is identified on their sample ballot, or they may vote provisionally at an alternate polling site within the county, or vote at the OC Registrar of Voters office at 1300 So. Grand, Bldg. C, Santa Ana.  If they need help finding their polling place, residents can visit, enter their address, and their polling place will be displayed.  The City Clerk’s staff will also be happy to help anyone obtain this information.  On Election Day, a City Clerk staff member will be in the office to field questions related to the election until 8 p.m.  The office phone number is (714) 536-5227.


Huntington Beach Senior Services

Friday Afternoon at the Movies – The Michael E. Rodgers Seniors Center, located at 1706 Orange Avenue, will be showing the movie Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, on Friday, November 7, at 12:30 p.m.  The movie is Rated G, and the movie and popcorn are free!  Come early and enjoy the Community Senior Serv lunch at 11:30 a.m. for a recommended donation of $2.50 for seniors 60+.  The menu is Chicken & Pesto.  Seniors on the Go provides transportation for the movies and other activities at Rodgers Seniors Center.  To reserve a ride, call (714) 374-1742.

Marine Safety

On October 27, at the request of Orange County Animal Control, Marine Safety Officer Steve Reuter rescued an injured pelican from the Slater Flood Control Channel.  Animal Control Officers had received numerous calls about an injured pelican during the previous week.  They had been unsuccessful in their attempts to rescue the injured bird.  Animal Control requested a lifeguard who could enter the dirty water of the flood control channel and assist with the rescue.  Marine Safety Officer Steve Reuter and Marine Safety Lieutenant Greg Crow responded to the call.  When they arrived on scene, three Animal Control Officers had formulated a plan to use a net gun to capture the pelican.  They asked MSO Reuter to stay in the water in case the pelican entered the water after being trapped in the net.  MSO Reuter entered the brackish water on a paddleboard.  After the net gun failed to ensnare the pelican, MSO Reuter calmly paddled up to the injured bird and maneuvered it over to the muddy channel bank and into the arms of an Animal Control Officer.

Oak View Family and Community Center

The City of Huntington Beach, together with the Children’s Bureau, will re-dedicate the gymnasium at the Oak View Family and Community Center after the successful completion of a recent renovation project to update the facility.  The gymnasium was completed in 1984 and, after many years of use by the community, was ready for a face lift!  City departments, including Community Services, Economic Development, and Public Works, have worked closely with the Oak View Collaborative community partners to coordinate the project.  Mayor Debbie Cook will be addressing the community at the event, scheduled for 12 noon on Friday, November 7.


Review Period for Downtown Specific Plan NOP Opens Thursday

A Notice of Preparation and Initial Study have been prepared for the Downtown Specific Plan Update.  The Notice of Preparation, in conjunction with Environmental Assessment No. 08-015, identifies the potential environmental impacts associated with the proposed Huntington Beach Downtown Specific Plan Update.  The DTSP Update proposes to reconfigure 11 existing districts into seven new districts with the intent to encourage and facilitate development opportunities within the DTSP area by revising development standards including increases in allowable densities, floor area ratios, and building heights for certain districts.  The DTSP Update is also proposing to amend the Downtown Parking Master Plan and incorporate Design Guidelines to create a “one-stop” document that would guide development in the Downtown area.  Additionally, the DTSP Update provides recommendations for streetscape improvements, public amenity requirements, circulation improvements (including the realignment of portions of 6th Street and Walnut Avenue), and mobility enhancements within the DTSP area.  The Notice of Preparation (NOP) will be available for public review and comment for 30 days commencing Thursday, November 6, and ending Friday, December 5.


Hand Grenade Found at Rainbow Environmental Services

At 12:10 p.m., on Thursday, October 30, three units from the fire department responded to Rainbow Environmental Services to assist the police department with a reported hand grenade.  The police and fire departments worked together to establish a perimeter and isolate the affected area.  The grenade was located in an outside yard area away from any buildings.  The Orange County Sheriff Bomb Squad responded and determined the grenade to be a signal-type device.  The grenade was removed from the site by the bomb squad.  This was the second device of similar type found by Rainbow employees in the past two days.  The devices were likely disposed in the trash by someone trying to get rid of them.  No injuries occurred, and no property damage was sustained.

Change your Clock, Change your Battery

When you changed your clock back one hour on Sunday, hope you remembered to also change your batteries in your smoke detectors.  If not, it is still not too late.  Changing smoke detector batteries is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce deaths and injuries.  In addition to changing the batteries, the fire department recommends replacing any smoke detector that is ten years old or older.  Children and older adults are most at risk.  A working smoke detector can give them the extra seconds they need to get out safely. 


Library Research from Home

It’s ironic that as the internet evolves and continues to grow, reliable information online can be even harder to find for some users.  Students looking for newspaper and journal articles online are now faced with having to pay for that information.  Demographic, financial, and statistical information has become particularly hard to find for business owners and researchers.  With these challenges in mind, the Huntington Beach Library made a decision over the last two years to expand its online database collection, a decision which has paid off with our customers.  Usage has increased 50% over the last year (this September there were 9,101 searches done in the library’s online databases compared with 6,046 last September), with a majority of the users accessing the library from their home computers.  These databases, like the books in the library collection, are always under evaluation by professional library staff as they strive to select the resources best suited to meet today’s research demand.

Library Support Group Event

The Friends of the Library will be presenting Nicole Mones and her latest book, The Last Chinese Chef, at the November Author’s Luncheon, a fundraiser for the Library System.  Nicole Mones ran a textile business in China for 18 years, building relationships and learning about China before she turned to writing.  Nicole Mones also authored A Cup of Light and Lost in Translation.  She writes a column on Chinese food in the specialty magazine Gourmet.  Her work has also appeared in the LA Times, Washington Post, and New York Times Magazine.  Book sales and signings are offered before and after the luncheon.  The event is scheduled for Friday, November 7; reservation payments are due by Monday, November 3.  Please make checks payable to FOTL and mail to 7111 Talbert Avenue, Huntington Beach, CA 92648 or deliver to the Friends Gift Shop.  For questions, you may contact the Friends Gift Shop at (714) 375-8429.


Code Enforcement Outreach on Newsrack Ordinance

Staff from the Neighborhood Preservation and Code Enforcement Division will be initiating efforts to implement the newly amended Newsrack Ordinance for all newsracks located within the public right of way in the Downtown Specific Plan area.  An introduction letter, along with an informational brochure, application form, and a copy of the newly amended ordinance, will be sent out to all newsrack owners/vendors informing them of the recent changes and newly adopted standards.  A Newsrack Workshop has also been scheduled for Thursday, November 20.  It is the city’s goal for newsrack owners/distributors subject to this ordinance to have the information they need to not only comply with the intent of the ordinance, but to maintain relationships with city staff and customers to positively impact the community.  All newsracks located within the public right of way in the Downtown Specific Plan area must submit an application, obtain installation approval, and be issued a new newsrack permit prior to December 31, 2008.  For additional information, please contact Senior Code Enforcement Officer Mike Fuentes via e-mail at [email protected] or by telephone at (714) 536-5261.


Police Officer Returns from Military Reserve Duty

Officer Tim Emanuel was assigned to active military duty in the United States Marine Corps Reserves 10 months ago. He served the majority of his time at Camp Lemmier located in Djibouti, Africa. While stationed at this facility, flags were flown over the camp honoring the dedication of all Reservists to the country and their local communities. Officer Emanuel received one of those flags and, upon returning from overseas last week, presented it to the Police Department. The flag is secured in a case, along with a certificate from the Marine Corps, and will be proudly displayed at the department. We are appreciative of the service Officer Emanuel provided to the country and look forward to his return as a police officer in Huntington Beach.


Recyclable Materials Anti-Scavenging Program

Scavenging (the act of unauthorized persons searching through recycling or refuse containers) is illegal in Huntington Beach.  To help keep scavengers from stealing recyclables, residents should not store trash and recycling carts in the street or alleyway between collections.  If using a dumpster, secure it in an enclosure or with a locking lid.  The Public Works Department maintains a full-time employee dedicated to scavenging enforcement.  This position is funded by Rainbow Environmental Services through the franchise agreement with the city.  The Scavenging Enforcement Officer proactively patrols the city’s trash routes and responds to reports of scavenging received from residents, businesses, and our trash collectors.  If you observe someone engaged in this illegal activity, report the incident to Scavenging Enforcement at (714) 374-1739.  Please do not approach the individual and do not dial police emergency at 911.  Between July 1 and September 30, the Scavenging Enforcement officer received 90 calls reporting scavenging throughout the city and spent 203 hours responding to requests for service and proactively patrolling the trash routes.  In 122 separate incidents, individuals suspected of scavenging were informed of the ordinance and issued warnings.  There were seven incidents where scavenging was observed and citations were issued.

Did you know?

The Huntington Beach Fire Department conducts free home fire safety inspections for seniors.  You can also get a free smoke detector with a 10 year battery and carbon monoxide detector installed.  This free service is provided by Project SHIP senior home inspection program volunteers. You can schedule an appointment online or call 714-374-1615.

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