Working Together to Put the Interests of the Community First

Thursday, September 15, 2011

It's Called a LULU

It's not the first time the little City of Signal Hill has gotten a LULU. And, probably won't be the last. A LULU?

Just like beauty, it's in the eye of the beholder. Depending on whether the eye sees beauty or something else, a LULU can have no effect or it can be a drag on property values. It also can make our life a giant headache or just be something to talk about. In government circles, a LULU is a locally undesirable land use. When a LULU comes along, residents and business owners get a bit worried. The usual response is "well, I'm not personally against it, but I wouldn't want to have one close to me."

On Oct. 4, 2011, the Signal Hill City Council will consider a LULU. It's setting the conditions on where a Tattoo and Body Piercing Studio can open it's doors. The question is how best to protect residences, schools, churches, parks and library from the possible downward drags on our quality of life and property values that tattoo parlors may bring.

How do we protect these sensitive areas? Well, the answer is by allowing LULUs in places where the damage is the least. First, there's the right zone. Then, the question is how far from residences, schools, churches, parks and library should they be located?

The city Planning Commission already decided that locations that are at least 500 feet (about a football field and a half) from residences, schools, churches, parks and library is good enough. But, it was a 3-2 vote. The two no votes wanted the distance to be 1,000 feet.

The City Council will take up the same question. The Council can accept the Planning Commission decision or it can change it.

The choice is between 500 feet or 1,000 feet. What do you think?

Call the Council (562) 989-7300. Let your voice be heard.

Friday, August 26, 2011

City Council's $610,000 No-Bid Contract

A $610,000 NO-BID contract was approved by the Signal Hill City Council for architectural design services for the new library project. On Aug. 16, only Councilmember Ed Wilson voted against the NO-BID proposal. He told his council colleagues and Ken Farfsing, city manager, that all contracts above a certain amount should go out to bid. But, council members Tina Hansen, Larry Forester and Ellen Ward (Michael Noll was absent) saw no problem with the city manager's idea.

The NO-BID decision is even more troublesome since it contradicts the city's own financial policy to use a competitive bidding process to keep costs down. And, in these days of Signal Hill budget deficits, going out to bid is good, responsible fiscal policy. But, it's clear that keeping costs down is not a priority.

The NO-BID contract will be paid out of a $8,000,000 bond issued by the city's redevelopment agency. Right now, redevelopment agencies are working in very murky waters. The state legislature wants to get rid of them, take uncommitted agency money, and pay whatever is legally required. The state Supreme Court is now involved. Agencies are trying to figure out what they can legally do.

Some, like Long Beach, have opted to be very careful. Why? The decisions made by redevelopment agencies are linked to the city-side of finances. It's important to be careful.

If the state wins in court and sees the $610,000 NO-BID contract, the state may reject it and Signal Hill may get stuck with a bill it can not afford.

That NO-BID decision approved by just three votes ignores the basic principles of strong fiscal responsibility and careful management.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mission Statement

Working to put the interests of the community of Signal Hill, California first in the decisions that affect our Quality of Life, Property Values and the Cost of Living in this small city.

We do this by making our voices heard through increased public participation in city affairs to:
  • Achieve greater transparency and open government.
  • Achieve greater fiscal responsibility to keep public service costs down and create new revenue sources.
  • Ensure that all impacts of development be included in project costs.
  • Ensure fairness, responsiveness, efficiency and effectiveness in city operations.
  • Inspire and empower residents to participate in city affairs.