Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

Citizen About Town

Citizen About Town

By Nancy C. Arcuri, Editor and Publisher

Email: nancyarcuri@thecitizensvoice.net

During the July 5th meeting the Monterey Park City Council discussed our street sweeping contract as agenda 5-A.

I thanked the Councilmembers and staff for complying this new report with input from most of the 31 San Gabriel Valley COG cities.  It listed the name of the contractor, the cost per curb mile and the date of the contracts. It was very interesting to read their report that can be located on the city’s website.

Six cities have their own in house services sweeping their streets.

Eight of these cities have included their street sweeping services in their waste hauler’s contracts.

Monterey Park’s Measure BB seems to exclude us from this idea because we have to go out to bid for our waste hauling service.

We currently have a street sweeping contract with Athens Services who our and will continue be our residential waste hauler and one of two of our commercial waste haulers when the new contract is signed.

The staff report lists 13 other cities that have current contracts with Athens Services for their street sweeping services with their curb mile rate.

This staff report also states our street sweeping service will be fully funded with our Gas Tax Fund so these services will not be paid out of our General Fund.

I asked the Council for the cost in employees’ hours for collecting data for this report and the additional cost in employees’ hours if you vote to go out to bid for this service.

I realize that some past and current elected officials have issues with Athens Services.

This Council’s decision should be based on the highest and best use of our city’s funds.

I am a senior citizen living on a fixed income so I am very conservative on how I spend my money.

We cannot afford another $60,000 in lost revenue because we went out to bid on our tree service.

That $60,000 could have paid to fill in hundreds of our pot holes or paid for other necessary city services.

Since you are spending our money I strongly suggest you have our staff negotiate a new contract with Athens Services.

Councilmember Hans Liang asked staff if any extra funds were spent on this report. Tito Haes said the staff member prepared this report as one on her normal duties. No outside services were used for this project. He agreed to have Athens renegotiate a new contract for a better rate.  The city just had their Budget Hearings and money is tight with no extra cash.

Councilmember Peter Chan thanked staff for this report. He remarked that Athens does a good job and wants a better deal for our street sweeping services. He stated a RFP could cost us a higher rate for services. He suggested that Council review a new contract and decide if their want to go out to bid at a later date.

Tito Haes stated that the contract is up for renewal on August 31, 2017 but Athens has agreed to continue their services on a month-to-month base until their can

renegotiate their contract with the city.

Mayor Pro Tem Stephen Lam said Athens provides quality service to Monterey Park he wants to keep Athens Services and have staff renegotiate their contract for a lower price.

Councilmember Mitch Ing said he favors the RFP system. Athens has been serving Monterey Park for the last 53 years as our waste hauler and now the street sweeping services too. We went our to bid for our waste hauler services and Athens had the lowest bid. He agreed having Athens renegotiate a new contract with a lower price would be best for our city.

Gary Clifford from Athens Services was available to answer any questions for the Council. He remarked that his experience as both an elected official in Glendora and a vendor. He said that Athens would renegotiate the best deal for Monterey Park and their company.

Mayor Teresa Real Sebastian suggested the Council may get a real discount if they go out to RFP with some of the other companies list in the staff report. She wants to include sweeping up the bus stops as part of the deal.

After a lengthy discussion the Councilmembers Mitch Ing, Hans Liang, Peter Chan and Stephen Lam voted for staff to renegotiate their street sweeping contract with Athens Services with some extra services. Teresa Real Sebastian abstained on this agenda item.

Staff will bring the new contract back to Council for their approval at a later date.

Ron Bow pulled agenda item 6-D Polling Places from the agenda for further research by staff.

The agenda was about polling places and The California Voter Participation Rights Act (SB 415) that requires the counties handle all of the elections.

Los Angeles County located the polling places in the March 2017 elections and failed to have a polling place in the Monterey Highlands.

Councilmember Mitch Ing stated the voters in Monterey Highlands, our largest voting precinct, had to travel outside of their neighborhood to vote in our March election. He was concerned that many of these elderly voters were not able to vote.

In fact the voter turnout across the county was much lower since the county has been running the elections.  It also took a longer time until Los Angeles County and then the local cities validated the Election results.

I want to suggest when we host our elections in March 5, 2019 and March 3, 2020 please be sure to have polling places located in all of the neighborhoods the since some voters had to travel to cast their votes outside of their neighborhood. That was a hardship to the senior voters who no longer drive.

Maybe our Spirit bus can give voters a ride to their polling places on Election Day.

I see the future of our divine rights to cast our ballots in any of our elections in danger since the voters would be forced by Los Angeles County and the state of California to either travel to their new voting centers and use their new voting systems or use their vote by mail ballots.

I wonder what our founding fathers would think of their actions that could prohibit voters from making last minute changes to their votes.

I believe that our county and state governments are trying to alter our voting rights with their new laws.

Many voters, young and old, may decided that our government is getting too involved in our right to vote and decide not to bother to vote at all.

The California Voter Participation Rights Act (SB 415) could reduce the number of voters in California. That would defeat their sole purpose to improve the numbers of California voters. It could also enhance voter fraud in all of our elections by the government deciding who gets to vote and in which neighborhoods.

I believe that the California Senate should review this law and provided

improvements to it making our voting rights equal for all of us.

California residents should investigate The California Voter Participation Rights Act (SB 415) to be sure your right to vote will not be lost in some questionable system set up by California politicians.

Happy Birthday to all of us in the United States of America!

Our America has been the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” since 1776.

We must continue to vigilant to protect our country from all enemies both within our country and those people who want to destroy our freedoms with their socialist ideas and their hateful actions.

The military members keep reminding us “Freedom is not Free”.  It is up to all of us to protect our families, friends, neighbors and United States.

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