Council Statements Regarding CV LinkIn citing text from the meeting minutes, others' comment is not often included, and no ellipses are provided.
16 July 2015The City Council met in regular session.
- "10. CV Link Update
- "Mayor Hobart reported that CV Link proponents have taken the position that future operations and maintenance ( 0&M) costs will be paid with Measure A funds. The City of Rancho Mirage submitted a brief, suggesting that it may not be legal to use Measure A funds for this purpose. The proponents retained Best Best and Krieger ( BB& K) for an opinion. BB& K provided a written opinion that it is legal to use some Measure A funds for part of CV Link 0&M expenses. The Law Offices of Steve Quintanilla & Associates ( Q& A) provided an opinion that it is probably not legal to do so. Prior to agreeing to the use of Measure A funds, the City of Rancho Mirage must know that it is legal. If it turns out that Measure A funds are unavailable, the amount of money required by Cities will increase significantly. At the last Coachella Valley Association of Governments ( CVAG) Executive Committee Meeting, Rancho Mirage representatives presented a motion to retain an outside, major, independent law firm for a full and complete opinion as to whether Measure A funds will be available. The majority of the CVAG Executive Committee voted down the motion. Mayor Hobart stated that, in his view, having an opinion from BB& K is a problem due to the fact that they represent the Riverside County Transportation Commission ( RCTC) and the City of Palm Desert, and have represented CVAG with respect to CV Link. It would be difficult for them to be totally objective, so for the security of each city' s financial commitment, there should be a legal opinion from a legal firm having no contact with any of the parties involved with the project.
- "Public Comment - None."
15 October 2015The City Council met in regular session.
- "NON -AGENDA PUBLIC COMMENT
- "Andy Elchuck, Indian Wells, thanked Council for taking a lead position in dealing with
CV Link and commented that tax payers and voters should be included in the process.
- "Allen Worthy, Palm Springs, stressed the importance of listening as opposed to simply
- "Nikohl Vandel, Palm Springs, suggested allowing a pathway simply for bicycles and
stressed the importance of listening to one another regarding needs.
- "CITY COUNCIL/BOARD MEMBER COMMENTS
- "Councilmember Smotrich commented that a recent Desert Sun editorial was inappropriate, unfairly critical of the City, and harshly criticized Mayor Hobart. She said the article was self-serving to the newspaper and lacked any positive suggestions. She added that taking $ 1 million from Measure A funds to annually finance CV Link is contrary to its intended use.
- "Mayor Hobart commented that the " shoot the messenger" approach of the Desert Sun Editorial Board said more about the newspaper than it did about him. In response to the article's claim that CV Link is a vision of the future embraced by Board Members, he said there is a maximum of 11 votes on the CVAG Executive Committee and those 11 individuals created this project without input from residents. He suggested that each City have a separate vote on the project. In response to the article' s statement that the project is beneficial to the community, he clarified that Rancho Mirage has long supported a bicycle and pedestrian path that would positively impact residents. The City does not support significantly increasing costs by adding Neighborhood Electric Vehicles ( NEVs) and Low -Speed Electric Vehicles ( LSEVs). In response to the article' s assertion that all public investment comes with a measure of faith and the newspaper has faith that necessary funding will come together, he stated that funding should be approached in a responsible way, as more than faith is needed in business. He said the ability to raise money must also be shown.
- "Mayor Hobart said the Desert Sun failed to offer a suggestion addressing the fact that not all cities have their portion of the $ 1. 6 million necessary for the first year of operation and maintenance ( O& M) costs. CVAG recommended a formula based upon bed tax earned by cities, indicating that Rancho Mirage would pay around $ 22, 000 in the first year and approximately $ 251, 000 in the ninth. He said Council will not impose that on residents without a vote and that the Desert Sun is endorsing a project with problems for which solutions have not been identified.
- "Mayor Hobart provided background on the initial approval of Measure A, explained the intended use of related funding, and provided a brief history on how the funds have been used throughout the Coachella Valley. He said CV Link is a new project and applying Measure A funds to it would take funding away from Riverside County roads that have long been identified as needing repair.
- "Administrative Services Director Isaiah Hagerman projected that annual CV Link O& M costs will increase to approximately $2 million within nine years of project completion.
- "Mayor Hobart said CVAG should have met with each city to determine appropriate routes. Rancho Mirage prohibited the use of Highway 111 for CV Link and offered Ramon Road. CVAG was not satisfied with the offer and continued with a $ 150,000 environmental impact study including Highway 111.
- "Mayor Hobart commented that, regardless of how special interests try to paper over this 100 million purchase, an enlightened public will continue to demand a public vote. The newspaper's endorsement of taking $ 1 million annually out of Measure A roadway improvement funds is tacit recognition that CVAG has failed to solve the financial quagmire that CV Link is in. Support for annually withdrawing $ 1 million is misleading, since it will reach $ 2 million annually in 36 years.
- "Mayor Hobart said he believes the vast majority of Valley residents do not want our roadway improvement Measure A funds turned over to support the CV Link pathways for NEVs and LSEVs. He said the newspaper's support for avoiding a public vote shows little faith in the democratic process, but democracy is alive and well in Rancho Mirage.
- "Mayor Hobart thanked the community for their support.
- "12. Consideration of Resolutions, Ordinance and Ballot Measures to Protect the City of Rancho Mirage's Local Control of its Streets and Traffic and to Allow Rancho Mirage Residents to Voice their Opinions on Substantive Issues Pertaining to CVAG's Proposed CV Link Project and it's Cost to the Taxpayers.
- "A. Adopt Resolution No. 2015- 107, that: ( a) prohibits neighborhood electric vehicles in certain areas and on certain streets within the jurisdiction of the City of Rancho Mirage; ( b) prohibits a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle Plan from including any area within the iurisdiction of the City of Rancho Mirage unless the area is approved first by an ordinance of the City of Rancho Mirage; and ( c) prohibits any portion of CV Link or similar pathway from including any area within the jurisdiction of the City of Rancho Mirage:
- "B. Introduce Ordinance No. 1099, 1st Reading, that: ( a) prohibits neighborhood electric vehicles in certain areas and on certain streets within the iurisdiction of the City of Rancho Mirage: ( b) prohibits a Neiqhborhood Electric Vehicle Plan from including any area within the
- iurisdiction of the City of Rancho Mirage unless the area is approved first by an ordinance of the City of Rancho Mirage; and ( c) prohibits any portion of CV Link or similar pathway from including any area within the jurisdiction of the City of Rancho Mirage:
- "C. Adopt Resolution No. 2015- 108, that calls and notices the holding of an advisory election on the same date of the City's General Municipal Election, set for April 12, 2016, for the purpose of submitting to the City's qualified voters five advisory measures concerning the proposed CV Link proiect, which is a paved pathway proposed by the Coachella Valley Association of Governments ( CVAG) that will be approximately 50 miles long, accommodate pedestrians, bicycles and neighborhood vehicles that can travel up to 25 miles per hour;
- "D. Adopt Resolution No. 2015- 109, placing a measure on the ballot of the City's General Municipal Election asking the voters: " Shall the voters of Rancho Mirage require that any amendment or repeal of Ordinance No. 1099 that prohibits Neighborhood Electric Vehicles ( NEVs) in certain areas and on certain streets within the iurisdiction of the City of Rancho Mirage require prior voter approval?"; and
- "E. Designate the Mayor or his designee or designees on the Rancho Mirage City Council to prepare the Arguments in " Favor" of Measure 6 and the Arguments " Against Approval" of Advisory Measures 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, on behalf of the Rancho Mirage City Council.
- "Mayor Hobart noted slight language modifications made to the proposed ordinance and resolutions following agenda distribution.
- "City Attorney Quintanilla explained NEV regulations and read the ballot measures, including revisions.
- "City Manager Bynder presented the staff report.
- "Public Comment
- "Vic Gainer, Palm Springs, suggested allowing Butler Abrams Trail for the pedestrian and bicycle portion of the pathway. He commented that Mayor Hobart owes Mayor Jan Harnik an apology for treating her rudely when she chaired a recent CVAG Executive Committee meeting. He noted the health and financial benefits associated with CV Link and urged Council to be reasonable in their approach of the issue.
- "Jim Greenbaum, Rancho Mirage, commented that he respects and admires what
Council does for the community. He said he is vitally concerned with the welfare of the
Valley and implored Council to work with residents on this project for the betterment of
- "Martin Cohn, Rancho Mirage, commended Council for their efforts regarding CV Link and read a letter written by another resident in response to the Desert Sun editorial.
- "Joyce Virtue, Rancho Mirage, commended Council for taking a stand against CV Link and suggested that Mr. Kirk resign or be removed from office.
- "Erica Felci, CVAG, said CVAG staff spent years working with Rancho Mirage and other members on the CV Link plan and appreciated the City's support along the way. CVAG staff is aware of Council' s concerns regarding proposed routes and long term costs. They tried to provide answers through public meetings, correspondence, and responses to public records requests. They also attempted to find compromises that worked for Council. On October 13, 2015, CVAG' s Executive Director sent a letter to City Manager Bynder pledging CVAG's full support if the Mayor and Council reconsidered an option proposed in June to create a modified version of CV Link in Rancho Mirage which did not allow for NEVs. She requested that Council reconsider the ballot measures and continue to work through the regional planning process. She further requested that, if Council decides to move forward with the proposed ballot measures, that they do so in a way that does not mislead the public.
- "Mayor Hobart said that CVAG should have presented their proposals over the past several days, as waiting until this time makes them virtually undoable.
- "Jack McGraw, Thunderbird Cove HOA President, said he was also speaking on behalf of the other five Thunderbird HOAs, as their Presidents were not in town. He thanked Council for strongly opposing the Highway 111 route and promoting proper use of Measure A funds.
- "Roger Sack, Rancho Mirage, commented that the CV Link is financially and environmentally inappropriate.
- "Victor Yepello, Palm Springs, read a resolution in favor of the CV Link project on behalf of Friends of CV Link.
- "Murray Bryant, Rancho Mirage, spoke in opposition of the currently proposed CV Link project and thanked Council for their leadership and financial responsibility to the City. He commented that residents who fully understand the issues will support the Council. He also read a letter that he submitted to Council on September 29th.
- "Michael Fontana, Rancho Mirage, thanked Council for their efforts and acknowledged the harassment they have endured. He said that residents of the Butler Abrams Trail neighborhood expressed concerns with CV Link nearly a year ago, but were never contacted by CVAG. However, the City Council heard their concerns and began addressing the issue. He suggested that ballot measure language be revised to reflect that CV Link is a roadway, not a pathway, and to include low -speed vehicles in addition to NEVs.
- "Dell Smith, Sunrise Country Club HOA, commended Council for protecting the stability they worked to attain. He stated that, if the arithmetic is correct, the CV Link project cannot stand a cost benefit test.
- "Anne Winchester, Rancho Mirage, said she was excited about the project until it became a roadway and commended Council for allowing the City's citizens to vote on the issue.
- "Ron Sharrow, Rancho Mirage, commented that CV Link should not be promoted as a health benefit, because no matter where it is located, users will be traveling through air pollution caused by the recently approved electric generating plant.
- "Administrative Services Director Hagerman explained in detail how the language and numbers included in the ballot measures were prepared. He stated that CVAG may only legally use Measure A funds for O& M expenses if Measure A funds are used toward construction costs.
- "Mayor Hobart commented that the Desert Sun Editorial Board has not seen the information provided in Mr. Hagerman' s analysis. They are accepting what they are told by CVAG and editorial decisions lacking independent investigation are negative to the entire Valley.
- "City Attorney Quintanilla clarified that NEVs and LSEVs are identically defined in all applicable codes. Golf carts are defined differently and will not be allowed on CV Link. He said that an NEV Transportation Plan cannot be permitted in any City unless approved by the City Council of the jurisdiction. In addition, the California Vehicle Code allows City's to adopt an ordinance or resolution prohibiting the use of NEVs on any street or area in the City. He stated that, per the CA Elections Code, those allowed to submit arguments include City Council or any member of the City Council authorized by the City Council, individual voters who are eligible to vote on the measures, any bonafide association of citizens, or any combination of voters or associations. The Council may submit an argument either in favor or against a measure. However, they may not submit both an argument in favor and against a specific measure.
- "Councilmember Kite asked if Council should consider adding Butler Abrams Trail to Advisory Measure 5.
- "Michael Fontana said that on a personal level he had no objection to adding Butler Abrams Trail to Measure 5.
- "Mayor Hobart suggested revising the list of prohibited streets included in Items A and B by striking Ramon Road and adding Magnesia Falls Drive and Joshua Road.
- "A discussion ensued regarding the use of Ramon Road.
- "MOVED/SECONDED BY HOBART/WEILL TO ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2015- 107, PROHIBITING LOW -SPEED VEHICLES AND NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN CERTAIN AREAS AND ON CERTAIN STREETS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO MIRAGE, AND REVISING THE LIST OF PROHIBITED STREETS BY STRIKING RAMON ROAD AND ADDING MAGNESIA FALLS DRIVE AND JOSHUA ROAD. MOTION CARRIED 5/0.
- "MOVED/SECONDED BY HOBART/WEILL TO APPROVE ORDINANCE NO. 1099, 1ST READING, PROHIBITING LOW -SPEED VEHICLES AND NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN CERTAIN AREAS AND ON CERTAIN STREETS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO MIRAGE, AND REVISING THE LIST OF PROHIBITED STREETS BY STRIKING RAMON ROAD AND ADDING MAGNESIA FALLS DRIVE AND JOSHUA ROAD. MOTION CARRIED 5/ 0.
- "MOVED/SECONDED BY HOBART/SMOTRICH TO ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2015- 108, CALLING AND NOTICING THE HOLDING OF AN ADVISORY ELECTION ON THE SAME DATE OF THE CITY OF RANCHO MIRAGE GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION FOR THE PURPOSE OF ALLOWING THE VOTERS OF RANCHO MIRAGE TO VOICE THEIR OPINIONS ON CERTAIN SUBSTANTIVE ISSUES PERTAINING TO CV LINK, INCLUDING STATED LANGUAGE MODIFICATIONS AND THE ADDITION OF BUTLER ABRAMS TRAIL TO ADVISORY MEASURE 5. MOTION CARRIED 5/ 0.
- "MOVED/SECONDED BY HOBART/TOWNSEND TO ADOPT RESOLUTION NO. 2015-109, PLACING A MEASURE ON THE BALLOT OF THE CITY OF RANCHO MIRAGE GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION ASKING THE VOTERS: " SHALL THE VOTERS OF RANCHO MIRAGE REQUIRE THAT ANY AMENDMENT OR REPEAL OF ORDINANCE NO. 1099 THAT PROHIBITS NEIGHBORHOOD ELECTRIC VEHICLES (NEVs) IN CERTAIN AREAS AND ON CERTAIN STREETS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE CITY OF RANCHO MIRAGE REQUIRE PRIOR VOTER APPROVAL?" MOTION CARRIED 5/ 0.
- "MOVED/SECONDED BY
HOBART/SMOTRICH TO DESIGNATE THE MAYOR OR HIS DESIGNEE OR DESIGNEES ON
THE RANCHO MIRAGE CITY COUNCIL TO PREPARE THE ARGUMENTS IN " FAVOR" OF
MEASURE 6 AND THE ARGUMENTS " AGAINST APPROVAL" OF ADVISORY MEASURES 1,
2, 3, 4 AND 5, ON BEHALF OF THE RANCHO MIRAGE CITY COUNCIL. MOTION CARRIED 5/ 0."