December 09, 2008
City Clerk’s Records Go Public
In late November, three groups of city records were made available to the public via “What’s New? Public Records Search Available Now” at http://records.surfcity-hb.org/. Anyone with a computer can now access City Council minutes, ordinances, and resolutions that go back as far as 1909. The City Clerk’s office is working to allow future access to contracts, records, deeds, and historical photographs. Since 2006, the Clerk’s office has worked diligently to scan, 100% quality control, and index over a half a million pages of records and place them into our electronic data storage system SIRE so that they are readily accessible to the public. At the same time as we backscan documents, we are continuing to store and index all new documents, preparing microfiche to be converted back to electronic data, and have just begun dialog with Information Services about integrating a GIS component into our system for the identification of deed locations. Because this is an on-going project with a high-level goal of storing every permanent record in our database, and because our highest priority is to ensure the integrity of our documents and to increase the transparency with which our citizens view city government, our progress is at times more like the turtle than the hare. However, we are very excited to begin sharing our new system with interested citizens and employees. In fact, employees can take advantage of in-house user training in early 2009. We realize that not every citizen has a computer, so we will continue to happily serve the public via the telephone and at our front counter. Anyone who has a question about our new system is invited to call Caren Ferrera, Senior Deputy City Clerk/Records Manager, at (714) 374-1559.
Quick Tip of the Week - Peer Factor
Form a discussion group with coworkers to study customer service issues. By sharing information, insights, and experiences, you have a better chance of formulating effective solutions.
COMMUNITY SERVICES DEPARTMENT
On Saturday, December 20, at 2 p.m., join us as “Skatedogs” presents Free-Style skateboarding with a free skateboarding demo, free raffle, free tacos, and free drinks. This free event will be held at Edison Community Center, 21377 Magnolia Street.
Huntington Beach Senior Services
On Thursday, December 11, beginning at 1 p.m., the Huntington Beach Council on Aging (HBCOA) will host a Holiday Luncheon at Michael E. Rodgers Seniors Center. Delight in the festive entertainment of the Academy of the Performing Arts Surfcity Singers, converse with great company, and enjoy a delicious meal catered by Suzanne’s. The menu will include cranberry and orange chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, and green bean almandine. You can also get your picture taken on Senior Santa’s lap and possibly win a wonderful gift basket. At the luncheon, the HBCOA will introduce its officers for 2009. All are welcome, but this is a very well-attended lunch so advance reservations are required. Prepay $5 at the Rodgers front counter. The Council on Aging is officially recognized by the Huntington Beach City Council as representing its local senior citizens.
LIBRARY SERVICES DEPARTMENT
New Volunteers for the Family Literacy Program
The Family Literacy Program, based at Oak View Branch Library, has trained 14 new volunteer literacy tutors since the summer. These volunteers come from all over Huntington Beach and even from some neighboring cities. Literacy volunteers are matched 1 to 1 or with a small group of 2-3 adults who are learning to read, write, and speak English. Tutors plan lessons and meet weekly with their learners. The Family Literacy Program currently has 124 students meeting with volunteers and many more waiting for help. Adult students report many positive changes in their lives after joining the literacy program, including better communication on the job, increased ability to help their children with homework, and better ability to function in their everyday lives.
Local Schools and Children’s Library Prepare for Author’s Festival in January
Three weeks ago, teachers and librarians from local schools came to the annual Authors Selection Day at the library to pick from the list of children’s authors that they would like to come visit their school. Each year, several local authors share their love of reading with our children by giving talks about their careers and how they got started – sometimes even inspiring a child to become a writer themselves. This event is in preparation for the upcoming Author’s Festival that takes place each year in January with events at both the schools and at the library. For more information, please visit our website at www.hbpl.org , or call (714) 375-5107.
PLANNING AND BUILDING & SAFETY DEPARTMENTS
New Trader Joes at Huntington Harbour Mall
On December 4, the Planning and Building & Safety Departments received plans for interior and exterior improvements for a new Trader Joes located at 16821 Algonquin Street. The new Trader Joes will occupy approximately 14,560 square feet of the 32,904 square feet Ralph’s building. Plans are expected to be completed through the Planning Department’s plan check process by December 12. The remaining space may be occupied by other retail tenants. The retail use of the remaining space is not known at this time.
MOU with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department
On November 18, the Orange County Board of Supervisors approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) allowing the Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) to share general law enforcement responsibilities with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) in the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and along the west bank of the Santa Ana River. This agreement mirrors the 2000 agreement between the same two agencies along the Orange County Flood Control channels. This agreement was facilitated in order to provide more efficient law enforcement service to the citizens of Huntington Beach. The HBPD receives a majority of the calls for service in these areas and has a practice of sending patrol officers in order to determine the nature of the incident and the jurisdiction. This agreement empowers the police officers of the Huntington Beach Police Department to take any necessary law enforcement actions in those areas that they encounter. This now includes the enforcement of the Orange County Ordinances.
Heil Avenue Widening
Work began last week on Heil Avenue to widen the street between Beach Boulevard and Silver Lane. The project will increase the traffic capacity from one to two lanes in each direction and add bike lanes. New curbs, sidewalks, block walls, and improved street lighting are included in the project. A new technology storm water treatment system will be installed to remove pollutants from the runoff water. The street surface will be covered with rubberized asphalt. This process required the full or partial acquisition of several properties, which was completed with the assistance of the Economic Development Real Estate Services Division. The property costs were substantially funded by a Master Plan of Arterial Highways (MPAH) grant. Additional grant funding from the OCTA Growth Management Area (GMA) in the amount of $300,000 supplements the $1 million construction cost. The balance of the project cost is budgeted from developer fees paid to the Traffic Impact Fund. The planned completion date is the end of March 2009.
The Huntington Beach Fire Department charges for emergency medical services and ambulance transportation. However, residents can join the FireMed Program and protect their out-of-pocket costs! Read more about the FireMed Program.