Martinez Mayor's Message
Feb 09, 2018 09:59AM
● Published by Rob Schroder
We are already a month into the new year, and it is time
for me to start preparing for the annual State of the City Message. This year’s
event is again being hosted by the Martinez Chamber of Commerce and will be
held on February 13 at 8am at Creekside Church. In preparation for this event,
city staff has charted out the major accomplishments of 2017 and major
objectives for 2018. I will not go into great detail here but wanted to
highlight a few major accomplishments of 2017.
- Measure H Parks & Library Improvements are
wrapping up with the final few projects under construction now, with a few
(including Golden Hills Park) to commence in 2018. The last large project
(Waterfront Park) is an $8 million project that rebuilds the aging baseball fields
with new grading, irrigation, pathways, lighting, parking, and a professional
field that will be the home of the Martinez Clippers.
- Paving included the long awaited Center Avenue
overcrossing and Morello Avenue undercrossing at Highway 4, over 30,000 sq. ft.
of street repairs in the Brandview and
Vista Way areas, and over 171,300 square yards of resurfacing of streets. With
the successful passage and implementation of the ½ percent sales tax dedicated
to roads and streets, our future paving budgets will be tripled, allowing us to
pave many residential streets that have been neglected for years.
- The interim dog park was constructed and opened
at Waterfront Park at the Marina Amphitheatre. Over the next year, a permanent
site will be located, and plans for financing and construction will begin.
- The downtown core continues its renaissance,
with quite a bit of construction taking place to upgrade buildings for new
tenants. New businesses are opening every month.
- The city continues to have talks with the owners
of Alhambra Highlands on purchasing the property for public open space. This
property is the beautiful ridgeline above Alhambra Avenue from Forest Hills to
Virginia Hills, which was once owned by John Muir and the Strenzels.
- City finances remain healthy, with a general
fund budget of $22 million and an unrestricted reserve fund (savings account
for emergencies) of $8.6 million.
On the issue of district elections, the city council has
held three of the five required public hearings. The first public hearing was primarily
an educational session for the public and the city council on the required
California Voting Rights Act (CVRA) process. The second public hearing was to again
review that process and take public testimony on the issue. At that meeting,
the city council directed staff to come back at the third public hearing with
examples of district maps that were inclusive and did not segregate one
neighborhood against another. They also directed staff to move forward with
four districts and retain the at-large, directly elected mayor.
At the third public hearing, proposed maps developed by
the demographer and the public were discussed, and public testimony was again
taken. At the fourth public hearing, testimony will again be taken, and then
the city council will give direction to the staff to return at the fifth public
hearing with a proposed ordinance for adoption.
Although I disagree with moving to district elections in
a city the size of Martinez, with no specific neighborhoods clustered with
“protected classes,” we need to adopt districts that benefit all neighborhoods
in the entire city and not pit one area of the city against another for
resources and services.
Mayor Rob Schroder