During last night’s City Council meeting, public comments stole the show as many residents expressed concerns with New Beginnings, Clean and Sober Living in their neighborhood where there has been police activity and safety concerns raised but little has been done to resolve the problem.
(Note, please excuse the residents spelling of their names if they are not correct)
Kim Reed – She spoke about how six people were living in a home near her house which had an increase of traffic and caused concerns. She explained how people come and go and that according to the owner they were following the rules. She explained how on Feb. 15, there was a person at the home who had a 51050 (Involuntary psychiatric hold) and that this same person also had a warrant for their arrest. She explained to the council how she saw pot being smoked and that this was not a “clean and sober” house, but rather they did not follow rules and it was an unsafe place. She has tried to seek answers, but the County and City keep putting this off on one another to seek answers.
Leslie Sager – She also spoke on this issue about how she is 5-houses away from Clean & Sober and that she is a licensed foster care provider and no longer feels safe with this house down the street. She expressed concerns for her children and told the council that this just wasn’t right.
Bob Gabral – expressed concerns for the neighborhood. He says that he knows Gary (the owner), but didn’t even know this was going on. He explained that if he did not let his own kid stay in his own home because of drugs, he does not believe they should have this type of home in his neighborhood.
Don Buckley – Expressed many of the same concerns, but had more questions of the council and the city of this even was allowed into the neighborhood without any awareness.
Gary Martin – He announced himself as owner of the New Beginnings, Clean and Sober Living and that it had not been his intention to create a disturbance. He expressed how he feels like his neighbors are singling him out when he is just trying to run a business and help people improve their lives. He explained how he made an effort to talk to neighbors, gave out his phone number, his manager’s number, have talked to them. He has improved screening of those staying there—no pedophiles or parolees. If someone is caught with drugs, they are removed from the program. He says they are here to help them. Asks that neighborhood not to point fingers or make remarks but rather help encourage them to get their lives together. He will be holding an open house on March 3 to come meet tenants and open to the neighborhood and others.
City Manager Bryan Montgomery – He explained to the council that nothing has been approved by the City and apparently has been approved elsewhere. From what he and staff has researched, there appears to be nothing that the council can do by either approving or disapprove. Mr. Montgomery explained that he has a similar home in his neighborhood for youths and it does cause problems and he prefers not to have these types of homes in his backyard either.
He told Mr. Martin that if we can find a way or method, we won’t approve this.
Vice Mayor Carol Rios stated that there was a similar problem a few years back and it went away because of problems it caused to the neighborhood. She expressed to Mr. Martin that the city will be holding his business to the same standards as the prior home. He will not be getting special preference because he is trying to help others, he gets the same standard. She expressed concerns over his background checks if he allowed someone with a warrant can truly be screened if he is allowed in the program.
Councilwoman Pat Anderson stated that whatever the outcome of this is, she encourages the City to put information on these types of pogroms on the website for people to know about ahead of time as well as improve the notification process.
Councilman Jim Frazier stated there has been a major disconnect in the approval process. If this has been approved on our behalf, we should know its coming. Mr. Frazier wants staff to look into how this was approved without a city business permit and home occupation licensee the city requires. Frazier stated that since there has been police activity and complaints, he wants the business billed for officer time.
Other City Council tidbits
- Mary Nejedly-Piepho gave a presentation from the Board of Supervisors. Most of the updates have already been announced via other meetings and in the papers—no new information was given. She did encourage the Board to Adopt both resolutions on the Delta.
Kevin Romick “switched gears” to his fire board hat and asked her if she would consider supporting the proposed $197 parcel tax that passed last night that is now headed to the ballot. Piepho did not directly answer, but instead danced around the issue. She would look into it.
Jim Frazier asked about the 7% increase that will soon hit the city from the sheriff bookings. Frazier expressed concerns that with that increase, that’s a total of 3 police officers. He is asking from help from the Board of Supervisors to reduce that increase. Piepho did not want to guess, but did state she thinks it’s because the City was not paying the full amount in the past and it caught up with them. She stated she would get Bryan Montgomery the information to verify.
- Roger Mammon spoke on item 3.2/3.2 in favor of adopting both Resolutions. He explained how it’s time for Oakley to become involved in supporting the Delta. He showed how Northern California has a long list, but its all small businesses and organizations while Sothern California has large municipalities fighting for the water.