It was a tedious evening at the Porterville City Council meeting Tuesday night, as the Council had a full agenda and much to discuss, including the final reading of three separate cannabis ordinances and the resignation of Council member Brian Ward.
To kick the meeting off, Council member Daniel Penaloza led the Pledge of Allegiance, which was followed by a moment of silence.
Oral communications was opened, and Darin Garret was the first to step to the podium. Garret informed the Council that he will be holding a food drive for the homeless on Saturday with assistance from Helping Hands. He said that they will be serving hamburgers, hot dogs, beans, potato salad and drinks, and are expecting between 400 and 500 people to show up.
Donna Serna addressed the Council after Garret, and said that she is in favor of H.R. 6, The American Dream and Promise Act. She stated that she hopes the Council will also vote to approve the resolution on support for H.R. 6 because it could potentially help a lot of people, and that it would be a step in the right direction.
Ryan Jensen, the Community Water Solutions Manager for Community Water Center, took the floor to say that he hopes the Council will approve the resolution of support for the State’s Safe and Affordable Drinking Water fund proposal.
Greg Shelton spoke to the Council and stated that the mini-home he has been building is nearing completion, and invited the Council to visit the site and look at the house. Shelton stated that the mini home could potentially be used as transitional housing for the homeless.
The final person to approach the podium and address the Council was Charles Woody. Woody suggested that the cannabis dispensaries be required to carry a medical license. If the city did this, Woody suggested, they wouldn’t have to keep a dispensary reserved strictly for medicinal users. This could bring in more revenue for the city, while not secluding medicinal users to one dispensary.
The Council’s consent calendar was stacked with 17 items, and all of those items were approved.
Ordinances 1853, 1854, and 1855 all received their second reading. These ordinances were met with a small resistance from Council member Milt Stowe, who voted against them in the 3-1 vote. Stowe has stood firm in his opposition of recreational cannabis dispensaries since the ordinances were introduced.
Jason Ridenour, an Economic Development Associate, presented the Council with an amendment and subordination to a loan agreement with Cornerstone Main Partners, L.P., which the Council quickly approved with a vote of 4-0.
In an effort to continue the conversion of the city’s bus fleet to all zero emission vehicles, Richard Tree, the Transit manager, presented the Council with an opportunity for grant funding. Tree’s request to apply for the grant was approved with a vote of 4-0.
The Council was asked to approve a resolution of support for the State’s Safe and Affordable Drinking Water fund proposal, which passed with minimal discussion with a vote of 4-0.
The next item on the agenda concerned a resolution of support for H.R. 6, The American Dream and Promise Act 2019. Flores said that she wasn’t against the act, but was concerned about some of the wording in it. Penaloza explained the importance of the act and stated that he believes the Council should approve the resolution of support. Council member Monte Reyes expressed his own concerns about the wording. The Council ultimately decided, with a vote of 4-0, that the resolution of support should be revised and brought back at a later time.
An additional two resolutions of support were brought before the Council for approval, and both resolutions had to do with water.
The first resolution of support concerned Assembly Bill 274, which was put together by Assembly member Devon Mathis, and is specifically for grant money for water treatment facilities.
The second resolution of support was for Senate Bill 559, which will bring a major amount of money to the Friant-Kern Canal for repairs. SB 559 was put on the Senate floor by State Senator Melissa Hurtado, who recently visited the Friant-Kern canal to assess its most major needs.
Both resolutions were approved with a vote of 4-0.
Although he was absent from the meeting, Council member Brian Ward’s letter of resignation was considered Tuesday evening. Ward will be moving to Merced, which is the reason for his resignation. Ward will continue to sit on the Council until July 17.
The Council discussed how they would fill the vacant seat, when the time comes. Ideas were exchanged, and the Council seemed to agree that an application process would be used. The Council made it clear that the new representative should come from District 5, and that a public hearing should occur so District 5 residents can express their feelings on potential Council candidates. No dates were set as to when the application period would begin.
The meeting was adjourned close to 9 p.m.
The next Porterville City Council meeting is scheduled for May 21, beginning at 6:30 p.m. inside the Council Chambers at City Hall located at 291 N. Main Street.