Tuesday, October 20, 2020

City Council Approves All Community Grant Requests

Despite putting most of the agenda on the consent calendar, the city council held one of its longest meetings of the year on Tuesday, July 18. The bulk of the time was taken up by three items: community grants, noise mitigation measures proposed for a new music venue across the bay that may well impact local residents, and a mobile device policy.

Community Grants
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The city council unanimously approved grant applications from 14 community organizations. The requests totaled $989,798, thirteen thousand dollars less than the $1,002,815 the council had set aside for grants in its 2017-2018 budget. In a break with tradition, all groups asking for money had to give an oral presentation. In past years only those applying for their first grant or those asking for more money than the year prior had to go before the council.

This year Mayor Richard Bailey initiated a number of reforms, including postponing issuing grants until the budget was set, requiring more extensive documentation from organizations, and having everyone come before the council and account for the work they do.

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“Of the five years I’ve been on the council we’ve never given organizations the opportunity to talk about what they do,” Mayor Richard Bailey said. The process proved to be painless. It afforded many the opportunity to show just how much they do for the community. Some even made news.

Most people know the Community Band as performance group that appears at a variety of civic events, such as the annual Christmas Parade or at the opening of the flower show. Phil Hemming presented and talked about the work the group does with Coronado High School students. He also said the band was working with the Cultural Arts Commission to present a series of indoor concerts.

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Jane Braun, President of the Coronado Historical Association’s (CHA) Board of Directors expounded on its plans to become an accredited museum and to take full title of the building that houses that museum outright, prompting Councilman Bill Sandke to observe that “this is basically a real estate deal.”

The board also plans to expand its oral history program and its research services. To these ends CHA has embarked on a three year campaign to raise between $2.5 and $10 million. To make sure they are sustainable during the transition, Braun asked for a multi-year grant from the city. It was approved 5-0.

MainStreet’s Rita Sarich said that in addition to maintaining 16 gardens in the Orange Avenue medians it advocates on behalf of downtown merchants, and helps ensure they comply with city building codes. At the meeting, she announced plans for a drought tolerant garden, with a drip irrigation system in the 100 block of Orange and progress on finding new, more attractive trash cans for the city.

Several organizations failed to submit all of the required documents. This was the first year the city required IRS forms and proof of nonprofit status. Many seemed unaware of the requirement. Their requests were approved, but the organizations must submit missing documents before they receive the funds.

The San Diego Symphony’s New Outdoor Venue

Representatives from the San Diego Symphony presented plans for a new Bayside Park venue at the Embarcadero Marina Park for their Summer Pops Festival. The stage will mirror the San Diego Convention center and offer state-of-the art acoustics. The sound will be monitored at all amplified events. Technicians will have the ability to reduce the sound if it exceeds tolerable levels. A monitoring device will be installed along the bike path near Il Fornaio.

Image: San Diego Symphony website, Tucker Sadler Architects

“I am generally pleased with mitigation factors as presented,” said Mayor Bailey. He also lauded the venue’s design. “You’ve gone from a circus tent to a version of the Sydney Opera House.”

Still the council wanted more specifics and more guarantees that music from across the bay would not disturb residents here. To that end they asked for additional monitors along the water front, a brochure explaining how to lodge noise complaints, more information on the types of programs, other than symphonic, how noise levels are documented and mitigation implemented. City manger Blair King will include these concerns in a response to the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) the San Diego Symphony prepared for the Port of San Diego, who has jurisdiction.

Mobile device policy

Each member of the city council will be issued a city smartphone on which to conduct city business. The devices are necessary because a recent court ruling determined that e-mails and text messages sent from mobile phones were subject to public records requests. There are no requirements for phone conversations. The vote was 5-0.

 

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Gloria Tierney
A freelance writer in San Diego for more than 30 years. She has written for a number of national and international newspapers, including the Times of London, San Diego Tribune, Sierra Magazine, Reuters News Service and Patch.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: manager@ecoronado.com
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