Full Text of Mayor
I. Opening Matters
Good evening, and
welcome to the 2012 Calabasas State of the City Address.
Introduction of Calabasas City
Let me start by
introducing my fellow City Councilmembers:
Mayor Pro Tem Mary Sue Maurer.
Councilmember Fred Gaines.
Councilmember Lucy Martin.
And Councilmember David Shapiro.
Introduction & Recognition of
There are several
public officials who have joined us here tonight, and I’d like to take a
few moments to recognize them. Please hold your applause until all
introductions have been made.
Pledge of Allegiance
At this time, I’m
going to invite Brownie Troop 1419 from Viewpoint School to lead us in
the Pledge of Allegiance.
II. Structure of City Government
Let’s begin by
briefly reviewing the structure of our municipal government.
The City of Calabasas
is governed by 5 Councilmembers who are elected to serve staggered,
4-year terms. The Council selects 1 of its members to serve as Mayor
There are presently 8
standing commissions which advise the Council on various matters
pertaining to City government. They are:
The Communications & Technology
The Environmental Commission.
The Historic Preservation Commission.
The Library Commission.
The Parks, Recreation & Education
The Planning Commission.
The Public Safety Commission.
And the Traffic & Transportation
appointed by Councilmembers. The citizens who serve on these
commissions generously volunteer their time in order to contribute to
the well-being and improvement of our community. There are also a large
number of residents who volunteer their services to the City in other
capacities. Many of our commissioners are here tonight in person, and I
would ask that they stand and be recognized for their excellent work.
employs 98 full-time and 175 part-time employees. These staff members
are charged with implementing the policy directives of the Council, and
conduct the City’s daily operations.
The staff is divided
into several different departments, including:
And Public Works.
All City operations
are overseen by City Manager Tony Coroalles.
Please join me in
thanking our staff for their service and dedication to Calabasas.
Homeowners Associations & Citizens
The Council actively
seeks input from more than 50 homeowners associations and the residents
they represent in making its policy decisions.
III. Projected Sources of General Fund
Revenue & Expenditures
Fiscal Year 2011-12
Now, let’s take a
look at the projected sources of the City’s revenue for fiscal year
Sales Tax (Calabasas receives 1 cent
for each dollar spent by consumers): 30%
Utility Tax (assessed at 5% of gas,
electric & phone bills): 17%
Property Tax (Calabasas receives 4.17%
of each dollar assessed): 14%
Automobile Registration Fees
(Calabasas receives 0.65% of a vehicle’s assessed value): 10%
Parks & Recreation: 7%
Transient Occupancy Tax (assessed at
12% of hotel rentals): 6%
Permit Fees (including building,
planning, engineering & film): 5%
Franchise Fees (cable, gas &
Interest Income: 2%
Fines & Forfeitures: 1%
Property Transfer Tax (Calabasas
receives 27.5 cents for every $500 in property sales): 1%
Let’s turn to the
projected sources of our expenditures for fiscal year 2011-12.
Payroll Services (employee salaries &
related expenses): 43%
Law Enforcement (contract with Los
Angeles County Sheriff’s Department): 21%
General Services & Non-Departmental
(including general overhead & facilities maintenance): 14%
Public Works, Capital Improvements,
Transportation & Engineering: 8%
Parks & Recreation: 5%
Planning & Building: 4%
City Attorney: 2%
Media Operations: 1%
Administrative Services (including
City Clerk, human resources & special projects): 1%
IV. Calabasas: Tidbits & Trivia
Because it was such a
popular feature of my last State of the City Address in 2008, how about
some Calabasas tidbits and trivia?Most of these statistics are based on
the 2010 national census
Area: 13.7 square
Median age: 41.6
Population <18 years
Population 65+ years
Median home value:
Housing built before
Housing built after
Households with no
Households with 3 or
more vehicles: 27%.
Number of housing
Of residents who are
full-time employees, those who work in Calabasas: 22%.
Residents who are
Residents living in
Calabasas less than 4 years: 38%.
Residents living in
Calabasas more than 30 years: 13%.
Median number of
years lived in Calabasas: 14 years.
Residents who own
their homes: 74%.
Residents who rent
their homes: 26%.
Housing units that
are occupied: 96%.
Housing units that
are vacant: 4%.
at least 1 person with a college degree: 71%.
One more piece of
notable Calabasas trivia: Tonight’s presentation marks the 14th
annual State of the City Address. It all started with a little
suggestion one day back in 1998 from our Media Operations staff about
how Calabasas should have its very own State of the City event. The
rest is history.
Highlights of the Past Year
At this point, I’m
going to highlight some of the City’s significant achievements over the
Among the recurring
themes I have emphasized are trust, transparency, and accountability.
Adhering to these values helps ensure that our City government properly
represents those citizens whom we are responsible to serve. We have
provided greater opportunity for direct citizen input into our
decision-making processes. We have expanded the role of our City
commissions. We have increased the use of public workshops. And we
have made a wide range of information more readily available to
residents — such as when, for the first time ever, we televised our
preliminary budget discussions.
The year began with
some very big changes. After our Municipal Elections in March, we bid
farewell to retiring Councilmembers Dennis Washburn and Barry Groveman.
In turn, we welcomed aboard newly elected Councilmembers Fred Gaines and
Lucy Martin. Further changes occurred in December, when Councilmember
Jonathon Wolfson resigned from office. David Shapiro was then appointed
in January to serve the remainder of Wolfson’s unexpired term. Taken
together, these changes mark the largest turnover for the City Council
In May, I became
President of the California Contract Cities Association, a statewide
organization of cities that primarily contract out for municipal
services. As a result, Calabasas now serves as the host city for the
association, whose purpose is to provide its members with educational
opportunities; exchange ideas and information; and combine resources to
influence policy decisions affecting contract cities like our own.
Capping an effort
spanning several years, the Mont Calabasas community was annexed into
the City in August. Located in Malibu Canyon, the added territory
contains 110 single family homes with an estimated population of 303
people; and 493 acres of land, 395 of which are permanently protected
As part of our
ongoing open space acquisition program, we purchased a number of key
parcels of real property. The total inventory of land within Calabasas
dedicated to permanent open space is 3,546 acres — 41% of our land mass
— much of it now owned by the City itself.
We continued to
monitor proposed developments outside our City’s borders which could
impact our residents, businesses, and protected open space.
The City took several
actions to help preserve the unique nature and lifestyle of our rural
communities. In April, the Council halted consideration of plans to
install a sewer system in the Old Topanga community. And after much
debate, in January the Council ultimately repealed the
regulating the maintenance of septic tanks.
The City sponsored a
large number of popular community events, many of which have become
annual favorites, including:
An Earth Day Festival & Green Expo.
The “Egg-stravaganza” Egg Hunt.
The Calabasas Fine Arts Festival, one of
many programs sponsored by our Calabasas Arts Council.
A 24-hour Relay for Life cancer walk.
“Movies under the Stars,” a series of
outdoor evening films shown at various locations during the summer
A series of Summer Sunsets Concerts
alongside Calabasas Lake.
Our traditional, all-day 4th of
July activities, consisting of: the Lakeside Fun Run; Pet Show; Summer
Splash Party; and Fireworks Spectacular.
The “Nuts for Mutts” 5K Walk & Dog Show.
A “Back-2-School” Pool Party.
The California International Theatre
The Calabasas Music Festival.
Walk to School Day.
The Calabasas Pumpkin Festival, our
longest-standing and most popular yearly event.
A Drive-thru Flu Clinic to provide
vaccinations for residents.
The Calabasas Classic 5K & 10K Runs.
A series of 3 creek clean-up events at our
A tree-planting event to celebrate Arbor
And an open house celebration at the
Our many municipal
properties offer residents and visitors a diverse array of services and
activities. The beautiful Calabasas Civic Center, home to our City Hall
and Municipal Library, is now in its 3rd year of existence.
Upon incorporation, Calabasas had just 1, 3-acre park to its name.
Today, we own and operate a network of 10 public parks and recreational
facilities comprising a total of 54 acres of land. They include:
Grape Arbor Park.
Gates Canyon Park.
The Calabasas Tennis & Swim Center.
Juan Bautista de Anza Park.
The Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community
Calabasas Creekside Park.
Calabasas Bark Park.
And Wild Walnut Park.
Calabasas also enjoys
use of other facilities through joint use agreements with the Las
Virgenes Unified School District. These arrangements are in effect at
A.E. Wright Middle School; A.C. Stelle Middle School; and Lupin Hill
Municipal Library, established in 1999, continues to flourish. To date,
the Library has issued 36,618 library cards and now houses 63,000
items. Last year alone, there were an estimated 214,000 visitors to our
Library; 236,600 items were circulated; 50,000 reference questions were
answered; and 470 programs were conducted involving 18,400 participants
of all ages.
With monies allocated
from Calabasas’ Art in Public Places fund, the City commissioned an
artist to paint a mural on the ceiling of the Library’s children’s
reading room. The project will be completed later this month.
In the area of public
safety, the City provided ongoing emergency preparedness and response
training to the public, largely through its long-standing and successful
CERP (Calabasas Emergency Response Program) and CERT (Community
Emergency Response Training) programs. We also offered a
first-time-ever “Map Your Neighborhood” workshop to prepare individual
communities within Calabasas for emergency and disaster situations.
In January, the City
introduced its “Report-a-Problem” on-line feedback form. Residents can
submit their questions, comments, suggestions, and concerns on any
subject by utilizing this form on the City’s web site.
The City expanded its
“Connect with Calabasas” electronic notification service, which
automatically contacts anyone who wishes to be personally notified about
upcoming agendas, public hearings, and project updates of all types.
The City took several
steps to provide more efficient and timely services for its constituents
in the area of code enforcement. There is now a 24-hour hot-line
allowing residents to report concerns directly to code enforcement
staff, and there is a code enforcement officer available and working
every day of the week.
Apartments, the City’s first senior affordable housing project, was
completed and by December was fully occupied. The project consists of
75 rental units and is located adjacent to Old Town Calabasas.
challenges presented by a protracted national recession, this past year
brought many new retail and commercial businesses to Calabasas to serve
our community. Notably, the Council granted entitlements for Malamut
Vintage Automotive, a retail dealership and museum to feature classic
vintage cars and accessories; approved plans for Pedaler’s Fork, a
restaurant in Old Town themed around cycling; and welcomed Harbor
Freight Tools, which relocated its corporate headquarters here. In
addition, Viewpoint School completed the second phase of its
modernization project, which includes a new upper school building,
shared facilities, a competitive swimming pool, and a gymnasium.
In June, the Council
enacted a moratorium on the installation of new wireless communications
facilities throughout the City. The moratorium will allow the Council
to review and consider enactment of legislation regulating the
construction and maintenance of these structures. The new ordinances
are scheduled to be considered next month.
In response to an
increase in mobile billboards appearing along major streets, the Council
adopted a new mobile billboard ordinance in November permitting City
officials to tow away commercial trailers parked in our public
rights-of-way for extended periods of time.
Calabasas remains at
the forefront of California’s recycling efforts. This past year, the
City conducted 30 recycling events with more than 2,300 estimated
participants. Among the items collected and recycled were 251,712
pounds of mixed electronics; 19,319 pounds of dry cell batteries; 3,281
gallons of water-based paints; 477 gallons of used motor oil; and 428
in obtaining several key grants for environmental projects. These funds
allowed the City to install “smart” irrigation control systems on all
City-owned properties and public streets. When fully operational, this
improvement will allow us to conserve approximately 20% on irrigation
water costs. We received a grant to install catch basin screens on
storm drain inlets within the Malibu Creek Watershed to prevent trash
and debris from entering the creek. And we received a grant to install
bottle and can recycling receptacles at all transit stops within the
Solar permit fees for
residences and commercial establishments were reduced in order to
encourage more solar-powered projects in the City. Calabasas currently
averages about 3-5 new installations per month.
A large number of
local students participated in the City’s annual “Recycling Drawing
Contest,” a popular educational exercise which produced our 2012
Recycling Awareness Calendar.
As part of its
ongoing conservation efforts, the City’s ordinances prohibiting the use
of single-use, disposable plastic bags at retail establishments went
into effect in July. The legislation was modeled after similar
ordinances approved by Los Angeles County and other California
Services Department offered a large number of recreational, educational,
cultural, and social activities throughout the year, including, among
The Teen Activities Council.
Calabasas Teen Court.
Sports leagues and tournaments.
The Calabasas Klubhouse Pre-School.
After-school enrichment programs.
The Volunteen Program.
And Camp Calabasas.
This year, Calabasas
inaugurated its “Savvy Seniors” program, which involves an ongoing
series of recreation classes and activities geared toward senior
citizens. The first event, a registration and tea social, was held in
December. Within just 1 month, more than 500 seniors had signed up, and
the program continues to expand.
In December, the City
Council gave final approval to Calabasas’ new Coyote Management Plan.
The goal of the management plan is to support co-existence with coyotes
through education and development of appropriate responses to the
behavior of these unique animals; it balances promoting a respect for
and tolerance of native wildlife with the need for adequate public
comprehensive Historic Preservation Ordinance, Calabasas continues to
identify, inventory, and protect its precious historic resources. In
April, the Council voted to designate Old Topanga Canyon Road as a local
historic landmark. In June, the Council voted to designate the Park
Moderne Trail and Fountain as historic landmarks. And in October,
Calabasas was honored to receive the prestigious Governor’s Historic
Preservation Award for its outstanding efforts toward preserving
Calabasas was one of
a small number of lucky California cities to be awarded a State grant to
set up a “California of the Past” digital story station in its library.
This program allows digital stories of our residents to be recorded and
The City kept its
residents well informed about upcoming civic events and available public
services through several different means of communication, including:
The City of Calabasas web site (www.cityofcalabasas.com),
which includes both archived materials and live web-streaming from City
Daily programming on CTV, the Calabasas
Monthly e-news bulletins, along with
timely emergency e-mail notifications.
And the quarterly Calabasas Recreation
Brochure & Newsletter.
Our Media Operations
Department received many accolades for its outstanding government
programming on CTV, and for the City’s web site.
In order to promote
the City’s economic, political, and social interests, Calabasas remained
actively involved with many local, regional, and statewide
organizations. These groups include:
The California Contract Cities
The Las Virgenes/Malibu Council of
The League of California Cities.
The Economic Alliance of the San Fernando
The Conejo/Las Virgenes Future Foundation.
The Valley Industry & Commerce
And of course, the Calabasas Chamber of
Our Public Works
Department continued to manage the City’s 4 landscape maintenance
districts, which are special assessment districts established to fund
and maintain landscape and appurtenances for slopes and common areas.
The Public Works
Department also implemented numerous streetscape improvements and
landscape beautification projects. This past year, the City resurfaced
a total of 228,700 square feet of roadways and repaired 550,000 square
feet of pavement. Our urban forestry and tree management programs
oversaw the installation, inspection, and maintenance of hundreds of
street trees throughout Calabasas.
Calabasas provides an
extensive network of citywide public transit services, managing a fleet
of 12 shuttles and trolleys to serve residents, businesses, and
visitors. This past year, the Calabasas transit system transported an
estimated 178,000 riders a total of 138,000 miles within City limits.
And finally, . . .
. . . The Council
allocated more than $500,000 to public and private organizations that
serve our community. Along with other cities within the Las Virgenes
Unified School District, Calabasas maintained its long-standing practice
of providing critical monetary assistance to our local public schools.
And as it has for many years, the City’s renter assistance program
provided financial aid to qualifying seniors and disabled persons.
VI. Citizens of the Year: Our Founding
And now, the Citizens
of the Year. Every year, the Mayor of Calabasas has the privilege of
spotlighting one or more of our City’s residents to be honored for
making outstanding contributions to the community.
This past year marked
the City’s 20th anniversary of existence, and we celebrated
that milestone with a series of events designed to commemorate
In keeping with the
spirit of our anniversary, this year I have chosen to honor our founding
City Councilmembers as Citizens of the Year.
Today, it is easy to
take the City’s existence for granted without recognizing what it took
to get to this point in its history. For a variety of reasons, in
modern times it is increasingly difficult and extremely rare for an
unincorporated area to gain the requisite approval to formally become an
independent city. Indeed, Calabasas was the last of 88 cities to
incorporate in Los Angeles County. Statewide, we were the 466th
city to incorporate; a scant 16 cities have come into existence since
There were actually 3
separate incorporation drives in Calabasas. The first one, in the
1970s, envisioned a much larger city encompassing what is now Calabasas,
Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, and much surrounding territory into one
mega-municipality to be called “Rancho Las Virgenes.” Then, after the
cities of Westlake Village and Agoura Hills successfully incorporated, a
second effort to create Calabasas died in the mid-1980s. A third and
final effort, started in the late-1980s, came to fruition when the City
of Calabasas was born on April 5, 1991. More than 90% of its future
residents voted in favor of incorporation. In a simultaneous election
for City Council featuring 13 candidates, the voters chose Karyn Foley,
Bob Hill, Marvin Lopata, Dennis Washburn, and Lesley Devine to serve as
founding members of the new Calabasas City Council.
Though none of them
now serves on our Council, each of them has contributed invaluably to
the City’s development. Their work has served as a strong foundation
for everything the City has successfully accomplished over the past two
decades. For their tireless efforts in establishing our beautiful City;
for their foresight in making the wise decisions that led to what we are
today; and for their continued involvement to make for a better
tomorrow, they are the 2012 Calabasas Citizens of the Year.
I would like to
invite up here Karyn Foley (who is here with her husband Jim); Bob Hill
(who is here with his wife Kathy); Marvin Lopata (who is here with his
wife Judy); and Dennis Washburn (who is here with his wife Carol). Our
fifth founding Councilmember, Lesley Devine, passed away in 2006; she
will be represented tonight by her daughter, Beth Chambers (who is here
with her brother Michael).
VII. Concluding Remarks
At this time, I would
like to thank the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce for co-hosting this event;
the Teen Activities Council for their assistance this evening; and the
wonderful staff at the City of Calabasas — especially the Media Operations
Department — for all of their hard work in producing this event. And
finally, I wish once again to thank you, the people, for allowing me the
tremendous honor of serving on the City Council these past 15 years, and of
being your Mayor.