2013 MAYOR'S STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS

    

Full Text of Mayor Maurer's Address:

 

Thank you Senator Pavley for that wonderful introduction. As many of you know, Senator Pavley has served our area for many years as our former Assemblymember and now as our Senator. For those of you who aren’t aware, Senator Pavley has moved her District Headquarters right here in Calabasas-- so let me be among the first to say “welcome to the neighborhood!” and thank you for all you do for our city.

Before I begin, I’d like to thank the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce for co-hosting this event. I am so proud of the partnership the city has with its business community. Now I’d like to welcome my fellow Councilmembers: Mayor pro Tem Fred Gaines, Councilmembers James Bozajian, Lucy Martin, David Shapiro and our City Manager Tony Coroalles.

There are also several other special guests in attendance tonight and I would very much like to recognize them and their efforts on behalf of our community. Please hold your applause until I’ve made all the introductions. I have members of my family with me including my sons, their father, mom, and sisters.

And now welcome to the 15th annual Calabasas State of the City address.

Calabasas is a remarkable City. This is our home and recently something wonderful has been taking place here. We have evolved into a multi-generational community. Our children who grew up here are moving back to Calabasas as adults to raise their families. We see grandparents picking up their grandchildren at school and scurrying them off to swim class at the Tennis and Swim Center. More and more people choose to live, raise their families, and also enjoy their retirement in Calabasas, and I think that says a lot about how special our community is. We offer not just a little for everyone, but a lot of attractive benefits for all of our residents.

One of the great perks of giving this address is finding a way to share the excitement we all feel about our community. I happen to be a fan of David Letterman and that’s when it hit me: so now it’s my pleasure to introduce-- the “Top 10 Reasons Calabasas is a Great Place to Live and Work”.

All of these reasons are equally important and let’s start with one of the best:

# 10 – We are proud of our volunteers

The spirit of volunteerism and public service can begin at any age. I am proud to introduce a group of young people who have already begun down this path—please join me in welcoming members of Calabasas Cub Scout Pack 333, who will lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

I was so pleased to be named an Honorary Cub Scout Master a short while ago by Calabasas Cub Scout Pack 333. Thank you so much, scouts.

Continuing with Volunteerism, our city government is a great example of people from all parts of our community coming together to achieve great things.

Our eight standing city commissions play a vital role in our local government. These commissions, who advise the Council on a wide variety of matters, are made up of resident volunteers appointed by Councilmembers. These commissions are:

Communications & Technology
Environmental
Historic Preservation
Library
Parks, Recreation & Education
Planning
Public Safety
And the Traffic & Transportation Commission.

I would like to also acknowledge the volunteers who make up our newest advisory group, the City’s Senior Task Force.

At this time I’d like to invite our commissioners and members of the Senior Task Force to please stand and be recognized.

Our city boasts many others serving as coaches for our youth leagues or volunteering at our schools or for their HOAs, and contributing in many other capacities. Thank you to all of you.

And now, reason #9 that Calabasas is a Great Place to Live and Work:

We are fiscally responsible

Calabasas wouldn’t be the City it is without its financial resources. While many cities have been forced to reduce or eliminate services, Calabasas has weathered the economic downturn due to the City’s transparency, wisdom, and forward-thinking leadership.

Because we set aside funds during the boom years, we did not have to endure mass layoffs or cut valuable services or programs. I am proud to share that the City has maintained the highest credit rating for a city our size with both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. The City also has a healthy reserve,

We also received the prestigious Award of Financial Reporting Achievement from the Government Finance Officers Association—the highest recognition of financial reporting for a municipality-- for the seventh year in a row.

The City is also experiencing a “retail renaissance.” A number of new restaurants and retailers opened throughout Calabasas—and you’re also going to see exciting new changes in several of the car dealerships that call our city home.

Much of this activity is thanks to the hard work of the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce.

Now, let’s look at the #8 reason Calabasas is a Great Place to Live and Work:

Calabasas actively promotes public safety and emergency preparedness.

First and foremost, we owe a great deal of thanks to the hard-working men and women of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Thank you.

Working hard for the safety of our residents and preparing for emergencies continues to be central to our efforts, including:

Our annual walk-in flu clinics, the Great Shakeout earthquake drill, three “Emergency Preparedness Nights” at Calabasas public schools, and our registration of mobility impaired residents so they can quickly be evacuated in case of an emergency.

I was proud to spearhead the effort for a “Comfort Room” at the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff Station, which converted a former interview area into a hospitable room for victims of crime and for children in protective custody.

We are proud to have completed work on our “Safe Routes to School” project, installing improvements to help ensure student safety while walking or biking to and from school.

Our efforts to repair our sidewalks have resulted in the removal of 792 hazards from our neighborhoods. Nobody fills potholes or fixes sidewalk cracks like we do!

CTV, along with the City website, our Report a Problem form, Connect with Calabasas web page, the Public Works Online Citizen Request, monthly eNews, and quarterly Calabasas Recreation Brochure & Newsletter continue to be important links for public information and emergency preparedness.

Reason #7 that Calabasas is a great place to live and work?

We have outstanding youth, adult and family programs

One of the reasons that so many people want to live in Calabasas is because of all the fun activities we have. Our events happen throughout the year and encompass every area of our city.

This year’s Calabasas Pumpkin Festival had over 12,000 attendees.

We also held our annual Eggstravaganza free egg hunt, Movies Under the Stars at De Anza Park, Dive-In Movies at the Tennis and Swim Center, The Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular, the annual Relay for Life, our First Annual Family Camp Out at De Anza Park, and the 9th Annual Calabasas Classic 5&10 K Run.

Our nine city parks offered a number of classes and programs and the Tennis & Swim Center has continued to expand, offering over 75 different fitness classes every week.

De Anza Park’s t-ball, coach pitch, youth basketball, roller hockey, and adult basketball leagues all thrived.

In addition, we offered a wide variety of day camps, tennis leagues and clinics, our Summer Beach Bus, Camp Calabasas and numerous afterschool enrichment programs.

We helped keep our teens keep active and involved through Volunteens, the Teen Activities Council, the Teen Library Council, and the Calabasas Teen Court.

Which brings me to Reason #6 that Calabasas is a great place to live and work.

We offer residents a wide array of cultural and educational enrichment opportunities.

The Calabasas Fine Arts Festival, which we organized with the Arts Council, hosted 5,000 attendees.

The California International Theater Festival offered an exciting program of theatrical productions from around the world right in our own backyard.

Our four Sunset Summer Concerts for the public held at Calabasas Lake and sponsored by the Calabasas Park Homeowners Association were fun and hugely successful.

Calabasas High School’s new Performing Arts Educational Complex features a 650-seat main theater that is not only an incredible performing space for school productions, but will be a major draw for professional theater groups, particularly during times of the year when school is out of session.

The Calabasas Library’s unique programming from ongoing art exhibits to bingo to yoga attracts residents of all ages. This year, the library also added a self-checkout machine, making access to library resources even more convenient.

The Calabasas Historical Society Collection is now accessible to the public in the library and includes fascinating artifacts and photos from our past.

In addition, our Art in Public Places committee fosters the creation and placement of enduring original artworks throughout the City.

Reason #5 Calabasas is a Great Place to Live and Work:

We are a model of municipal leadership

Our City prides itself on being innovative and problem-solving. I would like to take this moment to acknowledge our City Staff present here tonight who work so hard on the entire community’s behalf.

We are proud to lead the way in local government. Our Second Hand Smoke Ordinance, Plastic Bag Carryout Ordinance, Polystyrene Ban, and the Coyote Management Plan have not only been successful in our community, but have been used as models by other municipalities across the country.

Our Historic Preservation Ordinance seeks to preserve and protect the City’s numerous historic resources.

Responding to community concerns, last year Calabasas adopted the Wireless Telecommunications Ordinance. Thoroughly vetted through over 35 public hearings, this cutting edge ordinance protects the City’s vistas and open spaces from unnecessary intrusion by unsightly antennas. We are now working to fill the gaps in cell service in an aesthetically pleasing, non-intrusive way.

In 2012, Calabasas was awarded the HEAL Cities Campaign Certificate, acknowledging us as a city that encourages nutrition and physical activity to make our community a healthier place to live and work. HEAL also has data showing that our childhood obesity rate is very, very low which is also great news for our community.

Sadly, there were tragic reminders of the violence that can be perpetrated with military-style guns. To that end, Mayor pro Tem Fred Gaines and I introduced two resolutions to the City Council in support of common sense federal gun control laws including strengthening background checks for purchasing guns and reinstating the Assault Weapons Ban.

The #4 reason that Calabasas is a great place to live and work is:

We are committed to promoting beneficial co-existence between residents and wildlife.

As a City, we strive to help families and individuals live safely and comfortably in a natural setting while maintaining the beauty and wildlife that first attracted them to the area.

The City’s innovative Coyote Management Plan supports coexistence with urban coyotes using such techniques as keeping small pets indoors at night, properly sealing trash containers and effective hazing methods to keep coyotes from wandering into our neighborhoods. But we need to all work together to in order to keep them in their natural habitat, the mountains.

In collaboration with the City’s Media Department, Environmental Services staff produced two documentaries: one to provide further information on co-existing with coyotes in an urban environment and another focusing on education and prevention of the West Nile Virus—both of which are available to HOAs to show to their residents.

We provided a grant to the National Park Service for local mountain lion research, and when one of our mountain lions was found brutally killed, the City offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. We look forward to further collaboration with our friends at the National Park Service, California State Parks, and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy on ways we can be the best urban city adjacent to the wild.

The #3 reason Calabasas is a Great Place to Live and Work is:

We vigorously protect the environment and open space

We’ve always been proud of our active environmental stewardship and this year has been no exception.

In June, we celebrated the grand opening of the Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center at King Gillette Ranch in partnership with the National Park Service, the California State Parks and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. This LEED certified gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains is right in our backyard. It offers exhibits and interactive displays, the work of local artists, tours of sustainable features, a native plant garden and a tremendous comprehensive exhibit covering things to see and do within the Santa Monica Mountains. If you haven’t had the chance to visit yet, I strongly encourage you to do so.

We held several successful environmental events this year, including two creek clean-ups, our annual Earth Day Celebration & Green Expo, and our annual Arbor Day Celebration where families came together to plant trees. My children and I planted trees at Chaparral in 2002 with Senator Pavley and they stand so tall today.

We took many steps to protect the environment throughout the city, including installing catch screens to prevent trash from entering the storm drain system and heading to the beaches and ocean, placing new recycling containers at our bus stops, and collecting enormous amounts of e-waste like broken computers and TVs and hazardous materials at special recycling events.

Our 2012 Recycling Drawing Contest set a new record, with over 500 entries from students from Calabasas schools—of which twelve drawings were selected for our annual recycling calendar, copies of which are available here tonight; our Landscape Division continued its annual Weed Abatement for Fire Safety; and the City’s urban forestry program has continued to preserve old growth trees as well as plant new trees along our City streets.

We resurfaced roadways in our community with rubberized asphalt made in part from waste tires, and helped create more efficient traffic flow with off-ramp and road improvements.

You’ve probably driven down Mulholland Highway and seen the great changes in the area fronting Calabasas Village Mobile Home Estates. This newly developed site replaced a barren frontage with trees and a meandering pathway surrounded by shrubs.

The City also received a grant to develop the open space parkland behind City Hall. Home to numerous deer, coyotes, native plants and centuries old oaks, the funds will be used to develop a trail system to allow public access to the undisturbed parkland.

In June, we began working on a combined pedestrian/bicycle master plan that will promote alternative transportation throughout the city.

Another reason Calabasas is a great place to live and work is:

# 2- We have outstanding schools, which means we have outstanding teachers.

Our award-winning Calabasas schools are known for providing the very best in education as evidenced by their consistently high test scores.

The City of Calabasas has strong partnerships with the Las Virgenes Unified School District and our schools’ PFCs & PFA leaders, and we continue to fund our local schools with grants to insure adequate resources.

Last June, the Calabasas Klubhouse Preschool graduated 42 students and, in addition to providing an outstanding academic curriculum, continues to offer programs such as yoga, dance, piano, soccer and computer classes for our young students.

We know how vital our schools are to our community, and we are always working to find creative ways to maintain their excellence.

And now, one of the best reasons that Calabasas is a Great Place to Live and Work……..

#1 – Calabasas recognizes that a vital core of our City is our incredible seniors

This city would not have been founded a short 22 years ago if it wasn’t for the original spirited home buyers many of who still live here. We are proud that we are a multi-generational community, and one of our most important statistics is that our seniors make up nearly 40% of our residents.

This year we made great progress in making their lives even better. Calabasas Savvy Seniors is an ongoing program consisting of classes, excursions, special events, lectures and luncheons for women and men 50 years and older. This new program continues to grow and this year we offered over 70 classes.

As I mentioned earlier, this year the City Council created a Senior Task Force and one of our first priorities will be the construction of a senior center located right behind the library. This important addition to our Civic Center will increase the well-being of aging baby boomers by providing a sense of purpose and belonging, along with improved nutrition, education, and activities. This is certainly one of the most exciting endeavors in the city’s history.

We will also consider an entire host of senior issues ranging from health to transportation services and everything in between. We want our older residents to age in place and will work to help them with this goal.

And we have already taken several steps to support our seniors. A great example of this care is the Ruth Willer Rental Assistance Program, which provides rental subsidies to qualifying Calabasas residents.

In 2012, we also established a Fund to assist low- and moderate-income homeowners, many of them seniors, with costly repairs to distressed and code-deficient properties. The program specifically tries to fill the gap when banks and other lending institutions refuse loans to property owners and they have no other means to remedy health and safety issues on their properties.

The City received a merit award from the Los Angeles American Planning Association for the Canyon Creek project-- home to 86 low income seniors. Construction has also begun on the 60 unit “Horizons” senior housing complex on Malibu Hills Road, which is due to open later this year.

And there it is: the Top 10 reasons that Calabasas is a great place to live and work.

And now --

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. It is now my pleasure and distinct honor to announce the 2013 Calabasas Citizens of the Year.

You’ve heard, one of the best things about living in Calabasas is our engaged, hard-working, motivated citizenship. These are people who don’t wait for the future to happen, they take an active role in creating it. Our Citizens of the Year are two shining examples of this standard. Together, they wanted to create a program to encourage social interaction among residents over the age of 50, and Savvy Seniors was born. These committed citizens made recommendations to the city to develop and promote new senior programs, and recruited qualified instructors. In short, they came, they saw, and they created and now thanks to their efforts, our Savvy Seniors program is thriving. Please join me in honoring our 2013 Calabasas Citizens of the Year, Savvy Seniors co-founders Carol Davis and Sue Somberg.

I have one more award to give this evening, but first, I would very much like to thank the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce for helping out with this event; Cub Scout Pack 333; the Teen Activities Council for its assistance; the wonderful staff at the City of Calabasas—especially the Media Operations Department—for all of their hard work in producing tonight’s event.

I would also like to thank you, the people, for allowing me the tremendous honor of serving as your Mayor and a member of the City Council. These past eight years have been incredibly fulfilling, and an exciting time for Calabasas.

Tonight I’ve given this speech as Mayor of Calabasas—but I would like to take this time to name an honorary Mayor for 2013. Many of you are aware of Kevin Cordasco—the remarkable young man who has shown such strength and courage facing cancer. In so many ways Kevin and his family symbolize the spirit of our community and represent the very best of what Calabasas stands for. His determination and optimism serve as models for us all. With that in mind, it is my pleasure to recognize our honorary 2013 Mayor, Kevin Cordasco. Please join me in front of the stage.

And now Kevin, would you like officially adjourn us?

Thank you so much, now please join me in the library for refreshments.

 

City of Calabasas © 2014