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Council weighs mixed bag

June 15, 2011

Local Eagle Scout Giacomo Timbrello serenades the Bishop City Council with his rendition of The Beatles’ “Blackbird” Monday evening after receiving an official City of Bishop commendation for achieving the difficult and rarely-reached scouting rank. Photo by Mike Bodine

Monday’s Bishop City Council meeting was an eclectic mix of air tanks, Farmer’s Market bureaucracy, the skate community, parking on Short Street and the Beatles.
Newly-sworn Eagle Scout Giacomo Timbrello was recognized by the council with a commendation for his accomplishments. Timbrello in turn wanted to thank the council with a rendition of “Blackbird” by the Beatles. His solo guitar strumming and vocals brought smiles to many, if not all, in the audience. He was there with his family, including his little sister, Anastasia. “She’s radical,” Timbrello told the council.
Timbrello evidently made an impression on Bishop Police Chief Chris Carter earlier that day. During department head reports, Carter told the council he was at a meeting earlier with representatives from Cerro Coso Community College, the Mono County Superintendent of Schools and various law enforcement and Timbrello was in attendance.
Carter said Timbrello had brought up the idea of offering regional occupation programs, or ROP classes, in law enforcement, and re-instating a reserve corps.
Carter said he hopes to have such a program up and going by the spring 2012 semester.
Carter added he was pleased to report that there were no significant problems or concerns to report following the local graduation weekend.
The problems that have plagued the skate park in the Bishop City Park, and forced a short-term closure, are being reconciled.
Community Services Director Keith Caldwell said the skate park had to be closed due to “very unsafe conditions” and the city decided there needed to be a “cooling off period” for everyone involved – a chance to take a step back and re-examine the situation.
In an earlier interview, Caldwell said there were incidents of broken glass littering the concrete curves and dips of the skate park, drug deals, and disrespectful conduct toward fellow users and other park patrons. He added that park staff and he himself have met with representatives from the skate community, “and they seem to have an understanding.”
Caldwell noted that the kids really miss access to the park and, with everyone’s help, the few “bad apples” and the bulk of the problems can be removed. He added that all-in-all, the kids are very respectful.
The skate community has been working with Caldwell on a skate park event planned for August.
Also planned for the end of summer, actually the first of September, is the annual Destruction Derby – considered by many to be the highlight of the Tri-County Fair if not the year in the entire tri-county area. The council approved the contract with 18th District Agricultural Association/Eastern to once again hold the event, approved by Bishop Fire Chief Ray Seguine.
Seguine told the council a few things have changed in the last few years with the contract including the arena being cleaned with the assistance of metal detectors.
Seguine added that the Bishop Volunteer Fire Department has agreed to putting on the July Fourth fireworks show at the Bishop airport this year. It was also reported that the airport entrances on East Line Street and the Wye Road will both be open, easing traffic congestion.
Also, the July 4 “Big Day in the Park” event sponsored by the city will once again include free admission to the park pool that day.
Seguine also requested the council give the department permission to go out to bid for 30 self-contained breathing apparatus cylinders. He explained the life expectancy is almost up for the current tanks in circulation and new state regulations require a new tank design.
A new design and location is also being proposed for the Farmer’s Market in Bishop. The idea is to set up a larger location with possible room for expansion. Brad Henderson, vice-president of the Farmer’s Market, explained to the council the new location would be Academy Street between Main Street and the alley, as well as some of Talmadge Park, from 5-8 p.m. from Friday, June 17 through mid- November.
As Councilmember Jeff Griffiths was making a motion to approve the request, Councilmember Susan Cullen asked for a sub-motion to the motion to allow time – two weeks – for the two affected restaurants, Amigos and El Ranchito, to comment on the proposal.
Griffiths asked Cullen if that would give the restaurants veto power over the request.
Griffiths explained that the organizers and participants have to advertise and know that there will be a space available on an ongoing basis. As per Cullen’s request, the market could be open for two weeks then close if the two restaurants decided the weekly event would have negative effects on business.
Councilmember Jim Ellis agreed with Cullen that “both sides” should be heard. After some legal and procedural explanations of voting on sub-motions by City Attorney Peter Tracy, the sub-motion did not pass, with Cullen and Ellis the only yes votes.
The council then voted unanimously to allow the street closure for the market.
Ellis then asked if produce is even sold in “mid-November” per the request, and would the street remain closed if all but one or two growers were selling that late in the season.
Henderson said the organizers will determine a reasonable time to stop the market, weather depending, and would not need the street closed until “mid-November” if there was no longer a market.
The street closures along portions of Third and Short streets are at an end now that road work is complete.
Public Works Director Dave Grah said Project A is finished except for the addition of trees and work to resolve some concerns on the Short Street portion of the project. Originally, the plans were to turn the street into one-way only and create 35 coveted parking spots. However, due to an unforeseen problem with fire lanes and accessibility, the street will remain a two-way thoroughfare with 28 parking spots.
Cullen and Ellis asked Grah if he knew what the complaints were from residents on Short, or if questionnaires could be distributed.
Grah said no such questionnaire has been drafted.
Cullen and Ellis suggested Grah perform a door-to-door survey on Short, and in the evening when parking is the most congested.
He said Project A should be the last major residential work for the next few years.
Grah added that there was a total of 70 applicants interested in an open park maintenance position.

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