By Jamie Goldstein, Capitola City Manager
This column is intended to provide the community with an ongoing series of updates about City of Capitola projects and activities of interest. If you have any suggestions for future topics, or feedback, please let me know at email@example.com or by phone at 475-7300.
As mentioned in last month’s article, this summer has been a busy one for infrastructure projects in the City – and that work is expected to continue through the fall. Specifically, the City is expecting to complete work on a major paving project on Park Avenue, Kennedy Drive and Monterey Avenue. Construction should begin in early fall and take about four weeks to complete.
At McGregor Park, work on the final project phase, the bike pump track, should wrap up the first week in August. The builder of the pump track is also working on the pump tracks at the Rio Olympic Games, so it has been challenging to schedule his time. Additionally, the tennis courts at Jade Street Park are scheduled to be rebuilt this October.
All this comes on the heels of repaving projects on Rosedale Avenue, Alma and Carl Lanes and 38th Avenue, the Stockton intersection/sidewalk project, and the skate and dog parks at McGregor Park.
Grand Jury Commends Capitola Police Department
Earlier this month the Santa Cruz County Grand Jury released a report investigating how the City of Capitola manages citizen complaints about the Police Department. Overall the Grand Jury commended the Police Department on the way it handles the complaints, and found the program to be effective and fair to both the complainant and the officer involved. The report also stated, “We believe that with minor improvements in [the Capitola Police Department’s] complaint procedures the department could be a role model for other county law enforcement.”
The Grand Jury did note two areas where it felt the City could improve its processes related to citizen complaints. The Grand Jury suggested the City could work to reduce the amount of time the investigations take, and to put statistics regarding the complaints online to improve transparency. The City agrees with these findings and has already begun to put the complaint information online.
Chief Escalante Announces Retirement
As widely reported, Chief Rudy Escalante will be retiring this fall after 32 years of service to the residents of the Cities of Capitola, Santa Cruz and Watsonville. Chief Escalante has served as Capitola’s Police Chief since 2012.
Under Chief Escalante’s leadership, the Capitola Police Department was the first agency in Santa Cruz County to implement the use of body-worn cameras for all of its officers, increasing transparency to improve trust in policing.
Chief Escalante oversaw development of a new property and evidence facility, improving overall security and increasing storage capabilities of critical evidence. In addition, he also coordinated the installation of numerous digital speed display signs on roadways throughout the city that have reduced average speeds, increasing safety on those streets.
City staff will present a Police Chief recruitment plan at the July 28 City Council meeting. That plan includes extensive outreach and public involvement to ensure our next Police Chief is a fit for our community and Police Department.
City Rolls Out New Fiscal Transparency Tool
In an effort to provide increased financial transparency, the City contracted with OpenGov to develop an interactive website that displays multiple years of financial data in a user-friendly format.
The website, www.capitolaca.opengov.com, generates charts and graphs that allow users to analyze City records at a high level. In addition the site also allows users to drill down to see highly specific details. If you have any feedback on the tool, or want to suggest other reports, please utilize the “Contact The City of Capitola” link from the OpenGov tool to let the City’s Finance Department know.
Capitola Candidate Information for the November 2016 Election
The November 2016 Presidential General Election is just months away and deadlines for those interested in running for Capitola city offices are approaching soon. Capitola’s openings include two Council Members and one City Treasurer; terms for Mayor Edward A. Bottorff, Council Member Dennis Norton, and City Treasurer Christine McBroom expire in December.
The candidate filing period ends August 17, 2016. Candidates for City Council and City Treasurer must obtain candidate papers from the Capitola City Clerk. For more information, please call the Capitola City Clerk at 831-475-7300.
- Our Summer Twilight Concert Series continues, with free concerts every Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Esplanade Park bandstand.
- The Capitola Police Department will host its annual National Night Out event on Tuesday, Aug. 2, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Jade Street Park. Come and join your neighbors to enjoy crafts, jump houses, and a K-9 demonstration, plus a free BBQ.
- The Capitola Movies at the Beach Series begins Friday, August 26 at dusk with “Grease” and a Sing-along. Enjoy the free movies and popcorn. Bring your blankets, low back chairs and your singing voice.