Mountain View Voice

News - June 11, 2010

City briefs

McKelvey, Cuesta flood basins the topic of June 17 meeting

Controversial flood basins proposed for the Cuesta Annex and McKelvey Park will be discussed this Thursday at City Hall as Valley Water certifies an environmental impact report.

The Santa Clara Valley Water district board of directors is set to certify the final EIR report for the Permanente Creek flood protection project at 6 p.m. June 17 in the City Council chambers.

Using four flood basins, including two in Los Altos, the project will protect certain property owners in Los Altos and Mountain View from a 100-year flood. Such a flood is unprecedented, and has a 1 percent chance of happening in any given year.

The draft report found few environmental impacts from the project, except for construction-related impacts to traffic from hauling away truckloads of dirt from the open lot next to Cuesta Park known as the Cuesta Annex.

Some are opposing the 15-foot-deep flood basins, especially the one that takes up the front third of the Cuesta Annex, saying the basins would ruin the look and feel of the parks. The City Council has already approved the plans in concept.

The final draft of the EIR has no substantial changes from the first draft, said project manager Afshin Rouhani, although it includes responses to comments from residents and government agencies.

The final 1,000 page environmental report will be posted this week at valleywater.org.

—Daniel DeBolt

Want to sound off about the city? There's an app for that.

Mountain View residents can voice their questions and concerns about the city at any time and from anywhere, now that the city has introduced the Ask Mountain View iPhone application.

The application will work in conjunction with the Ask Mountain View online service, which was activated last November to facilitate communication between community members and city staff in almost every department, according to a press release from the city manager's office.

"The Ask Mountain View iPhone App has extended the benefits of Ask Mountain View into the palm of your hand, accessible anytime and from virtually anywhere," Mayor Ronit Bryant said.

The app is expected to become available for other smartphones in the near future. iPhone users can download it now for free through the iPhone App Store or at www.mountainview.gov.

— EMILY HAMILTON

City employees adopt code of ethics

The city's 600 employees now have a code of ethics, which the city manager's office presented at Tuesday's City Council meeting.

The code is a proactive measure and was not created because there is a problem or concern with employee conduct, City Manager Kevin Dugan said.

The code was created by a committee of city employees who met regularly to discuss ethics in general, and particular scenarios that present ethical dilemmas.

The code reads:

* I will uphold the city's policies in a transparent and consistent manner at all times.

* I will make unbiased decisions and use my authority fairly and responsibly.

* I will act with honesty and be an advocate for an environment that promotes public trust.

* I will not use city resources or my position for personal gain.

* I will be mindful of how my actions are perceived by others and avoid conflicts of interest.

Kevin Woodhouse, assistant to the city manager, said the code would be "framed and displayed in all city departments," and would be part of training new employees. He added that the code would be the subject of "ongoing dialogue" in each department and would be integrated into city culture and daily decision making.

The City Council had no comment.

—Daniel DeBolt

Dead birds tested positive for West Nile Virus

Three American crows recently were found dead in Santa Clara County after testing positive for West Nile Virus, according to the Santa Clara County Vector Control District. The birds, which are the first indicators of the presence of West Nile Virus in the county, were found in Los Altos, San Jose, and Monte Sereno.

Though West Nile Virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, no mosquitoes in the area have tested positive for the virus thus far. The vector control district will continue to collect and test adult mosquitoes throughout the county.

Symptoms of the disease resemble flu symptoms, but can include neurological conditions or even death in extreme cases. No human cases occurred in Santa Clara County this year, though 112 symptomatic cases and four fatalities were reported in California in 2009.

Eliminating standing water and properly maintaining pools are crucial in mosquito abatement.

In order to monitor the spread of the virus, the district urges residents to report dead birds or tree squirrels that have been dead for less than 48 hours and appear to have no injury.

To report a dead animal, county residents should contact the state West Nile Virus hotline at 877-WNV-BIRD. Mosquito control assistance is available through the SCCVCD at 408-918-4770 or www.sccvector.org.

— Emily Hamilton

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