St. Patrick’s Day, sand replenishment, and Consent Calendars

Guard St. Patrick’s fame and your own name: don’t drive drunk

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. I put on something green and I’m done.

My family name is reportedly the second most common of Irish surnames. St. Patrick is arguably Ireland’s most beloved export. St. Patrick is beloved by both Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. (I’m told the Catholics and Protestants drink different brands of Irish whiskey.)

St. Patrick was the first man in recorded history to condemn slavery as evil in writing, according to Thomas Cahill’s “How the Irish Saved Civilization.”

(One assumes a goodly number of illiterate slaves condemned the practice before St. Patrick—himself a former slave in Ireland—wrote down his condemnation.)

On Friday, March 17, people will praise St. Pat’s name and guard his fame by drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages dyed with green food coloring.


Take note: Seal Beach Police will have officers on the prowl—correction, patrol—for possible drunk drivers.

Take note: When you get arrested, it creates a public record.

Take note: Any news organization can lawfully obtain that information and report both the fact of your arrest and your name.

Take note: Even if you convince a news organization to remove your name from their website, it might take a couple of weeks for Google to do the same. (And you’ll have to go through Google.)

May I respectfully suggest that if you drink on St. Patrick’s Day, you should hire Uber to take you home? Uber is less expensive than a lawyer.

Surfside sand project

During council comments, District One Councilman Joe Kalmick said the city was continuing to have Zoom meetings with the Army Corps of Engineers. The subject: the Surfside sand replenishment project. The funding has been approved. What’s needed: signatures on the appropriate documents.

Kalmick believes they are making progress.

Kalmick said Surfside has become so eroded that Surfside is at risk for damage to homes.

A comment on the Consent Calendar

I edit three weekly newspapers, each serving a different city. (Our Seal Beach office produces nine newspapers each week.)

I’ve lost count of the number of Consent Calendar items I’ve read during my journalism career. Consent Calendars are voted on and approved collectively without discussion.

In Avalon, the city manager reads short summaries of each Consent Calendar item to the City Council before the council takes action.

This adds a small, extra dash of transparency to the process. It takes a few extra minutes per meeting, but not a burdensome number of extra minutes.

In Avalon, the public is told what those items are before the vote. This is going a small step beyond the minimum requirements of the Brown Act.

Maybe Seal Beach should consider following Avalon’s lead and have someone read the Consent Calendar items to the council so the public can have an idea of what’s being decided.

Speaking of the Consent Calendar, see the next couple of items.

Seal Beach approves West County Water Board budget

The West County Water Board recently approved their budget.

As part of this week’s Seal Beach City Council Consent Calendar, the council members approved the water board’s approximately $1.5 million budget. “The West Orange County Water Board (WOCWB) is a joint powers authority comprised of the Cities of Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Westminster, and Seal Beach,” wrote Public Works Director Iris Lee in her staff report.

“WOCWB owns and operates OC-9 and OC-35 pipelines for the purpose of imported water from the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) and transporting it to the member cities,” Lee wrote.

The city’s portion of that is $211,354, according to Lee’s report. That figure includes operating costs and debt service payment for the OC-35 realignment project, according to Lee.

“All member cities must approve the WOCWB budget prior to April 19, 2023,” Lee wrote.

Council approves on-call agreement with NV5, Inc., for inspection services

The council on Monday, March 13, approved a three-year agreement with NV5, Inc., to provide on-call inspection services to Seal Beach.

The approval allows the city manager to extend the agreement for two more one-year terms.

According to staff report prepared by Associate Engineer David Spitz, Seal Beach  “requires on-going inspection services to support the demand and ensure construction work complies with design requirements and City standards.”

“While the City has entered into agreements with other consultants to provide similar services, NV5 became the City’s primary Public Works inspector in 2021 for capital improvement projects, OCSD Westminster Force Main, I-405 Improvement Project (I-405), and various development permits,” Spitz wrote.

“Given the magnitude of these efforts, that agreement’s $240,000 compensation limit became close to being fully encumbered prior to the completion of the agreement’s original three-year term,” Spitz wrote.

“As a result, on November 8, 2021, the City amended the Agreement to increase the Consultant’s compensation to $465,000 for the original three-year term and to increase the two optional one-year additional terms to $360,000 per one-year term,” Spitz wrote.

“On July 25, 2022, the City extended the original agreement by one year,” Spitz wrote.

“The I-405 and Orange County Sanitation District (OC San) interagency projects have increased their respective construction activities in recent years and [it] is anticipated that projects will continue to increase in the future,” Spitz wrote.

“The Agreement’s yearly compensation limit is again close to being fully expended prior to the completion of the one-year extension term. Staff anticipates additional inspection needs beyond those generally required for the City’s capital and development efforts,” Spitz wrote.

“It should be noted that I-405, OC San, and development permit-related expenditures will be reimbursed by the respective agency or applicant. This reimbursable amount is estimated to be 70 percent of the overall inspection needs,” Spitz wrote.

“25 percent is estimated to be utilized for Capital Improvement Projects and will be paid out of approved budgets for those projects. The final 5% will be budgeted under various Public Works budgeted accounts,” Spitz wrote.

Seal Beach Planners to look at residential rooftop access and remodel permits

The Planning Commission will hold at least two public hearings on March 20. According to public notices published in the March 9 print edition of the Sun, the commission will hold hearings on:

• A request to build a covered roof access structure to a single-family home in Surfside Colony. The structure would be 5 feet 6 inches above the maximum height.

This is a request for a minor use permit.

• A request to allow an interior remodel of a home and add a second story to a house on 11th Street.

This is a request for a conditional use permit.

The Planning Commission is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m., next Monday.

Charles M. Kelly is associate editor of the Sun.