Council recognizes service members, hears public concerns on coyotes

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By Brooklynn Wong

While the hot-button issue of the Sanctuary State raged in surrounding cities, all was calm at the March 10 meeting of the Buena Park City Council.

Presentations were given to recognize individuals and organizations, one citizen raised an issue, and Council members and others gave updates on recent City business.

Reverend Mary P. Trainor of St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church gave the invocation, Director of Finance Sung Hyun led the Pledge of Allegiance, and the first presentation was to Officer Devin Boyington, in recognition of ten years of service to Buena Park Police Department (BPPD).

Boyington has filled many roles in his ten years, but he at present is a K-9 handler to Kondor, his four-legged coworker.

Next up was Technical Sergeant Jeffery A. Walldren, who was given a Certificate of Congratulations upon military retirement. Council Member Beth Swift sang the praises of Walldren and his family, whom she has known since Walldren was young. He went to school with her children, and was a student in Swift’s Culinary Arts class in her teaching days.

Also among the highlights was Jennifer Higgins, a teacher at Buena Park’s Speech & Language Development Center (SLDC), and student Ryan, briefly presenting on National Autism Awareness Month. Higgins was given a Certificate of Recognition, as April is National Autism Awareness Month. The Council announced that that evening, April 10, the whole city would be lit up in blue in honor of Autism Awareness.

On the agenda later in the evening was to be a presentation on human trafficking in Orange County by District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. However, it was announced that Rackauckas had been called to fly to Sacramento, so instead Jessica Lopez, Crime Prevention Specialist for BPPD, spoke on the program “If You See Something, Say Something.” This was launched after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Lopez encouraged people to look at the website keepocsafe.org for resources and guidance on ways to be vigilant in the community.

When it came time for oral communications, citizen Delwin Lampkin was the first to approach. He said he was there “on behalf of several concerned residents” about the increase in coyote sightings and attacks on pets in Buena Park. He had attended the recent Town Hall meeting on the topic and noticed that no City Council members were there, so he wanted to emphasize the issue to them and announced that he had some ideas and would like to work with the City. Council member Swift made clear that there had been a City Council meeting the same night as the Coyote Town Hall, and she wished it had been on another night, as they would have been interested in attending.

Mayor Virginia Vaughn asked Deputy City Manager Aaron France to follow up with Lampkin.

The only other oral communications item was raised by Higgins, who had been previously recognized, of the SLDC, and she and student Ryan, as well as Ryan’s mother, approached the dais to invite the public to their “Walk Your Way” event April 29 at Knott’s Berry Farm. This event is a fundraiser for the SLDC, and more information can be found at sldc.net.

On other City business, City Manager Jim Vanderpool spoke about the 2018-2020 Strategic Plan, a list of visions and goals for the City over the next few years, including implementing more cultural events to recognize and celebrate different ethnic groups in Buena Park, disaster preparation, and checking in on shut-ins. The City Manager’s office and various other City departments would work to implement these initiatives, and there is at this time no budgetary impact. The Council approved the plan’s adoption.

Assistant City Engineer Iris Lee gave a staff report on the 2017-2018 Slurry Seal project, which would repave the Native American and Mountain tracts. Lee said the City had received only one bid, which they did not believe to be reflective of competitive prices, so she suggested a rejection of the bid and a re-advertisement. The item passed.

Finally, in the Mayor’s report, Vaughn briefly mentioned the trip to Buena Park’s Korean sister city that she, the Chief of Police, and other City employees recently took. She said they are putting together a presentation on the trip for the next Council meeting, which will be April 24 at 5 p.m.

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