MEETING TIME DEBATED: Oakdale City Council members were divided at their meeting this week as to whether council meetings should start earlier than 7 p.m. Councilwoman Toni Hanson raised the issue, saying she thought more city staff would attend meetings if the time were closer to when they left work. Mayor Farrell Jackson said the time was set at 7 p.m. for residents' convenience. Also, Oakdale council meetings do not run late, Jackson said, indicating that consistently late meetings might be a reason to start earlier. Except for Modesto, every city in Stanislaus County starts its council meetings at 7 p.m.
CHANGE IN STORE FOR DELTA: On Tuesday, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors became the second group to outlaw anchoring indefinitely on the open waters of the Sacramento- San Joaquin River Delta. It passed a comprehensive water safety ordinance with a 30-day limit on living on open waters in San Joaquin County, a 15-day limit for uninhabitable boats and a requirement that boaters be able to show proof of proper waste disposal. "We've been working on this for over a year," said Sgt. Sam Malcolm with the Sheriff's Department boating safety unit. "So I'm glad to see it come to pass." Contra Costa County passed similar rules two years ago. Malcolm said that, since then, he has tracked makeshift homes on broken vessels floating from Contra Costa into San Joaquin. Law enforcement officers and some fellow boaters believe the vessels are leaking chemicals and sewage into the delicate delta ecosystem. The law also requires that boats parked in marinas meet sanitation requirements. When supervisors introduced the measures last month, marina owner Richard Dunn spoke against what he interpreted as a requirement for marinas to root out and report derelict boaters; Sheriff Steve Moore said they will be required only to cooperate with authorities. Nobody spoke against the law Tuesday. It takes effect in 30 days, when Malcolm said the county will begin enforcing it.
CHANGE IN CITY MANAGER POST: Assistant City Manager Karen McLaughlin will take over as interim city manager in Manteca when City Manager Bob Adams retires Feb. 1. The City Council unanimously approved a contract with McLaughlin on Monday evening. It provides up to a $400-per-month car allowance and a 10 percent salary boost from her $159,000 annual salary. McLaughlin, 48, of Modesto, said Tuesday that she hadn't decided whether to apply for the city's top post. She has worked in the city manager's office since 1987. "I keep going back and forth," she said. "I've been here 21 years, and I really like what I am doing here right now." Her job includes leading the city budget team, working on development projects and being an information source for the public. In contrast, the city manager is charged with carrying out a city vision, monitoring department leadership and working with agencies outside the city. She said her teenagers are also a consideration. "There is a lot of soul-searching about it -- it would be a great opportunity," she said. " I'm really honored the council picked me to be interim city manager. It's a nice vote of confidence."
BOARD NAMED: The Winton-based Central Valley Opportunity Center named its incoming board: Ecco Stotts, chairman; Rosa Hernandez, vice chairman; Mai Meidinger, secretary; William Sylvia, treasurer; and Rebecca Rodriguez-Lincoln, member-at-large. The center offers vocational and job-search assistance and other services to low-income people in Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties.