Catalina Island
64.4 °F
Reported on:
September 19, 2017 - 4:17pm

Articles by Charles M. Kelly

An informal online Catalina Islander survey found many residents concerned about housing, water and land use. The Islander also emailed City officials, who expressed concerns about water, housing and infrastructure.

The Islander asked residents, “What are the challenges and opportunities facing Avalon in the year ahead?”

The survey was taken in late December and early January, before the recent start of rainy weather.

The public’s perspective

Avalon’s city manager and city attorney are expected to discuss fresh water issues today with state Public Utilities Commission officials in San Francisco. Southern California Edison and the city differ on several issues, such as how much water storage is needed. City staff also believes the local drought has been aggravated by rationing rules that are tied to the Middle Ranch Reservoir and predate the desalination plant.

This week the City Council unanimously directed the city manager to informally ask the state Public Utilities Commission for help with getting more cooperation from Southern California Edison on water storage and rationing.

The two entities part ways on the details of how to improve water storage and delivery.

For example, Avalon officials want Edison to build a 2 million gallon storage tank. Edison officials want to wait for the results of a desalination expert’s study, expected next month, before deciding on the size and location of the tank.

This week Avalon City Manager Dave Jinkens emailed Southern California Edison’s corporate offices to ask the utility company to provide water rationing waivers to businesses such as hotels. Edison had not replied by the Islander’s deadline.

The council also directed staff to provide non-drinking water in the city’s water trailer and give that water to residents.

Avalon staff is expected to bring the City Council specific proposals and costs for relieving drought conditions here, probably on Oct. 18, according to City Manager David Jinkens. Staff is expected to propose four specific actions.

The council discussed several possible options this week.

Southern California Edison recently reached a settlement to pay the federal government a bit more than $39,000 for improper storage of hazardous waste on Catalina. According to a statement announcing the settlement, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that SCE has since corrected all of issues that led to the penalty.

Southern California Edison will hold two meetings to explain Stage 3 water rationing at Avalon School on Wednesday, Aug. 24. The first meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to noon. The second meeting will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.

Stage 3 rationing will begin Tuesday, Sept. 6.

The Avalon City Council this week approved the contract with newly-hired City Manager David Jinkens of South Lake Tahoe.

Jinkens will be moving to Catalina on July 14.

He plans to be in town by that evening.

The city’s contract with Jinkens isn’t expected to have an impact on the city budget.

According to City Attorney Scott Campbell’s report to the council, the contract with Jinkens is similar to the one Avalon had with the previous city manager, Ben Harvey, and was already included in the budget.

The City of Avalon announced the selection of David Jinkens, of South Lake Tahoe, California, as the town’s new city manager.

Mayor Anni Marshall said the vote to select Jinkens was unanimous. Jinkens succeeds Ben Harvey, who was fired by a vote of 3-2 in November of last year. Denise Radde has been serving as interim city manager since that time.

According to Marshall, Jinkens worked in Avalon for about one-and-a-half years in the 1980s. Marshall said that Jinkens will be coming out of retirement to work here.

The Avalon City Council this week voted 4-1 to put a ballot measure to legalize local medical marijuana dispensaries locally on the November ballot. Cinde MacGugan-Cassidy cast the dissenting vote.

The council received a petition to place the issue on the ballot. The council was required to choose an election option: a special election at an estimated cost of $35,000, put the issue on the April 2018 municipal election ballot at $5,000 or put it on the November 2016 ballot at $7,000 to $10,000.