Mayor's Message

September 14, 2020
Hello Vallejo,
I’ve been receiving a lot of calls and emails regarding “First Responder Fees”. I’d like to address our community’s concerns about these fees.
On May 9, 2017, the First Responder Fees were brought to Council by Former Vallejo Fire Chief, Jack MacArthur, as a way of recovering expenses of our paramedic services. The Council unanimously voted to approve the fee. There are a lot of medical supplies that are used on paramedic calls, and most of the cost was borne by the City. Under Section 13916 of the California Health and Safety Code, First Responder fees can be recovered. The fees go towards the replacement of supplies and enhance the services the fire department provides. The use of property taxes is designed to fund fire suppression and basic medical care only. However, communities have come to expect and receive advanced levels of paramedic care, and it is an essential public service.
Vallejo was the only city in Solano County that did not impose a first responders fee. During the 2017 Council meeting, I also learned that we were one of the few municipalities in the state that did not charge.
That said, the letter our residents who received care, was poorly crafted. I want to express that the letter IS NOT a bill. It was merely a courtesy notice of charges, intended to be billed to and paid for by your health insurance provider. Several council members and I have asked that the letter be re-written to clearly indicate that it is only a courtesy notice and that the actual bill was sent to their insurance carrier. The current Fire Chief, Chief Arbuthnott, has made it clear that the City IS NOT sending non-payment of these First Responder Fees to collections. Therefore, those that do not have health insurance are not expected to pay the fee unless they are able to.
Cost recovery is vital to providing quality service to our community. It allows us to provide rapid access to advanced life support services that are only attainable in an EMS system that staffs paramedics on both ambulances and fire engines.
I hope this clears up the misunderstanding.
Stay well and healthy!
Your Mayor, Bob Sampayan


 



 

Mayors Message - June 10, 2020

June 10, 2020


Events That Changed Us All.

The events of the past few weeks have challenged our community in a way it has never been challenged before. Senseless acts of violence and looting warped the messaging of peaceful protests meant to express the pain of the death of George Floyd. Another tragic event followed by this senseless death occurred in our very own community, the shooting of San Francisco resident Sean Monterrosa. I want to express my deepest condolences to both families in this very difficult time.

We Hear You.
Our community has been jarred by the recent events across the nation and in our very own backyard. Over the last week, I have received over 2,600 emails asking for change, and your voices have not fallen on deaf ears. We hear you.

Change is Coming.
In the last seven days, Council and City Staff have made accomplishments, undoubtedly fueled by the intense desire to bring a high level of transparency and accountability to the City and VPD. In the case of the shooting death of Sean Monterossa, Council, working together with VPD and City staff, have requested that the criminal investigation for this incident be elevated from the Solano County District Attorney's Office to the California Attorney General for a thorough review. Additionally, Chief of Police, Shawny Williams, has requested that the internal investigation into the Monterossa shooting be reviewed by an outside, nonpartisan consultant, the OIR group.

OIR Assessment report.
In addition to these requests for elevated investigations, City Council agreed that the community must have access to an assessment report on the practices, policies, and procedures of the Vallejo Police Department, which was completed and prepared by The OIR Group. This report shines light on where our Police Department is failing and where the department is performing well. This OIR report will help to hold us accountable for the necessary improvements that must be made.

Collaborating on a Better Future.
Finally, it is important to mention that last night, my Council colleagues and I unanimously voted to ratify the agreement with the California Department of Justice. I am confident that we are making positive steps in the right direction for our City and PD by entering into this agreement with the Cal DoJ.

I have always known in my heart that Vallejo is strong, and Vallejo is resilient, and together we will rise.

- Your Mayor, Bob Sampayan

Mayor's Message - June 15, 2020

June 15, 2020

This week I want to take a moment to remind you that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Many issues have swept through our Nation these last couple of weeks, placing COVID19 on the back-burner. It's important to remember that COVID19 is still a concern for our community. As we cautiously transition into reopening our City, protecting ourselves and others from the virus should still be at the forefront of all of our minds.

There are a few actions that Vallejoans can continue to take to help keep our community healthy.

Social Distancing: If you are like me, you enjoy shared time with others. Staying 6-feet apart can feel challenging at times, but this is still one of the easiest things we can do to stay safe and healthy.

Don't Cluster/Gather: Gathering together in large groups can increase your chances of exposure to COVID19. The best way to avoid possible exposure is to avoid large groups. In light of current events, I understand the necessity for raising your voices in peaceful protest; I humbly ask that our community members be mindful when exercising their First Amendment rights and wear a mask when participating in these important peaceful protests. This eludes to the last action...

Wear a Mask: Wearing a mask sends a signal to others that you care about them and their health just as you value your own health. While wearing a mask or face covering may not completely prevent the spread of COVID19, it is a precaution recommended by the CDC that can significantly reduce the risk of spreading the virus. It also a requirement by Emergency Order in the City of Vallejo when in public spaces where social distancing isn't possible.

Some of the ways that businesses can help residents social distance and control the spread of COVID19 is to offer outdoor seating. The City Planning and Permitting Department has expeditiously put together a permitting system that allows for temporary outdoor dining permits. If you are a business owner interested in offering outdoor dining, you can find more information on obtaining a temporary permit by clicking HERE.

The Economic Development Team has also created a guide for businesses that contains numerous resources and suggestions on how to reopen safely within State and County guidelines. You can find that free guide HERE.

Residents can also do their part by continuing to get tested for COVID19 at the Vallejo testing site. You do not need to have symptoms, and testing is free. The service is by appointment only, and you can book an appointment online by visiting https//lhi.care/covidtesting or over the phone at 1-888-634-1123.

Until my next update Vallejo, stay strong and be well.

Your Mayor,
Bob Sampayan

#Togetherwecan #VallejoStrong #VallejoProud

Mayor's Message - June 22, 2020


Hello Vallejoans,

This week I want to focus on a couple of significant topics that have been flooding my inbox, Fireworks, and COVID19.

As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, I have heard from concerned residents about the sounds of massive fireworks being ignited around Vallejo. Because of these concerns, I need to remind all of our community members that fireworks are illegal in Vallejo. Most people love a good firework show but let's leave those shows to the professionals and here are a few reasons why;

FIRE SEASON:
Fire season in California has become increasingly dangerous, especially in places like the North and East Bays, where we have beautiful rolling hills and farmland that unfortunately are filled with dry brush and grasses during this time of year. Even the smallest fireworks can create a deadly situation in these areas. It's also important to remember that you do your part by keeping your defensible spaces clear of dried grasses and vegetation. You can find out more information about maintaining your defensible space HERE.

OUR COMPANIONS:
Many residents have expressed their concern about fireworks and the mental health of their furry companions. Many animals become stressed and anxious when they hear explosions or loud sounds. Some will flee for safety while others are paralyzed with fear in closets and under beds. If you have a pet that is triggered by these loud noises, there are a few things you can do to help ensure their safety on the Fourth of July. If you can, keep your pet inside and give them a safe, comfortable place to "hide" if they feel anxious. Make sure that your fence line and gates are secure. Many pets, especially dogs, will attempt to flee if they are afraid of fireworks and loud noises. They will push out of weak fence boards or take advantage of unlatched gates.

FIRE AND POLICE PERSONNEL:
9-1-1 calls regarding fireworks tax our fire and police personnel if they are running back to back calls for fireworks. While we encourage the public to report the use of illegal fireworks, I must stress to those who are lighting fireworks that they are unlawful. Illegal fireworks calls can create response delays for residents who have serious, life-threatening calls that need to be attended to.

DANGEROUS:
While fireworks are a beautiful sight and commemoration of our independence, they are also very dangerous. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that, on average, 180 people go to the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday. The most common places for injuries are on the hands, fingers, eyes, and head. The easiest way to avoid these injuries is to avoid lighting off illegal fireworks altogether.

COVID19:
Finally, I want to remind everyone that we are still in a pandemic. COVID19 continues to be a concern in our community. Last week, the State of California created an order that requires all Californians to wear a face-covering when in public spaces. You can read more about the statewide order HERE. Please continue to social-distance, wash your hands, and wear a face-covering to keep the curve flat. Vallejo continues to offer free COVID19 testing to anyone who wants it, regardless of whether you have symptoms or not. You can book an appointment online by visiting https//lhi.care/covidtesting or by phone at 1-888-634-1123.

Wishing you all good health.

Your Mayor,
Bob Sampayan

Mayor's Message - June 29, 2020

June 29, 2020

Dear Fellow Vallejoans,

This week I want to spend a little time talking about the increased importance of continuing to be vigilant of the spread of coronavirus. Yesterday afternoon Governor Gavin Newsom announced that Solano County is one of four counties on the state’s watchlist for coronavirus. The reason Solano County is on the State watchlist is because our COVID-19 numbers are on the rise again. While we still have open bed capacity at our hospitals, testing numbers have stayed the same, yet our positive cases have increased. This increase in positive cases could result in a rollback of the phased re-opening for our county. This could create yet another economic blow to our community. Additionally, Solano county has noted that the contagious age range is from 16 to 36 years old. I’m really speaking to our younger community when I say that we have all been there, we understand that this lockdown has been difficult in such a social-era for our younger generations, but please, do your part to help flatten the curve, if not for yourselves, then for your parents and your grandparents so that they might continue to live a long healthy life.

On a more positive note, the spread of this virus is completely avoidable. Together we can fight COVID-19 by continuing to social distance, wearing our masks, and washing our hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20-seconds.

Turning to another explosive matter (yes, the pun was intended), I want to extend more words of caution about fireworks. Not only are fireworks illegal in the City Of Vallejo, but they are also very dangerous, especially now when we are in a time of high fire danger. Myself and other councilmembers have been receiving massive amounts of emails and phone calls from residents with concerns about fireworks being ignited all night long. Not only is it disruptive to their sleep it also creates anxiety and fear in their pets.

I’d like to refer you back to my Mayor's Message from last week which talks about fireworks, fires, and defensible space and how fireworks negatively affect our fur companions. You can find last week's message below.

While this Fourth of July isn’t quite like all the ones we’ve enjoyed in the past, I’d like to wish you the most joyous and relaxing Fourth of July, as we celebrate our Nation’s independence together, but from a distance.

Happy Fourth of July,
Your Mayor, Bob Sampayan

#Togetherwecan #VallejoStrong #VallejoProud

Mayor's Message - July 6, 2020

Dear Fellow Vallejoans,

I want to start this week’s message off with a huge thanks to our dispatchers, fire, and police people who handled a massive amount of calls for service this weekend. On Saturday alone, Fire handled a whopping 267 calls while Police handled 250 calls for service. My hat goes off to them and our dedicated dispatchers who pulled this off seamlessly. Bravo team!

Another topic I need to touch on today is the Public Safety Power Shutoff’s (PSPS). After everything that we have been through as a community in the past few months, it feels as though the PSPSs that affected Vallejo and the surrounding areas are a distant memory, but we must be prepared for it to happen again soon. According to our area representatives at PG&E, there are plans in the works to roll out more PSPSs in August. Now that we have been through these events, we know there are a few things we can do ahead of time to prepare. Here is a list of a few things you can do to prepare:

        ---> Sign up for the PG&E’s notification list, you can do that here: - HOMEOWNERS CLICK HERE -  RENTERS CLICK HERE

        ---> Create alternate plans for medicines that need refrigeration or power-dependent medical devices such as C-PAP machines for sleep apnea patients.

        ---> If you have the ability to do so, purchase a generator now, but please be sure to read all of the instructions on the proper use of your generator.

        ---> Stock up on foods that do not require refrigeration and prepare a plan for what you will do with foods in the fridge.

For more information on PSPS event preparedness, please visit PG&Es Frequently Asked Questions and Information page

In closing, I want to remind you that COVID-19 is still with us, and the numbers are rising. As of today, the City of Vallejo is up to 620 positive cases and 27 people from around the County are currently hospitalized. The County has now tested 34,000 people and the highest rate of infection is among the age group of 16 - 36 years of age. The main source of transmission has been “close contact”, meaning that patients were involved in gatherings with others who were not in their immediate household. County Health Officer, Dr. Bela Matyas said today that after the 4th of July holiday, he expects to see a sharp increase of positive cases in the coming weeks. As I ask every week, please, do your best to social distance, wear your masks or face coverings when social distancing is difficult or impossible such as when you are in a grocery store, and wash your hands. We are all in this fight together.

Your Mayor,
Bob Sampayan

Mayor's Message - July 13, 2020

Dear Vallejoans,

As I drove into City Hall this morning, I was still deeply saddened over what I saw as I ran errands around our town over the weekend. Trash, trash everywhere!

Having personally witnessed this happen, I have wondered what might compel a person to throw their fast food trash out the window of their moving vehicle, and I came up blank. There simply is no good reason. In the course of 24 hours, I also noticed that someone had taken the time to load their household garbage, old furniture, and mattresses into their vehicle just to dump them off at the edge of the wetlands. It seems as though people's pride and sense of ownership for our beautiful City has somehow diminished, and it's truly disheartening.

Another point I want to bring up is that first impressions are everything. When new businesses and families come to Vallejo in search of a place to drop their roots, this is not the Vallejo we want them to see, because this is not the Vallejo that we are. It's a misrepresentation of all the beautiful things and people that Vallejo has to offer.

The City currently employs six people to conduct clean up around Vallejo. Yes, you read that correctly; only six people. That means there is approximately one person on staff to every 20,000 people to keep our City looking beautiful. Now I know that not all of those 20,000 people litter and some wonderful folks even take it upon themselves to beautify our City by picking up trash and doing larger dump runs at their own expense. I am grateful for them and everyone else who assists in the effort of caring for our City.

I want to remind all of our residents that they are allowed two-bulky item (large trash) pick-ups annually through Recology Vallejo at no additional cost. You can find out more information on these bulky item pick-ups here, https://www.recology.com/recology-vallejo/bulky-items/ The City is also working on a large dump event to occur in the Fall of this year.

As always, I will leave you with a final reminder that it takes a village, and Vallejo is one of the strongest, most resilient villages that I have ever been a part of. I know together, we can do this!

Your Mayor,
Bob Sampayan

Mayor's Message - July 20, 2020

My Fellow Vallejoans,

I wanted to take a moment to briefly return to our candid discussions last week about the trash situation that is plaguing our beautiful City. It’s important that I remind our residents that while we have staff to help in this effort, they cannot be everywhere at once. I have also spoken with our City Manager about the possibility of bringing back the illegal dumping hotline, where citizens and businesses can call in and leave a message reporting illegal dumping or the accumulation of trash. In the meantime, It’s important that we all continue to take pride in our City. I kindly ask that we join together in keeping our community clean because the work of one or just a few won’t solve the problem, we all must do our part. If you see a piece of trash on the ground, please pick it up and place it in a trash receptacle if you are able to. You can also place a request for clean-up at our See-Click-Fix portal. I am committed to doing my part and I hope you will join me in that effort.

Moving on to another issue in our City, sideshows. I am just going to come out and say it, sideshows are downright illegal and a huge nuisance in our community! Over the last couple of weeks, I, along with the other council members, have been in receipt of dozens of emails and voice messages from angry residents regarding these sideshows. I want to assure you all that we share those concerns and frustrations with you and we are committed to doing what we can to bring these dangerous and disruptive gatherings to a halt. We have connected with our Chief of Police, Shawny Williams, and I am happy to report that Chief Williams is actively working on a plan to combat these sideshows in Vallejo.

Currently, the consequences for participating in these sideshows can range from an automatic 30-day impound of your vehicle all the way up to, and including a misdemeanor citation. Either way, it’s an extremely costly endeavor for what one might consider a “little bit of fun.”

I hope that in my coming weeks of messaging I will be able to share the Chief’s plans to combat these sideshows with you, in more detail.

Until next week, Vallejo.

Your Mayor,
Bob Sampayan

Mayor's Message - July 27, 2020

Dear Fellow Vallejoans,

Covid-19 has changed life as we know it. We were once free to gather with others, walk around in public without masks, and dine in at our favorite restaurants. It’s important for us as a community to support each other as much as we can and that includes supporting our local businesses in this time of economic hardship brought on by Covid-19.

The City has also sought to find creative ways to allow businesses to continue to thrive during this time. One of the wonderful things that I see happening across the City are local businesses are beginning to take advantage of the special outdoor dining permit the City’s Planning and Permitting Department has made available in coordination with the Economic Development team.

This permit allows local businesses to make use of public sidewalks in front of their restaurant or café*. There is also the option for these businesses to use one or more (up to four) parking spaces, on-street the street or within a parking lot, in the front of the building occupied by a restaurant or café. You might hear people sometimes refer to these spaces as parklets.

If you are interested in having a change of scenery, getting outdoors, and supporting local businesses, I encourage you to take a look at this list/map of businesses in Vallejo who currently have outdoor spaces open. Just remember Covid-19 is still very much a part of our lives, and it’s important that we are still mindful to practice social distancing, wear masks (when not eating), and washing our hands with soap and water regularly.

If you are a business who is interested in obtaining a temporary outdoor dining permit, you’re in luck, because right now the permit is FREE!**

For more information on outdoor dining permits and how to obtain them, visit:
https://www.cityofvallejo.net/cms/One.aspx?portalId=13506&pageId=16745268

Your Mayor,
Bob Sampayan


* Must maintain a 4-foot clearance for pedestrians
** Permits are free through November 1, 2020

Mayor's Message - August 10, 2020

Dear Fellow Vallejoans,

This week I want to express my gratitude to the Vallejo Police Department Detectives who have worked tirelessly to make two arrests in the murder of a young Vallejo resident last week. The VPD has also been making traction on curbing the sideshows with the help of some of our partnering agencies. Last Sunday, our partnering agencies responded with VPD to sideshow activity which led to eight arrests, eight impounded vehicles, and three citations being issued. There was also one agency assisted vehicle pursuit, leading to a foot chase and arrest in Berkeley. You can read VPD’s full press release by clicking HERE.

Unfortunately, we are still talking about COVID this week. While I am sure we all wish that it would just pass already, it’s still very much with us. So I just want to make a gentle reminder to maintain your social distancing, wear a mask or face covering, wash your hands with soap and water often, and please, stay home if you feel sick. The only way we are going to beat this virus right now is by not spreading it.

Coming up next week we are expecting some extremely hot weather. Because of COVID, there won’t be the usual cooling centers available so I want to be sure that everyone takes the necessary precautions. Stay in the shade, stay hydrated, and stay in climate-controlled areas if possible. Please be vigilant of those who cannot fend for themselves as well. Seniors, pets, and young children are at a higher risk for suffering from heat exhaustion which can turn deadly in some cases. So please be sure to check in on those who might need assistance in staying healthy and hydrated.

Lastly, It’s important for me to remind you that shopping locally is one of the best ways you can support Vallejo. Our local businesses have felt the brunt of this virus. These hardworking folks live in Vallejo and employ people who also live in Vallejo. Let’s do what we can to support them and keep our economy thriving. Additionally, with all of this warm weather coming our way, this might be the perfect opportunity to spend an evening outside at one of Vallejo’s restaurants with outdoor seating. The City has started a map with Vallejo restaurants who have outdoor seating available. You can see that map HERE. If you know of a local restaurant that has outdoor seating that deserves a place on the map, please email the details to the City’s PIO at pio@cityofvallejo.net.

Be well, Vallejo.

Your Mayor,
Bob Sampayan

August 20, 2020

Dear Fellow Vallejoans,

 

Sadly, fires are still burning throughout Solano and the surrounding counties. Vallejo Police and Fire personnel were deployed to help out our sister cities to evacuate their residents and fight the fire. All of our surrounding agencies’ resources have been stretched thin and I was thankful to hear Governor Newsom’s announcement today that he has activated the National Guard. While we have personnel assisting outside Vallejo, I want to assure you all that our stations in Vallejo are staffed and ready to respond to anything in our City as well. For more information on the LNU Lightning Complex Fire Incident, you can visit Solano County’s Incident Page or the CalFire Incident Page for more info.

 

Residents who are looking for an opportunity to volunteer at the Solano County Fairgrounds which is being used as the large animal evacuation center, are encouraged to call Solano County @ 707-784-1635.

 

Due to the fires burning all around us, the air quality is very poor right now. I would encourage you to stay indoors if possible and if you can't stay inside, please be sure to wear a mask or some type of face-covering. This should be second-nature for us given that we have been required to wear masks for quite some time now. If you are curious about the air quality, visit the AirNow.gov page for the latest information.

 

Lastly, as if 2020 hasn’t dealt us enough, we are also in an unprecedented heatwave that looks as though it will be continuing for a few more days. This brings on an entirely different concern, rolling blackouts. The California ISO (CAISO) has asked residents to be mindful of their electrical usage. You can sign up for CAISO flex alerts and updates HERE. PG&E also has a webpage HERE that you can visit where you can find information and updates on outages.  

 

Be safe, Vallejo!

 

Your Mayor,

Bob Sampayan


August 27, 2020

August 27, 2020

Hello Vallejo,

The last six months have posed some severe challenges to our community. From COVID 19 to economic hardship for our residents, businesses, and city government, to a spike in crime. It is the latter I wish to write about. As of today, our homicide rate is at an alarming 19. Shootings are on the rise, as are auto thefts. I have received many messages voicing your concerns about crime. Residents of our city are afraid; and as your Mayor, I hear the concerns, your heartbreak, and fears. I have taken your comments directly to the City Manager, Greg Nyhoff, and Police Chief Shawny Williams, demanding that we take back our city. I suggested that we enlist the help of the California Highway Patrol as we did in the mid-1990s where they augmented our patrol staffing with eight officers patrolling some of the more challenging areas of Vallejo. That program, Operation Safe-Streets, was a success with a large reduction in crime, firearms were taken off the street, many stolen vehicles were recovered and perpetrators sentenced to jail.

Chief Williams has agreed to this strategy and has written to the CHP Commissioner as well as the Area Commander, asking for help. He and Assistant Chief Allio have also asked for the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force and the ATF for assistance. FBI has committed resources to us.

This is all part of a larger project to reduce crime in Vallejo. You can read more about Operation PEACE Project and the plan of action to decrease crime in our city by clicking HERE for more information.

Lastly, I am excited to share the news about our COPS Hiring Program grant award!

This grant award will allow for eight new sworn positions in VPD. VPD plans to increase their number of detectives, expand their Crime Reduction Team, address quality of life concerns many in our community have, and reduce the growing gun violence. The COPS grant is a win-win for the City of Vallejo.

As always, I wish you all well.

Your Mayor,
Bob Sampayan

#Togetherwecan #VallejoStrong #VallejoProud