Mayor's Message

October 19, 2020


Dear Vallejoans,
Have you been on Highway 37 recently and noticed that something was different as you drive by the wetlands? If you have, you know where I am going with this week's message!
 Earlier this week, our team of homeless outreach and engagement professionals teamed up with Vallejo Together, Public Works staff and others to begin the clean-up of the homeless encampment on the wetlands off of Highway 37 at the Wilson and Sacramento exit. During the clean-up, several tons of refuse was collected and disposed of from the site. I am also pleased to report that the homeless residents living in the wetlands played a massive part in helping our team to clean-up this site.
Residents at the encampment were also notified that notices would be posted in early November, advising them when they need to vacate the property, so the wetlands' planned restoration can begin. Our Homeless Services CORE team will work closely with each resident to relocate them into transitional housing and make sure that they are connected with the services many of them desperately need. The move-out is planned to take place over the course of three days in November. Residents wishing to remain outdoors will be offered a safe place to camp, and the site is still to be determined.
In addition to the planned Navigation Center, the City is also planning to purchase a property to operate as transitional housing for our homeless residents. The City will use Project Home Key funds awarded by the state to acquire those properties, opening up approximately 104 rooms to house our homeless.
The County Consortium, along with Vallejo Together and City of Vallejo Staff, meet weekly, collaborating on a strategic plan to make our residents' move and shift into transitional housing as seamless as possible.
At next Tuesday's City Council Meeting, we will be discussing some of these items pertaining to the transitional housing and I invite you to listen in. You can find the City Council meeting information at www.cityofvallejo.net/agendas www.cityofvallejo.net/agendas
It will be a wonderful sight to have our wetlands restored to their natural beauty as well as see our residents move into housing where their needs can be met. It's a win-win for everyone!
Until next week, Vallejo, You 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

Mayor's Message - 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


Mayor's Message - 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

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


Mayor's Message - September 21, 2020

I have great news!

 

Operation P.E.A.C.E. has proven to be highly successful in its first couple of weeks. Since the Operation's launch on September 10th, the Vallejo Police Department’s Crime Reduction Team and Operation P.E.A.C.E. task force officers have seized ten handguns, one assault rifle, three extended magazines, and three pistol drum magazines. Officers were also successful in making arrests of nine individuals who were associated with these illegal weapons. Today, the VPD PIO shared that the U.S. Attorney and District Attorney are part of the state, federal and local partnerships for the Operation. The criminal cases will be reviewed by their offices on a case-by-case basis to determine if charges will be assessed at the state or federal level. I am nothing but impressed with the progress this Operation has made in making Vallejo's streets safe again for our residents. If you are interested in reading the VPD press releases about the weapons seizures and arrests, click here.

 

Returning to the conversation about the Fire Department and last week’s message about the First Responders Fee, Fire Chief Arbuthnott shared with me today that "the Department has directed Wittman Enterprises to suspend the First Responder Fee program until further notice. The Fire Department will be working with City leadership and Wittman to determine the next steps forward." As I mentioned in last week's message, these mailings were never intended to be bills to our residents, but merely serve as a courtesy notice to those who received emergency medical care that their insurance carrier would be billed for the services rendered. We never expected our residents to pay this fee. When the program is instituted again, we will make sure that these courtesy notices are very clear for our residents to understand. I can also assure you that the program's re-activation will be clearly communicated from the Fire Department and the City before anyone receives a courtesy notice in their mailbox.

 

Lastly, I want to give a HUGE thanks to Shelee Loughmiller, Vallejo's Community and Volunteer Coordinator, for organizing the Give Litter the Boot Project. Shelee has organized various groups, which include the Coastal Clean-up North Bay Ploggers, the Vallejo Rotary Club, and the Vallejo Street Stewards. Together with a dedicated Public Works Employee and the City's clean-up tool trailer, volunteers will work to keep the streets of Vallejo litter-free and beautiful for all to enjoy. The clean-up events will occur on the 2nd & 4th Saturdays, September through February 2021, from 9 AM – 12 PM. If you're interested in volunteering for one, or more of these clean-up events, visit Give Litter The Boot interest page here!

 

I hope this week's message left you feeling encouraged and hopeful as we move into better days here in Vallejo.

 

Sincerely,

Your Mayor, Bob Sampayan 

Mayor's Message - September 28, 2020

Dear Vallejo,
I’ve been receiving calls and emails from residents about the trash and litter around our community. Yes, I see it, and I’m not ignoring it.
I am thankful to all the groups that have taken time out of their busy Saturdays to pick up trash around town. I know how frustrating it is to look at it and to see it accumulate. Unfortunately, we have only two groundskeepers that police our streets, picking up garbage. On homeless cleanup days, which is once a month, we have three more that help.
Last quarter, the crews picked up close to 290,000 lbs. of refuse, that's nearly 145 tons. That’s all within a three month time period! It is amazing that so many people feel they are entitled to dump, throw out, or litter our streets.
Our Volunteer Coordinator, Shelee Loughmiller has been coordinating volunteers for trash pickup. If you want to get involved, please contact Shelee via email at Shelee.Loughmiller@CityofVallejo.net. Thank you to all of you that care about Vallejo and our image. It’s heartbreaking to see what inconsiderate and entitled people do to our beloved Vallejo.
And it might be last in this message, but surely it's one of the first things on my mind, our neighbors to the Northwest who are suffering through yet another devastating fire. Our hearts go out to them during this very scary time. Five of Vallejo's firefighters have been deployed today to the Glass Fire burning in Napa and Sonoma Counties. Please pray or send good thoughts that everyone, residents, and firefighters alike, stay safe through this event.
Sincerely, Your Mayor, Bob Sampayan

Mayor's Message - October 14, 2020

Dear Vallejo,

This week I have heard from many residents that their understanding of Operation P.E.A.C.E. is vague, so I wanted to share some more detailed information with you about this phenomenal program that Chief Williams has implemented.

As many of you know, Chief Williams introduced Operation P.E.A.C.E. back in August as a direct response to an increase in violent crime and shootings plaguing our City.

Operation P.E.A.C.E. focuses on four areas: redeployment, partnerships, technology, and community engagement. As part of this plan, VPD has leveraged its existing resources to re-assign officers to its Patrol Division with local, state, and federal partners to provide added agency support.

As part of the operation's technology component, the PD and the City have installed new Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs). These ALPRs help our PD to gather evidence to help solve property crimes, recover stolen vehicles, and provide hotlist alerts for wanted persons.

The largest, and quite frankly, one of my favorite parts of the operation is the community engagement portion. Operation P.E.A.C.E. calls for the department to strengthen community partnerships by participating in a series of community listening sessions, meetings and opening up human-to-human dialogues with our residents and business owners while offering support to families impacted by violence in our City.

Since the PD launched the operation six weeks ago, Vallejo has seen a 37% decrease in property crimes and a 56% decrease in violent crimes. Last month, our officers seized 37 firearms, 20 of which were recovered by Operation P.E.A.C.E. That is a win for us all!

Something exciting I want to mention is Operation P.E.A.C.E.'s first-ever Virtual Community Day. The event is scheduled for Saturday, November 7, 2020, from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm and will be hosted online. You can register for the event here.

I would encourage you all to stay up to date on the happenings with the VPD and Operation P.E.A.C.E. by following the VPD on their social media accounts and visiting their website at VallejoPD.com.

Lastly, I want to thank all my fellow Vallejoans for coming together in this difficult time because we can't do it without you, and together we are VALLEJO!

To read the Operation P.E.A.C.E. Press Release, visit: https://conta.cc/3gxPdIC

Sincerely,

Your Mayor, Bob Sampayan