Cypress agrees to reach out to those with English as 2nd language

City of Cypress

The Cypress City Council has agreed to accelerate their efforts to reach out to citizens within their community that speak no English at all.

In a unanimous vote, the council voted at their last regular meeting to direct the city’s Recreation and Community Services Department to accelerate a strategy to communicate with community members who use “English as a second language.”

“I’m wondering if we can do more to reach out before 2023 or 2024,” said Council member Frances Marquez, asking the city to consider to start now rather than later.
“The community is changing,” said Marquez, “there’s an influx of different groups coming in.”

Many of them use English a second language, she said, and some speak no English at all.
Marquez wants the city to investigate adding additional languages to information distributed by the recreation and community services department to accommodate those citizens who use English as a second language.

“I would be grateful and anything we can do to increase participation,” she said.
Cameron Harding, the city’s Recreation and Community Services Director said the staff will brainstorm the issue and get back to the council with some recommendations.
Any budget issues could be presented with the spring budget said City Manager Peter Grant.

Marquez then made a motion to have the city develop options on providing info to non-English speakers and it passed 5-0.

The action followed Harding’s annual presentation of the recreation and community services department’s overall strategic plan overview, for which he and his staff received significant praise.

Harding presented to the council a review of programs and ongoing initiatives, including those undertaken during the pandemic. They include food delivery programs that brought more than 50,000 meals directly to residents during the lockdown.

Council member Paulo Morales compared the staff’s quick pandemic thinking to the “imagineers” at Disney, citing the old adage, “necessity is the mother of invention.”
In another development, Council member Anne Hertz was successful in adding Cypress Arnold Park to city’s future Capital Improvement plans.

During a routine Capital Improvement Program update, Hertz asked about the Cypress Arnold Park.

Doug Dancs, Director of Development, said the even though the city has “reimagined” the plan, the project was not included in capital improvement plant because “there are funding sources” available.

Mayor Jon Peat said the park was literally, older than the city, but told Hertz the city now has $178 million in reserve funds, so potential funding for the project could be available.

While there would still have to be some additional planning, city officials said the current reimagining of Cypress Arnold park would cost about $15 million, saying any final development would have to be in phases.

Hertz said the “park could become a safety issue is we don’t do something,” and moved to begin the necessary steps to add Cypress Arnold Park to the capital improvement program. The motion passed unanimously.

Currently, the city has undertaken more than $21 million worth of capital improvement projects around the city, including$14.4 million in Parks and Recreation, $2.8 million in street improvements, $1.5 million on a parkway project, $1.1 million for public facilities, $460,000 on traffic signals and $325,000 on sewer improvements.

Nick Mangkalakiri, Assistant Traffic Engineer, told the council that all of the projects were track for completion by the end of the budget year.

Until ongoing projects are complete, the staff will be somewhat occupied, officials said, nevertheless the staff said they would work out options for Cypress Arnold Park and eventually bring it back to the Council.

Finally, Rachel Strong suggested during open communications the council to explore “alternative options that would allow us to broadcast our summer concerts,” including all digital and streaming options. She said with the pandemic keeping the country down, “there are a lot of artists on the market that we might not otherwise be able to engage.”
Strong said her own use of streaming services has gained new audiences for her business and the city should, if necessary, use similar technology to keep up the traditional summer concerts.

In other action, the city.
• Agreed to split the cost with the City of Buena Park, the resurfacing of a stretch of Lincoln Ave.,
• Approved a task order to TRC/Vali Cooper and Associates, Inc. for $28,000, with a contingency of $4,000.
• Awarded a contract for $68,425 with a $7,000 contingency to G Team Landscape Construction, Inc. of Pasadena.
• Approved on-call contracts for Police Department pre-employment background investigation services to RCS Investigations and Garon Wyatt Investigation Services.