People walk by the number six parking structure on Second Street Monday afternoon. (photo by Brandon Wise)

CITY HALL — A pair of parking structures in Downtown Santa Monica could soon be reduced to a pile of concrete.

The City Council on Tuesday is expected to approve a $195,000 contract with Morley Construction Company to design and build new garages on the 1200 block of Fourth Street and the 1400 block of Second Street where structures 1 and 6 current exist, respectively.

The contract is part of an estimated $1 million spending package the council is scheduled to pass tonight.

The two structures are the shortest of the six city-owned garages that line Second and Fourth streets between Wilshire Boulevard and Broadway, standing about five stories tall. The new garages will address certain issues with the existing facilities, including vehicular and pedestrian circulation, capacity and disability accessibility.

Their replacements will be powered by solar panels and come with ground-floor retail, bike storage and public restrooms. Each will result in a net increase of 250 parking spaces.

“The new structures will also create safe, efficient facilities for vehicles and pedestrians,” a city staff report said.

Lobbying city interests

Following a successful year representing City Hall before Congress, a lobbying firm could be rewarded with a contract extension.

The Ferguson Group last year received a one-year contract to serve as City Hall’s federal representative for approximately $76,000. The council will be asked to extend that contract for another four years, totaling more than $389,000.

The firm has lobbied on City Hall’s behalf on issues including the MTBE water contamination, federal stimulus package, homelessness and public transportation.

“The Ferguson Group has developed an extensive and successful track record with the city,” the staff report said.

Contracts for legal services

The council is expected to approve contracts with the law firms of Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo Law Firm and Liebert Cassidy Whitmore to provide legal services on labor and employment issues.

Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo is slated to receive a $100,000 contract while Liebert Cassidy Whitmore is expected to land a $140,000 agreement, both of which are for the fiscal year starting on Wednesday.

“(The firms) both provide labor and employment legal services with regard to employee disciplinary matters, which includes workplace investigations, Personnel Board hearings, litigation, labor law related training and preparation of legal reports,” the staff report said.

Buying more bandwidth

City Hall is planning on adding more bandwidth to expand Wi-Fi hot zones and stream CityTV programming over the Internet.

To do so, the council must first approve a five-year contract with Abovenet Communications to lease dark fiber for nearly $303,000.

“An increased demand for city Wi-Fi services in the city libraries and Wi-Fi hot zones has compounded the need for additional Internet bandwidth,” a city staff report said.

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