Midwick resident movement presses for futher reductions in development

A movement of Midwick Tract residents fighting a new development in their neighborhood is now aiming to further reduce the number of units and to ensure resident involvement in the process. 

Preserve Midwick, a grassroots effort which has gathered more than 600 signatures for a petition against the proposed development, has a new goal of reducing the number of single-family homes constructed to about 50.

One of the group's founders, Midwick resident Elizabeth Salinas, said the group wants to ensure that devoloper City Ventures is a good neighbor, “meaning that they don't just come in and see a quick buck and pack that 8.8-acre piece of property to the max.”

The movement held its third community-input movement on Feb. 26, where leaders encouraged more resident involvement. Some planned on reaching out to University of Southern California professors and calling residents from other cities who have held similar opposition movements. The overarching consensus was to work with the developers on moving forward.

The property to be developedCity Ventures teamed up with current property owner, Front Porch, for the project, which will consist of townhomes and single-family houses. After negotiating with residents, City Ventures decreased the number of units from 93 to 70 and replaced the nine luxury homes for two-story single-family homes. Residents, though, argue 40 or 50 units would be better and “70 [units] is still a deal-breaker,” said Salinas.

The development is slated to be built at 2400 S. Fremont Ave., replacing “The Alhambra,” a retirement care center that closed in October 2011.

Opponents worry its density will increase traffic and crime rates, and detract from the area's history. Some residents would rather see housing for senior citizens built on that lot.

“With these many homes there, where is the traffic going to go?” asked Midwick resident Robert Fontes at the meeting.

Alhambra City Manager Julio Fuentes said developments are not usually constructed in residential areas, but he said at a press conference, “If you own a piece of property, if you want to do something with property, and you look at zoning and want to make changes, you have a legal right to do that.”

City Ventures declined to be interviewed for this article, but they have said in the past that the project is collaborative and that they welcome residents' input.

Stan Yonemoto, the marketing manager of Alhambra's Chamber of Commerce, said developments are necessary for the city to keep up with the growing population. “We're mandated by the state,” he said. “We have to expand our housing stock. We don't really have a choice.”

Yonemoto said the development will benefit the area by providing newer-styled homes for residents.

“This is a time where there's a chance of having a new housing stock put into an area, where all of the homes in the area will be the newer styles and probably the newer amenities,” he said.

Some residents have expressed concern that the city, which received the 2010 Eddy Award for the “Most Business-Friendly City in L.A. County,” is going along with the project for the property taxes and because it's working with City Ventures on the Main Street development.

But Yonemoto said the city is being “prudent and as thoughtful as it can.” He added the city is trusting City Ventures because of its previous work. “If somebody has done a good job in the past, you have to give them a little credit,” he said.

The project is still waiting to move on to review by the Planning Commission, the Design Review Board and Alhambra’s City Council. City officials said they anticipate City Ventures will submit its application for a permit within a few months.

21 thoughts on “Midwick resident movement presses for futher reductions in development”

  1. Instead of looking to build for the future, lets repair/replace the existing for the present, that’s been neglected in the past! Realistically….the current Infrastructure can’t even handle what it already has in place, more or less than another 50, 60, 70 or even 92 to it!!!!

    1. I agree with Charles B. the city should improve the existing infrastructure and provide upgrades to community services.

      Alhambra elected officials are only concerned with short term goals. They do not care to see
      how new developments will impact the surrounding community in the years to come.

      This is obvious by the absentee property owners of mixed-use developments like the ones on Main Street. An example of this is the recently observed graffiti and drug activity at the Alhambra Regency Plaza. The graffiti visible from the street looks to be authored by the notorious Mara Salvatrucha 13 gang, one of the most violent latino criminal gangs in Los Angeles County.

      Developers keep building but the strapped city offers no upgrades to community services like more policing.

      Let’s elect these lackadaisical officials out of office!

  2. Mr. Gacis, thank you for your opinion and detailed reply email. I respectfully disagree with you on many points and from your comments, it is obvious that you do not live in the Midwick Tract.

    I will try to be brief. There are currently 245 homes for sale in the City of Alhambra. 135 of those homes are foreclosures. In short, there is absolutely no “market need or demand” for the proposed City Ventures project. We were promised by CV that we would receive a copy of their market analysis justifying this project and to date we have not received it. CV is going to flood the market with more homes when the ones that are currently on the market are not being sold? The ones in Atlantic Time Square are not all sold either. Again, I ask where is the need for this project? If the City of Alhambra and CV want to sell these types of homes, do it where it makes sense. Keep it on Main Street or Valley or Garfield. Stay away from our residential neihborhoods. This type of project makes no sence in the Midwick Tract.

    As is typical in an election year, we were promised by our Councilman that “money had been found” to repair the deteriorating roads in the Midwick Tract. Has that happened? No. I ask, where are our new roads? Instead, the City chooses to expend $113K on a failed restaurant (Medium Rare) rather than repair residential streets.

    Mr. Gacis, I welcome people who want to come and live in Alhambra. It is a great place to live. But right now, I am deeply disatisfied with how it is being run by our elected officials who appear to have their priorities mixed up.

  3. Mr. Sunada

    I am very proud to have you on the side of the community for this battle. The vast majority of the Midwick community agrees and supports you. You are very well educated and express yourself very eloquently. Thank you for being the voice of reason and our fighter. I agree with our neighbor, Eric Sunada for City Council/ Mayor 2012. You have my vote and support!

  4. Thank you Mr. Sunada & Ms. Salina for taking the time to attend the city council meetings. I know it is difficult to go up in front of “OUR” council to voice opinions and concerns only to be ignored. It should be that when we do have our 5 minutes to talk we have their full attention and no shuffling of papers. To the best of my knowledge we as residents are encourage to speak our minds and voice our opinions by the city council. As residents we have the right to question every decision that our council makes. After all it will effect us one way or another. It is easier to sit behind a computer and criticize and much harder to get up, step away from the computer and go into the community and try to make a difference. This is our time when we strongly disagree with our council and we are making our opinions known to them!!!!!!!!

  5. I applaud Mr. Sunada’s efforts and respect his opinions, as he expresses them at City Council Meetings. I don’t think that they are “5 minute tirades” as Mr. Gacis calls them. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and should be allowed to express them.
    I am one of many Alhambra Residents who is deeply dissatisfied with our Council and how they appear to bend over backward for business interests and pay only lip service to the concerns of the average resident, especially on the Midwick issue. It takes a lot of courage to go before Council and make your voice heard. Especially when you are met with blank stares or simply ignored. City Council meetings are not just a place to go and raise concerns. If you think City Council is doing a great job, you can certainly attend the meetings and let Council know that as well. I am sure they would appreciate it.
    There is no “low-income” or “affordable” housing in Alhambra and the proposed project in the Midwick Tract will not fill a low-income housing need in our City because even the most “affordable” unit will be price in the low $400k range. Thus, our City officials need to stop using a supposed “state mandate for low income housing” to justify the proposed project or convince us that it is good for the City. It is not.

    1. @ Elizabeth Salinas

      You are right. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and that’s exactly what I said, an opinion…

      As for state mandates, please stop blaming our city. To clarify again for others to understand:

      California State Law requires every city and county to adopt a General Plan. It is a long-term strategic guide for future development and consists of seven elements. One of these elements is the Housing Element which requires local governments to meet the regional housing needs of an area. You do understand that city Housing Elements are subject to compliance review by the California State Department of Housing and Community Development, do you? When our city says we are mandated to develop housing, this implies that our city must provide the zoning capacity to sufficiently accommodate housing in all income categories. Our city government isn’t mandated to construct housing, but rather (in our market economy), allow private developers to invest in housing construction. So when City Ventures decides to construct, our city is following mandates to allow this process to follow through. Again, our city officials aren’t saying we must construct high-density townhomes or condos. However, they are mandated by the state (through state law) to allow housing to develop. Private developers must also assess the market and perform their due diligence prior to construction. If the market warrants it, then they are entitled to their legal property rights to build via the city’s compliance to allow such development. I do respect your “Good Neighbor Policy”, so if CV can satisfy your definition of this, then the better for your local community.

      In Paul G. Lewis’ article “California’s Housing Element Law: The Issue of Non-Compliance” he states:

      “As in these other states, California’s housing element requirement has often gone against the grain of local policymaking because it asks cities to plan for the needs of the wider region, not just the needs of current city residents. Indeed, the philosophy behind fair-share housing policy is that the so-called police power of local governments to regulate land use should be directed toward the general welfare of the region, not just the general welfare of the specific locality.”

      Perhaps it is this dichotomy that has complicated the issues here in Alhambra. If clarification and change are needed, it shouldn’t be burdened exclusively against our city council. Try going to Sacramento as well, and not only at our Alhambra City Hall on First Street. I find it intriguing that you have an aversion to high-density development (like your efforts to downsize the City Ventures Project) and yet complain that there are no affordable housing in Alhambra. Have you considered the high demand for housing or the limited and aging housing supply of our city? Do you think these factors play no part in affordability? Or better yet, how about job opportunities not only in Alhambra but elsewhere nearby that affect the annual incomes in the regional area? After all, affordability, according to HUD, is based off annual incomes. Thus the affordability index shouldn’t be criticized only within our city. How about the housing efforts in other cities? People (residents) have the free will to migrate. They are not constrained to any specific municipality and in my opinion, move to areas that fall within their economic means. Hence, it is my belief that the reason why Alhambra is so dense (and keeps attracting people) is because we continue to increase our housing stock and grow our local businesses. By doing so we keep market prices at par and avoid the exorbitant prices we see nearby such as those in South Pasadena or San Marino. Although those cities may seem much more beautiful, aesthetics can’t mask high property prices, long-walk commutes, and a limited-growth business climate. Quality of life may rule, but it’s not without influence of adjoining communities. Being an independent chartered city doesn’t mean we are immune from external forces across our city borders. And has anyone forgotten that we are only 8 miles east of a growing urban center called downtown Los Angeles? Farmer’s Field, the Wilshire Grand Tower, the 101 Fwy Cap, high-speed rail… How about the current expansion of LAX’s TBIT (Tom Bradley Intl Terminal) and the expansion of the Los Angeles Port to increase container volumes? The L.A. metro area is gearing up for higher capacity and the world is literally growing around us. So I ask you Ms. Salinas, should we just ignore our neighboring cities’ planning and think we live in our own 7.6 square-mile world?

      People will move to where they see fit, and when they move, they leave a place behind and create a demand somewhere else. If that demand is in Alhambra, do you think it should be stopped? To what legal extent? Is it even controllable without affecting housing prices? How about business growth and their effects on local jobs? I know it sounds complicated, and it really can be sometimes. But please, don’t create unrealistic demands on our city without considering these issues.

      You also suggest I attend council meetings and give praise to the council. My work schedule limits my attendance but I have attended them several years ago. Thanks to the city website, anyone can view them online now. I have also participated in Alhambra’s ENVISION 2035.

      I actually respect you Ms. Salinas in your efforts to protect Midwick by having City Ventures publicly accept a lower density plan. In a sense, I feel you have succeeded even though you may not still be happy with the fewer number of units proposed. I remain somewhat neutral in that area because my focus on high-density would be to concentrate them in the major corridor areas of our city. However, my concern (and perhaps yours) is that density in Alhambra will continue to grow. People have rights to a quality neighborhood. They also have rights to build such a neighborhood. Our city comprises of many older suburban tracts and we can protect them, but it also means working with our city officials on a long-term strategic plan of high, mid, and low density units in specific areas; it’s not just the Midwick community.

  6. Mr. Sunada, I’m simply amazed at your list of “facts”. However, I’ll just leave that list as your own valued opinion. I have already given my points and I stand by them. And speaking of value, I too appreciate your routine responses to my comments despite the reference to your own “valuable time”.

    I do speak with city officials but not to the extent you do. When I do write or call the mayor/council it is more for fact gathering and expression of my opinions. It IS NOT to directly change the minds of city officials or criticize actions that have already been through a substantial procedural/ administrative process. If I do want change, it will be a statement with several solutions and the reasons why for the change. I will also try to understand the perspectives of our city officials, and the needs they must balance between local interests, the entire city, and the regional ramifications. It’s not an easy job and you and I know the city can’t please everybody, nor can they follow everyone’s wishes or desires.

    You state I’m a big fan of the city, but the funny thing is that the city council probably knows you much better than I (from your 5-minute tirades at the city council meetings). I don’t agree with everything the city does (like the scale and location of the Alhambra Arch) but for the most part, in my opinion, they are doing good. When the time comes when I strongly disagree, I’ll let my opinion be known to them.

    1. I’ve seen some of the council meetings on the Internet. I wouldn’t call Mr. Sunada’s addressing of the council a “tirade.” He is very calm and professional.

      I’ve seen council members go on tirades.

  7. Eric Sunada for City Council?

  8. This is just a suggestion, but would it be crazy to use that property and its facilities as a new Fremont school! It’s still within walking distance, it has a cafeteria, area for playground, faculty parking, plenty of parent, school bus and guest parking, auditorium/hall, office/admin space, first aid/medical facilities, bathrooms, safe location, room for present and future enrollments and you wouldn’t have to change the name since it’s still on Fremont. Because from the looks of it Fremont is running out of space and with all of this talk about future growth, these are all important issues that need to be considered, looked into and more importantly discussed!

  9. You are the one who should be embarrassed Mr. Sunada, not our city officials. Ironically, by giving yourself the excuse not to go further on Alhambra’s RHNA quota limit due to city embarrassment, you play your own accusations against the city by not citing your own sources. But even more important, you fail in your own misunderstanding of the complex relationship between state mandates and local government compliance. Why convolute state mandates on a regional quota system based on income distribution levels to make claims against the city? “Meet” and “exceed” are two different words and each hold their own ramifications. Both satisfy RHNA compliance and exceeding the market-rate housing quota doesn’t preclude Alhambra from accommodating current market housing needs.

    You think I’m indicative of someone who just recently became familiar with SCAG/RHNA but that is because you know very well how I disagree with you on the details and how it relates to Alhambra. I am very well aware of Alhambra’s Housing element and the city’s fair share contributions you mention. I may sound elementary but the fact is these issues tend to be complex and I point out the basics to other residents as a basis to understand the reasoning of the statements said by our city officials.

    You seem to be on a crusade for low-mod housing and I would actually respect you for that but with one big exception: Your utter disregard of the externalities involved. Another thing I have noticed in your reasoning is that affordable housing should have an equitable distribution, specifically inside this city. So basically, although other cities may have much more affordable housing, us folks in Alhambra should be ashamed of our lack of affordability. What’s even sadder is that any affordability here becomes “cheap housing” or “low-income neighborhoods” to some people. What you fail to recognize is that what you see in Alhambra is only a small snapshot of the surrounding regional landscape. Should we believe local government has the full capacity to properly regulate or control the construction of affordable housing without regard to things like shifting demographics, regional stresses, or the real estate market? I don’t think so. The blame game goes on with the city on the Zen Terrace project for allowing the density bonus units to be sold to investors. I don’t believe all policies can encapsulate the various circumstances out there. So what do you do when even potential low-income buyers can’t even afford to buy these “affordable” units due to external changing market conditions? The city had to work out a solution. If you call that illegal and enforceable, try saying that to our federal government who bailed out the banks because of this same economic mess.

    So it’s all the city’s fault for failing low-mod RHNA quotas? And I’m justifying more of the wrong type of residential developments in Alhambra because quotas trump the real market, right? Again, let’s go back to the basics because you’re the one creating your own demands. From my last reference link:

    “It is important to note that each jurisdiction is responsible for providing sufficient zoning capacity for the units allocated to all four economic income strategies, but is NOT responsible for the construction of these units. The intent of the Housing Element Law is to ensure that jurisdictions do not impede the construction of housing in any income category. Other factors, such as market forces, are well beyond a jurisdiction’s control and have considerable influence over whether or not housing units in each income category are actually constructed.”

    To my understanding, the state is aware of the limits regional organizations have, local governments included. Stop blaming Alhambra as if it was the city’s fault for the lack of affordable housing. And when it comes to state mandates, those mandates are there at the regional level. There is nothing wrong with our city taking a holistic approach to our wider regional goals. SCAG is a regional voluntary association of governments with limited policing powers. As an organic member of SCAG, Alhambra has a fiduciary right to follow through state-mandated regional housing policies, in ALL INCOME CATEGORIES (with emphasis on affordable homes but the acknowledgement of limitations).

    It’s ok to slow-down high-density in certain areas of our city, but it shouldn’t be an automatic political bandwagon against our own officials. True, we have a high population density and our homes aren’t always the cheapest. However, I attribute that to a key factor: PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE HERE…and that’s a good thing…

    1. Mr. Gacis, I find your writing to be a spurious attempt to justify the continued funneling of public funds and policies toward the business-lobby and developers at the expense of the wider community.  It's obvious that your a fan of our city leadership and how they've vaulted us to be named the “most business friendly city in L.A. county.”  The untenable difference is that I don't see this as something to be proud of.  I'd be popular too if I gave away the farm – that's easy.  What's not is to get more equitable concessions for our residents.  How about trying to be the most community oriented city in the county.  I'm going cut it short:

      Fact:  The state does not mandate that the city develop housing.

      Fact:  At least two councilpersons and one planning commissioner believe that state law does make such a mandate.

      Fact:  These two councilpersons and planning commissioner have used this erroneous understanding as their sole basis for supporting the Front Porch project et al.  That's a big deal to make decisions affecting thousands of people based on their ignorance.  And if they are just trying to comply with the nature of the law, as you seem to suggest, then they aren't even doing that!  You ask about my source?  It's SCAG itself and is nothing hidden or mysterious – it's all out there if you care to call them.

      Fact:  Zen Terrace was the symptom of an even bigger problem.  You justify their illegal activity to sell low-mod housing to investors instead of those in need because those in need couldn't afford them?  The reason is because those units were unfairly restricted to a small subset of low-mod residents due to discrimatory density bonus laws of years past.

      This is what happens when there's nearly no open dialogue during public meetings, a lack of accountability, and inept leadership.  It's groupthink at its worst.  By the way, I do appreciate your engaging in open dialogue and would encourage you to voice your opinion at some of these public meetings (council, town-hall, etc.) if you don't already.  The more the public engages, the more it will spur substantial dialogue out of our councilpersons and force them to voice their stance on policies based on fact.

       

  10. “The City is mandated…”

    Yet no one knows “what” is mandated and whether or not these purported mandates are being correctly implemented. Based on surrounding cities, it would appear that these “mandates” — at least from the amount of units being built — have been exceeded MANY times over. Or perhaps, our councilpersons (who in fact, are deeply entrenched with the development industry — now, what does Messina’s husband do as a living?) benefit from these “mandates”?

    It all comes down to the old adage, “Spot the lie — follow the money.”

    1. Correction:

      “Based on surrounding cities, it would appear that these “mandates” — at least from the amount of units being built IN ALHAMBRA — have been exceeded MANY times over.”

  11. The Alhambra Source DOES NOT need to publish a statement of fact in regards to Yonemoto’s so-called “error”. Although state mandates don’t require local government compliance, they are highly encouraged to meet REQUIRED regional goals.

    I really feel that Council members such as Steven Placido and Barbara Messina, along with Stan Yonometo are being unfairly criticized and their true intentions does fit into our state’s goals of urban efficiency and sustainable communities.

    California DOES want to promote higher density and reduce suburban sprawl that promotes green-house gases that pollute our environment. The state of California, through the Dept. of Housing and Community Development, computes a Regional Housing Needs Determination (RHND) that projects the housing needs (in units) of an area and units required based on four income distribution categories. These numbers must be used (STATE-MANDATED) by regional organizations around California to create a PLAN that provides the proper ALLOCATION (development) of these housing units (RHNP and RHNA, respectively).
    Reference: http://www.sacog.org/rhnp/rhna.cfm

    Let’s take a look at an excerpt from a letter dated Aug. 17th, 2011 from the Dept. of Housing and Community Development written to Mr. Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director of SCAG (Southern California Association of Governments):

    “SCAG is responsible for developing a RHNA distribution methodology and adopting a RHNA Plan for the period beginning January 1, 2014 and ending October 1, 2021. Housing element law (Section 65584, et.seq.) requires SCAG’s methodology and RHNA Plan be consistent with the following objectives:

    (1) Increasing the housing supply and mix of housing types, tenure, and affordability
    (2) Promoting infill development and socioeconomic equity, protecting environmental and agricultural resources, and encouraging efficient development patterns;
    ….
    Pursuant to Government Code Section 65584.05(h), within three days of adopting the Plan, SCAG is required to submit its RHNA Plan to the Department for approval…”

    For southern California, the Department of Housing and Community Development has determined a need of 409,060 to 438,030 housing units in the region for the time period 2014 to 2021. These numbers are based on the last 2010 census report and the American Community Survey (ACS) data.

    In addition, let us not forget Senate Bill 375 (SB 375) that probably is not familiar with many Alhambra residents.

    In a nutshell (from a 2009 UC Berkely report):

    “SB 375 aims to achieve greenhouse gas reductions from land use and transportation through better coordination of local and regional development plans. The law requires that regions (through regional planning organizations, in cooperation with local governments) develop “Sustainable Communities Strategies” to achieve more efficient land use and transportation by aligning some planning processes that traditionally had been disconnected. However, SB 375
    does not require that local governments comply with the Sustainable Communities Strategies nor does it redirect or create new funding sources to support sustainable planning practices or projects.”

    Although SB 375 doesn’t require local government compliance, it does require regional planning (like SCAG) to develop Sustainable Community Strategies (SCSs). If a city such as Alhambra does want to develop along SCS guidelines such as higher-density and mixed-use projects, it has every right and should do so. The word “mandate” spoken by Yonometo and Messina may be too harsh for some people, but it truly does meet the intentions of state law requirements for regional development. And when companies such as City Ventures build in Alhambra, their projects are automatically vested into state-mandated regional goals in Los Angeles County.

    If we truly want transparency of our elected and appointed officials, we must also be responsible in being aware of federal and state policies that can have strong influence in local governance. Our state wants responsible growth and the need to plan accordingly. Without these goals, it would be hard to avoid unguided developments that can lead to squalor, slums, and further sprawl in growing areas that have been neglected of proper planning.

    1. There seems to be two problems here. One seems to be that decision makers cite “mandates” without really citing sources of these mandates. So to many it sounds like they’re using this as an excuse. The other is that the Source just simply reports what is being said without independently verifying, and even challenging the decision makers on what they say. I realize that this is difficult, but it’s what sets apart a great community news site from mediocre sites.

      As one can infer from your response, this is more complicated than what most people make it out to be. You have to agree that the residents must feel frustrated on what they perceive. And if I were to guess, your response, though it helps, won’t be satisfactory to people who have already made up their minds that the city and its decision makers don’t understand and appreciate them as residents. You must know how bad traffic is around Midwick, especially Fremont on most weekdays, and there is not enough explanation how building what they propose can alleviate traffic over time, let alone won’t have impact to current traffic levels. One can cite all the traffic studies they want, but it’s meaningless to the residents who experience this every day.

      I’m not sure what will make things right, but I’d like to challenge the Source to be more than just a site that regurgitates what people say without analysis.

    2. I'm sorry, Mr. Gacis, but you're off the mark here.  Your comments and passages are indicative of someone who has just recently become familiar with the RHNA and SCAG via reading a website and has not done his homework with regards to the details on how it relates to Alhambra.   What I didn't go into further (mostly because it's just a huge embarrassment not only to our city officials, but to all of us who let them go on with their comedy of errors) is that SCAG's RHNA for Alhambra has a quota for the type of housing they are encouraging for development.  Alhambra is actually exceeding their quota on market rate housing but are lagging behind horribly on the low-mod housing, which is the origin and purpose behind the RHNA's in the first place.  So let's see… our city officials are touting this “mandate” that they must provide housing.  But this so-called mandate is really not a mandate at all.  In fact, the type of housing that the city is developing is already beyond what the RHNA asks for.

       

      So basically, you are justifying the development of more residential units based on an erroneous understanding of state mandates.  And the units you are developing are doing NOTHING to meeting the real quota that you refer to!  The Main Street Collection by City Ventures?  Zero low-mod units.  Casita de Zen?  Zero affordable units planned.  And Front Porch?  Forget about it.  In fact, the last large development that was suppose to put a dent into the RHNA need was Zen Terrace. The incompetence of our city officials and leadership lead to the low-mod units being disqualified and sold to investors.  This was illegal and your and the city's comments just give me more incentive to bring this to justice.  So thank you for that.  But please check your facts before you write the next time.  There's more valuable uses of my time.

      It's scary to think that we have some or all of the council who have made major planning decisions at a strategic level affecting hundreds if not thousands of residents based on their own misunderstanding of the law and a staff and city attorney who have either let it go uncorrected or suffer from the same misunderstanding.

  12. Michael Lawrence

    I too would like to see the Alhambra Source clarify the often heard statement that the city is mandated to expand the development of housing. I have heard it said many times by council members that they are only trying to protect the R-1 neighborhoods by building more condos and apartments. This does not make sense to me and only seems like a threat to R-1 residents that if large developments in R-3 zones are opposed, then they must look at our single family neighborhoods. These statements must be supported by facts and the city needs to clarify clearly what mandate they have from the State.

  13. Elizabeth Salinas

    City Ventures was founded in 2009. It is less than 3 years old. What type of good history or positive work history do they realistically have for Stan Yonemoto, or any other City Official, to be so eager to give them the benefit of the doubt or “trust” them, as Mr. Yonemoto says? City Ventures’ Main Street Collection development project (410 W. Main Street) is still currently under development. It can usually take a few years, post construction, for construction defect problems to arise, if they arise at all.

    Why are Stan Yonemoto and other officials so keen on giving City Ventures the benefit of the doubt, over and above the legitimate concerns of their constituents?
    Also, we, Midwick Residents, have repeatedly asked our Councilman, Steve Placido, to tell us whether he supports or opposes City Ventures’ proposed project on Fremont. He has repeatedly skirted the issue by responding that he cannot give an opinion or “pre-judge” the project because he will ultimately have to vote on the project and if he did pre-judge the project, he would have to abstain from voting on it. Doesn’t that same argument then apply to Stan Yonemoto who is also a planning commissioner and will also have to vote on the proposed project?

    In this Alhambra Source article, Stan Yonemoto, freely and without any reservation, makes it clear that he thinks the proposed project is a good idea and will “benefit” Midwick. By disclosing his bias in favor of the project, does Stan Yonemoto now have to recuse himself from voting on the proposed project? Why can one official (Stan Yonemoto) give his opinion and the other (Steve Placido) cannot? Is the difference between the two that Dr. Placido is up for re-election this fall and Stan Yonemoto, as an appointed official, not?

    If Dr. Placido plans to run again this fall, we have a right to know his opinion on this, the most important issue within his district. I for one demand that he let us know now how he feels, this way I know how to vote this fall.

    1. I echo Ms. Salinas' comments.  As a resident, I'm completely frustrated by the lack of openess and specious arguments made by our city leadership.  And it's gone even further with completely false statements being made by two of our councilpersons and now planning commissioner Stan Yonemoto:  that “the city is mandated to by the state to expand the housing stock.”  This is completely wrong and their error has been confirmed with the Southern California Association of Governments, the arm of the state responsible for executing housing policies.

      It's freightening that our city leaders are at best misinformed or at worst purposely misleading.  In either case, they are making decisions affecting thousands of residents under false pretenses.  We've reached a new low-point with our city government.

      I suggest that the Alhambra Source publish a statement of fact with regard to Yonemoto's error.  Although the site is not to blame, such errors cannot go uncorrected.

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