Our fight to protect Alhambra’s Midwick Tract

I love Alhambra. It has been my home for 37 years. This city is where I grew up, attended K-12, purchased my first home and it’s where I am raising my children. During these past three decades, Alhambra has gone through many changes — some good and some not so good.  All one has to do is drive down Main Street to see how Elizabeth Salinas | Photo provided by SalinasAlhambra has been transformed from a beautiful and charming city to a bustling, traffic-congested, and noisy one.

Builder/Developer City Ventures, LLC is currently building 88 townhomes at the site of the old Alhambra Library on Main Street.  To the dismay and anger of many Midwick Tract residents, myself included, City Ventures has also now partnered with the owners of the former Front Porch Retirement Community located at 2400 S. Fremont to build 93 housing units: a mixture of townhomes, single family houses, and 9 “luxury suites.”  I vehemently oppose City Venture’s proposed project and all the inevitable problems that a project that size will bring to our quiet and beautiful, Midwick Tract Neighborhood.  I also ask myself if such a project is even necessary when there are currently so many homes for sale or rent in Alhambra and when there are at least four multi-housing complexes planned or currently underway in the City.  Who stands to benefit from this project? Certainly not the residents of the Midwick Tract.

Photo provided by Aide ZellerThe Midwick Tract is a historical, residential part of Alhambra, made up, primarily of single-family residences.  Its central jewel is Granada Park.   City Ventures’ proposed high-density housing project threatens to disrupt our tranquility by bringing with it an increase in noise, traffic congestion, parking nightmares, safety concerns, pollution and a whole host of other problems we don’t want or need.  While multi-housing complexes may be, to some, a welcomed sight for our downtown area, it has no business invading our residential districts.   Is nothing sacred anymore?  In our elected officials’ quest to maintain Alhambra’s title of “Most Business-Friendly” city in the county, has the city’s soul, its beauty and its residential districts been sacrificed?

I first learned of City Ventures’ plan four months ago when it notified the neighbors of the Midwick Tract to come view their “conceptual plan” for the project.  At first we were told that they were planning to build 81 units.  That number has now increased to 93 units.   Since our first meeting with City Ventures, the neighbors of the Midwick Tract have organized and mobilized in protest of the City Ventures’ project. To date we have gathered over 300 signatures of residents opposed to the project and we have made our voices heard at City Council meetings.  Our numbers are growing and our voices will not be silenced.   I have never been prouder to be a resident of Alhambra than I am now; seeing my neighbors unite to protect our quality of life.  This is a fight worth fighting and I will continue to do so, proudly, with my neighbors next to me.  My only hope is that our elected officials will do the right thing and truly listen to the community when it becomes their time to act on this project.

23 thoughts on “Our fight to protect Alhambra’s Midwick Tract”

  1. John,

    Your long comments on the current and future development of high-density housing have generated many comments here at the Source.  May I suggest that you become a community contributor and submit an article on how the boom in high-density housing benefits the residents of Alhambra? I am sure all of us would look forward to seeing your vision of Alhambra as an adovocate for the large developments like the Midwick project. Your article would generate even more discussion and comments.

    1. Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your reply. I think the comments generate as much discussion as the articles themselves. That’s a good thing. It means people care about their city community and want to share their ideas.

      I’m not advocating a necessary large development in the Midwick Tract area; rather, residents engaging in more discussions and comments with both the developers and themselves to determine what really would be suitable for the area. Front Porch went out of business and its actually quite sad to see their troubles growing into an even larger one.

      Honestly, I feel more high-density development should be along specific planned areas (like it is now on Main St.). More density there would relieve housing pressures elsewhere like the R1 tracts in the Midwick area. So what are your ideas Mr. Lawrence, should we stop development or keep it low-density everywhere? Do you know what that would do to home prices? (And waiting for existing housing stock to sell before building new ones doesn’t make sense at all).

      I’m all for green space, bike lanes, and historical preservation. With the right planning, all these things can be incorporated in high-density communities. One doesn’t necessarily exclude the other out. However, I do feel that some of the older tracts in this city with R1 zones should be protected from higher density. These tracts not only represent the historical developments of our city, but continue to add to the character and diversity of our community. But the lines (and not battle lines) have to be drawn out and higher-density areas allowed to preserve protected ones.

  2. Mr. Gacis,

    Wow, I've never been called a “liberal NIMBY” before.  Liberal yes.  But NIMBY?  never.

    It's not about blocking development.  It's about fighting for those who are unjustly getting the short end of the stick.  At the very least, it's about getting a more equitable decision for all parties.  This includes the long-time residents, our kids in schools, and those in need of help.

    I'm sorry to say that the Council deserves all the criticism that I dish out, and more.  Do you honestly think that I want to be there at the council meetings and be subject to childish ridicule by them?  Of course not.  But I have to based on my findings. For me not to be there… well, it would be like not stopping to lend a hand to an accident victim.  Yes, it's that egregious.

    Much of it is not subject to debate and does not deserve a “cult of balance.”  Which is why I'll keep trying to help until it's right.  Believe me, I have no intention of being a Cassandra.

    And that cupcake criticism you bring up?  Council spent orders of magnitude more time on a cupcake contest compared to the 45 seconds of total discussion prior to awarding $5M in federal community grant money (via Section 108 loans) to subsize a retail developer.  Incidentally, this same developer donated the first place prize for the contest.  But I suppose you're right, I should be thanking them for letting us eat (cup)cake.

    1. Mr. Sunada,

      You’re right. Getting a more equitable decision for all parties (including long-time residents, our kids in schools, and those in need of help) is very important. I would also like to include, for the sake of equity:

      The NEWER residents – You wouldn’t want our city population to disappear through attrition, would you?

      School GRADUATES – Those kids will eventually need to get out of the house and look for a job/career when school is finished.

      Those who have PROSPERED from our city – Because our city has already been making efforts in the past to help those in need.

      I haven’t seen a formal proposal by City Ventures to develop a specific project yet (perhaps you have seen it Mr. Sunada?) so residents getting the short end of the stick will still have to be seen. Hopefully it will be a project that the residents will be able to welcome and agree with.

      The cupcake contest was a small event that the mayor felt would be interesting and helpful in gathering community participation. How small of an event is gathering the resources and people to prepare the projects and paperwork for federal grant funding? There are hundreds (if not thousands) of hours involved in regulating and processing federal grant money that have very specific guidelines. Timing a 45-second council discussion has no reflection on the hours involved outside these meetings. And to believe that you can “catch” the council in wrong-doing during a public meeting is more an act of show than protecting our community. There are federal audits, inspectors, IRS filings, attorneys, party/participant surveys, action reports, monthly reviews, staff visits, paper memo/email trails, etc. etc. that provide a much more comprehensive scope of “checks and balances” than your own jingoistic “cult of balance”. You seem to have very unrealistic expectations. Perhaps your grievances can be better addressed by looking at the system as a whole instead of dismantling the process to only a few specific individuals (ie. city council and redevelopment agency members). Only by looking at the whole may you be able to broaden your search for other problem areas. By the way, have you contacted HUD and criticized their policies as well? Limiting your frustrations mostly to finger-pointing in your own city (“backyard”) does make it seem like you are a NIMBY.

      By the way, according to The Alhambra Source, the prize money was donated by The Ratkovich Company and ex-mayor Yamauchi ($250). That small amount was more like a simple token of appreciation than a Blagojevich-style “BUY-IN”. The small cupcake contest was to help promote and instill participation with our young adults. This competition allowed them to experience a little public service in our community. Instead, what you did was trivialize the whole thing and downplayed the civic outreach efforts of the city staff. It’s unfortunate you had to send such a negative message to all the participants, and not just to the city council.

      You do seem to have good intentions for the residents of Alhambra in preserving the status quo and challenging the newcomers who want to make an investment in this city. Perhaps nothing intrinsically wrong with that, especially when the results of the future are uncertain. However, please don’t burn everyone else in the process by limiting their opportunities in this city (making cupcakes included!).

  3. Another selfish/angry Alhambran

    1. Let me me this VERY CLEAR to you, the ONLY reason we got this meeting is because we (Not including you) made enough noise @ each city council/planning commission meeting to get them to INVITE CV to a meeting with the Midwick Tract.
    2. I do not claim to know everybody. What i do know is that in this article YOU are the only one who mentions race.
    4.Therefor no more new homes!!!!!!!!!!
    3&5. We have many ideas for CV. We have to wait and see what there attitude will be when we present some of the ideas to them. As of now CV has come in with the attitude that this is going to happen and nothing can be done. They seem to be the closed minded ones with no hopes for a mutual solution. That is why we had to take this matter further.
    3&5 Thank you

    1. 1. Let me me (make) this VERY CLEAR to you, it takes TWO parties to allow a meeting of TWO parties.

      2. You still haven’t read that article have you? And I don’t mention race to have someone like you turn it into a racist remark. I am discussing real issues and these issues are published information for all of us to see.

      MERCURY NEWS/SGV TRIBUNE (6/27/2011)

      “The demographics have been shifting for a while … fewer and fewer people are moving in and when the economy went bad we could really feel it,” said Lee Ratta, Front Porch senior vice president.

      “A study found that the Asian population of Alhambra is expected to increase by over 17,000, while the non-Asian population is projected to decline by more than 3,000.”

      “And, the study by Promatura, which conducts senior housing market research, found that The Alhambra has been unsuccessful in attracting and retaining a significant Asian resident population.”

      Let me ask you Angry Alhambran, are these studies RACIST?

      4. YOU WANT TO SAVE MIDWICK, THEN LETS DISCUSS THESE ISSUES. And I apologize if my comments are beginning to stress you out unnecessarily. However, if you don’t want more new homes in your area, understand the circumstances to your neighborhood: PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE. Whatever development is chosen, hope its something self-sustaining for the local area. Something elemental and basic; a model that can adapt. Not something SENSITIVE to specific circumstances, like changing demographics – A fate that the current location learned the hard way (its business model couldn’t adapt).

      3&5 Your right, attitude plays a critical part. For BOTH sides.

      3&5 Your welcome and best wishes tonight!!!

  4. Mr. Gacis,

    Unfortunately, your posts require a response:

    There is no shortage of market-rate housing in the city.  So it's just plain wrong when you equate opposition to the current Front Porch plan to some jingoistic selfishness among those speaking out.  Your faux moralism is also offensive in that it trivializes those who are truly being denied opportunities and under-represented (current residents included).  Let me know if you need me to elaborate, and I'll be happy to oblige.

    Giving City Ventures kudos for being proactive is a bit of a stretch isn't it?  Let's make a pact to be honest on these forums.  For them not to is to risk a PR nightmare as well as lengthy delays when all this discussion happens later at the planning commission hearings.  They're doing it out of necessity to their bottom line.

    While the developer's actions are at least rational (they're motivated by profits), I wish the same could be said of our current council and city leadership staff.  The purpose of local government is to serve the community.  Yet they are taking a peculiarly passive approach and providing pure casuistry as justification.  That noise you may have heard on September 26th?  That was my jaw hitting the floor when councilperson Messina rationalized the higher density and development as a necessity to comply with State law.  And those bouncing orbs on Oct. 10th?  Those where my eyeballs rolling back out of their sockets in response to placido's diatribe.  (In response to my protest to what Messina said at the Sept. 26th meeting, placido mistakenly took my comments as addressed to him.  In his response, he confirms facts that refute Messina but goes on to make incorrect statements about the wider policy.)  This is serious.  At best, I can only assume it's ignorance on their part.  But there's no excuse for city staff not to let it go uncorrected.  A proactive approach to address residents' concerns is obviously not happening, and it's within council's purview to do so.

    The Front Porch development is another example of the residents getting the short end of the stick.  If you listen carefully, residents are not necessarily saying no to development, but rather that it needs to be more equitable to us.  CV has a long way to go to get there.  Concessions they need to make are many.  One that especially stirs indignation is the fact that they are undoubtedly using Granada Park as a selling point.  Yet they are fort'ing up (gating their community).  So while Front Porch residents are being enticed to use Granada Park, they are the least likely to contribute to public works projects.  Why would they vote for future propositions to upgrade public spaces when they don't live in the public?  Gated communities guarantee one thing:  a segregation of income levels and the further secession of the wealthy.  How's that for a sense of community?

    1. Mr. Sunada,

      Nice to meet you again. Thank you for your response to my post. Although we have very different perspectives regarding many things, I still take the time to read your comments and answer accordingly.

      You say that there is no shortage of (I’m assuming EXISTING) market-rate housing in the city. But in no way should that equate to NO demand of new housing. You see Mr. Sunada, homes are not like food items on grocery shelves where you can substitute them for one another. Homes are immobile (mobile homes excluded) and come in all different shapes, sizes, and AGE. Different buyers have DIFFERENT NEEDS and sometimes things like LOCATION, PREFERENCE, and VALUE cannot be easily substituted only within existing housing stock. There’s a thing called a market and the last I heard, Sacramento has not yet made any laws against new home construction (although there are tons of them as mandated restrictions). I was a loan officer (licensed)/real estate assistant and currently own rental properties (for over 10 years now). Through my experiences in loan financing and as a landlord, I learned many things about property and development. However, I really feel that your views on real estate are twisted at times. Please email me if you have time, because there are many things we need to discuss. Its no wonder you label my views as faux moralism when it seems that your main liberal NIMBY goals are to stop most large developments in this city and work against our elected officials.

      I have seen you criticize the city council more often than I have seen you thank them in any meeting. As a matter of fact, you even stood up in front of the council and criticized our ex-Mayor Gary Yamauchi over a cupcake contest. I remember this because Alhambra Source wrote an article on this contest. I’ve seen different city council meeting videos before. Residents criticize their city officials over many things, but cupcakes are the first for me. After hearing you say this on the city website video, it has empowered my stance that there should be more voices supporting our city council and the growth/success they have given to our city of Alhambra.

      You heard it yourself, even the city council thanked City Ventures for allowing the Oct. 20th meeting to take place. Imagine that, they are allowing an open forum before any formal plans have been submitted to the city. That’s like putting a down payment before signing the contract. To say that they were doing this to prevent a PR nightmare is really underestimating City Ventures. They are not stupid and any feedback/input they gather from this meeting, I can reassure you, will be used to make sure they have a viable EQUITABLE plan. Once they have a working plan in place, I will not be surprised if all the review processes go much smoother than if they had not given this meeting. City Ventures is already ahead of the game. As we speak, workers and cranes are building the Main Street Collection townhomes & condos. CV has already approached the city and now the residents. If CV obeys all the laws, there will come a point where there is no legal basis to stop this development other than the city council saying outright “NO”. Midwick residents must not let it get to that point. They must think two steps ahead and think outside the NIMBY box. Mr. Sunada, instead of bashing CV and this development, learn to think like them and understand what they want. I think this is a much more powerful strategy for Midwick residents than your NIMBY crusade. Even if the residents stop CV, development will never stop and other builders will come into play. It is a continuous process called life. Because of my experiences working in real estate and the federal government, I say all this to share only my opinions. And no, I’m not on the city or City Ventures payroll…

    2. To Mr. Sunada (continuation)

      I’d like to expand some of my thoughts on your last paragraph regarding CV’s projected development as a GATED community, propositions to upgrade public spaces, and segregated incomes/secession of the wealthy.

      GATED COMMUNITY:

      If you recall Mr. Sunada, I stated that I live in a 129-unit complex (Face of Alhambra’s W Main Street to change in 2011 article comments). It is gated, and unlike the fears of many residents, this high-density complex provides the structural enclosure and community identity to keep most residents here safe. Just like SFR suburban homeowners, condo owners know each other. This happens when we meet each other when traveling the walkways to/from the garage, mailbox, and common areas. We also conduct monthly HOA meetings to discuss important relevant matters. These are also good times to meet new community members. We have had our share of crimes, but word here spreads out quick through our association and is discussed heavily to help mitigate the problem. I feel this gated 129-unit NEIGHBORHOOD (and yes, we are a group of neighbors), crime-wise, is no less inferior than 129 units of single family homes spread-out all over the place (like a suburban tract). Fear of high-density usually stems from the fact that people don’t have exposure to this type of development. High-density complexes are also associated with negative stereotypes, like PUBLIC HOUSING or the PROJECTS. The comparisons are not necessarily true. Alhambra is not Watts or Harlem. Midwick residents have the right to live in SFR surban tracts and maintain that lifestyle, but they must be proactive in a PRODUCTIVE WAY. To bash against ALL high-density development or band in hostile groups does nothing more than force developers to follow laws BY THE LETTER instead of the spirit. And when they play the legal game, it distracts them from truly forming strong bonds with the community. That’s a lose/lose relationship.

      “GATED” VOTES TO UPGRADE PUBLIC SPACES:

      From my understanding, that’s what property taxes are for. Everyone has to pay for that. And in my area, I’ll vote for any local municipal public space upgrade if I know it will enhance my surrounding community and keep my property value strong(and yes, I think OUTSIDE my gated walls). I still use the sourrounding streets, light posts, sidewalks, etc. when I go/to my complex. Therefore, I’m a vested stakeholder in the community just like the SFR owners. And one more thing. GATED communities are extended neighborhoods in themselves. People tend to gravitate in their communities (like the common areas) and probably won’t be hanging around all over the place outside. And if they do, most people outside are waiting for their ride or a guest to let in.

      SEGREGATED INCOMES/SECESSION OF THE WEALTHY:

      Are you serious Mr. Sunada? That sounds almost hypocritical. You seem averse to big developers entering our city, yet disinclined to support a gated community at the Front Porch site. Let’s see here: We must gate our city boundaries against outside developers, but by the way, we shouldn’t allow gated communities to form inside our communities also. CV announced that this project will be mainly for the middle/higher income levels. So is this going to hurt the outside community? I’ve seen high-levels of crime in low-income projects (like Grape St. in south L.A – where I once helped manage a house for a few years) but I can’t picture the same in a higher-income gated community. From my empirical observations, most middle/higher-income gated communities, from a demographic perspective, tend to house those of smaller/younger families, working professionals, or retired. I live in one so I know. Will these types of people hurt Midwick residents?

      I’m only asking these questions because if Midwick residents wants to be part of the decision-making process, they must thoroughly absorb opposing issues and consider not only their weaknesses, but their MERITS as well. Why MERITS? Because that’s how concessions are made; when both sides of the coin are shown.

  5. The fight by the residents to protect their neighborhood from over-development is nothing new in this city, but I am afraid the outcome will be the same as other oversized developments that did not have public support. The massive Main Street development currently taking place is a good example. A community meeting was held at Almansor Park where a couple of hundred residents showed up to show their disapproval with the high density change to the face of Main Street. Speaker after speaker got up to
    oppose the scope and scale of the projects and voice their concerns for the increased traffic and transformation of a traditional Main Street into a condo corridor. Once the public meeting was checked off the list, that was
    the end of real input on the process.

    Currently there are thousands of housing units being built in our city that is rated as one of the highest density of people per square mile in the San Gabriel Valley. There is no part of Alhambra that is considered off limits to the developers. Another example was the proposed construction of housing units at Story Park a couple of years ago. The neighborhood rallied and in a rare case was able to stop the city from “developing” one of our few parks into a condo high rise. City Council members have received large donations from developers in the past and although this is not against the law, it certainly raises questions about their ability to represent the community.

    The neighbors living on North Stoneman face a similar problem with the proposed modification of Marguerite Gardens, a senior living complex,by Redstone that will be massively expanded. The same concerns by neighbors is being raised about the traffic and compatibility with the neighborhood. Our neighborhoods need to be protected from this kind of over scaled and high-density

    1. @ Seen it Before

      Thousands of units are CURRENTLY being built in our city? Seriously? That’s more than 20 major projects at a 100 units each in the pipeline! I understand your concerns, but that is way stretching it.

      You also state a couple of hundreded people in Almansor Park demonstrating their protest on the W. Main Street Corridor developments. What about the other 80,000+ residents of Alhambra? Do you think because they weren’t there their silence doesn’t count or convey any message?

      City council is ACCOUNTABLE TO EVERYBODY, and yes, the silence of tens of thousands can be just as powerful as the actions of a few hundreds. The W Main St. project went through because the city council approved it after considering EVERYONE’S RESPONSE (including those who supported it and those who DID NOT DISAGREE/NEUTRAL).

    2. Now a happy Alhambran

      For reasons like this we must remind City Council that they represent us, the residents. We must inform them of the things we approve/disapprove of. If we don’t voice our opinions they will continue to do as they see fit.

      Most of the decisions they make through out the city work for us or are too politically involved for us to understand. With decisions like these to continually build more homes and invade our quite communities is not something they must take a guess at. We are telling them we don’t want it. Let your voices be heard. More power to the residents!!!!!

  6. Open letter to Elizebeth Salinas. Sorry Ms Salinas, but “our” (really not “ours” but puppets of developers & Chamber of Commerce)elected officials might “listen” to residents concerns over-development in the city, but will do little or nothing to mitigate those situations. The only recourses I see is to RECALL ALL THE COUNCIL, or elect residents who support sane development; if at all. Alhambra was once a “bedroom community” but no longer with city council’s overdevelopment policies; now it’s a traffic nightmare & instead of blaming So Pas for stopping completion of the 710 Freeway, it may have been a better idea not to allow so much overdevelopment, thus creating more traffic in the city.In my opinion he city council long ago stoped representing the interests of residence, instead became a front for developers..look around it’s all over the city with no plans nor stop to it.Perhaps it’s time we residents Occupy Alhambra City Hall to show our displeasure with the overdevelopment.

    1. Another Angry Alhambran

      I am in TOTAL agreement with “Richard.” Every one of our council members is tied to developers (look at their campaign contributors available from the City Clerk office). I don’t have a problem with concentrating their build-lust on Main Street, but keep them OUT OF OUR NEIGHBORHOODS!!

      NO MORE CONDOS and TOWN-HOMES!
      NO MORE APARTMENT UNITS!
      NO MORE “MIXED-USE” DEVELOPMENTS!!

      We Alhambrans have had enough!!

      1. Worried about TOO MANY PEOPLE LIVING IN ALHAMBRA? How about going to city council to demand a:

        – Freeze on all construction

        – Stop on all sales of Alhambra homes bought by larger size families

        – Household requirement for families with newborns to re-locate or have their babies live elsewhere.

        – U.S. Home of Record checks on all immigrants BEFORE they come to the United States. Prohibit all visas for those showing Alhambra as their place of residency.

        – Mandatory household size count every year

        Hopefully, that should stop your Malthusian fears on population growth in Alhambra…

        GOODLUCK, it will never happen…

        I’m all for CONTROLLED growth, but to demand that ALL development stop and prohibit the same opportunity we had (for new residents) when we first moved into this community is one of the most selfish things an Alhambra resident can do.

      2. Another Angry Alhambran

        To John —
        Well then maybe its time we Alhambrans became a little selfish for once, eh? Let our surrounding cities share the brunt of those “opportunities.”

      3. To Angry Alhambran –

        Ok, being a little selfish sounds fair enough, especially if you feel that our community has been cheated by city council and developers have hijacked our neighborhoods. I won’t blame you. That’s your right to feel that way…

        However, where does your solution to this matter fit in? Yes, you are a stakeholder, but having a REACTIVE approach to every development out there will never provide a long-term solution to your concerns. Why? Because NOT being part of the solution by only filing complaints, in my opinion, is a losing strategy. Population WILL CONTINUE TO GROW.

        Look at City Ventures (CV) and what they are doing. They are essential taking the PROACTIVE approach in their public outreach efforts to the community BEFORE providing any concrete plans to the city council for the Midwick Tract. In essence, their actions are similar to the scoping meetings that have been conducted for the California High Speed Rail that may pass through the I-10 corridor. CV is taking a holistic approach in this matter and they are ahead of the game, in my opinion. They are currently developing the Main Street Collection at the old library site and very proactive in building sustainable communities through LEED certification (seems like every developer is nowadays). They may have no right invading your neighborhood, but they have called you out. And the owners (Front Porch) of this future development site is NOT GOING TO SIT QUIET when their inefficient 127-unit senior housing facility is going to make them lose a million dollars annually (mercurynews.com 6/27/2011). Changing demographics have affected this area with a growing Asian community throughout the city and no OCCUPY movement will ever change that. I remember growing up in the SGV when many areas were predominately white. Now hispanics and asians abound. If Front Porch folded, who will take its place? Does only the neighborhood have a vested interest at this location? How about the wider community? There is no perfect answer but I feel we must continue the opportunities for everybody. This is the only way to let society shape itself and thrive/grow to a community that can best fit the local needs.

        The best way to preserve the Midwick tract (or other possibly affected future tracts), in my opinion, is to SUPPORT MORE HOUSING in OTHER AREAS. Call it a give and take if you will. It may sound contradictory, but more housing also means more preservation. For example, the developments charted out years ago in the West Main St. Corridor plan will continue to provide future housing needs while relieving zoning variances and housing demands in other areas. If we stop growth rents will increase, house prices will go up the roof, and housing violations may become more noticeable (LA Daily News, Aug 2006). By concentrating new developments in specific planned locations, preserved areas become more apparent. High-density areas provide contrast; protected tracts are much more perceptible with its low-density features. I think your political efforts to win over greedy developers will be much more credible when there is a strong case of distinguishable land-use areas that throw further light on the significant impacts of denser structures. Its hard to show that now since so many Alhambrans have always supressed growth in the past (just look at the nasty letters on the West Main St. Corridor Plan EIR). The result: suburban sprawl everywhere with no focused areas for higher-density. Its no wonder preserved areas are sometimes difficult to differentiate among various neighborhoods. For now, the ad hoc approach of fighting growth on a “only if it affects me” strategy will not work. And fighting against ALL housing/mixed-use developments will not work either…

        I look at the city council, planning commision, and design review board agendas on the city website monthly. You should see the continuous requests for development; it never stops. Why? Because Alhambra represents the embodiment of EVERYONE’s productivity and most people are active in this city. As a city populace, we are an eclectic group. Just look at all the articles on this website! That’s why its important to be PROACTIVE in helping the city with its GENERAL PLAN. You want other cities to share the brunt of opportunities? You’re right, perhaps we all need to work together but it starts first by setting our own agenda. Once we know where we all stand collectively as a city, the more credible we are in working with other adjacent cities. If you, Angry Alhambran, do not wish to support our city’s future needs by providing ideas for solutions, then CV and other stakeholders will do the work for you. Hope to see you on Oct. 22…

        Your fellow Alhambran,
        John

      4. Another Angry Alhambran

        To Mr. Gacias —
        Apparently, you are either a shill for developers, or a lackey for the City council. Who knows, maybe you’re even a council member. You are obviously OUT OF TOUCH with nearly every Alhambran I know.

      5. Another selfish/angry Alhambran

        John,

        1)”They may have no right invading your neighborhood, but they have called you out.” Well WE ARE ANSWERING THE CALL
        2)”I remember growing up in the SGV when many areas were predominately white. Now hispanics and asians abound.” ARE YOU A RACIST?
        3)However, where does your solution to this matter fit in?
        We have plenty of ideas for a SOLUTION! Will City Ventures or City Council listen? That is another story!!!!!!
        4)”This is the only way to let society shape itself and thrive/grow to a community that can best fit the local needs.” How about filling the 150+ empty homes we ALREADY have around Alhambra BEFORE we bring in 93 more.

        If i dint know any better i would believe you work for CITY VENTURES or are a part of CITY COUNCIL. Who Knows?! Maybe.

      6. To Another selfish/angry Alhambran,

        1. Well WE ARE ANSWERING THE CALL:

        Not working with the developers by not providing ideas for solutions IS NOT ANSWERING THE CALL.

        2. ARE YOU A RACIST?

        If you read the Mercury News article, Front Porch closed that senior housing facility due to CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS. I said that statement to show how “changing demographics” have played a role in my own personal experiences. It’s because of these REAL issues that we now have the concerns of this new development.

        http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_18364509

        Next time, read my words in CONTEXT, instead of looking for trigger words like “white”, “hispanic”, or “asian” and automatically assume I’m racist. I won’t pander to your political correctness and there are far more racist comments I’ve seen here by other posts. It’s no wonder Messina said the word “ETHNIC” in her reference to a supermarket on a projected new development on Main St. She said this to avoid the very same people like you! I understood what she was trying to say because I read her message within the context of the matters being discussed. Unfortunately, even Messina’s disclaimer “I don’t mean this to be offensive…” did not help her from today’s liberal modern sensitivities.

        3. We have plenty of ideas for a SOLUTION! Will City Ventures or City Council listen? That is another story!!!!!!

        Then GREAT! Can you share a story, or better yet, an idea for a solution to us? Front Porch was not able to operate this senior housing facility business. If this property is so important to you, then what are some of the alternative options for this place? Another park? Where will the funds come from? More single family homes? Keep it vacant? How will this site adapt for future homeowners? If CV loses this project, what will you do when the next developer comes around? Complain again? Will those 300+ petitioners still be around? You need to think about these things and let the city council members know. They can’t truly understand your worries until they know how serious you are in being part of the solution. Serious means acting now and being proactive even AFTER this issue gets settled, REGARDLESS of the outcome. If you support lower-density, you must be open-minded in supporting higher-density projects elsewhere, even if its not in your neighborhood.

        4. How about filling the 150+ empty homes we ALREADY have around Alhambra BEFORE we bring in 93 more.

        Do you know how the real estate market works? If there are 150+ empty homes in Alhambra just sitting there unsold, then:

        – The real estate market is really slow right now, or

        – Those homes don’t fit the needs of prospective buyers/renters (too old, functionally obsolete,etc.)

        CV is going to invest millions of dollars into this project. That means a market analysis of what homeowners are looking for TODAY. Not yesterday, not last year, or 37 years ago!

        GOODLUCK trying to look for any connection between me and CV/City Council. You won’t find any and if you sensationalize in hidden political agendas, then turn on the TV news for that. The real truth is that I am a resident in this city just like you, even if you believe my viewpoint is in the minority.

        Do I want City Ventures to make a huge development here? Not necessarily. But if the residents of Midwick Tract want to preserve their community against big developers, then they must support development elsewhere because the city (and every other metropolitan area in the world) will continue to grow. That’s my opinion and hopefully, a small idea for a solution to this problem.

      7. Another selfish/angry Alhambran

        1. City Ventures & City Council has Finally given the residence the chance to work with/provide any ideas they may have. There is a meeting Oct. 20 6pm Alhambra library. Prior to this scheduled meeting all City Council has said is that NO PLANS have been FORMALLY presented to them THEREFORE there is nothing they can do.
        2.Other than you NOBODY has mentioned RACE.
        4. If you know how real estate works and are aware of the economy then you know that right now people are not buying homes BUT LOSING HOMES. If Homes are to old or functionally obsolete then that is not the home for you OR get another loan to fix your home.
        3&5.Support development else where? Don’t we already? Alhambra doesn’t have all store we like to shop in. So we travel outside of our city. CV isn’t going to build a commercial project that will benefit the neighborhood. Maybe they should do that, a supermarket would be good!

      8. @ Another selfish/angry Alhambran

        1. That’s good news for you. And CV deserves credit for doing this BEFORE presenting definite plans to the city council. Acknowledging their (CV/City Council) efforts demonstrate that we as stakeholders do appreciate public outreach efforts and hopefully encourage FUTURE developers to follow instead of just doing the bear minimum as required by law.

        2. Specifically with the CV projected development, no. But what is relevant about this site and RACE was the CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS that affected the business model for Front Porch, hence this place is now up for grabs. If you even bothered to read the article (which I assumed you probably didn’t) it DID MENTION RACE -THAT’S WHAT CHANGING DEMOGRAPHICS COVERS. And that’s why this place had to close and is now going under new development. To solve this problem Angry Alhambran, you must understand how this development issue came about in the first place. That way, you can have a better sense (and a better strategy) of what’s going on when the next developer comes along. Understanding your community means not only what residents want now, but forseeing who they will be in the future (gender, RACE, age, incomes, etc.). When you say nobody but me mentioned race, that tells me something about you: You seem to really think you know everyone and you still don’t know how to read things in context. That’s a losing hand; especially if you want to win over CV or the next developer that comes along.

        4. You think EVERYONE IS LOSING HOMES? I won’t deny there is a major problem out there with home loans, but saying that people are LOSING HOMES is a very broad statement. Don’t forget that people are still going through loan modifications as well. Most people can’t get another loan to fix their homes because there is NO EQUITY on many properties.

        3&5. Thanks for bringing up questions we can talk on. Did you ever support the W Main Street Corridor Plan? The mixed-use developments there will provide more commercial space for businesses. I wonder if the city council will ever bring up an EAST MAIN STREET CORRIDOR plan. I will bring that topic up to them in the future. Do you even know about the Industrial Area? I feel the city needs to develop this area further to bring in bigger employers with higher wages. Of course this means having a higher-skilled labor pool source. If a supermarket is good, perhaps you can bring that idea up to the residents. The next step is to figure out which developers out there are willing to build a supermarket. Providing possible developer names to the city council would be very beneficial for your efforts because the last thing a developer (like City Ventures) wants to hear is another competitor’s name. Is your community open to mixed-use or specifically commercial use only? Keep in mind any business you may want here will still require a market analysis. In addition, what Midwick Tract residents supports and what the market supports may be two different things. Just something to keep in mind. Perhaps the city manager and staff may try other outreach efforts to potential builders (especially one that can provide commercial services for your neighborhood community). Bring some of these questions up tomorrow and goodluck!

  7. Another Angry Alhambran

    Don’t forget the meeting on this project to be held this Thursday October 20, 6:00 PM at the Alhambra Public Library.

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