The most-read Alhambra Source stories from the past two weeks were about a local wushu champion who gave up a finance career and now spars with the likes of Jet Li, facing unemployment (and the prospect of 90 rejected resumes) as a young and educated Alhambra resident, and a police warning about the rise of distraction crimes. But the hot stories for discussion were about the Alhambra Redevelopment Agency (ARA) and pedestrian safety in Alhambra.
Eric Sunada’s opinion piece, arguing that the ARA contributed to Governor Brown’s push to abolish redevelopment agencies, set off a debate over the merits of the Alhambra agency’s work.
Joyce commented “very interesting and different perspectives” about Sunada’s take on problems with the local agency. Some of Sunada’s criticisms were that it should not provide large financial assistance to a few major businesses, that it provides too significant a contribution to some city employees’ salary, and the redevelopment areas receiving funding are not actually blighted. John Gacis fired back in a comment twice as long as the article itself, defending the city’s development efforts. “I don’t even think attacking a $69,500 annual salary is the right place to even begin, let alone blaming our own city officials and discrediting our Alhambra community,” Gacis writes, referring to the amount that Alhambra’s city manager makes from the redevelopment agency. City Manager Julio Fuentes’s total compensation, according to the article, is $278,000.Daniela Gerson’s story reporting on the lack of pedestrian safety in Alhambra also triggered some debate this week, even though it was published back in January. A few readers alleged that the cause of the traffic accidents is Asian drivers. The Obvious, who believes that the negative stereotype surrounding Asian drivers is true, started the debate. “Growing up in Montery [sic] Park and Alhambra in the 80's and seeing the slow migration of these people from riding their bikes to buying cars and putting there [sic] wives and grown kids in the back seat you knew this is where we would be headed. Now they drive with socks on their arms, welder's mask on their faces and 200 stuffed animals in their back windows.”Guillermo Martinez agreed with The Obvious. “Some people just don't know where they are going until they get there, as is the case with the many 70 year old men that rode bicycles their whole life in Asia until they moved to Alhambra and were given their first drivers license.”Dan Bednarski responded to Martinez with a call for hard data to support any claims that a certain ethnicity is behind a high rate of accidents in Alhambra. “As you said yourself in your example, those men are old as well as newer drivers. I could make a similar assumption based on the ethnicity of people I see speeding down my street. In which case, I could guess Latino drivers are the problem because they speed, often drive bigger vehicles that are harder to stop, and make up a significant portion of the population. But I will not make that assumption because I do not have data to back up that hypothesis (nor do I actually believe that drivers of a particular ethnicity are the problem).”Martinez joked back, “Dan, all I ask is next time you merge on the I-10 at 35 MPH because of the car in front. Take a peek and see who is driving!”