LocationAlhambra , CA
Monday night’s Alhambra City Council meeting, the first of 2020, was a quick and efficient session with ceremonial flourishes as Mayor Ross Maza and the council congratulated the winners of the 2019 Holiday Home Decorating Contest and heard a presentation on coyote management efforts from a team at the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments.
One of the headlines of the evening came during Council Communications at the end of the session when Adele Andrade-Stadler spoke of concerns she had been hearing from constituents on the advisability of building an affordable housing complex with 40 units near the corner of Second St. and Main St. in what is now a city-owned parking lot.
While not expressly opposing use of this site, she said that it may not be suitable for such a development both in terms of the size of the parcel, which is believed to be 0.42 acres, and from the viewpoint of downtown businesses that might be adversely affected by the reduction of parking.
She asked her fellow council members for support in asking city staff to explore finding more suitable land sites for the development.
Mayor Maza said that he, too, had been hearing concerns about the proposed site and joined Andrade-Stadler in urging the city staff action. A third council member was needed to request such an action and Vice Mayor David Mejia added his support.
It was not immediately clear how long this kind of inquiry by city staff would take or when it would return again to the council in open session.
During the regular agenda items Rafael Perez, the city’s code enforcement supervisor, joined two representatives of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments for a brief overview of regional coyote management services. This is in the wake of increased reports of increases human-coyote encounters, sightings mainly, in recent times. The Coyote Management Task Force has been instituted to create some best-practices guidelines for dealing with the Coyote problem. Participating cities include Alhambra, Arcadia, Azusa, Covina, Irwindale, Montebello, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Marino and Temple City.
Items on the council’s consent agenda took up much of the meeting including requests for proposals for uniform supply and cleaning services for various city departments including Parks & Recreation and Public Works, an ordinance restricting the overnight parking of recreational and oversize vehicles, and consideration of an ordinance amending sections of the city’s municipal code pertaining to the hours and rules and regulations for city-owned parking lots.
In agenda item five, the purchase of two utility body trucks, Council Member Jeff Maloney asked if these vehicles would be burning clean fuel. City manager Jessica Binnquist responded that unfortunately the cost of such vehicles was prohibitive in this case and that these vehicles would be burning gasoline.
In public comment on the consent items, Carolyn Hill, an Alhambra resident, expressed her view that item 10, a request for proposal to provide pyrotechnic services for the Alhambra Fourth of July celebration be amended and that the city should move away from a fireworks displays, which she called relatively “passé” and instead engage in a display of drone flying, which she thought might engage the population in a new way.
Suzy Dunkel-Soto, the vice president of Alhambra’s Planning Commission, spoke on consent item 14 dealing with parking lot hours and rules, and encouraged renewed efforts to keep the city parking structures clean both where vehicles are located but also in the stairwells and elevators from floor to floor.
She thought that some of the parking facilities are bordering on eyesores and are bad for the city’s image with both residents and visitors. “We are better than that in Alhambra,” she said.
The consent agenda passed quickly on a 5-0 vote.
In council comment, all of the council members congratulated Michael Macias, the Director of the City’s Parks and Recreation Department, for the excellent response the city’s float received, which carried the title “Hope Keeps Us Going” in the 2020 Tournament of Roses Parade.
In other council comment, Andrade-Stadler also spoke of her concerns in her district that CalTrans is still crushing rock and building large mounds of rock on the extension of the I-710 that ends at Valley Blvd. She said that she has enlisted the help of State Sen. Susan Rubio and they are in touch with CalTrans officials about limiting the size of these rock piles.
During the ceremonial part of the evening, Mayor Maza presented commendations from the council to five families of residents for their holiday displays. They included the Ramos Family of 122 North El Molino Street; the Lopez Family at 1407 Milton Ave., the Hernandez Family at 1701 Lemon Street; and Mark Tu at 325 Orange Grove Ave. The other award winner, the Ngo Family at 1845 South Olive Ave. was unable to attend.
Monday’s public meeting lasted about an hour and the council members recessed to return to closed session to complete some unfinished business from the closed session that preceded the open council meeting.