LocationAlhambra , CA
It was transition night Monday at the Alhambra City Council as Adele Andrade-Stadler completed her term as the city’s mayor and Vice Mayor Ross J. Maza took the oath of office to serve as mayor for the next nine months.
Council member David Mejia was sworn in to serve as the city’s vice mayor for the next nine months after which he will become mayor and serve during the 2020 municipal elections when he will be running for re-election in the city’s fourth district.
But before the oaths of office were administered and scrolls were presented marking the terms of the incoming and outgoing officials, there was city business to conduct.
Banging the gavel for the last time in her term, Adele-Stadler presided over several orders of business. Most notably was the second read of an ordinance calling for a three-quarters percent general transaction and use sales tax at a special election. City officials have deemed the timing of the special election as vital out of concern that LA County might impose its own tax measure on the November ballot. The Alhambra measure also required the adoption of a consolidation resolution placing it with the March statewide primary election. This action would allow voters to cast just one ballot during the statewide primary.
After some public comment urging that special oversight committees be formed to account for the use of the tax funding, City Manager Jessica Binnquist responded that if the measure passes then it will be subject to an annual audit by the city to determine how the funds are being used.
City staff reports suggest that the measure would bring in as much as $8.1 million annually to the city coffers and allow the city to hire for ten uniformed vacancies on the police department while also completing some long overdue infrastructure improvements. The cost of the special election will be $223,000.
Binnquist noted that the city has been in a “hold the line” mode on budgeting during the ten years that she’s been with the city which has forced cutbacks in infrastructure repair and in funding some police hiring.
The council voted 5-0 to place the measure on the ballot.
The official transition ceremonies took place after the council take a break to conduct some business in closed session.
Andrade-Stadler, who serves as councilperson for the city’s fifth district, was first to speak thanking her family for their support as well as members of the community. She ticked off a number of accomplishments during her time in office including the adoption of the General Plan update, adoption of a Strategic Plan for council action, the recently passed urgency ordinance to limit evictions as a bridge to AB 1482, the launch of the Alhambra Complete Count Census initiative, progress on low-income housing and charging stations for electric cars.
She also thanked the other council members for working together for what’s best for Alhambra.
After taking the oath of office from City Clerk Lauren Myles, incoming Mayor Maza said he’s committed to finding solutions to improve the community by working with residents and fellow council members in a productive, positive manner.
“As council members we are elected to make tough decisions on controversial issues,” said Maza, who represents the city’s second district. “I take those decisions seriously,” he said adding that “the decisions that I make come from the heart.
Maza, a real estate broker by profession who was elected to the council unopposed in 2018 after serving on the city’s planning commission, thanked his family and took a heartfelt moment to acknowledge the influence of his grandparents, who have both passed away, on his life.
He said he is looking hoping the city will make progress on affordable housing, historic preservation and securing grants for important projects.
Also sworn in Monday night was Mejia, an LAPD sergeant, who was elected to the city council in the 2016 balloting and served a stint as mayor at that time. In his comments, he said he hoped that residents would focus on what’s right with Alhambra and said that would be a theme of his campaign running up to next November’s election.
Before adjourning the meeting for a reception in the City Hall lobby area, representatives from the offices of State Senator Susan Rubio, State Assemblyman Ed Chau, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and municipal leaders from the cities of Rosemead, San Gabriel and Monterey Park presented the outgoing mayor and incoming mayor and vice mayor with certificates recognizing their past service and new roles in Alhambra’s city hierarchy.