Friday, March 28, 2008

Odds and Ends 58

First, here are two images of businesses closing near the Ponte Vista site.

Both businesses were open and operating when the photos were taken Wednesday afternoon.

It appears that Marie Calendar's owner will be moving to the location loyal customers of Papadakis Taverna once enjoyed.

According to a family, the owner of Planet Kids wants to "retire". The site may become another business owned by the same family.

Members of Neighborhoods Organized and Involved to Support Education (NOISE) are looking into alternatives to building a 1,215-seat high school campus at Angel's Gate.

There are members who suggest that alternatives include utilizing the Cooper Continuation High School/Science Center sites on Taper/Sandwood-Barrywood.

Now I know there is already a new high school close by. But since the neighbors in that area insisted that student and parent traffic use only Western Avenue and not the Taper Avenue access to the new Mary Star of the Sea High School, perhaps a better utilization of the Cooper/Science Center sites might support the education of more students than are using them now.

I do like the "pledge" Bob's organization made for Clean San Pedro. I don't feel it was necessary to contact The Daily Breeze to trumpet the "pledge". It probably would have been even better if a donation of $25,000.00 was acknowledged by Clean San Pedro after the check cleared.

It could have shown that Bob wasn't just paying the money to get a favorable article on Page 3 of the newspaper, and seeking more support for his weapon of mass development.

Folks other than I have commented on the trash and blight that Bob continues to display on the Ponte Vista property.

The next L.A. City Mayoral election may get very interesting. If Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky decides to run for the job currently being held by Mayor V. it could pit a current Mayor who favors weapons of mass development as long as the developers support his elections and reelections, against a L.A. County Supervisor who has gone on record opposing such weapons and fighting for all of us, against over developers.

Maybe former Mayor Mark of Lomita will be joined by another Mayor who might lose his job too, for supporting developers over residents of their own city.

And still we wait.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Another Attempt to Find More Support

O.K., we need to thank the Outreach Team at Ponte Vista at San Pedro for this latest attempt to keep us laughing, while waiting for the Planning Department to cough up what they believe Bob could build, or sell his possible entitlements, for the site.

I hope you all noticed that the Outreach team want you to support Bob's plans for Ponte Vista by sending a message to Councilwoman Janice Hahn THROUGH the Ponte Vista organization.

This means, if you send in your postcard, that more folks will continue to get paid processing your information and forwarding your "support" for Bob's vision of Ponte Vista to a person who simply doesn't want such a large development built in her district.

I took the liberty of removing the wonderful person's name and address from the card. I seem to get stuff sent to me by a variety of folks. Thank you Ms. "X" and you are a great person!

I also removed the Ponte Vista Web site address and phone number to the Outreach trailers.

I probably could have put in their places, the address to this blog, but since you are reading this, why bother?

If you look extremely carefully in the lower right hand corner of the first illustration, you may just be able to pick out what appears to be a union logo for a printing firm. Kudos go to the Outreach Team for actually using union labor to produce a card stating that union labor would be used at Ponte Vista.

Of course you all know that the use of union labor depends entirely on whether Bob gets to build and over development and not a number of units that will, most likely, be far fewer than Bob wants.

According to reliable sources, each and every time Bob is asked whether he would still use union labor if the number of units approved for the site is less than what he demands, he either changes the course of the discussion, evades any positive answers, or simply doesn't answer the question at all.

I know some union workers will be used at the site. My union, the Communications Workers of America have had represented workers on the property for years and will continue to have workers on the site for years to come.

If other Utility Companies have workers represented by unions also working on the site, then there will actually be several unions represented.

But make no mistake, if Bob doesn't get what he wants, there is no indication that he would use union represented labor in the construction, maintenance, or livability at anything built at Ponte Vista.

I wonder what might happen if ILWU workers, all great union members, buy units at Ponte Vista if it is NOT built out using union represented labor.

Perhaps the good group representing ILWU workers and other union represented workers will "encourage" Bob to use union represented workers, no matter how may units he gets to build.

San Pedro is a strong union community. There are more than quite a few members of unions living in OUR community. Let's all stand tall and proud of our union memberships, and state that union members will not buy anything built at Ponte Vista, that hasn't been built with union labor!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Clean San Pedro

I don't normally have newspaper articles appear on my blogs the day of their publication, but this article should be important to all of us and I think getting the word out to as many people as possible, is the correct thing to do.

The following is an article written by Ms. Donna Littlejohn for The Daily Breeze.

No Cash for This Trash
By Donna Littlejohn, Staff Writer

Article Launched: 03/25/2008 10:55:36 PM PDT

It didn't take long for Steve Kleinjan's answering machine to fill up after sending out a notice early this week saying Clean San Pedro would have to suspend operations.

"My e-mail is just about filled, my phone has rung off the hook," Kleinjan said.

Dedicated to combating litter and graffiti, the popular grass-roots effort he established six years ago is simply running too low on funds, Kleinjan said.

"Everyone means well and is very receptive, but it's just a matter of getting the check in the mail," Kleinjan said. "We're an independent group and normally we try to raise our own funds through fundraisers."

Kleinjan said he hopes the suspension of activity will be temporary, noting the outpouring from community members this week since he made the announcement.

Among Clean San Pedro's staunch supporters is Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who singled the group out for citywide recognition in 2006.

"I can't imagine San Pedro without Clean San Pedro," she said. "We've really come to depend on them. They've put the pride back in San Pedro."

Hahn is urging neighborhood councils to pitch in. She said she also is going to try to find resources within her office to help.

More financial support is needed between major fundraisers, Kleinjan said, to cover ongoing
expenses such as insurance and maintenance on vehicles, and buying tools and supplies.

The group also pays two part-time employees, retirees, who work 12 hours a week. They have been laid off, but Kleinjan hopes that's only temporary.

"They obviously have a serious cash flow problem," said Camilla Townsend, CEO of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce. "They need a serious commitment that's going to be ongoing so they can really do what Clean San Pedro is all about.

The last major fundraiser for Clean San Pedro was Hot Pedro Nites, a two-day nostalgic car festival held last August. The event brought in about $20,000, but that fell far short of the group's goal of raising $80,000 to $100,000.

With the next Hot Pedro Nites not happening until July, the group has been struggling to maintain its cash flow from last summer's event.

"We're running out of those funds, so instead of doing another fundraiser in the spring, I was looking to go to neighborhood councils and things like that for funding," Kleinjan said.

Founded in 2002, Clean San Pedro Inc. uses volunteers to cruise the Pacific Avenue and Gaffey Street retail corridors throughout the week, picking up trash, painting out graffiti and making sure discarded furniture and other eyesores are hauled away.

Hometown pride fuels the endeavor.

"Most of the people who volunteer grew up here and have lived here their whole lives," said Kleinjan, a 1970 San Pedro High School graduate. "We have many successful business people who are now retired and donate a lot of time to this effort. It's kind of strange to see a former businessman sitting there, sweeping curbs."

The group's annual budget is about $60,000, he said, but to do the job right, it should be closer to $150,000.

"I just couldn't continue going on as usual," he said. "These are difficult times."

Townsend said her organization is exploring ways to help, including the possibility of taking over Hot Pedro Nites as a way to save Clean San Pedro administrative funds it spends to help plan and stage the event.

Help also might come from the proposed property owners' Business Improvement District, she said.

"This is a real grass-roots operation," Townsend said. "It's the best deal in town. The sad thing is, so often communities take programs like this for granted. They're very happy to have them, but they don't stop to think about where the funding comes from. I look at this as a wake-up call."

What: Clean San Pedro Inc., a six-year-old nonprofit group, is in need of more donations.

Donations: Checks can be made out and mailed to Clean San Pedro Inc., 3616 S. Walker St., San Pedro, CA 90731.

Information:; 310-832-4931.

O.K., let's read your excuses for not helping out this organization.

You could write that you spent the $440.00 you and your wife won at the Thunder Valley Casino on Saturday, but spent it all at another casino. We did and we didn't, so my check is ready for me to slip into the mailbox as I leave for yet another pre-surgery test.

You could write that you are on disability and can't afford the bucks. I am and you probably aren't. Next excuse.

You could write that you spend you contribution dollars on making buttons for causes you believe are important on OUR community. I do, but Clean San Pedro is a worthy cause that just might inspire me to create some new buttons that group can offer for donations.

You could write that you are a Bisno supporter and are saving to buy one of his "affordable" condos. I'm not, but I also don't think that $300,000.00 for 600 square feet in some of the worst climate in OUR community is worth it.

You could write that you have given so much to OUR community that you feel you should be compared to John Olguin. You certainly can't and neither can I, ever. But I have a real belief that John will be walking the few blocks from his house to the Walker Avenue address to drop off a donation.

You could write some excuse that we can all shed a tear at, but please don't. I don't have a reasonable, realistic, responsible, or respectful excuse for not contributing to Clean San Pedro until now, and you surely don't either, I firmly bet.

So let's just get to the mission at hand. Get out those checkbooks, make motions in your organizations to donate, have a rummage sale with proceeds going to this worthy group, and don't do anything that will cause Clean San Pedro to have to pick up after you!

Hey Bob, your blight is a nuisance we have to live with. How about thinking about the community you supposedly believe you know what is best for, and give a chunk of change to Clean San Pedro. They can't clean up your mess, unless you hire them, but they can help keep San Pedro cleaner than you patch of.......whatever.

Hey OUR community, let's make the next Hot Pedro Nites the best ever!

Bob Bisno Pledges $25K

This is good.

Bob Bisno is reported in an article in the Thursday Daily Breeze, to be pledging to provide $25,000 to Clean San Pedro.

I hope other developers in San Pedro also help get this valuable group back on track to help clean up areas near their developments.

I for one, didn't pledge a dime. I simply wrote out my check, addressed my envelope, put a stamp on it, and dropped it into the mail.

There was no need to have an article in a newspaper written about my donation.

Let's hope to read or learn that organizations and groups all around OUR community come through with needed funds to get Clean San Pedro back up and running without worries of this type of thing happening again.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Odds and Ends 57

My oh my, weapons of mass development sure took a beating this week. Here in our neck of the woods, the Planning Commission sided with Councilwoman Janice Hahn, the group Vista del Oro Neighbors Against Condos, and many others to block attempts to allow a condominium or apartment complex from being built on the site of the former McCowan's Market.

Now, that fight is not officially over because the motion passed by the Planning Commission still has to go through the City Council's Land Use and Planning Committee before it gets final approval from the full City Council. But placing the Q "Qualification" Condition on the three lots, currently zoned C1-1XL is more of a formality now.

Sure Mike R. and his buddies can sue the City. Let them spend their money on something that won't be built.

Las Lomas WAS being considered by the Planning Department through environmental studies the department had been recently working on. That is until the L.A. City Council by a 10-5 vote, told the Planning Department to stop further studies on the over 5,500 dwelling weapon of mass development or over development at the northern end of the San Fernando Valley.

It would be like what I wish would happen right now with the Ponte Vista at San Pedro development.

I wish the L.A. City Council would tell the Planning Department to stop their review of the Draft Environmental Impact Report. Since the Planning Department may be liable in the future for not requiring, at this time, a circulation of a new Draft Environmental Impact Report, Bob and his buddies could very easily claim that any lawsuits brought up because of unforeseen impacts from a document that is too old and where the potential impacts have changed, may make the City of Los Angeles liable instead of Bisno Development.

Right now, the City Council has a golden opportunity to save itself and taxpayers by halting the review by the Planning Department until either a new Draft Environmental Impact Report is circulated, or the decision is made that this over development it simply too large for OUR community.

Like Las Lomas, I would rather have the taxpayers pay for defending the City now, than having everyone pay, for generations, the price demanded for building such an overly large development in OUR community.

Over developments are coming at OUR community from more angles that you may think.

The proposal to build a "1,215"-seat high school right next to the fun part of Alma Street, is dumber than a doorknob, and we all know it, in our guts.

LAUSD is claiming that their "405"-seat per academy school would have only 27 students per classroom. But when asked, even our area's elected Board of Education member states and confirms that any new high campus in San Pedro WOULD NOT DECREASE class sizes.

Now my generous nature currently considers that there MAY be only an average of 34 students attending each class at San Pedro High School.

If, as planned, classes would simply move lock, stock, and teacher from the main campus to any new campus, then the student count at any new school would be 1,530 students.

I guess some folks at LAUSD did not have arithmetic instructors.

1,215-seats at 27 students each equals a need for 45 classrooms, exactly as the Initial Study states.

But having the "average" number of students (34) times the number of classrooms planned (45)and that looks like: 34X45= 1,530.

Now Rod Hamilton of the Facilities Services Division of LAUSD will tell you that only 810-seats will be initially built.

O.K. Rod, then take 810-seats divided by 27 students per class, and there you have your precious 30 classrooms.

Now Rod, we both know that the average number of students taking regular classes at S.P.H.S. is higher than 27 students per class. Does Rod think we are that stupid?

O.K., Rod, I'll again be generous and estimate that there are only an average of 34 students per classroom at the main campus.

So, if my high school math was correctly taught to me, 34 students times 30 classrooms equals 1,020 students and not the "810" number you have mentioned.

And the number "810" for the seat count, and "30" for the number of classrooms at the proposed campus, are found NOWHERE in the Initial Study.

Even if I am wrong by 10% in the average number of students per class, then there could be an average class size of up to 37.4 students, or as low as 30.6 students.

If we use those averages in a 45-classroom environment, then there could possible be as few as 1,377 students to as many as1,683 students.

And here "they" all keep telling us that this particular development may have only 1,215 students.

LAUSD, Give US a break. OUR community is much smarter than you give us credit for.

Now cruise ships and passenger liners seem to be getting bigger, year to year. The more people you can stuff into a finite space, the higher the density and, most likely, the profits.

Now we get to view the beautiful H.M.S. Queen Elizabeth II, H.M.S. Queen Mary, and now the
Brand new H.M.S. Queen Victoria.

It seems Disney is building a very, very large cruise ship. Other companies are coming up with larger and larger ships. We simply don't have the inner harbor area or height to allow these monsters to navigate to our current cruise ship terminals, without having to back down the main channel.

The West turning basin may be large enough to allow ships, many under their own control, to turn around. But we have that "Don't it Make Your Green Bridge Blue" span that is too short to allow these floating resorts navigate under it, twice, and turn around.

The plan is to keep the little (2,000-passenger) cruise ships coming to the Berth 93 terminals. The when the larger (4,000+passenger) cruise ships and ocean liners want to dock, they may use the future terminals at Kaiser Point, in the outer harbor.

So, take the ships with the most passengers, their luggage, their hidden booze, their want to get to their ship as soon as possible, and stick the terminals out at the very end of the port, the furthest point away from a freeway, and large ship can dock at.

Smart, isn't it?

Well, on this over development, I'm still a fence sitter. IF the Port of L.A. really, really wants the new terminal built, OUR community is going to need some goodies from the Port of L.A.

I want an overhead monorail from the parking structure they may build at Berth 93 to the new terminal. I want it to be free for everybody and I want it to make stops in downtown San Pedro, along the visitor's wharfs like the San Pedro Landing, and I want it to "fly" over the fishing boat slip near the end of 22Nd Street.

An overhead monorail would allow everyone to shop downtown San Pedro, visit Ports-of-Call and the Fish Market, view the beauty of San Pedro and OUR harbor, and keep folks OFF THE ROADS!!!!!!!!!

Now I'm not stating that we could keep the taxis and shuttle buses from going all the way through downtown San Pedro, but whatever mitigation of traffic that could be done, must be done.

I want land from the Port somewhere in downtown San Pedro to have another major supermarket built so that all the new residents of the condos and apartments in downtown will be welcomed by so many other folks that have lived in OUR community and all of them can be within walking distance of a much needed market.

I want an Olympic-size swimming pool for OUR community. If the Port gets the area of the scout center back and makes it open and available to the whole community, year round, then that might be a great idea.

Now I know the Port of L.A. is about as thoughtful as LAUSD, in how they work with the community, but I really feel if the Port of L.A. is serious about a super-humongous terminal at the end of OUR community and the end of Los Angeles, then I think OUR community needs to feel they are not stuck with something they have to deal with, without any compensation.

Several of us tried to ask Betsy Weisman, of the Planning Department, when more information would be coming out about what the planning department feels could be built at Ponte Vista.

She must be a really good bureaucrat, because she would not admit to anything and she smiled as the shrugged us off.

It looks like April 29 is still the date Bob's house gets auctioned off. Someone commented that the issue was over "investment", but since that person didn't elaborate, I see no reason to suggest anything other than what I can find via public records.

The public records state that Bob took out about a $7 Million Dollar loan on the property and he defaulted on a $4 Million Dollar payment. With interest and penalties, the public records state that the amount that is owed is approximately $4.6 Million Dollars. Public records stated that the impending sale is a "sheriff's sale".

The property's property taxes are up to date.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another Weapon of Mass Development Bites the Dust!

The following piece of news is from The Daily News.

LA says 'NO' to Las Lomas development
By Kerry Cavanaugh Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 03/19/2008 01:21:21 PM PDT

The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to stop processing Las Lomas' application to build a 5,553-home mini-city, essentially killing the development project.

The council voted 10-5 in favor of Councilman Greig Smith's proposal to block the project.Council members Richard Alarcon, Jose Huizar, Bernard Parks, Ed Reyes and Herb Wesson cast the no votes.

After the hearing, Smith said he was ecstatic over the decision."This was critically important at this moment in time for the city of L.A. that we say, No. We can not afford overdevelopment and this is overdevelopment."

A longtime Las Lomas opponent, Smith had crafted the strategy and pushed his colleagues to stop the project, despite warnings from the City Attorney's office that doing so could prompt a lawsuit that the city would lose.

Ultimately, council members overruled the City Attorney's advice.Councilman Richard Alarcon had echoed the City Attorney's concerns and he said he was disappointed the council would open the city to such a legal risk.

Las Lomas Land Co. President Dan S. Palmer, Jr. would not comment on a possible lawsuit, but said he was disappointed."We're going to look at all the options," Palmer said. "Las Lomas is a fine project providing many benefits to the community and we remain committed to it."

The proposed weapon was going to be in the north end of the San Fernando Valley near the interchange of the I5 and 14 Freeways.It was and is still a huge monster that needs to be fought, even in the probable upcoming lawsuits.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

VDONAC Equals Victory!

Vista del Oro Neighbors Against Condos (VDONAC) won a major victory against an overdeveloper when the Harbor Area Planning Commission voted 3-0 to support a motion brought forward by Councilwoman Janice Hahn, which places a restriction on what can be built on three lots that formerly was the site of the McCowan's Market.

The three members of the Planning Commission were greeted by a standing room only gathering of concerned San Pedro residents who are determined to keep the three lots, currently zoned C1-1XL from having condominium or apartments units built on them.

Approximately 20 residents provided comments to the Planning Commission members and the rest of the audience as to why the three lots should only have single-family, detached houses built on them, one per lot.

The motion brought forth by Councilwoman Hahn was to place a Q Qualification Condition on three lots currently zoned as commercial lots.

The developer of the site, Mike Rosenthal tore down a much beloved and historical market he bought in 2007 and attempted to build between 15-19 units on the three, combined lots.

With the Q Qualification Condition now voted to be placed on the three lots, the developer is restricted to building residential units the conform to R1 standards which is one-single-family, detached dwelling per each lot of not less than 5,000 square feet.

In testimony given before the Planning Commission, Ms Betsy Weisman of the L.A. City Planning Department was asked by one commissioner if the Q Qualification Condition was common in other cities or unique to Los Angeles.

Ms. Weisman stated that this particular restriction is very unique to Los Angeles and most other cities, to her knowledge, have that exact type of restriction.

Councilwoman Janice Hahn attended the meeting and gave her remarks in great support for the motion brought forth to place the Q Qualification Condition on the three lots.

Mr. Rosenthal, who is already in the process of building 3-single-family, detached houses on the three lots already zoned for that type of residential building, will not have the opportunity to build three more of the types of houses that are found the neighborhood.

The Q Qualification Condition places a restriction so that only residential houses that conform to the majority of the houses in the surrounding, may be built.

The zone change will take the three lots currently zoned C1-1Xl and change them to QC1-1Xl.

Perhaps this change in allowing overdevelopment to spread into a largely R1 neighborhood, may have impacts on the Ponte Vista issue as well.

Ms. Elise Swanson, the Vice President in charge of the Ponte Vista Outreach Team was joined by two of her associates, at the Planning Commission meeting.

What might this denial of potential overdevelopment in one neighborhood, have on what the Planning Department and even the Planning Commission may now look at?

In the Vista del Oro neighborhood of San Pedro, attempting to build up to twenty units in a neighborhood of single-family homes, is a weapon of mass development, no matter that it was on a much smaller scale than what OUR community is facing with Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

Personally, I would like to first thank Barbara Dragich and her husband, Nick. They were the "Generals" in the central command of this fight. They both took on an issue they has very little knowledge of how to fight, and they rose to the occasion beyond imagination.

They are true San Pedrans and a great credit to all of us.

Ms. Michele Burk handled many details as a superior facilitator that she is. While continuing her services to OUR community as a Board Member of the San Pedro Pirate Lady Boosters, she took on many tasks with very little notice and help VDONAC immeasurably.

Next I need to put a great shout out to Councilwoman Janice Hahn and her fantastic staff, When presented by a flood of phone calls, Emails, and snail mails from her constituents, concerning the matter, she and her staff made quick work of researching the Q Qualification Condition and how it could be placed on the lots on the corner of 20Th Street and Walker Avenue.

Ms. Hahn brought forth a motion to go before the Planning Commission, and we are all grateful for he swift and decisive actions.

Next, it's the neighbors and the neighborhood which deserves a big hand. I doubt if there has ever been an issue that brought so many San Pedrans so quickly together with a common purpose to safe the quality of life in, at least, part of San Pedro.

I also want to give credit to the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council which sprang into action immediately upon hearing of the plight the stakeholders were being confronted with.
A special shout out need to go to Ms. Linda Marincovich, the chair of the Planning Committee for the Neighborhood Council. Linda dove into assisting anyone and everyone, taking her time to learn what VDONAC needed and making sure they were supported 100%.

It's San Pedro and San Pedrans at their finest! They encountered a developer who considered his profits before his citizenship, I feel, and the folks living in the area gave him a big check to the backboards.

Everyone in OUR community can feel pride in the accomplishments of the members of VDONAC and their supporters. They showed what is best in OUR community, and again and again, it's the people in OUR community that are simply the best!

Unfortunately the work of many concerned San Pedrans is far from being over. Weapons of mass development still loom on our horizon. Whether it is the proposed overdevelopment of Ponte Vista, the plight Palisades residents are facing with the fact that a school that is too large is proposed for their neighborhood, or whether we all have to do battle with the Port of L.A. and their mission of building a new cruise ship terminal at Kaiser Point, overdevelopments and weapons of mass developments need to be challenged no matter where they are.

The Vista del Oro Neighborhood can finally have a more peaceful night.

We all won this time.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Residents Oppose Development

The following article was written for the SGV Tribune which serves the San Gabriel Valley.

Residents oppose development
By Tania Chatila, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 03/15/2008 12:04:16 AM PDT

BALDWIN PARK - Property owners rallied against a proposed multimillion-dollar development this week at a forum backing eminent domain reform.

More than 200 residents and business owners attended the meeting Thursday at the Baldwin Park Marriott. It was hosted by the Community Alliance for Redevelopment Accountability, a Baldwin Park-based nonprofit formed in opposition to the city's redevelopment plans for the downtown.

Baldwin Park is in talks with Bisno Development Co. for a 125-acre renovation of its main commercial corridor that could include a new hotel, a charter school and thousands of luxury residential units.

More than 200 businesses and homes face relocation through eminent domain, depending on the outcome of the project and two legislative initiatives - both slated for June - aimed at limiting eminent domain powers.

One of those initiatives, Proposition 98, was heavily pushed by several groups at the forum, including the National Federation of Independent Business/California, the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the Institute for Justice.

Proposition 98 would restrict city agencies from taking property through eminent domain and turning it over to private developers.

Marko Mlikotin, president of the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights, said the forum was meant to provide information to residents about Baldwin Park's situation and gather
support for the proposition.

"The government's power to forcibly seize private property from property owners is unquestionable," Mlikotin said.

He called the Baldwin Park case "one of the most egregious" he'd seen in years.
"The only thing that can save them," Mlikotin said, "is legal reform."

Among the several speakers Thursday was Jeff Rowes, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, which litigates property rights cases.

Rowes encouraged property owners to protest, make public records requests and create their own records of city actions.

"What Baldwin Park wants to do is replace people of modest means with rich people because rich people have more money," he said. "I think the only realistic chance to save these neighborhoods is through a lawsuit."

A question-and-answer period garnered several heated comments from angry residents and business owners who accused city officials of being evasive about project plans.

"I intend to retire when I'm ready," said Rosalva Breceda, owner of the Maine Avenue Penhmar Beauty Salon, "not when the city says they need that space."

Other residents - some of whom were not from Baldwin Park - told stories of losing their homes through

Joey Davis, who lost his Los Angeles home through eminent domain, demands Baldwin Park property owners get involved in saving their homes and businesses from seizure for a proposed downtown development during a town hall forum at the Badwin Park Merriott on Thursday, March 13, 2008. (Staff photo by Tania Chatila) eminent domain.

"What you see here is the heart of Baldwin Park," said James Treasure, president of CARA.
"This is just the beginning of our movement."

City officials have refuted claims they've been deceitful and have said their plans will benefit Baldwin Park.

While in support of the project, Councilman Ricardo Pacheco said he believes better communication could make the proposed development less contentious.

"The city itself needs to do its public outreach to get input from the community," Pacheco said. "I think we need to emphasize more inclusion."

Bob seems to have a panchant for going into an area and messing around with the local environment and people who live in communities.

I am following Bob's antics in Baldwin Park and Santa Ana and I will continue to look for information about Bisno and his weapons of mass development, no matter where they are.

In Baldwin Park, Community Alliance for Redevelopment Accountability or C.A.R.A. has been formed to fight against the taking of property by use of Baldwin Park's right of eminent domain.

It appears now that wherever Bob goes, organizations designed to counter Bob's attempts spring up, grow, and have clout.

Perhaps the Cities of Baldwin Park, Santa Ana, and San Pedro should adopt a common three-letter word; GAB. That stands for Go Away Bob.

Friday, March 14, 2008

City of Baldwin Park residents and business owners are fighting back

City of Baldwin Park residents and business owners are fighting back is the title of a new post on the Orange Juice! blog. You can click on the title of this post to go straight to the post or you can click on: to go there.

It is wonderful to hear there is a growing number of groups and individuals who are throwing up their hands to illustrate that it is time to organize and slow down and even stop over development in the greater L.A. area.

Take a look at Google Earth and the closer you zoom towards the Los Angeles Basin, which is part of the Great Basin of the Mojave Desert, it becomes fairly plain to see that we all live in an area almost completely surrounded by mountain ranges.

We actually compare more like Mexico City in that it too, is surrounded by mountains and sits in a basin or bowl like setting, like we do.

Just how much can a basin or bowl be filled before it runs over and loses its ability to hold things?

That is what is becoming more apparent around our area, it looks like.

At some point, and that point may already have been made, we must stop and state, for better or worse, that enough is now too much.

I am sorry that there my be no more room for folks who want to move into the area. But we have to realize that many jobs that individuals are seeking just aren't here anymore.

It is probably beyond the time we should have put slowing breaks on, to the mass over developement that seems to be going on all around us.

We no longer have room to build schools to teach our kids. Our transportation infrastructure is failing to keep up with the continually growing demand.

We don't have the financial resources to build for more people to come to the area, it certainly appears.

One might even imagine that greedy developers have seen the writing on the wall and are trying their best to squeeze the last drops of outrageous profit out of the area, before they move on.

And it is all at the expense of the wonderful people who already live here.

Blog sites and Web sites continue to grow in numbers and views, decrying the over development and weapons of mass development that are attempted to be forced on the current population in areas already quite full of people, traffic, and infrastructure issues.

Let's think about slowing down, for real this time, attempts to overdevelop OUR area at OUR expense. Shouldn't we have a say in how much we are willing to give up?

Odds and Ends 56

It seems the name, "Bisno" can't stay out of blogs in areas where he is determined to provide weapons of mass development, whether the current residents want it or not.

In association with the post from the OC Weekly comes a post on Orange Juice! blog.

You can find the post by clicking on the title of this post or clicking on:

And now, to continue the saga of Bob, his personal house, and his defaulting on a loan, is a post piece, directly downloaded form the great, "Your Mama" and the equally great, The Real Estalker Blog, which can be found at:

In the particular post: End of Week Mish Mash, is the following excerpt;

3. The Bisno Bizness

About a month ago, Your Mama discussed the uglee foreclosure mess that has surrounded the Beverly Park mansion of the controversial Los Angeles based real estate developer Robert Bisno. According to records on file with the Beverly Hills assessor, Mister and Missus Bisno defaulted on a $4,000,000 mortgage that was secured against the value of their 11,984 square foot house that happens to sit next door to the mansion Hollywood honcho Mike Medavoy has on the market for $23,500,000.

It is puzzling and perplexing to Your Mama that a rich man known to purchase high priced art to display his motor court would find himself facing foreclosure proceedings on his private home. But alas, notices were indeed printed in the Beverly Hills Courier, and the house was scheduled to be auctioned off on the steps of the Beverly Hills court house on the 29th day of February, 2008.

It seems, however, that the auction for that particular and palatial property never happened. Your Mama, being the nosy bee-hawtcha we are, set our research dee-va B.S. Beaverman on the case to sort out what exactly happened...or didn't happen. After much struggle, several dead ends, a phone call to the Bisno residence directly, and many calls to many Bev Hills bureaucrats, the impressively tenacious Miz Beaverman finally figured out that Mister Bisno and his team of people managed to stave off the auction by filing something called a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order).

Unfortunately for the children, Your Mama just isn't smart enough to understand or succinctly explain what a TRO is, how they work, or why Mister Bisno got one. Suffice to say that whatever it is and however it was gotten, Miser Bisno now has until April 29 to make good on the loan and save his house. Theoretically that should provide plenty of time for a clever bizness man like Mister Bisno to beg, borrow or refinance what he needs to save his Bev Park behemoth.

My thank to "Your Mama" for this wonderful piece of information.

As for what is happening right now, concerning the 61.53 acre Ponte Vista at San Pedro site,

We sit.
We wait.
We Contemplate.

On other over-development news, Vista del Oro Neighbors Against Condos (VDSONAC) is taking their case to the Planning Commission on March 18, with support from Councilwoman Janice Hahn, to see that only single-family, detached houses are built on the three lots, currently zoned C1-1Xl, at the corner of 20Th Street and Walker Avenue.

Many residents of the area are seeking to have the zoning on the three lots rezoned as QC1-1XL, which places a restriction on the lots to having only residential dwelling built that conform to the majority of houses and homes in the area.

The majority of homes in the area are single-family, detached dwellings on lots not less than 5,000 square feet in size.

The idea of having condominium units or apartment units built on the three lots purchased last year by Mr. Mike Rosenthal, would not be conducive to the surrounding neighborhood, and may cause many new issues to concern the neighbors and the neighborhood.

I have posts on this particular issue at:

It may be time for us to snoop around a bit deeper and see what may be coming out of the Planning Department as far a what they believe Bob could be allowed to build at Ponte Vista.

Some folks, including me, thought that some information would be coming out in mid-February. It is now mid-March, and the only thing we can enjoy is the fact that as the months go by, any approvals for any construction at Ponte Vista get delayed.

If may help Bob in delaying the project until residential prices begin to rise again, but that also gives folks looking for less priced housing, in this market, to find better deals, if they can qualify.

It also give some of us "Ranting Elitists" more time to work on other issues in OUR community.

So for this week at least, thanks goes to the good folks at the Planning Department for taking more time to deal with the issues.

But a little hint now and then, wouldn't hurt.

With my luck, the Planning Department will release its information between April 4 and about April 12, when Terri won't allow me near a computer.

I'll leave it up to others to reveal the juicy news, if it happens then. Hope you're still reading Banditos Yanquis.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Controversial Developer Robert Bisno Brings His Grease-a-Palm Politics to Santa Ana

Here is an article that appeared in the OC Weekly and it has information on Bob's Baldwin Park weapon of mass development and his Santa Ana, City Place over development.

Controversial Developer Robert Bisno Brings His Grease-a-Palm Politics to Santa Ana
Thursday, March 6, 2008 - 3:01 pm

Bisno As UsualControversial developer brings his grease-a-palm politics to Santa Ana
It takes quite the developer to provoke a march on City Hall, but that's exactly what happened last month in Baldwin Park. On a crisp Saturday morning, about a dozen activists fanned across the downtown of this working-class, largely Latino city in the San Gabriel Valley. They visited businesses and talked to pedestrians, warning everyone who'd listen about Los Angeles businessman Robert Bisno, who's trying to convince city officials and residents—through breakfasts and campaign donations—to help him redevelop approximately 125 acres of Baldwin Park through eminent domain.

Those Baldwin Park residents have the same message for Santa Ana residents: Beware of Bisno.

The self-proclaimed "Downtown Orange County" faces its own development controversies, as lofts, condo towers and offices sprout across the city and planners seek to launch an ambitious redevelopment project in Santa Ana's core later this year. Far from those battles stands City Place, a nearly completed Bisno project across the street from Santa Ana MainPlace Mall that includes live/work lofts and chain businesses such as Pinkberry and Corner Bakery. If Bisno has his way, construction of a 27-story residential tower next to City Place will begin at the end of 2008.

The proposed City Place Sky Lofts hasn't even reached the city's Planning Commission for discussion, but Bisno already notched a Santa Ana victory this year. On Feb. 5, Santa Ana voters passed Measure D, an initiative that sought to extend term limits for the city's council members from two four-year terms to three. Supporters (among them mayor Miguel Pulido and council member Sal Tinajero) pitched the measure to Santa Ana voters via robo-calls, mailers and ballot statements as seeking to keep away "developers" and "special interests" from the city's political process.

Measure D's largest single backer? Bisno, to the tune of $40,000.

Tossing around money to politicians is old sport for Bisno, whose website boasts he "specializes in entitling and developing locations where others either will not or cannot." Last year alone, according to public records, Bisno Development LLC paid lobbyists $270,000 to butter up Los Angeles council members about projects in San Pedro and Sherman Oaks; one of those lobbyists is former Los Angeles council member Rudy Svorinich, who represented the San Pedro area earlier this decade. Bisno also donated heavily to last year's Baldwin Park City Council race, giving $5,000 to current council member Robert Pacheco and forming Friends of Baldwin Park, a PAC launched to print negative mailers about anti-Bisno candidates.

In Dallas, Bisno convinced that city council in 2006 to give him a $15 million subsidy to turn a historic building into apartments. "I don't believe the project can go forward without the subsidy," Bisno told the Dallas Morning News at the time. And in 2003, Bisno and his business partners donated $10,000 to Fresno-area George Radanovich's congressional campaign after he allowed Bisno to testify before the Subcommittee on National Parks (which Radanovich then chaired). Bisno's business before the committee? He wanted them to change the nomination process for listing a building in the National Register of Historic Places—after tenants of a Venice apartment complex Bisno owned attempted such a move so he couldn't tear it down.

Bisno has yet to stir as much controversy in Santa Ana, but only because he keeps a lower profile. Nevertheless, he has a friend in City Councilwoman Claudia Alvarez. She was the main beneficiary of Measure D, since Alvarez was the only current council member who would have been termed out under Santa Ana's old rules. In addition to his Measure D contributions, Bisno, his employees and their spouses donated nearly $83,000 to Alvarez's unsuccessful 2006 California Assembly race in the form of individual contributions and donations to PACs that published pro-Alvarez campaign material. And two years before that, Bisno and pals donated almost $28,000 to another failed Alvarez-for-Assembly campaign. (Alvarez didn't respond to an interview request by press time.)

The timing of the earlier donations stopped Alvarez in 2005 from voting on Bisno's City Place development (see "A Questionable Transaction," Jan. 20, 2005), but Santa Ana activists fear Bisno will use his Measure D support to press for city favors—like approval of the City Place Sky Lofts. "One has to wonder what Bisno is getting in return for his generous donations to Santa Ana City Council candidates and to the recent Measure D campaign," says Art Pedroza, a longtime Santa Ana politico who runs the popular Orange Juice! blog and was involved in the No on Measure D campaign.

Bisno did not return phone and e-mail requests for an interview for this story.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Finally, the Masses are Roused by Rampant Development

Here is a column by Steve Lopez, that appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Finally, the masses are roused by rampant development
March 2, 2008

Roy P. Disney, who has lived all his 50 years in Toluca Lake, didn't mince words about what he believes will be the fate of thousands of poor souls living in the southeast San Fernando Valley.

"Our neighborhood will be obliterated," he said as we pulled into the Holiday Inn parking lot in North Hollywood, where a crowd was gathering to speak up against several proposed mega-developments in Universal City and the area just to the north.

Disney, a private investor and a great-nephew of Walt Disney, tossed another dagger as he parked his car."Developers' money," he declared with an icy glare, "is like heroin to politicians.

"When we walked into the hall, a greeter asked Disney, who was wearing a suit and tie, if he was a developer.

"No, I'm not," Disney answered glibly. "Why, because I'm dressed so well?

"In the rear of the room, developers had set up models of their projects, which include residential units, offices and retail. In all, seven developments are planned for a four-mile stretch on or near Lankershim Boulevard. Everything is still subject to review by local officials, but if approved as is, it adds up to 5,500 new homes, millions of square feet of commerce and tens of thousands of parking spaces.

To Disney, it sounds like a disaster in an area that's already a traffic mess.

I reminded him that California is expected to grow by 6 million people over the next 20 years, and they've got to live somewhere.

Of course they do, Disney said, insisting he's not against development. What annoys him, he said, is the historic lack of planning vision and the absence of a coherent transportation plan in Los Angeles.

He is not alone. In the latest sign that Angelenos have had it with traffic and the leadership vacuum, several hundred people turned out at the meeting. And most of them seemed to believe that their city officials are on course to alter the very look and feel of Los Angeles, that they've all bought into the idea of more density and taller buildings, even if nearby residential neighborhoods are transformed for the worse.

As Roy Disney asked:

"Who voted for this?

"The restless crowd at Thursday night's meeting was rallied by the neighborhood councils of Greater Toluca, Greater Valley Glen, Valley Village, Studio City and North Hollywood, and some of them couldn't resist sharing their thoughts on a large blank notepad that asked a simple question:"What Is Your Vision?"

Gary Mogil of Studio City grabbed a Sharpie and gave it a workout."We don't need any 37-story buildings to block our sun and views," he wrote. "If you want this, move to New York.

"Karen Beatton, also of Studio City, was next to grab a pen."Keep the personality of our neighborhood," she wrote. "Do not overflow our streets, parking lots, lines in stores. We're already gridlocked."

When the panel discussion began, Terry Davis of the Toluca Lake Neighborhood Assn. noted the absence at the meeting of anyone representing developers for two of the largest projects in the Universal City area.

I think I heard some hissing, and there should have been boos for the L.A. city Planning Department as well. Top officials invited by Davis blew off the meeting.

Two developers who did show, Allen Freeman of JSM Cos. and Cliff Goldstein of J.H. Snyder, looked a bit like captured soldiers brought before an inquisition. Each took pains to emphasize how thrilled they've been to work with the community in designing mutually beneficial projects.

"We believe our community needs new housing, and we believe the best place to put it is near transit," Freeman said.

Few could argue with the concept, and I certainly don't. Some of these projects offer elements of exactly what's desperately needed in Los Angeles: jobs, homes, shopping and entertainment in walkable proximity, and built along major transit lines.

But this was a sophisticated audience, and people were quick to note that even "transit-oriented" development was certain to increase traffic. Why else would more than 30,000 parking spaces be built into the seven projects, and why aren't local officials demanding that developers do more to alleviate traffic?

Revved-up residents peppered developers -- and, later, public officials -- with questions about variances and "entitlements" that might be granted, allowing builders to exceed limits on height, square footage, etc.

"What is the cumulative effect on traffic?" demanded Diann Corral, who pointedly reminded developer Freeman that he has proposed three 27-story buildings and several other smaller buildings in one corner of North Hollywood.

"This is, in my opinion, 10 times what's allowed there," said Lisa Sarkin.When MTA official Alexander Kalamaros described the agency as "master developer" of one of the projects, Deuk Perrin said maybe the MTA should just stick to transit. Did the agency really need to be a party to over-developing the neighborhood, someone else asked.

"Well, I don't know what you mean by over-development," Kalamaros said.Howls and groans.

"That's cause for ridicule?" Kalamaros asked.

Maybe it is and maybe it isn't, but members of the audience insisted it's ridiculous to consider a cluster of humongous developments when there's virtually no money available for more transit or to update the poorly designed 134-101 freeway interchange.

What that means, of course, is that you don't have to live in the Universal City area to have a stake in this. If the projects all go through, what's now merely a traffic headache will become a full-fledged migraine.

Late in the evening, L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge and county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky rode in on white horses and played the audience like pros, telling people just what they wanted to hear.

The projects are too big, and with scant public money for transit and road improvements, they said. Developers are going to have to scale back on size.

Yaroslavsky accused City Hall of rolling over for developers, something he himself was often accused of in the days of mega-development on the Westside.

"Do you trust them?" I asked Roy Disney as he leaned against a wall near the back of the room, taking it all in.Yes, he said. But not entirely.

It was all very refreshing, if you ask me.

For far too long, the masses napped while Los Angeles was plundered. They're awake now, grouchy and suspicious, and ready for a

Saturday, March 08, 2008

A Great New Blog is Born

Since the demise of new posts on Life on the edge and More San Pedro, a new blog has been born this morning to include items that won't be available because of the two loses in OUR community. is the place to visit, bookmark, and enjoy.

It is another good source for news, information, and opinion, and best of all, it isn't one of my blogs!

So please visit the new blog and please continue to visit this blog for news and views concerning Bob's weapon of mass development named Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Odds and Ends 55

I just couldn't help but include this photo of something Bob should not build at Ponte Vista, but he may be forced to live in, if his personal house was actually lost in a foreclosure sale scheduled for last Friday. At least this particular development looks to have a little green house on the right side of the photo and plenty of decking for the residents, too.

We sit, we wait, and yesterday, we shopped. Ah yes Marshall's. It is going to take a couple of weeks before Western Avenue is found to have a new routine of drivers who will add to the traffic by visiting Marshall's from more southern portions of San Pedro. It should all come down to a new way of getting through more traffic.

The new routine should stay intact unless another sink hole opens up. The new routine will also last until the traffic signals at many of the intersections in San Pedro, along Western Avenue are synchronized.

Of course, one of the signalized intersections that is NOT on the list for synchronization is Western Avenue At Caddington.

Also, the next signalized intersection north of Caddington, is also not on the list. Western Avenue at Toscanini falls completely within the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and that make the two intersections subject to Caltrans synchronization, whenever that will happen.

There's still time to get your guesses together as to what the Planning Department will come out with as their thoughts on what could and should be built at Ponte Vista.

Perhaps someone will hit the nail squarely on the head and will be right on the number and types of units the Planning Department will suggest in their specific plan.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Community, It's After 8. Do You Know Where Your Marshall's Is?

Well, I took a walk this morning, loaded up with all the medications I've been prescribed and wanted to see all the hoopla surrounding the opening of the new Marshall's on the upper tier of The Terraces.

The first photo was taken at 7:20 AM and shows a small line outside the store, waiting for it to open at the scheduled time of 8:00 AM.

On the right side of the photo and above the left side of the white car is Terri, who drove because she had an appointment early in the morning.

The next photo shows the ribbon cutting ceremony that occured at 7:45 AM. I think the gentleman cutting the ribbon was the first in line and he got the honor.

Incidently, none of the members of the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council appeared for the Grand Opening, so shame on them! This new store is about the only department store in the City of Rancho Palos Verdes and will probably account for more sales tax revenue generation that the two, yes, two large grocery stores in Rancho Palos Verdes.

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, the store actually started letting customers shop at 7:50 AM and we were all treated to a cloth shopping bag with the Marshall's name. The store's managers were tauting "go green".

The photo below was taken at 8:21 AM. I was standing at the end of an alley that is behind houses on Highmore.

Just look at the upper tier of the parking lot! This shot was taken only 31 minutes after the store actually opened.

To be fair, many drivers didn't bother to notice that the middle tier of parking spaces were almost completely empty of vehicles. Trader Joe's hadn't opened when I took this shot.

The combination of Marshall's, Bally's and Trader Joe's as the three largest sites in the shopping center, will probably completely fill all of the parking lots, during the afternoon and early evening.

Now here is a good little hint; Whether you enter the shopping center from the north end (Caddington) or the south end, you may want to head straight to the back area of the upper tier where you may find parking spots.

While I was viewing the parking, the side lot, just off of Caddington, was not totally filled, even at 8:10 AM. The front parking area viewed in the photo actually filled up by 8:11, according to my watch.

Yes, Terri and I did find a few items to purchase and we contributed to the revenue generated to our City to the tune of approximately 81 cents.

Please shop at Marshall's. Please spend lots of money. They have Izod polo shirts for less than $14.00 and other items with savings, too.

Just please shop when you feel you won't get too frustrated with the added traffic on Western and the lousyand the too short, turning pockets.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Will Janice Hahn Save Us from Forces of Greed?

This is an article I found in CityWatch, a site that informs all of us about the goings on in the City of the Angels and in particular, information that is usefull to Neighborhood Councils.

Repealing Density Bonus Bill
By Brady Westwater

Right now – while your children lie asleep in their beds – you may get a phone call at 3 AM when a neighbor finds on his computer a notice about a massive apartment building being built next door with far too few parking spaces, zero open space, vastly more units and considerably more height that the property is legally zoned for.

And in exchange for your neighborhood's permanent loss of parking, mature trees, green spaces for children to play in, light and air - and in exchange for all the increasing gridlock and congestion – this neighborhood-destroying new development will include a handful of affordable units that will invariably be far fewer in number than the ones in the usually rent controlled apartment building being torn down for the new building. And there will not be a thing you or any of us will be able to do to stop this.

Nor will all of us combined be able to stop even one of the tens of thousands of other developments of this type throughout our city that have just been 'legalized' – even though every single one of them will violate our neighborhood approved specific and community plans.

So we will have all to suffer the negative effects of inappropriate development – and far fewer affordable rent-controlled housing units throughout our city - thanks to the city council's recent approval of the biggest payoff developers have ever received in this city.

In fact, right now – throughout our city - sleeper cells of developers and architects are designing massive, neighborhood busting complexes of the type you and your neighborhood council – mistakenly – thought your community plan protected you against.

Now you may ask – how can this be happening?

And why now?

SB-1818 … popularly called the Density Bonus bill … in all its various forms, has been around for many of years. It is one of two types of laws passed in Sacramento that infringe upon our rights to plan our own future.

The first type mandates a certain amount of affordable housing in each city and mandates that city's will provide adequate housing for all of its citizens. This type of legislation ensures that each city provides its fair share of low income housing – and most people support this type of a general mandate.

Then there is the second type of law that strips cities of the right to protect single family and lower density neighborhoods and make it illegal for cities to fully consider congestion, public safety, traffic and the historic character of neighborhoods when permitting new housing. All too often this law type is lobbyist driven and disproportionately rewards developers for including even a tiny amount of low income housing in their projects.

And Los Angeles had no choice but to approve a law of this type … SB1818 … because it is a state law that legally requires the city to do so.

So what can we do about this? What can we do to stop the bulldozing of the historic and low density neighborhoods of our city?

Well, the answer was proposed at last Saturday's LA NC Congress meeting when Janice Hahn described her fight against the Los Angeles version of SB1818 that the city council just passed. Her audience had a suggestion for her. Some of us proposed she introduce a bill demanding that the state legislature repeal this now infamous SB1818 – and every other law that steals from the citizens of this state the right to protect our existing neighborhoods.

And it's important to remember that repealing these bills does not in any way repeal the legal requirement for California cities to build their fair share of affordable housing. All this will do is to allow each city to develop its own plan to meet these still state-mandated goals.

SB1818's repeal also does not keep the city of Los Angeles from passing each of the rules the City Council just passed should the city feel these are the rules we should be following.

Its repeal would allow us to achieve the same goals and to do so after we have created our own guidelines that respect our community plans. And our laws can also be rewritten so that there is a correlation between increased density and a real world increase in affordable housing units.

So this bill's repeal will protect our neighborhoods, slow the destruction of existing affordable housing units – and allow construction that creates a net increased in affordable housing units.

So why would any member of the LA City Council not support this? There is one reason- and only one reason only.

Right now, because a local version of SB1818 is mandatory, members of the city council can vote for developer-enriching, affordable-housing bulldozing, neighborhood- destroying laws by claiming they are being forced to do so by a state law.

But if that law goes away – then they can no longer use that excuse. Of course, we all know that no single member of our city council would ever stoop to doing that. So there should be no problem getting a 15–0 vote on this and have it ready for the Mayor to sign within say… thirty days?

So Janice – are you ready to introduce that bill?And NCs' – are we ready to support her?

If so, look for an example of a resolution your neighborhood councils might want to consider passing in the next issue of CITYWATCH. It’s time to get past the talk stage and start walkin’ the walk.

And also look for an announcement soon from the LANCC Economic Development Committee on its upcoming forum on 'How to Build Financially Sustainable – And Neighborhood Friendly – Affordable Housing.’

(Brady Westwater is a writer, a long-time downtown and neighborhood council activist and Chair of the LA NC Congress Economic Development Committee. Westwater is a regular contributor to CityWatch. He can be reached at:

Bob Bisno still has the right to apply for a density bonus on even his massive 1,950-unit project and that would add more units, if approved, than just the 1,950 units he is currently looking to build.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A Sad Closing and a Big Opening

In The Daily Breeze today, there appeared and article on the closing of Ramona's Bakery.

For generation after generation, San Pedrans looked to that wonderful bakery to supply their party occasions, their holiday bakery needs, and for some, their daily baked goods needs.

It is so sad to see this landmark in OUR community now closed.

Let us hope that Polly Ann's bakery allows everyone the chance to continue having a great local bakery, with so much good baked items, to enjoy, for years and years to come.

Thursday March 6, 2008 at 8:00 AM is the Grand Opening time for Marshall's on the upper level of The Terraces.

I have tried to warn everyone about the traffic that will come from this store's opening. I won't bother to warn you further. If you haven't gotten it by now, then there is no hope.

On Thursday, I'll be out there with my camera at various times during the day to take shots of the parking lot and Western Avenue.

With the early opening time, I bet lots of parents will drop their kids off at school and then head for The Hill and take a gander at what is inside the store.

A sign on the front of the new store states that Marshall's will have a "shoe megastore" inside it.
Terri has already quizzed me whether I want another pair of shoes. I continue to suggest that we both walk or hobble to the site, but I still can't say for sure that Terri won't help to clog up traffic with one more car.

I feel more sad about Ramona's closing than happy Marshall's is opening.

Still no official word yet on what the Planning Department is going to tell Bob what they feel he could build at Ponte Vista.

Also, I am still working on finding confirmation as to whether Bob's house in Beverly Park North was sold at the foreclosure sale, scheduled for last Friday, February 29, 2008.