In Cities Report: California propositions, a new area code and updates on the Gold Line.
The California Secretary of State has assigned numbers for the propositions to appear on the November 2020 ballot. I have highlighted those propositions in which CAR will play a role. Please note that Proposition 19 is the CAR-sponsored Property Tax Portability initiative. CAR send out information on all three propositions to CAR members. Please look for this information in your email in-box.
As always, feel free to call me with any questions you may have.
—Bill Ruh, CVAR Director of Government Affairs
• Proposition 14: Authorizes stem cell bonds • Proposition 15: “Split roll” change to lift commercial property tax • Proposition 16: Constitutional amendment to remove voter-passed prohibition on affirmative action in university admissions, public hiring and contracting. • Proposition 17: Constitutional amendment allowing felony parolees to vote. • Proposition 18: Constitutional amendment allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primaries and special elections if they will be 18 for the general election. • Proposition 19: Constitutional amendment allowing elderly and disabled Californians, and wildfire victims, to retain lower property tax rates when they change properties. • Proposition 20: Rolls back sentencing and parole reforms enacted via Propositions 47 and 57. • Proposition 21: Removes statewide constraint on local governments enacting rent control. • Proposition 22: Allows gig tech companies like Uber and DoorDash to continue classifying their drivers/delivery people as independent contractors. • Proposition 23: Authorizes new regulation of kidney dialysis clinics. • Proposition 24: Expands California’s online consumer privacy law. • Proposition 25: Referendum to overturn California’s prohibition on cash bail.
New area code on the way!
NEW AREA CODE
California Public Utilities Commission will begin educating businesses and residents in late July on the new “840” area code that will be added to the geographic region served by the 909 area code.
The overlay will allow existing 909 area code customers to keep their telephone numbers and area code. Customers will be required to dial 1 and the area code for all calls to and from telephone numbers with the 909 and 840 area codes when the overlay is effective.
The agency expects the 840 area code to become effective in early 2021.
Prices of calls will not change and dialing “1” does not make the call a toll or long-distance call. Calls to 911, 211, 311, 411, 511, 611, 711 and 811 will not change, the agency said.
Cities currently in the 909 area code are Chino, Chino Hills, Big Bear Lake, Colton, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Highland, Loma Linda, Montclair, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Yucaipa, Claremont, Diamond Bar, City of Industry, La Verne, Pomona, San Dimas, Walnut, Calimesa, Eastvale and a small area of Yorba Linda.
The agency held public meetings in Pomona, San Bernardino and Redlands in April 2017 to discuss overlay and split options to add an area code to the 909 area. Approval took place on June 13, 2019.
The 909 area code was created in November 1992 from the split of the 714 area code. In 2004, the 909 area code was split to form the 951 area code.
Residents or business owners with questions about the 909-840 area code overlay can email the Public Advisor’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter to the CPUC Public Advisor’s Office, 320 W. 4th St., Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA, 90013.
The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority began major construction on the 9.1-mile, four-station Foothill Gold Line light rail project from Glendora to Pomona on July 9. The project is anticipated to be completed in 2025 and will add new stations to the Metro Gold Line system (currently known as the L Line) in the cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne and Pomona. If additional funding is secured by October 2021, the entire 12.3-mile project from Glendora to Montclair will be completed altogether by 2028, adding additional stations in Claremont and Montclair.
The major construction work is being carried out by the Joint Venture team of Kiewit-Parsons (KPJV), who was awarded the design-build contract in August 2019. They are the same team that successfully built the first two segments of the Foothill Gold Line from Los Angeles to Pasadena and Pasadena to Azusa – both completed on time and under budget (in 2003 and 2015 respectively).
The Foothill Gold Line from Glendora to Pomona is being built within an existing rail corridor that is shared with BNSF freight service. Over the next five years, KPJV crews will relocate within the shared rail corridor more than nine miles of freight track; install two sets of light rail tracks; build four new light rail stations with unique artwork created by city-selected station artists; rebuild 21 at-grade street crossings where trains will cross at street level; build or renovate 19 bridge structures; relocate underground utilities; install new communications systems; and install nine traction power supply substations, along with an overhead catenary system, to power the electric light rail trains.
The first major construction activity began on July 9 with the rebuilding of the at-grade street crossing on Gladstone Street in the city of San Dimas and will require a three-month full closure of the street at the railroad crossing to vehicles and pedestrians. Residents and businesses can sign up to receive construction alerts ahead of future closures and impacts by going to www.foothillgoldline.org
The Foothill Extension will continue the Metro Gold Line light-rail from East Pasadena to Montclair. The extension will provide a direct link between the Metro and Metrolink systems, allowing riders from each system to transfer.
The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority completed the first segment from Union Station to Pasadena in 2003 and the Pasadena to Azusa segment in 2015. The Los Angeles County portion will be funded mostly by Measure M, with residual funds from Measure R not used to complete the Pasadena to Azusa segment. San Bernardino County is responsible to fund their portion of the project to Montclair (in San Bernardino County). The State of California is also providing $300 million in funding through a TIRCP grant awarded in 2018.
Azusa Pacific University has sold University Promenade, a 74,800-square-foot retail property in Azusa. Gerrity Group acquired the asset for $18.6 million. Cushman & Wakefield represented the seller. The asset last traded in 2006 when the university acquired it from a private investor for $18.3 million.
At the time of sale, the asset was 86 percent leased, according to Managing Director Dixie Walker. The tenant roster includes Chick-fil-A, Five Guys and the university, which will continue to occupy a section of the property.
The complex, located on 6 acres at 900-962 E. Alosta Ave., opened its doors in the mid-1980s. It’s situated at the intersection of Alosta and Citrus avenues, across the street from Azusa Pacific University and less than a mile from Citrus College. Additionally, nine residential communities totaling more than 800 units are located within a 1-mile radius of the property.
On June 16, the Chino City Council held a public hearing on a $4.32 million cost savings on its share of the 60 Freeway Central Avenue Bridge improvement project. The purpose of the meeting was to memorialize the approval of a new freeway agreement and a new freeway maintenance agreement with the state of California, acting through the Department of Transportation. Upon allocation of funds, bids will be advertised and construction award will begin in September.
The project will cost $33,649,197. The share from the City of Chino, City of Montclair and San Bernardino County is $20,053,528. Chino will be responsible for $14,974,384 of the cost. The city is responsible for 91.8 percent, the county’s share is 7.6 percent and Montclair’s share is .6 percent.
The Trade Corridors Improvement Fund (TCIF) targeted $1.2 billion for the Los Angeles/Inland Empire Corridor, of which San Bernardino County received a total of $121 million.
The TCIF program is more than 10 years old and most projects are completed or finishing construction. The State Route 60 Central Avenue Interchange Improvement project is the only project that is eligible for the funding and able to meet the allocation deadline of June 2020.
A total of $8.6 million is available for local use. The project was initially approved in 2014.
The city of Montclair and the unincorporated county of San Bernardino will pay a portion of the cost. The Chino city council on June 5 approved an agreement with the California Transportation Commission, the California Department of Transportation, and the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority.
El Monte’s city staff and city manager will take a 10% pay cut as the coronavirus pandemic continues to strangle the city’s budget. City Manager Alma Martinez’ pay will be cut by $24,000, City Council members decided at a June 15 meeting.
The pay cuts come as city staff members begin to plan out the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which looks tight because of declines in revenues. The budget has not yet been presented to the City Council. Last year, the El Monte City Council passed a tightly balanced budget at the last minute by negotiating contracts and relying on anticipated revenue sources like bonds and development fees.
At a May 5 City Council meeting, council members moved to suspend a $20,000 pay raise for Martinez that would increase her salary from $220,000 to $240,000.
On June 15, council members voted to lift that suspension and move forward with this pay cut. According to the city’s staff report, she will make $216,000 until July 1, 2021, where her regular salary will be restored.
The long-awaited Glendora Public Market is ready to open its doors. Located at Arrow Highway and Sunflower, the 19,000-square-foot former Wonder Bread bakery has been turned over by developer Shaw Investments and will now include nearly a dozen standalone vendors as well as an open courtyard and 20-foot ceilings. The proposed vendors include anchor tenant Smog City Brewing as well as Jinya Ramen Bar, the Taco Man, Portside Fish Co., Belly Bombz, Steelhead Coffee, Bolo, plus a boba shop, ice cream spot, bagel place, and a rotating 530-square-foot stand for temporary pop-up vendors. The plan is to open early next month, with a variety of coronavirus-related precautions in place.
Rose Community Capital, the lending arm of Jonathan Rose Companies focused on the origination, underwriting and placement of FHA insured multifamily mortgages, arranged bridge acquisition financing for Sunny Garden Apartments in La Puente. The financing is through its new Rose Community Capital bridge loan program. The $15-million short-term loan represents the first to close under the new program, aimed specifically at preserving existing affordable housing.
Sunny Garden Apartments, a JV of developer Alliance Property Group Inc. and Community Revitalization & Development Corporation, purchased the 13-story, 96-unit affordable and senior multifamily property from La Puente Gardens. Marcus & Millichap’s Joshua Ross and Eli Appel represented the buyer and seller.
The city of La Verne will no longer use its own ambulances. The decision was made by interim fire Chief Devon Leonard and the La Verne Firefighters’ Association, Local 3624, after recent losses of department personnel, retention issues and the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Moving forward, the department will contract with Care Ambulance Service, which the city has been using in some areas for several months, for transportation services. All firefighters in the city are trained paramedics so those on fire engines will also be able to help with medical aid.
Times have been tough at the department after two firefighters were exposed to the coronavirus in March and multiple firefighters left for other agencies. La Verne fire currently employs 22 personnel.
Hanley Investment Group has completed a $4 million, all-cash sale of a two-tenant retail pad property in Ontario. The asset traded at a 5.4 percent cap rate, the lowest multi-tenant acquisition yield in the Inland Empire region for a second-generation building in the past year.
Built in 2002, the 6,300-square-foot building is located on a 1-acre parcel at 961 N. Milliken Ave. The property’s long-term tenants, Assure Dental and Verizon Wireless, occupy a respective 3,500 and 2,800 square feet under net leases.
The property is shadow-anchored by a Sam’s Club and is within 35 miles of downtown Los Angeles. The building is at a signalized entrance to the nearby Marketplace at Ontario Center and across from Simon’s 1.5 million-square-foot Ontario Mills Mall.
Construction on the Gold Line extension project began the week of July 6 in San Dimas, leading to road closures that are expected to last for three months.
Kiewit-Parsons, the firm building the project, will have crews on Gladstone Street, requiring it to be shut down at the railroad crossing starting Friday, now through Sept. 30, according to the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority.
The work at this segment includes the relocation of underground utilities and freight tracks and the installation of new light rail tracks. New safety equipment will also be installed.
This section of the project was originally scheduled to start in early August but was moved up at the request of San Dimas city officials. There were concerns about an elementary school near the train tracks and the traffic construction would cause, according to Lisa Levy Buch, chief communications officer for the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority.
During construction, local access to homes, businesses, schools and medical facilities on Gladstone Street, east and west of the closure, will be maintained at all times. Construction will take place between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, according to the agency.
An alternate route will be in place to alert the public of the temporary changes. Signs will be posted for the detour, officials said.
Lone Hill Avenue, north and southbound, will remain open to traffic and will serve as the main detour route. Allen Avenue and Auto Centre Drive will remain open, along with San Dimas Avenue.
SOUTH EL MONTE
South El Monte became the first city to host an e-bike share fleet in what will be a regional system stationed in half of San Gabriel Valley’s 31 cities and unincorporated communities. Starting with an initial set of 35 bikes in South El Monte, GoSGV will expand over the next year to 840 bikes in Baldwin Park — which is the next city expected to receive bikes in the next couple months — El Monte, Covina, Claremont, Monterey Park, unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and Cal Poly Pomona.
GoSGV was made possible by a $4.554 million Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Grant awarded in 2017 by the California Transportation Commission to the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments. The SGVCOG contracted Gotcha, a national private shared-mobility firm, last year to operate the system.
Users can unlock bikes using the Gotcha app and will be charged $2 to unlock and 10 cents per minute to ride. Subscriptions of $79.99 annually or $9.99 monthly give 20 minutes of free ride time per unlock and 10 cents per minute after; a student and military discount would cost either $59.99 annually or $6.99 monthly.
A qualified low-income subscription is also being offered to riders. This subscription offers all the benefits of a regular annual plan, except the charge after the free 20-minute ride would cost 5 cents. The pay-as-you-go option would cost $1 to unlock and 5 cents per minute to ride.
The criteria to determine who qualifies for the low-income program is still being determined, said Benson Lam, Gotcha’s operations manager for the SGV. People who qualify for social safety net programs like CalFresh, WIC, Southern California Edison CARE and Southern California Gas CARE may qualify for the low-income program, Lam said, but ultimately it’s up to each GoSGV city to define that criteria.
A cashless option is currently being tested, but no definitive date is known on when that will be rolled out, Lam said.
Anyone using the system for the first time can use the promotion code SEM20 in the Gotcha app to waive the unlock fee.
Gotcha is responsible for ensuring that e-bikes are maintained at stations and are taking steps to maintain their cleanliness in response to COVID-19. All bikes will be wiped down daily and handle tassels will be placed on the bikes reminding people to practice safe hygiene and to wash their hands after a ride, Lam said.
The system was initially expected to be rolled out last summer with a fleet of more than 1000 bikes. But a mixture of caution from participating cities about the program and supply impacts due to trade disputes between the U.S. and China caused the delay, said Caitlin Sims, principal management analyst at SGVCOG.
Gotcha has neared its fleet number goal with 600 e-bikes purchased, in storage and ready to be deployed in the SGV. The remaining cost of the program is covered by the bike rental fee, which pays for operating the system, Sims said.
SGVCOG staff is also working to bring the GoSGV to Duarte, La Verne, San Dimas, South Pasadena, and Pasadena, which previously had a bike share system through Metro that later was pulled from the city. But the conversations with those cities are at a much earlier phase, Sims said. While some of the cities have been slower in their response to GoSGV because they want to see how the system rolls out first, she said that she’s encouraged that the regional scope of the program will help to assuage their doubts.
Lewis Land Developers, LLC, an affiliate of the Lewis Group of Companies, Southern California Division, has announced its acquisition of 15.69 acres of land located on Foothill Boulevard in the city of Upland. The property, which was sold by the Hafif family to Lewis for approximately $12,000,000 in cash, marks the developer’s latest addition to its diverse real estate portfolio and one of the first amid a nationwide industry slow-down.
With plans to develop the parcel into a gated neighborhood, the land is slated for approximately 250 homes within the planned community of The Enclave. Amenities will include a central recreation hub, open space and trails as well as convenient access to the 10 and 210 freeways, San Antonio Regional Hospital and the greater Inland Empire.
With a long-standing reputation as one of the nation’s leading real estate developers, Lewis continues to assert its financial strength and command in the industry, demonstrating its ability to buy and drive real estate forward in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The developer’s confidence serves as an investment in the continued growth of the community and greater San Bernardino County area as well as the future of the sector.
West Covina City Council members voted July 7 to take on $205 million in debt to pay for its employees’ retirements. The city has nearly $200 million in unfunded pension liabilities. The lease revenue bonds issued would cover that, according to Brian Whitworth, director of Hilltop Securities, the bond’s underwriter. They would also provide the city with $1 million in working capital that would be paid back in four years.
Whitworth assured council members there is no writing in the bond that would allow bondholders to take over the streets or turn them into toll roads.
The city’s revenue losses caused by the new coronavirus outbreak have been mentioned often at City Council meetings. Citing an economy strained by the pandemic, City Manager Dave Carmany announced a fiscal emergency in May.
When the city passed its budget in June, council members agreed to keep the budget fluid and tentative, saying the coronavirus has made their financial situation unpredictable. Council members voted 4-1, with Councilwoman Jessica Shewmaker voting against the lease revenue bonds. While she was the only council member opposed, all council members voiced some concern.
–Compiled by Bill Ruh, CVAR Director of Government Affairs