Legislative Breakfast with Assemblymember Chris Holden
–Bill Ruh, CVAR Director of Government Affairs
I joined CVAR members Linda Clinton, President Helen Moreno, Bruce Engles, and Kim and Kris Darney at the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership Breakfast with Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) last week. Partnership Board Member the University of La Verne hosted the event at their Abraham Campus Center.
Assemblymember Holden discussed several key issues facing the state, especially concerns over energy reliability and wildfire dangers. He also mentioned his bill AB 2011, which creates a new agency to extend the Foothill Gold Line to Ontario International Airport. Partnership members asked a number of questions and expressed concerns over the implementation of the sweeping new state law AB 5, which reclassifies independent contractors as employees, causing widespread disruption in the economy.
The Chino City Council approved plans and specifications for construction of traffic signal modifications for three intersections near four shopping centers. To be modified with upgraded traffic signal equipment, traffic signal rewiring, installation of new conduit and accessible pedestrian facilities are traffic signals at these intersections:
Philadelphia Street at Town Square, located near the Chino Town Square shopping center (includes Target, Burlington and Ross Dress for Less stores), and Chino Promenade (Cinemark Movies 8 and the Automobile Club of Southern California).
Grand Avenue at Spectrum East and Grand Avenue at Spectrum West, located near the Spectrum Marketplace (includes Target, TJ Maxx and Michael’s), and Spectrum Towne Center (includes Walmart, Sam’s Club and In-N-Out Burger).
The cost of the Philadelphia and Town Square intersection traffic signal modifications is expected to be $338,600, and $566,600 for the Grand Avenue projects. The council also authorized to advertise for a contractor for the projects.
A grocery store known as Grocery Outlet Bargain Market will take over the Big Lots store in the Chino Hills Shopping Center, on the northwest corner of Chino Hills Parkway and Pipeline Avenue. The announcement was made by representatives of the city’s commercial broker, Jones Lang LaSalle Brokerage (JLL), who provided a retail update. Fitness 19 will locate in the space occupied by Line Drive and the former Shamrocks in the same center.
The city council is considering the possibility of contracting to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). City Clerk Shelley Desautels noted that it was not about considering an approval of a contract with LASD but to inquire and compare costs. City staff will present a report to the city council on the process of requesting a LASD feasibility study.
The city would need to formally request and pay for a feasibility study from LASD before LASD will give the city an estimated contract cost. The LASD feasibility study consists of two phases conducted over six to nine months with an estimated cost starting at $125,000 to $150,000.
Contracting with the sheriff’s department has been a fairly consistent issue that was amplified during the Measure CR election. Supporters of contracting with the sheriff have said it would save millions for the city, which is in the midst of a continuing budget crisis and is projecting a $2.8 million deficit in 2023.
Supporters of the Claremont Police Department have contended that keeping a local, community-based police department, where many of the officers are Claremont residents or natives, is vital.
City staff says the council will consider all written and public comment on the item, noting that posting on social media is not considered official public comment. To send a written comment, email email@example.com
Glendora City Council voted to limit how long members of the public can speak at council meetings. The council decided to rearrange the agenda, moving some items under the public hearing portion of the agenda to the public comment portion, under which residents have only one 3-minute opportunity to speak.
Previously, the consent calendar and unfinished/new business portions of the meeting fell under public hearings, and residents could speak to each individual item as they came up. Now, items under the consent calendar and unfinished/new business will be held under public comment and members of the public can only speak on those items during their allotted 3 minutes.
Members of the public still will be able to discuss individually the items that remain under the public hearings portion of the agenda.
This ruling is not new, according to a staff report. The City Council moved to adopt this resolution in 2007, but council members have not followed it. Instead, they allowed members of the public to speak for 3 minutes at the beginning of each meeting and for 3 minutes on each individual agenda item.
When the issue of restricting public comments was raised in 2019, the council voted against it so members wouldn’t forget what residents said between public comment and corresponding agenda items.
However, the “tone and tenor” of City Council meetings has deteriorated since that last meeting, City Attorney William Wynder said. Council members and staff aren’t the only ones bristling at the lack of decorum. The staff report indicates members of the public also have complained about the negative comments made during City Council meetings.
The resolution comes with a caveat. The council will give the new agenda format a trial run until May to see how well it works. The proposed resolution also came with a curfew, which requires meetings adjourn at 10:30 p.m. even if there more items on the agenda to discuss. The council, however, voted to eliminate the curfew.
Councilwoman Karen Davis was the only one who voted against the resolution because she believes it’s important to hear from the public on every issue. Mayor Judy Nelson agreed with that sentiment during the 2019 discussion, but she now believes it’s important to limit public comments because they set a negative tone, and they can extend council meetings by hours.
City of Hope, the world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases, has leased an additional 152,627 square feet at The Campus at SGV, a three-building campus in Irwindale. Following the transaction, which involved an expansion and the extension of existing leases, City of Hope will occupy space in all of the property’s three buildings, totaling more than 450,000 square feet.
CBRE’s Kevin Duffy, Natalie Bazarevitsch and Damon Feldmeth represented ownership in the transaction.
City of Hope will occupy approximately 67% of the Irwindale campus.
The Campus at SGV, located at 4900, 4910 & 4920 Rivergrade Road, is a 693,164-square-foot property featuring an arcade, on-site cafeteria, fitness center, putting green and multiple interior and exterior collaborative areas.
Keeping children off the streets is key to reducing violence in La Puente, according to interviews with residents and youth experts. That’s because much of the violence in town stems from Puente 13, a street gang in the area, according to residents.
Residents report still feeling shaken by recent shootings. There were five shootings in four days in La Puente over the summer, followed by a fatal shooting in November and a double shooting in December.
City officials had said they’re working on obtaining more funding and working with programs such as the business and neighborhood watch programs to decrease crime. Officials cited that La Puente is a desirable place live due to its proximity to Los Angeles and its central location in the San Gabriel Valley. Officials noted that La Puente has many residents who can trace their heritage back to the earliest days of the city as well as multi-generational families who continue to live, work and recreate in La Puente.
Lee & Associates Orange has arranged the sale of a commercial asset located at 4480 Ontario Mills Parkway/745 Franklin Ave., Ontario. Almaz Investment & Management sold the building to a private individual for $4.2 million.
Allen Buchanan, Joshua Harper of Lee & Associates’ Orange, Calif., office and David Mudge of Lee & Associates’ Riverside office represented the seller, while Greg Martin of Lee & Associates’ Ontario office represented the buyer in the deal.
At the time of sale, the two-unit, 9,545-square-foot building was a fully built-out surgery center that had only one tenant.
A nonprofit developer wants to build 57 affordable apartments that would house families, veterans and special needs individuals. The complex would rise on a blighted block on busy Mission Boulevard in the downtown core near transit and services. The plan was approved Monday Feb. 3 by the City Council.
Jamboree Housing, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing, has been negotiating with City Hall over purchase of a city-owned, 1.4-acre block bounded by Mission, Park, Parcels and Sixth streets.
The lot across from the Police Department has been vacant for decades. The three-story complex, stylish based on the renderings, would have such amenities as a community garden, dog park and tot lot.
All apartments would be reserved for moderate, very low and extremely low-income renters. Tri-City Mental Health, an agency that serves Pomona, Claremont and La Verne, would fund the affordability of 10 units for its clients. Six units would be reserved for veterans.
Jamboree would get the land upfront for free and pay $3.4 million, determined to be fair market value, over the 55-year life of the contract, plus 3% interest on the loan. The apartments will stay affordable over those 55 years, or into the late 2070s.
An activist with PUSH, Pomona United for Stable Housing, which focuses on rent control and renters’ rights, wondered why the city wanted to sell the property rather than lease it, why the apartments couldn’t stay affordable permanently and why the construction workers wouldn’t be paid prevailing wage.
The deal was negotiated as a sale, not a lease, and was completed with an eye on a March deadline for tax-credit applications, it was reported. Ground leases for city property are more typical of large cities like Long Beach and L.A. with large housing departments to oversee them, officials explained.
If the project is ever refinanced for upgrades, as is likely, the 55-year term would start over, council members were told. For example, if renovations were made in 15 years, the affordability would then last a total of 70 years. But that may not hold true for the 10 mental-health units.
As for the tax credits, they’re reminiscent of the ones holding back the Maya Cinemas project a few blocks away. While Maya needs federal credits for investors to support the planned multiplex, Jamboree would need state credits. These are specifically for low-income housing and are awarded twice per year.
If the project gets credits in July, construction could start in early 2021 for a mid-2022 opening. Jamboree gets the property only after it gets the tax credits and financing.
Chavez & Associates has arranged the sale of Cartilla Avenue, an industrial/flex building located at 7945 Cartilla Ave. in Rancho Cucamonga. Amir Jacoby acquired the property from West Covina-based TDS Kids for a total consideration of $4.7 million, or $197.92 per square foot.
Built in 1973 and upgraded in 2016, the property features 24,000 square feet of medical, retail, service, office and R&D space. Zoned industrial park, the building is designed to allow for single or multi-tenant use. The property features 18-foot ceilings, four drive-in doors and abundant parking.
At the time of sale, two tenants fully occupied the property. Jumping Jacks occupies 20,000 square feet, and Lexxiom Inc. occupies 4,000 square feet.
Eric Chavez of Chavez & Associates REBF represented the seller, while Spectrum Commercial Real Estate represented the buyer in the deal.
SOUTH EL MONTE
A joint venture of So Cal’s Birtcher Anderson Realty and Maryland-based Alex Brown Realty has acquired a vacant 160,000-square-foot industrial building in South El Monte for $20.2 million. Located at 11077 Rush St. on approximately six acres, the property is in close proximity to the I-10, 60 and 605 freeways.
The partners plan to subdivide for multiple spaces ranging from 32,000 to 128,000 square feet. Building features include 18-23 foot clearances, nine dock high positions, nine ground level doors, a newly-paved and secured yard, 247 parking spaces and drive around capability.
According to CEO Bob Anderson, the vacant asset was appealing because, “The low vacancy rate in South El Monte and the rest of San Gabriel Valley, coupled with the strong demand in the small tenant market, creates a great opportunity to reposition this building and create a solid investment for us.”
The Upland Unified School District (UUSD) has been awarded a prestigious Federal Farm to School grant totaling more than $87,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Already nationally recognized for its commitment to food and nutrition services, UUSD earned the highest award among the three school districts in California to receive the Farm to School grant this year.
The money will help the district implement a teaching garden at all 14 school sites and expand its own Farm to School program. A wellness champion at each school will lead garden club activities with students. Garden produce will be harvested and featured on the salad bar, as part of the entrée, in the cooking club, or in a school-wide taste test. UUSD will provide training for individuals from its Farm to School Advisory Council.
The district’s nutrition and wellness efforts have been supported by a number of community stakeholders, including the Scheu Family YMCA, businessman Randall Lewis, HealthCorps, colleges and universities, and San Antonio Regional Hospital.
West Covina welcomed its first Chick-fil-A on Feb. 13 at 200 S. Vincent Ave. In keeping with the Atlanta-based chain’s “First 100” tradition, the first 100 customers in line for the 6:30 a.m. grand opening won a year of free Chick-fil-A meals—which translated to campout in the parking lot.
The new Chick-fil-A owner, West Covina native Danny Hernandez, and his crew hosted the overnight celebration as the First 100 contenders began gathering outside the restaurant at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, for registration. The 100 adults in line earned a digital-offer card pre-loaded with 52 meals, consisting of a chicken sandwich, medium waffle potato fries and a medium beverage.
The 4,250-square-foot West Covina locale, with approximately 100 employees, offers a dual-lane drive-thru, in-restaurant dining for 90 patrons, free Wi-Fi and a 36-seat outdoor patio. Hours are Mondays through Saturdays 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Sundays.
–Compiled by CVAR Government Affairs Director Bill Ruh