Dodgers extend invitation to Rancho Cucamonga team.
ELECTIONS – Local cities
Compiled by Bill Ruh CVAR Government Affairs Director
With the elections now certified, I will include the names of the local winners below in each city that held elections. With only a few exceptions, CVAR knew the winners in each of our cities. We encourage REALTOR® members to contact the winners to congratulate them. Building relations with a local elected leader is a great way to help influence our REALTOR® policy at the local level.
SAN GABRIEL VALLEY
At their December meeting, the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority Board of Directors voted unanimously to re-elect Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval as Chair and La Verne Mayor Pro Tem Robin Carder as Vice Chair. In addition, the board welcomed Claremont Council Member Ed Reece to the board. Councilman Reece was sworn in for a 2 ½-year term during the meeting, after being appointed by the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments last month. The continuing leadership of Chair Sandoval and Vice Chair Carder, along with the addition of Board Member Reece, comes at an important time for the $2.1 billion, 12.3-mile Foothill Gold Line light rail project. The westernmost 9.1 miles of the project (from Glendora to Pomona) is currently undergoing major construction, and the Construction Authority is seeking the additional funding needed to complete the entire project segment to Claremont and Montclair.
Sandoval and Carder have led the board since late 2018. During their leadership tenure, the project’s Alignment design-build contract was awarded to Kiewit-Parsons, a Joint Venture, and the project segment from Glendora to Pomona has advanced from final design into major construction despite being in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Major construction activities are now underway throughout the project corridor, and the project segment is anticipated to be completed in 2025. If an additional $450 million in funding is secured by October 2021, the entire project from Glendora to Montclair will be completed altogether as part of the Alignment design-build contract, with an anticipated completion year of 2028.
Election results: Mayor: Emmanuel Estrada; City Council: Marlen Garcia, Monica Garcia and Danny Damian.
Additionally, Titanium Healthcare Inc has acquired Your Community Medical Group located in Baldwin Park. The purchase ensures that the largely Medicaid population supported by the clinic will receive superior care through the Titanium model. Titanium Healthcare Inc is a cutting-edge healthcare organization that delivers exceptional care though exceptional care coordination, tele-health and clinical intervention.
Election results: Mayor: Eunice Ulloa; Council District 1, Dr. Paul Rodriguez; Council District 4, Karen Comstock
The Chino Valley school board voted to delay an agreement that would allow district personnel to do soil testing on property designated for a second school in the Chino Preserve area. Developer Lewis Management Corporation owns the 12-acre property located south of Pine Avenue, on the east side of Main Street. It had formerly been used for agriculture and dairy and has been vacant and undeveloped since 2009. The delayed agreement gives the school district and its consultants access to the property and preliminary construction testing and inspections which are required by the California Department of Education and Division of State Architect. A previous agreement for the same purpose from September 2019 had expired.Superintendent Norm Enfield said the district had been unable to test last year because top soil on the property needed to be removed. The district set aside $20 million for the school in 2016 after Chino Valley voters approved the $750 million Measure G facilities bond. School board and district officials have stated publicly that the money is still set aside for the project.
Election results: Council District 3, Art Bennett; Council District 5, Cynthia Moran
In other business, The Crossings at Chino Hills, a 346-unit apartment complex on the northeast corner of Fairfield Ranch Road and Monte Vista Avenue, east of the 71 Freeway, has been acquired by Irvine-based Advanced Real Estate Services, Inc. for $130 million.
The apartments were purchased by Advanced Real Estate with “1031 exchange funds” from a recent sale of a large mobile home park in Huntington Beach.
The IRS code 1031 allows investors to avoid paying capital gains taxes when an investment property is sold and the money reinvested in a property of like kind.
The property, across the street from the Chino Hills Hindu Temple and was constructed by Bridge Investment Group in 2018 and 2019.
The Crossings at Chino Hills include a pool, clubhouse, gym, turf soccer field, dog park, EV charging stations, package lockers, business center and playground.
Election: Council District 1,Corey Calacay; Council District 5, Sal Medina
On Dec. 8, the Claremont City Council appointed Jennifer Stark as Mayor. Stark was first elected in 2018 and served as Mayor Pro-Tem in 2020. After taking the oath, Mayor Stark acknowledged the tremendously difficult time that is the reality of 2020, in Claremont, nationwide and across the globe. She promised that the council will advocate for businesses damaged by stay-at-home orders, and voiced support for those of us mourning the loss of loved ones, for our exhausted medical community and essential workers.
Mayor Stark highlighted two big challenges facing the city that are not related to the pandemic—notably tackling the housing element and hiring a new city manager, while advocating for federal and state funds.
Additionally, the city did inform the public that all gardeners, tree trimmers, and landscapers must have a valid city business license to work in the city of Claremont. Noise associated with property maintenance is permitted to occur between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. Also, gasoline-powered leaf blowers are strictly prohibited in the city. Only electric or battery powered leaf blowers may be used between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., seven days a week. Property owners should advise their landscaping service to follow city regulations on the use of blowers, the hours of maintenance, and to be sure that they are currently licensed to work in the city. For more information, please contact the Community Improvement Division at (909) 399-5467.
Election Results: Council, Ruth Low; Stan Liu
In Diamond Bar news, all outdoor playgrounds have been closed following the latest COVID news, contrary to earlier reports that they would open as of Dec. 9.
While city facilities remain closed to the public, staff is available to conduct business and respond to inquiries by phone, email or online.
For more information on COVID-19 related closures and restrictions as well as the temporary modifications to city services, visit www.diamondbarca.gov/COVID19 or call City Hall at (909) 839-7000 during its open hours of Monday-Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Mutual Trading’s new El Monte headquarters
Election results: Mayor, Jessica Ancona; Council: Alma Puente, Victoria Martinez
The city of El Monte announced that Mutual Trading Co., Inc., a supplier of Japanese food, liquor, and restaurant supplies, has complete its relocation of its headquarters to a new site in the city of El Monte.
The move from the former location on 431 Crocker St. in Los Angeles to 4200 Shirley St. in El Monte was complete on Nov. 16.
The recently constructed facility features a total 300,000 square feet, with office, warehousing for dry/refrigeration/freezer/super-freezer storage, along with a showroom and conference/event space, all outfit with modern computer system and equipment. This site will house a workforce of over 200 staff members under one roof.
The former site on Crocker Street has been the company’s home for 52 years, adjacent to Little Tokyo, where the company began in 1926. The El Monte facility is located 13 miles due east in San Gabriel Valley, a city occupying 10 square miles with an ethnically diverse population of 120,000.
Currently, the Mutual Trading Group companies operate in 11 markets, including San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Dallas, New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Honolulu, Tokyo and Lima.
In addition to the core business of Japanese food distribution, there are Miyako Oriental Foods Inc., producing miso and specialty sauces, and two trade specific educational institutions, Sake School of America and Miyako Sushi and Washoku School. For more information, visit www.lamtc.co
The city of Glendora installed temporary crosswalk enhancements and protected bike lanes on Glendora Avenue between Foothill Boulevard and Ada Avenue. The project comes complete with 24-foot reflective tape to make the crosswalk more visible, and delineators sand planters on the bike lane to create a buffer for cyclists from traffic on the rest of the road.
The Glendora Avenue Demonstration Project was funded through the city and the San Gabriel Council of Governments (SGVCOG). Glendora committed $16,000 for design and materials, including staff time, and SGVCOG committed $30,000 in Metro funds that were initially earmarked for open street events but have been repurposed for other uses due to COVID-19— $18,000 were used to purchase the planters.
The project is part of a broader effort by the city to improve first/last-mile connections to the future Metro L Line (formerly Gold Line) Glendora station. With the 9.1-mile Glendora to Pomona L Line extension expected to be completed by 2025, the city wants to make it easier for pedestrians and bicyclists to travel between the city and the station.
The corridors being considered for improvements are:
Glendora Avenue between Foothill Boulevard and Route 66
Ada Avenue between Grand Avenue and Cullen Avenue
Vermont Avenue between Foothill Boulevard and Route 66
Foothill Boulevard between Citrus Avenue and Vista Bonita Avenue
In addition to improving pedestrian and bicycle connections, the corridors also face safety challenges for people who already walk and bike. From 2014-2018, the four corridors have seen a total of 116 traffic collisions, according to California crash data. Seventeen involved cyclists, eight involved pedestrians.
Planning for the first/last-mile improvements for the Glendora station has been going on for years. Since mid-2018, more than 500 people have participated in outreach events. In late 2019, based on community direction, the four corridors were chosen for improvements.
This year, the city hosted one in-person community workshop in January and a virtual workshop in March. In the virtual workshop, 127 people viewed the workshop material. 25 people responded to the survey of the projects, with 18 respondents approving, and seven disapproving.
Currently, the city has just about wrapped up its planning efforts and is applying for funds to design and build the project through the fifth cycle of the Active Transportation Program. The city has requested $4.2 million to build the Glendora Avenue improvements, and $3.1 million for the Foothill Boulevard improvements.
Election results: Council, Mark Breceda, Manuel Garcia, Larry Burrola.
Election results: Council, David Argudo, Gabriel Quinones, Violetta Lewis.
After unveiling initial plans over four years ago, the City of La Verne is pursuing the next steps in moving the City’s Teen Center project forward. On Wednesday, Dec. 16, the city will host a virtual workshop providing an overview of the project, sharing its progress and next steps, and took comments from community stakeholders.
The city noted that teen centers around the country and in the San Gabriel Valley with similar programs are linked to positive community outcomes such as higher community engagement, improved educational developments and reduced negative behavior.
The concept, ideation and planning for the Teen Center has been an ongoing process for many years. In early 2016, the city hosted a strategic planning workshop to help determine how the city can best support its teenaged youth. Additionally, local teens at nearly all of the city’s high schools and middle schools were surveyed several times to better understand their needs and to help better prioritize resources. Over the years, city staff has been available for questions from the public at two meetings at Heritage Park and went before the Council on three separate occasions to ensure their input was also incorporated into the plans for the Teen Center.
Based on the input received and insight gained from these activities, Teen Center programming will include sports and chess tournaments, opportunities for creative expression like painting, dance and photography, as well as organized physical fitness classes. Recreational activities, such as ping pong and pool tables, will also be available at the facility. The Teen Center facility will be built at Las Flores Park, which will allow the city to include the outdoor activities.
Because the Teen Center will cater to La Verne’s youth, many of whom cannot drive, the city is also looking into providing a shuttle service from the middle schools. To support the shuttle service and the ambitious Teen Center programming, city staff is pursuing a number of grant funding opportunities.
La Verne residents may submit written comments to the City’s Community Services Department:
ATTN: Bill Aguirre, Community Services Director, 3660 D St., La Verne, CA 91750
Comments may also be submitted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments should include their phone number. For any additional questions, please contact the Community Services Department at (909) 596-8700 Monday through Thursday.
In other news, FedEx Express, the air and international unit of FedEx Corp., opened a 251,000-square-foot complex at Ontario International Airport. The complex includes a sorting facility capable of handling about 12,000 packages per hour, the FedEx unit said. It also includes nine wide-body aircraft gates, 14 feeder aircraft gates and 18 truck docks. The project expands FedEx Express’ 33-year presence at Ontario. The opening of the FedEx unit’s facility comes before what’s expected to be a record-setting holiday shipping season for FedEx, UPS and virtually every parcel delivery provider.
The 59-acre site is more than triple the size of the 18.5 acres that FedEx had occupied since 1987. It represents the airport’s most significant improvement project since the 1990s, according to airport officials. Four years ago, the airport transferred from private ownership to local control under the auspices of the Ontario International Airport Authority Commission.
Under terms of a June 2018 leasing agreement that keeps FedEx Express at Ontario for 30 years and possibly as long as 50 years, the airport authority cleared a 51.1-acre lot of structures above and below ground, performed surface grading and took responsibility for required environmental impact reports and analyses.
FedEx Express agreed to construct operational, maintenance and administrative facilities while making infrastructure improvements such as 170,000 square yards of concrete for aircraft ramp and trucking operations. Nov. 30 was the original deadline for completing the improvements.
Air cargo volume at Ontario increased 19% through the first nine months of the year, and by 20% or more in six of those months, the airport authority said. From January through September, freight volume was nearly 645,000 tons compared to 539,000 tons in the same period in 2019, according to airport data.
Cargo operations have become the center of airport services this year as the pandemic dramatically curtailed passenger travel while essential and nonessential goods still needed to get to market.
Election results: Mayor Tim Sandoval; Council District 1, John Nolte; Council District 4, Elizabeth Ontiveros-Cole; Council District 6, Robert Torres
In other business, the Newport Beach-based CapRock Partners has purchased an infill industrial property situated on 12.5 acres at 4200 W. Valley Blvd., Pomona.
The buyer acquired the asset as a sale-leaseback from an owner-tenant that will continue to occupy the existing 230,000-square-foot manufacturing building in the short term. Upon expiration of the lease, CapRock intends to demolish the existing facility and develop a 270,000-square-foot, 36-foot-clear-height building offering up to 10,000 square feet of speculative office space.
Election results: Council District, Sam Spagnolo; Council District 4, Lynne Kennedy
In other business, the World Series Champion Los Angeles Dodgers have extended an invitation to the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes that would make the Quakes the California League affiliate of the Dodgers for ten years.
Over the past nine seasons, the partnership between the two organizations has resulted in an overall record of 679-579 (.540), two California League championships, three Cal League MVPs, and a number of former Quakes advancing to the major leagues. The 2020 World Series Champion Dodgers roster featured 20 players who wore a Rancho Cucamonga jersey at some point in their career.
“The Quakes are thrilled for the opportunity to continue our partnership with the Dodgers,” said Vice President/General Manager Grant Riddle. “Over the past nine seasons, Rancho Cucamonga has proudly been home to so many players on their journey to Dodger Stadium. We look forward to welcoming future Dodgers to LoanMart Field and continuing to provide championship caliber baseball to our community.”
While the Quakes will continue to be a member of the eight-team California League, the league will be reclassified as Low-A.
“Our minor league communities are an integral part of the success we have had at the Major League level as each affiliate provides high-quality facilities and comprehensive support essential to developing World Champion caliber players,” said President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. “We are proud of the stability our minor league affiliates have provided over the years and we want continue our relationships with Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Great Lakes and Rancho Cucamonga.”
Since its inaugural season in 1993, the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes have provided the Inland Empire with fun, affordable family entertainment and have welcomed over 7 million fans through the gates of LoanMart Field.
SOUTH EL MONTE
Election results: Mayor Gloria Olmos; Council, Hector Delgado, Richard Angel
Election results: Mayor Bill Velto (a REALTOR® & CVAR member); Council District 1, Shannon Maust; Council District 3, Carlos Garcia
In other business, a private gated community of two- and three-bedroom townhomes is coming soon to the city of Upland. Sage at Ninth Street by RC Homes is a collection of two-story residences nestled among family-friendly amenities including a playground, exercise equipment, covered picnic tables and a dedicated dog park. Sage at Ninth Street offers three floorplans to choose from, ranging from 1,211 to 1,594 square feet. Each home comes equipped with a direct-access garage, nine-foot ceilings, a kitchen peninsula with breakfast bar seating, expansive windows and a private patio for outdoor entertaining.
Plan 1 features dual master bedrooms, each with its own ensuite bath and walk-in closet. The 1,211-square-foot home comes complete with an open-concept kitchen, living and dining area, appointed with quartz countertops, and five-burner gas range.
Spanning 1,280 square feet, Plan 2 offers three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. While the first floor has a front-facing patio and U-shaped kitchen (like Plan 1), the upstairs boasts two secondary bedrooms, a separate laundry room and a principal suite. The spa-inspired ensuite bathroom incorporates a marble-topped double vanity and an oversized shower.
Plan 3 has three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms across 1,594 square feet of living space. The dining area serves as an extension of the U-shaped kitchen with a slider that leads to a private patio. Upstairs, there are two secondary bedrooms that share a bathroom, where the double vanity and bathtub/shower are separate from the compartmentalized toilet. The principal suite enjoys a soaking tub and separate bath.
These energy-efficient homes are outfitted with dual-glazed low-E vinyl windows, tankless water heaters, R-15 exterior wall insulation and R-38 insulation in attic areas, forced-air heating, water-saving plumbing fixtures, low-VOC interior wall and ceiling paint, and environmentally-friendly engineered lumber products. Smart tech features also come standard, including Ring video doorbells, Honeywell programmable thermostats, media outlets and WiFi-enabled garage door openers.
Located at 155 Tarragon Way, Sage at Ninth Street is less than a mile from historic downtown Upland, dotted with specialty shops, restaurants, tea and coffee houses, a craft brewery and performance venue. Future residents will have easy access to the Upland Metrolink station, Pacific Electric Bike Trail, I-10 and Route 66. There are nearby grocery stores, schools for all ages, and shopping centers with big-name retailers.
Election results: Council, Linda Freedman, Nancy Tragarz, Eric Ching.
Election results: Council District 1, Brian Tabatabai, Council District 3, Rosario Diaz
In other business, if West Covina cannot resolve ongoing structural budget deficits, the city of about 100,000 could face bankruptcy, warns a report by the California State Auditor’s Office.
West Covina has used reserves to prop itself up for years, decimating its rainy-day fund from a high of $20.5 million in fiscal year 2014-15 to less than $10 million in 2018-19, according to the report released Dec. 1. Now, with cities across the state taking heavy losses from the coronavirus pandemic, West Covina has put itself in a dangerous position.
Wrote state Auditor Elaine Howle: “[The city’s] financial condition is rapidly deteriorating, as demonstrated by the city’s continued reliance on its general fund reserves to support its operations, its questionable uses of city resources, and its lack of sufficient analyses to support its financial decisions.”
In November, the State Auditor’s Office ranked West Covina as the ninth most at-risk city in the state based on its fiscal health. It ranked 17th in 2019.
The City Council declared a fiscal emergency in May in the wake of a projected $7.2 million deficit. The auditor’s office attributed West Covina’s risky state to “ineffective fiscal management” and criticized the city for not taking action sooner to reduce costs, particularly from unfunded pension liabilities and overtime for public safety.
The city did not use multiyear financial forecasts before the audit began and did not have a financial recovery plan despite years of deficits, according to the report. The audit also found the city is losing revenue by not charging enough to cover its costs for building permits, inspections and other fees.
In an attempt to stem he problems, West Covina issued pension obligation bonds earlier this year that refinanced $204.1 million of its unfunded pension debt. The city nearly halved its interest rates and will make lower annual payments toward the debt. It’s expected to save the city about $53 million over 25 years.
The report states the bonds still carry risk and the city could experience a loss if the California Public Employees’ Retirement System rate of return ends up being less than the interest rate on the bonds.
It should be noted that the city and its unions also have agreed to reduce employee benefits by about 10 percent. The auditor’s report found West Covina paid 95 percent of its employees’ health care premiums in 2019-20, compared to a regional average of 86 percent for state and local governments on the West Coast.
One issue is the city’s spending on public safety. West Covina is one of the few remaining cities in the county to staff both a police and fire department. Today, the two departments eat up nearly 77 percent of the city’s total spending.
Despite its existing dire financial state, the City Council approved 12% raises for its police and fire personnel that went into effect in January. It is estimated the pay increases will cost the city an extra $2 million per year. The raises were expected to help reduce overtime costs as the Fire Department, in particular, has gone over budget by $1.6 million on average in a four-year period. Yet, despite having full staffing for half the year, the Fire Department again went over its budget in 2019-20 by $2.1 million, auditors found.
West Covina is looking at potential alternatives, including contracting with Los Angeles County for fire services or an ambulance company for medical calls. Residents have rallied against such outsourcing for years.
The city was unable to provide “specific analyses comparing the long-term costs of the two alternatives,” according to auditors. If the city can’t find a cost-effective way of providing those services at the same level, it could lead to reduce staffing or temporary closures at fire stations, according to the report.
Auditors also warned the city may be underestimating the hit it will take from the pandemic in the current fiscal year. For example, the city budgeted $1.9 million in revenue from the transit occupancy tax placed on hotels — the same amount as last year — despite the expectation that the pandemic will have an even greater impact on tourism in the current year. Similarly, West Covina budgeted for an increase in revenues from recreation programs and facility rentals, though it’s likely both will see decreased use because of social distancing requirements, auditors stated.
The auditor’s recommendations to West Covina include: increasing fees and cost sharing, preparing financial analyses that properly outline the short- and long-term impacts of its decisions, developing a financial recovery plan, and improving its internal processes to reduce waste and the potential risk of fraud.
If the city has one-time funds, such as a proposed sale of land that could net $13.5 million, the city should set aside the money to cover any shortfalls and then use the rest to repay bond debts and replenish its reserves, according to auditors.