Apply to Diamond Bar planning commission by Jan. 30

The City of Diamond Bar’s City Clerk’s Office will be accepting applications until Friday, January 30,  from individuals interested in filling a vacancy on the City’s Planning Commission. The term of office for this appointment will expire in 2017.

To be eligible to serve as a City Commissioner, applicants must be Diamond Bar residents, at least 18 years of age, and registered to vote.

For more information or to obtain a commission application packet, contact the City Clerk’s office at 909.839.7010 or email cityclerk@diamondbarca.gov

Planning Commission Information

Mt. SAC faculty fights student housing proposal

Faculty is fighting a student housing proposal at Mount San Antonio College. A long line of professors told the Mt. SAC board of trustees that student housing wasn’t needed or wanted at the community college in Walnut.

In March, President Bill Scroggins formed a student housing task force. He said Mt. SAC had been approached 18 months ago by an equity development group, Antarctica.

“They said in this economy, there’s a lot of cash chasing revenue. ‘So we’ve got the money and what we’d like to do with this money is help education, in particular community colleges,’” Scroggins recalled. “What have you got that produces any kind of revenue that will eventually pay off whatever investment we make in your college.”

So the two parties talked about the parking structure and the daily rates that could be charged. “That didn’t pencil out,” Scroggins said.

They also talked about solar power fields. “Now, we (Mt. SAC) see with our incentives and zero-interest loans, we are going to build that cheaper than anyone else,” he said.

The Mt. SAC CEO pointed out that the City of Industry had considered building student housing with redevelopment money on the west parcel. “Conversations with the Walnut City Council said ‘hell, no, we’re not going to have housing on Grand Avenue, but we’d be OK with housing over by Cal Poly,” Scroggins said.

So Antarctica was asked to show that student housing was feasible. It had the Cokley Group conduct a student survey on housing.

“They saw enough demand for at least 500, maybe 1,000 students in student housing,” Scroggins said.

These documents were shared with the task force in September. The survey suggested housing would be attractive to athletes, out of state and international students.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story HOUSING.

Mt SAC studies options for new parking structure

Mount San Antonio College trustees learned it would cost $14.5 million to move the controversial 2,200 spot parking structure planned for the community college.

Another study to downsize the $45 million parking garage said it would cost almost $6 million to eliminate one of the parking levels in one section. That would only cut 200 stalls.

“The cost is not feasible to redo the parking structure,” concluded Mt. SAC President and CEO Bill Scroggins. “After the multi-millions spent on the design, it would not be a good shepherding of tax dollars.”

Mt. SAC’s Director of Facilities Gary Nellesen explained the costs involved to move the parking garage from Parking Lot A to Lot F. His staff calculated it would take three years and $14,470,000 to relocate the parking garage now planned off Mountaineer Road along Edinger Way. And the easier option of cutting one section would cost $5,820,000.

“The biggest cost would be inflation caused by the delay,” Nellesen said. “We use the same number we use for all our projects … about 4 percent per year. Because this redesign effort would take 18 months, we’re figuring about a year and a half of cost inflation on the rest of the structure.”

That would add $2.4 million to the cost of the smaller structure. Deleting one level and replacing it with surface parking would save $2 million.

“We’d have to pay for a redesign of the darn thing,” Nellesen said.

He said the college learned a lesson back in 2003, when bids for the new science building came in over budget.

“We did an extensive effort to reduce the cost of the project. By the time we got it approved and put it up for bid, we got less for more money,” Nellesen recalled.

He said using Lot F would add 40 months to the project in order to start all over again with the environmental impact report, new design and the state approval process. Inflation would add $5.6 million to the costs.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story PARKING

Rowland Unified opens new Family Resource Center

The Family Resource Center staff used to warn visitors about holes in the floor of its old building in La Puente. Today, both the holes and the old center are gone and Rowland Unified is ready to open a new $800,000 building.

The dental clinic has certainly come a long way since opening in an old World War II Army trailer. “We don’t miss the old World War II dental chairs,” said Coordinator Jennifer Kottke.

Kottke showed off the new family center opening next Wednesday. Residents are invited to the opening from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at 17800 E. Renault St., next to Northam Elementary School.

In March, the school district broke ground for the 3,200-square-foot building. The prefabricated building was delivered in sections, then a crane assembled the center.

• VIDEO: Coordinator Jennifer Kottke — We’ll be able to take better care of families

• VIDEO: The dental clinic has one new chair and hopes to get another

• VIDEO: Nurse practitioner Llona Mearig says staff is thrilled with new facility

Staff members have dreamed about getting a new building for 35 years. Kottke and Nurse Practitioner Llona Mearig worked tirelessly to obtain federal and state grants totalling more than $750,000.

For more detail, read Rich Irwin’s story RESOURCE

workers rupture gas line near Rowland Heights

Construction workers today ruptured a deep high- pressure gas line in unincorporated Otterbein just north of Rowland Heights, authorities said.

The breach of the 1-inch line near the intersection of South Nogales Street and Walnut Drive occurred around 2:50 a.m., said Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Kyle Sandford.

The main was buried about 12-15 feet deep, and an urban search and rescue team was dispatched to shore up the excavation before an attempt was made to repair the line, Sanford said.

No evacuations from the area were reported, he said.

Improvement association meets in Hacienda Heights

The Hacienda Heights Improvement Association will hold it Annual Business Meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 21 in the new Hacienda Heights Community Center at 1234 Valencia Ave., Heights. 

Reports for events of 2014 will be presented by the officers and chairs of the Association Committees.  The highlight of the evening is the counting of ballots for candidates to fill six vacancies on the Board of Directors.  

Doors open at 6 pm and the meeting will begin at 6:30 pm. Refreshments will be served. 

In the event members did not mail their ballots, they may bring them to the meeting.  The meeting is open to all residents of Hacienda Heights.  

For further information please call Mike Williams, Chair Public Relations, at 626-536-3407

Diamond Bar OKs moratorium on massage parlors

Diamond Bar City Council wasted no time in approving a 45-day moratorium on new massage parlors in the city. The interim ordinance will prohibit the establishment, expansion and relocation of massage parlors for 45 days.

In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1147, which restores local land use authority over massage businesses. Effective Jan. 1, the new law removes the former law’s broad preemption of local massage ordinances.

AB 1147 gives local government the authority to enact regulations to manage massage parlors. The moratorium would maintain the status quo until the city has had time to complete the necessary studies and adopt new regulations.

“A friend at the Rotary Club came up to me and said the last thing we need is for another massage parlor to pop up,” said Mayor Steve Tye. “This is the kind of thing where we have to stay on top of the situation.”

“I’m concerned with the growing number of massage parlors in Diamond Bar,” agreed Councilman Jack Tanaka, who joined his fellow councilmembers in unanimously approving the moratorium.

Tanaka pointed out the number of massage parlors has grown from four to more than 15. Under the old law, the city had to permit seven new massage businesses simply because the owner or the masseuse were certified by the California Massage Therapy Council.

Cities have also seen an increase of illicit massage parlors which engage in prostitution and human trafficking.

“I haven’t heard of any prostitution in our massage establishments, but it has been a problem elsewhere,” Tye noted.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lt. Anthony Tachias said “There haven’t been any reports of prostitution or human trafficking at massage parlors in Diamond Bar. It’s been pretty quiet.”

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story MASSAGE.

13 hurt in freeway crash in Hacienda Heights

0107_NWS_SGT-L-BUSCRASH01
By Ruby Gonzales, San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Sandra Molina, Whittier Daily News

Thirteen people suffered minor injuries when a tour bus and two big rigs collided Wednesday morning on the eastbound 60 Freeway at 7th Avenue, fire officials said.

Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Thomas Richards said there were 30 passengers on the bus along with the driver and tour guide. There were two people in one of the rig, he added.

“This incident consisted of two big rigs and a charter bus, with one of the big rigs striking another big rig,” said Public Information Officer Al Perez of the Santa Fe Springs California Highway Patrol office. “The second big rig was pushed toward the median and struck the charter bus, which was traveling in the HOV (carpool) lane or the number one lane.”

How the collision happened will be determined once the bus driver has been interviewed by authorities, he said.

The bus picked up passengers in Monterey Park and were headed to Pala Casino Spa And Resort south of Temecula, according to Perez.

The bus company, ETA Enterprise, Perez said, was in good standing with all its permits in order.

Fire Inspector Randall Wright described the collision between the big rig and the tour bus as a “glancing type of blow.”

None of the vehicles rolled over or flipped, he added. Response by the L.A. County Fire included engines, trucks, paramedics and a hazardous materials unit. There was no fire or gasoline spill, Wright said.

Jimmy Lin joins Diamond Bar City Council

Diamond Bar’s new councilman Jimmy Lin attended his first council meeting Tuesday night. After interviewing 11 candidates, the City Council chose Lin to fill the vacancy left by Ling-Ling Chang, who was elected to the state assembly.

Lin was selected over other candidates, including past 0107_NWS_SGT-L-DBVACANCYcouncilman and mayor Ron Everett and Andrew Wong, president of Pomona Unified School Board. Other candidates were Robert Nishimura, Tulsi Savani, Joyce Young, Shawn Dhand, Peter Pirritano, Ali Jakvani, Kim Hsieh and David Liu.

“I was really impressed with the quality of the candidates … many of you who are very qualified,” said Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Lyons.

“It seems like it should be an easy decision, and it’s not, you (the candidates) made it difficult, that’s a good thing,” Mayor Steve Tye said.

Still, council reached its decision quickly after interviewing the candidates. Lin will serve through November 2017.

“I’m evaluating by what the city needs, the city has some specific needs in the very near future. Things that we are working on, and a couple of candidates fill that need more than other candidates do,” explained Councilwoman Carol Herrera.

“Considering that traffic is one of the greatest problems and challenges that the city faces, I would like to nominate Jimmy Lin,” Herrera said. Lyons seconded the nomination. Lin was approved by a 3 to 1 margin, with Councilman Jack Tanaka voting no.

“I’m not against Jimmy, I just thought there should have been an open discussion. It was unfair to the other candidates to not discuss the reasons for our selection,” Tanaka said later.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story LIN