Industry NFL stadium overshadowed by Inglewood, Carson

Artist's rendering of proposed "Los Angeles Stadium."  Developer, Edward P. Roski, Jr.,

Artist’s rendering of proposed “Los Angeles Stadium.” Developer, Edward P. Roski, Jr.,

By Jason Henry, Staff Writer

Diamond Bar Mayor Steve Tye said Wednesday if he ranked the proposed Los Angeles’ stadiums by their chance of getting build that he would put the one he wants the most at the bottom of the list.

A NFL stadium in Industry, proposed by billionaire Ed Roski Jr.’s Majestic Realty Co., seems more and more unlikely as team owners jockey for properties in Carson and Inglewood, he said. Roski, who wanted a share of the team if one came to the city, never found the support from owners that the newer projects have.

“There was a time when you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about it,” Tye said of Roski’s proposal. “Then all of a sudden, nothing.”

With the Raiders, the Rams and the Chargers linked closely to Carson and Inglewood, Tye said he isn’t sure if that leaves a team for Industry.

Walnut Councilmen Tony Cartagena and Bob Pachecho also said Wednesday they have heard nothing about Roski’s plan recently and neither believe it is likely.

Walnut and Diamond Bar settled with Majestic Realty in 2009 over concerns that the stadium would negatively impact their communities. However, the NFL has not written Roski’s proposal off.

“It remains one of the sites we continue to monitor,” stated Brian McCarthy, the NFL’s spokesperson, in an email.

Roski announced his plans to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles with a state-of-the-art, $800 million stadium in Industry in 2008. The website for the Los Angeles Stadium at Grand Crossing still exists, but the site has not been updated in years.

Read more in Jason Henry’s story STADIUM.

Walnut to consider legal action against Mt. SAC for parking structure

By Steve Scauzillo, Staff Writer

Walnut City Council will meet in closed session tonight to consider whether to sue Mount San Antonio College for going ahead with construction of a five-story, $45 million parking garage directly across the street from homes.

The consideration of “possible litigation — status report on proposed parking structure, Mt. SAC” by the council may have been precipitated by two actions taken by the school’s governing board on Feb. 11.

First, the board passed a resolution saying the college does not have to abide by City of Walnut zoning laws because the parking structure will be an educational facility owned and operated by the district.

And second, the college board approved an $8.4 million contract with Tilden-Coil Constructors, Inc. for work on the first phase of the new parking structure, including relocation of utility lines, demolition, grading and soil movement.

The college, located in Walnut, has put up numerous new buildings that didn’t require approval from the city. Colleges and university projects are approved by the state architect. Also, the college’s resolution notes it doesn’t have to meet Walnut zoning codes because they do not address the location of schools.

If the facility is not considered educational, it is possible a city would have a say, but the resolution states the parking structure will also be used “for student instruction in subjects such as astronomy, administration of justice and fire technology.”

The City Council voted in August to oppose building a parking structure at the location, finding it would cause air pollution, traffic and potential ingress and egress problems for emergency vehicles, as cars would be using Mountaineer Road to access the structure — the same street used by hundreds of residents of Timberline, a neighborhood in north Walnut.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story PARKING.

Walnut questions Mt. SAC costs to move parking structure

Walnut Council members Mary Su and Tony Cartagena listen to Mt. SAC president Bill Scroggins

Walnut Council members Mary Su and Tony Cartagena listen to Mt. SAC president Bill Scroggins

By Richard Irwin, Staff Writer

Walnut City Council questioned Mt. SAC’s $14.5 million cost projection to move a controversial 2,200 spot parking structure during a study session Wednesday.

The session was well attended by residents of Timberline, who live across the street from the sprawling campus in Walnut. Homeowners have fought the structure for the past year, saying it will damage the quality of their lives.

The City Council has supported the residents and asked Mt. SAC to come to city hall to explain the other options studied for the parking structure. Mt. SAC President Bill Scroggins sat down to answer their questions.

“Our board asked staff to look at two general alternatives. One would be to move the parking structure to another location, another would be to downsize the parking at the present location,” Scroggins explained.

His staff estimated it would cost $14.5 to move the garage or $6 million to downsize it.

Councilman Tony Cartagena asked for more information than the three page handouts brought by Mt. SAC.

“Without that information, we cannot say whether this is accurate or not. Because the next step, we would like our city engineer check the other information you might have and figure out if the estimate could be cut,” Cartagena said.

Mayor Pro Tem Eric Ching asked how much time had been spent on the analysis. Scroggins said his staff began working on it in mid-December and took a month of preparation.

“One of the major factors is that we’re toward the end of the process of the development of the site — the architectural plans, state approval and site preparation,” said Scroggins.

To move the structure, he said the community college would have to start from scratch, delaying it by three years.

The Mt. SAC CEO added any delay would add 4 percent a year to construction costs due to inflation. Councilman Bob Pacheco questioned this inflation rate, feeling it should be closer to 3 percent.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story PARKING

Walnut City Council approves Walnut Esplanade

Despite opposition from neighbors, Walnut City Council has approved the construction of 13 new homes on 1.13 acres land at 650 Camino de Rosa.

Council members gave the greenlight to the Walnut Esplanade project proposed by The Olson Company of Seal Beach.

The five existing lots are zoned light commercial with a Montessori School and vacant property. Olson will build 13 single-family detached homes. The three- and four-bedroom homes will range from 1,733 square feet to 2,193 square feet plus two-car garages.

In February, council approved the general plan to amend the city’s housing element to comply with state law. The update included three areas along Valley Boulevard that were rezoned to including a mixed use housing opportunity overlay to the existing zoning.

Walnut’s Community Development Director Tom Weiner said the city had to identify space for 1,000 new homes for its “fair share” of regional housing needs. Instead of using open space or city parks for the homes, the city choose to designate the three Valley areas for high density housing projects.

Walnut Esplanade will be built on land now zoned for 12-36 dwellings per acre. Originally, The Olson Company had plans for 14 homes on the site, but the planning commission had concerns about on-site parking.

Original plans provided 3.5 spaces per home, but the developer agreed to eliminate one home to provide four parking spots for each residence.

In addition to more parking, Olson added more landscaping and decorative pavers. In December, the planning commission recommended approval of the project to city council.

Read more in Rich Irwin’s story ESPLANADE

Walnut Council crashes Mt. SAC board meeting

By Steve Scauzillo, Staff Writer

For the first time in history, the City Council held part of its meeting Wednesday night in front of the Mount San Antonio College board as a kind of visual protest against the college’s plan to build a five-story parking structure adjacent to Walnut homes.

With city staff in tow, all five City Council members drove from Walnut City Hall, where their meeting began, to Founder’s Hall in the center of the Mt. SAC campus, filled out white comment cards and were called one by one to address the college board face-to-face over an issue that is dividing the two institutions.

All five, along with about 20 community members, urged the Board of Trustees to halt plans to build a five-story parking garage abutting dozens of Timberline homes along Mountaineer Road and instead relocate the structure elsewhere on the large campus.

The tense drama included numerous threats of litigation from some City Council members and attorneys with the neighborhood group, United Walnut Taxpayers, if the project was not relocated.

Councilman Eric Ching reminded the trustees the city a few years ago took on Ed Roski, who proposed an NFL stadium in nearby Industry, in court. “Is that what you want?” he said.

The odd arrangement came about after Mt. SAC’s Board of Trustees refused to meet with the City Council in joint session or with a board majority. Members of both groups met informally twice but with no resolution.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story GARAGE.

Incumbents Pacheco, Su win hard-fought Walnut City Council race

Incumbents Robert Pacheco and Mary Su swept to victory Tuesday night in one of the most contested and expensive races in city history.

Pacheco, 79, the elder statesman who served on the City Council and then in the state Assembly only to return to the city last year, and Su, 55, the eight-year incumbent and a leader in the Asian community, won by a wide margin.

In a victory speech at Pacheco/Su headquarters Tuesday night, the former assemblyman denounced the big spenders and an attempt to influence the Walnut election from Sacramento.

“We want to make this city grow and make it free of bad influences,” he began. “They tried to take us down and they failed big time! Walnut is ours! It is the people’s city.”

A relieved Su said: “I’m really thankful for the Walnut residents who still believe in me.”

The pair easily defeated challenger Betty Tang, 46, the president of the Chinese American Parents Association.

With all votes counted and two seats up for grabs, Pacheco was the lead vote-getter with 2,114 votes, Su had 2,095 votes and Tang trailed with 1,659. Write-in candidate Dino Jimmy Pollalis had 139 votes.

The Walnut City Council race could be one of the most expensive in San Gabriel Valley history, with three of the four candidates spending $275,000, campaign records show.

A boatload of campaign dollars from across Southern California fueled a flurry of negative campaigning in the form of attack mailers and nasty emails.

Read more in Steve Scauzillo’s story ELECTION.

Assembly Republican leader apologizes for her involvement in Walnut City Council race

By Staff Writer Steve Scauzillo

The leader of the Republican Party in the state Assembly said her $5,000 contribution to a political action committee opposed to City Council candidate Mary Su was a mistake, according to Assemblyman Curt Hagman.

Assemblywoman Connie Conway, R-Visalia, who is running for state Senate, apologized to Su on Saturday after this news organization revealed Conway was one of only two contributors to the Long Beach-based Taxpayers For Quality Education, Su said.

Conway told Su and fellow Republicans in Sacramento that she thought the money would be used to fight SCA 5, a constitutional amendment that would reinstate affirmative action in public universities, according to Su and Hagman, R-Chino Hills.

“I know Connie. I talked to her and asked her straight up. She thought it was for another purpose,” Hagman said Monday during an exclusive interview. “She thought it was to oppose SCA 5.”

SCA 5 is a measure authored by West Covina Democrat state Sen. Ed Hernandez that would return affirmative action to school admission decisions. While the bill initially sailed through the state Senate, it faced opposition from more conservative Asian-American groups who feared its return would displace Chinese-American students.

Conway did not return several calls and messages Monday left on her cellphone.

Read more in SORRY

Walnut council candidate Betty Tang fights rumors and false accusations

BETTY TANG TO ADDRESS RUMORS AND FALSE ACCUSATIONS AT PRESS CONFERENCE

WHO: Betty Tang, Candidate for Walnut City Council.

WHEN: 11:00 AM Wednesday, March 19, 2014

WHERE: Betty Tang Campaign Headquarters
20837 Valley Blvd., Walnut CA 91789

CONTACT: Samuel Liu
(310) 989-3858
bettytangforwalnut@gmail.com

Candidate for Walnut City Council and first time challenger Betty Tang
will confront and address the vicious rumors and lies being spread through anonymous e-mails and news blogs. Betty Tang will address the plethora of rumors in a press conference at her campaign office located at 20837 Valley Blvd. Walnut, CA 91789.