The Tribune had an editorial meeting with members of the Canyon City Alliance and Azusa council members Robert Gonzales and Uriel Macias today.
After listening to their pitch, an interesting comment came about during discussions about Measure A and the Azusa Rock Quarry mining project.
It is and has been the position of the majority of the City Council, Azusa, and the CCA that a no vote on Measure A would only nullify Vulcan Materials Co.’s amended mining plan’s development agreement, but that its use permit would stand. Essentially, the mining would be allowed to continue but many of the benefits negotiated by the city with Vulcan Materials would be lost (a fact that remains questionable).
Now, of course that all comes with the caveat that legal challenges – and you can be sure there would be one – could argue the CUP and development agreement are tied together and upon success in a legal challenge, they both could go down.
But barring that hypothetical, the question was posed what would stop Azusa from negotiating a new development agreement connected to the project if this one is rejected?
The answer, in short, was nothing, according to Macias.
The long answer was no one knows what will happen during a no vote. Litigation? New deal? It is all something of an unknown, Macias said.
“With (Measure A) we know whats going to happen,” if it is passed, Macias said. “With a no, we don’t know. (Supporting Measure A) is us taking control of our own destiny.”
But to me, that said that, barring a legal victory to the contrary, a no vote on Measure A could lead to the city renegotiating new benefits with Vulcan. Whether or not Vulcan will listen, is certainly a question. And the company would then be put in the position of having a significant amount of leverage.
UPDATE: Azusa Councilman Keith Hanks phoned me and reminded me that there is a one year “cooling off” period following a referendum of a council action. So if a new deal were to be struck, it would have to be done in 2012.
UPDATE TWO: Macias called and had this statement regarding the potential for future negotiations:
“We have done that already. We told them no when they wanted to expand to 270 acres and the first time in May when we negated it and went back to the negotiating table. We have in fact already done that.”
On a related note, I asked Canyon City Alliance officials if they would be donating to candidates in the City Council election. President Liz Ramirez said those discussions have not taken place with board members. Chamber of Commerce board member Mercedes Castro said that after Jan. 26 (the referendum special election is Jan. 25) the group intends to disband.
UPDATE: (I really hope this is the last one, I have received more phone calls on this post than any other.) Castro called me and told me she misspoke when saying the CCA would disband following the referendum election. The group will still exist, but may close its offices, she said.
Macias then jumped in and said he would not accept any money from Canyon City Alliance.
It is well known that Vulcan is a member of the CCA, contributes services and is the major source of funding for the group.
(An earlier version of this story identified Mercedes Castro as the Chamber of Commerce President. Castro is the former president.)