UPDATE: ‘I am so hung over’

This just in from reproter Bethania Palma Markus:

Walnut City Councilman Joaquin Lim came to a press conference regarding the city filing a lawsuit against Industry over a proposed stadium hung over.

The former mayor told a handful of reporters at the 11 a.m. press conference that he got tanked the night before at a local bar that was closing down.

“You’ll have to excuse me,” he said. “I am so hung over.”

UPDATED INFORMATION:

Walnut Councilman and NFL stadium opponent Joaquin Lim revealed to reporters in an 11 a.m. press conference that he had met twice with billionaire developer Ed Roski, Jr, on March 6 and 13.

“I was asked to meet with him and I said I would,” he said. “I

simply asked if he would consider issuing a new EIR and his answer was no.”

Roski’s Majestic Realty Co. VP John Semcken said Roski asked Lim to meet with him to see what his concerns over the stadium were.

“(Lim) asked us to keep it confidential and we did,” Semcken said. “Nothing came of it unfortunately.”

Semcken said Lim had requested to meet alone with Roski but a trusted third party facilitator was called in. Lim was not available to respond to this statement Wednesday evening.


 

Walnut vs. Industry, round two

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Round one was tons of backlash from Walnut officials to the proposed NFL stadium project in Industry.

Round two is this:

WALNUT – The City Council on Wednesday night directed its special attorney to move forward with a lawsuit against neighboring Industry over an environmental report for a proposed NFL stadium.

In a closed session, city officials directed attorney Jan Chatten-Brown to move forward with litigation, officials said. The city has taken a formal stance against the project and demanded Industry prepare a new environmental report for the project.

Developers want to build a 75,000-seat National Football League stadium on 600 acres northwest of the 57/60 freeway intersection. The project also includes a huge retail component similar to the Universal CityWalk.

A few months after the stadium was proposed, some in Walnut publicly expressed concern about the project’s impact on the quiet, affluent community.

Reporter Bethania Palma is working on a story for tomorrow’s paper.

Walnut council (minus one) opposes recall

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Tensions seem to be running high in Walnut, where newly-inducted Mayor Mary Su and Councilwoman Nancy Tragarz (to the left, to the left) have been targeted for a recall effort.

The two, along with councilmen Tom King and Antonio Cartagena, held a press conference Saturday morning disputing claims that Tragarz and Su haven’t done enough to oppose the proposed NFL stadium in neighboring Industry.

Reporter Brian Day attended the press conference and said the first thing he got from Tragarz was a written statement, and a typed, two-page list of all the documented action she’s taken on the stadium. Gotta give her props for being prepared.

Here’s some of things she wrote on her list:

Sept 11: attended presentation at Senior Center until 10:30 to hear residents concerns

Oct 6-7: Receive approx 100-200 emails on stadium including alleged Brown Act violations

Oct 7-8: Researched law on Brown Act

Nov. 2-3: spent over 5 hours interviewing Task Force applicants

Jan: sent out additional 11 letters to Railroad, School Board, etc. enclosing resolution and asking for their support

Jan. 31: I attended Rally against the stadium

One interesting tidbit about Saturday’s meeting: Councilman and former Mayor Joaquin Lim wasn’t there. He told Day he wasn’t invited, and wouldn’t really give an opinion on the recall. Do I smell a rift coming on?

Industry asking for HUGE loan

The city is asking its 82 registered voters to give the city permission to borrow $500 million.
On Jan. 20 – the same day Barack Obama will be inaugurated – the city will hold a special election in which voters will decide whether to let the city sell bonds, which would be repaid by property taxes.
Mayor Dave Perez said most of the money would probably go toward widening Grand Avenue and doing other infrastructure around the proposed NFL stadium/retail center project.
In a story about the project, experts said the loan amount sought is uncommonly large.
Voters will also vote on five other amendments to the city charter, including one that would limit who can vote and another that would give the City Council complete discretion over who gets city public works contracts.

Top stories

Today’s top links in and around in SGV:

El Monte’s Community Policing program serves as model across the country. Read more.

Eight Cafe in Monterey Park sues city over redevelopment. Read more.

The City of Walnut wants more Asian-American cops. Read more.

Trash fees will go up once Puente Hills Landfill closes; officials fear some cities will withdrawl from support of waste-to-rail project. Read more.

The Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times, could be filing bankruptcy. Read more.

Harassment allegations out of Walnut

This email appeared in my inbox over the weekend. It’s from Rich McKee, a La Verne planning commissioner and open government advocate who has sued several cities in the name of the Brown Act. He also cc’d the email to the District Attorney’s office and Walnut city officials. He is alleging that some Walnut residents, who are in support of the NFL stadium, are victims of harassment at recent city council meetings:

Walnut City Officials:

I believe it is my responsibility to make you aware of my receipt of allegations of harassment and intimidation from four Walnut residents in regard to treatment they received both outside the recent city council meetings and within. All claim to be stadium supporters and all of the claims have been essentially the same, citing physical intimidation outside the meetings and continued harassment within.

How were they identified – - they were not wearing buttons in opposition to the stadium. I share these concerns with you, because all four allege that city officials did little or nothing to protect the First Amendment rights of those there to express their support for the stadium project, and allowed an atmosphere that made some fear for their safety.

It is my opinion that the city, without reasonable efforts to protect the rights of those coming to a limited public forum to express themselves directly to the city council on matters within its jurisdiction, when the city is aware of the harassment and intimidation, places itself not only in legal jeopardy, but in jeopardy of losing its reputation for fairness in representing all the residents of Walnut – - much as we saw happen a few years ago in places like South Gate.

Sincerely, Rich McKee

Getting the word out

The NFL stadium campaign is sure in high gear these days.
We got this invitation to attend an informational presentation on the proposed project from John Smecken.

Date: Friday, October 10, 2008
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Location: South Coast Air Quality Management District Government Center,
Auditorium
21845 Copley Drive, Suite 1170
Diamond Bar, CA 91765

Please RSVP to the Chamber at 909.860.1904 or info@regionalchambersgv.com

Do you think they’ll bring up the recent Walnut controversy and the Walnut City Council’s very vocal opposition to the stadium?

The black hole

This just in from Bethania Palma:

As if Walnut residents weren’t angry enough at City of Industry for proposing a 75,000-seat NFL stadium next door, a bad email address added insult to injury.

Walnut residents and city officials at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting said an email address provided by Industry intended for submitting comments and opinions on the NFL stadium was no good.

Today I tried to email the address given to residents, planning@cityofindustry.org and it shot right back into my inbox.

“This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification. Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently.”

I called Industry and asked where comments about the NFL stadium should be sent, and the operator said to the city manager, Kevin Radecki. But, she added, he would be out of the office until next Wednesday.

City of Walnut in hot water again?

Not too long after the DA issued a warning to the city of Walnut for alleged state open meeting law violations, Rick McKee with the government watchdog group Californians Aware is accusing the City Council of doing it again.

The initial DA warning was prompted by an Aug. 13 meeting in which the council went into closed session to discuss the qualifications of a certain employee to act as “liaison to the City of Industry with respect to pending projects of concern to Walnut.”

Instead, in the meeting, council members were polled by Mayor Joaquin Lim on whether they would support a resolution to oppose the construction of an NFL stadium in neighboring Industry, according to this story by reporter Bethania Palma.

Well according to a complaint sent to the city by McKee very early this morning, the council took action on yet another four unagendized items relating the proposed NFL stadium at its Sept. 24 meeting.

City administration acknowledges that, on September 24, 2008, “the City Council took action to establish a citizen’s task Force as a five member panel charged with monitoring the proposed stadium project and providing the City Council with advisory input.” (Agenda Backup, Item 8, October 8, 2008.)

Thus effectively, by employing surprise, the Council’s discussion and action on these four unagendized items of business denied the people their right to proper notice, thereby depriving interested members of the public the opportunity to comment directly to the City Council on these items before action was taken – - rights guaranteed by the Brown Act ( 54954.2 and 54954.3) and Article 1, section 3 of the California Constitution.

Most disconcerting is the fact that these violations come only 14 after the Council’s warning by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office of the Council’s Brown Act violations of August 13.

Cure Demanded: The City Council, as required by 54960.1, shall rescind the action taken on each of these four non-agendized items of business, identified above.

The complaint was also sent to the DA’s public integrity unit.

I’m sure we’ll be following this story today….

In the meantime, here’s the complaint:Walnut_-_Brown_Act_Demand_10-6-08-1.doc