“Bulldozing Baldwin Park”


Looks like CARA the Community Alliance for Redevelopment Accountability is turning to humor in their fight against a proposed multi-million dollar development in downtown Baldwin Park.

One of the group’s members sent me this yesterday.

Heres a story I wrote about the issue a few months back.

Residents oppose development
San Gabriel Valley Tribune (West Covina, CA) – March 15, 2008
Author/Byline: Tania Chatila, Staff Writer
Section: News

BALDWIN PARK – Property owners rallied against a proposed multimillion-dollar development this week at a forum backing eminent domain reform.

More than 200 residents and business owners attended the meeting Thursday at the Baldwin Park Marriott. It was hosted by the Community Alliance for Redevelopment Accountability, a Baldwin Park-based nonprofit formed in opposition to the city’s redevelopment plans for the downtown.

Baldwin Park is in talks with Bisno Development Co. for a 125-acre renovation of its main commercial corridor that could include a new hotel, a charter school and thousands of luxury residential units.

More than 200 businesses and homes face relocation through eminent domain, depending on the outcome of the project and two legislative initiatives – both slated for June – aimed at limiting eminent domain powers.

One of those initiatives, Proposition 98, was heavily pushed by several groups at the forum, including the National Federation of Independent Business/California, the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the Institute for Justice.

Proposition 98 would restrict city agencies from taking property through eminent domain and turning it over to private developers.

Marko Mlikotin, president of the California Alliance to Protect Private Property Rights, said the forum was meant to provide information to residents about Baldwin Park’s situation and gather support for the proposition.

“The government’s power to forcibly seize private property from property owners is unquestionable,” Mlikotin said.

He called the Baldwin Park case “one of the most egregious” he’d seen in years.

“The only thing that can save them,” Mlikotin said, “is legal reform.”

Among the several speakers Thursday was Jeff Rowes, an attorney with the Institute for Justice, which litigates property rights cases.

Rowes encouraged property owners to protest, make public records requests and create their own records of city actions.

“What Baldwin Park wants to do is replace people of modest means with rich people because rich people have more money,” he said. “I think the only realistic chance to save these neighborhoods is through a lawsuit.”

A question-and-answer period garnered several heated comments from angry residents and business owners who accused city officials of being evasive about project plans.

“I intend to retire when I’m ready,” said Rosalva Breceda, owner of the Maine Avenue Penhmar Beauty Salon, “not when the city says they need that space.”

Other residents – some of whom were not from Baldwin Park – told stories of losing their homes through eminent domain.

“What you see here is the heart of Baldwin Park,” said James Treasure, president of CARA. “This is just the beginning of our movement.”

City officials have refuted claims they’ve been deceitful and have said their plans will benefit Baldwin Park.

While in support of the project, Councilman Ricardo Pacheco said he believes better communication could make the proposed development less contentious.

“The city itself needs to do its public outreach to get input from the community,” Pacheco said. “I think we need to emphasize more inclusion.”


(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2109

Springing forward with help of water


I used to think that elected water boards were just the place where those on the verge of retirement go to make a few extra bucks — well, about $35,000 a year, which is pretty damn close to my salary. Oh yeah, and a place where they can get health perks, travel budgets, car allowances and cell phones.

But it looks like it is also the place where it continues someone’s political career. I just got off the phone with a water official who said that West Basin Municipal Water District Director Donald Dear has his eyes set on Assembly. When I get some more time, I’ll try to come up with a list of other water officials that have used their water seats to springboard to higher office.

Here’s a bit more on Dear:

Board President Donald L. Dear was elected to the West Basin Board of Directors in November 2000 to represent the cities of Gardena, Hawthorne, Lawndale and unincorporated portions of El Camino Village. He is currently serving his second term after being re-elected in November 2004. Director Dear came to the Board with a vast array of experience in public service, serving as the Gardena Mayor for nine consecutive terms before retiring in 2001. He is also a widely respected, award-winning teacher who taught at Stephen White Middle School in Carson for 37 years.

San Marino schools vs. Pico Rivera schools

While driving through San Marino last weekend, I passed a beautiful, remodeled high school. Then, I saw a sign that marked the donations — which is in the hundreds of thousands — to the school district. “Public education is not free,” the sign read.

I normally don’t meander through San Marino. My routes usually take me through West Covina, Covina and Baldwin Park. I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I guessing that there is a significant disparity among the donation efforts in San Marino versus Baldwin Park or Pico Rivera.

Airan Scruby reported today that four Pico Rivera schools are slated for closure. I am sure that San Marino schools are facing their sets of hardships, but I wonder: Have any schools closed in San Marino?

Term limits on the way

Rosemead voters should expect another election, only this time on whether to approve term limits. Council members on Tuesday agreed that they want to take term limits to the voters. The term limits will be a total of three terms, or 12 years. The council members must sit out for two years and then they can run again.

How will you vote?

The half-a-million dollar hang-up

I wrote a story in todays paper about La Puente’s legal troubles.

It seems the city and Victor Gudzunas – who owns the Hacienda Mart strip mall at 1313 to 1335 N. Hacienda Blvd. – cant seem to agree on a sale price for Gudzunas land.

Theyre off by $500,000. Gudzunas final demand of the city is $6.5 million and the citys final offer to Gudzunas is $6 million.

Just some background: the city has been trying to acquire this land for a year to build a commercial retail center. City attorneys filed legal documents in court last July to start the eminent domain process.

Throughout the proceedings, the city and Victor have been trying to negotiate a settlement – but to no avail. There seems to be a lot of that going on in City Hall these days.

City officials and Gudzunas made it pretty clear that trial is eminent. It could begin as early as May 19.

Masseuses not wanted

Reporter Bethania Palma reports today that Azusa wants to crack down on massage parlors.

Apparently, the city imposed a temporary moratorium on massage therapy businesses on Monday, following suit with cities like Glendora and Pasadena.

According to Palmas story, the moratorium comes on the heels of recent prostitution busts at businesses posing as massage clinics.

In Azusa, all new permits and ownership transfers for such businesses will be halted for 45 days.

I just wonder what happens after the 45 days are up?

Birthday paaaaartaay

I spotted this buried in my e-mail. It was sent to me on Friday, April 11 by Celeste Mandervile, a La Puente resident who unsuccesfully ran for City Council in November. I think its safe to say it was accidentally e-mailed to me because I dont ever get invited to politicians or potential politicians birthdays. Not that I would ever go! Except maybe to spy …. I kid, I kid.

Hey Everyone,

Its BIRTHDAY time!!! I will be celebrating my 30th Birthday tonight (Friday the 11th) at

Tokio lounge/club
1640 N Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 464-2065

I want to see everyone there to celebrate the BIG 3-0…hahaha I will be getting there around 10:30-11pm.. I will probably be a little tipsy by then. I will also be shutting off my phone so please don’t flip out, I just dont want to loose my phone! Everything will be fine, just let the people at the door know you are here for my birthday partaaaaaaayyyy and there is no cover charge either…yaaaayyy! Also there is vallet right in the front! or you can just find parking else where but you better be there…No Excuses!!

Please e-mail me back with how many people you are coming with!!!

See you tonight!!



Sounds like it was quite the party….

Behind the scenes

Just a peek at what some of your cities are considering or looking into… nothing earth-shattering.


I am looking for some information on food service user lease agreements for restaurants/caterers who use City facilities. I am specifically looking for a food service user contract lease agreement where a resturant/caterer leases space in a City facility to conduct their business. If you do not this specific contract agreement, any food service user lease agreements would be helpful. Any information regarding this subject would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance.

Charlene Reck
Administrative Intern
City of San Dimas
(909) 394-6204

I didnt realize cities had administrative interns that did this kind of work.