Electronically Serving Monterey Park, Alhambra, San Gabriel, & Rosemead

Citizen About Town

Citizen About Town

By Nancy C. Arcuri, Editor and Publisher

Email: nancyarcuri@thecitizensvoice.net

During the January 17th Monterey Park City Council Meeting chaired by new Mayor Stephen Lam three interesting things happen.

One issue was the request by Torres Mortuary for a conditional use permit to establish a preparation room near their sales office located at 1965 Potrero Grand Drive in the city.

The Planning Commission approved their request on December 12th since it met with all of the city, county and state guidelines.

Councilmember Teresa Real Sebastian and Councilmember Mitch Ing appealed the Torres Mortuary request.

I recalled that when I moved into our city in 1971 we had two mortuaries or funeral homes.

One home was located on the site of the city owned parking lot at Lincoln and Garvey.

The other home was located on West Garvey on the south side of the street.

I remember that one because on one evening’s ride home on the bus the driver remarked that the party at this funeral home was a very loud wake.

The Rosemead City Council would not approve a mortuary in their city because of the public outcry against it. Newly arrived immigrants stated that the dead people would haunt their children as they walked by the site.

The Social Security Office in Alhambra, located on Garfield, was once the site of a large Catholic funeral home.

So much for superstitions!

This business will have a great location across the street from Resurrection Cemetery.

The state guidelines are very restrictive on the disposal of body and embalming wastes. Our sewer system may have to be upgraded at that location.

The Council listened to testimony from thirteen speakers and read emails from approximately twenty-five other supporters in favor of Torres Mortuary.

The Council discussed the issue after listen to all of the supporters.  Councilmember Teresa Real Sebastian opposed the issue. No business owners or residents opposing this issue addressed the Council.

Mayor Stephen Lam, Mayor Pro Tem Peter Chan and Councilmember Hans Liang voted to uphold the Planning Commissions Resolution for their conditional use permit.

Councilmember Teresa Real Sebastian voted no. Councilmember Mitch Ing was absent do to illness.

The second interesting issue was the Bike Project on Monterey Pass Road and the funding agreement between Monterey Park and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO).

The staff report stated the local city match will be appropriated in FY 2017-18, FY 2018-19, and FY 2019-20 using the following funding sources: MTA Monterey Pass Bike Grant (Fund 0459) $1,993,627, Measure R Fund (Fund 0110) $300,000, Proposition A Fund (Fund 0109) $750,000, Gas Tax Fund (Fund 0022) $800,000, and City Franchise Fund (Fund 0092) $143,626 for a total project amount of $3,987,253.

Sixteen business owners and their supporters asked the Council not to approve the METRO deal. They stated the safety hazards on Monterey Pass Road with heavy truck traffic, the number of accidents on the road between motorcycles and large trucks, speeders, no sidewalks and the loss of possible business during the construction project.

Approximately thirty-six bike riders and their supporters urged the Council to agree to the METRO project and create a safe bike lane on Monterey Pass Road that connects riders from downtown Los Angeles to East Los Angeles College and Cal State University Los Angeles.

The proposed bike lane would require the repaving of Monterey Pass Road for the entire project length (estimated at $1.4 million or 35% of the project cost) and the installation of a Class II Bike Lane (at grade, protected with parking and a planter buffer) along the street between Floral Drive and Fremont/Garvey Avenue (total of 1.6 miles).

The city and Edison would have to relocated power poles, water meters and fire hydrants.

Mayor Pro Tem Peter Chan expressed concerns about the heavy truck traffic and no sidewalks on Monterey Pass Road. He also stated that no general funds or sales taxes would be spent on this project.

Staff assured him that safety would be number one. Sidewalks are not included in this deal and would have to be installed at another time.

After asked several more questions on this project he said that we should take the grant or lose it.  The street would be safer after the project is completed.

Councilmember Hans Liang agreed that this project would make the road safer for all of us. He expressed concerns about the length of time to complete the project and the METRO funding.

Staff said the project is set up to fund in three or four years.  It could be amended by METRO since it is not 100% secure.

City Manager Ron Bow stated in all of the years that he worked with METRO on projects he never lost funding. It is a four-year process and we must meet the deadlines.

Councilmember Liang expressed his support for this project since the road belongs to all of us.

Councilmember Teresa Real Sebastian reminded the Council, the staff and the residents that METRO could defund the project at any time but would have to by law make the site of the project safe.

She also reminded everyone that the funds dedicated to closing the 710 Gap were being refunded to the cities to be used on their roads. We should use it to fix our roads and repair our potholes. We need to use this money for our best interests.

She supports bike lanes but not on Monterey Pass Road.

Mayor Stephen Lam stated the METRO grand was only for Monterey Pass Road. The bike lane would protect the bike riders. We need to take the money for this project. He supports the project.

Councilmember Real Sebastian reminded everyone that the City Franchise Fund (Fund 0092) $143,626 is from our Water Fund that is paid by the residents and business owners in our city.  The funds should be used to upgrade our water and sewer systems for all of us.  These funds would now be spent to move the water meters and fire hydrants on Monterey Pass Road for this bike lane.

The Council majority (Lam, Chan and Liang) voted to approve this project.

The third interesting event was the Council Meeting was extended several times from the 11:00 PM deadline until 1:00 AM the next morning.

Mayor Lam has stated that he hopes that the following meetings would not extend past 11:00 PM.

Have you been paying attention to the activities of all of our elected officials at the federal levels, state levels, county levels and city levels over the years?

Have you notices that many of these elected officials have forgotten their Oath of Office?

The California Oath of Office “I, their name, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter and during such time as I hold the office of (Job Title).

Many of our elected officials and judges have decided to write or re-write our laws to suit themselves and their constituents.

One case in point is the U S Senators and U S Congressmembers who failed to approve our Federal budget again because they were not able to agree on our Immigration Laws and the money to protect our borders. They caused an eight- hour shut down from February 8th to February 9th.

It seems the Democrats did not like the deal on the table because their “Dreamers” were not given everything their party pledged to them.

I resent that these elected officials put the “Dreamers” and other non-citizens’ safety, education, financial benefits and their sanctuary before our U S citizens.

I know that they are hoping to register these people as Democrats IF they become United States citizens.

I realize that some members of the Democratic Party are still upset that their chosen candidate Hillary Clinton failed to be elected as our president.

The television cameras’ viewed my local Congressmember Judy Chu, a Democrat, as sitting in her seat with her thumb pointed down during President Donald Trump’s first joint address to the Senate and Congress after he was sworn into office.

The LA Times again caught her in a picture published in their Sunday edition, dated February 4th, seating in her seat with her thumb pointing down during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech.

Does Judy Chu forget that she was elected into office to represent all of us (Democrats, Republicans, Independents and non-voters)?

I see her attending many local events in her district which is beneficial to her to meet and greet her constituents at the Lunar New Year celebrations, Cinco de Mayo, 4th of July, Veterans Day, Memorial Day and other Democratic events like “People Who Make a Difference” in Monterey Park.

Judy Chu and Mike Eng always have an annual toy drive at Christmas time to bring holiday cheer to the disadvantaged residents in their districts.

I want to remind all of our elected and appointed officials that they pledged to uphold our United States Constitution and protect us from all enemies both foreign and domestic.

They must respect the opinions of all of us and put United States citizens first and foremost when they approve our budgets and protect our borders. They should be more courteous to elected officials and residents who may have a more conservative view of the issues.

Most of all the elected officials need to remember that they work for us, the taxpaying American voters.

We can vote them out of office if they fail to meet our expectations.

The California government has voted to hold their primary elections on June 5 of this year.

Since the primary elections are earlier this year I suggest that you research all of the candidates running in your districts. Find out their plans and desires for your neighborhoods before you give them your vote.

The United States of America needs all U S citizens to elect the best people for the jobs of running our cities, our counties, our state and our federal governments.

We should all pledge to be kinder towards our fellow humans.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Lunar New Year and Happy Valentines Day!

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