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

The hot topic in Monterey Park is OneLegacy’s request to have Conditional Use Permit issued to them to locate at 1977 Saturn Street in our Office-Professional zone. They want to establish their headquarters with a phone center and several operating rooms to harvest organs from donors.

Our city staff is calling their project a “Hospital” for their possible zone change.

OneLegacy is called a “Tissue Bank” by our Federal government.

The City Council requested the March 13th Planning Commission meeting be televised and sent out live at the request of the residents.

The chamber was filled with standing room only by concerned residents who were strongly against “OneLegacy”’ request for their organ harvesting hospital with a heliport in our city.

During the Planning Commission’s March 13th meeting the city disclosed that the applicant “OneLegacy” withdrew their request for a heliport on the roof of 1977 Saturn Street based on the city’s finding Ordinance No. 1627 which deletes “airport and heliport” and “helipad” from any request for a conditional use permit in all zones.

This ordinance was introduced on January 28, 1985 and passed, approved and adopted on February 11th, 1985 by all five members of the City Council (Chen, Briglio, Manibog, Peralta and Almada).

David Barron and Margaret Leung brought this information on this ordinance to light and requested documentation from our City Clerk’s office for this meeting.

I already left City Manager Ron Bow a message on March 14th that this was the second time that our staff failed to locate ordinances that were approved and passed by previous councilmembers or the voters over the years.

I also advised him that on page 6 of the Planning Commission’s original staff report dated February 27 above the signatures lines “Fiscal Impact mentioned a possible increase is sales tax revenue”. I don’t believe that it is legal to sale human body parts in the United States.

Thank goodness that the collective memory of our longtime residents have forced our staff to research and review our archives for old ordinances.

I understand that most of the old ordinances are on “micro-fish” and they are not able to replace any of the broken equipment.

Now is time for our Councilmembers to budget funds to scan all of these documents into our computer files.

“OneLegacy” is still requesting that the Planning Commission approve their Conditional Use Permit for their “hospital” in our Office Professional zone.

OneLegacy’s fact sheet states they are federally designated by the U S Department of Health and Human Services and a licensed tissue bank regulated by the Food & Drug Administration. They are a tissue bank not a hospital.

The Planning Commissioners voted to approve the Conditional Use Permit for “One Legacy”’s at their March 27th meeting.  (Editor’s Note: Please Read Attention Monterey Park Residents Editorial for more information.)

During the April 4th Meeting I asked the Council and staff:

I would like to know who really runs our Monterey Park?

I am one of thousands of residents who requested English on our business signs in the late 1980s.  The Council majority denied our request for English subtitles on the business signs. Senator S. I. Hayakawa came to our rescue and helped make English the official language of California.

So our business signs required English subtitles until our current city attorney’s office decided that it might be unconstitutional to require English subtitles regardless of any health and safety issues.

Previous Councilmembers declared that we could not have a card club in Monterey Park because they didn’t believe in gambling until California created their state lottery.  Many of our local business owners sell lottery tickets every day. Have you noticed the numerous tour buses that drive out of our hometown every day going to casinos taking possible sales tax dollars with them?

Previous Councilmembers declared that we could not have billboards along city owned property near the 60 Freeway for additional rental income because it might make our city look trashy.

Previous Councilmembers declared that we could not have any marijuana dispensaries in our city while it is legal in California but not in the eyes of our federal government. However, there could be a sales tax benefit for our city.

Our residents voted on large parcel of land for a zone change from Commercial to Residential for the 80 units on Potrero Grande Drive. We now have additional property taxes being paid by these homeowners.

Now one or more of our employees in our Planning and Economic Departments has declared that we should have a Conditional Use Permit for a tissue bank that harvest organs in our Office-Professional zone.

OneLegacy, the applicant, would not be paying any sales tax to our city on these donated organs.  What is the benefit to us, the taxpaying voters?

Maybe our Planning and Economic Departments should also request Conditional Use Permits for an abortion clinic, a Hemlock Society for early life termination or other special types of medical facilities in our Office-Professional zone.  Would they be of any financial benefit to our city?

I understand that our Planning and Economic Development Departments should be locating businesses to move into Monterey Park to bring in sales tax and property tax dollars to our city.

They should not recommend any of these strange conditional use permits in our city without input from all of us, the taxpaying voters.

We elect our Councilmembers to serve us and make to best decisions for our hometown.

We don’t hire our employees who work for us.

So I ask again who runs our hometown?

Five other speakers questioned the actions of several employees on this issue, the cost of an appeal, the cost of our resources being used by non-profits in our city who don’t pay taxes and the zone changes by Conditional Use Permits. We need to monitor our Master Plan.

We need Council to hold several Town Hall meetings before the Appeal Process begins.

Councilmember Mitch Ing, Mayor Pro Tem Peter Chan and Mayor Stephen Lam asked staff to see if they can hold Town Hall meetings before the May 16th Appeal Hearing.

Councilmember Teresa Real Sebastian cautioned them that we have to proceed with caution as not to have legal ramifications on this issue.

City Attorney Mark Hensley said he would have to check on the legal issues of holding Town Hall meetings before the appeal process.

On April 4th Randy Mikuriya filed an Appeal at the City Clerk’s office on this Conditional Use Permit. The cost to file this appeal was $1,576 paid for by some of the residents who reside very close to this property.

I questioned Item 3-H Planning Commission’s Appeals during the same meeting.

Since our Planning Commission approves Condition Use Permits for our city and their decisions affect our quality of life and property values we can appeal their decisions for a price of $1,576 within the current time frame of 19 days.

Now the Planning and Economic Development staff wants to reduce our 19 days to appeal to 10 days.

Why are they in such a rush to reduce our time to appeal any zoning decisions that we disagree with that will affect our hometown?

I believe that staff was surprised by the angry response from the taxpaying voters on the OneLegacy tissue bank they want to call a hospital and their request for a heliport.

The residents believe that the staff was trying to pull a fast one on us. They also said the notices should have been sent out in English, Chinese and Spanish, our three major languages.

Did our city violate the residents’ Constitutional right to receive legal notices in their native languages?

Why does it cost the residents $1,576 to appeal and how are these funds spent on an appeal?

We pay our taxes to our city so why is our city charging us to defend our health, safety and property rights on these questionable zoning changes that may not benefit our hometown?

History in Monterey Park always repeats itself since once again the taxpaying residents are concerned that our staff is trying to pull a fast one of us.

Please do not reduce the 19-day appeal time frame on any Conditional Use Permits in our hometown.

Councilmember Teresa Real Sebastian stated that this action would not affect the appeal process for OneLegacy. This action would only correct our law that all appeals must be made within 10 days of the decision.

The Council, the residents and some of the staff didn’t know that the residents had to pay for an appeal.  The law only states a fee is charge for an appeal.  It is usually the developer who files an appeal.

This law needs to be change to allow the taxpaying residents to file appeals without paying for our lawyers’ time and our staff’s time since we already pay their salaries.

The Council approved this agenda item.

They requested that the notification of Conditional Use Permits process and the cost of the appeals be researched and brought back to them for their review in the future.

I am still trying to find out who really runs our hometown.

Please begin your homework to research the history of the many candidates running in our June 5th Primary Election as well as any propositions on our ballots.

A taxpaying voter can impact the future of our city, our county, our state and our United States of America.

We live in “the land of the free and the home of the brave” because many men and women fought and died for our America.

Your vote is very important so please honor their bravery and use your freedom to vote.

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