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 Oral Communications on April 18th I asked our Council who really runs our Monterey Park?

I have determined that our hometown is run by our staff members who recommend laws, businesses, commercial projects and housing projects to our commissioners and our councilmembers.

Now the residents want to know if our city attorneys have decided if it is legal to have Town Hall meetings before the OneLegacy appeal scheduled for May 16th?

Our Director of Community and Economic Development has decided that the OneLegacy’s organ harvesting tissue bank would be beneficial to our city.

This non-profit would be located at 1977 Saturn Street that borders our residential zone and other businesses in our Office-Professional zone.

This project will require a Conditional Use Permit for their so-called hospital to change our Master Zoning Plan for Monterey Park.

Only property owners located within 300 feet of this location were notified in English about this project being presented to the Planning Commissioners.

Staff presented a limited amount of details on the proposed use of the building and misinformation on their legal right to have a heliport on their roof to the commissioners and residents.

Staff failed to verify all of our laws on the books concerning this project.

The staff report failed to address the new traffic issues but reported that the site has a large amount of parking spaces.

Since they cannot have a helicopter bring in the brain dead donors on life support will they use ambulances with or without lights and sirens to bring in their donors into their 24/7tissue bank traveling from the 710, 10 and 60 Freeways to our city?

Will they have hearses arriving 24/7 to pick up the dead donors and again add heavy traffic to our city streets?

Our staff has not provided us, the taxpaying residents, with fair and balanced information for us to make an informed decision on this major change to our hometown.

I believe that we need a new law that requires our employees to notify us in writing and published in the Cascades, printed on our water bills and notifications posted on our city website and television station of any unusual Conditional Use Permit requests to change our Major Plan before they submit the project to our commissioners for their approval.

Monterey Park belongs to us, the taxpaying residents.

We have a legal and moral right to determine the future of our hometown.

Please have Town Hall meetings with the correct documentation and practical solutions for our city before we are stuck with the OneLegacy project.

During the Council Meeting on May2nd our city attorneys have determined that the city could not hold Town Hall meetings because it may cause legal issues with the applicant, OneLegacy.

Agenda item: 3-I Public Hearings/Conditional Use Permit Appeals Procedures

I thanked our City Manager Ron Bow and our City Attorney Mark Hensley for this very informative report on the legal procedures that the Council must follow on any appeals.

Your staff report did not address any proposed changes in the public notification process that is now being researched by our staff for the Planning Commission and this Council.

Your staff report did not address the cost of filing an appeal by the residents.  The cost of this current appeal was $1,576 paid for by a resident.  Why do we the residents have to pay for an appeal since we already paid for our staff’s time and our attorneys’ time with our taxes?

Your staff report did not answer the elephant in the room question why one or more of our staff members can support the request for a bizarre business that will not be providing any tax benefits to our hometown but will change the zoning of our Master Plan?

Monterey Park’s residents need stronger control over the types of businesses that our staff can recommend to do business in our city.

Council please suggest to our city manager and city attorneys they need to develop tougher guidelines for our employees to follow in the development of our hometown.

Another resident said she understands that the city can’t force the applicant to have a Town Hall. The residents wanted a public meeting with the applicant to ask questions on what is going on. She asked the Council to ask the questions for us.

Mr. Hensley warned the Council not to make any remarks on this issue until the Public Hearing on May16th.

Councilmember Hans Liang said since they would be acting as judges they would not change the current format. The applicant could hold public meetings but the City could not have Town Hall meetings.

Councilmember Mitch Ing remarked that he wanted the residents to have a chance to ask the applicant questions and the applicant should answer them. He suggested a meeting with a moderator to keep this under control.

He said that he understood the procedures but asked if the residents still have questions can the mayor reopen the public hearing? He wants the residents to have an opportunity to get their questions answered.

Councilmember Teresa Real Sebastian reminded them that they needed to have these due process procedures. Can the residents ask question on May 16?

Mr. Hensley said the residents could submit questions on the project during the hearing and the mayor can leave the Public Hearing opened until all of the questions have been answered.

Mayor Pro Tem Peter Chan agreed to use the current procedures for due process.

Mayor Stephen Lam also agreed to use the current procedures for this Public Hearing.

Agenda item: 6-B Consideration of Increasing Radius for Mailed Publication Regarding Land Use Applications

Staff provided information on various cities on their procedures to notify the public. Some cities used the 300 feet rule while other cities extended the radius out to 500 feet. Most of the cities notify the residents in English.

Two speakers addressed the issue. They both agreed that the 500 feet radius is not the best the city can do in notifying the residents on any Conditional Use Permits.  We need to notify the residents in English, Spanish and Chinese so everyone will be updated on any changes to the land use in their neighborhoods. The applicants need to hold community meetings so the public can ask their questions.

The Councilmembers all agreed that the city needs to notify all of the residents who life and property would be affected by any land use changes in their neighborhoods.

They suggested that any public hearings on land use be published in local newspapers and on the city’s website.  The Council wants to plan for the future and have the residents notified on each land use change case by case.

The Council gave directions to the staff.

Mr. Hensley said he and Mr. Bow need to discuss any changes to our current law and come up with a plan for notifying the public.

7-A Consideration of a Cannabis Tax Ballot Measure for November 2018

Councilmember Hans Liang suggested the city should consider having a ballot measure for the voters to decide if the city should allow cannabis to be grown and sold for sales tax benefits.

Cannabis is now legal in California because the voters approved this new law.

He addressed the facts that the medical use of cannabis has been very successful for people who have various illnesses like cancer since it stimulates their appetite and controls seizures in people with epilepsy.

I agreed with Hans Liang that cannabis sales could benefit our city since it is legal in California. The medical use of cannabis has been very successful for people who have various illnesses like cancer since it stimulates their appetite and controls seizures in people and pets with epilepsy.

Another speaker asked the Council to check out all of the facts before this measure in placed on the ballot.

Police Chief Jim Smith said the California Police Chiefs set up the laws for the use of medical marijuana.

Councilmember Liang asked the staff to research the issue and present their findings to the Council.

Councilmember Teresa Real Sebastian said we needed to know all of the pros and cons of cannabis. We need to hold Town Hall meetings on the issue.

Mayor Pro Tem Peter Chan joked as a college student he was one of a few students of the 80 students in his dorm who did not smoke it. This is not just a black or white issue. It is a personal choice to use cannabis like smoking or drinking. The state law has changed now it is legal. We need to learn all of the pros and cons with Town Hall meetings.

Mr. Hensley said they have 88 days to put this measure on the November ballot. The deadline is August 10th. Every tax needs a 2/3 approval to pass. The ballot measure would have to have any estimated dollar amount for the money generated. It would take his firm a couple of weeks to create the ballot measure.

Councilmember Liang said the voters would approve it or deny it. This should be an option up to the voters.

Mayor Pro Tem Chan agreed to let the voters decide and we need to have Town Hall meetings.

Councilmember Mitch Ing said he understood the benefits of cannabis. He would like to see it dispensed by a doctor or pharmacy and regulated. He does not want it cultivated near the schools. The banks insured by the FDIC can’t deal with the money since it is against the federal law. He also wants to have Town Hall meetings.

He is against this issue. We need to have other discussions on ways to increase our tax base.

Councilmember Real Sebastian said she is not making a moral decision. We need to put all of the facts on the ballot. We need research this issue and discuss the negative effects. She agreed that the banks couldn’t take the cash into their banks. This cash industry. She said some outlets have been robbed but they did not report it to the police.

Mayor Lam agreed that we needed Town Hall meetings and asked staff to research it and hold a Town Hall meeting.

Councilmember Liang said Town Hall meetings can be stacked but the voters can’t. He asked staff to set up Town Hall meetings to discuss the medical use and adult use of cannabis.

As a child of the 1960s and Haight-Ashbury this should be an interest discussion judging from the many years of illegal use of marijuana there is a strong market for the sale of cannabis.

I agree that the Monterey Park voters should decide on this issue.

Our United States Constitution guarantees your right to vote and your right to free speech. Our military members continue to protect our rights.

Please pray for them and thank them on Memorial Day and every day of the year!

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