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

At the November 20 Monterey Park City Council Meeting during Oral Communications I reminded the Council, staff and residents during the November 6th Council Meeting the Recall people were very loud and rude to Hans Liang, Peter Chan, Mark Hensley and Karl Berger.

They were out of order and should have removed from the chambers by the police officers. Maybe they should have been arrested for disrupting our Council meeting.

Our city attorneys did a great job explaining the Redistrict Map issue on the Staff Report.

Mitch Ing, Teresa Real Sebastian with their supporters and Stephen Lam tried to demand an Emergency Ordinance to cancel the Redistricting map for the March 2020 Election. They failed to meet the qualifications.

Hans Liang and Peter Chan voted NO so their motion failed.

Mitch Ing, Teresa Real Sebastian and their followers now want to fire our City Attorneys from Hensley Law Group because they did not get their way to overturn our new Election Law voted on by all five Councilmembers.

If you recall that Mitch Ing along with Betty Tom Chu and Frank Venti fired the Canzoneri Law firm and hired the Hensley Law Group. They decided that they did not like the lawyers because they did not favor them over other Councilmembers.

Our city attorneys’ first duty is to protect our hometown of Monterey Park. They are paid to advise our Council, Commissioners and staff on legal issues that could cause our city harm.

Now Mitch Ing and Teresa Real Sebastian want to play that game again.

Please don’t let Mitch Ing and Teresa Real Sebastian decided on who should be our city’s legal team since they will be out of office after the March 2020 Election.

During this discussion Teresa Real Sebastian said the Map Four they approved was flawed because it did not take into consideration the will of the people.

I guess she did not remember that Robert McEntire, our consultant stated many times that to qualify the maps must be based on the 2010 census of Monterey Park. Our 62,000 plus residents must be equally divided into five districts and one district must include most of our 28% Hispanic residents.

Mr. McEntire said that after the 2020 census we may have to change the district boundaries based on the number of residents now living in Monterey Park.

Mr. McEntire also said just because a district is set up for Hispanics that other residents in that district could also run for a Council seat.

Mr. McEntire recalled that one city is Southern California had a large community of African-Americans so they had their own district. One of their residents was White. He was elected again and again because he was the best person for the job.

Frank, my husband and I attended a Meet the Candidates Town Hall Meeting held at Belvedere Park in East Los Angeles before Gloria Molina was first elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 1991.

One candidate I don’t recall his name, said he is a poor Mexican dressed in a suit and tie. Please vote for me.

My husband and I looked at each other in surprise. We decided that he is not our candidate of choice.

Gloria Molina greeted the audience with her name and asked us to vote for her. She promised to do her best to serve us as our County Supervisor.

Gloria Molina won the election and served the residents to the best of her abilities.

Frank Arcuri asked the first candidate why he said he was a poor Mexican dressed up in a suit and a tie? He could have been Greek or Italian.

The candidate lost the audience with his opening statement.

We then realized some people play the race card to try to improve their chances for success.

Most of the time playing the race card only causes failure.

During the December 5th City Council Meeting the Council discussed a draft of the Land Use Element of the General Plan. They had another Public Hearing and made some changes to the final draft. Please see the December 5th agenda to review agenda items 2-A and 3-A.

The Councilmembers asked several questions from staff and the consultant. After a lengthy discussion the Council majority (Hans Liang, Teresa Real Sebastian, Stephen Lam and Peter Chan) voted to place a Proposition on the March 2020 ballot for the residents to approve or deny the new land use element. Mitch Ing vote NO because it was a complicated issue that would affect our hometown for the next twenty years.

All of the Councilmembers requested four Town Hall Meetings be held before the election so residents could review the documents and determine it is how they vision Monterey Park over the next twenty years.

Please attend one of these meeting so you can make an educated decision with your vote.

The Land Use Element can be viewed on the city’s website.

Another agenda item was 3-B should the Council place a Proposition on the March 2020 ballot to amend Measure L.

I reminded the Council in 1982 Measure L was approved by the Monterey Park voters to prevent developers from over building housing projects in our hometown.

Henry Terashita was our community development director. He offered advise to the sitting Councilmembers, the sitting Planning Commissioners and the developers.

He did not listen to the residents’ concerns about the over building of our city.

Developers with overseas funds decided they wanted to build up our city to match their hometowns.

They did not always follow our building guidelines on setbacks, building heights and stuffed as many units they could on a property that previous had a single-family home on it.

The residents were concerned that the new construction would damage our sewer lines and water pipes built for a single-family home.

There were also questions on the quality of the construction of the buildings that did not meet our guidelines.

If you visit some of the city’s R-3 zones you can see the over crowding of the residential neighborhoods before the Monterey Park voters took back the control of their hometown with Measure L.

My best advise was to you sitting Councilmembers is to put the question to the voters for them to decide if they want to give up their control over large real estate projects of one acre or more.

Our future is for us, the residents to decide on what is best for our hometown.

Another resident wrote a very strongly worded letter that the Council should never consider taking the voters’ power to make major land use decisions away from them.

The Council discussed the issue and determined that the residents did not want Measure L amended to give the Council majority (4 to 5 votes) to make land use decisions on properties one acre or more.

They all agreed that this ballot issue many have a negative effect on the Land Use Element ballot measure.

The decision to ask the voters to amend Measure L was tabled for a future meeting.

Mitch Ing and Teresa Real Sebastian wanted to discuss our current legal council.

Mitch Ing said the Council hired Jenkins and Hogan to be our legal council.  After they were hired it was discovered that this law firm has legal issues of their own.

So Mark Hensley, a junior lawyer, started his own law firm with several members of the old firm.  The city has contracted with his firm since 2009.

Mitch Ing said the Hensley Law Group was hired without sending out an RFP. Now he wants the Council majority to require our staff send out a RFP to government attorneys and maybe hire another law firm.

Teresa Real Sebastian said we have worked with the Hensley Law Group for ten years. We should consider a larger law firm to represent our city.

It was a very heated discussion. Assistant Attorney Karl Berger said this discussion should be held in Closed Session since it was a discussion on personnel matters.

Currently our law states that three votes from the City Council could fire or hire our city attorneys and/ or our city manager.

I believe that our city law should be amended from three Councilmembers votes to four Councilmembers votes to hire or fire our city attorneys or our city manager.

This decision should be supported by legal proof of any misconduct. The new law should be based on our Emergency Ordinance. It should not be a hasty decision made by any Councilmembers being upset over any legal decisions or their perception of our city manager’s ability to run our city.

The city attorney and city manager may serve at the Council’s pleasure. The Councilmembers serve at the Monterey Park voters’ pleasure.

Councilmember Stephen Lam announced that he would not seek reelection to the City Council.

Since Mitch Ing, Teresa Real Sebastian and Stephen Lam will not be serving on our City Council after the March 2020 election I believe that new Councilmembers with Hans Liang and Peter Chan should be the Councilmembers who make this critical decision for our hometown.

Wishing my writers and my readership a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happiness in the New Year 2020!

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