Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What's Going on in Sleepy La Puente?

Frank Sanchez (left) and Jeff Lewis

As a child I grew up in sleepy La Puente, which at the time had more orange trees than people, somewhat like a farm town where everyone driving by or upon horseback would wave hello. Occasionally I get feelings of nostalgia and if I’m in the vicinity I’ll drive by our old house on Maple Grove and Valinda, which always gives me good feelings of my childhood.

With the population explosion every vacate field and orange grove is now covered with homes or businesses, and the country feel has vanished to be replaced by suburban living.

Last week I met with three business owners and residents of La Puente, as I pondered how they knew I had a soft spot for their city, to discuss improprieties committed by their elected and appointed city officials.

Many cities in Los Angeles County are strapped for cash, and La Puente is no exception as the mayor and city council struggle to find ways to increase cash flow and stay afloat.

One way to the city discovered was permitting the opening of marijuana dispensers, which the city now hosts twelve, that gained the needed permits in record time, one month. Another method has been the earthquake retrofit of existing buildings, which has put several businesses on the street, as they were unable to comply with the hefty costs associated with such demands.

Many business owners are fearful to say a word publicly for fear the building inspector will appear at their business and cite them for the smallest infractions or call for an earthquake retrofit, that they cannot afford at this time.

Craig French one of the leaders of the coalition called the Voice of La Puente read the following letter below at last weeks city council meeting:

Craig French at the right

To go over comments that were made at the last meeting about the downtown area.

It was said that the town after 6 pm is dead and there are no businesses to go to. Well a couple of us did a survey of that to see if that was true. We counted 84 businesses between Main Street and along both sides of 1st Street and on Old Valley behind Main Street. Out of 84 businesses there were 44 businesses opened at 6:30 pm and 7 business unoccupied or up for rent.

We then proceeded to the busiest intersection in our City at Amar and Hacienda Blvd. We started at the Plaza behind the empty Hollywood Video Bldg and proceeded around the Mobil Gas Station and down Hacienda Blvd. all the way to Maple grove where the Church is. We found that at 84 possible vacancies that only 27 businesses where open compared to the 44 businesses in the downtown. They’re where also 9 unoccupied businesses compared to 7 in the Downtown.

If you wish to develop anywhere in La Puente, I feel you should start here since there is more traffic on Hacienda blvd than on Main Street. I would like to know the stats for traffic in both places.

It was also mention that this was a blithe area. I do not think so. A lot of money has been invested into these buildings. Tic Tac restaurant for example have invested a huge amount of money in their restaurant, so has Mancillas Printing, I myself have invested in my 2 story building by installing 29 windows plus new doors and countless other things. Everyone has done something to improve his or her buildings. The past city councils have invested through their hard working staff acquiring grants for the trees with electrical outlets installed, street furniture, lights, awnings, refacing and painting all the buildings and more. I’m sorry I do not see it that way.

The city is not liable if an earthquake happens and the city has fulfilled their duties in abiding by the state laws. The statements by Mayor Pro Tem that the city is breaking the law is unfounded.

If those of you who are intent of destroying the downtown are only looking one way and not for the good of the community, you are not fulfilling your duties to the citizens and businesses of this community. Last but not least I would like to ask the City Attorney a question. Is it proper for a Mayor Pro Tem who is the Founder of JDL Mortgage at 15835 East Main Street in the Center of downtown and who is the Chief Financial Officer of this Corporation allowed to vote on the retrofitting in the downtown area. He should recluse himself from voting. Simply for the fact of conflict of interest. I’m I not right. Can you answer this for me please?

Finally, what you are trying to pass here tonight with more code enforcement at any time and any building without prior notice is an outrage and is a violation of our civil rights, you better be careful because of possible litigation that may arise from this.

Contact information:

Jeff Lewis 626.993.5942

Francisco Sanchez 626.961.6000

Craig French 626.968.8875

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