December 13, 2008 Meeting Summary


E-mail reminder and phoning non-e-mail list.


Susan brought delicious brownies.


8 members


Agenda Items:

  • Ice Rink Project Update – funding, new operator
  • City financial situation
  • Other local development news
    • East Pasadena Post Office move
    • East Pasadena Urgent Care Center Update
    • St Lukes property development update
    • Nordstrom Rack into Hastings Village
    • Stonefire Grill additional info
    • Shakey’s Pizza -> adult entertainment -> parole board?
    • former Pleasures site
  • Unincorporated East Pasadena hotels action
  • Underground electric work on Alameda St.
  • Pasadena Marathon update
  • Hastings Library Birthday Party
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • Citizens Police Academy
    • Park pedestrian path opening time
    • Status of live theater at Sierra Madre Villa and Foothill

The meeting began at 11:24 am

  • Ice Rink Project Update – funding, new operator
    • Funding
      • Staff report reveals for the first time publicly that City Staff has been negotiating a  management agreement with “Los Angeles Kings/PIV”.   No public mention has ever been made previously that city was looking to have a different management then the current ice rink operator.  The report makes no mention of a change in plan in this regard, just states negotiation as if everyone knew.  Not further identification of this organization is given (such as what PIV stands for).
      • Total estimated project cost now $26,625,000.  That includes predevelopment expenses (redesign of park, utility undergrounding, soil and other site studies), design, construction, construction contingency.
      • Construction estimate is now $19,500,000 based on estimated cost savings from redesign since construction bids taken last fall.
      • Looking at need to finance $23,625,000, the total less the $3 million already contributed by PCOC (from civic center expansion funds).
      • Explains much higher per square foot construction costs result from conditions specific to the site including:
        • Uncompacted sand fill requires a structural system of $3.9 million instead of about $1 million for a slab foundation
        • Distance from utility connections results in expected cost of $1.1 million.  At a site “more ready for development” the cost would be at most half that.
        • Installation of traffic signal at Foothill and more then 500 feet of roadway/driveway is estimated at $500,000, also a doubling of cost.
      • Staff report contends cost of project per square foot is in line with other such project if cost inflation and these special items are accounted for.
      • Staff has been using a “draft proforma” submitted by Los Angeles Kings/PIV in working with investment bankers from Bank of America Public Finance Group to figure out the financing needs and options.  Studying projected revenues, expense growth, and debt service.
      • Studies show using interest rates during the summer a gap of $1.3 to $6.7 million between what projected revenues will support and the project cost.  So the city would have to contribute that amount up front to reduce the project cost to a financeable level.
      • With the recent increased interest rates for municipal bonds the gap would increase to $5.7 to 8.8 million.
      • The staff report also notes that details of the management plan still under negotiation could also impact projected gross revenues, thus changing the calculation (it doesn’t indicate whether the impact would be positive or negative, which probably means negative.)
      • The staff report then goes on to say that construction costs may be less now and that it would be good to take advantage of that in spite of the lousy financial markets.  It estimates several million dollars could be saved on construction by getting the bids and starting construction during the downturn.
      • It suggests a potential solution of the city using “internal borrowing” from funds it already has for other purposes to get construction started, then paying those funds back once the financial markets have recovered and a presumably better interest rate could be had. It says that the city could not use the financing to repay the interfund loan interest, so that would have to come out of the General Fund. It claims that using the already constructed facility as a city asset to secure the financing would also improve the situation. The last sentence does mention the possibility of the financial markets not recovering as hoped and/or drawing down other funds causing problems with their reserve policies.
      • Since it is just an “information item” it does not expect the Council to make a decision.  Apparently this is a way of starting public discussion.
    • New operator, design change, schedule
      • In this staff report it is noted that the city began negotiation in August 2008 with Los Angeles Kings / Polar Ice Ventures, LLC as the potential new operator for the ice rink.  (At that time there was a City Council private negotiations meeting noted on the agenda that identified the parties but nothing more.)
      • This report clearly assumes a contract with the LA Kings/PIV contractor, making no mention of the current operator that was to get the contract.  None of this ever discussed publicly, so don’t know how this works in terms of the current operator’s Civic Center lease issue.
      • It says that some redesign of the interior spaces plan has been requested, including:
        • reduction of private office spaces
        • increase in size of pro shop and skate rental rooms, which is expected to increase revenue
        • better circulation between locker rooms, team rooms, and restrooms
      • Because the existing plans had already been through the complete plan check process, the Council is being requested to approve an additional $91,275 for the architect to revise the plans.
      • It says staff’s schedule now has construction starting in spring 2009 and lasting 16 months. (Not mentioning the funding issue.)
        Complete LA Kings/PIV redesign January 2009
        Complete Construction Access Agreements January 2009
        Complete Plan Check January 2009
        Bidding February/March 2009
        Bid Evaluation April 2009
        Award Construction Contract April 2009
  • City financial situation
    • Operating budget update on City Council 12/15 agenda
    • Indicates that through October revenues are down 2.1% compared to last fiscal year (July to June). That’s about $1 million.
    • Majority of city’s expenses are for personnel, so a major area of saving is expected to be not filling some vacant positions.
    • Each department is being asked to spend at least 5% less then current budget and identify how to save an additional 5 to 10%.
    • Also looking at postponing some large equipment purchases, moving some costs from the general fund to “enterprise funds”.  (Example given is moving street sweeping to refuse funds. Doesn’t say it, but probably means increasing the refuse fee on our utility bills.)
    • Mentions state cuts could have devastating effect on city’s Public Health Dept budget. 10% already cut, expecting more.
    • Staff report lists the “unfunded priorities”, so Council can discuss how much a priority they really are.  Says staff will also be prepared to discuss the fund reserve levels and what reserve is appropriate to maintain.
  • Other local development news
    • East Pasadena Post Office move
      • East Pasadena Post Office is moving from its longtime 2609 Colorado location to 3016 East Colorado Blvd.  That is the southwest corner of Colorado and Kinneloa (where overflow Fedco parking was).
      • Move is expected to take place by the end of January.
      • New 2600 sq ft location will have 4 retail counters, 1294 P.O. Boxes, and an Automated Postal Center in the lobby.
    • East Pasadena Urgent Care Center Update
      • On December 8 the City Council approved negotiating and executing an architectural contract for plans, bidding, and construction management to remodel the existing building at 3060 E. Del Mar for use as an Urgent Care Center.  This is on the south side of Del Mar just where Kinneloa intersects.
      • City staff report is here
      • This is back to the location they had planned to move forward with in September but put off while investigating alternatives after some of the neighborhood objected.  Staff said they could not find a suitable alternative location.  Two most likely locations would cost somewhat more in the short term and because they would be leased the expenditure on building improvements would eventually be lost.  On the city site the $3.1 million of estimated building improvements would largely carryover to a future use for city offices if the Urgent Care Center doesn’t continue on there beyond the 5 year experiment.
      • Staff says studies of the soil conditions show the existing building foundation meets requirements.
      • Estimate Urgent Care use will generate 200 traffic trips per day.  Staff report says previous day care use generated 800 trips per day and that recent Del Mar traffic counts show it is only at 1/2 capacity.
    • St Lukes property development update
      • On December 8 a pre-plan review of the developer’s plan for the St Lukes site was supposed to take place at the City Council meeting.  The developer pulled the project back just in time to keep it off the agenda.  It is unknown when it might show up again
      • The proposed plan reportedly included development of 435,000 square feet of multi-family housing, more then double what currently exists.  Unclear whether they would be independent or assisted living units.  Also a high rise parking structure and another medical office building.  The convent and chapel would be turned into office space.  The parcel would be subdivided into 8 parcels to be sold off individually.
      • The Victory Rose neighbors (immediately south) expressed strong opposition and say they don’t want to get into negotiations with the developer (DS Ventures) on details because the plan is too far wrong for the spot and the developer has a bad reputation.
    • Nordstrom Rack into Hastings Village
      • An KABC channel 7 online story on Friday Nov 21 states that a Nordstrom Rack store will be opening in Hastings Village Shopping Center.   (Guessing the now empty former Wickes furniture store).
      • Story says it will be 42,000 sq ft and is expected to open next fall.
      • Nordstrom Rack is said to carry discounted / sales items no longer sold in the regular Nordstrom stores.
      • Kathy said she checked Nordstrom Rack web site and they mentioned a couple other places new stores are planned but not Hastings Village – so the KABC story may be incorrect.
    • Stonefire Grill additional info
      • Stonefire Grill is the eating establishment that is supposed to replace Baker’s Square.  That’s between Carl’s Jr. and Trader Joes on Rosemead.
      • An LA Times article of appeared on November 17.,0,2450156.story
        According to it:
        • Stonefire Grill is a small L.A. and Orange County chain of “fast-casual” restaurants.  This will be the 6th location.
        • Example main dishes given are mesquite-grilled tri-tip or chicken cooked with lemon and garlic.
        • The owner described the restaurant this way: “We are a fast-casual, order-at-the-counter, get-your-own-drink and get-your-own-condiments style of restaurant. We take care of the rest ourselves. Our menu is simple. The service is simple. We make really good meals that you could make at home but are better than what you might have prepared.”
        • Most employees are teenagers or college students working only a few hours a week.  Tips are optional.
        • 10 to 50% of orders are for takeout.
    • Shakey’s Pizza -> adult entertainment -> parole board?
      • The former Shakey’s Pizza location on Foothill Blvd was purchased by the city to settle a lawsuit and get rid of the adult entertainment Peppermint Garden.  It has been vacant since the city bought it.
      • According to Vice-Mayor Haderlein, the site is now under consideration for joint use as a state parole board office and police substation.  The state parole office current on Walnut much further west would move there.
      • City leaders do not think having the parole office there would pose a problem because parolees supposedly don’t want to hang out or do bad things where they are more likely to be caught.  Supposedly the office has not been a problem at its current location.
    • former Pleasures site
      • This was the adult entertainment site on Foothill across from Ralphs that was finally closed down near the beginning of this year.
      • According to Vice Mayor Haderlein, the site is currently being marketed and he has heard of proposals for both retail and office uses.
  • Unincorporated East Pasadena hotels action
    • A community group has been formed to fight the prostitution, drug sales, adult entertainment, and housing of sex offenders in the county area of East Colorado Blvd.
    • The organization is called EPIC (East Pasadenans Improving Community).  They are officially a non-profit and have a website
    • Sheriffs deputies reported to residents that the area was becoming LA County’s “red light district”.
    • East Colorado has long had some of these problems because it is unincorporated county between Pasadena and Arcadia and at the far edge of the Temple City sheriffs station territory.   Sheriff station is reportedly often shorthanded and has high turnover of officers.
    • A number of motels provide a base for much illegal activity.
    • The state parole board has been moving many sex offenders in because it is just far enough from schools and parks.  The motels offer weekly and monthly rates. They have also taken over some homes in the area.
    • The owners of the former Pleasures on East Foothill have moved down to Colorado and opened a place called the Show.
    • Recently two motels needed to renew Conditional Use Permits to continue operating.  Regal Inn (now Days Inn) and Lucky Star.  After sheriff deputies, Pasadena and Arcadia police, residents, and business owners testified at the hearing and petitions from others in opposition were turned in, those permits were denied.  The decision will probably be appealed to the Board of Supervisors.
  • Underground electric work on Alameda St.
    • On November 24 the City Council (item 5A1) approved a contract bid for “construction of underground electrical conduit equipment along Alameda Street, Sierra Bonita Avenue, and Altadena Drive.”
    • Not enough info in the agenda item to understand what will be done, and no schedule either.
    • The background given is: “Pasadena Water and Power Department (Department) has begun a capital improvement project to replace the 4 kV distribution system with a17 kV system to improve electrical service reliability. …  The proposed contract will allow the Department to construct the underground substructure necessary to connect the existing underground electrical system to the
      existing overhead electrical system in specified locations within 90 days after a Notice to Proceed is issued.”
    • The only statement at the Council meeting seemed to indicate there is a 4 kV conduit already underground which will be upgraded to 17 kV.  No other information was provided.
  • Pasadena Marathon update
    • Was canceled at 4 am the day of the race due to bad air from the wildfires.
    • Just announced that the Marathon has been rescheduled for March 22, 2009.
    • They said they could not reschedule it really quickly because of all the coordination needed, including with hired police/sheriff help and with churches.  They also said they couldn’t get most of their money back because the resources had already been committed.
    • One reason for choosing the March date is a notion that it could be used by marathoners in preparation for the LA marathon.
    • They expect their website to be ready to take registrations next week.
    • They expect to provide a “significant discount” to those who had registered for the original date.
  • Hastings Library Birthday Party
    • Hastings Branch Library will be celebrating it’s 50th birthday and you are encouraged to join in.  Mark your calendars.
    • Saturday February 21, 2009 from 1 – 3 pm.
      • City and library VIPs.  Past and present Hastings librarians.
      • Musical performance by students of the Pasadena Conservatory of Music.
      • Performance by Emmy Award winning children’s singer-storyteller extraordinaire Dan Crow.
      • Cake cutting and eating.  Perhaps a door prize raffle.
      • Balloon artists creating balloon sculptures for the children in attendance.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • Citizens Police Academy
      • One of our residents attended the Pasadena Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy course this fall and reported his experience to us.
      • He was impressed and encouraged by the experience and highly recommends it to others.
      • Course is offered once per year.  Announcement and registration is in August time frame.  Course runs one evening each week for 13 weeks.  A significant time commitment, but he felt it was well worthwhile.
      • Objective is for citizens to learn about all the different aspects of the police department and policing to aid in communication and understanding between the community and police.
      • Academy participants are taught about all the different lines of police work. They learn about the problems police face including specifics in Pasadena. They meet and talk with the command staff. They tour the various facilities such as jail, 911 center, heliport, shooting range.  They get a shooting lesson and can experience a shooting training scenario. They can go to the 911 facility and watch what happens during a shift.  They can do a ride along with a patrol officer.
      • Academy graduates are encouraged to volunteer their time for any of many different possibilities depending on their time availability and interests.   Possibilities exist for all kinds of time availabilities, physical abilities, personalities.  They include yellow shirt volunteers who watch for crime and discourage it by their presence in shopping areas or help out at events, helping out with youth crime prevention activities, helping out behind the scenes with filing paperwork or doing research.
    • Park pedestrian path opening time
      • Question was raised about what time the park pedestrian path is supposed to open because it was still locked quite late one recent day.
      • Believe the signs say 7 am.  Looks like we will have to start monitoring and complaining again.
    • Status of live theater at Sierra Madre Villa and Foothill
      • Question about the status of that development.  From what have heard it is still on track.
      • Think design has the remainder of historic Stuart Pharmaceutical building with a taller section of new building added on behind it for the theater.  The currently empty corner is where the 212 condos are to go.

Next meeting is January 10, 2009.

Adjourned about 12:30 pm