March 11, 2017 Neighborhood Meeting Summary


E-mail and phone reminders


10 members


Susan brought red grapes


Agenda Items:

The meeting began about 11:25 am

  • Annual Election of Officers
    • Our annual election of officers took place during the meeting.
    • There were no new candidates.
    • 10 ballots were submitted, resulting in the following tally:
      • President – Laura Ellersieck: 10
      • Vice President – Kathy Vacio: 10
      • Secretary – one write-in for Sharon Stockdale (who declined)
      • Treasurer – Rosalie Gonzales: 8
  • Newsletter acknowledgements
    • The newsletter was completed and ready to go by Friday February 24, but we put off starting distribution until Tuesday February 28, after the expected weekend rain/sprinkles.
    • Thanks go to Pro Printing, Inc of Irwindale, CA (626.814.3338. [email protected]) for donating resources for writing, editing, proofreading, layout and typesetting.
    • Thanks go to Sharon Stockdale for arranging the donation, being inspired to write history article and produce the newsletter, and for personally donating the cost of paper and printing.
    • Thanks to Bev Ashley for the Jerk story idea and information.
    • Thanks to Laura Ellersieck for the text for the more boring articles.
    • Thanks to Susan Chu, Gloria Vacio, Bev Ashley, and Laura Ellersieck for distributing the newsletters.
  • Hastings Ranch Plaza leasehold (Sears etc) sold
    • “Hastings Ranch Plaza” is the formal name for the area that includes Sears and everything to its east and south to Michillinda and Foothill, such as CVS and Marshall’s.
    • In February 2017 it was announced that the 273,581 square foot shopping center was sold to a new investor owner, Federal Realty Investment Trust.
    • They reportedly paid $29.5 million for the “leasehold interest”, purchasing it from Riviera Center Management.
    • “Federal Realty anticipates increasing the value over time through potential redevelopment and/or the re-leasing of space currently leased at below market rents.”
    • “The Property boasts demographics that enhance Federal Realty’s already sector-leading position, with 141,385 people and average household incomes of $119,886 within a 3-mile radius.”
    • History:
      • Sears obtained a master ground lease to the property in 1956. The Sears building was completed by 1958; everything else was parking lot. The master ground lease was reassigned many times over the decades since, but Sears still seems to be the middle of paying rent to the property owner and getting some proceeds from the other tenants.
      • In January 1985, the new “Plaza” was dedicated, which included Fuddruckers on the corner (where CVS is now) and the corner of stores where Marshall’s is. A LA Times article at that time reported “the area previously used only for parking somehow originally zoned for residential use was converted over strenuous neighborhood objections and with strict city restrictions to commercial use. Now, Fuddruckers restaurant, a book store and other shops occupy that portion of the complex.”
      • In the mid-2000s the long closed Fuddrucker’s was torn down and a new building built for CVS, the other existing buildings were revamped, the NE corner strip of shops was expanded some, and the building with Corner Bakery and now One West Bank was added.
      • HomeGoods was carved out of the Sears building just a few years ago.
  • City Budget
    • City staff hosted a series of community meetings February about the City’s budget. More specifically, about the General Fund, its revenue sources and its expenditures.
    • They were looking to inform the community and get ideas about where people think cuts could be made or additional revenue obtained.
    • The February 15 meeting at Victory Park was led by Assistant City Manager Julie Gutierrez and Finance Director Mathew Hawkesworth. The meeting was sparsely attended by residents. Mayor Tornek observed for a portion of the meeting, as did Council member McAustin.
    • Basically comes down to an expected skyrocketing of required CalPERS pension contributions in the coming years without increasing revenues to cover that.
    • Current General Fund revenues of approximately $238 million(M) come from about $57 M property tax, 35.5 M sales tax, 30.4 M utility users tax, 14.6 M transient occupancy tax (TOT), and 100.5M of fees, licenses, usage charges, power fund transfer, and investment interest income.
      • The City gets about 21% of the 1% property tax. That has been rising at a fairly consistent pace.
      • The sales tax revenue has not been growing much, and may decline. No matter the total sales tax percentage you pay for purchases within the City, the City gets 1%. For purchases you make online and pay sales tax, the City tends to get a lesser percentage because everything paid to the state gets put in one pot which is then divvied up. Over time, a greater percentage of what people buy are services and food, neither of which are charged sales tax.
      • The utility users tax revenue has been flat and may decline. Fewer people buying cable TV and phone services, which it is charged on, and moving to internet based, which it is not charged on. Conservation of electricity and water, and recently lower natural gas prices keeps those revenues from growing as fast as they otherwise might.
      • The transient occupancy tax (12.1% charged on hotel rooms) revenue has been growing a lot in recent years and is expected to continue doing well with a number of new hotels being built.
    • General Fund expenditures include police $71.3 M, Fire $43.8 M, public works $23.8 M, library system $10.7 M (does not include parcel tax), $30.2 M in “non-departmental” such as bond debt payments, and other services of $58.2 M.
    • The City’s CalPERS pension costs were at $33 M in fiscal year 2015, $39 M in fiscal 2016, and forecast to grow to $65 M by 2020. Employees hired after 2013 are in a new program with fewer benefits then those hired before, but it will decades before significant savings will be realized from that change.
    • The General Fund reserve was about $46 M in 2008 before being used to maintain services during the recession. It bottomed at about $21 M in 2012. It has now been built back up to $54.5 M. It is intended to be used only for emergencies.
    • Projections show expenses will exceed income in the coming year, and the difference will increase in each succeeding year, unless more revenue can be produced or fewer expenditures made.
    • General Fund expenditures on services amount to about $140.67 per resident per month.
  • E-Waste and Document Shredding March 18
    • Saturday March 18, 9 am – 3 pm, Brookside Park, Parking Lot I, which is south of the Rose Bowl loop.
    • For all residents and businesses
    • Free on-site document shredding is limited to five legal size boxes.
  • Fire Station 37 Open House March 25
    • Our local fire station at 3430 East Foothill.
    • Saturday March 25, 9 – 11 am
    • “The morning will include demonstrations, information tables, children’s activities and puppet show, and a chance to meet your Fire Department!”
  • Local Crime Summary
    • For the last month, from (note that time is typically when reported, not when it happened)
      • Sun Feb 19, 11:42 pm, 3100 block Del Vina, Petty Theft
    • Nothing else reported in our neighborhood. There were several residential burglaries across the wash in Daisy Villa in mid-February, and a couple in Upper Hastings.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • Could developments be stopped?
      • Question raised as to whether it would actually be possible to totally block a development project.
      • Answer is yes, particularly for those which require City Council approval.
      • But not easy, given desire for more City revenue, political influence of development interests, and growing state mandates.
      • Would need significant number of people, voters, to get actively involved and speak up with a coherent message.
      • The earlier in the process, the better. If a developer sees early on that their project has organized opposition they might choose to do something different.
      • Really need strong allies from other areas of the city. Having our Council member against a project would be necessary, but not sufficient.
      • Would be helpful to have a vision of what would be acceptable; not just a don’t do anything message.
      • Sometimes projects die just because they are delayed long enough that economic conditions change and the developer chooses or has to do something different.

Next meeting is April 8, 2017 at 11:15 am, in Hastings Branch Library meeting room

Adjourned about 12:30 pm