August 17, 2019 Neighborhood Meeting Summary

August 18, 2019

Preparation

E-mail reminders

Attendees

8 members, 1 guest

Acknowledgments

Susan brought two kinds of cookies. Laura brought green seedless grapes from her neighbor's over-the-wall vine

Meeting

Agenda Items:

The meeting began about 11:25 am

  • Space Bank - final cleanup plan released
    • On August 5, the California State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) announced approval of the Removal Action Workplan (RAW) and responses to comments of the proposed RAW for the Space Bank property.
    • The only change to the draft RAW that was circulated for comment in March is an added requirement to test for RDX and TNT (propellants and explosives) and their degradation products in locations used as laboratories, chemical storage areas, and storm drains and seepage pits  that services those areas.
    • For a history of the process and plans up to now, visit our previous meeting summaries through a search of “Space Bank”: eewna.org/?s=Space+Bank+Summary
    • The project developer has sent out another odd glossy snail mailer to "Current Resident". Some of us received it Friday August 16, others earlier in the week.
      • On the address side it says in all caps "Space Bank News", "Clean up plan approved", and "Space Bank to be cleaned up to the highest state standard".
      • The rest of the mailer has images of some of the bureaucratic environmental documents over-stamped in red all caps with either "Spacebank approved for clean up" or "Calif State Approved Health+Safety Plan".
      • The developer sends these mailers out under the name "High Street Residential", although in the DTSC documents the developer is called "Pasadena Gateway LLC".
    • As expected, the uproar from opponents has been re-joined.
    • City Council members Masuda and Gordo have requested the topic be formally taken up by the City Council again.
      • They say the DTSC did not give meaningful responses to the comments submitted by the Council.
      • Apparently there is a 30 day window from the date of approval of the RAW to submit a claim that the approval was unjustified.
      • There is suspicion that the DTSC timed the approval to maximize the vacation and holiday away time during the 30 day window to make it more difficult to contest. (This is an increasingly common tactic among government entities, both state and federal).
      • The issue is not on the August 19 City Council agenda, so it cannot be discussed, or action taken, by the Council on the 19th. That leaves the August 26 meeting as the only opportunity.
    • The leaders of a loose grouping of opponents who have gathered the most support and media attention are asking everyone who agrees with them to show up at the August 19 City Council meeting. Since it won't be on the agenda, this would have to be for the Public Comment period at the start and end of the meeting, to show support for the Council members requesting the Council to take action.
    • Have not seen any report recently about the status of funds that were raised/pledged to file a lawsuit. A few questions about it on the nextdoor website seem to have been ignored. It may just be that details are being developed and it isn't prudent to comment yet, but this is pure speculation.
    • While there are legitimate concerns over whether the state and developer will do the cleanup as completely and safely as reasonably possible, and whether people should be living so close to the freeway in any case, there has been considerable spin and misinformation spread by opponents. Some of this has seeped into media reports as fact instead of attribution. Bits of information completely out of context, speculation that morphed into repetition as fact, exaggeration, illogical inferences, revisionist history. Some of it is just human nature to get caught up in a movement, and some is fully intended to whip up hysteria to accomplish other goals. Be skeptical of assertions by both sides. Consider the alternatives.
    • BTW. Do you know what lurks just beneath the surface in your own yard or under your house?  There is a significant chance that past occupants of your property, or others before it was built-upon, dumped, leaked, leached, abraded stuff like gasoline, oil, anti-freeze, solvents, pesticides, paint, metal, lead. Plus there are decades of settlement of contaminants out of the air. Much of the same things that created the by-products now found in the Space Bank soil. Those activities were common among everyday people taking care of their everyday needs before the environmental and health consequences were commonly understood. Soil testing of not specifically identified industrial property is not common.
  • Coyote problem update
    • With the spring and summer months, reports of coyote sighting and problematic behavior have surged. Including pets being snatched in broad daylight (but not from a leash) with their owner looking on. People are getting fed up and urging their City Councilmembers to do something.
    • There are also numerous claims of at least one resident of another neighborhood deliberately feeding coyotes, including putting food out on the sidewalk and under bushes in other people's yards. Neighbors and authorities have tried to stop the behavior without success.
    • Meanwhile, as previously reported, eewna.org/2019/02/february-16-neighborhood-meeting-summary/#coyote City staff has been working on an Urban Wildlife Management Plan. That proposed plan will be presented to the City Council for approval at the Monday August 19 meeting. Its content is basically what was discussed at a community meeting in January and in the draft plan released in February.
    • The Urban Wildlife Management Plan be submitted to the City Council for approval can be accessed here: cityofpasadena.net/councilagendas/2019_Agendas/Aug_19_19/2019_08_19_CC_AR_12_ATTACHMENT_A.pdf
    • The City and Pasadena Humane Society are requesting that encounters with coyotes be reported via the Citizen Service Center app or website. (If there is an actual emergency situation with a coyote attacking a person, call 911). http://www.cityofpasadena.net/citizen-service-center For Topic, select Animals, then Wildlife Sighting/Nuisance Report.
  • Lamanda Park Specific Plan walking tour moved to Sat Sept 28
    • The walking tour of the Lamanda Park area with the City's Planning team has been re-scheduled for Saturday September 28 Probably:  8 am to 10 am, starting and ending at Learning Works, 90 N. Daisy Ave.
    • The Our Pasadena web page for the Lamanda Park plan has been updated with materials from the Round 2 workshop in July:  ourpasadena.org/lamanda-park
    • If you have comments you'd like to make to the City's Planning team, you can e-mail [email protected]
  • Property owner of former Albertson's taken to court
    • The City filed suit against the owner of the shopping center property on the northwest corner of Sierra Madre Blvd and Michillinda, where Albertson's used to be.
    • The owner has not been willing to clean up and maintain the property, lease the former Albertson's store to an appropriate tenant, or sell the property.
    • There was a court hearing on August 12. The hearing is scheduled to continue on October 9. A jury trial is set for October 21.
  • Pasadena Fair Housing survey
    • The Pasadena Department of Housing has an online survey about fair housing.
    • "As part of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the City is required to address fair housing concerns. Please provide input on your experience of fair housing issues in Pasadena. The sole purpose of this survey is to gauge the overall experience of fair housing in the community so that the City can develop a plan of actions to further fair housing."
    • Let your voice be heard!  Even if you haven't experienced issues yourself. Includes a comment space at the end if you have suggestions.
    • surveymonkey.com/r/PasadenaEnglish
  • Local Crime Summary
    • For the last month in our neighborhood, from crimemapping.com: (notethat time is typically when reported, not when it happened)
      • Fri July 26, 9:14 pm, 3200 block E. Foothill Blvd, Vehicle break-in/theft
    • Our neighborhood had no other reports, but there were a much larger than normal number of reports of thefts and vehicle break-ins in Lower Hastings and along Rosemead Blvd.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • Another candidate announces for our City Council District 4 seat
    • Citrus Greening / HLB / Huanglongbing Disease and Quarantine
      • We are within the quarantine area for the Asian citrus psyllid insect which carries a bacterial plant disease called Huanglongbing aka HLB. It is also known as "yellow dragon disease".
      • The psyllid transmits the disease by feeding on leaves of an infected tree and then feeding on leaves of an uninfected tree.
      • The disease kills all kinds of citrus trees and there is no cure once infected. The only option is to prevent infection from spreading by stopping the insect from proliferating and spreading.
      • The infection map shows the disease has not been found right here, but infected trees have been found just south of us in Alhambra, San Gabriel, Temple City, Rosemead, El Monte, Monterey Park. Also south and southeast of those areas, a large area of Orange County, and around the 215/60 intersection in Riverside. ucanr.edu/sites/ACP/Distribution_of_ACP_in_California/
      • Psyllids can be accidentally transported from one area to another on plants, on the surface of fruit, and on tree debris. That is why people within quarantine areas are forbidden to transport plants or plant material out of the area. Fruit should be washed first. (Quarantines for other pests, ones that go into fruit, prohibit moving the fruit as well).
      • Everyone is urged to inspect their citrus trees regularly for signs of the pest or disease
        • Adult psyllid insects are brown, winged, and about the size of a grain of rice. The nymphs are white. The feed on leaves and stems and especially like young new leaves.
        • The nymphs produce a white waxy substance.
        • Their feeding activity can encourage a sooty mold to form on leaves, twisting malformation of leaves, yellow discoloration of leaves that is not the same on both sides of the leaf, blotchy yellowing of leaves
        • Once the tree is infected, the disease causes fruit to stay green and not fully ripen. That is why the term "citrus greening". The fruit may also be misshapen/not symmetrical.
        • Many plant insects cause some of the same symptoms. The only sure way to know what your plant has is to get it tested.
        • Report to CA Dept of Food and Agriculture (1-800-491-1899) if you think your tree may have either the insect or the disease. They will test. If it is not infected, you will get advice on what to do about what you are seeing. If the insect is present but the tree is not infected, they will treat your tree and nearby citrus trees at no cost to you. If the tree is infected, it will be removed at no cost to you.
        • Remember, an infected tree's fruit won't be any good and the tree will die anyway, so there is no upside to keeping it around. Only the downside of helping spread the disease to more trees.
      • Treat trees to prevent the psyllid and other insects from taking hold.
        • Ants protect (and even "farm") the psyllid nymphs (as well as others such as aphids). So control ants to keep them out of the tree. The recommendation is ant baits because they don't expose animals to poison. Remember the ants can get on the tree from anything it touches, so if other trees, fences, walls, ... are in contact with the tree, it is best to trim it back away from those access points.
        • There are spray and/or water-in poisons that can be used. There are also "organic" treatments that use oil sprays. If you want to avoid using poison or expense, an alternative recommendation is to frequently use a hard direct water spray from every angle to wash any pests off the tree leaves. This is especially important when the tree is producing new leaves. If you've already got evidence of aphids or other insects, you can spray the tree leaves with a thick hand washing dish soap solution to suffocate or dehydrate the insects and better remove the waxy substances they make that attract the ants.
      • Only plant trees from reputable local nurseries. Don't bring plants in on your own from other areas because you might unknowingly import an infection or pest.
      • For more information, including lots of pictures, visit https://californiacitrusthreat.org/
      • There is also said to be a smartphone app called "Save Our Citrus" that you can download to help identify the pest and disease.

Next EEWNA meeting is September 21, 2019 at 11:15 am, in Hastings Branch Library meeting room Adjourned about 1 pm

One comment on “August 17, 2019 Neighborhood Meeting Summary”

  1. After my morning jog today I stopped by the Donut Shop by the old Albertson’s for my weekly treat and learned at the shop that although the doors at the Albertson’s space are boarded up there’s ongoing construction inside and apparently space is being remodeled for some type of CrossFit gym. I don’t think the property is zoned for that kind of business/end use unless it has changed and we don't know anything about it!? And why is the construction work inside being done in such a clandestine manner? What are the owners hiding? The owners of the property are well known slumlords at their properties in Chinatown and have been cited numerous times for code violations at this site; even undergoing criminal prosecution by the City of Pasadena. I’m wondering if our Councilmember Gene Masuda is aware of the ongoing construction at this site? Is the construction being done on the level, with proper city authorization and permits? I thought the site was zoned strictly for a Shopping Center; has the zoning changed to allow a gym at that location? What about the “Hours of Operation”… are those changing too and what will they be now? Didn’t owners already get turned down by the city for a zoning change/change of use a few years back when SkyZone Trampoline Park wanted to lease the space? There are so MANY questions. Sure hope we can get some answers at the next meeting on October 19th. Can’t wait to find out the outcome of the owners’ jury trial on October 21st… sadly it’s taking place just days after our next meeting. Don’t get me wrong I want the site developed and improved so it’s not such an eyesore but we also don’t want just any business moving in that might not be a fit within our community. If anyone has more info to share please do so. Many of us concerned residents want to know what the hell is going on with that space. Thank You!
    ~Mandy Knox

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