By Terry Miller
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness … ” – Charles Dickens.
While the drama unfolding in Arcadia is not exactly like the Charles Dickens’ novel which depicts the plight of the French peasantry demoralized by the French aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, one may certainly draw parallels in this year’s municipal election.
As with most elections, state, municipal, or nationwide, the stakes can be quite high and the battle brutal. Arcadia’s 2016 municipal election is no exception.
In recent weeks, candidates on both sides of the McMansion fence have cried foul, whether it be negative campaign fliers, false information, internet chat room rants, or the ever-popular stealing someone’s campaign signs and replacing them with the opposition’s. Never nice, but it is almost to be expected in this so called “enlightened” age in which we now live.
The latest piece of misinformation was delivered to voters on Saturday by a group calling itself “Arcadian’s Rights Protection Association” which ironically has a mailing address in Alhambra.
The color 8-inch-by-11-inch flier attacks April Verlato and sings the praises of Bob Harbicht. The piece claims Verlato has a lawsuit against the city that will “waste taxpayer dollars and lower property values … ” There is no lawsuit. The flier blatantly says Arcadia’s future is seriously at stake unless you vote for their candidate of choice although the mailer clearly states, “This ad. Was not authorized or paid for by a candidate for this office or a committee controlled by a candidate for this office … ” which again leads to a Political Action Committee that recently donated a huge sum of money for Bob Harbicht’s last mailer.
Former Mayor George Fasching said he told Harbicht 25 years ago that unless we address the issue of larger homes in the community it will come back to bite us. “It has,” Fasching said emphatically, which is exactly why the businessman is placing his vote for April Verlato and Peter Amundson.
Amundson says, “Mansionization or the over building of property in Arcadia, was an old issue when I first ran for council 10 years ago and it has never received the attention it deserves. I spent eight years on the Arcadia City Council striving to get a fair resolution. As mayor, I met with San Marino to learn how they dealt with it. The most I could get was Citywide Neighbor Notification, which is only a start. That is also why I feel it is imperative that we elect two people to the council who comprehend the problem and want to resolve it.”
Verlato says, “in recent years, property crime rates have skyrocketed and our neighborhoods have been radically transformed by outside real estate developers who have little interest in the future of our town. Rather than work to preserve the quality of life of our community, city leaders have failed to act – opting instead to simply go along to get along.”
On the other side of the fence you have Harbicht who is no stranger to the council chambers. Harbicht has previously served on council for 20 years. Apparently a developer’s friend, Nevis Capital spent $28,000 plus on a mailer for Harbicht. Nevis Capital, LLC, is owned by Ta Jen Lee, aka Jeff Lee. He is a Pasadena resident and developer in Arcadia.
The real divide comes in the form of Mansionization and Measure A, an effort to repeal the Utility User’s Tax (UUT). People on both sides of the issue are deeply passionate about their beliefs and concerns.
For an in-depth look at all six council candidates, see Arcadia Weekly’s March 3 issue or visit: www.arcadiaweekly.com/featured/arcadias-election-picks-up-steam.
Registered voters in Arcadia are asked to vote for two city council seats and Measure A. Ballots have been sent out to voters. For more information on the candidates running for a seat on the Arcadia City Council, view the candidates forum on the city website:
www.arcadiaca.gov/Home/Components/News/News/82/18?backlist=%2f or view it on ACTV (Time Warner digital channel 15-257 and AT&T channel 99) at 8 a.m., 5 p.m., and 10:30 p.m. every day.
For more information on Measure A and how a UUT repeal would affect the City of Arcadia and city services, visit www.arcadiaca.gov/residents/utility-users-tax. You can view the City Manager’s Impact Report Presentation and FAQs about the repeal initiative.
Ballots are due Tuesday, April 12, by 8 p.m. at city hall. If you are mailing your ballot back, postage is pre-paid (no postage is necessary).
If you have not received your ballot or you have additional questions about the election, contact the Arcadia City Clerk’s Office at (626) 574-5455.