The City wipes slate clean; directs City staff to prepare new plan
By Daniel Garay
Arcadia City Council, on the last City Council meeting of Mayor Tom Beck’s first term, voted at the end to rescind all actions taken in a two week period last February regarding actions taken to deal with the infamous coyote problem.
This item was inserted at the end of the meeting as a result of pending litigation from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Arcadia resident Sarah Rosenberg. As part of legal action taken against the City, a letter was sent to the Council by PETA’s attorney reading that the City violated the Brown Act for not making their allocation of funds and trapping contract open and transparent enough. The actions of funding a trapping program and hiring a trapper were done so within two council meetings.
City Attorney Steven Deitsch advised that although the City did not violate the Brown Act, to be safe, the Council should rescind the actions just to be sure. This is a process known as curing, where the City can remove the motions as if they were never passed.
The item was split into four parts:
- Rescind the budget appropriation of $20,000;
- Rescind the professional services agreement for the trapper;
- Inform PETA;
- And, direct the City Manager to create a coyote management plan.
The floor was opened to public comment and Pasadena Humane Society Vice President Elizabeth Campo informed the Council of a workshop on how to live with and deter wildlife, the next of which will be on May 21 at PHS headquarters.
Council Member Roger Chandler asked for the attendance size of the meeting, which was 60. He also asked for a notice to be sent to nearby cities as well. Campo said, “If we all work together and if we all have a similar plan, we’ll be able to see a reduction in the interactions of wildlife and humans.”
Chandler responded, “I hope,” to which Campo replied, “That’s our goal.”
PETA executives Tracy Reiman and Lisa Lange gave comments as well. Rieman spoke about Veralto’s letter that found out how coyotes are killed after being trapped. “Did you find out how that coyote was killed?” Rieman stated that the City never disclosed the killing method from a trapper to the public. She also criticized about then-Mayor Peter Amundson’s coyote-trapping plan.
Lisa Lange, VP of Communications, made another appearance at Council. She said, “By now, I hope you’ve joined the mayor in doing research on what these animals are like; and that lethal killing methods do not work.” Referring to her own neighborhood in Pasadena, where children and pets play and coexist with the wildlife.
After public comment, Mayor Pro Tem Amundson called his trapping program from 2010 a successful program. He does not believe that leaving them alone will make them go away. He said that there was no scientific proof that hazing works, calling it “fake science,” and was alarmed at the appearance of coyotes in southern Arcadia.
Council Member Chandler explained his disgust with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), saying that it was misused for everything from houses to coyotes.
“It’s the law,” Chandler said, reluctantly motioning to rescind the actions. By the next motion, Mayor Pro Tem Amundson interjected, “Share the guilt!” to which all items were approved.
In a phone interview with Beacon Media News, Lange commented on how this action affects their pending lawsuit. She said no council should go unchecked with actions such as these. The City allegedly never made a required report on environmental impact as prescribed by CEQA.
While the slate is clean for Arcadia, Lange said that PETA is keeping their legal options open. For now, people need to be responsible for their items and pets as the smart way to deter coyotes.