By Galen Patterson
Arcadia’s City Council held its first meeting of the year on Jan. 16, in the Council Chambers at city hall.
Council began the evening by honoring Police Chief Robert Guthrie for his exemplary performance in both the City of Arcadia and the County of Los Angeles, where he serves as President in the Police Chief’s Association. Several county chiefs of police attended the brief ceremony, including Monterey Park Police Chief Jim Smith, who publicly commented that Chief Guthrie’s leading position in the Police Chief’s Association was “like having two jobs.”
Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey also spoke, commemorating Chief Guthrie’s performance within the Association and cooperation with the District Attorney’s Office.
Mayor Peter Amundson, on behalf of City Council recognized two of this year’s Rose Princesses, Lauren Buehner and Sidney Grace Pickering, both of whom are Arcadia natives and remarkable high school seniors within the community.
The largest order of business came from a local tutoring company, whose expansion has been halted due to concerns of a parking shortage and rumored competitive rivalry with similar businesses on the property and in the surrounding area.
The main substantiated concern has been parking on the proposed lot. The owner of the property admitted through an agent that they do not enforce parking limitations on the property.
Nearly 20 citizens voiced their concerns on the subject. More spoke in favor of the proposed business than against, but even members of the Council commented on the lack of parking within the facility, citing the proximate location of Arcadia High School and how students are prone to park there for after-school events. “The tenants at the apartments next to the parking lot tend to park there as well,” said Michelle Wong, a teaching assistant at a separate business on the property.
A local President of a nearby church advocated for the business, explaining that his church has agreed to rent out parking space for Little Stanford, thereby providing a possible solution for the parking issue.
Some citizens brought up the point of heavy traffic flow on both adjoining roads near the property, however, City Council’s logic prevailed on this matter stating “there is no condition we could invent that would make that not a circus of cars when school lets out,” said Councilman Roger Chandler. “The space was occupied before and we can’t keep it empty because of a parking management problem,” said Councilwoman April Verlato.
After hearing all registered public comments, Council unanimously approved the motion and Little Stanford, a company that has been paying rent on the lot for the past 7 months although they have not been able to operate within it, is expected to open at the end of this month, according to Eileen and Henry Wong, the business owners.
After approval of the consent calendar and a short, but heartfelt appeal from Councilman Tom Beck to gain more funding to help Arcadia’s homeless population, a young Arcadia man named Roshan Akula announced his campaign to run for the U.S. House of Representatives and publicly outlined his goal of attaining 2,000 signatures to ease the cost of the filing fees.
The final order of business for the Council was the approval of moving 2020 local elections from April to November, to coincide with general elections. Although Mayor Amundson openly advocated against it, the motion passed.