City Council Makes Changes to Historic Preservation Ordinance

Baldwin descendent Margeaux Viera speaks to a crowd of roughly 70 at the Aradia Public Library about her family history. – Photo by Galen Patterson / Beacon Media News

By Galen Patterson

The City Council meeting on March 3 saw the first reading of the newest historic preservation ordinance up for legislation. The council heard comments from various residents on the historic preservation ordinance, several of the speakers were the same speakers from the previous hearing on the ordinance on Feb. 19.

The same man again threatened to sue the council if they did not vote the way he wanted.

During council comments Councilmember Tom Beck told the city that he is not interested in preserving houses with little historical value, but instead a handful of iconic and historically important structures within the city, including Clara Baldwin Stocker’s home, which is facing possible destruction. “We need to save what little is left of our history,” said Beck.

Mayor Pro Tem April Verlato told the council about how property value can increase in historic homes because of historic preservation, due to tax benefits and spoke in support of the ordinance.

By the end of the discussion, the council had decided that several changes needed to be made to the ordinance again, but most of the council members agreed having some form of preservation on record would be better than none. “We started with one of the weakest ordinances around, and then gutted it until it is near worthless,” said Councilman Beck, referring to the evening’s debate.

At the Arcadia Public Library on the afternoon of March 16, more than 70 patrons packed into the Cay Mortenson auditorium.  The room was lined with noteworthy watercolor paintings of iconic Arcadian buildings. A display along the back of the room held dozens of photos of the Baldwin family through the years.

The stage featured an easel upon which a painting of Anita, copied over from a photograph, faced the room. Local historian Carol Libby and Baldwin descendent Margeaux Viera presented a slideshow about Anita Baldwin’s life and contributions to society.

A classical piano player played several of Anita’s original compositions.

Pastries from Anita’s cookbook “The Pantophagist” were neatly arranged along a side table. Speakers from two separate hospitals that were founded by Anita Baldwin’s contributions talked about how they still hold her mission in high esteem, and brought information along as evidence.

One of the hospitals, Eisner Health, formerly Anita M. Baldwin Hospital for Babies, is dedicated to offering top-tier care for low-income women giving birth in the Los Angeles area.

The historic preservation ordinance is about saving local history for some and about government control over homeowners for others.

The historic preservation ordinance has been decades in the making and the structures lost along the way cannot be reclaimed. Arcadia is meandering down a path to historic preservation plan that will best suit the city but the main concern among supporters is that soon there may not be anything worth preserving.

“If this council or the council after doesn’t do something, it’s gone,” said Viera.

March 20, 2019

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Galen Patterson

3 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “City Council Makes Changes to Historic Preservation Ordinance”

  1. Simon Chen says:

    Margeaux Viera inherited a fortune from the Baldwin family. Instead of going around and call for preservation of what Baldwin legacy is left, she could easily spare a few dimes to buy up these relics and preserve them. Follow the lead of other rich heirs, such the Rockefeller’s and the Dupont’s. But what do I know about how rich people think.

    • Jackie Chan says:

      Do you personally know Margaux Viera and how much she inherited? I hate it when people think they know the story of someone’s life. So ignorant and presumptuous!

    • Augusto Pinochet says:

      Is that a fact, Mr. Chang? You seem to know it all. I know east Asians are supposed to have the highest average IQs, but you must be the exception and on the far left of the bell curve. How do you know what she inherited, if anything at all? Do you know her personally, or do you have access to her bank account statements? If you don’t, I’d suggest you shut your dog-eating mouth. I’m sure China would let Americans come over there, over-run Shanghai or Beijeing to the point where Chinese are the minorities, and let us round-eyes tear down historic Chinese landmarks so we could build 7,000 sq ft McMansions, 5 feet apart from each other, on 1/4 acre lots. Right?

      FYI, ‘Rockefellers’ and ‘Duponts’ don’t have apostrophes in them, Mr. Chin.

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