LCF Council Argues to Keep Redevelopment Agencies

Even though the City of La Cañada-Flintridge does not have a redevelopment agency, the council made it clear that it stands in solidarity with neighboring cities that do need the funds that the state is trying to eliminate

By Justin Chapman, La Cañada-Flintridge Patch, 6/22/2011

While much of meeting Monday night sailed along uneventfully, three agenda items did stand out. Last week the California state legislature, as part of its budget package, passed ABX1 26 and 27, which proposed to eliminate redevelopment agencies (RDAs).
Although La Cañada does not have a redevelopment agency--because it is one of the few cities without blight or the need for state redevelopment funds--the entire City Council expressed its sympathy for those neighboring cities and areas that do need those funds, such as .
(Gov. Jerry Brown declined to sign the bill, meaning the fate of redevelopment agencies remains up in the air. For now.)
The council also praised Assemblyman Anthony Portantino (D- La Cañada) for his opposition to those bills.
During her staff report on the bills, Senior Management Analyst Ann Wilson argued that any provision to eliminate redevelopment agencies would be unconstitutional,  but that legal challenges will be difficult due to "provisions that are built into the legislation that largely prevent legal challenges."
"Although we do not have a redevelopment agency, we have been expressing our view along with our brethren cities who do have RDAs," said Councilman Donald Voss. "And for many cities RDAs have been an extremely important part of their redevelopment and their economic vitality.
"We've been astonished by some of the proposals coming out of Sacramento to kill what seems to be a very good program. Undoubtedly there have been abuses and needs for reform, but we've taken positions to support this."
After some discussion, Voss made a motion to prepare two letters, one to Portantino and the other to State Senator Carol Liu, expressing the council's view on the votes that they each took, thereby expressing the virtues of the council's case. The motion passed unanimously.

Other Meeting Highlights:
• Los Angeles County Assistant Fire Chief Bill Niccum informed the council and the community about a recent fire in the hills that occurred during night. The Fire Department dispatched a helicopter to extinguish the blaze. During the Station Fire, the U.S. Forest Service refused to use helicopters at night, which some argue allowed the fire to grow so out of control.
• Bill Watts, President of the La Cañada Flintridge Kiwanis Foundation, presented the city with a check for $2,000 to help keep the Success Through Awareness and Resistance (STAR) Program alive. Mayor Pro Tem Stephen Del Guercio, who ran the meeting because Mayor David Spence is on vacation, accepted the check on the city's behalf.
STAR is one of the programs run by the L.A. County's Sheriff's Youth Foundation that is funded through both public and private donations. It aims to provide drug, gang, and violence prevention education to students throughout the county.
• Taking up half the meeting was a consideration of an amendment to the La Cañada Flintridge Zoning Code Sections that pertain to building bulk and setbacks for fireplaces, chimneys and swimming pool equipment. The idea was to keep trees and other vegetation a mandatory distance away from any source of fire, and after almost an hour of discussion, the council directed city staff to come back with more specific language and consistent setback requirements.
• The council also unanimously passed Ordinance 397, which requires Public Health inspection grading and posting of letter grades for mobile food trucks, as well as Ordinance 399, which amended the La Cañada Flintridge's Municipal Code to allow for organized team play on Sundays at the FIS Lower and Cornishon Athletic Fields.