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Posts Tagged ‘special election’

Election In Cypress Tomorrow

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on June 24, 2013

I meant to post this at some point (oops, forgot). The City of Cypress is hosting a special election tomorrow on a property issue. Since it is a special election, voters will most assuredly not rush out to the polls to vote on this. I am not a degenerate gambler but if I had to play the role of Vegas odds maker on this one, the over/under would be at 20% turnout.

Cypress_Seal

Let’s take a quick (and factual) look at what is on the ballot tomorrow. We start with the impartial analysis written by the Cypress City Attorney:

Measure A, if approved by the voters, would amend the Amended and Restated Cypress Business & Professional Center Specific Plan, the Cypress General Plan and the Cypress Zoning Map in the manner explained in this analysis, and is placed on the ballot in compliance with the requirements of a prior 1987 voter initiative, commonly known as “Measure D”, which is set forth in Sections 5.28.020 and 5.28.050 of the Cypress Zoning Ordinance. The current Specific Plan was approved in a 2012 voter initiative, commonly known as “Measure L”. This Measure A would do the following:

1. Amend the Specific Plan. The amended Specific Plan would (a) reduce Planning Area 1, which is part of the former Cypress Golf Club, from 35.7 acres to 5.0 acres, (b) create new Planning Area 10, which consists of 30.7 of the 35.7 acres of the former golf course and (c) create new Planning Area 11, which consists of 11.2 acres of underutilized land within the Los Alamitos Race Course property that is currently part of Planning Area 8. This land is currently located in the PS-1A (Public and Semi-Public) Zone, which, as set forth in the existing Specific Plan, permits uses such as hospitals, cemeteries, churches, public buildings, schools and colleges.

The amended Specific Plan would expand the allowed uses (d) in modified Planning Area 1 to include most commercial uses permitted in the CN (Commercial Neighborhood ) Zone and several additional uses permitted in the CG (Commercial General) Zone, (e) in new Planning Area 10 to include most residential uses permitted in the RS-6000 (Single-Family) or RS-5000 (Single-Family) Zone (RS-5000 homes would be allowed in 50% of Planning Area 10 with a conditional use permit), and (f) in new Planning Area 11 to include most commercial and business park uses permitted in the CG (Commercial General) and BP (Business Park) Zones. The amended Specific Plan would also update text, figures and graphics in the document.

2. Amend the General Plan. The initiative measure would (a) amend the Cypress General Plan to change the land use designations for the 46.9 acres within Planning Areas 1, 10 and 11 from “Community Services and Facilities (Golf Course (Privately-Owned))” (35.7 acres) and “Community Services and Facilities (Race Track (Privately-Owned))” (11.2 acres) to “Specific Plan” and (b) amend text in the General Plan to conform to the amended Specific Plan.

3. Amend the Zoning Map. The Cypress Zoning Map would be amended to change the zoning designation for the 46.9 acres within Planning Areas 1, 10 and 11 from “PS-1A (Public and Semi-Public)” to “PBP-25A (Planned Business Park)”.

A “Yes” vote means you support amending the Specific Plan, the Cypress General Plan, and the Cypress Zoning Map in the manner set forth in this initiative. A “No” vote means you oppose amending the Specific Plan, the Cypress General Plan and the Cypress Zoning Map in the manner set forth in this initiative. This measure would take effect only if a majority of those voting on the ballot measure cast a “Yes” vote at the June 25, 2013 special election.

The above statement is an impartial analysis of Measure A. If you desire a copy of the measure, please call the Cypress City Clerk’s office at (714-229-6683) and a copy will be mailed at no cost to you.

Date: April 2, 2013
s/ William W. Wynder
City Attorney

If you made it through the previous section without falling asleep then you should be good to go for the rest of this article. Here is the argument in favor:

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE A

This initiative would modify the zoning for two parcels of land in the City of Cypress, a 35.7-acre parcel that borders Cerritos Avenue and was part of the Cypress Golf Club that closed in 2004, and an 11.2-acre parcel near the Los Alamitos Race Course between Katella and Cerritos Avenues. The current zoning for this vacant or underutilized land only permits uses such as hospitals, cemeteries, churches, public buildings and schools, which generate little revenue for the City, discourage the development of job-creating uses near the City’s primary commercial corridor and preclude single-family housing right across the street from an existing single-family neighborhood.

Measure A would expand the allowed uses on the 35.7-acre parcel to include single-family housing on the western 30.7 acres and neighborhood commercial on the eastern 5.0 acres, and permit commercial, warehousing and light manufacturing uses on the 11.2-acre parcel, all consistent with the existing uses in the area.

A September 2012 fiscal report commissioned by the City concluded that eventual development of the property would generate $412,000 in annual net revenue to the City and generate 354 permanent jobs and 141 construction jobs, with constructed-related expenditures of $32 million.

This initiative does not approve any specific project. It simply allows the property owner to propose additional commercial and residential uses. Any proposed project would be subject to full discretionary and environmental review by the City, like any other project, and would provide ample opportunity for public input.

Measure A’s approval would permit the productive use of long-vacant land and generate badly-needed jobs and revenue for the City, while preserving the City’s decision-making authority.

Recognizing these benefits, the Cypress City Council adopted a resolution supporting Measure A and encouraging Cypress voters to approve the initiative.

As longtime Cypress residents, we urge your support of Measure A.

s/ Walter Bowman
Former Mayor/Councilmember

s/ Anna Piercy
Former Mayor/Current AUHSD Board Trustee

s/ Andrew (“Andy”) Lachina
Attorney

s/ Steve Robbins
Insurance Broker

s/ George Hallak
Retired

This argument in favor does not have the star power behind it that you normally see when the elected officials/establishment get behind a ballot measure. Anna Piercy is the only current elected official to sign on in the original argument.

Here is the argument against:

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE A

In 2012, Cypress voters approved Measure L, which rezoned a 33 acre site on Katella Avenue between Cottonwood Church and the Residence Inn to have the following uses: market-rate senior citizen housing, assisted living facilities, professional offices, including medical services, and mixed-use commercial. Unfortunately, the project being proposed for the site is a 725,000 square foot warehousing, light manufacturing & distribution center with at least 129 truck bays. This is not what we voted for!

Concerns over traffic, air quality, noise, and safety are significant concerns for our city residents. Can you imagine if the truck bays turn over 3 to 4 times a day? That could mean almost 1,000 more truck trips on our streets every day. Currently, our streets are already overburdened with existing traffic. Do we need to add more?

Now with Measure A, Cypress voters are being asked to approve more mixed- use commercial acreage on Cerritos Ave., between Walker St. and Denni St. While Measure A would also rezone property for single- family housing and neighborhood commercial uses, there is no guarantee that it will be built at any time in the future. What we can likely expect is that a mixed-use commercial development will be proposed and based on what we’ve seen so far, it will be more trucks, more traffic, noise, air pollution, and safety issues.

Before we approve a zone change, Cypress residents are entitled to know from our City Council specifically what will be approved and built on the remainder of the race track property.

Please vote No on Measure A. It’s a bad fit for our city.

s/ Citizens for Responsible Development

s/ Tom Wendt

I am impressed that the folks arguing against the ballot measure got a fancy sounding group to agree to lend their name to the signature section but they screwed up by not filling up all the signatures that they could use.

Here is the rebuttal to the argument in favor:

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE A

Do not be fooled twice!

The proponents of Measure A want us to once again trust the owners of the land near the Los Alamitos Race course. One year ago with Measure L, voters were fooled into thinking they were approving “Senior Housing, Assisted Living, professional offices and something called ‘Mixed-use Commercial” on 33.5 acres near the race course.

Our trust was violated with the land owner’s recent proposal to consider warehouse and light manufacturing buildings with 129 semi-truck bays on the Measure L approved property along Katella. Warehouse and light manufacturing in the Cypress Code are Industrial uses! They are not Commercial uses and certainly not Senior Housing!

The traffic on our streets and access to our freeways are already bad enough. Jobs are needed but we want good paying jobs with responsible development.

With measure A, we are being asked to trust the same land owners to develop more land near the race course. This time the “carrot” dangled before the voters in Measure A is Single Family Housing. Don’t forget, we’re not getting senior housing and assisted living facilities from last year’s ballot measure.

We are entitled to know exactly what Cypress land use zone we are voting on and the specific use that fits into that zone. Until then..Do not be fooled twice!

Vote NO on Measure A.

s/ Thomas R. Wendt

Again, they only used one signature space and I noticed that Mr. Wendt did not use a title to identify himself in either statement (I applaud him though, every ballot measure should have somebody at least informing the public on both sides of an issue).

Lastly, we have the rebuttal to the argument against:

REBUTTAL TO ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE A

We respectfully disagree. Measure A is a very good fit for Cypress. Measure A would not permit ANY new commercial uses on the primary 30.7-acre parcel along Cerritos. Rather, the ONLY new permitted uses would be for a single-family residential neighborhood like the existing neighborhood across the street.

The new uses permitted on the adjacent 5-acre parcel along Cerritos would be neighborhood commercial uses, consistent with its smaller size and proximity to the existing and proposed residential areas. It would NOT be used for a manufacturing facility.

Measure A simply allows the property owner to propose a residential project and related commercial uses along Cerritos. And any such project would be subject to full discretionary and environmental review by the City, with full opportunity for public input and participation.

So, contrary to the opposition’s claim, Cypress residents are NOT “being asked to approve more mixed-use commercial acreage along Cerritos.” This is unsubstantiated fear, not fact.

Measure A would allow desirable single-family housing and provide much-needed revenue for the City. That’s why the Cypress City Council UNANIMOUSLY adopted a resolution encouraging Cypress residents to vote in favor of Measure A in the special election on June 25th. We hope you agree.

We urge you to vote YES for Measure A.

s/ Walter Bowman
Former Mayor/Councilmember

s/ Anna Piercy
Former Mayor/Current AUHSD Board Trustee

s/ Andrew (“Andy”) Lachina
Attorney

s/ Steve Robbins
Insurance Broker

s/ George Hallak
Retired

I don’t know what the result will be tomorrow. Voters are in the mood to say no to most things, but turnout will be dramatically lower than a regular election which can give the Yes on A side a huge advantage if they can turn out their voters. A great example of voters being in the mood to say no is what happened in the recent Los Angeles election. Liberal L.A. voters turned down a sales tax increase!!!!!

Posted in Cypress | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

SOCCCD Appoints Fuentes Successor Over Family’s Objections; Will Petition Drive Launch to Invalidate Appointment?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 26, 2012

Thomas A. Fuentes (1948-2012)

Thomas A. Fuentes
(1948-2012)

Many of you may have read Frank Mickadeit’s column about the insensitive manner in which the South Orange County Community College District Board of Trustees dealt with the vacancy in the Trustee Area 6 seat that resulted from the untimely passing of Tom Fuentes.  For those of you who haven’t read it, here are some excerpts:

Tom Fuentes had been dead just 72 hours before the long-fractured community college board on which he sat decided to appoint a replacement.

It seemed like a rather stunning affront to the Fuentes family…

Fuentes died very late on Friday, May 18. That Monday, the board majority decided over the objection of trustee David Lang to immediately solicit applicants for Fuentes’ seat, with the selection to be made at the June meeting.

Before the formal vote, Lang once more begged his colleagues to let voters decide the seat in November and called them out for making such a nakedly political decision. The seat will be on the ballot in November anyway, but by giving the seat to Wright now, he’ll have the power of incumbency. “A majority of the board is slanting the election in a trustee’s favor,” he said.

This allegation seemed to perturb board President Nancy Padberg, who tersely replied, “The board has decided and will move on.” When T. J. Fuentes told the board he was “very disturbed by the fact that the board had decided to appoint somebody before my father was even buried,” Padberg replied that, “it had to be processed timely.”

A number of people have expressed their consternation with the way the SOCCCD Trustees handled the entire process.  Many have expressed the wish that the trustees had simply allowed the voters to fill the seat in the November election rather than fill the seat via appointment for the incumbency advantages Lang outlined above.

Last night, the trustees voted 5-1 to appoint James Wright, an outgoing dean at Saddleback College.  I’m not aware of any objections to Wright himself, but the objections to the appointment have centered on two different rationales:

  1. As Mickadeit wrote, “the manner in which the board went about it, and the dismissive, disrespectful way it treated Jolene Fuentes and her and Tom’s oldest son, T.J., both of whom expressed their anguish to the board on Monday only to receive stone-cold silence or indifference from the majority.”
  2. Trustee Lang’s argument that since the seat was up for election in November anyway, why not just let the voters pick the new trustee in November?

As it turns out, Education Code Section 5091(c)(1) lays out a procedure to invalidate the appointment (I’ve bolded the key portions):

If a provisional appointment is made within the 60-day period, the registered voters of the district may, within 30 days from the date of the appointment, petition for the conduct of a special election to fill the vacancy. A petition shall be deemed to bear a sufficient number of signatures if signed by at least the number of registered voters of the district equal to 11/2 percent of the number of registered voters of the district at the time of the last regular election for governing board members, or 25 registered voters, whichever is greater. However, in districts with registered voters of less than 2,000 persons, a petition shall be deemed to bear a sufficient number of signatures if signed by at least 5 percent of the number of registered voters of the district at the time of the last regular election for governing board members.

The last regular election for governing board members in SOCCCD was on November 2, 2010.  According to the Statement of Vote for that election, there 549,192 registered voters in SOCCCD at that election. From that number, 1.5% is equal to 8,238 signatures.

If those signatures are collected, the appointment will be invalidated.  Now some of you may notice the petition would create a special election.  Indeed a special election would be an obscene waste of money since the seat expires in less than five months.  As it turns out, Education Code Section 5093(c) deals with that:

If a special election pursuant to Section 5091 could be consolidated with the next regular election for governing board members, and the vacant position is scheduled to be filled at such regular election, there shall be no special election.

In other words, if the seat is up in a few months in the regular election anyway, the special election would be cancelled, and the voters would simply fill the seat at the regular election.  So if a petition is launched immediately and gathers 8,238 valid signatures from registered voters within SOCCCD by July 25, the appointment would be invalidated, and the SOCCCD Trustee Area 6 seat would remain vacant until the voters filled it for the usual four-year term at the regular election in November – and no one would have the advantage of incumbency in that regular election in November.

With the Fuentes family’s deep political ties across Orange County, will someone step up in the next few days to launch a petition drive to invalidate the appointment to the SOCCCD Trustee Area 6 seat, allowing the voters to pick Fuentes’s successor in November?

Posted in South Orange County Community College District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »