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Will City Settle Developer and Metro Lawsuits? | Bacteria | Urban Rescue Equipment

At its Feb. 5, 7:30 p.m. meeting (agenda: http://goo.gl/zxDtF ) the Monrovia City Council will ...

~ Consider settling three rail-line related lawsuits, two between Monrovia and Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, and one between the city and developer Samuelson & Fetter, LLC, which initially sued for $106 million ( http://goo.gl/JgdeM ). The staff report, here - http://goo.gl/Nvrgk - gives no detail about the terms of the proposed settlements.

~ Consider an agreement with the Gateway Cites Council of Governments to share costs for cleaning up the LA River (I think the river down the 605 dumps into the LA River), because it has too much bacteria. http://goo.gl/tYbFc

~ Consider whether to use $29,282.94 of Homeland Security money to buy urban search and rescue equipment. http://goo.gl/zaJr4

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Stats | New Dental Office

~ Some interesting statistical information about Monrovia from the latest city newsletter (scroll down a bit): http://goo.gl/BMwup

~ New dental office in town. http://goo.gl/yxB0V

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: Police to Destroy Toy Gun, Student Suspended; Car Theft; Residential Burglaries

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for Jan. 28-30. - Brad Haugaard]

During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 386 service events, resulting in 80 investigations.

Juvenile Problem

January 28 at 11:42 a.m., officers were dispatched to an elementary school in the 200 block of Jasmine Avenue. A 10-year-old student was found to be in possession of a plastic Airsoft pistol. The student said he left it in his backpack from the day before and forgot he had it in the backpack. He showed it to a fellow student. The fellow student later reported the incident to school personnel. The principal called the student in and retrieved the Airsoft pistol. There were no plastic BB's or magazine clips with the pistol. The student's parent was notified and responded to the school. The parent later surrendered two additional Airsoft pistols and requested Monrovia Police Department have them destroyed. No injuries were reported and the school will be suspending the student. The incident was documented.

Grand Theft Auto

January 28 at 7:11 p.m., police responded to the 600 block of Vaquero on the report of a stolen vehicle. The victim parked and locked her vehicle on the street at 4 p.m. in the evening. She returned to her vehicle the next day a little after 7 p.m. and discovered it had been stolen. The vehicle is a blue, 1991 Toyota Camry. The investigation is continuing.

Residential Burglary

January 29 at 10:33 a.m., police dispatch received an alarm call from a residence located in the 400 block of Parkrose. The alarm was heard by neighbors who checked outside after a few minutes and saw the front door of the residence was open and called police. Officers responded and realized the front door appeared to have been kicked open. Containment of the area was established and the residence checked. No suspect(s) were located or seen by neighbors. It appears the suspect(s) kicked the front door and headed straight to the master bedroom. The loss appears to be costume jewelry. The investigation is continuing.

Residential Burglary

January 30 at 3:54 p.m., police responded to the report of a burglary in the 200 block of North Mountain. The resident left at 7:20 a.m. and returned at 3:30 p.m. Upon her return, she discovered her home had been broken into and ransacked. The loss was jewelry from the master bedroom. The suspect(s) entered through an unlocked living room window and ransacked the entire residence. The investigation is continuing.

Residential Burglary

January 30 at 11:12 p.m., a residential burglary was reported in the 400 block of Norumbega. The crime occurred between 2 p.m. and 11 p.m. The suspect(s) forced open the front door and the house was ransacked. Jewelry was stolen from the location. The investigation is continuing.

 
- Brad Haugaard

Xylem Spa Opening in Old Town Monrovia

Xylem (pronounced zy-lem) Salon & Spa, at 198 S. Myrtle in Old Town, will hold its grand opening celebration on Feb. 10 from 3-7 p.m. It will include a journey throughout the Salon and Spa to experience complimentary Aveda Sensory Rituals for skin, body, hair and make-up, along with complimentary gift bags, and exclusive incentives. To RSVP, call 539-3244.

Source: Press release

- Brad Haugaard

Talk to Teens About Money

Talking to Teens About Money, a free three-night series. The basics of handling money. Feb. 5, 12, and 19 - all Tuesdays - from 6:30-7:15 p.m. at the Library.

- Brad Haugaard

Overturned Car on 210 Backs Up Homebound Traffic | Chu: Government Cuts Hurt 2012 Economy

~ At this moment an overturned car on the 210 East at Azusa is blocking the middle lane, traffic is backed up to Lake. http://goo.gl/0Byc8

~ Congresswoman Judy Chu, who represents Monrovia, says on Facebook of the report that the economy declined in the last quarter of 2012: "The fact that GDP growth shrunk shows how cutting government spending hurts the economy. Businesses need certainty to prosper. That's why we must reduce our debt responsibly - but not with draconian sequestration cuts."

- Brad Haugaard

City of Monrovia Waxes Poetic About Unmanned Time Warner Communications Center

The City of Monrovia reports - in poetry, believe it or not - that Time Warner has finished building an unmanned facility at 446 E. Duarte Road. The facility houses electronic equipment necessary to provide video, data, and wire line phone services. http://goo.gl/ggYuV

- Brad Haugaard

What Will Be the Fate of Monrovia's Oldest Remaining Carriage House?


The oldest remaining carriage house left in town. (Photo courtesy of MOHPG)

At the back of the multi-lot property at 131 E. Greystone Avenue in Monrovia is the oldest carriage house remaining in town, a 24 by 24-foot structure built in the late 1800s. But what will be its fate? The latest edition of the Monrovia Historic Preservation newsletter reports that the carriage house needs to be moved by this June, and that while it has a new home, the cost to actually move it is a problem.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police Recover Stolen Property Taken from People Who Told LA Times They'd Be On Vacation



On January 18 at 6:21 p.m., a female called to report her daughter was suicidal and had threatened to hang herself.  Officers arrived and searched the location for the suicidal subject, but she was not at the home.  During the search for the daughter, a large cache of cameras and other electronics was found.  A female subject who was at the location was found to have a warrant for receiving stolen property.
 
While she was being taken into custody, the suicidal subject returned home.  She was taken to a hospital and held for a 72-hour mental evaluation.  Due to the volume of property at the location, a search warrant was obtained.  Another male subject who was wanted by the Burbank Police Department for receiving stolen property showed up at the location.  He was also arrested.  The search warrant for the location was served and resulted in the recovery of a large amount of stolen property taken in burglaries from across the Los Angeles area: Hollywood, Walnut, Chino Hills, and Hacienda Heights.

Subsequent investigation indicated more stolen property was in a storage facility in the name of the female taken into custody days before.  The storage facility was located in the city of West Covina and another search warrant was obtained for that location.  The second search warrant resulted in the recovery of another large quantity of stolen property.  The recovered property was more than what could be processed and contained at the Monrovia Police Department.  Los Angeles County Sheriff's detectives assisted with the case and are processing the recovered property.  Investigation by Los Angeles County Sheriff detectives has indicated that many of the victims of these suspects were individuals who had placed themselves on the Los Angeles Times vacation list.  These victims were subsequently burglarized and are encouraged to contact Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Detective Jack Jordan at (562) 946-7893.  Victims should be prepared to supply the police report number from the burglary and a description of the items stolen.
 
Source: Monrovia Police press release
 
- Brad Haugaard

Old Monrovia Acapulco Building to be Replaced; Smashburger and Maybe Del Taco Coming to Town

I asked Monrovia Planning Division Manager Craig Jimenez about a rumor that the city will get a Smashburger ( http://smashburger.com/ ). He kindly fills us in ...

"The rumor is true. Smashburger has applied for approval of a conditional use permit to serve beer and wine at their new location in Huntington Oaks. The CUP will be reviewed by the Planning Commission on 2/13. They will be one of four tenants in the new building that will replace the Acapulco building. Plans for the building shell are in plan check and we anticipate that construction should begin sometime in February.

"Things are really starting to pick up and as is typical, we do a lot of talking with folks prior to applications coming in, but it's a good sign that people are actually thinking about developing. We're expecting Del Taco to move forward with their plans to build a new restaurant next to the new car wash on East Huntington Drive. Additionally, we will be focusing a lot of our attention on the citywide Strategic Plan (PlanMonrovia) over the next few months."

Thanks to Brad Hori for the tip.

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Assemblyman: Schools Should Buy California Produce; Post Financial Company Names

~ Assemblymember Chris Holden has introduced a bill to promote the purchase of California produce by state governmental entities and public schools. The legislative councel says it, "would require California public schools and school districts to purchase agricultural products grown in California before those that are grown out-of-state as long as the price does not exceed the lowest bid or price for an out-of-state product." http://goo.gl/omHL5

~ Also, Holden introduced a bill requiring the names of financial institutions and financial companies making loans under the Small Business Board and Small Business Expansion Fund programs to be posted on line. http://goo.gl/21ICc

- Brad Haugaard

Social Group for Women to Meet in Monrovia

"Newcomers and Friends of San Gabriel Valley" is having a meet and greet coffee on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 10 a.m. to noon, at Scrap N' Yap, 830 South Myrtle Avenue, Monrovia, CA.

Looking to meet new friends, have some fun, and become more familiar with the area? All women who are new to this area, or have had changes in their lives, or are looking for fun and interesting daytime activities and making new friends are cordially invited to stop by for socializing and refreshments (no charge to attend), and to learn about the other exciting events available during the upcoming month. Newcomers and Friends of SGV is a friendly, warm, welcoming group.

For more information, please visit our website, www.sgvnewcomers.com.

Source: Press release

- Brad Haugaard

Gold Line Bridge Featured in Concrete Magazine

If you haven't received your copy of Concrete International magazine yet, the Gold Line freeway bridge is featured in it. http://goo.gl/PcYwN

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: Lexus-Driving Robber; Trying to Rob Security Guard; Distraction-Theft Fail; Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for Jan. 24-27. - Brad Haugaard]
 
Following are the weekend's highlighted issues and events.
 
Soliciting Without a License / Warrant - Suspect Arrested
On January 25 at 10:59 a.m., residents in the 1000 block of Orange called regarding two suspicious male subjects walking house to house in the rain, trying to solicit painting jobs.  In light of recent notices about distraction burglaries, officers responded to contact the subjects.  Officers located the subjects and detained them.  One of the subjects had an outstanding warrant and was arrested.  It was later determined that he had a criminal history of theft.  The second subject was identified and released.  They were both advised about handing out fliers for soliciting business without a license.
 
Possession of Methamphetamine / Possession of Marijuana / Possession of Drug Paraphernalia / Receiving Stolen Property - Suspect Arrested
January 26 at 11:25 a.m., a female subject drove her male friend to the police station, due to his disruptive and strange behavior, and told him to get out of the car, but the subject refused.  Officers were alerted to the problem and detained the subject.  The subject was found to have methamphetamine, a smoking pipe and marijuana in the immediate vicinity of where he was seated and in his personal property.  He was also determined to be under the influence of a controlled substance.  He had two metal handicapped parking signs in the car, which the driver stated he had placed in the vehicle.  They had apparently been ripped from a sign post or wall to which they had been affixed.  He was arrested for the offenses, including receiving stolen property.
 
Driving Under the Influence / Traffic Collision / Possession of Marijuana - Suspect Arrested
On January 26 at 12:16 p.m., dispatch received a call reporting possible drug activity taking place in the 200 block of East Maple in an alley.  Officers arrived and detained a male and female subject.  The male subject is a documented gang member and has been served Monrovia's gang injunction.  There was a strong odor of marijuana coming from the car.  The female driver was determined to be under the influence of marijuana. She had driven into the driveway area and collided with the garage door; neither subject lived at the location.  The female was arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana and possession of marijuana.  The male subject did not have possession of any marijuana and was not impaired.  He was identified and released.  
 
Domestic Violence / Surreptitious Recording - Suspects Arrested
On January 26 at 2:30 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 200 block of East Lemon regarding a male subject being battered by his ex-girlfriend.  On arrival, officers determined the female subject had battered the male subject, causing visible injury on his face and arm.  The investigation revealed that the male subject had surreptitiously recorded the female, which is what caused her to become angry.  The female was arrested for domestic violence and the male was arrested for intentionally and surreptitiously recording the female.  The argument was also over a child they have in common.  The child was in a car seat in the back seat of a car when this occurred.   The Department of Children and Family Services was notified and will receive a copy of the police report. 
 
Armed Robbery
On January 26 at 4:00 p.m., a female subject was getting into her car after shopping in the 500 Block of West Huntington and was confronted by a male suspect armed with a handgun.  He pointed the gun at her and demanded a ring that was on her finger and her purse, which contained her cell phone.  The suspect fled in a grey, newer-model Lexus, driven away by another male suspect.  They fled east on Huntington and then south on Mayflower.
 
After the incident, the victim drove home to Arcadia and called the Arcadia Police Department.  The Arcadia Police Department transferred her back to Monrovia and an officer was dispatched to interview the victim.  A broadcast was made and a teletype was sent; however, a lot of time had passed due to the delay in reporting the incident.
 
The suspect is described as a male Hispanic, 5' 4", 145 pounds, no facial hair, 25 to 30 years old, brown eyes, wearing a dark colored beanie and a dark jacket with a grey hooded sweatshirt underneath.  The handgun is described as possibly a black semi-automatic.  The driver of the suspect vehicle was described as a male Hispanic.  The Investigation is continuing.
 
Stolen Vehicle / Driving Without a License - Suspect Arrested
January 26 at 4:30 a.m., a resident from the 200 block of Norumbega came to the station to report his vehicle had been stolen.  While he was reporting the crime, an officer located the vehicle on the 605 Freeway, heading southbound.  While the officer was waiting for a back up unit, the vehicle drove west on the 10 Freeway and exited at Peck Road.  The El Monte Police Department was clearing a burglary call at Peck and Ramona and there was a large contingent of law enforcement to assist.  Once the vehicle was stopped and the subject detained, the victim drove to the location and identified the suspects as female subjects who had been drinking with him.  He signed a refusal to prosecute and no further action was taken regarding the stolen vehicle.  However, a records check showed the female who was driving the vehicle did not have a license and she had no identification.  She was arrested and taken into custody.
 
Fight in Progress - Suspects Arrested
January 27 at 7:18 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 400 block of West Huntington regarding a fight in progress.  The investigation revealed that two male subjects were fighting each other inside a business.  Neither party desired prosecution, but the manager of the business signed a private person's arrest against them for fighting in public and both suspects were arrested.  No one was injured during the fight.
 
Attempt Robbery - Suspect Arrested
On January 27 a 12:25 a.m., officers were dispatched to the 1700 block of South Mountain regarding a weapons offense that was later discovered to be an attempt robbery.  The victim is a security guard at the business and was seated in his locked vehicle with the window partially rolled down.  The suspect walked up to the victim's vehicle and demanded money from him at knife point.  When the victim refused, the suspect lunged at him with the knife, but the victim's window protected him.  The victim drove away and called the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for assistance.  Sheriff's deputies responded and found the suspect near Duarte and Buena Vista.  It was determined that the crime actually occurred in Monrovia.  The victim positively identified the suspect and the knife was recovered in the suspect's possession.  The suspect was arrested.

Write-In Candidates for Monrovia Council | Collection for Fire Victims

~ Two potential write-in candidates for Monrovia City Council: Cyrus Kemp and Robert C.J. Parry: http://goo.gl/i6Ypu

~ Collection begun for Monrovia couple who lost their home to fire. http://goo.gl/1Mf3H

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Mayor's State of the City Speech


[Full text of Monrovia Mayor Mary Ann Lutz' State of the City speech being delivered this evening, Jan. 28. - Brad Haugaard]

Good evening. It is a pleasure for me to come here tonight to speak to you about the State of our City.
I have been in public service now for over 20 years,
as a volunteer,
a business owner,
a service club member,
a neighborhood leader,
a Community Services Commissioner,
a City Council member
and
now as your Mayor.
Yet I am still in awe of the passion and community spirit alive in Monrovia.
What an outpouring of support we have for our City, and our neighbors, our businesses, and our friends!
In my many years of service, this has remained true:
Nothing great happens in our City by the efforts of one person alone- it is a collaboration, a partnership.
Think about our goals ten years ago:
  • Build a new Library. DONE!
  • Secure the Gold Line. DONE!
  • Revive our Old Town District. DONE!
  • Bring in new business and homes...
  • Revitalize Monrovia neighborhoods….
  • Preserve our Hillside…
DONE! DONE! and DONE!
And none of those were achieved solely by the City.
  • Thanks to all of our residents who voted and paid for Measure L to build our new LEED-silver Library, and Measure A & B to preserve our hillsides from being developed
  • Thanks to previous Councils and Mayors and patient community supporters who made the Gold Line dream a reality,
  • Thanks to business owners and their stubbornly loyal patrons who make our Old Town thrive,
  • And Thanks to our Neighborhood Leaders and MAP activists who work tirelessly to create safe neighborhoods and places for our children to play.
Many of you sitting here tonight played an integral part in those achievements.
And I believe many of you will be part of our future accomplishments.
_________
I would like to take a moment to thank some of the exemplary members of Team Monrovia, our Council Members.
Council Member Tom Adams for his support of the Chamber of Commerce and local businesses…

Council Member Becky Shevlin for her tireless efforts to clean up our parks and Old Town…

Former Council Member Clarence Shaw for his service…
and Former Council Member Larry Spicer who filled in for Clarence and continues to champion our MAP and neighborhoods programs.

City Clerk Alice Atkins for maintaining our vital City records…and City Treasurer Steve Baker for overseeing our City’s finances…


I have also had the privilege of serving with a great Monrovia leader, my friend, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Garcia.
We have all seen the impact he has had on our great City.
Joe was the driving force behind our skate park; through his efforts we now have a reverse 911 system, improving our City’s emergency response and safety; and he has pushed for something we can all appreciate, a 24-hour City Hall with greater access to online services.
He has also left an indelible mark on our City landscape through his patronage of the Arts in Public Places.
We will miss his leadership on the Council.
Tonight, I would like you to join me in recognizing the man who has provided Monrovia with years of unfaltering service to the community.
__________
In April, Monrovians have the opportunity to elect new members of Team Monrovia.
We have the chance to participate in the democratic process of choosing who will lead our great City in the years to come, and I encourage everyone here to take part.
Team Monrovia is a shining example of how we work together to achieve great things.
And I know that moving forward, we will continue to collaborate for our future.
Now, more than ever, is the time to do that.
__________
One year ago Monrovia was facing very distinct challenges:
Amidst the greatest recession of our time, the State of California eliminated the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency- a tool we had used over the past 40 years to develop our City and promote business.
And the State did so right as our former City Manager departed for Glendale.
___________
Interim City Manager Mark Alvarado, our Administrative Services Director, took on the management of the City for several months through very rocky and unknown territory.
I would like to thank him tonight for taking on that monumental task.
He did a wonderful job for us in the interim and deserves our sincere appreciation for answering that call to duty.
___________
Last spring, through an exhaustive three month search, we sought out a new City Manager for Monrovia.
We sought someone with the same level of compassion this community requires…
and the same level of expertise we have come to rely upon and expect.
We sought someone who would not shy away from the challenges before us.
We found that and more in Laurie Lile.
I would like to introduce you, if you have not already met her, to Monrovia’s first female City Manager, Laurie Lile.
She comes to us from Palmdale and we wholeheartedly thank them for not realizing what they had.
___________
Laurie has hit the ground running here in Monrovia.
As the City’s CEO, Laurie sets the example.
In her first act as City Manager, she willingly took on the full payment of the employee portion of her retirement benefit, reducing the financial burden on the City.
Soon after, our Monrovia Municipal employees agreed to do the same, understanding that it takes all of us working together to maintain a thriving Monrovia. 
More recently, our Fire employees have started contributing more towards the cost of their retirement benefit.
We hope to announce this year that our Police employees have followed suit.
___________
The loss of the Redevelopment Agency was far and away the biggest challenge we faced in 2012.
Redevelopment was the tool that we used to develop Huntington Drive, attract businesses, and provide affordable housing.
It allowed us to pay for the rehabilitation of low-income housing, provide fa├žade improvements in Old Town, and build the very theater we sit in tonight.
Nothing about its elimination has been easy, and tonight I want to thank our Oversight Board for taking on the daunting task of winding down a very complicated program.
Despite the loss of Redevelopment, our goals remain the same:
Promote and foster business within our City.
___________
So on the eve of its demise last year, our economic Development team was poised to announce a new strategy for economic development.
In 2011 we were awarded as LA County’s most business friendly City…
with a proven strategy for attracting, retaining and growing business.
So we drew upon what Monrovia does best:
Building personal relationships.
Last year, our economic development team, including myself, other Council members, the Chamber of Commerce, and Old Town Advisory Members, personally visited 220 Monrovia businesses.
We came to hear their stories, to know their challenges, to meet their employees, and to gain a greater understanding of how the City of Monrovia and business community fit together to support one another.
Small to large, retail to manufacturing… businesses and jobs are the key to moving Monrovia, our State and our Nation forward.
We understand this and so do our partners at the Monrovia Chamber of Commerce, who have welcomed our new business owners with open arms.
With the help of our Chamber, we brought people together to address issues facing business owners with our annual CEO and Brokers reception.
Monrovia received a grant to create a jobs hub at our Library, thanks to efforts from Council Member Becky Shevlin, and also hosted two job fairs last year.
We know that Monrovia businesses create jobs and generate sales tax to support City services.
We also know that our local businesses are the foundation for how people know our City.
It’s why they come to visit, and a big part of the reason that they stay and make their future here.
I am proud to say that over the past year, we have welcomed over 200 new businesses to town, bringing with them jobs.
And in an economy such as this, every job should be celebrated.
___________
As we continue forward and look for new economic development opportunities, I know many of you are thinking about the new Metro Gold Line, which will extend the light rail from Pasadena to Azusa and one day on to the Ontario Airport.
This is a project 25 years in the making, and one that will have an immense impact on Monrovia.
The Gold Line currently serves more than 1 million riders every month… and the extension from Pasadena to Azusa is projected to add thousands of riders to the system every day.
Those riders will be connected to our city in a way they have never been before, bringing in more visitors to all cities along the foothills.
Recognizing this positive impact on our entire region, in 2012 we sold land to the Gold Line to construct the Gold Line Maintenance and Operations yard, from here on out known as the Gold Line Operations Campus.
It was the key that unlocked the entire Gold Line project.
If you drive by this site today, you will see that construction is well under way for both the Gold Line and the Operations Campus.
The I-210 bridge is now completed, providing a connection between the existing Pasadena Station and future Arcadia station.
For most of this past year, our City Staff has been working alongside Gold Line’s Construction Company to ensure that throughout each phase of this project, residents and businesses are seeing the least possible construction impact while creating the greatest possible transit benefit.
___________
Completion of the Monrovia Station is less than two years away, and I am incredibly excited to take our first ride from Monrovia to Los Angeles in 2015.
With the completion of the Gold Line in Monrovia comes our great opportunity… especially in the nearly 40 acres surrounding the station.
Station Square is our vision.
There will be a Gold Line train.
There will be a train stop in Monrovia.
There will be plenty of places to park.
What gets developed in and around the station is not yet certain.
What is certain is that we will see $16 and a half million dollars in public improvements surrounding that stop.
We will see everything from sidewalks, streets, underground utilities and freeway underpass improvements.
Plus landscaping, lighting and better traffic controls.
What I do know is that when development does come to this area, Monrovia will be the premiere stop along the foothills.
The tools of Redevelopment would have made the realization of our station square vision easier, as we move through this year, it will be a priority for this Council to ensure Monrovia is not just a stop along the line.
We will be a destination.
___________
I am confident because despite our tough economic times, building and construction activities are up.
In 2013, not only will we see a more complete vision of the Gold Line, but a remodel of our automall by the freeway, making us the best place to buy a car in the region.
This represents a great future forecast for Monrovia.
A great forecast, but not without its challenges.
___________
This year, decisions were made outside of Monrovia that will trickle down and affect us.
Our new Stormwater Permit is an unfunded and expensive Federal mandate to improve the quality of water that enters our storm drains.
The stormwater system leads straight to the ocean… and it is our responsibility to ensure that what goes into our gutters and storm drains is clean for our neighbors downstream…
We play a part in keeping our beaches clean, our sushi fresh and California’s tourism booming.
Stormwater is an important issue in maintaining our water quality.
By focusing on allowing more water to go back into the ground and not downstream, we can create more groundwater and develop Monrovia’s own natural resources.
Without funding, it will take all of us working together as a community to address this issue.
Recognizing the need for partnership, for the very first time, a group of 45 cities in Los Angeles County came together, led by Monrovia, to lobby for a more responsible Stormwater Permit that makes sense for cities.
While the issue of stormwater will be one we have to address for years to come, I would like to personally thank Heather Maloney in the Public Works Department for her hard work and collaboration on making sure that the issues facing cities were made evident in the permit process.
___________
It is this kind of collaborative leadership that we applaud here in Monrovia.
And the wonderful thing is that we are preparing Monrovians every year for this kind of leadership, through our Monrovia Area Partnership.
MAP celebrated six years in the community this past year with an unwavering commitment to building healthy neighborhoods.
In 2012, MAP graduated 19 new neighborhood leaders with steadfast enthusiasm on making a difference where they live.
And, for the first time, MAP graduated 23 Youth Neighborhood Leaders, representing the Quest Academy, the Teen Advisory Board, local churches, the Boys and Girls Club, YLife, and the Youth Commission.
For all of the Neighborhood Leaders here tonight, I ask you to stand and be recognized.
These extraordinary residents spent their free time learning government, problem solving and leadership skills that they will take to their schools, their families and throughout the community.
We now have more than 100 Neighborhood Leaders organizing neighborhood events, clean-ups and engaging their neighbors in discussion about important Monrovia issues.
This kind of civic invigoration is undeniable.
And throughout the City, in all the ways we come together, these Monrovians are inspiring us all to work together as a community.
___________
I’m proud to report that this past year we refused to allow strained budgets to strain our relationships, especially with our partners at the Monrovia Unified School District.
With their support, we can add the opening of the Monrovia High School track to the list of recreation sites for our community.
We know that Monrovia will only continue to attract the best and brightest if we create the best and brightest through our school system.
The Monrovia School District has consistently been recognized as a leader in education in California, a leader in nutrition, and now, for the third year in a row, CIF Champions in football.
We have seen more kids go to college than ever before, including a 25% increase at Canyon Oaks High School from just four years ago.
Mt. Sierra College continues to graduate leaders with BA’s in Business, Technology, Media Arts and Game Design… seeing a 130% rise in new student applications from 2008.
These bright students will go on to lead our City, build our businesses and sustain our neighborhoods.
It is only natural that the City supports our schools in every way possible.
___________
2012 was also a great year for our natural resources in Monrovia.
After purchasing our Wilderness Preserve, we have finally approved a Resource Management Plan- A plan that shows us how we will balance protection and use of our land for generations to come.
I want to thank our Monrovia Fire Department for undergoing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, and those residents who have agreed to sit as committee members to provide feedback.
This plan, led by residents themselves, will help to ensure that we remain good stewards of our land in the foothills.
That was the intent years ago when we purchased the property and it is our intent now as we put measures in place to safeguard our wilderness.
I am as eager as all of you to announce an opening day to our Wilderness Preserve, but there are still many steps we need to take before that day comes.
I promise that we are working as hard as possible to open up our land for those who want to share in it.
___________
Our environment is part of what makes Monrovia such a wonderful place to be, and preserving it takes more than just City efforts.
It comes from your efforts in our Wilderness, our parks and water conservation.
In keeping with our Environmental Accords, I am happy to announce that starting last year; every single commercial business in Monrovia is now recycling at least 50% of their trash!
That means half of the waste produced is diverted from a landfill and recycled back into our economy to create quality products and jobs.
We took advantage of grant funding to further reduce our energy output, installing energy-efficient lighting and replaced air conditioning units at our Community Center, Police Station and Fire Station.
And using LED lights at some of our traffic intersections, dramatically cut down our operating costs.
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As Monrovia continues to lead the region in our green efforts, we have put together a strategy to lead in technology as well.
While it is nice to come here, face-to-face, and talk without our smartphones, we understand that online technologies are the new way of doing business-
The way you like to do business.
So with our brand new redesigned website being launched this year, we’ve streamlined our information so you can find what you need more quickly.
We are also taking a look at how we can make interacting and doing business with the City easier.
Things like online bill payment, plan tracking, online applications.
And we’ve started.
Already you can find zoning online… report errant shopping carts with an iPhone… subscribe to weekly email updates… text in answers to surveys… and scroll through a list of information you need to open a business.
We are committed to not just providing these services, but access to services,…
Which is why you will now find free Wi-Fi at all of our City facilities!
We are proving ourselves as an innovative and active City.
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2012 was an outstanding year, thanks to some outstanding people and programs.
Thanks in big part to our community members… who saw value in the programs Monrovia supports… but the City can no longer fund.
Community events can only succeed when they are championed by someone who cares.
I want to thank these community members who did not hesitate to take on these events themselves, springing into action and bringing a deeper dimension to Team Monrovia.
Monrovians have come together on so many levels this past year, from community events like the 4th of July, Monrovia Day, the Holiday Parade, Concerts in the Park, to our Annual Spring Egg Hunt and the Holiday Tree lighting of our new California Christmas tree donated by Home Depot.
The reality is, these events require more than just volunteers.
Last year alone, the community donated over $400,000 to support these events.
Why?
Because we believe in the value of coming together.
We believe that a healthy community gets together to celebrate one another.
Quite honestly, this kind of coming together only happens when you feel safe.
Monrovia is a safe city.
Since 2008, gang violence has dropped 64%.
Our Monrovia SWAT team is part of the Foothill Special Enforcement Team named #1 in the State of California.
In March 2012… we received the James Q. Wilson Award as a finalist in excellence in Community Policing.
Since 1991… our Police Department has acted as more than just enforcement officers…
but activists who affect change and solve long-term problems using resources within our community.
It’s a strategy that has been incredibly effective.
Yet even as I say that, new challenges arise.
This year the State Realignment program, which was implemented to fix their prison overcrowding issues, resulted in the release of over 11,000 prisoners to Los Angeles County.  
These prisoners are now the responsibility of the local jurisdictions.
Subjects previously monitored by State parole officers are now the responsibility of County probation and local police.
Newly convicted felons of Non-Violent, Non-Serious and Non-Sex crimes now serve their time in county jail instead of state prisons. 
This has placed a tremendous burden on our already overcrowded county jail system, and resulted in many misdemeanor offenders not having to serve their full sentences.
I'm sad to say that since the state implemented Realignment, we have seen an increase in crime in the San Gabriel Valley.
We are working with the county and our neighboring cities to find regional solutions to this problem.  
It is up to us to remain vigilant, keep an eye out for each other, and support our local Police officers as we stay on top of these important issues.
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The City and the Community need each other, now more than ever.
In 2004, we reported to you a balanced budget… but announced that the State of California would take $1.1 million dollars.
Again in 2005, we reported the same.
In 2008 came the housing market crash, followed closely by the greatest recession of our time.
And then, we were hit with a windstorm.
As we were picking up the remnants of fallen trees and bearing the cost of the cleanup, the State of California took our greatest economic development tool.
I am proud to announce that Monrovia still claims a balanced budget, not an easy task for many cities across the nation right now.
But for the third year in a row, we are not adding to our reserve funds.
Even though our sales tax revenues are rebounding and our property tax revenues are showing modest growth, our overall revenue growth cannot sustain contributions to our reserves right now.
For a fiscally responsible community like Monrovia, that is not acceptable.
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The simple and easy answer to solve this would be to say
we should cut back.”
I want you to know, we have been cutting back- for years now. You’ve heard me say this.
Since 2008 we have eliminated 47 staff positions… which is 17% of our overall staff… and cut $2 million dollars from our expenditures.
It isn’t enough.
The time for simply cutting back existing programs is over.
We can no longer effectively provide quality service to our community at such reduced levels.
Monrovia can do anything, but it’s everything we can’t do.
It is time now for a new way of government.
Challenge accepted.
Over the past three months, you have heard us ask this question: What are the most important things the City should focus on over the next five years?
What are the programs you love?
What provides the most service to the most people?
How do we make the best use of our resources?
We asked, and you answered.
Over the past several months, hundreds of Monrovians have joined us at community workshops, started an online discussions, mailed in surveys, and emailed or texted us with your ideas about where the City should focus our limited resources.
It’s all part of our Strategic Planning process: Plan Monrovia.
I cannot describe how exciting it is to see so many people get involved and invested in our future.
You spoke from your heart, and your experience.
And we have listened.
All of your voices and ideas are critical in how we shape our priorities moving forward.
Plan Monrovia answers serious questions on how to emphasize programs and services that have the biggest impact on Monrovia … and maintain our quality of life.
It will shape our 2013-2015 City budget.
The process over the next several months will be tough, but we know that doing the hard thing today will lead to a better future.
So, starting tomorrow, January 29, the City Council and I will sit down at our first goal-setting workshop and take in all that you have said, all that our Monrovia community has voiced, every sentiment that was made about what you believe are the biggest priorities for our City.
Starting tomorrow, we develop a plan for the next five years that focuses our resources and puts the weight of the City behind projects the community most loves and supports.
Starting tomorrow, we begin creating a new way of doing business,with your voices ringing loud and clear as we make these decisions for our future.
Starting tomorrow, I invite you to come to the City Council chambers for our first planning session at 6pm as we write our new way of government.
A government that sees you as not just as customers in the City’s vending machine of services, but as partners in a greater goal.
Tonight, as I leave this Monrovia business, step out onto the sidewalk in a vibrant Old Town…
As I pull up to my home along my thoughtfully planned street, turn on my lights, and set out my trash…
Tomorrow, as I see residents play in our parks and spend time at our Library, I will be reminded of all the work that goes into creating and maintaining our great City.
The work we ALL put in.
As you go home tonight, I ask that you be reminded of what is at stake, and envision your role in Monrovia as we move forward in this new way of government.
We have, all of us, been dealt a tough hand over the past several years.
But I believe that no one hear listening tonight, no one watching from their homes, and no one reading this tomorrow are ones to shy away from a challenge.
We must think and act anew.
Our City may face unprecedented financial challenges, but our capacity is not determined by our bottom line.
It is determined by the resourcefulness, passion, and innovation of our community.
Monrovia’s capacity is determined by you.