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Monrovia Council Agenda | 210 Closures | Huff on Education | Another Lawsuit Against City

~ The agenda of the Sept. 4 Monrovia City Council meeting. http://goo.gl/yWx69

~ Full closure of eastbound 210 Freeway to remove the supporting structure for the Gold Line bridge for up to eight nights, from midnight to 5 a.m. Sept. 4-6, and Sept. 9-13.

~ Senator Bob Huff, who represents Monrovia, complains that the Legislature is about to gut an old law that would require using "student test data to evaluate teachers -- something unions have long opposed despite wide public support." That and other comments on education. http://goo.gl/hHZeE

~ The family of an injured Clifton Middle School student suing the city for $36 million. http://goo.gl/e46ls

- Brad Haugaard

Remodeling of Old Antique Store on Myrtle

The old antique store across from the Library on Myrtle has been gutted and this poster high on the wall shows (I presume) what it will look like when it is done.

- Brad Haugaard

Lunch at Cafe Lori

Lunch at Cafe Lori, on the south side of Lime just east of Myrtle. Armenian food. Got a shawerma plate for $9.75 plus tax and tip. Shoestring-cut beef was different and good. Plus hummus, rice, salad and pita bread. Really good. I recommend this place!

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Football | More on Lawsuit | Flags Half Staff | MOPS

~ Tough opening test for Monrovia football. http://goo.gl/gHoKh

~ More on the $106 million lawsuit against Monrovia, with comments from the plaintiff. http://goo.gl/jwMne

~ City of Monrovia flags will be flown at half staff through Saturday, Septmeber 1 in memory of Neil Armstrong.

~ Mothers of Pre Schoolers (MOPS) group starting at Monrovia Presbyterian Church. http://goo.gl/fytLS

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Olympian Introduces Fellow Olympians, Endorses Romney


Monrovia Olympian Kim Rhode spoke at the Republican National Convention tonight, introducing fellow Olympians and commenting that she has seen America "falter" in the last few years. Drawing from a shooting metaphor, she said she believes the country is "off target" and needs the leadership of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and "we need it now."

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Chase Bank Robbed | Thunder in Monrovia | Huff Opposes Farm Lawsuit Bill

~  Monrovia Chase bank robbed today. http://goo.gl/Y7S9I

~ Verdugo Fire Communications Center reports thunderstorms from Pasadena to Monrovia, with calls of wires down and transformer fires. Also, National Weather Service has been tracking a cluster of strong thunderstorms over the San Gabriel Mountains, though it appears to be mostly on the desert side. http://goo.gl/aH3Zb

~ Video: Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (who represents Monrovia) opposes a measure that would allow agricultural employees to sue employers for alleged violations of the state's occupational heat illness laws for outdoor employees, and make farmers jointly liable for the alleged violations of those laws by farm labor contractors. http://goo.gl/HcQAi

- Brad Haugaard

Preview of New Monrovia Jack in the Box



Here's what the new Jack in the Box restaurant at the corner of Huntington and Magnolia will look like.
http://goo.gl/AoO5l

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia City Manager Optimistic Solution Can Be Found to $106 Million Lawsuit Against City

In her weekly report, City Manager Laurie Lile says she is optimistic a solution can be found to the $106 million lawsuit filed against the city. She writes:

"Samuelson & Fetter, a local developer who has built several office parks along Huntington Drive, is suing the City of Monrovia and the former Redevelopment Agency for $106 million. Although a judgment of that amount against the City would be devastating, I am optimistic that we will settle the dispute by finding a solution that will provide a development opportunity for Samuelson & Fetter, while providing the parking structure and the Maintenance and Operations Facility required for the Gold Line. We are committed to continuing our dialog with both the developer and with Gold Line to work this out."

- Brad Haugaard

Big Car Show on Myrtle | Freeway Closed Late Tonight

~ More than 300 cars at Sept. 8 show on Myrtle in Monrovia. http://goo.gl/4HzA8

~ Reminder: Eastbound 210 will be totally closed tonight (August 30) from midnight to 5 a.m. for Gold Line bridge construction. Source: press release

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Police: 103 Years to Life; Dolly Stolen; Parolees Arrested, Etc.

[Monrovia Police activities from the Police Department's Neighborhood Watch Report for August 27-29. - Brad Haugaard]
 
During the last seven-day period, the Police Department handled 459 service events, resulting in 68 investigations.
 
Commercial Burglary / Petty Theft with Priors - Suspect Arrested
August 28 at 11:52 a.m., a business in the 1600 block of South Mountain called police to report a subject they had in custody for commercial burglary.  A male subject, recently released from parole in May, was caught attempting to steal wire he had secreted between bags of garden material from the business.  He admitted to the officer that he intended to steal the items.  His criminal history revealed he had numerous convictions with time served for theft.  He was arrested and charged with commercial burglary and petty theft with priors.
 
Residential Burglary
August 28 at 1:04 p.m., police were dispatched to the 600 block of Terrado regarding a residential burglary.  An elderly female called police to report her home had been burglarized.  She had left the home at 11:00 a.m. and returned at 1:00 p.m.  When she returned home, she found someone had taken the glass louvers off of a window. Suspect(s) had entered the home and had taken items of jewelry.  The investigation is continuing.
 
Burglary
August 28 at 9:52 p.m., police responded to the report of a burglary that occurred in the 400 block of East Olive, between 7:20 a.m. and 9:50 p.m.  Unknown suspect(s) entered the garage through an unlocked door.  The garage is adjacent to an alley.  A green dolly was stolen.  Investigation continuing.
 
Stolen Vehicle Recovered
August 29 at 12:28 a.m., a car was reported abandoned in the intersection of Canyon and Walnut.  A subject was seen, possibly a male, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, running west from the car.  Officers arrived and, after investigation, found the car had just been stolen from in front of a residence in the 800 block of South Canyon.  The suspect broke a window to gain entry and punched the ignition.  It appeared that although the suspect got the engine started, he was unable to unlock the steering wheel to turn the vehicle and he abandoned it at the intersection.  The suspect left some tools and a backpack in the vehicle.  The investigation is continuing.
 
Possession of Burglary Tools / Drug Paraphernalia / Stolen Property / Parole Violation - Suspect Arrested
August 29 at 9:24 a.m., a citizen called to report seeing a male subject looking into cars in the 1500 block of South Myrtle. Officers responded and located the subject, a known drug user with a history of theft.  The subject was holding a multi-socket tool that looked fairly new. When questioned he admitted to taking the tool from a vehicle near Cypress and Myrtle. A further search of the subject revealed a shaved screw driver and aluminum foil pipe with residue on it. The subject was arrested and booked for the above listed charges. Additionally, the subject violated his parole and a parole hold was issued.
 
 
Detective Bureau Case Follow-Up
 
Armed Robbery - Primary Suspect Sentenced to 103 Years to Life
In 2008, several armed robberies were committed within the San Gabriel Valley, one of which occurred in the City of Monrovia.  The robbery in Monrovia involved two armed suspects and a third get away driver.  The two armed suspects entered a business in the 300 block of West Huntington, just prior to closing, while the get away driver stood by at the rear of the business.  The armed suspects confronted several employees inside the business, bound their wrists, and held them at gunpoint in an office.  They took cash from the business and fled in a waiting vehicle driven by the third suspect.  Evidence and Investigation suggested these same suspects committed additional robberies in Pasadena, Altadena and other San Gabriel Valley cities.  Monrovia detectives worked diligently on this investigation and eventually identified all three suspects. 
 
All three of these suspects were successfully prosecuted and convicted of multiple felony charges.  The sentencing for the primary suspect has been in the courts for the past 2 years, and he was finally sentenced on August 23, 2012, at the Pasadena Superior Court.  He received a sentence of 103 years to life!  This was great work by Monrovia investigators to bring this case to a conclusion. 

Mayor Pro Tem: Huge Lawsuit Against Monrovia Could 'Destroy the Community'


A local developer who has built several office parks along Huntington Drive is suing the City of Monrovia and the former Redevelopment Agency for $106 million – a sum nearly three and a half times the City’s general fund budget.

“Samuelson & Fetter has levied upon us a lawsuit that would destroy the community that they helped create,” Mayor Pro Tem Joe Garcia said. “We are shocked and saddened that they felt it was necessary to take this action.”

“$106 million? That would cause extreme financial hardship for the City,” Mayor Mary Ann Lutz said. “We are at a loss to explain why they believe they have suffered this level of injury, or any injury at all, for an alleged breach of an agreement under which Samuelson & Fetter was never able to perform. We have always been partners, and thought that we shared the same goal – to bring a quality, transit oriented development to an area of Monrovia that is in need of amenities, including open space.”
  
The complaint, filed on behalf of Samuelson & Fetter on Aug. 24, alleges Monrovia did not live up to its agreements with the developer regarding the Station Square Transit Village, an 80-acre transit oriented development located just south of the I-210 Freeway.

Specifically, according to the complaint, Samuelson & Fetter alleges that it lost nearly $100 million in profit when the former Redevelopment Agency diverted some of the property planned for residential and commercial development to the Gold Line for use of a public rail project.

“Samuelson & Fetter was made aware of these circumstances and has been at the table the whole time,” City Manager Laurie Lile said. “We have been working with them diligently to settle our disagreements and lay out a land plan that acknowledges the requirements of the Gold Line, while providing a lot that would be suitable for development. We were surprised that they filed suit at this time, when our discussions seemed to be progressing in a positive direction. This lawsuit, however, threatens to unravel the fabric of the community in search of an unrealistic profit on the backs of our residents.”

The development agreement, signed in 2006, was between Samuelson & Fetter and the former Redevelopment Agency. Once the Redevelopment Agency was dissolved in 2011 as a result of state legislation, the Successor Agency took over the functions of the former Redevelopment Agency. At the heart of the issue is that Samuelson & Fetter blames the former Redevelopment Agency for impairing their development and cutting into their projected profit margin.

But Monrovia believes it was doing what it set out to do since the beginning of the project: provide what residents and commuters need through the extension of the Gold Line and creation of a station in Monrovia. Since 2006, when the agreement was signed, the City has worked to preserve a transit-oriented development in Monrovia. However, changing circumstances have affected the constructability of the project:

- Years of adverse economic conditions have softened the real estate market and have made construction financing difficult to obtain;

- In 2011, the State barred Redevelopment Agencies from making any amendments to outstanding development agreements;

- The Monrovia Redevelopment Agency was dissolved in 2011, along with all other Redevelopment Agencies in the state, by an act of the California Legislature;

- Site selection of a Maintenance and Operations facility to serve the Gold Line shifted to the location in Monrovia when other locations became unavailable; and,

- Property south of the railroad tracks could not be acquired to provide a location for construction of a public parking structure to service the Monrovia Gold Line commuters, shifting the obligation to provide parking on Agency-owned land.

The Monrovia-based developer, who since 1980 has developed 750,000 square feet of office and research development space on Huntington and Royal Oaks Drives, is seeking $3 million in attorneys’ fees, an alleged $33.2 million in “lost entitlement values” and $70.4 million in alleged “lost profits caused by the City,” according to the lawsuit.

In contrast, Monrovia’s general fund budget is nearly $30 million, with $12 million going to fund the police department and $8 million to the fire department. The remaining $10 million funds public works, administration, parks, the library, and recreation-related activities.

Most of the 80 acres comprised of the Station Square Transit Village development is privately owned. The former Redevelopment Agency owns about seven acres. Samuelson & Fetter owns less than 10,000 square feet.

Though Samuelson & Fetter claims that Monrovia is out of compliance with its agreement, it is actually the developer who has not been able to comply with the terms of the agreement. After numerous failed attempts to urge Samuelson & Fetter to perform under the agreement, in February 2012, Samuelson & Fetter was sent a Notice of Default by the former Agency because, among other reasons, the company failed to close escrow on and purchase the Agency’s land by 2011, as set forth in the agreement.

Despite this lawsuit, City officials are still optimistic they can reach a resolution and continue on the path to delivering the Gold Line Station, improved amenities, and new housing and office units to Monrovia.

“In the end, I am optimistic that we all want what is best for Monrovia,” Mayor Lutz said. “Monrovia is committed to an amicable resolution, and we hope that we will be able to resolve our differences.” Mayor Pro Tem Garcia concurs, “I too am hopeful that we find a solution that meets the needs of both the community and the developer.”

Source: This is a City of Monrovia press release

- Brad Haugaard 

Huff Measures Approved by Governor

Two measures authored by Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (who represents Monrovia) have been approved by the Governor.

SB 1364 seeks to ensure that ratepayers served by private water companies are not asked to pay more for the same service than a ratepayer served by a public agency without a clear understanding of the associated costs.

SB 1137 requires that heritage schools must register with the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Heritage schools are privately financed, culture-based educational entities.

Source: http://goo.gl/S1EHE

- Brad Haugaard

Were Monrovia High Cheerleaders Removed for Prank?

Parents say Monrovia High cheerleaders removed from squad for prank at camp. http://goo.gl/9L2yB

- Brad Haugaard

Portantino Long-Gun Bill Goes to Governor

Assemblymember Anthony Portantino's legislation banning the open carry of unloaded rifles and shotguns in cities has been approved by the Legislature and now heads to the Governor for signature. Portantino represents part of Monrovia.

The bill makes it a crime to openly carry unloaded rifles and shotguns in any public place or public street in incorporated cities in California. The bill does not affect rural areas or unloaded long guns inside a vehicle.

Source: Portantino press release

- Brad Haugaard

Antonovich Visiting North Korea

County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who represents Monrovia, is on a private trip visiting communist North Korea to learn more about its culture, government and economy. http://goo.gl/YXgsW

Selena Gomez in Monrovia | Portantino Disaster Bill Clears Senate

~ Selena Gomez in Monrovia working on project, "While I'm Dead.. Feed the Dog." http://goo.gl/dSfSU

~ Assemblyman Anthony Portantino's disaster prep bill, which requires public utilities to hold disaster preparedness meetings every two years with the cities and counties. Portantino represents part of Monrovia. http://goo.gl/GhjwU

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia Olympian to Speak at GOP Convention

Monrovia Olympian Kim Rhode will speak at the Republican convention Thursday. http://goo.gl/zl1Us

- Brad Haugaard

Inspiration for New Juvo Offices in Monrovia

Juvo Capital, an investment firm, is about six weeks away from occupying the old Dogwood's produce market, according to a Facebook posting by one of the partners, Talmadge O'Neill. He posted a set of pictures at one of the company's websites, LoveIt.com, showing "some inspirational pictures that helped us think about our new office space." Here they are with O'Neill's comments: http://goo.gl/s0ro3

- Brad Haugaard

Monrovia's AeroVironment Creates Robotic Fish

Not satisfied with merely conquering the skies, the engineers at Monrovia's AeroVironment have now created a proof-of-concept solar-powered robotic fish, the "mola," which imitates the ocean sunfish. Cool video at the link: http://goo.gl/Vmiru

- Brad Haugaard

Portantino De-Tattooing Bill Goes to Governor

Assemblymember Anthony Portantino's bill to provide tattoo removal funding for prostitutes who have been branded by pimps, has been approved 76 to 0 in the state Legislature and now goes to the Governor for his signature. Portantino represents part of Monrovia. Source: Portantino press release.

- Brad Haugaard