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Archive for April, 2010

SUPERVISOR KNABE ALLOTS $2.5 MILLION TO REHAB SAN GABRIEL RIVER BIKE PATH

FROM THE DOWNEY PATRIOT

CERRITOS – A $2.5 million project to rehabilitate portions of the San Gabriel River bike path in Cerritos and Lakewood will continue, Supervisor Don Knabe has announced.

“It is important that the bike paths along our riverbeds are safe,” said Knabe of a project that will be paid for  in Fourth District Capital Improvement funds. “The improvements will enhance the safety and increase enjoyment of the numerous residents and visitors who use the San Gabriel River Bike Trail.”

READ THE ENTIRE STORY AT THE DOWNEY PATRIOT

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TESLA WILL BUILD CARS IN DOWNEY, ACCORDING TO DEPT OF ENERGY DOCUMENTS

April 29, 2010 1 comment

CONCEPT VERSION OF TESLA MODEL S

FROM ERIC PIERCE / DOWNEY PATRIOT

Documents filed with the federal Department of Energy—and obtained by the Downey Patriot—reveal that Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has every intention of building his company’s all-electric Model S in the city of Downey.

“It hasn’t yet been finalized,” Musk, still playing coy, told Auto News in an interview that the LBReport.com linked to this morning. “We’ve almost fully negotiated the deal, but it has not been signed yet.”

In that interview, Musk projected that he will announce the location of its Model S vehicle production plant “in the next several weeks.”

But in a draft environmental assessment submitted to the Department of Energy and dated February 2010, Tesla said it would lease land currently occupied by Downey Studios “for an initial term” of 11 years, with two 5-year options to extend the lease. READ THE ENTIRE STORY IN THE DOWNEY PATRIOT

SECOND+PCH HAS A PLAN, E-I-R-I-O! AND IN THAT PLAN THERE’S A TALL HOTEL, E-I-R-I-O!

April 29, 2010 11 comments
 

E-I-R-I-O!

(The Environmental Impact Report [EIR] for the proposed Second+PCH project was released this week, and local environmental activist Heather Altman—who also happens to read these types of documents for a living—is not impressed. “As I pick through it,” she says, “I am becoming increasingly aware that it isn’t very defensible—for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways.” With a nit-pick here and a head-scratch there, Altman has agreed to take Redistricted! readers through the more confounding parts of the analysis in a periodic feature we’re calling, “E-I-R-I-O.”)

Today’s dilemma: How high is Second+PCH’s 12-story hotel?

Says Altman: “The text of the EIR states that the maximum building height will be 12 stories—that is, 136 feet. But if you look at one of the accompanying diagrams, you can see that the 136-foot building isn’t the total height of the structure—it’s only to the height of the roof…and there is an almost two-story thing on top of the roof that they just aren’t counting!  And it’s not tiny—it covers, like, one-third of the roof! Check it out!” Read more…

GATEWAY TOWNE CENTER—COMPTON’S NEWEST—USES TAX-CREDIT MECHANISM TO NARROWLY AVOID FORECLOSURE

April 28, 2010 1 comment

BY ALLISON JEAN EATON / COMPTON BULLETIN

Compton’s new shopping center, the Gateway Towne Center, narrowly avoided forclosure after it was able to secure $29 million in permanent financing through a new tax-credit mechanism.

Community Development Financial Institutions Clearinghouse officials said this recent loan saved the shopping center, which would have gone into foreclosure had the permanent financing not been secured. City officials had not previously shared such information with the community. READ MORE

SURPRISE! SECOND+PCH EIR REVEALS PLANS FOR AN EVEN-BIGGER MIXED-USE DEVELOPMENT AT THE MARKET PLACE

April 26, 2010 9 comments

BABY HUEY: He walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, but he's not in the EIR for Second+PCH

The Second+PCH project may be an Odd Duck—the just-released Environmental Impact Report (EIR) reveals that its promoters have designed a residential/hotel/retail complex on the site of the Seaport Marina Hotel that is loaded with even more deleterious features than its rejected predecessor—but just wait until you get a load of its younger brother. Are you ever going to be surprised!

Actually, you already are. You didn’t know Second+PCH even had a younger brother. Pretty much nobody did.

But there it is, buried deep (Chapter III, pages 1, 2 and 3) in that EIR: a detailed description of another mixed-use project [CLARIFICATION: BY AN UNKNOWN DEVELOPER] proposed for right across Pacific Coast Highway—on the current site of the Market Place shopping center. And it’s packed with even more retail, residential and hotel rooms than Second+PCH.

Odd Duck (and everyone else), meet Baby Huey.

This is a little awkward, I realize, so why don’t we let the EIR handle the introductions from here. Read more…

COMMIE GIRL IN CUBA, HAVANA GOOD TIME AND MUCH, MUCH MORE

April 26, 2010 3 comments

REBECCA SCHOENKOPF IN HAVANA

(Rebecca Schoenkopf, who made her name as Commie Girl at the OC Weekly, is writing as beautifully and insightfully as ever. Here are her reflections on a recent visit to Cuba.)

BY REBECCA SCHOENKOPF

It is foreign, and we are on a very fancy bus, 13 or 17 of us or so, FourStory writers and our lovers and a few nice neighbors who thumbed a ride with us from OC to Havana, Cuba. We are gawking out the windows at a land free of any advertising except exhortations to educate your children and pictures of the nation’s heroes. Cuba loves its heroes, its Comandante Che and its number one hero of all time and forever, Jose Marti, who was neither a general nor a baseball player but a writer, and that’s just weird. We are looking at the open spaces, almost agriculture-free but for a field or two here or there, and the 1960s Soviet concrete monoliths, and the God-sized portraits of Che.

And then we come into Havana itself, taking a roundabout way that brings us past stately homes on the Avenue of the Presidents (but in Spanish), only a couple of whom have statues because they turned out to be so corrupt and lame, and the Cuban people said, “Fuck! Enough with statues of the presidents already, let’s just sculpt some more of Jose Marti!”

And Havana is so dreamy and beautiful and different—different from our homes, from anyplace we have been, and from how we thought it would be. READ MORE

BELLFLOWER TRYING TO REDEVELOP ITS ECONOMY WITHOUT RIPPING OUT ITS HEART

April 24, 2010 2 comments

BELLFLOWER THEN...AND, WELL...NOW

The City of Bellflower’s time capsule of a downtown is both heartwarmingly quaint and heartbreakingly … well without a heartbeat.  Bellflower Boulevard’s well-preserved architecture and its embalmed business district can probably both be traced to its citizens’ long opposition to creating a Redevelopment Agency, an orientation rooted in their suspicion that eminent domain might be used to take their homes. Bellflower finally passed a redevelopment ordinance in 1995, about 10 years after most surrounding communities—and it does not include an eminent domain component; people have to sell their properties willingly.

In another effort to catch up, the City Council unanimously voted to add 271 acres to the existing 571 acre redevelopment area. And then its members unanimously cringed, bracing for the blowback. That’s the powderkeg Councilmember Randy Bomgaars was trying to defuse when he told reporter Arnold Adler of the Herald American, “We must move forward but we need the community involved—then added that everything must be done in the open.

City officials view an expanded redevelopment area as a way to increase revenue without raising taxes. Currently the redevelopment district straddles some major streets—most notably, downtown Bellflower Boulevard, where the sad state of affairs is epitomized by glorious vaudeville-era movie palace … which, depressingly, is a church.

READ THE ENTIRE STORY IN THE HERALD AMERICAN