When we last looked at the soap opera/business development we call Altadena Lincoln Crossing, outgoing Altadena Town Council member Michele Zack served as the council's rep on the West Altadena Project Area Committee (WAPAC). When Zack left the council in July, she was replaced by councilman Gene Campbell. WAPAC passed a motion to send a letter to the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission (CDC), supporting the West Altadena Development Corporation's (WAD-C) effort to end its business marriage to partner Dorn Platz, the developer who has a laundry list of default actions, in order to continue developing Lincoln Crossing.
Well, Zack attended the July 22 meeting as Jane Citizen, and then the fun started. She filed this report with the town council, and shared it with us, after the jump:
Report on the July 22, 2009 WAPAC Meeting
Submitted to the Altadena Town Council, Aug. 18, 2009
This is my final report. I participated on the WAPAC board for the first part of July’s meeting until Mr. Campbell was seated. Something very unusual happened while I was still seated and representing the Altadena Town Council that I believe the ATC and the community should know about.
At the previous, June meeting, the WAPAC passed a motion to send a letter to the CDC supporting WAD-C’s bid to separate from Dorn Platz and seek a new and solvent partner to continue the building of ALC’s Phase 2. As explained in my June report, the WAPAC took this action after a letter from the CDC outlining the many default actions of Dorn Platz was read into the public record. These included failure to pay tax, various liens and encumbrances, and putting the property on the market despite this action being specifically prohibited in the Development Agreement, among other things. Consensus on the PAC and with members of the public was that by the CDC’s own reckoning DP was not financially able to continue, and that therefore the best way to move forward would be to allow its non-profit partner WAD-C to find a viable new developer.
However, when the secretary of the PAC read the letter sent to the CDC, it did not correspond to the motion passed by members that was duly noted in the summary report of the June 2009 meeting. The letter written did not say that the WAPAC supported WAD-C’s bid to separate from Dorn-Platz and seek a new developer, instead saying that the PAC supported WAD-C’s separation from Altadena Lincoln Crossing and to its seeking a new partner. With this change in language, the resolution became moot, according to Mr. Carlilse, who not at the PAC meeting, but whom I later interviewed.
The CDC’s reply to the WAPAC letter made this clear, it said it did not have anything to do with WAD-C withdrawing from Altadena Lincoln Crossing, it could do as it liked. Altadena Lincoln Crossing remained the developer. So the PAC’s letter had the opposite meaning from what PAC members intended (to free the community and ALC of Dorn Platz) — because if WAD-C separated from Lincoln Crossing, that would leave the insolvent Dorn Platz as our project developer.
At July’s meeting, I pointed out that the letter did not reflect the actual motion that the WAPAC had passed at June’s meeting. The Chair responded with obtuse and unclear language, basically denying the reality of what in fact the WAPAC had voted to say in its letter, although she had not been present at the June meeting. When another member of the PAC produced the summary report of the June meeting that supported my contention that the motion and its meaning had been changed, the chair simply denied it, and the CDC representative Matt Abney claimed that he had understood “what we meant to say.” I responded that it did not seem proper to change a motion voted on in a public meeting, that it created a sense of mistrust. There is a video available of this meeting.
As a member of the public and long time supporter of Altadena Lincoln Crossing, I find it very disturbing that public officials on the WAPAC and representing the CDC are acting in ways that at the very least undermines public confidence in our redevelopment process. I am perplexed, and I suggest that the Altadena Town Council remain alert and engaged in what is going on in this biggest-ever commercial development in our community’s history. The events of the last meeting suggest the possibility (indeed the CDC reported that it had had a meeting with DP director Greg Galletly to which his partner WAD-C had not been invited) that there is collusion between DP, the CDC, and certain members of the WAPAC — and that what should be a transparent public process has been abandoned in favor of backroom deals. As a public committee with a representative on this board, I think the Altadena Town Council should be concerned and disturbed also.
At the same meeting, the chair declared “substantial” progress at the abovementioned meeting (which WAD-C was excluded from) in resolving DP issues. Yet when questioned, she could not explain what this progress consisted of other than more discussion about parking. The CDC rep Mr. Abney actually denied that any substantial resolution to any DP problems had been reached. This is all on tape, and I believe that the HUD Inspector General Investigation into ALC, as well as other legal entities disputing some of the murky goings on at ALC, will probably be viewing this footage.
At about the half-way point in the meeting, the ATC’s new rep Mr. Campbell was seated, and I retired to the audience. Mr. Campbell did not ask any questions of the CDC representative Matt Abney or the WAPAC chair to try to clarify the situation at Altadena Lincoln Crossing.
I plan to remain involved as a interested member of the public, and to pursue the question of why the language and meaning of the WAPAC’s motion was changed by chair Bernardeen Brodeous and secretary Peggy Taylor.
Retired ATC rep to the WAPAC
P.S. Problems with parking that I have reported on in every previous WAPAC report continue. The other morning, I counted 47 parking spaces that were taken up either by trucks making deliveries during business hours or pallets of food stacked in the parking lot so that cars could not use these places. I understand that there is some movement toward leasing the land immediately east of the market from owner Greg Galletly back to Super King to use in enlarging the parking lot. I have no idea why this has not yet happened as we keep hearing that it is in the works.