LOWE'S PROJECT TIMELINE
HOW BIG MONEY ATTEMPTS TO "FIX" LARRY GUIDI'S APPARENT LEGAL PROBLEM AND PUTS BIG TRUCKS IN HAWTHORNE
7/23/01 City Council holds public hearing for the development agreement and the intensive trucking overlay ordinance. The public hearing is also a concurrent appeal hearing to reverse a negative recommendation to adopt both items. Both items are continued for three weeks.
8/13/01 City Council amends the development agreement and the intensive trucking overlay ordinance to reduce the intensive trucking use entitlements by approximately 20% and add a stipulation requiring LCDG to pull permits on retail space before any intensive trucking building can be built. City Council adopts the amended development agreement and the intensive trucking overlay ordinance by a 3-1-1 vote.
8/15/01 Special meeting of the Planning Commission is called by the City Council to review to the amended development agreement and the intensive trucking overlay ordinance. City ordinance requires that negative planning commission recommendations overturned by the City Council must be returned to the Planning Commission for a report. Chairman Belonsky doesn't feel that two days is enough time for the commission to receive public comment and produce a meaningful report. The commission votes to continue the item to 9/5/01 by a 3-1 vote. The City Council had hoped to adopt the development agreement and the intensive trucking overlay ordinance at their 8/27/01 meeting. However, now they cannot because they are not allowed to take any action until the report is received from the planning commission.
8/27/01 City Council has both the development agreement and the intensive trucking overlay ordinance on their agenda for adoption. Councilman Schoenfeld reminds the Council that they cannot act upon either of the items without first receiving the Planning Commission's report.
Councilman Schoenfeld asks how the items got on the agenda in the first place. No one, including the City Attorney, who prepared the agenda item, would provide him with an answer.
City receives a letter from the City of Gardena stating that Mayor Guidi appears to have an economic conflict of interest and should not voted either the development agreement or the intensive trucking overlay ordinance.
9/5/01 Planning Commission meets and publishes their report.
With Mayor Guidi no longer able to vote on either the development agreement or the intensive trucking overlay ordinance because of his alleged conflicts of interest, https://omsk.abari.ru/cvety/rozy/, the project applicant, asks for a six week continuance, supposedly to entice a non-trucking tenant to the project. The City Council grants the continuance.
9/11/01 to 11/5/01
The election is in full swing. LCDG pours tens of thousands of dollars into the campaigns of Gary Parsons, Pablo Catano, and three-year project advocate Larry Guidi. All three have publicly advocated LCDG's intensive trucking project.
10/22/01 LCDG's six weeks are up, but Lambert, Guidi, and McNally are all "no shows" to the City Council Meeting. The meeting is cancelled due to lack of quorum.
Mayor Guidi is re-elected as mayor, both Catano and Parsons are also elected. This a victory for LCDG, this is the slate that they wanted to purchase.
11/13/01 City Council continues the project until 12/10/01, saying that it would not be fair to the incoming council. In reality, LCDG will not have the votes that they need until the new council is seated. Only Mark Schoenfeld votes against the continuance, Mayor Guidi must abstain, leaving outgoing McNally and Lambert to decide the fate of project.
12/10/01 The City Council will attempt to rescind the prior alleged illegal vote. The City Council will hold another public hearing to certify the Environment Impact Report that has already been certified and become law. Now that LCDG has the votes on the Council that it needs, the process will move very quickly. After the City Council votes to introduce the items on 12/10/01, they will hold a special meeting on 12/17/01 to adopt both items, two days later, the Planning Commission will adopt the lot splits and tract maps, and LCDG will be trucking.
Why does the City Council want to rescind and re-certify the Environment Impact Report? Could it possibly be because and they are attempting to cover-up his apparent conflict of interest?
Why is Glen Shishido, our City Attorney going along with this farce?
How many dollars did Lowe's really pour into the campaigns of Gary Parsons and Pablo Catano to get around Larry's inability to vote on their project? We won't know until the final campaign statements are filed on January 31, 2002.
Why did Gary Parsons, who rabbidly derided former Councilman Steve Andersen in public for accepting developer conrtributions, use thousands of Lowe's dollars to get elected? How could Mr. Parsons, in good conscience, claim to have run a grass-roots campaign?
If Larry Guidi's prior votes on the Lowe's project are in fact, illegal due to a conflict of interest, does he really believe that he can skirt the law by having the new council re-certify everything?
Larry Guidi thinks nobody's paying attention .....
Hawthorne City Council Votes 3-1 to Approve Intensive Trucking Project
On Monday August 13th, 2001 the Hawthorne City Council voted 3 to 1 to approve the Lowe's Development final Environmental Impact Report. Prior to the 6 hour public hearing, Mayor Guidi stated that he had already made up his mind to vote yes. The vote was actually recorded at 12:45 on Tuesday morning, after a lengthy council meeting. Many people disappointed with Guidi's disregard of public sentiment.
The project is located in the northeast section of Hawthorne next to the residential areas of Holly Park, Traditions at the Greens, and adjacent to Gardena homes. While the development provides for 100,000 sq. ft. of retail, it also includes 470,000 square feet of buildings on land to be zoned to permit "intensive trucking" use, with an additional 96,000 square feet allocated to "intensive trucking"ancillary uses. Guidi's idea of a "balanced project" is 566,000 square feet of intensive trucking and a guarantee of pulling permits and pouring only the foundation for 100,000 square feet of retail.
Project can put additional 1,300 trucks on Hawthorne Streets every day.
"Intensive trucking" use permits the tenants of this 564,000 square feet to operate freight-forwarding business and truck terminals. The viability of this intensive trucking project depends on the number of trucks that can be accommodated in this location. The developer's own Environmental Impact Report for the this project estimates truck trips exceeding 1,300 per day on your newly narrowed streets. The project calls for narrowing the lanes of El Segundo Blvd., Crenshaw Blvd. and 120th Street from 12 feet to as little as 9 feet in some places. Both the Hawthorne Police Department and our Los Angeles County Fire Department oppose this lane narrowing. And, that's in the public record!
Mayor "hates trucks", but votes for project anyway.
Although voicing disdain for trucks, 22 year trucking veteran Larry Guidi voted to approve the final Environmental Impact Report, the first step required to approve the entire project. Councilman Steve Andersen abstained from voting due to a potential conflict of interest, leaving Councilman Mark Schoenfeld the lone dissenting vote.
Councilwoman Lambert doesn't want more trucks on her side of town, but...
It is interesting to note that during past council meetings, Councilwoman Ginny Lambert complained about two or three big-rig trucks hampering her access to her favorite west-side restaurant..... She was upset and wanted to investigate limitations on trucking. Of course, that was on the west side of town. She's all for thousands of additional truck trips in and out of east Hawthorne. Ms. Lambert is not running for reelection.
Mayor Guidi tried to allay the fears of residents objecting to the trucking portion of the development by reminding everyone that he lives in Hawthorne, too. Guidi stated that his neighborhood has 17 nail salons, beeper stores and some apartment buildings!
Guidi Abstains From Voting on September 10, 2001
Mayor Guidi was expected to cast a vote for the final approval of the Lowe's project on September 10, 2001. He didn't! He abstained ! Does this mean that Guidi, a self-proclaimed 22 year veteran of the trucking business actually changed his mind? Hardly! He did, however, receive this letter:
NEW! Larry Guidi failed to show up for the regularly scheduled Hawthorne City Council Meeting on Monday October 22, 2001. His absence, along with those of council members McNally and Lambert, prevented a vote on the Exchange Project from taking place. It seems that Larry Guidi did not want to cast a "yes" vote on the project until after the election. This may be a result of strong opposition from Hollypark.
DECEMBER 10, 2001 COUNCIL MEETING
IT'S OFFICIAL, TRACTOR TRAILERS COMING TO YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
The Lowe trucking project was approved 3-1, with Councilman Mark Schoenfeld voting "NO", adopting the environmental impact report and introduction of the ordinances adopting the Development Agreement and Trucking Intensive Overlay Zone. Schoenfeld also voted "NO" when the Council attempted to rescind the previous approval of the environmental impact report approved by Mayor Larry Guidi, Council Members Roy McNally, and Ginny Lambert. Like Gomer Pyle used to say, "Suprise, suprise, suprise".
According to public documents in the Hawthorne City Clerk's office, Lowe developers poured tens of thousands of dollars by way of independent expenditures to purchase TV time, fliers and advertising for newly elected Council Members Parsons and Catano, and incumbent Mayor Larry Guidi.
The newly elected Council Members, Catano and Parsons, voted to give the big money developers everything they wanted following a brand new "new" public hearing. The "new" public hearing was part of the attempt to "cure" potential wrongdoing of the previous Council who voted to adopt the EIR, voted to continue the matter to more convenient times, and advocated the project for several years at regularly scheduled Council meetings as well as town hall meetings.
City Attorney Glen Shishido advised the Council during the meeting that they should vote on the introduction, something Councilman Mark Schoenfeld said he had never witnessed in his 11 years of attending Council meetings. Introductions are made by one council member and not voted upon until a second reading, usually at the next regularly scheduled council meeting.
Mr. Schoenfeld questioned if rescinding the previous vote was an attempt to "cure" the previous Council's possible wrongdoing (voting on and advocating this project for almost 3 years). City Attorney Shishido said yes. Councilman Schoenfeld referred to a case wherein several neighboring county supervisors had gone to prison for voting on a trash contract. The court ruled that their votes were binding and the trash contract remained despite their illegal votes, but the judge sent the supervisors to jail.
Councilman Parsons, asked Lowe consultants about the ratio of smaller trucks to big rigs with respect to the project. Councilman Schoenfeld pointed out that the developer had just testified that there might not be trucking, that there may be manufacturing. Councilman Schoenfeld questioned how the consultants could give such a ratio when the testimony was that the buildings were being built on speculation without any prospective tenants.
Schoenfeld also asked why the developer would need an Intensive Truck Overlay Zone for a project that didn't have intensive truck uses. Could it be that the whole project is a money grab for land entitlements that the developer can use to "spin off" the land and earn a huge profit?
Could it be that this "balanced project" insures 564,000 square feet of intensive trucking, but only 100,000 square feet of FOUNDATION for retail uses? How can you have a 170,000 square foot Loews Home Improvement Center when the foundation is 70,000 square feet short? Loews Home Improvement is not part of the development agreement. There is no binding agreement that insures that they will come to Hawthorne.
The developer asked that the project be fastracked and decided in the next 7 days instead of waiting until December 24, 2001. (Most Council-watchers look to the 2nd and 4th Mondays for regularly scheduled meetings. After all, it seems some people don't want anyone to pay too much attention, especially in the middle of the Holidays.)
At this new public hearing, designed to cover up the previous actions of your Hawthorne City Council, numerous residents of Hollypark and the Greens again calmly explained their concerns. Once again, they were forced to wait late into the evening as their item was put off. Their concerns included the AQMD air quality study about cancer, gridlock, lower property values, traffic safety, vibration, noise and pollution.
There was much confusion about what exactly the public documents stated. The accusations flew far and wide with City Attorney Lisa Kranitz of Gardena becoming the attack victim of project attorney Timmi Hallem. Ms. Hallem suggested that Ms. Kranitz repeated her initial objections to her client's project even though she had previously made them orally and in writing. Yet it was Ms. Hallem who brought all of her clients consultants and insisted that they create a verbal record and asked that all the previous presentations of her client be incorporated into this record. Some legal watchers called it the "height of hypocrisy".
Kranitz explained that this was a hearing "de novo" meaning "new hearing". Ms. Kranitz stated that if she had failed to raise all her points at this hearing, those points would not become part of the public record that she is being employed to protect. With Hawthorne City Attorney Glen Shishido recommending all these new out of the ordinary procedures to "cure" previous potential wrongdoing, it sure seems that Ms. Kranitz was on the ball in protecting her clients, most of whom are minority residents in the City of Gardena.
This week, www.markschoenfeld.com will post many of the public documents so that you, the visiting public can make up your own minds.
Mayor Guidi left the Council Meeting around 9 o'clock, prior to the hearing. Stating he had to leave because his daughter's birthday cake had been cut at 8:00 PM, he had moved all other business forward. This moved the public hearing on the Lowe's intensive trucking project to the very end of the council meeting, ensuring that:
Many citizens would have to leave at the late hour.
Reporters facing deadlines would not be present.
Hawthorne citizens watching the taped meeting on cable TV starting at 7:00 PM Tuesday would decide to channel surf or go to bed prior to viewing the attenmpted "cure".
This is a project Mayor Guidi vehemently advocated and publicly supported for three years. Why try to hide it all now?
After leaving the meeting, Councilman Mark E. Schoenfeld said, "It's a shame we can't put all these people under oath to tell the truth, and have some rules of evidence to control the lies being told, or at the very least an opportunity to rebut them."
It should seem strange that opponents of the lane narrowing necessary for the project include the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Hawthorne Police Department, National Resources Defense Council, minority residents of Hollypark and Traditions at the Greens, residents of Hollyglen, City of Gardena, residents of Gardena and others, all of whom are in the public record.