LA WATCHDOG - What happens when you have a less than transparent real estate deal that is being sponsored by a termed out Councilman Ed Reyes, where the buyer, KIA of Glendale, is a large contributor to Jose Gardea’s losing campaign to succeed his boss in Council District 1, where the Councilman-Elect Gil Cedillo “reluctantly” requests a delay until he is sworn in on July 1, and where termed out Councilman Richard Alarcon wonders about increased public cynicism if this deal is approved so close to the $20,000 campaign contribution by the buyer?
On June 4, the City Council considered a motion that calls for a direct sale of a 7,765 square foot lot at 2210-2214 North San Fernando Road to KIA of Glendale. Located at the corner of Division Street, this parcel is at the entrance to the new $240 million, 23 acre Sonia Sotomayor Learning Center and just up the street from the new 45 acre Rio De Los Angeles State Park.
However, the details of this transaction are unknown, although previous documents indicate a price of over $300,000 for this corner lot. As this point, there is no appraisal of the property that appears to be a parking lot for the unattractive looking KIA dealership.
Furthermore, there is no discussion or analysis about the impact of this proposed sale on the remaining 35,719 square feet of the property that is owned by the City, of which 22,629 square feet are leased to the KIA dealership pursuant to a favorable lease that expires on August 1, 2015.
Nor has KIA of Glendale shared any of its operational or financial plans on the redevelopment of this and the adjoining properties that it claims would result in an expansion of its business, more jobs, improved pedestrian safety, and an enhancement of the aesthetics and economic viability of this gritty industrial area. Fortunately, this neighborhood is undergoing significant change as the result of the development of 247 acres associated with Taylor Yards that adjoin the Los Angeles River.
There is even some confusion as to the exact address of this property.
But the details of this highly suspect transaction were not discussed. Rather, Cedillo and Alarcon stirred up the City Council by questioning the integrity of the steaming Reyes.
But neither Cedillo nor Alarcon have clean hands.
In 2009, Cedillo was outted for using over $125,000 of his campaign funds on “shopping excursions, gourmet meals, entertainment, and upscale hotels around the globe.”
As for Alarcon, who was recently trounced in his bid for a seat in the State Assembly, he is currently under indictment for 23 counts of perjury and voter fraud.
Despite the protests of other indignant members of the Council, Alarcon was correct in his observation about increasing public cynicism regarding the fiscally irresponsible City Council and its campaign funding cronies. But it involves much more than a dirty $300,000 real estate deal.
There are $1 a year leases to politically connected organizations; zoning variances for campaign funding real estate developers who want to construct oversized, gridlocking developments such as the Hollywood Millennium and the Casden Sepulveda monstrosities; the looting of our Department of Water and Power for over $1 billion a year; the giving away the store to the campaign funding union bosses; and the failure to balance the budget, fund our pension plans, and fix our streets and sidewalks.
But needless to say, on June 4, it was business as usual as the ethically challenged City Council under the leadership of the cool, calm, and collected Herb Wesson approved the Reyes motion by a vote of 10 to 1.
(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee, the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, and a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler Classifieds -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at: [email protected]. Hear Jack every Tuesday morning at 6:20 on McIntyre in the Morning, KABC Radio 790.)
Vol 11 Issue 48
Pub: June 14, 2013