New Mayor: Diamond Bar Council Recap

By Raymond Mendoza

Diamond Bar City Hall

Diamond Bar City Hall
(Photo Courtesy: Google Images)

Diamond Bar – The Diamond Bar City Council met Tues., Dec. 2 for its regular meeting, which saw a new Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem appointed to serve the City for the next year, and the Council considerations to fill the vacancy left behind when council member Ling-Ling Chang joined the California Assembly.

The Council appointed Steve Tye as the new Mayor of Diamond Bar, with Nancy Lyons appointed as the City’s Mayor Pro Tem.

After the appointments, former Mayor, Carol Herrera, gave an outgoing presentation, as Tye presented her with a gavel to commemorate her service. Tye, Lyons and council member Jack Tanaka thanked the outgoing Mayor for her dedication and congratulated her on completing her fifth mayoral term in office – a feat that Tye said has not been accomplished in Diamond Bar’s history.

“It’s been my very great pleasure to be Mayor this particular last year since it was the City’s 25th Anniversary and there were so many memorable events,” Herrera said. “I just feel very privileged to have been able to be the Mayor this year.”

Following Herrera’s presentation, City Manager James DeStefano gave a presentation for the City’s windmill dedication. DeStefano called the windmill an “icon of historical significance” based on the City’s agricultural history.

After the presentation, the City’s schedule of future events was listed to include the Holiday Diamond Ride for free shuttle service to and from the Diamond Bar Shopping Centers through Jan. 1, 2015; the Planning Commission on Dec. 9; the Traffic and Transportation Commission meeting on Dec. 11; the City Council meeting on Dec. 16; cancellations for the Parks and Recreation meeting on Dec. 25 and Planning Commission meeting on Dec. 23; City office closures on Dec. 24 and 25; holiday tree curbside collection program on Dec. 26; and the Late Night Transit Pass sale on Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. at Diamond Bar City Hall.

The Council then approved all items on its consent calendar, including the minutes for the City Council meeting on Nov. 18 and the Parks and Recreation Commission on Oct. 23; the ratification of a check register totaling $1,392,233.64; the Treasurer’s monthly statement for October; the approval of plans and specifications and establishing a project pavement account, waive bid irregularities, and award construction contract for the 2014-2015 Community Development Block Grant Area 2 Sidewalk Installation Project to TSR Construction and Inspection in the amount of $124,420 and a contingency amount of $31,105; and the approval for the updated Sanitary Sewer Management Plan.

The Council’s public hearing item concerning the prohibition of medical marijuana dispensaries in Diamond Bar was continued from the Nov. 18 City Council meeting due to a lack of votes needed for approval.

And the final item of the City Council agenda was the consideration for the open seat vacated by councilwoman Chang, which would need to be filled within 60 days of Dec. 1. DeStefano said the council members must either appoint a new council member, or hold an election to fill the vacancy until Chang’s term is up in November 2017.

Since an election would cost tax payers approximately $150,000, the council members were keen on appointing a candidate based on applications from Diamond Bar residents.

“I think it makes greater sense to accept applications starting today (Dec. 2) through Dec. 19…,” Herrera said. “We’ll take what we got and I would almost venture to say that there would be a lot of applications.”

Newly minted Mayor Tye said he was certain that the Council would receive an ample amount of applications for the vacancy and that saving money for the City would be in the best interest of all Diamond Bar residents.

“I’m leaning toward appointing someone to fill the position because of the high costs for a special election,” Tye said. “People elect us to make difficult decisions, so I think we should interview candidates and appoint someone ourselves.”

The City Council members then approved a motion to accept applications through Dec. 19 for the position, conduct candidate interviews, and hold a special City Council meeting before Jan. 30, 2015 to select the new council member.

The Council then adjourned with plans to meet on Dec. 16 at the AQMD/Government Center Auditorium at 21865 Copley Drive.