Tag Archives: Walnut City Council

Walnut: City Council Recap 09.24.14


Members of the City Council commended Lou and Joanie Simonelli and named them the "Walnut Community Heroes" for their extensive volunteer work at Walnut High School and throughout the Community. Photo Courtesy: Raymond Mendoza)

Members of the City Council commended Lou and Joanie Simonelli and named them the “Walnut Community Heroes” for their extensive volunteer work at Walnut High School and throughout the Community. Photo Courtesy: Raymond Mendoza)


Walnut – The Walnut City Council held its final meeting of the month on Sept. 24, and it included more complaints about Mt. San Antonio College’s proposed parking structure, as well as a proclamation for this year’s Community Heroes.

After the invocation, Mayor Nancy Tragarz and the other council members congratulated Lou and Joanie Simonelli, and named them “Walnut Community Heroes” for their extensive volunteer work for Walnut High School and throughout the community.

“Lou and Joanie Simonelli are well known in the Walnut community as dedicated volunteers,” Tragarz said.

Tragarz also said the Simonellis were chosen after more than130 Walnut High School students signed a petition to have them named this year’s community heroes- showing that their years of work continues to touch the lives of many.

Council Member, Tony Cartagena, thanked them for all their civic work over the years and said the Simonelli’s volunteerism is what makes Walnut great.

Following the proclamation, the City opened its public comment section and was once again met with concerns about Mt. San Antonio College’s proposed parking structure and concerns with Michael Montgomery being a less than affective City Attorney.

The council then went on to approve the City Council and Housing Authority minutes for the Aug. 27 meeting before discussing one of the items on the council’s consent calendar.

Tragarz pulled Resolution No. 14-48 for claims and demands in the amount of $923,023.81, citing that part of the payment to Montgomery was worded incorrectly and therefore should not be approved. Her motion failed and the item was approved for its entire amount.

The council then approved two additional consent calendar items to support the “War on Child Sex Trafficking” legislation, and the appointment of five individuals to the Youth Advisory Commission.

The council also approved all of its items concerning the claims and demands for the Successor Agency, in the amount of $3,000, adopting the Recognized Obligation Payment schedule for the period of Jan. 1, 2015 to June 30, 2015, and an approval for the administrative budget for the Walnut Improvement Agency for January to June 2015.

The City Council then adjourned with plans to meet at 7 p.m., Oct. 8, at the City Council chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.




Walnut: City Approves Park Property Abandonment For Aquatic Center



three oaks parkWalnut – After years of litigation and a lack of development, the Walnut City Council overruled objections to the abandonment of 16.49 acres of land in the Three Oaks community, with plans to use the gained funds for an aquatic park.

The original objections originated from representatives from Standard Pacific Homes – the previous owners of the property – who claimed that the abandonment violated the Quimby Act.

Michael Battaglia, Standard Pacific’s Vice President of Project Development, stated that under the Quimby Act, the City was obligated to give Standard Pacific Homes “at least 60 days notice … before vacating, leasing, selling or otherwise disposing of the dedicated property.” Furthermore, Battaglia stated that the Council had a misconception of phrasing used in a previous agreement with Standard Pacific Homes, with language stating that the lot was dedicated for community center purposes.

During the Aug. 13 City Council meeting, Mark Weiner, Community Development Director, said the abandonment was legal under the Municipal Park Abandonment Law since its original agreement for the lot was for a park or open space area, and that the area had not been improved.

To appraise the validity of the abandonment, the City hired special legal counsel, Barbara Leibold, an attorney with Leibold, McClendon and Mann of Laguna Hills, and mentioned that the previous owners have not threatened the City with a lawsuit should it approve the abandonment of the lot.

“[Standard Pacific Homes] does have a different opinion, but it’s our position that the dedication falls within what we call the Municipal Park Abandonment Law and that the abandonment of the park purpose is lawful, and we followed the lawful procedural steps,” said Leibold.

According to Leibold, the Municipal Park Abandonment Law is old, but straight forward in its wording that, “Any property that is dedicated for park or open space purposes can be abandoned by the act of a City Council if that park has not been improved and used for park purposes and was dedicated for that purpose.”

Leibold also said the plan conforms to the City’s general plan, adhering to safety standards considering that a community center would cause unsafe traffic increases because of the singular exit in the Three Oaks community.

The abandonment and sale of the property was met with disappointment from some residents, including Richard Sorenzky, who said that a lot of planning done by the City and various architects went to waste.

“I’m very saddened that the City is trying to sell it and move on,” Sorenzky said. “I think it’s a loss to the residents of the City in general.”

Sorenzky said the abandoned land offers some of the best scenic views of the City and San Gabriel Mountains, and that it would be wise for the City to retain several acres to develop a neighborhood park to take advantage of the landscape’s beauty.

However, the abandonment plans are not seen as a total loss to some, since the funds gained from the sale are planned to go toward building an aquatic park.

The “Walnut Aquatic Park” group’s primary goal is to push the City to establish a community pool and community center for the enjoyment of all residents.

Claudine Stines, member of the group, said that she had more than 1,000 residents give their support for the project during the 2013 Walnut Family Festival, stating that the need for a community pool is paramount since residents are limited to using Mt. San Antonio College and Walnut High School’s pool.

Stines said she sees the abandonment of the lot and its upcoming bids for sale as a positive step toward constructing the aquatic park, and that residents should take the resolution as a victory for development.

“I know we have a long way to go; we waited a long time for this,” Stines said. “[The abandonment] is one more small step, getting us closer to where we’re going to have the aquatic center.”

Walnut City Council Recap Sept 10, 2014


Walnut – The City of Walnut held their regular City Council meeting on Wed., Sept. 10. Mayor Nancy Tragarz started off the meeting by awarding 20/20 Vision Optometry owner, Dr. Jonathan Joe, with the 2014 Business of the Quarter recognition, thanking him for 17 years of service to the City. Joe, who has performed chart work on more than 10,000 patients during his time in Walnut, said he was happy and honored to receive the award and thanked the Council for the recognition.

Dr. Jonathan Joe of 20/20 Optometry is honored by the council.  (Photo Courtesy: Raymond Mendoza)

Dr. Jonathan Joe of 20/20 Optometry is honored by the council. (Photo Courtesy: Raymond Mendoza)

The String and Bamboo Music group, led by Bin He, was also recognized for their long-standing work in the City as representatives of both music and culture.

Public comment had more discussion pertaining to Mt. SAC’s parking structure, with residents asking the Council to limit construction vehicles around Mountaineer Road, and to consider scheduling its meetings around the Mt. SAC board of trustees meetings.

Following public comment, the Council opened up the public hearing segment for one item, the Metrolink Subsidy Program. The resolution, which was unanimously passed, established the Metrolink subsidy at $32 per pass and a maximum of 300 passes per month to residents, and appropriated $50,400 from the Proposition C Fund balance to make the resolution possible in order to encourage residents to take public transportation to cut down on pollution.

The Council then approved the only item on the consent calendar pertaining to Resolution No. 14-47 for the claims and demands of the City in the amount of $541,692.82.

Council discussions then started with a debate among its members concerning the affirmation, modification or termination of City Attorney Michael Montgomery’s contract with the City. City Manager, Robert Wishner, laid out the options to the council members and noted that if reaffirmed, Montgomery’s contract would be set for two years, which would then end with his retirement. Councilwoman Su offered her opinion, stating that while she thought that Montgomery did make some mistakes during his time as City Attorney, she believed that his experience was a boon for Walnut based on his 33 years working for the City.

“Sometimes we have to wait and see what will be the best for us,” Su said.

Councilmember, Tony Cartagena, said the City has been blessed with Montgomery’s expertise, stating that he saved the City millions of dollars over the years.

Tragarz said while Montgomery has been useful to the City in the past, his lack of malpractice insurance poses possible threats, leaving the City open to damages if poor legal advice is given. She then mentioned that Montgomery has not been covered by malpractice insurance for the last six years and had not notified the Council of his lack of coverage.

Furthermore, Tragarz denied allegations that have been thrown around by unknown parties that she was “after (Montgomery’s) job.” She went on to say that she was making sure that the City Attorney adhered to laws and practices that govern all city attorneys and that not doing so could cause monetary damage to the residents of Walnut.

“I am not trying to be mean, I am not trying to be cruel,” Tragarz said. “All I’m trying to do is look out for the City’s best interest. Our duty is not to Montgomery, it’s to the citizens.”

By 9 p.m., Su excused herself, citing a family emergency concerning her mother.

Following public comments on the matter, Council member Bob Pacheco called to reaffirm the City Attorney’s contract, but the vote failed 2-2, with Ching and Tragarz dissenting. The Council then moved to table the discussion item for a later council meeting, but it failed with another 2-2 vote.

Council then passed on the item, after all three options to reaffirm, terminate or modify Montgomery’s contract were exhausted.

The City Council then adjourned with plans to meet at 7 p.m., Sept. 27, at the City Council chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.


Walnut: Council Corner Aug 27th Recap




Walnut City Council (Photo Courtesy: Raymond Mendoza)

Walnut – After months of talk and public outrage, the Walnut City Council met on Aug. 27 to approve a letter urging Mt. San Antonio College to build its forthcoming parking structure at a location that would not burden the adjacent housing tracts.

After approving the minutes for the Aug. 13 meeting, council members opened a public hearing for Resolution No. 14-43, which outlined the City’s overruling objections to the abandonment of property for a park, and to order the park abandoned and the property sold.

The property, located near the Three Oaks neighborhood, was also the subject of some debate with some residents stating that the loss of the property would be a mistake on the City’s behalf. Claudia Stein, Three Oaks resident, said she was disappointed that the property has gone unused for ten years and that she and other residents do not want a community center or aquatic center to be constructed on the property.

Mayor Nancy Tragarz cleared up the public’s misconceptions by stating that the property near the Three Oaks area would not be used for an aquatic center, but that the funds gained from selling the property would go toward paying for the City’s proposed aquatic center.

The Council then approved the resolution, ordering that the park be abandoned and sold.

For the Council consent calendar, Tragarz pulled the resolution for claims and demands in the amount of $680,150.34, citing waiver #146594 for the payment of the City Attorney, Michael Montgomery.

The motion failed on a 2-3 vote, with council members Pacheco, Su and Cartagena giving dissenting votes. The Council came back to the item and voted to approve the resolution.

The Council then opened the discussion for the Mt. SAC parking structure, with council members stating their opposition for the structure’s placement by sending a declaration to various members of state government.

Councilmember, Eric Ching, urged the residents and other council members to create a dialogue to discuss the future of Mt. SAC, since the campus’ growth will eventually affect the City at large.

Residents echoed Ching’s concerns, stating that independent environmental impact reports need to be completed to measure how much of an impact the traffic has on the quality of air in the area. After the discussions, the Council approved the motion and the decision was met with applause from the attendees.

The Council then approved the appointment of eight high school students for the youth advisory commission and the approval of specification and authorization to advertise and receive formal bids for installation of CalSense controllers and related equipment.

For the Council discussion item, the council members discussed the consideration of City Attorney Montgomery’s contract with multiple interruptions starting with Pacheco claiming that Tragarz was out of order over her questions concerning the attorney’s contract being specified under a corporation.

However, Tragarz stated that the Michael B. Montgomery Law Corporation was dissolved eight years previous, and therefore could not operate and do business.

City Manager, Robert M. Wishner, recommended that the City seek a third party attorney to consider the validity of Montgomery’s contract. However, the vote to find a third party attorney did not pass, leaving the Council unsure on how to proceed with the contract.

The City Council then adjourned with plans to meet Sept. 10, at 7 p.m., in the council chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.


Walnut: Council Corner Aug 13, 2014


Walnut – Walnut’s City Council met on Aug. 13 for its first regular meeting of the month, which saw a long-awaited public discussion about Mt. SAC’s traffic congestion.

Councilmember, Eric Ching, was absent, as he was on vacation during the time of the meeting.

After starting the meeting with an invocation given by High Priest Felix Michael from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the council moved to approve the minutes for council’s July 23 meeting.

The council then moved to approve its three public hearing items, including Resolution No. 14-37 for the City’s congestion management program; Resolution No.14-41 for an amendment to Specific Plan 02-2004 for the mixed use senior housing at 780 and 808 Francesca Drive; and Resolution No. 14-38 for a conditional use permit for DiMiYa HeadStart Learning Center at 352 N. Lemon Avenue.

Derrick Womble, Senior Management Analyst, gave the staff report for the congestion management program which outlined the City’s development activity and transportation improvements.

Councilmember, Bob Pacheco, asked if Mt. SAC’s new parking structure – which has recently come under fire with concerns of traffic congestion – was exempt from the City’s congestion management program. Tom Weiner, Director of Community Development, stated that the classroom and office buildings were taken into account for the program because they house people, while the parking structure does not, since it is considered a parking lot. Weiner said the adoption of the program would be a boon for the City, since they would receive funds from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority going toward repairing City streets.

Next was the amendment for the proposed mixed use senior housing at 780 and 808 Francesca Drive, with Weiner stating that the amendments up for discussion were the reduction of units from 86 to 71, a reduction of commercial square footage, minor design changes, and reduction of affordable units.

When the public hearing opened up, Brion Costa, for the Francesca Projects, said the construction was a long time coming and that he was grateful that with the City’s help, the project is closing in on a groundbreaking date.

The final item for public hearing was the conditional use permit for DiMiYa HeadStart Learning Center, which was originally denied based on an unsafe loading and unloading situation.

Based on the need for safety, the council approved the item based on the condition that DiMiYa create an additional two parking spots in front of the store for loading and unloading passengers.

After the public hearing, the council went onto approve the items on the consent calendar for Resolution No. 14-39 for claims and demands in the amount of $502,701.41; Resolution No. 14-42 for supporting water conservation; approval of a contract with Diversified Transportation for the Walnut Way Dial-A-Cab program; professional services agreements for CDBG Administrative Services and housing rehabilitation services; appropriation of $8,130 for Cal-Recycle Beverage Recycling Grant funds; and waiver of parking restrictions on La Puente Road between Pierre Road and Gartel Drive for the 2014-15 school year for Walnut High School and Suzanne Middle School events.

The council then adopted Resolution No.14-40 for claims and demands in the amount of $125,000 for the City of Walnut as Successor Agency.

As part of council discussions, members then spoke at length about Mt. SAC’s parking structure construction and what to do about the situation to alleviate the concerns of residents. Members of council voiced their concerns about the safety of the public concerning Mt. SAC’s growing size and the impact it has on traffic congestion for residents in the area, with some residents calling out council to fight back against Mt. SAC’s construction decisions.

The discussion came after several meetings between various council members and Mt. SAC’s administration, in order to create a dialogue to settle disputes. However some residents were still upset about the state of traffic in the area and that the time for action was already past due.

After the discussion, the council members decided to draft a resolution with the input of residents on the traffic problem and go back to City Council for approval during its next meeting. After the approval of the resolution, the council would also send a letter on the City’s stance to local representatives in the State of California Legislature and the State of California Community Colleges Chancellor’s office.

The City Council then adjourned, with plans to meet Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at the council chambers at 21201La Puente Road.


Walnut’s Aquatic Park



Walnut – After numerous promises during the reelection campaign from council members Mary Su and Bob Pacheco, plans for an aquatic center are starting to come together in the earliest stages of development.

In addition to Pacheco and Su, council member Tony Cartagena also expressed support for the construction of an aquatic center and with a high amount of public interest. $250,000 has been allocated from the 2014/2015 fiscal budget to go toward schematics, testing, and advanced studies in order to make the aquatic center a reality.

However, even with $250,000 being set aside by the City during the first month of its new fiscal year, they are approaching the construction with caution. According to Community Services Director Mary Rooney, the City is just now starting to assess many different aspects of the aquatic center’s construction. Plans are so new that Rooney mentioned that the location, cost, and specifics are preliminary and that everything is up for consideration.

“There are various preliminary plans that have to go in place before we can actually design and build anything,” Rooney said.

To date, the City has met in closed session to discuss the possible locations for the aquatic center while Rooney mentioned that they have only spent an estimated $22,500 of the $250,000 on professionally drawn schematics from Aquatic Design Group.

The total cost of construction for the aquatic center is being considered, however Rooney mentioned that certain council actions, including the July 23 decision to sell a tract of land near Amar Road, are possible ways to fund the creation of the center.

With funding and nearly all of the aquatics center’s plans still under consideration, Rooney wanted to make sure that residents understand that the City is still pushing forward with its plans and that one way or another, the aquatic center will be built.

“We are moving on this,” Rooney said.

Rooney said that with the help of a Parks and Recreation sub-committee, plans will continue to unfold as the year goes on.

Claudine Stines, a Walnut resident who has long been a proponent of this project says, “It’s hard to imagine what started as a swimming pool for Walnut, has now expanded to the possibility of two pools (a competitive and recreational pool). Who knows? The concept could even include a performing arts amphitheater, a series of nature trails, and family-friendly open parks with additional parking…”

Stines also encourages residents to let their voices be heard by visiting her website at http://chn.ge/1e1ewyp, where comments are shared with members of the Walnut City Council.





Walnut: Council Corner July 23d Recap

Walnut Council presents Captain Jeff Scroggin with an appreciation proclamation; (L-R) council members Tony Cartagena and Mary Su; Captain Scroggin; Mayor Nancy Tragarz; council member Bob Pacheco; and Mayor Pro Team Eric Ching. (Photo Courtesy:  Raymond Mendoza)

Walnut Council presents Captain Jeff Scroggin with an appreciation proclamation; (L-R) council members Tony Cartagena and Mary Su; Captain Scroggin; Mayor Nancy Tragarz; council member Bob Pacheco; and Mayor Pro Team Eric Ching.
(Photo Courtesy: Raymond Mendoza)


Walnut – Walnut’s City Council met for its final meeting of the month on July 23, which stood as a joint meeting for the City Council and the Housing Authority.

Newly appointed Mayor, Nancy Tragarz, called the meeting to order and welcomed Pastor Paul Tan from City Blessing Church of Walnut to deliver the invocation. Tragarz then gave a declaration that the City of Walnut would recognize Aug. 5, 2014 as National Night Out, an event open to Walnut residents for an evening of family fun at Creekside Park which includes a movie screening and a concert.

Walnut-Diamond Bar Sheriff’s Department Captain, Jeff Scroggin, was invited to accept a proclamation in front of residents, while he was given praise by council members for the department’s hard work in lowering crime rates and providing safety to residents.

The council members then spoke about the opportunity that National Night Out provides, citing it as a chance for families to enjoy themselves and celebrate the safety of the City and bringing the community together.

“National Night Out is an effort for all of us to get together, come out and know members of your community,” Scroggin said.

The meeting then switched gears to a more intense topic, with members of the Timberline Community flooding the public comment section with nine residents declaring their distaste for the amount of growth that Mount San Antonio College has undergone and the level of congestion that student parking has caused. Residents called the increase in traffic and pollution a “crisis” and several residents called for immediate action – regardless of the power that city council has on Mount San Antonio College affairs.

Council member Tony Cartagena said it would be wise for the council to further discuss what can be done in appeasing the residents of the Timberline Community, vowing to bring the item back for discussion at a later time.

After the public comment section was closed, the council members moved to approve the minutes for the City Council/Finance Authority/Housing Authority meeting on June 25, and the July 9 council meeting, before moving on to a public hearing item concerning renewal of the Animal Care and Control Services Agreement with the County of Los Angeles.

A staff report outlined that the renewed contract would last for five years ending June 30, 2019, and adopts a resolution to include fees for dog and cat licensing and modifying the age requirement for senior citizens. City council members then opted to unanimously approve the renewed contract.

Council members then moved on to approve the items on the consent calendar, including Resolution No. 14-34 for claims and demands in the amount of $817,099.51; Resolution No. 14-35 for an intent to abandon property acquired for park purposes, the Mayor’s agency representatives; Resolution No. 14-36 designating Mary Su as the official voting delegate for the League of California Cities Annual Conference; a one year contract renewal with option to extend for two additional years with RPW, Inc. for trail and right of way maintenance services; the appropriation of grant funds for the Amar Road Rehabilitation Project totaling $998,000; and the approval for sports groups requests for bi-annual field use for Fall 2014.

After council members gave their reports on meetings, comments and updates for residents, the housing authority started its business, approving its only consent calendar item allowing claims and demands in the amount of $27,695.90.

The council members then adjourned to closed session with plans to meet for the next City Council meeting at 7 p.m. on Wed., Aug. 13, in the City Council Chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.

Walnut: Tragarz Vows “Honesty And Integrity” During Term As Mayor




Walnut’s New Mayor, Nancy Tragarz (Photo Courtesy: Raymond Mendoza)

Walnut – During the July 9 city council meeting, titles were exchanged and Mayor Pro Tem, Nancy Tragarz, was officially sworn in as mayor for the City of Walnut- promising to uphold the community’s values and pledging to serve to the best of her abilities.

Tragarz, who served as mayor of Walnut once before from 2011 to 2012, said she’s looking forward to leading the council with a strong sense of leadership, finance, accounting and legal skills to help push along the city’s prominence.

“My goal is to create unity and teamwork on the council and in the entire community,” Tragarz said. “The policy I will fight for is transparency, honesty, ethics, and doing what is in the best interest of the community as a whole.”

In consideration for her background, Tragarz brings a wide variety of expertise to her role as mayor, having graduated from Walnut High School with highest honors in 1981 then obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from USC, magna cum laude, in 1985.

Tragarz then attended Loyola Law School while working as a certified law clerk for the Los Angeles County District Attorney. She passed the bar exam in 1991 and worked for two different law firms in the area of business litigation, bankruptcy, and contracts. She has also volunteered as a temporary judge in the Los Angeles County Courts since 1998.

In 2002, Tragarz worked part-time for a firm in order to spend more time with her two sons.

She then served as a vice chair for the City’s special ethics committee from 2002 to 2003, where she helped draft Walnut’s first code of ethics and candidates’ campaign manual.

By 2005, Tragarz was then appointed to the Parks and Recreation Commission and served as vice chair before being elected to Walnut’s City Council in 2008.

Tragarz said her long-time strategy of being honest and attuned with the needs of Walnut’s residents will keep the city moving in the right direction.

While elected officials sometimes have a tendency to oversell themselves with promises and delusions of grandeur, Tragarz remains realistic to her constituents by saying she has no specific agenda and that she would “respond to the needs and desires of the community.”

As she starts her second term as mayor of Walnut, Tragarz said the best way to deal with concerns of the public is to be informative and lawful in her decisions, stating that the residents are willing to accept the truth if they are provided with facts.

“I believe honesty and integrity is the best policy.”

Walnut: Council Corner – New Mayor



Walnut City Mayor Nancy Tragarz

New Mayor of Walnut, Nancy Tragarz (Photo Courtesy: City of Walnut)

Walnut – Walnut residents gathered at City Hall on Wed., July 9 to watch Mayor Pro Tem, Nancy Tragarz, ascend to the position of Mayor of Walnut.

Before the council’s reorganizations, council members proclaimed that July will be known as Parks and Recreation Month and commended retiring City Planner, Laura Nash, for her six years of service to the City.

Mayor Tony Cartagena noted that park use is an important part of the community in Walnut, while lowering juvenile crime rates and promoting participation in the arts.

Tragarz praised the Parks and Recreation Department for its numerous activities, citing the recent Movies in the Park series and the Fourth of July Celebration as perfect examples of the good work being done in the City for its citizens.

“It’s so important to have wonderful parks,” Tragarz said. “Our parks are so well kept … thanks to our Parks and Recreation Commission and all you do.”

Cartagena and the council members then congratulated Nash on her years of service as City Planner, citing her diligence and hard work as a tribute to her character.

After a presentation of Cartagena’s accomplishments as Mayor of Walnut from July 2013 to July 2014, City Attorney, Michael Montgomery, opened the nominations for Mayor, with Council Member Mary Su nominating Tragarz. Tragarz was then sworn in as Mayor of Walnut by members of her family.

Tragarz was elected to serve on the Walnut City Council in 2008 and was chosen by her fellow council members to serve as Mayor in June 2011. Tragarz has served as Mayor Pro Tem since her appointment in July 2013. She also previously served as Vice Chairperson of the Parks and Recreation Commission, Vice Chairperson on the Ethics Committee, and on the Family Festival Committee.

After being sworn in as Mayor, Tragarz’ first act was to nominate councilmember Eric Ching as Mayor Pro Tem, who was approved for the position by receiving a 3-2 majority vote.

City Council members then moved onto the public hearing items, approving Ordinance No. 14-02 for the City Council of the City of Walnut to add language to the City’s municipal code for parking in the City-owned parking lot; and Ordinance No. 14-03 for establishing locations for meetings and official postings.

Council members then approved all items on the consent calendar, including Resolution No.14-32 allowing claims and demands in the amount of $558,637.81; an award of a bid for the Amar Road rehabilitation project in the amount of $152,000; and the approval of a three-year contract with Animal Pest Management, Inc. for rodent control in zones 1 through 9 and 12, parks, and city owned areas.

After the council members delivered their individual announcements, the meeting officially adjourned with plans to meet on June 23 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.

Walnut: Council Corner 06/25/2014


Mt Sac Womens track and field

Mayor Tony Cartagena and members of City Council congratulated the Mt. SAC Women’s Track and Field Team on their 2014 state championship, with coaches Ron Kamara (L) and Dough Todd (R). (Photo Courtesy: Raymond Mendoza)

Walnut – Walnut’s City Council members met at City Hall council chambers on Wed., June 25 to discuss regular City business matters and hold a public hearing concerning the denial of a conditional use permit for the DiMiYa HeadStart Learning Center.

Council members first held a presentation to recognize the Mount San Antonio College Women’s Track and Field Team on their 2014 State Championship win.

“Congratulations on an outstanding season,” Mayor Tony Cartagena said. “On behalf of the City of Walnut, I would like to say congratulations for your efforts and sacrifice while keeping your grades high.”

After approving the minutes for the May 28 study session and June 11 City Council meetings, the council then opened its public hearing in regard to a previously denied conditional use permit for the proposed DiMiYa HeadStart Learning Center, located at 351 N. Lemon Ave. Community Development Director, Tom Weiner, outlined a staff report concerning the permit denied by the Walnut Planning Commission on May 7, citing safety concerns for students and traffic congestion for the shopping plaza with the various businesses.

“We feel this will impact other retail uses,” Weiner said. “One of the main things was traffic circulation. You get a lot of traffic through there and there are no parking spaces directly in front of the business space.”

Weiner said the business location would suffer from a lack of parking spaces for the business and that the rear parking spaces might not be sufficient for the number of occupants that the business owners intend on serving. Business owner Jean Navarro said that DiMiYa would be an after-school California Certified Heritage School to enhance education for students ages four and nine months to nine years old.

“If the parking lot is not safe for DiMiYa, how is it safe for Vons?” Navarro said. “How is it safe for New York Pizzeria or the Aims Academy? … With all that said, we would like the Mayor and City Council members to consider opening the DiMiYa Learning Center in Walnut.”

Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Tragarz said one of the main problems with clearing DiMiYa’s conditional use permit was the unclear age range for students, which its application said would include kindergarten age, while Council Member Bob Pacheco still cited safety concerns for the student ages. After the public hearing was closed, Councilmember Eric Ching opted to approve the appeal after hearing the various facts from the DiMiYa representatives, but his motion failed to receive any other support from council members. Instead, the council members voted to create new terms and bring the issue back to City Council at another time, pending the cooperation of DiMiYa and the property owner.

Council members went on to approve Ordinance No. 14-02 concerning adding language to the Walnut Municipal Code for parking in City-owned parking lots, and Ordinance No. 14-03 establishing locations for meetings and official postings.

After the ordinances were finished, the council members went on to approve several items on the consent calendar, including a resolution of the City of Walnut allowing certain claims and demands in the amount of $1,469,201.48, pending a review of the city’s attorney and pulling a section of a demand concerning billing; Resolution No. 14-28 concerning the City’s annual budget for fiscal year 2014-15 in the amount of $16,634,780; Resolution No. 14-29 for an approval and adoption for the annual appropriations limit for fiscal year 2014-15; Resolution No. 14-30 approving the current County of Los Angeles bail schedule for infractions and misdemeanors; Resolution No. 14-31 for an amending resolution regarding the payment of salaries, sick leave, vacations, leave of absences, and other regulations by revising the authorized positions and salary schedule; the crossing guard services contract renewal for 2014-15; and final acceptance of the 2013-14 maintenance area 2 slurry seal program.

Council members moved to pull item 11, concerning the City Manager employment agreement amendment, to bring back the item for approval either in July or August. Council members then moved to approve the Walnut Successor Agency budget totaling $4,064,000.

After the Walnut Public Financing Authority and Housing Authority meetings, the council members adjourned to closed session with plans to meet July 9 at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.

Walnut: Council Corner 06.11.14



Singing the National Anthem
(Photo Courtesy Raymond Mendoza)

Walnut – Walnut’s City Council met for a regular meeting on June 11 to discuss various business issues and to honor the Filipino citizens of the City by recognizing Filipino Heritage week, which runs from June 8 through June 14.

Mayor Tony Cartagena welcomed the incoming Filipino Consul General, Leo M. Herrera-Lim, along with the rest of City Council, and wished him luck and prosperity in his office.

Herrera-Lim said he was honored to have his fellow Filipinos honored by Walnut and the nation, stating that the Philippines share the same love of freedom that Americans do.

After the presentations were over, City Council members approved the minutes for the regular City Council and Walnut Housing Association meeting on May 28, and adopted the 2014 Los Angeles County Fire Code.

The Council then went on to approve the six items on the Consent Calendar: Resolution No. 14-26 for the City of Walnut allowing certain claims and demands in the amount of $510, 661.35; granting of the utility easement to Southern California Edison at Creekside Park; the Draft Watershed Management Plan; an alcoholic beverage license application for Imomo Sushi; and a bingo permit application from the Walnut Senior Club.

The only topic that was discussed was the continuing use of religious invocations at City Council meetings, where City Attorney, Michael Montgomery, noted that the City Council does not discriminate against any other religion.

“Anyone that wants to do it, Jewish, Muslim – they can all apply,” Montgomery said. “We’re receptive to it.”

After the councilmember announcements, the meeting adjourned. The next scheduled meeting is set for June 25 at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.


Walnut Council Corner 05.28.14


Walnut – Walnut City Council members met Wed., May 28 for their final meeting of the month, which sparked heated discussion about the parking situation at Mount San Antonio College from nearby residents.
The meeting began when City Council members awarded residents Mary Lee Saint John and Vic Saint John for their active membership in the Walnut Walkers club, which promotes healthy activity from senior citizens in the city. Mayor Tony Cartagena thanked the two for their work with the club and helping with its growth, outgoing spirit, and healthy attitude.
“Every Sunday night, Mary Lee makes individual phone calls to every walker on the list, reminding and encouraging them to show up,” Cartagena said. “Because of her commitment, the Walnut Walkers are currently an active and energetic group with about 40 members to promote exercise and staying healthy.”
After the award presentation, the City Council approved the May 14 meeting minutes and Resolution No. 14-25 for the City of Walnut allowing certain claims and demands in the amount of $1,117,762.36.
The council then began its discussion of the parking structure construction at Mt. SAC, with a staff report from City Attorney, Mike Montgomery.
Public outcry for a Council discussion has been ongoing for several months, with residents complaining about the lack of parking at the community college and students parking in nearby neighborhoods.
“It’s parking has overflowed in the community through the years, as a result of probably outgrowing its original capacity,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery noted that Measure RR was approved in November 2008 for the $350 million bond issued to make improvements to the campus, which included a parking structure for more than 200 spaces. He said that cities have minimal authority for structures established in community college campuses. Montgomery also said that after years of planning and tests, the campus is entering its final stages before construction starts in 2015.
Residents then had the chance to ask questions pertaining to the progress of construction on the parking structure. Residents also questioned the limits of capacity at Mt SAC, stating that the population of the school has become so large that its facilities are no longer able to support the number of students.
Complaints from Walnut residents filled the council chamber pertaining to noise pollution, actual pollution, overcrowding, and unsafe traffic hazards caused by students.
With all the concerns of the residents, Cartagena then appointed Bob Pacheco and Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Tragarz to meet with the administration from Mt. SAC sometime in June to discuss matters pertaining to resolving overcrowding issues.
City Council officially adjourned at 8:45 p.m., with plans to hold its next meeting on June 11 at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers, located at 21201 La Puente Road.

Walnut: Council Corner May 14 Meeting


Walnut – The City of Walnut recently held its first City Council meeting for the month on May 14, with regular business, recognition for the City’s youth commissioners, and a proclamation that May 2014 be known as Water Awareness Month with help from the Walnut Valley Water District.

The City Council members recognized the need for the City to conserve water during the state-wide drought with Mayor Tony Cartagena saying that Walnut residents have managed to cut back on water usage in the last few months. However, Cartagena, and other the City Council members still urged Walnut residents to continue the efforts because the drought is not over yet.
The City Council members then welcomed members from the Walnut Valley Water District to the board meeting and proclaimed that the month of May was Water Awareness Month.

“All Californians need to continue to conserve water,” Mayor Cartagena said. “May 2014 is Water Awareness Month, and we urge all citizens to participate.”

After the presentations, the City Council then approved the agenda minutes – with minor changes from Council Member Nancy Tragarz – for the March 26 City Council and Housing Authority meeting, the April 9 Study Session, the April 9 City Council meeting, and the April 23 City Council and Housing Authority meeting.
The Council then held a public hearing in regard to the 2014-2015 lighting and open space maintenance district assessment, which outlined the progress of work on Grand Avenue.
Without any public feedback, the Council approved the district’s assessment, which has been progressing at a satisfactory rate.

Members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department then introduced and answered questions concerning the adoption of the second reading for the 2014 Los Angeles County Fire Code, which the City Council then adopted after hearing specifics about how solar panels affect fire codes for certain buildings.

City Council members then went on to approve all five items on the consent calendar, regarding a resolution for claims and demands in the amount of $780, 448.91; the City ShowMobile Use Guide; the approval of a three year contract with Nieves Landscaping, Inc.; the expiration of RedFlex red light cameras at Grand and Amar; and changes in position classification regarding payment of salaries, sick leave, vacation, leaves of absence and other regulations.
The members of the City Council then retreated into a closed session to discuss a settlement negotiation for real property pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.8.

The Council officially adjourned with plans to hold its next regular meeting on Wed., May 28 at 7 p.m. in the City Chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.

Walnut: Pacheco and Su Share Visions For Walnut


Walnut – Recently sworn in Walnut


Bob Pacheco-Walnut City Council (Photo Courtesy: City of Walnut)

When asked what his vision is for his new tenure on the Council, Pacheco responded: 

“I see Walnut as a vibrant community with much to offer its citizens. We are a safe community, we have great schools, and the surrounding topography is beautiful to behold. Walnut is truly a city we are proud to call our home. I see families enjoying the spacious parks, sports fields and plenty of outdoor space with lush landscaping. However, I believe we should not be simply satisfied with what we have, but should strive to make our community better.


Mary Su – Walnut City Council (Photo Courtesy: City of Walnut)

“Our goal should be to look for ways to develop more pride in our community in ways that will benefit generations to come. During my campaign I promised I would work to develop an aquatics center for young and old to enjoy. I am already working with staff and have pushed to build the center as quickly as possible. Along with that facility I believe Walnut should develop a place to expand performing arts for generations to come. By the creation of an amphitheater near the aquatics center, together with a walking nature preserve, we will be able to proudly point to the development of Walnut as a Cultural and Performing Arts [destination] while preserving the natural beauty of our region in the San Gabriel Valley. To help pay for the cost of these facilities, I propose development of two additional shopping centers, in properly zoned areas, and the rehabilitation of old shopping centers. I’m also looking forward to development of new housing opportunities for young families as well as high-end housing developments.

“Keeping Walnut safe to continue to enjoy all it has to offer is a primary goal and to that end I will continue to support greater funding of law enforcement patrols and volunteer patrols along with the expansion of Neighborhood Watch programs. Partnering with schools, I plan to develop a closer relationship with the school district and local university and community college to ensure opportunities for our young people. I will continue to develop fundraising opportunities to help students and teachers receive as much as possible from education.

“Thank you for the opportunity to serve our beautiful community.”

In like manner, Mary Su was asked to share her Walnut vision for the next four years, and she graciously obliged us with the following response:

“First, I would like to express my sincerest gratitude for all my volunteers and friends for their tireless support and powerful encouragement throughout my reelection. I must say I never expected this election campaign to be as nasty and ugly as it turned out to be, but in the end, most Walnut residents understood my position on the important issues; and most importantly, we won the election, primarily due to the amazing assistance of my friends and volunteers.

“With the election now over, I need to focus on serving Walnut residents. I would like continue to make Walnut one of America most livable cities; continue to balance Walnut’s City budget without increasing taxes; maintain Walnut’s low crime rate and increase public safety resources – including promotion of the Neighborhood Water program; attract and retain high-quality business that benefit Walnut citizens; preserve Walnut’s open spaces and rural atmosphere; work together with the Walnut City Council to bring about a new aquatic center and dog park; and continue to bring Federal and State resources to help our City.

“I want to thank Walnut’s residents for once again placing trust in me and allowing me to serve for another term on the City Council. I look forward to serving Walnut residents for another four years and keeping Walnut the best place to live in California.”

Well said, Council members. Exciting things are on the horizon for Walnut, and the citizens are looking forward to seeing these visions come to light.

Walnut: City Council Swears in Pacheco and Su



Mary Su being sworn into office in front of more than 100 attendees. (Photo Courtesy: Raymond Mendoza

Walnut City Hall was the site of much celebrating, with council members Bob Pacheco and Mary Su being sworn into office in front of more than 100 City Council attendees, after months of campaigning.


“To Walnut residents, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your tireless encouragement,” Su said. “I knew this race was going to be nasty and ugly, but in the end most Walnut residents voted and cared about the important issues.”



Bob Pacheco sworn in after months of campaigning.

Pacheco thanked the Walnut residents for their support and thanked his wife, Gayle, and his daughter, Cristina, for all of their help during the election.


Both Pacheco and Su said that while the election campaign was an arduous task, they were both ready to serve the residents of Walnut for another four year term on the Walnut City Council.

“I’m going to keep my toes to the fire and do all the things I said I would do during my campaign,” Pacheco said. “Walnut will be the shining star of the San Gabriel Valley.”


After a brief recess, the City Council members then approved the minutes of the joint meeting of the City Council and Sheriff on March 5, and a special City Council election on March 10.


Council members then approved Item 4 on the agenda, concerning the community development block grant three year cooperation agreement between the City and the County of Los Angeles from 2015-2017.


The Council then approved Items 5 and 8 regarding the resolution of the City of Walnut allowing certain claims and demands in the amount of $1,058,090.76 and a ratification of various commission appointments for the City’s parks and recreation and senior commissions.


Council member Nancy Tragarz pulled Items 6 and 7 on the consent calendar, concerning a salary adjustment to include a cost of living adjustment retroactive to Jan. 1 and the signing of a contract amendment for the City Manager’s agreement. Tragarz stated that the two items felt “incomplete” and City Council members did not have all the information available to make an accurate decision, and asked to move the items to a different City Council meeting. Following a slew of comments from City Council members, the two items were then moved to be discussed at a later date.

After the Council’s meeting items were completed, the Housing Authority approved a resolution concerning the Walnut Housing Authority allowing certain claims and demands in the amount of $20, 319.25 before entering a closed session concerning a negotiation of real property for Richard and Nancy McDonald.


The meeting was adjourned with the next City Council meeting scheduled for Wed., May 7 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.

WALNUT: Walnut Council Corner


By Raymond Mendoza

Walnut – Just one day after Robert Pacheco and Mary Su were re-elected to their seats on the Walnut City Council, business continued as usual during the City’s April 9 council meeting.

After having no minutes to approve, no presentations, and no public hearings scheduled, the council members quickly approved the three items on the consent calendar, including Resolution No. 14-15, for claim and demands in the amount of $472,455.82; Resolution No. 14-16, for a Walnut City Employee’s Association 2014-2016 Memorandum of Understanding; and a five-year General Services Agreement between the City of Walnut and the County of Los Angeles through June 30, 2019.

Dialogue was started concerning the five-year General Services Agreement, which prompted councilwoman Su to question the need for repairs on certain streets in the City. Mary Rooney, Director of Community Services, said that some streets that are in need of repair are scheduled for resurfacing in the near future. Rooney also mentioned that while some streets do have noticeable cracks, repairs might not be completely necessary because they are not currently causing major problems. Rooney then said that if Walnut residents have major or minor complaints about damaged streets, to contact the Community Services Department at (909) 598-5605.

The City Council then approved the only item on the successor agency consent calendar, which was Resolution No. 14-17, for the successor agency allowing certain claims and demands in the amount of $1,500.

After a brief announcement by the council members, Mayor Tony Cartagena adjourned the meeting at 7:30 p.m. and announced the next Walnut City Council meeting for April 23.

Pacheco and Su Win Walnut City Election


Walnut- The results are in and Bob Pacheco and Mary Su beat challenger Betty Tang in one of the worst elections in Walnut History.

“We won, the people of Walnut have decided to bring us back to continue the great things we’ve accomplished here in Walnut.” Said Councilman Bob Pacheco at the victory party.
The line challenger, Betty Tang, raised almost $100,000 to beat the incumbents but fell hundreds of votes short.

“Nine hit pieces against me, NINE,” said winner Mary Su. “This is far too many and in our wonderful city. We are happy to defeat such an ugly campaign.”
Results are posted on the city of Walnut website.


Walnut Council Corner


By Raymond Mendoza

Walnut – Wednesday’s City Council meeting was packed with presentations that included recognition for the City’s Neighborhood Watch captains, the business of the quarter, and Walnut’s title as Tree City USA.

City Council members started off the meeting by recognizing Walnut CrossFit as the business of the quarter, for its health impact as well as providing a quality institution.

“For this quarter we selected Walnut CrossFit and the owners,” Mayor Tony Cartagena said. “Walnut CrossFit has been in business for over four years and has grown tremendously; so much so that they’ve had to relocate to larger quarters four times.” Mayor Cartagena said the business has done a good job in providing a quality fitness center to Walnut residents of all ages.

The City Council then recognized more than 20 captains for Walnut’s Neighborhood Watch program and their service in helping to keep the city safe. Cartagena encouraged Walnut residents to join their local Neighborhood Watch, claiming that it is a fun hobby which yields a safe atmosphere. Each captain was given a water bottle and a certificate honoring their dedication.

Mayor Pro Tem Nancy Tragarz thanked the Neighborhood Watch captains for helping support the Walnut Sherriff’s Department in keeping the City safe, and wished that each block had a Neighborhood Watch captain.

Walnut-Diamond Bar Sheriff’s Department Captain Jeff Scroggin and Deputy Doug Daley were presented with shirts embroidered with the City of Walnut logo for their service to the City in cooperation with the Neighborhood Watch program.

“I’m finally official,” Daley joked as he opened his gift.

Walnut High School’s Science Olympiad Team attended the City Council meeting to be commended for winning second place at the Los Angeles County Science Olympiad Team Competition at Occidental College.

“By being on this team you’re building a solid foundation,” Cartagena said about the academic excellence that he expected from the nine students being commended.

Suzanne Middle School was also recognized during the meeting; however they were not in attendance.

After the presentations and public comment, City Council members approved the Feb. 26 Council minutes, as well as the two items on the consent calendar: Resolution No. 14-14, allowing the City of Walnut certain claims and demands in the amount of $828,033.12; and the request by Canning Hunger for a non-profit solicitation permit and waiver of the business license tax.

The City Council members then adjourned with plans to meet on April 9 at 7 p.m. in the City Council’s Chambers at 21201 La Puente Road.

Walnut: Allegations of Yard Sign Theft Continue

By Raymond Mendoza

Walnut – As Walnut’s April 8 municipal election approaches, allegations of campaign sign thefts among Council Member Mary Su, Council Member Bob Pacheco and candidate Betty Tang have escalated to the level of formal complaints filed with the Walnut-Diamond Bar Sheriff’s Station, as well as public statements by campaign members.

According to De’Andre Valencia, Mary Su’s campaign manager, an official theft complaint was filed with the Sheriff’s Department on Saturday, March 22, after an anonymous source called Su’s office to say he was driving behind two individuals traveling in a grey/silver Volkswagen Jetta, who were stopping along the road to allegedly steal Su’s campaign signs.

“We filed a police report and we’re leaving it at that,” Valencia said. “We’re just hoping Tang’s workers stop being ridiculous. We’re focusing on the campaign right now and not letting these thefts distract us.”

Captain Jeff Scroggin of the Walnut-Diamond Bar Sheriff’s Station said no arrests have been made, but the responding Deputy did discover six of Mary Su’s campaign signs in a dumpster immediately behind Tang’s campaign office located on Valley Boulevard.  However, Scroggin said there was insufficient evidence linking the thefts to Tang’s campaign crew to make an arrest.

Samuel Liu, Tang’s campaign manager, said he was fed up with the allegations of stolen signs and that Su’s campaign crew is attempting to lead citizens away from the politics of the campaign and instead focusing on campaign tactics to distract Walnut residents.

“We don’t know anything about missing yard signs and we have our own police reports we filed for missing signs,” Liu said. “When we filed our police report, which was for a hundred yard signs, they [the Walnut-Diamond Bar Sheriff’s Station] never followed up. Then when some of Mary Su’s yard signs go missing, a Deputy Sheriff comes to our office, and so we feel like some candidates are getting favoritism.”

Liu said Tang’s campaign also filed a report on Sunday, March 23 for more missing signs, the day after Su’s complaint was filed.  Liu did not explain how Mary Su’s yard signs ended up in the dumpster immediately behind Tang’s campaign office.

Meanwhile, at Wednesday evening’s City Council meeting, several Walnut citizens showed up to complain about individuals trespassing on their property to place Tang campaign signs on their lawn without permission (see this story at www.anapr.com).

The Walnut election will be held on Tuesday, April 8.

Walnut: Council Corner


Walnut — The Walnut City Council meeting held its final regular meeting for February, which bid farewell to the outgoing Philippine Consulate General.

The City Council’s first action of the evening was to honor Maria Hel Barber de la Vega, the outgoing Philippine Consulate General of Los Angeles, and welcome Imelda Panalong, the Deputy Consul General of Los Angeles.

The Philippine Consulate General of Los Angeles strives to protect Filipino nationals as well as perform community outreach and perform passport and visa services.

Mayor Tony Cartagena congratulated Hel Barber de la Vega for her years of work, including sending disaster relief to the Philippines following Typhoon Yolanda last November.

Following the recognitions, Adrian Flores, Project Manager for Southern California Edison, gave a presentation regarding the Gridlock 12 KV Project that would help support the energy needs of Walnut and surrounding cities.

The project, according to Flores, would have a major affect on Grand Avenue since Southern California Edison would have conduit construction stretching from La Puente North to San Jose Hills, which would result in lane closures for several weeks.  Flores said that Edison is hoping to start construction in April and finish construction before summer due to the increased energy needs of the season.

During public comment, a large community outcry for increased police protection was asked by citizens. For more information, read the story on page 1.

City Council members then approved the minutes for the Feb. 12 City Council meeting; study session minutes; and items on the consent calendar for Resolution No. 14-09, allowing certain claims and demands in the amount of $790,637.33; Resolution No. 14-11, supporting the state route 57/60 mixed flow interchange improvements; and Resolution No. 14-10, allowing certain claims and demands in the amount of $284,114.00.

City Council also added and approved an action that would allowed the Walnut successor agency and housing agencies to recover a minimum of $150,000 each year, which was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Feb. 18. Since the state deadline is March 3, the council added the item and voted for approval.

The council approved Amended Item 7 on the consent calendar, which was resolution for the City of Walnut acting as successor agency for the Walnut Improvement Agency, approving and adopting the recognized obligation payment schedule pursuant to ABX126 and Health and Safety Code 34177, for the period of July 1 through Dec. 31.

After the final item of City Council was approved, the Walnut Housing Authority approved its only consent calendar item, which was Resolution No. 14-02 for the Walnut Housing Authority, allowing certain claims and demands in the amount of $25,501.01.

Mayor Cartagena then officially adjourned the City Council and Housing Authority Meeting at 9 p.m., with the next regular meeting scheduled for 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 12.