Cerritos City Council votes thumbs down to second Goodwill Store
By Randy Economy
Cerritos residents protest Goodwill during Thursday’s city council meeting.
In one of the most heated meetings in recent memory, the Cerritos City Council voted down a plan that would have brought a second Goodwill Thrift Store to the east side neighborhood shopping complex which has been left half vacant for the past three years.
Voting to shelve the plan was Cerritos Mayor Jim Edwards, Mayor Pro Tem Bruce Barrows, Councilman Joseph Cho and Councilwoman Carol Chen. The lone supporter of the project was Councilman Mark Pulido.
More than 200 opponents of the project attended the meeting on Thursday night, many of them carrying protest signs against the project that read “No Second Goodwill Store in Cerritos,” and “Goodwill Stores Bring Crime to Communities.”
Cerritos community member Richard Lee presented a petition with 1,031 names opposing the Goodwill project.
Richard Lee, one of more than 30 residents who spoke in opposition to the project, presented a petition signed by Cerritos residents who lived in the immediate area where the store was to be built at the corner of Artesia Boulevard and Carmenita Road.
“We have 1,031 Cerritos families who live near this proposed store who have signed this petition demanding that you, our elected city leaders reject this poorly planned project,” Lee said.
Another one of the nearly 30 residents to speak out against the proposal, Christine Nguyen stressed that the city of Cerritos “would receive no sales tax revenue” to its coffers since “Goodwill is considered to be a charity.”
“Goodwill Industries made $4 billion last year in profits. For them to call themselves a non-profit business is a lie. Goodwill Industries is all about big business, and no one else wins except for Goodwill,” Nguyen said.
Cerritos city planning staff members Sandy Cisneros, Robert Lopez and Torrey Contreas give presentation to city council members regarding Goodwill proposed project.
Joyce Corrigan, a resident on the east side of Cerritos “since the cows were here,” said “my neighbors feel this isn’t the best place for Goodwill.” Corrigan said “I don’t want a place that looks like a jail; I would rather have the cows back instead.”
Jonathan Doty, who oversees the ownership of the property site tried to assure the angry crowd that “it would not look like a jail. We have complied with all of the concerns of the residents and from the Cerritos planning staff.”
Doty also pointed out that the plan would have included nearly 7,000 square feet of landscaping and that a proposed donation drop off site would not be included in the plan.
Cerritos resident Charles Joslin, who has lived in the neighborhood for five year’s said that he supports Goodwill, but “they haven’t been a perfect steward on this particular project.” “There will be transients, and lots of dumping of used goods in the entire parking lot, and none of us deserve having to be subjected to this type of potential harm and abuse,” Joslin said.
One of the most vocal opponents to the project was Cerritos resident Shaileish Patel who lashed out at Pulido by stating “Mr. Pulido, did you promise these people from Beverly Hills that you could get them a Goodwill Store here in Cerritos? We want the truth,” Patel said.
Pulido said he took “great personal offense” from neighbor’s whom he said made “personal threats against my character here tonight.”
“I live here. I plan to die here. This is Democracy at play. My views align with hundreds of friends of mine. We have to live with ourselves. I grew up in a family that wasn’t affluent. I take my family to Goodwill, I shop at Goodwill,” said Pulido.
Pulido also lashed out at the many residents who had spoken out against his support of the proposed store. “I take an exception to your threats. This is politics. I recognize this. You need to respect me,” Pulido said.
Cerritos Mayor Pro-Tem Bruce Barrows said he opposed the project because “it was the wrong fit for the community.”
Councilwoman Carol Chen said that “the City Council appreciates the voices of the community. I am glad to see the property owner wanting to get a tenant into the shopping center. This particular project may not be suitable due to the close proximity where the neighbors live.”
Property manager Jonathon Doty appears before Cerritos City Council during Goodwill debate.
Councilman Joseph Cho, a previous supporter of the project said “I commend Goodwill to have made the modifications, and for holding two open houses for the community to visit the inside of the store. I support diversity of all people. Residents have concerns about this in their neighborhood. I feel no obligation to Goodwill, so I will not support this.”
Cerritos Mayor Jim Edwards ended the discussion by adding, “this has been a long night. I exclusively give to Vietnam Vets organizations. We don’t like to be threatened by residents. After eight years of hearing threats, I vote for the things you asked me to do. This project is not located in the right place.”
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