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RESIDENTS CRY FOUL ON ARTESIA COUNCIL 7-ELEVEN VOTE

Story published in HMG-CN March 13, 2105, letters are below the story.

Artesia City Council Grants 7-Eleven 24-Hour Permit 

By Rico Dizon

The Artesia City Council, at its March 9 meeting, approved a 24-hour operating permit to the 7-Eleven convenience store  located on the southeast corner of South St. and Norwalk Blvd., the vote was 5-0 with Council Member Ali Taj voting via tele-conference from Washington D.C.

The approval came following the report and recommendation from City Staff headed by City Manager William Rawlings.

“I am approving it but without alcohol sales. If there is alcohol sales, I will change my perspective,” said Mayor Miguel Canales.

In September of last year, the City Council approved a request by Andrea Munoz on behalf of the owners, Thrifty Oil Co., to build a 2400 sq. ft. retail building in the same location. Local residents, who felt 7-Eleven Corporate was once again trying to put a store at the location after failing in 2010, strongly objected to the proposal.

To cite just one of several negative comments from the public in that meeting:

“It was a big issue four years ago, 7-Eleven has been setting up stores from state to state and city to city and findings indicate that there is an increase of crime activities as a result of the stores’ presence. They were not welcomed in 2010 and we don’t want them in 2014,” voiced Artesia resident Gene Ramirez.

ln last Monday’s meeting, Ramirez, who did not attend, but attended two weeks ago, called his colleague Rene Trivino, a baseball coach in Artesia, to tell him that a decision had been made on the issue.

During that meeting two weeks ago, Trivino showed pictures of graffiti around his area of residence. “We know that alcohol sales make 7-Eleven successful. I urge you not to accept the application.”

Trivino’s opinion, however, was drowned out by the robust support of the Artesia Chamber of Commerce represented by its president, Parimal Shaw, past president, Manu Patel, and another officer Bipin Morari.

Moreover, the City Council in general has argued that well-lit convenience stores deter the commission of crimes. “Criminals would prefer ghost-like places to do their acts,” said Council Member Sally Flowers.

Mayor Pro Tem Victor Manalo even invited Sgt. Greg Knapp of the Sheriff’s Dept. to share his  observation, as there is already a 7-Eleven standing on Artesia and Norwalk Blvd. Knapp stated, “they are very cooperative and have no major concerns.”

According to the staff report, “no general public hearing notice has been published, posted or distributed to the surrounding property owners informing them of tonight’s hearing because the Code does not require such notice.”

But, back in September, then City Council Member Manalo told the big turnout of residents, “we will make sure that you are all notified for the public hearing on this issue.”

During the same meeting last year, then Mayor Pro Tem Canales acknowledged the legitimate concerns of the public, ” I am a teacher and I have a young son. I certainly would not allow these children to be exposed to an unfavorable environment.”

During the September meeting, Canales also brought up the environmental issues on the site of a former gas station. “Make sure that the industrial waste has been removed and a thorough soil analysis is completed before it will be ready for building.”

There was no confirmation of an analysis in last Monday’s meeting.

Staff reported that, “the project is categorically exempt under CEQA Guidelines because the area is not considered environmentally sensitive.”

The report further said, “staff reviewed the proposed project and did not find any evidence that special circumstances exist that would create adverse effect on environment.”

One Artesia resident, who did not want to be identified, told HMG-CN, “this is going to continue to unravel, will the store apply for a conditional permit to sell alcohol next time?”

 

 

Dear Editor:

In response to the article in your March 13, 2015 edition of the Community News about the 7-Eleven being approved by the Artesia City Council, I, Gene Ramirez am very disappointed with this decision, and all City Council members.

Back in 2000 we gathered over 1,000 signatures from citizens against the proposed 7-Eleven across from Artesia Park on South Street.

For the 7-Eleven referenced in the meetings in September 2014 that was mentioned in the article, again another list of over 1,100 signatures was submitted to the Artesia Chamber of Commerce and to the Artesia City Council against this 7-Eleven at the corner of Norwalk Blvd. and South Street.

I am sure the signatures are still in their files at City Hall.

The issues were real, with 24-hour operations, and being at this location,

the issues of added traffic, as you find on South Street and Pioneer Blvd, are not wanted. The increase of gang activity on this corner and neighborhood was another concern.  Also, the safety issues for our pedestrians and bike riders being in accidents goes up with the added traffic.

It is mentioned that I did not attend the last City Council meeting, but it was not mentioned how many meetings I did attend in 2000 and in 2014.

My voice was loud and the voices on the petitions (over 1,100) were loud and clear already. The voices of the residents in several City Council Meetings were loud and clear with residents showing up, filling the chamber with standing room only.

It was also mentioned that Trivino was drowned out by support of Artesia Chamber of Commerce represented by its president, Parimal Shaw, past president, Manu Patel, and another officer Bipin Morari.

Really? Let’s see, 1,100 signatures minus 3 who drowned out Trivino, equals1, 097 against this 7-Eleven.

I can’t believe their using this last meeting as a sound reason there was more support for the 7-Eleven.

I wish I could have been at this meeting because Mr. Trevino would not have been standing alone.  And if the City Council would have taken into account all the meetings on this 7-Eleven decision, Mr. Trevino was not standing alone; the City Council was just acting alone.  Shame on all of you.

Let this same City Council show some real backbone and start to collect City Retail Taxes as we should, because this is where they should be taking a stand to support the Artesia residents.

I am very disappointed with our City leaders at this time.

For the record, we are against alcohol sales and the 7-eleven being open for 24 hours at the new store coming to Artesia on Norwalk Blvd and South Street.

Sincerely,
Gene Ramirez
Long-time Artesia resident

Dear Editor:

What the heck? The council allowed a 7-11 to open 24 hours and no public hearing? What is this Russia? The People’s Republic of Artesia? I heard that no public hearing was required but what about some courtesy to the residents who voted you in?

I was extremely disappointed in the Artesia City Council’s decision to allow a 7-11 convenience store to open.

There are many instances across the United States of other city residents fighting a legitimate war to keep 7-11’s out of their neighborhood.

In 2013, West Berkeley fought the world’s largest convenience store chain, which is currently in expansion mode and estimated to be opening a new store every two hours, and won.

In San Mateo, a group of neighbors worked to shut down a 7-11 that opened in a mostly residential area near a high school.

Similar controversies have been seen in Florida, Connecticut, Oregon and other states.

There has to be something to their arguments if so many people oppose a 7-11 in their city. Please do not publish my name, I do not want code enforcement to visit my house.

Artesia Resident
Name on file

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