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Cerritos City Council votes thumbs down to second Goodwill Store

Cerritos residents protest Goodwill during Thursday's city council meeting.

Cerritos residents protest Goodwill during Thursday’s city council meeting.

By Brian Hews

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.

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 Contreras give the presentation to city council members regarding Goodwill proposed project.

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.

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.”

  • James B says:

    I have lived in Cerritos for 16 yrs. and am completely ashamed to be associated with the city. I am a registered voter in Artesia because I never took the time to change. But, after reading this article I am going to reregister in Cerritos. I am going to go to the polls and vote against all the candidates that voted against the Goodwill store. I will go out of my way to get the truth out. This is a slap in the face to the founders of this country and city.

    • Cerritos Residence are Good People says:

      The people of Cerritos are not against Goodwill. We are against any business that does not belong in a certain location. Goodwill is welcome to do business in an area that is better suited for their type of business. It’s interesting that people claim the residences are prejudice just because they do not want a donation center near their house. This has nothing to do with race, culture or social economic status. This has to do with residence not wanting a donation center near their house, it is that simple people. Will we be sexist if we didn’t want a strip club near our house or a marijuana dispencery near a school. Certian business does not belong in certain areas. You vote how you want, it is your right. However, don’t blame the council members who heard the voice of the residence and voted for the same residence they represent. If you want to shop at Goodwill just go to the other one already located in cerritos. Mark Pulido stated he had lots of personal friends that wanted the store and he also said that he voted for Goodwill for his kids. Hey Councilmember Pulido!!! You represent the people of Cerritos, not just your “friends and kids” you are very clear in your intentions when you are in office…. its all about your “friends”.

  • Charles Joslin says:

    The residents of Cerritos(self included) support Goodwill and all the other charities that collect donations and greatly benefit our community. There already is a Goodwill store in Cerritos, this would have been a second.

    What wasn’t desired was a store with a donation dropoff close to 25′ from homes in a residential shopping center, complete with security lights. These locations have been used for illegal dumping of household furniture and items that Goodwill doesn’t want after hours. In turn others scavenge the after hour drop offs and it results in increased crime and law enforcement.

    There would be no tax revenue from this store to offset the increased costs to the city in the same year that the state has taken away 30 million dollars in revenue. We would gladly welcome Goodwill to collect as other charities collect through donation bins, curbside, or in a less residential setting. This is not about NIMBY.

    • John Q. Public says:

      As far as the loss of sales tax revenue to the city, it is my understanding that the property owner went as far as to tell the city he would pay it.
      Remember, the city does not collect the entire amount you pay at purchase. They only collect a small percentage of that amount.
      As for the state taking $30 million in revenues from the city. If you are talking about tax revenue the amount it FAR higher. And that is because of the incompetence of the city council and not understanding the reality of redevelopment.

      • Cerritos Residence are Good People says:


        Again, you are missed informed. The owners never offered to pay sales tax. Lets stick to the facts if you want to have a mature disccussion or debate. We can’t work with false statements.

        Also, if you watched the city council meeting you would have heard that staff did contact the Sheriff’s department and other local police departments. Staff reporting what they were told by the sheriff’s department is just as good as having one there to speak. I would much rather leave the deputy in the field to patrol and protect us then come in speak at council. Please get your information validated before you start posting it. It appears that you just have a dislike for our city officials and goverment and you have your own agenda. It’s a simple fix…. move out of our city!!!!!!

        • John Q. Public says:

          As for the sales tax, I am not misinformed. I heard the man state those words in a conversation with members of the public.
          As for the sheriff’s department not speaking. Why would the city now want the words from the horses mouth. The city is good at deception and bending the truth. If a sheriff’s representative was there the PUBLIC could have had them on the record. At this point its only hearsay.
          The Goodwill was willing to bend over backwards and even have their business closed at any moment if there was an issue with the site location. Any dumping or crime issue the city could have closed them down, PERIOD.
          So, what was really behind all this???

  • John Q. Public says:

    Once again the city council failed the community!
    The residents around the shopping center have legitimate concerns. Furthermore, they have a right and an obligation to their families and neighborhood to voice those concerns to the council.
    Likewise, the Goodwill has a legitimate right to conduct business. Furthermore, they have an obligation to ensure that they are a good neighbor to the community in which they conduct business.
    Both the surrounding neighbors and the Goodwill did their part in discussing the concerns and remedies.
    The problem lays squarely with the city manager and the city council.
    It is my understanding that NOT one council member discussed the concerns of crime with the sheriff’s department. AND if they did, WHY did the city council FAIL to ask a representative of the department to present their opinion in public and on the record?
    Once aging this city council has found a way to divide the community rather than bring it together.

  • Jdp says:

    Thanks City Council for voting no to Goodwill . I will vote out the person who voted in favor. We already have one Goodwill already we don’t need another one .

    • John Q. Public says:

      Jdp – Making comment like that only make you and the city look like snobs. We have more than one of many other businesses in the city.

  • ANNA TITUS says:

    This is so sad. The city has become a “elite” mess. I just learned that a 99cent store is going to open in Beverly Hills to allow the residents to shop in their own city.
    What is wrong with our Council. Plus,, what message is this sending to the disabled who are employed at the Goodwill. Also, I think you get some of the best bargains at the thrift store. Frequent visitor.

  • MOMAN says:

    I support Goodwill and I have donated items to Goodwill many times, however, the placement of a Goodwill store at this location was not appropriate. The residents of this Cerritos neighborhood, of which I am included, are not the customers of Goodwill stores. The store would have been better suited in Norwalk, Buena Park or Santa Fe Springs. Perhaps the nearby Santa Fe Springs swap meet was a factor with Goodwill in choosing this particular Cerritos location, but again; the neighborhood and its residents are not, and will never be, Goodwill store customers.

    • James B says:

      I am a resident and I do shop at Goodwill. The money goes to a great cause and the prices are great. They have clothes that are in great condition. Many times the clothes have the original sales tag. This complete arrogance is what will in turn destroy this city. As for the existing Goodwill store it is located on the far south west side of the city basically putting it less than a 100 yards from Bellflower. The shopping center is small with very little traffic. The shopping center across the street also has very little traffic except for the recently relocated CVS. The shopping center where the proposed Goodwill store was going to go hasn’t had a viable tenant since Thirfty’s left. The true problem here is not Goodwill or its customers. The problem is the conceited residents which think the dung doesn’t stink.

  • Jay Gray says:

    To those fighting to keep the Goodwill out, based on no sales tax revenue, increased traffic, potential for crime and deterioration of your family’s quality of life, don’t be too sure that the city council voted with your best interest in mind.
    In February, 2007 the city published the economic development strategic plan. That report specifically mentions the Goodwill shopping center (site 9) as a property of interest.
    Page 99, “In addition, this monitoring process can alert the City as to any properties that come up for sale, which the City may wish to acquire for activities such as public use or future ground leasing.”
    For those not wanting the Goodwill, because you felt it was not a “good fit” for your neighborhood, just think of the potential for massive development should the city take control of this property.
    While I have meet some good civic leaders I have come to see that too many politicians do not care about our families, our neighborhoods or promoting a deep sense of community spirit. They only care about feeding their egos and funding their perks on the taxpayers dime.
    To be clear, I am not suggesting you should not have spoken up. What I am suggesting is to be beware, your struggle may have only just begun.
    And for those who continue to be concerned for our city please, let the city council know that they need to act responsibly and stop the Multimillion dollar losses at the Performing Arts Center. And the Multimillion dollar losses at the Magnolia Power Plant. Millions of dollars lost each year that could be used on community programs.
    Likewise, start asking about the $9 Billion Meglev train and how it will affect the quality of life in our city.