Capra, Gillanders to Represent City over Piazza

The lawsuit may be filed against Randy Wang, the owner of The Piazza at Temple City, but on Tuesday, a heated discussion among members of the City Council emerged over who would attend a settlement conference.

It has been nearly two years and one month since the previous City Council approved the controversial mixed-use project on Las Tunas Drive and Rosemead Boulevard. Despite a new cooperative City Council, construction has never taken place.

On Tuesday, June 17, 2008, the City Council chose Mayor Pro Tempore Dave Capra and Councilman Ken Gillanders to represent the City of Temple City in an anticipated settlement conference regarding the Piazza.

“The function of the mediation is [to attempt] to settle outside of court” stated City Manager and City Attorney Charles R. Martin.

In May 2008, City Manager Martin wrote that the City of Temple City would be required by the court to attend a mandatory settlement conference in order to determine whether the issue could be resolved without judicial involvement.

Martin proposed three options Tuesday evening: the two representatives could be appointed by the City Council, selected by lot, or chosen by the City Manager.

Martin indicated his preferences were Mayor Pro Tempore Dave Capra and Councilman Ken Gillanders, but Councilman Fernando Vizcarra wanted to attend.

Councilwoman Judy Wong made a motion to select two members of the Council by lot, but her motion failed 3-2. Only Councilman Vizcarra supported her motion.

“We’re going to listen” said Councilman Capra, aiming to reassure members of the Council and public over the selection.

Mayor Cathé Wilson then motioned to select Councilmembers Capra and Gillanders as the subcommittee members representing the City of Temple City. Wilson’s motion passed 3-2, with Councilmembers Vizcarra and Wong casting the dissenting votes.

An uproar emerged after the Council decision. Residents began questioning whether those selected were qualified and professional enough to represent the City. Temple City resident Rachel Barbosa suggested that the Council send Councilman Capra and Vizcarra.

In attempt at crafting a compromise, Mayor Wilson motioned to approve Councilman Vizcarra as an alternate delegate should either Councilman Capra or Gillanders be removed. The Council voted 4-1 in favor of her motion, with Councilman Gillanders opposed.

The Piazza at Temple City, formerly known as the “Temple City Galleria” and “Piazza Las Tunas” once promised fifty-two one bedroom condominiums and a complex shopping center for Temple City residents. It was estimated to bring $800,000 to $1 million dollars in badly needed tax revenues to Temple City.

According to the Developer’s Agreement with the City of Temple City, the $75 million project must be completed by August 23, 2009. If it is not complete, the City will have the option to purchase the entire parcel for $5 million.

 

This article was written by Matthew Wong. It was published in the September 10, 2008 issue of the Temple City Voice.

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