Fox Canyon Neighborhood Association, Inc.

Fox Canyon Neighborhood

Posted in: Fox Canyon
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How do you make the print larger???

Hi Jose,

Do you think the current mayor's office might read this????



    The story is long and complex.  I'll try to
give you a good short version.

    Some years ago the Fox Canyon folks wrote
a grant request for a park at the intersection
of Landis St and Winona Ave.  Both streets are
unpaved (paper streets).  The application to
the State Parks and Recreation Department had
a small park and some improvements to Chollas
Creek which runs alongside Landis Street in
that area - nothing else than a park and some
creek improvements.

    Unknown to the public, Madaffer and Lopez
intended to have a 2-lane road paved through
the park.  The application, as it was tendered
to the state, was a lie.  It did not show the
road.  During the approval process, some Park
and Rec staff members and some Real Estate
Assets staff lied to a hearing officer, to the
Planning Commission, and to City Council.

    Madaffer prevailed on the Council, which
approved the park with a road through it, and
a lawsuit then challenged that decision.  The
lawsuit was settled later on when the City re-
versed its approval of its environmental docu-
ment.  That meant the park could not be
built with funds from the grant.  For a while,
it seemed that the City would lose the grant.

    Separately from that action, the City was
in court with the owner of a lot in the 5000
block of Wightman Street, less than a quarter
mile away from the original site.  The City
settled that suit by purchasing the lot from
the owner.  Once it owned the parcel, an ef-
fort was mounted to move the grant money
from the original site to the second site.

    In the course of the lawsuit that led to
the City purchasing the Wightman St parcel,
a hydrology study was done which showed
that the parcel floods with sewage.  In fact,
the owner's suit against the City cited that
as part of the owner's claim for damages.

    During environmental study of that same
Wightman Street parcel in conjunction with
the request to move the grant money, a se-
cond hydrology study - paid for by the City -
also showed flooding with sewage.  The
Council just ignored the study and public
testimony, and approved permits for a park
at the Wightman site - sewage and all.  It
then asked the state to allow the grant to
be moved.  Eventually the state did give its
permission, but it is not clear that the State
knew about the sewage from official sources. 
I did write the state Park and Recreation
Department to report the facts.

    An environmental lawsuit was filed by a
non-profit corporation to reverse the City's
approval of permits at the Wightman street
site.  That suit has not been settled.  The
Council did discuss the suit at its Tuesday
morning closed session this week, but of
course, we don't know what they decided to
do - if anything.

    John Stump and I filed the first lawsuit
against the decision to issue permits for a
park with a road through it.  As I said, it
was settled by the City reversing its
approval of construction permits.

    I believe John and some others, acting as
the Chollas Revitalization, Enhancement, and
Conservancy (CREAC) - I think that's the right
name - filed the second lawsuit against the
decision to allow sewage to flood a park.  As
I noted, that suit was discussed by the Coun-
cil in closed session earlier this week, but
no one outside the case knows what was
said or done.  At least, I don't know.  I'm
not part of that lawsuit.

    The issues are simple in both cases.  May
the City lie to the state about a road through
a park which is to be built with State funds? 
So far, that answer is no.  It took John's and
my lawsuit to affirm that, but so far so good.

    The issue at the second park site is; may
the City approve a park knowing that it will
occasionally flood with sewage?  That ques-
tion is still unanswered, and the answer
might come in the form of settling the
second lawsuit.

    Madaffer and Lopez have made this whole
thing nasty and personal.  They libeled both
Theresa Quiroz and John Stump.  Lopez also
libeled me in one issue of the Fox Canyon
newsletter.  Madaffer even went so far as to
libel Theresa and John after he left office. 
She and John have been patient about the
abuse and deserve our respect for taking a
principled stand and for then seeing it
through in the face of very grave abuse.

    It's difficult to get the straight word out
to City Heights on this matter because of
the misinformation Lopez spreads, but maybe
this e-mail will help you get things in clear
perspective.  No one wants to stop any park
in City Heights - no one.  On the question
about transferring the state grant to the
second park site on Wightman Street, John,
Theresa, and I supported that.  We believed
the sewage could be abated.  I sent several
e-mails to the State Park and Recreation
Department urging it to cooperate with the
City to move the grant to the Wightman
Street site.

    No one should support lying to the state
about trying to pave a road through a neigh-
borhood park.  No one should want a park to
be built that floods sewage.  Those are un-
acceptable ways to conduct public business.

            Jim Varnadore
            City Heights

ps.  The Turko program did 7-segments about
the original park site.  He identified Lopez
and Madaffer as the problems with that site. 
He identified the City staff who lied, and
identified the road as the problem that kept
the original site from being built.  Turko is
correct that the Chollas Creek neighborhood,
where both park sites are located, deserves
a neighborhood park.

pps. The newspaper editorial, cited in Tom's
e-mail, was not an effort to get a park built
in City Heights.  The newspaper is involved
in the redemption of Jim Madaffer so the
Mayor can appoint him to be the Redeve-
lopment Czar after Madaffer has been out
of office for a full year, or perhaps to be
Alan Bersin's replacement at the Airport
Authority.  Whatever the newspaper's real
goal might be, it doesn't care about a
park in City Heights.

Thank you for posting this.  I wish more people were aware of Jose Lopez's real agenda and personal interests.

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