Diamond Bar Votes for Cityhood; Pasadena Growth Limit Passes

Times Staff Writers

Pasadena voters Tuesday approved new limits on residential and commercial construction, while the electorate in Diamond Bar, after several attempts, overwhelmingly voted to form a new city.

Pasadena voters were given a choice of two slow-growth plans, one drafted by city government and the other by a citizens group, Pasadena Residents in Defense of our Environment (PRIDE)

Both the city measure, Proposition 1, and the PRIDE initiative, Proposition 2, called for limiting to 250 per year the number of multifamily housing units that could be built. The PRIDE initiative also contained a cap on large-scale commercial construction, while the city measure called for limits on large office buildings and a ban on mini-malls.

Prop. 2 won with 57% of the votes, while Prop. 1 lost by a margin of 3-to-1.


“The verdict is clear that citizens feel that City Hall has mismanaged growth and it is time we changed the way we do things,” said Rick Cole, a member of the city Board of Directors, who supported the PRIDE initiative.

Kathryn Nack, a member of the board who opposed Prop. 2, said Pasadena had become caught up in a regionwide slow-growth movement.

“They want yesterday,” she said of the voters.

The vote in Diamond Bar culminated the third campaign in six years to make the sprawling San Gabriel Valley bedroom community a city. Cityhood had long been sought by community leaders, who contended that residents’ concerns about development and traffic have gone unheeded by county officials.


Voters narrowly rejected cityhood in 1983. A 1986 incorporation effort died when backers failed to collect enough signatures.

Cityhood was approved Tuesday by more than 70% of the voters.

“I’m very very pleased, to say the least,” said Gary Werner, who founded the incorporation committee in 1987. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s paid off. I believe the citizens of Diamond Bar will be much better off under their own elected representatives.”

Opponents of incorporation, however, were not willing to concede defeat late Tuesday.

The slow-growth measures in Pasadena, also in the San Gabriel Valley, drew opposition from builders, architects and real estate interests. Rick Phelps, chairman of the ABC Committee, which was organized to fight the proposals, said his group spent about $95,000.

Michael Salazar, co-chairman of PRIDE, said the largely volunteer campaign cost about $16,000.

Pasadena voters last June decisively rejected a measure that would have put a two-year moratorium on major construction, but that proposal did not have the broad support the PRIDE initiative gathered. Prop. 2 was endorsed by the League of Women Voters, Pasadena Heritage and other groups and was put on the ballot by petitions signed by more than 10,000 voters.

The Pasadena Board of Directors responded to the slow-growth movement by drafting its own plan, which it both adopted as an ordinance and submitted to voters. The measure was designed as an interim plan to be in effect while permanent controls were developed. The PRIDE initiative will be effective until the year 2000.


Proponents of Diamond Bar’s incorporation sent mailers to every home contending that a city council would be more responsive to local demands for controlled growth than officials 32 miles away in downtown Los Angeles.

Members of an anti-incorporation committee sought to convince voters that the community was better off under county rule.

Times staff writer Hector Tobar contributed to this article.