Jon Curtis: Planning Commissioner seeks election to La Cañada City Council

Jon Curtis has been active in his 15 years living in La Cañada Flintridge. Curtis, 53, an attorney and a principal at California Golden Fund, has served on the city's Planning Commission for five years.

Valley Sun: How would you improve traffic flow in the downtown area? Would you support installing one or more parking structures in the area?

Curtis: As to traffic flow in the downtown area, there continue to be great challenges around the Town Center area which are due, in part, to the numerous signals in close proximity to one another and an automated sensor and computer system that either needs additional adjustments or a different system utilized. Our current traffic engineer and the Public Works Commission and others at the city are reviewing the situation. However, I believe an additional third-party traffic engineer should be hired to review and analyze the current situation. A fresh set of eyes and ideas would be welcome.

As to adding a parking structure in the downtown area, one must first look at where the parking deficiencies exist. They are primarily around restaurants that have had deficient parking for quite some time. A single structure (or multiple structures) would likely not help (and not be cost effective), and alternative ways such as valet parking and joint use of other business parking at certain peak times could be explored and be useful.

You have said you are opposed to a Long Beach (710) Freeway extension. What alternatives would you offer?

This question presumes a need for the proposed 710 extension. First, the true needs for traffic improvements in the area should be established. Many of the proponents of the 710 extension are large contractors and communities elsewhere in the area that merely want to dump their traffic problems on our city and our neighbors. A true study of the impacts and cost-benefit analysis of the situation should be looked at. If there was truly a need, feasible alternatives for commuters and others could be an additional rail line or rapid bus line.

Home burglaries have recently spiked in La Cañada Flintridge. How would you attempt to prevent these incidents from happening? Would it help if the city had its own police department?

The city should continue to work closely with the Sheriff's Department and adjust law enforcement deployment and monitor the situation closely. There is also a need to continue our outreach and education of all citizens (community watch and otherwise), as it is all of us watching out for our neighbors that will make a difference. Additional sheriff volunteers patrolling our city could also help. As to the city having its own police department, I believe that it would not help and is cost prohibitive. We would be better off spending our limited resources in having additional patrols and community education as opposed to adding a layer of governmental bureaucracy to manage a city police force.

What are your thoughts on agricultural use of privately owned property in residential areas, whether it's for commercial or personal use?

Locally grown vegetables and fruits can be much fresher and beneficial for the environment and people. Subject to appropriate controls so as to not to burden or impact neighbors or cause pollution to our waterways, I would generally support the use for personal use.

Do you think the new city website is user-friendly? Should the city add or change anything about it? How do you feel about using social media to inform residents of meetings and forums?

I support the work to date on the city's website. It is an improvement, and I know other improvements are planned. We should expand its use to not only educate and inform citizens about meetings and current events, but also to provide for input and thoughts from citizens to the city.

Tell us something about yourself that the public might not know.

First, over 15 years ago, I started “TAP” for the Los Angeles District Council of the Urban Land Institute (“ULI”). ULI is an international 501(c)(3) nonprofit research and educational organization. The TAP (Technical Advisory Program) provides public agencies and nonprofit organizations facing complex land use, economic or real estate issues with expert advice through intense one- to three-day panels of experts (volunteers). This TAP program for ULI District Councils has now been adopted across the U.S. Locally, many TAPs have been done for numerous cities, including Pasadena, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Monrovia, as well as entities such as USC and the L.A. Conservancy. One was recently completed for the entire Rose Bowl (Arroyo) area of Pasadena.

Second, in addition to my legal practice, I am part of a business that is focused on foreign investment in the U.S. for job-producing businesses. In this regard, we recently completed an equity investment in the W Hotel, Hollywood, and we are working on a “creative” office campus on the west side.


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