Guest Column: LCF residents should stand up to Sacramento

I’d like to thank and applaud the news media and fellow resident William Lee for alerting the left-in-the dark public about pending plans for La Cañada Flintridge to accommodate 343 low-income units over the next eight years. After a mind-numbing 30-minute call with City Hall where I heard convoluted legalese, I find this new information and awareness campaign by people outside of the local bureaucracy refreshing and helpful. All residents have a right to know the truth in a timely manner — not just the 1,300 homeowners who live near a potential halfway house.

Why did the city hold a very contentious meeting about the future of our beloved small town the week of Thanksgiving when most local schools are closed and concerned families are away? While I want to give the city the benefit of the doubt, the questionable timing and appearance of secrecy seem shady.

Would someone please explain how for the last six years a plan has been crafted (and rubber-stamped?) with very little outside knowledge and little objection from the public that 343 low-income units, like a transitional boarding complex or a halfway house, would come to LCF? Did not one local leader object to this proposal as foolhardy or unsafe? Did not one public servant stand up to Sacramento and say enough is enough? Hard-working local taxpayers are sick and tired of bankrolling Sacramento only for our dollars to leave our city and our schools to finance and benefit people elsewhere.

I’m calling on city leaders to stand up to Sacramento and to stand up for La Cañada Flintridge. Be brave! Have courage! You hold more power than you think — you hold the power of the purse strings. Tell Sacramento that we are fed up with one more redistribution of wealth scheme. We will not cow-tow to their plans to force us to create 343 low-income residences, like drug-rehab facilities or half-way houses, especially near a school. Let Sacramento sue us. This is a town full of concerned citizens (and attorneys) who likely object to this covertly crafted plan to erect Section 8 housing.

Who will fund, create and build the 343 government-subsidized, low-income units? I feel there is zero transparency about who truly wants this new plan and why. The community leaders and business developers advocating the Sacramento scheme must come forward and explain themselves and their end goals clearly and quickly. Who stands to profit and at what expense? Will there be a certain criteria for these new residents — i.e. drug free, only convalescence? Will there be an age minimum — i.e. at least 70 years old — for the residents of the 343 Section 8 dwellings? What safeguards will be in place for our children when these new sober LCF residents meet up with their old (and probably still-using) friends from their former lives in Memorial Park, Glenola Park, the scenic trails or other public places in town frequented by young people and families alike?

I ask our city leaders to consider an alternative solution (condominiums or townhomes) where new residents have a financial investment in the well-being and future of our treasured and sought-after city. This affords an opportunity to unite our town with the common bond of homeownership and the vibrant community pride that goes along with it.

City leaders must stop this secrecy and work to keep our school children and town safe. Better to reach a settlement with Sacramento than to experience tragedy and feel the wrath of a local family and an outraged community.

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McCALL AVERY lives and works in La Cañada and encourages readers to sign the online petition at LCF91011.org. She can be reached at standup4lcf91011@gmail.com.

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