Judy Nelson

Judges, LA County District Attorney and Propositions Galore!

There’s no denying this year’s ballot is overwhelming.
I urge everyone to take a deep breath, dig in, and get knowledgeable about the choices.
Most of all, I encourage you to VOTE!!!

I’ve recently received numerous requests for voting recommendations. It appears that most people are informed about the candidates and know who they prefer. However, they want information about the 25 California state propositions, 1 county measure, 3 judges and the LA County District Attorneys’ office that are all on our November 2020 ballot.
For those interested in my views, here they are:

For LA District Attorney Vote Yes for Jackie Lacey
Jackie Lacey assumed office in 2012 as the first woman and first African-American to serve as Los Angeles County District Attorney since the office was established in 1850. She has spent most of her professional life as a prosecutor, manager and executive in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Lacey’s top priority is keeping the streets of Los Angeles County safe from violent and dangerous criminals. She is committed to safeguarding our children from human sex traffickers, our seniors from financial elder abuse and our communities from environmental crimes that threaten our health and our livelihood.

George Gascón joined LAPD in his early 20’s, moving up from a patrol officer to assistant chief to Bill Bratton. In 2006, he became Chief of Police for Mesa PD and, in 2009, then-Mayor Gavin Newsom named him San Francisco’s Chief of Police. When Kamala Harris vacated her position as S.F District Attorney in 2011, Gov. Newsom appointed him to that position where he served until 2019 when he moved to LA to campaign for the position of LA County DA. Gascon’s top priority is to modernize LA’s criminal justice system. In contrast to Jackie Lacey, George Gascón has no hands-on experience as a prosecutor, manager or executive in the LA County DA’s office.

From the LA Times on Oct. 2, 2020:
More than $12 million has been pumped into November’s contentious Los Angeles County district attorney race, with donors lining up on opposing sides of a stark ideological divide between incumbent Jackie Lacey and challenger George Gascón. Lacey’s campaign is boosted primarily by law enforcement unions. On Gascón’s side, a set of wealthy advocates, mainly concentrated in the Bay Area, have contributed a majority of the funds. Spending in the race has intensified in recent weeks, with New York billionaire George Soros putting $1.5 million behind Gascón, helping to push him into the overall fundraising lead. Just days earlier, a pair of law enforcement unions contributed $1 million to support Lacey.

For LA County Superior Court, Vote Yes for:
Office No. 72 – Steve Morgan
Office No. 80 – David Berger
Office No. 162 – Scott Andrew Yang

State Propositions
My statement: Many of the propositions this year are complicated and written in ways that are non-transparent. A few lump multiple issues together. One thing is clear… most will increase residents’ personal tax burdens. I’m opposed to continually taking more income from tax-payers to fund endless programs with unknown outcomes. It’s important that we live within our means, both personally and in government.

• Prop. 14: Vote NO
Authorizes Bonds Continuing Stem Cell Research. Initiative Statute.
Prop 14 would issue $5.5 billion in bonds for a state stem cell research institute. In 2004, voters approved Proposition 71, which issued $3 billion in bonds to finance stem cell research. Times have changed and the original rationale — California doing what the feds wouldn’t — is no longer applicable. Additionally, private enterprise has taken a bigger interest and stepped up research in this field. It’s time for California’s stem-cell agency to continue its work as a self-sustaining non-profit or close down and allow federal grants and private business to push the industry forward.
Fiscal Impact if passed: Increased state costs to repay bonds estimated at about $260 million per year over approximately 30 years.

• Prop. 15: Vote NO
Increases Funding Sources for Public Schools, Community Colleges, and Local Government Services by Changing Tax Assessment of Commercial and Industrial Property. Initiative Constitutional Amendment Statewide Property Tax Increase (Caution: Ballot Has a Deceptive Title…this is a massive 12-15 billion $ tax increase)
Prop 15 would repeal part of Prop 13 by amending the State Constitution to require commercial and industrial properties, except those zoned as commercial agriculture, to be taxed based on their market value. In California, the proposal to assess taxes on commercial and industrial properties at market value, while continuing to assess taxes on residential properties based on the purchase price, is known as split roll. This is a direct attack on Proposition 13. Commercial property owners are already struggling ecconomically, and increasing their tax burden will lead to many forced sales and foreclosures in commercial zones.
Fiscal Impact: It is estimated that, upon full implementation, this ballot initiative would generate between $8 billion and $12.5 billion in revenue per year. That money comes from the increased taxes that will be collected from property owners. Those increases may also be passed on to businesses that lease space in the form of higher rents or increases in their “triple net” lease agreements.

• Prop. 16: Vote NO
Allows Diversity as a Factor in Public Employment, Education, and Contracting Decisions. Legislative Constitutional Amendment Statewide Property Tax Increase (Caution: Ballot Has Deceptive Title…this would allow discrimination based on race in government decisions and hiring)
Prop 16 would allow government decision-making policies to discriminate by race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin. A “no” vote opposes this constitutional amendment, thereby keeping intact Proposition 209 (1996), which stated that the government and public institutions cannot discriminate against or grant preferential treatment to persons on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting. A “no” vote will keep discrimination illegal.
Fiscal Impact: No direct fiscal effect on state and local entities because the measure does not require any change to current policies or programs.

• Prop. 17: Vote NO
Voting Rights Restoration for Persons on Parole Amendment Statewide Property Tax Increase
Prop 17 would amend California’s Constitution to grant felons the right to vote before completing the terms of their sentence including parole. A “no” vote will require that felons fully complete all terms of their sentence before being granted the privilege to vote.
Fiscal impact if passed: Increased annual county costs, estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars statewide, for voter registration and ballot materials. Increased one-time state costs, likely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, to update voter registration cards and systems.

• Prop 18: Vote NO
Primary Voting For 17-Year-Olds Amendment
The California Constitution currently permits individuals who are at least 18 years old on the date of an election to vote in that election. Prop 18 would be a constitutional amendment to allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 at the time of the next general election to vote in primary elections and special elections. Prop 18 would allow high school students to vote on tax increases which are often on the primary election ballots.
Fiscal Impact if passed: Increased costs for counties, estimated between several hundreds of thousands of dollars and $1 million every two years, to send and process voting materials to eligible registered 17-year-olds. Increased one-time costs to the state in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to update existing voter registration systems.

• Prop. 19: Vote NO
Property Tax Transfers, Exemptions, and Revenue for Wildfire Agencies and Counties Amendment Statewide Property Tax Increase (Caution: Ballot Has Deceptive Title…this is a tax increase disguised as a tax relief measure)
Prop 19 is a confusing measure because it is three measures in one. The most concerning part of Prop 19 is that it would take away one of the best tools parents have to help their children—the right, enshrined in California’s Constitution since 1986, to pass their home and other property on without any increase in property taxes. Prop 19 eliminates that measure. The only exception is if the children move into the home within a year and make it their principal residence. Proposition 19 is a billion-dollar tax increase on families. The other two parts of the measure may have merit but voters should be given the opportunity to vote on each of the measures separately.
Fiscal Impact if passed: Local governments could gain tens of millions of dollars of property tax revenue per year. These gains could grow over time to a few hundred million dollars per year. This new state revenue would come from property tax reassessment on inherited property and most would be earmarked for fire protection.

• Prop. 20: Vote YES
Criminal Sentencing, Parole, and DNA Collection Initiative Statewide Property Tax Increase (Caution: Ballot Has Deceptive Title…this measure will support the police and hold criminals accountable)
Prop 20 would make changes to AB 109 (2011), Prop 47 (2014), and Prop 57 (2016)—three measures that were each intended to reduce the state’s prison inmate population. The goal of this measure is to better protect the public by closing loopholes in the laws mentioned above that allow convicted child molesters, sexual predators and others convicted of violent crimes to be released from prison early. Prop 20 also expands DNA collection to help solve rapes, murders and other serious crimes, and strengthens sanctions against habitual thieves who steal repeatedly.
Fiscal Impact if passed: Increased state and local correctional costs likely in the tens of millions of dollars annually, primarily related to increases in county jail populations and levels of community supervision. While their increased costs, the implementation of Prop 20 will result in increased safety when many violent crimes are reclassified from misdemeanors to felonies and a cost saving to businesses who are repeatedly robbed by criminals knowing that they will not be arrested or charged for shoplifting if the amount stolen is less than $950.

• Prop 21: Vote NO
Local Rent Control Initiative
In 2016, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office issued a report that found that expanding rent control “likely would discourage new construction” by limiting the profitability of new rental housing. Prop 21 would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act which allows housing providers to raise the rent on a vacant unit to market value after a tenant moves out. The same law also bans rent control on units constructed after February 1995 and on single-family homes and condos.
Fiscal Impact if passed: Overall, a potential reduction in state and local revenues in the high tens of millions of dollars per year over time. Depending on actions by local communities, revenue losses could be less or more.

• Prop 22: Vote YES
App-Based Drivers as Contractors and Labor Policies Initiative Statewide Property Tax Increase (Caution: Ballot Has Deceptive Title…this measure would allow Uber, Lyft and other app-based services to continue to operate in California)
Prop 22 would allow app-based rideshare and delivery companies (Uber, Lyft, Door Dash and others) to hire drivers as independent contractors. Drivers could decide when, where, and how much to work but would not get standard benefits and protections that brick and mortar businesses must provide to employees. Prop 22 is in response to Assembly Bill 5 (2019) which forced the re-classification of rideshare and delivery drivers from independent contractors to employees. If this measure fails to pass, AB 5 will stay in effect, resulting in significantly increased costs to ride-share and delivery businesses who would likely pass those increased costs on to their customers or, potentially, will no longer provide services in California.
Fiscal Impact if passed: Minor increases in state income taxes paid by rideshare and delivery company drivers and investors.

• Prop 23: Vote NO
Dialysis Clinic Requirements Initiative
Prop 23 would require chronic dialysis clinics to: have an on-site physician while patients are being treated; report data on dialysis-related infections; obtain consent from the state health department before closing a clinic; and not discriminate against patients based on the source of payment for care.
The California American Nurses Association, the California Medical Association, and patient advocates strongly urge NO on 23 because the increased costs of compliance would likely force many community dialysis clinics to shut down—threatening the lives of 80,000 California patients who need dialysis to survive.
Fiscal impact if passed: Increased state and local government costs likely in the low tens of millions of dollars annually.

• Prop 24 Vote NO
Consumer Personal Information Law and Agency Initiative
This measure would expand the state’s consumer data privacy laws and would create a costly new bureaucracy, the Privacy Protection Agency, to enforce the data privacy laws. The state’s Department of Justice currently oversees and enforces existing consumer data privacy laws that businesses are required to follow.
Fiscal Impact if passed: Increased state costs of at least $10 million annually for a new state agency to oversee and enforce consumer privacy laws. Increased state costs, not likely to exceed the low millions of dollars annually, for increased court and Department of Justice enforcement workload. Some or all of these costs would be paid by penalties collected for violations of consumer privacy laws. Unknown impact on state and local tax revenues due to economic effects resulting from new requirements on businesses to protect consumer data.

• Prop 25 Vote NO
Replace Cash Bail with Risk Assessments Referendum Statewide Property Tax Increase (Caution: Ballot Has Deceptive Title…should we change cash bail system to an “honor system”?)
In 2018, the governor signed SB 10 which made California the first state in the U.S. to end the use of cash bail for all detained suspects awaiting trials. Instead, release would be based on their assessed risk of committing another crime or not appearing in court if released. No one would be charged fees as a condition of release. A “no” vote will undo SB10 and return the state to a cash bail system.
Fiscal Impact: Increased state and local costs possibly in the mid-hundreds of millions of dollars annually for a new process for releasing people from jail prior to trial. Unclear whether some of the increased state costs would be offset by local funds currently spent on this type of workload. Decreased county jail costs possibly in the high tens of millions of dollars annually.

• LA County Measure J Vote NO
Budget Allocation for Alternatives to Incarceration Charter Amendment Statewide Property Tax Increase (Caution: Ballot Has Deceptive Title…this LA County measure would move approximately $150 million from the public safety budget to social service programs)
In August of 2020, the LA County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to place this measure on the November ballot. It would amend the county’s charter to designate at least 10% of its locally generated, unrestricted revenue be taken from public safety (police, district attorney and probation services) and redirected to community investment initiatives (housing, youth development, mental health care). Board Chair Kathryn Barger cast the “no” vote, citing concerns that the measure was rushed and that enshrining it in the county’s charter would “handcuff future boards”. The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board wrote: “Ballot-box budgeting of the sort the supervisors propose is a bad idea and poor substitute for careful study, deliberation and decision making.”
Fiscal Impact: Unknown

How the November 2020 Election is Different and How To Ensure Your Vote Counts

In California, voting for the Nov. 3rd Presidential Election will be different from other elections in several ways. This year, a ballot will be mailed to every registered voter in the State of California. Previously, they were only sent to individuals who specifically requested mail-in ballots. Voters will still have the ability to vote in person, but polling place locations and voting dates will be different.

When you sign-up for a California driver’s license you are automatically added to the voter rolls unless you state that you are not a U.S. citizen or request to opt out. Not everyone who is registered for a license is expecting, or able, to return a mail-in ballot this year. Additionally, many others who have passed away, moved, or don’t wish to vote, will also receive a mail-in ballot because voter rolls have not been given an up-to-date purge and the system is now set for 100% mail-in. This creates an opportunity for these wayward votes to be scavenged.

Ballot harvesting was allowed by the California Legislation before the 2018 midterm elections. This relatively new law allows any representative to gather or “harvest” ballots on behalf of registered voters. Both assisted living facilities and college campuses are ripe for ballot harvesting. The Los Angeles Times editorial board, along with others, has called for the law to be fixed or repealed, saying it “does open the door to coercion and fraud.”

The danger of Ballot Harvesting is a bi-partisan concern. On September 17, 2020, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Democrat-Hawaii and Congressman Rodney Davis, Republican-Illinois, introduced The Election Fraud Protection Act in Congress. Rep. Gabbard wrote: “The strength of our democracy lies in the integrity of our elections. Ballot harvesting allows third parties to collect and tamper or sway an election for or against a certain candidate or party. No one should get in between a voter and their vote.” Rep. Davis wrote: “We’ve seen ballot harvesting widely used in states like California and a recent court case in North Carolina outlined the clear opportunities for fraud and coercion with the ballot harvesting process.” This bill will prohibit federal funding for states that allow ballot harvesting, thus encouraging all states to stop this practice.

Voting in person is the best way to ensure that your vote will be counted. Take your mailed ballot with you to your polling place, “surrender” it to the polling authority who will then give you an in-person ballot, cast your votes on-site and then place your completed ballot in the secure box provided.

Counties will vary on how they operate in-person voting and how they manage mail-in ballot processing. Your polling place will be listed on your ballot, or you can find it at your county’s Registrar of Voters website.

I’m attaching a 2 page info-sheet prepared by Election Integrity Project-California (EIPCa) that details plans for in-person voting for each county in California. It outlines what residents can expect for their area. You can click the link to read the PDF: 4 voting plans for the state

The Election Integrity Project is a non-partisan, non-profit 501(c)(3), public benefit corporation with the goal of enabling citizens to become active participants in the entire election process, from overseeing the integrity of the voter rolls to ensuring that each lawfully cast vote is counted fairly and that all processes are in compliance with federal, state and local laws, statutes and regulations. For over nine years, it has trained over 10,000 citizens to observe, document, and research California elections.

Election Integrity Project suggests that voters should:
• Check your registration at your county registrar’s website or the CA Secretary of State’s website. Report any problems to EIPCa.
• Sign-up to track your ballot at this ballot tracking website. This will help prevent your ballot being used by someone else.
• Mark your calendar: you should receive your ballot in the mail NO LATER THAN October 14.
• If it has not arrived, call your Registrar’s office IMMEDIATELY, report your ballot missing, insist that it be cancelled and that you be mailed a new one; and verify the mailing
• Vote in person, if possible. It remains the best method to ensure that your vote is counted.
• If you cannot vote in person, turn your ballot in only to a staffed drop box that is emptied daily, a polling location, or your county elections office.

EIPCa needs volunteers to observe at the polls and to observe the mail-in ballot tabulating process. To volunteer, click here to contact the Election Integrity Project CA. EIPCa is offering volunteer training that is 90 minutes long and is conducted through zoom conference during this election season.

MS4: Storm Water regulations

New storm water regulations are going into effect for all of Los Angeles County.

At the end of 2013, the LA County Regional Water Quality Control Board implemented extremely stringent clean water permit requirement for all municipalities, including Glendora. Referred to as the MS4, or the Stormwater permit, it requires that water runoff must either remain in our city or, if it leaves via the storm drains, must not exceed new pollutant requirements.

The 1972 Clean Water Act mandates that each state implements a permit system for regulating and treating sources of water pollution. In Los Angeles County, the LA Regional Water Quality Control Board consisting of seven members appointed by the Governor, governs this system.  Glendora has done a good job of complying with past MS4 permit requirements by monitoring and making continual improvements to our water control measures as needed. The challenge is that the new MS4 regulations are much more stringent than in the past and, if runoff exceeds permit requirements, hefty fines can be assessed. This presents major challenges for our city, requiring us to set up an extensive new water testing and mitigation program. In 2014, Glendora spent close to $300,000 to develop an initial compliance plan and start the first phase of testing.  The annual cost to our city for complying with this permit could be in excess of a million dollars.


Development in Glendora

Many Glendorans are expressing concern about new construction in our city, particularly the large scale Avalon Bay project on the NE corner of Rt. 66 and Glendora Ave.

Over the past 7 years, the loss of state redevelopment funds in combination with the economic recession resulted in very few new real estate developments in Glendora.  Recently, with the increase of the housing market, developers have returned to our city.

The Avalon Bay project was guided by the “Route 66 Corridor Specific Plan” which was initiated in 2000.  The Plan was three years in the making and received input from “The Alosta Corridor Committee,” which was a group of citizens, staff and council members. It was approved by council in 2003 and since then, has been the standard used for planning new development in the area.

At City Hall this Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 at 7pm, there will be an important city council meeting. We will be discussing and voting on two related items: 1. Is it time to review the Rt. 66 Corridor Specific Plan? and, 2. Should we hold a Town Hall meeting for residents regarding development? 

You are invited to attend this upcoming meeting to give your opinion during public comment, or you can contact the council in advance. 

The Rt. 66 Plan encourages high density development in order to meet the needs of the city such as bringing young families to Glendora to increase dwindling school enrollments, support local businesses and raise municipal revenue. The plan also aims to place housing near the future Gold Line train station so residents can easily commute to work. The five-story, 280 unit Avalon Bay project met the criterion of the Rt. 66 Corridor Specific Plan and did not require any variances to be approved.

For the past several years, I have spoken with our city manager and council regarding a review of the Rt. 66 Corridor Specific Plan to ensure that it still meets the needs and desires of our residents. One of my particular concerns is that The Plan does not allow for set-backs of more than 10 feet, which requires buildings to be close to the sidewalk with minimal landscaping. The Plan also allows for 5 story construction, which can block views of the foothills.

A review of The Plan has not received much support, and very few residents have attended council meetings to voice their opinion. If these matters are important to you, please become involved. Local government requires that three groups —city council, staff and citizens— all actively participate in the decision making process to achieve a well-rounded outcome.

If you are unable to attend Tuesday’s council meeting, you may watch at home on channel 3/31, or view it live on the city website at this link: http://www.ci.glendora.ca.us/residents/online-videos

Upcoming meeting agendas are also posted on the City website, along with video archives of prior meetings. For the past three months, each council meeting has had an in-depth presentation and discussion of various developments in process with the city. These videos are available for viewing on our website and residents are welcome to offer their feedback.

Happy New Year!

Peace, Prosperity, Happiness and Health to all in 2015.

Official campaign announcement

Glendora is holding a local election for city council this upcoming March and the application process for candidates is currently under way. My first term as a councilmember will be completed in a few months, and I’ve decided to enter the race for a second 4-year term.

There will be three open seats available. As of now, 6 other Glendorans have also pulled papers to run. The deadline to enter is Dec. 17th and the campaign season officially starts on January 1st.  I appreciate your support and look forward to representing you on city council for another term.

Glendora receives “Most Business Friendly City Award”

On Thursday, Nov. 13th, the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation held its 19th Annual EDDY Award Celebration at the Beverly Hilton. The City of Glendora was honored to receive the Most Business Friendly Award for a city of 65,000 or less residents. The City of Glendale was honored for a city of 65,000 or more residents.

Here is a link to more information about the award and why Glendora was chosen as the 2014 winner. http://laedc.org/eddy-awards/

Attached is a Time Warner Cable interview about our city. It was filmed when we were one of the top 5 finalists, before the winner was announced. Also attached is my acceptance speech at the event.

EDDY 2014 Acceptance Speech

Misuse of the Antiquities Act?

I recently had an editorial published in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune regarding misuse of the Antiquities Act in relation to the San Gabriel Mountains. I’m including the direct link to the article, as well as my unedited version below.


Presidential Misuse of the Antiquities Act?

On October 10th, 2014, President Obama designated 350,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains and River as a national monument. This action was prompted by a request from Representative Judy Chu (D-27) to create the monument by executive order because her legislative bill, HR4858, the “San Gabriel Mountains Recreation Act” had stalled in Congress. Just seven weeks after Rep. Chu announced her request, President Obama signed the monument into effect.

Obama used the controversial Antiquities Act of 1906 to create the monument. This act allows a president to rapidly create a national monument without congressional approval. The designation was proposed only 7 weeks prior to enactment, and was rushed through so quickly that the LA County Board of Supervisors, the Mayor of Los Angeles and cities throughout the San Gabriel Valley did not have an opportunity to state a formal opinion before it was signed into effect. Now that the monument has been enacted, the Dept. of Agriculture in Washington DC is tasked with creating a new management plan which is projected to take at least three years.

The San Gabriel Mountains are a vital natural resource and have been included as part of the Angeles National Forest since 1908. US Forest Service rangers have been protecting and preserving the area for over 100 years. The mountains are not in danger that would require an emergency order of protection, and any isolated issues with trail maintenance, signage, or litter are handled by the USFS or volunteers from local organizations. To create a new bureaucratic overlay with unknown outcomes and expense was unnecessary.

The San Gabriel Mountains are directly adjacent to the greater Los Angeles metro area, and the new monument raises many issues regarding drinking water rights, recreation access and land management that could have benefited from prior discussion with local stakeholders. However, this did not occur because when a national monument is created with the Antiquities Act it can be done without any public input, studies or reviews. It does not require a vote or written legislation.

This is the 13th national monument that the President has signed into effect with the Antiquities Act of 1906. This legislation was created to allow presidents the power to quickly protect objects or structures that are in imminent danger of destruction such as cliff dwellings, pueblos, and other archeological ruins (hence the name “Antiquities Act”). The legislation states that monuments should be created from “the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected.” Presidential authority regarding size was supposed to be narrow and limited. Large-scale designations over 5,000 acres, such as the San Gabriel Mountains, were expected to be voted on by Congress to allow for the democratic process to occur.

Many lawmakers have voiced concerns that President Obama is abusing the Antiquities Act by rapidly designating over a dozen national monuments without proper protocol or public input. They believe that unless there is a dire impending threat to the proposed monument, Congress is the appropriate body to implement federal land withdrawal policy. However, despite growing concerns, President Obama recently stated, during the signing ceremony for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, “And I am not finished. We are looking at additional opportunities to preserve federal lands and waters, and I’ll continue to do so, especially where communities are speaking up.”

While it has been publicized that this monument was many years in the making, nothing could be further from the truth. It was less than 7 weeks from proposal to enactment. Many are confusing it with Rep. Chu’s HR4858, the “National Recreation Area Act,” which was submitted to Congress in June of this year. Currently, HR4858 is being reviewed by the Congressional Natural Resources Committee and does not have enough support to pass due to many concerns regarding the potential impacts it could have on management of the mountains and rivers.

Two months after submitting her bill to Congress, on August 18th, Rep. Chu announced that she had urged President Obama to use his presidential power to create a San Gabriel Mountains National Monument in order to bypass the congressional stalemate. However, a national monument designation created by executive order lacks written management guidelines and is not interchangeable with a bill that is vetted by Congress.

One of the major concerns with this monument designation is that the San Gabriel River has been included within the boundaries. The river provides approximately 30% of the drinking water for the Los Angeles region and several foothill cities rely on it for up to 85% of their water. The river allows many cities to be largely independent from importing expensive water from Northern California.

Unfortunately, we now have no written assurance that the collection of water from the San Gabriel River will not be restricted. Included in the President’s National Monument proclamation is this concerning statement: “The San Gabriels’ rivers not only provide drinking water but are also areas of high ecological significance supporting rare populations of native fish, including the threatened Santa Ana sucker. The San Gabriel River supports rare arroyo chub and Santa Ana speckled dace, a species found only in the Los Angeles Basin.” Similar to how water is being restricted in California’s Central Valley, due to protection of the Delta Smelt, it is now entirely possible that the protection of these indigenous species will take precedence over water collection and recreation access in the San Gabriels.

Often, new national monuments come hand in hand with increased entrance fees, restrictions on the types of recreation allowed, and limitations on access to certain areas. The USDA’s FAQ sheet says that usage and access will occur to “the extent consistent with the proper care and management of the objects protected by the designation and subject to the Secretary’s special uses authorities and other applicable laws.” Although we have received verbal assurances from Rep. Chu that nothing will change with the management of the San Gabriels, the terms will not be placed into writing until the Secretary of Agriculture creates the plans, and even then the directives can be changed by future presidents as they see fit.

Now that the monument has been signed into effect, it is important to turn our attention to the creation of the new management plan. The USDA states that “within three years after the designation, a management plan will be developed with public input. The management plan will be developed and implemented…in an open and transparent process. The Sec. of Agriculture has directed the Forest Service to provide for maximum public involvement in the development of the plan.” If nothing is expected to change, as Rep. Chu states, it begs the question as to why it will take three years to create a plan and why the designation was necessary in the first place.

Regional cities, community organizations and citizens are advised to notify the U.S. Forest Service and their elected officials that they would like to be included in any upcoming planning meetings to ensure their voices are heard. We cannot take it for granted that our needs will be represented without active involvement in the decision making process.


Mayor, City of Glendora

My Council Statement on the SGM National Monument

In June of this year, Representative Judy Chu introduced a bill to Congress, HR 4858, the San Gabriel National Recreation Area Act. It was referred to the Congressional Natural Resources Committee and it is clear that it currently does not have enough support to move on. On August 16th, just 2 months after submitting HR4858 to Congress, Rep. Chu announced that she asked President Obama to use his executive power to create a San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, using the controversial Antiquities Act of 1906.

This past Friday, October 10th, President Obama signed a proclamation designating 350,000 acres of the San Gabriel Mountains as a National Monument. This is the 13th time our President had used his executive power to designate a national monument.

While it has been publicized that this monument was many years in the making, that could not be further from truth. It was implemented less than 7 weeks after it was announced. Some are confusing it with Rep. Chu’s National Recreation Area Act which did in fact undergo many years of study and input. The National Monument designation is different from the National Recreation Area bill and must not be considered the same. It does not have any written legislation to guarantee water rights, land management or recreation access.

I have actively expressed opposition to creating a National Monument for the following reasons:


President Obama takes helicopter tour of the San Gabriel Mountains?

Numerous residents saw three military helicopters flying in formation over the San Gabriel Foothills yesterday, presumably giving President Obama a tour of his latest National Monument. This will be the 13th time our President has used an executive order to create a National Monument.

Click the link below to see the video:

President Obama announcing National Monument at Bonelli Park

Please help us rally to show opposition as President Obama prepares to sign the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument into effect. This will be the 11th National Monument that President Obama has designated with an executive order. On Friday, October 10th, 2014 the President will be holding a press conference at Bonelli Park in the San Gabriel Valley to announce his plan to use an executive order to create a San Gabriel National Monument for over half a million acres of mountain and foothill land.

Rally Info:

Friday, Oct. 10 2014 at 9:00-noon (we want to be set-up early for the press) Main entrance at Bonelli Park  120 E. Via Verde Drive San Dimas, CA 91773

For questions about the rally please contact:  323-899-7694

At the last rally we had 150 people attend, and  hope to have several hundred more at this event. Bring friends. Please arrive early for the press and be prepared with a sign. 
 Suggestions: Be non-partisan. Use your creativity while keeping the message focused on the topic— No Antiquities Act, Hands off our Mountains, No National Monument, Water Rights, Save Mt. Baldy, No Executive Order, Where’s the Public Input?, What Happened to the Democratic Process?, etc. The President is expected to land at Brackett Field Airport and hold his presentation at 1:00. Only invited guests will be allowed to enter the park to hear him. We will be situated just outside the main gate. All of the invited guests and press will have to drive past us as they enter a nearby parking lot for screening and transportation by shuttle into the park. The shuttles will run from 9:45 until 11:45. Then it will probably be just us left on the outside. Directions and parking info are listed below: (more…)

Rep. Judy Chu’s Plan for the San Gabriel Mountains Faces Opposition Rally

On Monday October 6, 2014 at 2pm the field office of Congresswoman Judy Chu will hear from a growing movement of citizens and elected officials against her lobbying efforts to have approximately 620,000 acres of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains designated as a national monument. They will deliver letters of opposition to Representative Chu and local groups will speak out against the plan during a media event outside Rep Chu’s office at 527 S. Lake Ave, Pasadena CA 91101.

Rep. Chu currently has a bill, HR4858, being reviewed by a Congressional committee to designate the San Gabriel Mountains as a National Recreation Area, however she hopes to bypass the legislative process and have President Obama declare the mountains a National Monument with an executive order as early as this month without proper studies or public input.

Event Location:
The field office of Congresswoman Judy Chu
527 S. Lake Ave, Pasadena CA 91101
Monday October 6th, 2:00-3:30pm

Public Officials raise concerns about fast-tracked National Monument plan

San Bernardino County supervisors unanimously expressed serious concern for the impact of Rep. Chu’s plan on their county. Several Los Angeles County supervisors have also expressed concern over Chu’s legislation. Residents and public officials have created a grassroots movement against Chu’s campaign for further federalization of local lands.

Elected officials independently opposing the National Monument designation are City Council members from the municipalities of Arcadia, Bradbury, Claremont, Diamond Bar, Glendora, La Verne, Monrovia, Rosemead and West Covina.

Local leaders have concerns over the impact to our water supply if the San Gabriel River is included in a National Monument. Recreation access and land usage may be restricted if this plan is implemented. Winter sports, off road biking and hiking, atvs, rifle ranges, horseback riding and many other activities and businesses could be curtailed.

Other groups attending and delivering letters of opposition will be the California Trail Users Coalition, Pasadena Bait Club, Public Lands for Public People, SoCal Cycling, Mt. Baldy Lodge, Off-Piste Hikers, Glendora Community Conservancy, San Gabriel Valley Regional Conservancy (SGVRC), and California Off-Road Vehicle Association (CORVA).

You can download a copy of the press release below:

SG National Monument Press Release pdf

US Forest Service meeting

US Forest Service is holding a meeting presenting the possibility of creating a San Gabriel Mountains National Monument by using the Antiquities Act. Please attend if you are able. Information is as follows:

Tuesday, August 26th from 4:00-7:30 p.m. at the Baldwin Park Performing Arts Center, 4640 North Maine Avenue, Baldwin Park, CA 91706.


Presidential signature to bypass vote on fate of San Gabriel Mountains?

On Monday, Aug. 18th, 2014 Congresswoman Judy Chu held a press conference to announce that she has requested President Obama use the Antiquities Act to turn large portions of the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests into a National Monument. This would allow the legislation to bypass a congressional vote and be enacted with a presidential signature. Attached below is an article about this from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

The US Forest Service is holding a promotional meeting which is open to the public on Tuesday, August 26th from 4:00-7:30 p.m. at the Baldwin Park Performing Arts Center, 4640 North Maine Avenue, Baldwin Park, CA 91706. Please attend if you are able. I have attached a meeting announcement from the Sierra Club. It’s the same one being used by several groups who are in support of a San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.  Lobbyists for these groups are expected to be attending this event to show consensus.

Congresswoman Chu cited a recent poll of just 400 voters in Los Angeles County that showed strong support among residents for the creation of a San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. That poll is also attached below.

The National Recreation Area legislation was studied for years before it became a Congressional bill. Many cities and stakeholders reviewed the proposed legislation and provided feedback. A San Gabriel National Monument has not been studied in our region nor has public comment been received, however it is moving forward quickly.

Much more information needs to be gathered regarding exactly what would be entailed by making the San Gabriel Mountains into a National Monument. If you are able to attend the upcoming meeting being held by the US Forest Service and Congresswoman Chu, please do so.

As always, I welcome your comments.


Mayor, City of Glendora, CA

SG National Monument SGV Tribune Article Aug. 2014

 SG National Monument Meeting Info

SG National Monument Poll

Meet the 2014 Candidates

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For more about the candidates please visit their campaign websites:

Arturo Alas: www.electalas.com

Jack Orswell: www.jackorswell.com

Joe Lara-Gardner: www.vote4joegardner.com

Biggest water saving and guzzling districts

The Associated Press recently reported that the State Water Resources Control Board completed a survey of 276 large water districts throughout the state of California. The SWRCB listed Glendora as the number one water conserving municipality in Southern California for the month of May with an overall reduction of 26%.

Glendora was second in water reduction for the entire state of California with only the City of Folsom, in Sacramento County, coming in first. The City of San Francisco posted a 19% increase in water consumption for this same time frame.

“These large suppliers reported the biggest decreases in May water use:

– City of Folsom (Sacramento County), 31 percent.
– City of Glendora (Los Angeles County), 26 percent.
– City of Gilroy (Santa Clara County), 25 percent.
– American Water Company (Sacramento County), 24 percent.
– City of Pleasanton (Alameda County), 23 percent.
– City of Ceres (Stanislaus County), 22 percent.
– City of Santa Rosa (Sonoma County), 22 percent.
– Sacramento Suburban Water District (Sacramento County), 21 percent.
– American Water Company (Monterey County), 20 percent.
– City of Roseville (Placer County), 20 percent.”

Read more at http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/jul/16/biggest-water-saving-guzzling-districts/

Glendora in the News

The City of Glendora made news recently for mailing a “fix it” letter to a resident with neglected landscaping. The City had received an complaint about the dead yard and we delivered our standardized landscape maintenance letter on July 15th asking them to keep their yard “healthy and green.” On the same day that the flyer was delivered, the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) issued Emergency Drought Regulations, which increase restrictions on water usage. In order to reflect the intent of the new regulations, the City has revised its flyer with no mention of fines.0717_NWS_SGT-L-BROWNLAWN-KB5-L

While the CA State Water Resources Control Board has suggested that fines be issued for excessive water usage including allowing water to run off into the street when watering yards, they do not suggest that residents let their yards die. Blighted landscaping can lead to plummeting property values for neighborhoods. Even with a severe drought, it is possible to have a landscaped property that is both visually appealing and compliant with conservation efforts. The City of Glendora partners with the Municipal Water Department to offer rebates for turf removal and drought resistant landscaping. “Xeriscaping,” which is the use of low-water plants, is a good option for residents who would like to utilize the current rebates for turf removal.

The City of Glendora takes the drought and need for water conservation very seriously. The Associated Press published a report on July 16th, regarding the “Biggest water saving and guzzling districts in California” based on a recent survey by the SWRCB of 276 large water suppliers (those with over 40,000 customers). Glendora was listed as the number one water conserving municipality in Southern California for the month of May, with a 26% decrease in overall consumption. Of all 276 survey respondents throughout the state, only the City of Folsom in Sacramento County conserved more water than Glendora for this time frame.

Our city has reduced water usage consistently since 2008 when we implemented Stage One Water Conservation elements. We are further committed to lowering consumption beyond the SWRCB recommendations of 20% by 2020. Our goal is to seek voluntary compliance with the water conservation mandates and to assist residents in finding solutions they are happy with. Glendora has a Water Conservation Team on staff that is available by request to meet with residents free of charge to discuss ways they can conserve water while keeping their property well maintained.



Mayor, City of Glendora

Emergency Drought Regulations

California is in the midst of a severe drought and the State Water Resources Control Board has recently issued Emergency Drought Regulations: http://www.swrcb.ca.gov/press_room/press_releases/2014/pr071514.pdf

The City of Glendora is committed to reducing it’s overall water usage and is working with residents and businesses to assist them with conservation measures. The City’s Water Conservation Team offer’s free home consultations to advise residents in ways they can conserve water including rebates for turf removal. To schedule a personal visit please call: (626) 852-4838.

For more information about the City’s rebate program please visit:

Additional rebates are also available through the Metropolitan Water District at:

In lieu of lawns: “Xeriscaping”

Due to the drought, the City of Glendora is currently partnering with the Metropolitan Water District to offer property owners rebates for turf removal and installation of drought tolerant plants.

We encourage residents to scale back water usage throughout their homes and yards through conservation measures.  While it may seem that we should let our yards go brown, water conservation need not diminish a city’s aesthetic appearance. Now is a good time to consider Xeriscaping, which can reduce water usage as much as 60% and adds value to the property.


What is Xeriscaping?

Xeriscaping is creatively using low water landscaping to conserve water. “Xeriscaping (often incorrectly called zero-scaping or xeroscaping) is landscaping and gardening that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation.[1] It is promoted in regions that do not have easily accessible, plentiful, or reliable supplies of fresh water, and is gaining acceptance in other areas as access to water becomes more limited. Xeriscaping may be an alternative to various types of traditional gardening.“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xeriscaping

PTG-Xeriscaping-1The term Xeriscape is derived from a combination of the words “xeri” and “scape”. The work “xeri” comes fro the Greek work “xeros” which means dry. “Scape” means scene. Even though this translates into “dry scene” it does not fully define the possibilities of Xeriscaping. There are many aspects to this type of gardening, but at its essence it involves the use of plant materials that are appropriate for the region and water availability.


However, Xeriscape is not necessarily barren, desert, arid, or anything else that you might associate with dry climates. It is possible to have a lush display of plants that are compatible with their environment and are part of a well planned Xeriscape. When water restrictions are implemented by a municipality, xeriscape plants will tend to survive and thrive, while more ornamental plants or lawns may be unable to adapt.


For more information on Xeriscaping please visit:

To schedule a free consultation from a member of Glendora’s Water Conservation Team and learn more about rebates please call:

(626) 852-4838.

H.R. 4858

Congresswoman Chu recently submitted her San Gabriel National Recreation Area bill to Congress. It is now officially referred to as H.R. 4858 and was sent to the House Natural Resources Committee. From there it has been sent to the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation.

You can read the text of the HR 4850 here:


You can see the current planning map here:


You are able to zoom in and out of the map in order to see exactly where the boundary is. However if the bill is enacted, the legislation is worded so that the map boundaries can still be altered. For Glendora, it appears that the current boundary has been moved to the base of the foothills. The boundary includes the San Gabriel Mountains and homes in the hills as well as Glendora Mountain Road and Big Dalton Canyon.

Continuing concern is the inclusion of:

• The San Gabriel River, which provides most of Glendora’s water supply.

• Glendora Conservancy owned land on Bluebird Hill and Colby Trail.

The Conservancy land is a valuable resource for Glendora and is protected and cared for by a non-profit, volunteer run Glendora organization. I am requesting that it be removed from the NRA boundaries and, if you see fit, please do the same.

If you would like to voice your opinion on this legislation, now is the time to contact Congress. The best way to reach them is by fax or phone—emails from outside the district they represent are blocked and mail can be delayed while it is being inspected for safety of the contents.

• Doc Hastings, R-WA, Chair, Committee on Natural Resources
ph: 202-225-5816 fax: 202-225-5758

• Rob Bishop, R-UT, Chair, Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation
ph: 202-225-0453 fax: 202-225-3251

• Grace Napolitano, D-CA (part of her district is within the NRA boundaries)
ph: 202-225-5256 fax: 202-225-0027

• Ed Royce, R-CA (part of his district is within the NRA boundaries)
ph: 202-225-4111 fax 202-226-6962

• Gary Miller, R-CA (part of his district is within the NRA boundaries)
ph: 202-225-3201 fax 202-2256-6962

• Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, House Majority Leader
ph: 202-225-2915 fax: 202-225-2908

• Darryl Issa, R-CA,
ph: 202-225-3303 fax: 202-225-3303

• Tom McClintock, R-CA
ph: 202-225-2511 fax: 202-225-5444

National Recreation Area Town Hall Video


The Glendora Chamber of Commerce held a town hall meeting on May 21st 2014 to discuss Congresswoman Judy Chu’s proposed legislation to 1). Create a San Gabriel National Recreation Area, (NRA) 2). to designate portions of the San Gabriel Mountains as Wilderness and 3). to designate portions of the San Gabriel River as Wild and Scenic.

If passed, the NRA legislation would place a National Park overlay upon approximately 621,860 acres of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountain ranges, and the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo Rivers as far south as Puente Hills. Urban areas 1/4 mile on either side of the river and portions of foothill cities will be included.

Runtime of video is 1 hour 40 minutes. See the time codes below to skip ahead:

1:30 Intro and reading of Congresswoman Chu’s written response by Bill Ruh
8:00 Dr. Cliff Hamlow gives the rules of moderating the discussion
12:00 Introduction of the US Forest Service representatives
13:30 Background information about the legislation
19:00 Dr. Char Miller speaks
29:00 Dr. Hamlow reads letters from the local water agencies
32:00 Mayor Judy Nelson of Glendora talks about potential impacts to water rights
39:00 Councilmember Denis Bertone of San Dimas speaks
48:00 Mayor Pro Tem Margaret Clark of Rosemead speaks
56:00 Mayor Joe Lyons of Claremont speaks
1:05:00 Mayor Judy Nelson of Glendora speaks
1:13:00 Audience questions and discussion

Glendora City Council votes to support the National Recreation Area

On April 22nd 2014 the Glendora City Council voted 3-1-1 to support the proposed National Recreation Area legislation by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CA district 27. The lone nay vote was cast by Mayor Judy Nelson.

The video runs 1 hour and 40 minutes.

00:48 Description of legislation by City Manager Chris Jeffers
07:12 Mayor’s comments by Judy Nelson
14:50 Public Comments
54:29 Council Comments By Mayor Pro Tem Karen Davis, Councilmembers Doug Tessitor and Joe Santoro
1:29:55 Mayor’s closing comments
1:34:48 Mayor’s motion to inform the public and not support the legislation yet- Not passed.
1:36:33 Mayor Pro Tem’s motion for the city of Glendora to officially support the legislation- Passed.

National Recreation Area Town Hall Meeting

The Glendora Chamber of Commerce Legislative Action Committee

is hosting

A Town Hall Meeting

To discuss the proposed legislation to overlay approximately 621,000 square miles of the San Gabriel Mountains and Valley with a National Recreation Area.

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 at 7pm

Citrus Valley Association of Realtors

504 E. Route 66, Glendora, 91740

San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area (NRA)

For the past two years, I’ve been studying three pieces of legislation proposed by Congresswoman Judy Chu, California District 27.  In March of 2014 official drafts were released:

NRA draft legislation PDF

Wilderness draft legislation PDF

Wild and Scenic Rivers draft legislation PDF

If passed, the legislation would create a San Gabriel National Recreation Area (NRA). This would place a National Park overlay upon approximately 621,860 acres of the San Gabriel Valley and the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests.

Several dozen cities along the foothills and San Gabriel River are included in the NRA boundaries, from Santa Clarita to San Bernardino and south along the San Gabriel River and Rio Hondo Rivers to Santa Fe Springs. Additionally, in the San Gabriel Mountains, sections of the river would be designated as “Wild and Scenic” and sections of the mountain range as “Wilderness.” These designations would modify the type of access and usage allowed in those areas.

Should we rejoice, be concerned or both? A closer look:
NRA map
Proposed NRA map PDF

Glendoran Magazine Story

I had the good fortune of being interviewed by Mr. Jerry Kitchel of the Glendoran Magazine for this month’s cover story.



Mayor’s Inaugural Statement

This is my inaugural address at the Glendora City Council meeting on March 25, 2014:

“As a resident of Glendora for the past 34 years I proudly and humbly accept the position of Mayor. I look forward to representing our beautiful city and its citizens.

At this time I would like to introduce my family.  Without their support I would not be here tonight.  Would you please stand…