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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Will El Sereno become Eagle Rock’s dumping ground for unwanted 7 Elevens?

Will Councilman Jose Huizar dump Eagle Rock's unwanted 7 Elevens on El Sereno?
Will past contributions to CD 14 City Councilman Jose Huizar, engender supporter from the Princeton Graduate for more beer and wine outlets in his district?

In the last two weeks, two CD 14 Neighborhood Councils have taken contrasting approaches to 7 Eleven expansion plans to create more beer and wine sales outlets in the Eastside Council District.

From the south of Boyle Heights, to the north end of Eagle Rock and not excluding Downtown Los Angeles. Corporate 7 Eleven has embarked on a major campaign to increase beer and wine outlets in sensitive communities, that are already at the saturation point, in regards to beer, wine and liquor outlets.

The tactics of the consultants hired by Corporate 7 Eleven, in pushing (or ramming down) these new store on sensitive communities has been scandalous to say the least, and deplorable at best.

Consultants such as former City of Bell Interim City Administrator Pedro Carrillo’s Urban Associates, has used supporters and employees of City of Los Angeles Gang Reduction, Youth Development (GRYD) Sub-contractor Legacy LA, to shill for new beer and wine selling 7 Elevens in Lincoln Heights, in return for material donations.

But as 7 Eleven’s efforts have move into the Eagle Rock and LA-32 Neighborhood Council areas of jurisdiction. The respective responses of the two NC are a study in political contrasts and whether other personal interests, were part of the process.

In Eagle Rock, 7 Eleven wanted to place a store at the site of the old Casa Princesa Coffee House ( ** the former Zuma Dogg, Mayor Sam Karaoke location) on York Blvd. In a hour plus meeting, the ERNC voted against the proposed 7 Eleven, as noted in the Eagle Rock Patch.

The Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council voted, 14-1, to write a letter to the associate zoning administrator of the Los Angeles Department of City Planning opposing a proposal to build a 7-Eleven store on York Boulevard that sells beer and wine and operates outside the hours of 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.The vote by the ERNC board on Tuesday night had two abstentions, and it followed a prolonged, one-hour 10-minute discussion that dominated the meeting at Eagle Rock City Hall.

Meanwhile to the south, 7 Eleven found a more welcoming reception, with opposition comments muted by an enabling LA-32 Presiding Board Member, as seven board members voted to approve the 7-Eleven location near the CSULA Campus.

7 Eleven would be a couple of blocks from Valley Liquor near CSULA. 

Unlike the Eagle Rock meeting, LA-32 President Connie Castro pushed through a “yes vote” without ample discussion, (especially contrary comments), using draft minutes from the Land Use Committee that had not been vetted and formally approved by the LA-32 LUC before the General Board Meeting.

When a board member attempted to question Consultant Pedro Carrillo, she quickly cut that person off and attempted to redirect (or censor) their line of questioning. Further when the same board member attempted to call up members of the LUC, the three members in question, Val Marquez, Jorge Garcia and former LUC Chairman Tom Williams were not allowed to answer questions.

Mr. Williams was only allowed to make a two-minute pubic comment on the agenda item. This was a further insult to Mr., Williams, after having been verbally attacked by board member Ruben Chavez, who called Mr. Williams a hypocrite during a previous meeting, which went unchallenged by President Connie Castro.

We show note that the approval of the Valley Blvd. 7 Eleven came with an recommended Five Year Moratorium on Beer and Wine Sales. But the consensus of those in the nearby community, is that no more alcohol outlets are wanted, period. In addition, it has been learned that 7 eleven wants to place a store on the corner of Huntington and Poplar, next to a church and Motel (with dubious issues).

A view of Motel from proposed 7 Eleven location at Huntington and Poplar.

For LA-32 President Connie Castro, her efforts in pushing the 7 Eleven approval, will cast an unwanted spotlight on her own business Hecho En Mexico Restaurant, and alcohol-related (unfounded at best) issues with their next door neighbor, the Controversial Academia Semillas del Pueblo Charter School.

Community members should question whether Castro has a Conflict of Interest” in sitting on the Land Use Committee, considering the zoning and alcohol issues pertaining to the Academia/Hecho properties. Thus, and whether political entities could use those issues to affect the integrity of the decision making process of the committee.

Your thoughts ……………
Scott Johnson in CD 14  

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