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After a year of delays, the Monrovia Nursery Plan
went before the Azusa voters on May 4, 2004. We won with a 76% yes vote! Read story
PUBLIC REMARKS TO AZUSA CITY COUNCIL
APRIL 19, 2004
Kudos for the Monrovia Nursery Specific Plan
Good Evening. My name is Dan Simpson.
I strongly support the Monrovia Nursery Master Plan.
At the last council meeting, an opponent of the plan called for a debate. When I got up to speak, I said Id welcome a debate. Debates can be helpful to present positions and clarify issues. However, as I began to talk with the opponents about having a debate, it became clear that we could not come to agreement on some fundamental, established facts.
Debates are for the discussion of ideas. Facts frame the context for those discussions. If certain fundamental facts arent agreed upon, a debate is futile.
For example, suppose we were to a national debate over the issue of sending a manned space flight to Mars. Important issue! Is it worth the billions to do it? But if those who were opposed to sending men to Mars begin to argue, "There is no Mars! Mars does not exist! Those who are telling you there is a Mars are lying! They are motivated by political and financial gain!"
How can we have serious debate?
We could bring out an array of astronomers, astrophysicists, scientists of every sort to present convincing evidence that Mars does exist. We could take the opponents to JPL and give them a tour, or drive up to Mt. Wilson and view Mars through the 100-inch telescope.
But if after all that, they still keep insisting, "There is no mars! Dont be fooled by their lies!"
How can we have a meaningful debate?
Now to the issue of the Monrovia Nursery Master Plan. When I read the opponents statements in the official Sample Ballot, quite frankly, I was pretty angry. So many of their arguments struck me as blatantly false.
So, Ive had several conversations with those of the ARG. And I now have greater appreciation for their position. However, Im convinced that the opponents have clouded the real issues with statements that are not true.
For example, the ARG has stated in the voter pamphlet on page 9: "Parks do NOT meet the minimum requirement specified in the Citys General Plan."
That statement is simple untrue.
State and City regulations require 3 acres of approved parks per 1,000 residents. The project, with 1250 homes, will have 4 to 5 thousand residents. So for 5,000 residents, you need 15 acres of approved parks. On page 8 of the master plan it clearly states, there are 18.39 acres of approved parks. Thats more than 3 acres above what is required. And that does not take into account an additional 13 acres of parks which do not meet the requirements. A total of 32 acres of parks.
But just to check it out, I talked with Roy Bruckner, Director of Community Development for the City of Azusa. Among his responsibilities is parks. Hes charged with the duty of making sure developments meet the requirements. And he assured me that the plan fully meets city requirement for parks.
When I related that to one of the opponents, his response was to disparage the character and integrity of Mr. Bruckner.
If the opponents were truthful, they could have said something like, "In our opinion, small, pocket parks are too difficult to maintain and dont provide enough space to play ball."
And that would be a worthwhile issue to debate.
However, its unfortunate, rather honestly dealing with the issues, the opponents insist on tactics of character assassination and spreading false information.
And when you look at the voters pamphlet, you see a number of equally dubious statements made by the opposition.
For example, on page 8 in the voters pamphlet, the opponents say, "Traffic will be unbearable."
But that certainly is not the conclusion of the comprehensive traffic studywhich is a legal document, part of the Environmental Impact Report. Fact: The Monrovia Nursery Master Plan will NOT cause noticeable delays from traffic.
Another example: In the voters pamphlet on page 8, the opponents claim "the new school wont meet projected needs."
Yeah right! Look at stature of the school board members and educators who signed their support for this plan: Burke Hamilton, Lisa Harrington, Inez Guiterrez, Ilene Ochoa.
Then theres Councilman Joe Rocha, who not only serves on the city council, but has been a beloved and respected school teacher in Azusa for decades. Do you actually think that this plan would pass the scrutinizing eyes of Mr. Rocha, and get his endorsement, if it didnt meet the needs of our children?
The real truth is, the Monrovia Nursery Master Plan is the product of, and endorsed by hundreds of smart, honest Azusa citizens. And we did it in collaboration with dozens of skilled professionals: land planners, architects, engineers, environmental scientists, traffic specialists, government agencies, city staff, elected officials, and experts in numerous fields.
With the shire number of so many talented and respected individualsits just plain irresponsible to simply dismiss us all as conniving liars or as ignorant simpletons, or as unwitting pawns in some master conspiracy.
May 4th is a defining moment for Azusa. Its a watershed event for us as a city. I urge all my fellow Azusans to vote yes for the Monrovia Nursery Master Plan. And not simply to approve a housing development. Its a way of saying, we will not condone or be swayed by character assassinations and untruthful campaigning. We will strive for honesty and respect as we together build a community we can be proud of.
May 4th is a significant opportunity for the citizens of Azusa to unit together, and in a resounding voice, say, Yes for a better future for all Azusans!
PUBLIC REMARKS TO AZUSA CITY COUNCIL
FEBRUARY 3, 2003
Note: These remarks from February 2003 are just as relevant a year later:Good Evening. My name is Dan Simpson.
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