Brea Downtown Parking Structure.

Empty ParkingNot since the Madrona Project and the Drought Tolerant Rock Garden has there been a more divisive and misunderstood topic than building a parking structure on Superblock 1. It may all come to a head at last on June 16th when Council wades through the latest staff report and recommendations.

If the recent record setting discussion on Nextdoor (130 comments) is any indication, Breans have had little to consider but rumor and speculation. That’s about to change. On Tuesday evening the full staff report was posted on the city’s website. Tough to find, but I’ve downloaded it and you can get it here.

A Little History.

At their special meeting in April, Council reached consensus that it’s time to build the parking structure. With over a decade of meetings, closed door discussions, faltering negotiations, false starts and the loss of redevelopment funds designed to pay for it… Council finally drew a line in the sand.

With full agreement that the parking structure must provide a minimum of 300 additional spaces beyond those within the building’s footprint and setting a not-to-exceed limit on cost to build at $9 million bucks – Council ask staff to come back to them with answers to these three simple questions:

  • What parking structure design will best meet the public’s need?
  • How much will it cost to build?
  • Where will the funds come from to pay for it?

Sounds simple, right?

When you read the staff report you’ll likely be as shocked as I was.

Buried within the 50+ pages of cityspeak, hidden agendas, a blizzard of numbers that would boggle the mind of John Nash must be some answers. If you can find any, please post a comment here and share them with the rest of us.

If you came away with more questions than answers, I know I did, I hope you will step up and share them with Council on the 16th.

The only conclusion I am able to state with any certainty is this; somehow Council needs to back away from the politics and focus on building a sensible and affordable parking structure that serves the people first.

There is a lot more riding on this than simply solving a decade old problem.

Somewhere between $30 and $40 million dollars of private investment hinges upon Council making a prudent and expedient decision. Click here for a condensed presentation of what some of that investment would be.

New Improv

A novel idea?

From day one Council’s mantra has been, “Parking in downtown Brea will always be free.”

Free ParkingThe most contentious element in the equation has always centered around funding. The greatest objections have always been against spending General and 560 Funds.

The probability of ever getting our hands on even a fraction of the redevelopment money, millions, pilfered by the state remains uncertain.

Who besides me would be okay with paying a buck or two to use the new parking structure? Seriously, it’s cheaper than valet, faster than walking from Parking Structure 1. I’d even pay a couple of bucks a month on my water bill for a resident’s annual pass.

Okay… it’s just a thought.

Parting comment.

When you email Council or, better yet speak during Matters From The Audience, try to avoid hunting for the guilty parties, getting mired down in petty politics and making ad hominem attacks. This does not move the discussion forward, serves no useful purpose and will not advance any cause that benefits the community.

Take a stand. Make a difference. Contact A Council Member.

Addendum: June 15

Ask Council to be bold enough to ask the hard questions and demand truthful answers.

It would seem prudent (at least to me and several thousand of my closest friends and neighbors), considering all the facts that have emerged in recent days, that Council should: issue an RFP not-to-exceed $9 million for Option 2: purely parking, a trash facility suitable to supporting the food and beverage business and police annex.

No housing. No commercial. Simply the parking structure we’ve needed for many years.

Cost should be managed as follows:

  • $3.7 million from returned RDA
  • $1.5 million balance of Valencia Drive fund
  • $300 thousand from Gas Lamp Square

This remaining balance of $3.5 million Council may choose between funding with reserves or a bond. It will easily be REPAID via valet and cell tower revenue and the incremental increase in sales tax.

Net cost to city/tax payers is ZERO. How’s that for a parking structure plan?

 

This Diamond Is No Jewel.

g_diamondEarlier this week a new blog was launched targeting Breans. A widely distributed email announcement from it’s author, Greg Diamond, appears to have used the Murdock reelection committee’s contacts list.

mary_barcelonaAs Diamond’s daughter, Mary Joana Barcelona, is on record as Brett Murdock’s reelection committee’s treasurer, that doesn’t seem to be a stretch.

Though the blog has only three posts thus far, a quasi-mission statement, a royal flogging of Brea Matters and an analysis of the 2014 campaign/election and our new Council… his writing credits go back several years. All one needs to do is Google ‘Greg Diamond Orange County’ to find many examples of his checkered past.

My favorite response from a fellow Brean.

Last night, posted on Nextdoor website’s Brea & State College neighborhood are these remarks from Jennifer Hefner, long time Brea resident.

There are times I feel compelled to speak out against something so obviously wrong, this is one of them. Having read the latest installment of the new blog “The Brean”, I can only say “what a bunch of hogwash.” Greg Diamond’s blog is a blatant, retaliatory attack from a friend and business associate of former Mayor Brett Murdock.

This blogger tries to disguise himself as a new and enlightened community watchdog and attacks the longtime blogger of “Brea Matters” because he had the nerve to suggest we step back a minute and see what the new council has to offer before judging them.

Greg Diamond must think that the average Brean doesn’t have half a brain and won’t ascertain that Greg Diamond is closely connected to Brett Murdock. Greg Diamond would like to re-write history and have Breans believe that outside PACs and a wealthy local developer of downtown Brea are the reasons for Brett Murdock’s defeat.

Despite how anyone may feel about our fellow Brean, Dwight Manley, he has just as much right to make his feelings about a candidate known as any of us. And, I find it especially insulting that Mr. Diamond gives no credit to voter’s opinions since I was a part of the grassroots Brean effort to remove this incompetent city council member.

It wasn’t the mailers or signs that made me vote Murdock out of office, it was Brett Murdock’s disregard for the concerns brought to him by myself and my fellow citizens.

Lastly, with regard to Mr. Diamond’s attack on Marty Simonoff, I can say I’m hopeful for change, since he was the only member of the preceding council to show any concern for our fracking issues.

Jennifer, that’s music to my ears!

Not because Jennifer offers her support to me or Dwight or Marty, but because she represents what I’ve hoped to see emerge as local government does more than give lip service to transparency and public engagement. Given the right environment, I believe there are many Breans who will openly take a stand on Brea issues.

So Mr. Diamond, I suggest you explore other hobbies.

Postscript, May 15, 2016:

Diamond_4AThough Mr. Diamond abandoned his blog in June 2015, I still see folks visiting Brea Matters from links he embedded into The Brean.

What an odd and ironic legacy.