Phil Hosp’s latest mailer is once again false and purposefully misleading.

This constant barrage of negative attacks is standard for a candidate who doesn’t have a record of his own to run on.  We saw more than enough of these tactics in the Presidential race last year.  We don’t need them in Pasadena.

QUESTION: What is the Hosp mailer talking about?

ANSWER: Although he purposely never mentions it by name, the mailer refers to the Thatcher Project.  There’s already a full explanation of this project, and where it stands, in FACT CHECK.  Go to: Phil Hosp’s False Accusations #1

QUESTION: Who are the people in white coats, etc. on the mailer.

ANSWER: They are doctors and others who work in the Thatcher Medical Building and, quite naturally, don’t want a big construction project in the area they now use for parking.

QUESTION: Why are they upset with Andy Wilson?

ANSWER: Because the Hosp campaign has purposefully misled them about what the City can do in this case; and even worse, because Hosp is falsely claiming Wilson has a conflict of interest. That is a shameful lie. There is no other way to describe it.

FACT: The property along the south side of Green Street is zoned (and has been for decades) to allow multi-family housing.  That means the owners can build without permission from the City – so long as they obey all existing zoning restrictions, codes, plans etc.

FACT: This kind of project is called “by right” because the City has very little say in the matter.  Hosp claims a Councilmember could stop it if he wanted to.  That is simply false; and, as a lawyer, Hosp knows it is false.  Andy Wilson can’t change the legal facts; neither could Phil Hosp.

QUESTION: Couldn’t the City just change the zoning?

ANSWER: That’s called “downzoning” and the courts have clearly ruled that downzoning in a case like this is an illegal “taking” of property.  It would leave local taxpayers liable for millions of dollars in damages and court costs to lawyers like Phil Hosp.

FACT: Apart from rigorously enforcing all rules – which can slow things down, but not stop them – there are only four things the City can do.  ALL FOUR HAVE ALREADY BEEN DONE!

  • The City has already made development harder and less profitable on this site by creating an Historic Landmark Protection District. Andy Wilson actively supported this successful effort – and he was working on it well before any project was proposed.
  • The owners asked for a “density bonus” so they could build more condos than zoning allows.  But the City’s Hearing Officer TURNED THEM DOWN, which cut the profit potential for their project.  Now they must decide whether to appeal.
  • The City can publicize the project EARLY so tenants, residents and others can express their objections and, hopefully, influence the owners to change their plans.  That’s exactly what Andy Wilson has done – sending out multiple updates in the District email newsletter, and holding a special town meeting.
  • Going forward, the City can change the General Plan and limit the amount of future construction – not for a specific project, but for the city as a whole.  This is a long and legally-complicated process that was completed last year, with Andy Wilson voting to cut future commercial development by 50%.

QUESTION: What is the claim of conflict of interest about?

ANSWER: It’s the worst kind of self-serving political propaganda, purposefully playing on people’s fears to tarnish the reputation of a man whose integrity is unquestioned.

The conflict charge is based on two falsehoods:  1) The Council will vote on this project.  2) Andy Wilson will somehow sell his vote as a favor to the developers.

FACT:  This project is not now, and never has been, before the City Council.  If the developers decide to build within existing zoning rules, it never will come before the Council.

FACT:  The only way the Council could vote is if the owners decide to appeal the Hearing Officer’s decision against a density bonus.  Then there would be a quasi-judicial appellate hearing.

FACT:  If the appeal went forward, COUNCILMAN PHIL HOSP WOULD BE DISQUALIFIED FROM VOTING! By repeatedly making public statements against the project he has demonstrated a clear bias and, just as if he were a judge, he’d be disqualified from hearing the case.

FACT:  That’s why Andy Wilson has carefully avoided making any statement for or against the project, as advised by the City Attorney.  If this project ever comes to the Council, he will still be eligible to take part in the hearing.  Unlike Hosp, he’ll be able to vote our district’s interests.

QUESTION: What about ties to the developers?

ANSWER: Andy Wilson has no ties – direct or indirect – to the Thatcher Project and would not benefit in any way if it were built.  Quite the contrary, it would be to his political disadvantage – which is why Phil Hosp is trying so desperately to make it an issue.

FACT:  Pasadena has a strict law which prevents Councilmembers (but not challengers, like Hosp) from taking gifts/campaign contributions/etc. from people with business before the City Council (Tax Payer Protection Act, or “TPA:” http://www.cityofpasadena.net/CityClerk/TPA/).  Furthermore, Wilson has gone further and does not accept campaign contributions from developers with a history of doing projects in Pasadena – regardless of whether they are currently on the TPA list of excluded contributors.

FACT:  Because Wilson is in full compliance with the law, and has no conflict of interest, Hosp has tried to manufacture a claim that Wilson is being paid off through gifts to a non-profit he “controls.”

FACT:  The non-profit in question is Innovate Pasadena.  Andy Wilson has no financial stake whatsoever in it.  He’s never taken a penny for his work with Innovate Pasadena, and he certainly does not “control” it.  He’s one of 26 Board members – as is one of the minority investors (2%) in the Thatcher Project.  Both men have given generously to IP for years – long before Wilson was on the Council, and long before the project was proposed.  Neither is paying the other off.