Street Trees and Proposed Klimpton Hotel

STREET TREES:  Phil Hosp’s latest mailer dishonestly blames Andy Wilson for the loss of two street trees on Colorado Blvd. some months ago.  For the truth, read this letter, recently published in the Star-News:

To the editor:

Many folks consider Phil Hosp’s tactics in his campaign for District 7 Council Member to be dishonest; his most recent campaign mailer shows why.

Referring to the removal of “80 year old healthy trees” on South Lake Ave., he says “Phil’s opponent voted in secret to chop down these trees for the benefit of a real estate developer.”

This totally mis-represents what happened. Here are the facts

  • The City was sued by the property owner (not a developer) because tree roots were damaging his building.
  • The judge hearing the case said the trees were too large, in the wrong location, and needed to come down. Another judge assigned to oversee settlement negotiations said that the trees were out of proportion to the street and dangerous. Expert witnesses substantiated those conclusions.
  • The city’s legal counsel advised that if the case went to trial, the city would almost certainly lose, Much worse, the case would set a bad precedent for defending Pasadena’s Tree Protection Ordinance.
  • Council’s discussion was necessarily held in closed session for legal protection. Mr. Hosp seems to advocate that Pasadena should have discarded attorney-client privilege. Bad idea!

Nobody wanted those beautiful trees to be taken down, but because of the court’s rulings, the city had no real alternative other than to settle. The dishonest way that Mr. Hosp has described this situation shows why he is not the right person to represent District 7.

Lewis M. Phelps
District 7

PROPOSED KLIMPTON HOTEL:  In the same mailer Hosp is equally dishonest in attacking Wilson for the City’s ongoing effort to save the aging and rapidly-decaying YWCA Building in the Civic Center by letting the buidling and site be repurosed as a Klimplton Hotel.  In reality, Wilson helped formulate the motion to suspend this project while considering other alternatives.  The motion was passed by the Council on April 3rd.

This is a project that was proposed and tentatively approved years before Wilson joined the Council.  It has been controversial because of two conflicting goals:  to save the historic YWCA Building and recoup the millions of dollars the City has already invested in saving it — or to preserve a key parcel of open space in the Civic Center.  At the recent City Council meeting, developers indicated they could not go forward without a substantial subsidy from the City (in the form of forgiven rent and parking fees).  In light of this change, Wilson (and a majority of the Board) decided it was time to step back and seek other ways to use and save the building at lower cost.