Blatantly malicious and misleading “hit piece” from Phil Hosp falsely accuses Andy Wilson of corruption on “Thatcher Project.”
QUESTION: What is the Thatcher Project?
ANSWER: New owners of the historic Thatcher Medical Building (on Green Street) want to restore the building and build new condos on land currently used as a parking lot.
FACT: There’s no final plan for the project. It hasn’t come before the City Council, and it likely never will. Thus far, only one thing has happened: The City’s hearing officer TURNED DOWN a request for a density bonus (which would allow more condos). The owners must now decide whether to appeal. If they do appeal, the hearing officer’s decision may eventually be reviewed by the City Council.
FACT: That’s why the City Attorney has advised Councilmembers (including Andy Wilson) not to make public statements for or against the project. Doing so could disqualify them from voting on any future appeal; legally, it would be an admission of bias.
UPDATE: The owners appear to have decided against an appeal. Future plans are unknown.
QUESTION: What has Councilmember Wilson done about the Thatcher Project?
ANSWER: He’s done his job—just as he does on any project proposed in our district.
FACT: Well before the idea for this project surfaced, Andy Wilson was working (successfully) to create an Historic Landmark District to protect the Thatcher Building and other historic buildings along Green Street. Creating this district not only put limits on any future development there, it also reduced the potential profit for any developer.
FACT: Even though the Thatcher Project may never come before the City council and is nowhere close to any kind of approval, Andy Wilson has worked hard to let everyone know what’s proposed.
- He’s listened to the property owners explain their plans.
- He’s listened to the concerns of tenants and neighbors.
- He’s sent multiple notices about the plan throughout the district in newsletters.
- He’s held a community meeting so that everyone could hear the plans and express concerns.
- He’s read and discussed the Hearing Officer’s decision.
- He’s obeyed the City Attorney’s warning on taking a public position, ensuring that he’ll remain eligible to vote our district’s interest if this project ever makes it to the City Council.
QUESTION: Then what is behind Phil Hosp’s charge of corruption?
ANSWER: The ugliest form of politics. There’s no basis for the accusation. It’s a shameful attempt to deceive voters and to tarnish Wilson’s reputation through innuendo.
FACT: Andy Wilson has no involvement—direct or indirect—with the Thatcher Project. He would not benefit in any way if it were built.
FACT: A friend and neighbor of Wilson’s, Greg McLemore, is a minority investor (2%) in the project. Based on nothing more than that, Phil Hosp has leaped to a ridiculous claim that Wilson has sold his vote in exchange for McLemore contributing to a nonprofit group he and Wilson support.
FACT: The nonprofit group in question is Innovate Pasadena (www.innovatepasadena.org), a highly successful networking and educational organization that works to attract and retain high-tech jobs in Pasadena. Andy Wilson helped found Innovate Pasadena four years ago. He still serves on its Board of Directors.
FACT: Andy Wilson has never taken a cent for his work with Innovate Pasadena. He has no financial stake of any kind in it. He is, and has always been, a volunteer working to improve Pasadena.
FACT: Innovate Pasadena doesn’t sponsor development projects. But because of its huge success (15,000 people attended events last year), it is a rare business project of any kind in Pasadena where Wilson doesn’t know one or more of the investors. Greg McLemore is a good example. He and Wilson met years ago through their work on the Innovate Pasadena Board.
FACT: Andy Wilson resigned as an officer of Innovate Pasadena after he joined the City Council. Dozens of Pasadena businesses and organizations are members of Innovate Pasadena (including the City of Pasadena itself). Inevitably, some will have business before the Council. Even though he had no financial interest and no conflicts of interest, Wilson thought it best to resign.
FACT: Pasadena is a small city. Every issue involves people with ties to one or more Councilmembers. It is unavoidable. To guard against conflicts of interest, Pasadena has very strict set of rules and Councilmembers can ask the City Attorney for advice. That’s what Andy Wilson does, and what he’ll continue to do. As his long record of civic leadership confirms, Andy is a man of unquestioned integrity. He’s done nothing to deserve this baseless, self-serving assault on his reputation.