Foothills Sentry - September 2022

NEWS INSIDE East Orange • Old Towne Orange • Orange Park Acres • Villa Park • Silverado/Modjeska Canyons • North Tustin A Monthly Community Newspaper September 2022 *********ECRWSSEDDM**** Residential Customer Letters To The Editor Page 7 Service Directory Pages 12-14 Prof. Directory Page 14 Classifieds Page 14 Canyon Beat Page 16 Community Sports Page 19 The Best News In Town Since 1969 A NOT SO FAST ONE In an action almost lost among routine agenda items, the Orange council grants an extension to proposed development bordering Mabury Ranch. See Tract map, page 8 FOLLOW US at Foothills Sentry CANDID CANDIDATES Citizens vying for public office introduce themselves to voters. See SMRPD, page 6; OUSD, page 11 SKIP A STEP Proponents of proposed cemetery ask for design review denial to fast-track planning commission approval. See Green, page 8 PLAY BALL High school teams return to the fall season fields; individual players cited for past performances. See Community Sports, page 19 READ THE INSTRUCTIONS Rules for new SMRPD board members spelled out for easy transition from private citizen to public asset curator. See Canyon Beat, page 16 By Tina Richards The North Tustin Street Specif- ic Plan (NTSSP) has been put on hold, following a unanimous vote by the Orange City Council. They will rethink the plan’s rezoning component and attempt to reach more consensus among voters, property owners and the city be- fore moving forward. The vote was in response to residents’ concerns that rezoning the Tustin corridor would overwhelm their neighborhoods with multi-story housing units, additional traffic congestion and incompatible density. Neighbors who live near the Village at Orange – a central focus of the NTSSP – also expressed dismay that the city did not notify them about the proposed rezoning, and believed they had been excluded from the process. Councilmember Kathy Tavou- laris, appointed earlier this year to represent District 3, home to the mall, reported that she also felt ignored and, as a resident, asked the council to slow down the pro- cess and create an ad hoc com- mittee to “assist with the vision of the NTSSP.” The Aug. 9 vote was taken without Mayor Mark Murphy, who recused himself be- cause his wife works for a major landowner of property along the Tustin corridor. The market has spoken The original goal of the NTSSP was to revitalize the corridor be- tween Lincoln and Katella with mixed-use zoning that would al- low commercial properties to ac- commodate housing. The work was paid for with a government grant; the mixed-use zoning des- ignation was determined by mar- ket studies and fiscal analysis. “It was,” city staff said, “market- driven.” An Environmental Impact Re- port (EIR) was commissioned for a conceptual plan that included additional office space, a hotel, less commercial square footage and 2,106 housing units. The city assured residents that the pro- posed housing units were "just a number" for planning purposes, and that housing does not have to be built there. North Tustin Street Plan tabled for now El Modena High water polo players inspect the filtration system for the school's new aquatic center that opened Aug. 2. From the bottom up, Eddy Mosbrook, Claire Timmermans, Danny Marones, Kenny South- erland, Evan Bui and Johnathan Alvarez. See page 2. See "North Tustin St." continued on page 3 Orange council suggests civil servants needn’t be civil By Tina Richards “Under the First Amendment, freedom of speech is a right given to us as council members and to the public,” Orange Council- member Jon Dumitru stressed at the Aug. 9 council meeting. “We have the right to free expression. The courts have ruled that you have freedom to think as you will and speak as you think. A code of conduct will limit free speech.” The code of conduct Dumitru spoke against was proposed by Councilmember Ana Gutierrez. It was in response to Chip Monaco’s behavior during the July council meeting, wherein he belittled her and colleague Arianna Barrios for their support of citizen concerns, and demeaned the citizens who chose to make public comments during the meeting. Gutierrez cited her personal discomfort with the disrespect shown to her, Barrios and the public, and asked her council colleagues to support a code of conduct that would address how council members relate to each other and treat members of the public. Respect, just a little bit “After last month’s meeting, I reflected on our purpose, why we’re here,” she said. “We’re tasked to serve our residents, and respectful discourse should be a priority. I welcome differing opinions, but you can tell me you believe my opinion is flawed in a respectful manner. We don’t have rules or tools to guide the mayor. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen disrespect to others. But I hope it is the last.” Gutierrez’s comments were re- inforced by public speakers who called out Monaco specifically, and the council in general. “I urge the council to develop rules of de- corum,” Bonnie Robinson said. “I have witnessed the harassment of other council members and seen you denigrate people in the com- munity.” “Other cities are watching us,” Sherry Panttaja advised. “They see citizens called out by name and communities belittled. You See "Civil Servants" continued on page 3 The fall and rise of Mary’s Kitchen By John Underwood The sudden demise of Mary’s Kitchen, the long-established food kitchen and sanctuary for the homeless, formerly on Struck Avenue in the City of Orange, came as a shock not only to its hundreds of homeless patrons, but to the kitchen’s CEO and liv- ing matriarch Gloria Suess. She had, she says, been assured by the city that Mary’s operating prac- tices, her lease and her reputa- tion were all in good standing in 2019. And then, all of a sudden, they weren’t. “Yes, it was a shock to me,” says Suess. “People have said, ‘We thought you were doing so well.’Well, so did I.” In 2021, the city declared Mary’s Kitchen a blight on the community and a burden on its police, and set upon a campaign to expedite a quick eviction of the landmark nonprofit. It must have been a bit of a shock to the city, though, when Federal Judge David Carter disagreed with its characterizations of Mary’s as an enabler of violence and crimi- nal activity. He put the brakes on the eviction for six months while Mary’s Kitchen scrambled for new digs. Bad rap? Six months have passed, during which time Suess and her board have struggled to find a suitable site to resume operations. “We have worked hard to find a site to begin again,” she says. “We’ve been turned down 11 times, and each of those times the owners said, ‘We admire what you do, but we've heard about the troubles you’ve had, and we can’t have that here.’ What troubles? We’ve had no more incidences inside our gates than before.” Even Judge Carter challenged the city on that, revealing in court testimony that, in fact, the crime rate around Mary’s Kitchen had gone down. In its zeal to fast-track Mary’s Mary's Kitchen CEO Gloria Suess carries a big stick. eviction, the city attempted to lay the blame on the nonprofit as devolving into “an attractive nuisance … we had no choice,” MayorMarkMurphy pronounced. Gloria Suess disagrees. “They think they can say it over and over and make it true … but it’s not.” Only later was it revealed that the city had other priorities. Quietly and without public notice, the city had been processing approval for a massive truck depot and logistics warehouse to be built, bordering the Mary’s Kitchen property. Such a project could never have passed environmental review with a homeless walk-up kitchen still operating next door. The pending removal of Mary's allowed the project to declare "no significant impacts," which could have precluded a full out Environmental Impact See "Mary's Kitchen" continued on page 2 Photo by Tony Richards Photo by John Underwood