(July 3, 2007) -- After a little over an hour's discussion, the City Council voted tonight to designate Anaheim St. from Atlantic Ave. to Junipero Ave. as "Cambodia Town" (a cultural/tourist/commercial area) but not to expend General Fund resources for the designation (for signs and other items) until property owners establish a PBID (Property Based Improvement District) to assess themselves for any related improvements.
Vice Mayor Bonnie Lowenthal supported the designation simultaneous with initiating a process to create a PBID. Councilman Patrick O'Donnell supported the designation of Cambodia Town but only AFTER a PBID was in place to, he said, ensure the structure and resources to support the cultural designation without tapping the General Fund.
The distinction between whether to have the property owners enact the PBID first, or to have the Council make the cultural designation immediately simlutaneous with starting the process to enact a PBID -- consumed much of the discussion.
Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal moved to enact the Cambodia Town designation immediately (supporting Vice Mayor Bonnie Lowenthal) and said she believes the General Fund won't be tapped.
Councilwoman Rae Gabelich urged enacting the PBID process before the cultural designation to ensure Cambodia Town will have the resources to succeed...and made a substitute motion to request the City Manager to work for development of a PBID which on completion may be designated Cambodia Town by members of the PBID.
Councilman Dee Andrews, who was elected to the Council May 1 with support of the Cambodian community, opposed putting action off, saying the Cambodian communtiy deserved recognition now. "If this is the kind of recognition that they're looking for, who are we to say they shouldn't get this?" Councilman Andrews asked rhetorically.
Public testimony from Cambodian community members was overwhelmingly in favor of adopting the Cambodia Town designation immediately, several speakers saying it was time to move ahead without delays.
Councilwoman Gabelich reiterated that her desire to split the two actions to ensure Cambodia Town has the resources in place [without relying on the General Fund] to be successful, unlike other areas that don't have PBIDs in place.
Councilman Val Lerch noted that the community could start calling itself Cambodia Town without City Council action...except for the PBID process (requiring Council action) to ensure funding doesn't come from the General Fund. Asked directly if that's correct, Ass't City Manager Shippey said yes. Councilman Lerch then suggested designating the area as Cambodia Town immediately...but to make clear that until it votes to enact a PBID, the area won't receive General Fund resources for Cambodia Town (for signage, etc.)...and made his suggestion in the form of a motion.
Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal agreed to accepted Lerch's suggestion as a friendly amendment to her motion -- designating Cambodia Town immediately but withholding General Fund resourcess until property owners enact a PBID -- and urged a "no" vote on Gabelich's substitute (to do the PBID first).
Councilwoman Gabelich's substitute failed 3-6 (Yes: O'Donnell, Schipske, Gabelich; No: Andrews, Uranga, B. Lowenthal, S. Lowenthal, DeLong, Lerch). Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal's motion as amended by Lerch carried 8-1 (O'Donnell dissenting).