Arcadia Police will soon be introducing a Business Watch companion program to the highly-successful Neighborhood Watch program, Police Chief Robert Guthrie told more than two dozen people in attendance this morning, June 5, 2014, at the monthly Arcadia Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Forum in the Chamber’s refurbished conference room sponsored by Foothill Credit Union.
And Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority Community Outreach Coordinator Sylvia Beltran reported that the firm’s work will be complete in August on the new transit plaza adjacent to the two-level parking garage on the northeast corner of First Avenue and Santa Clara.
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Guthrie also wants the business community to know that Arcadia Police are proactively policing the community, noting that on his way to the Chamber he noticed graffiti on the Gold Line bridge over Huntington Drive at Second Avenue. He called his command staff to have them coordinate with other city departments to get it painted over as quickly as possible, even in un-matching colors for now, within hours after noticing it. “It may not look great but at least it’s not their crap,” he said. “I called my captain and told him I want that down by the end of the workday,” Chief Guthrie said. “I want the vandals to know that when you do that kind of thing in Arcadia it’s going to be down immediately,” he continued.
He also encouraged everyone to participate in the new “See Something – Say Something” campaign to alert police to crimes. Call this number for free slogan stickers: (626) 574-5123.
All levels of government are represented at the free Forum held on the first Monday of each month, giving Chamber members and the public a chance to hear from their elected officials. Among other highlights and reports:
- Chief Guthrie outlined the link between public safety and commerce and three components of a successful police department – “a strong, dedicated, well-trained police force, a “highly reliable organization” in terms of service levels for residents, and finally collaboration with other Arcadia city departments and externally with other police agencies and organizations). Chief Guthrie also highlighted emphasis on using technology such as social media and data mining as a “force multiplier” in the face of budget contraints. Chief Guthrie shared some tangible examples of crime reduction achieved with the help of the kind of “predictive policing” that data mining enables his staff to do. Finally, he shared with attendees the new area command structure he has put in place to open up channels of communication between the residents of Arcadia and his command staff. He also called for residents to be more engaged and aware and shared the successes of the department’s “See Something, Say Something” campaign initiated under his administration with the hard work of Community Service Officer Michael Vercillo, who was also present. “I love Arcadia, I love this city,” said Chief Guthrie, “we’re evolving as the needs of the community evolve.”
- Brian Meija, representing Supervisor Mike Antonovich, shared that this week’s primary election had very low turnout (as of today estimated at around 13% for Los Angeles County). He thanked Arcadia for supporting the supervisor’s 17th Annual “Salute to Veterans and Their Families” at the Arcadia County Park. Meija also announced the upcoming 22nd Annual Family Music Festival which will be on Sunday, June 22 at the Arboretum and he shared information on the Summer Beach Bus which will take Arcadia residents to Santa Monica for $3.00 (Seniors and disabled are $1.50).
- Mayor Pro Tem Gary Kovacic reported that the City Council passed a balanced budget Tuesday, overturned its decision to have city staff provide a report on the merits of banning single-use plastic bags, made appointments to the city’s volunteer commissions, and approved a peacock-themed design for a new art-deco signs of about 4’ x 4’ on the new Gold Line bridge over Santa Anita Avenue that incorporates the City’s iconic mid-20th century era signs with the name of Arcadia over Huntington Drive and Baldwin Avenue. The artwork to be mounted 8-feet high on the pillars of the bridge on the right side of the southbound and northbound car lanes will be lit at all times and feature changing colors. Kovacic encouraged all residents of Arcadia to be more engaged. Regarding recent cries for intervention from the city from some residents concerned about development, he said, “We are going through a dramatic period. Folks are bringing in offshore money to buy perfectly good million dollar homes and tearing them down [to build] even grander million dollar homes.” This “unique” development trend in Arcadia is an important question to resolve to preserve the “quality of life and spirit of community,” he continued.
- Chamber CEO Scott Hettrick also re-capped the City Council’s decision to instruct staff not to study the possible plastic bag ban and shared that Chamber member Vons (headquartered in Arcadia) had provided some feedback to Council and the Chamber. Work has begun to install two digital LED signs on both sides of the Chamber building. Finally, he announced that Taste of Arcadia tickets are on pre-sale now through June 30, and that upcoming Chamber events include the June 19 Networking Breakfast, where Arcadia Body Shop owner Nick Pickle will be honored as a Business Icon, and the Business of the Year Awards will be the focus of the July 17 Networking Breakfast.
Next month’s Government Affairs Forum speaker will be Arcadia Department of Public Works director Tom Tait at the Chamber on July 3 at 8AM. The public is invited on the first Thursday of each month to hear informative presentations at the monthly Government Affairs Forum led by Chairman Jack Orswell from Orswell & Kasman, Inc. Environmental Assessments & Consulting, and co-chairman Pete Ulrich, former Arcadia City Councilman. RSVPs to the Chamber of Commerce office are appreciated – (626) 447-2159 or info@ArcadiaCaChamber.org.