Arcadia Chamber of Commerce President Denise Weaver and I had the honor of presenting plaques of appreciation to three outgoing City Council Members Tuesday night, April 15, 2014, shortly before former Mayor John Wuo was elected Mayor once again by his new fellow Council Members and former Mayor Gary Kovacic was elected Mayor Pro Tem.
Three newly-elected Council Members were sworn in – Tom Beck, Chamber Ambassador Sho Tay, and Roger Chandler – the most at one time in anyone’s memory, certainly for decades.
And three longtime City Council Members, including the current and two former Mayors – Mickey Segal, Bob Harbicht, and Peter Amundson — stepped aside after receiving numerous accolades; likewise, the most Members to leave the Council simultaneously in recent memory.
Denise and I thanked Peter Amundson for his continued support of the community in general, including being a champion of the Arcadia’s Best Patriotic Festival and parade in 2011, the Arcadia’s Best Christmas Market last December (both in Downtown Arcadia on First Avenue near Huntington Drive), and his unwavering support of the revitalization of the Downtown area, including attending nearly every meeting of property and business owners in the area for more than three years and initiating during his term as Mayor the hiring of a consultant to create what is now an official Business District.
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We thanked Bob Harbicht, the Chamber’s newly-crowned Citizen of the Year (with wife Patsy) for his ongoing support of the business community and the Chamber specifically, including being one of the most ardent supporters of approving the funding of a complete remodel of the interior of the City-owned Chamber office building ongoing this year, as well as a code modifcation to allow digital LED signs to replace the outdated neon signs. And for his loyal attendance of the Chamber’s monthly Government Affairs Forum and board meetings to provide valuable updates, insight and perspective. (He will be the guest speaker at the Government Affairs Forum on May 1.)
Finally, Denise presented a plaque to Mickey Segal in recognition of outstanding and dedicated service to the business community of the City of Arcadia during the past 14 years, including 12 years (three terms) a Council Member and four terms as Mayor since 2000. While I applauded Mickey for spending so much time in Arcadia despite being “Mr. Hollywood” with his high-profile and time-consuming business based in Century City that counts the biggest sports and entertainment stars among its clients, I failed to express my gratitude for his support of the Chamber and the business community, and for agreeing to be the first person to meet with me in 2011 to discuss taking on my current role with the Chamber. His endorsement was key to my decision for many reasons. He was also the first one to make a sizable donation to the Arcadia’s Best Patriotic Festival.
Each new candidate extolled the virtues of Arcadia, pledging no great changes but to maintain the city’s strengths, with Tay suggesting only a few minor tweaks here and there.
The evening that began with the annual public reception outside City Council Chambers catered by Matt Denny’s Ale House Restaurant, ended with an invitation-only party hosted by Mayor John Wuo at the new La Luna Negra restaurant on Huntington Drive in Downtown Arcadia. It got under way about an hour later than expected at about 9 p.m. but no one seemed in a rush to leave. Wuo said he chose the restaurant to show support to a new Arcadia business that recently moved from Pasadena where it had been operating on Green Street for 18 years.
Another good sign for the City’s support of local business.
— By Scott Hettrick