NORWALK -- A former assistant track coach pleaded no contest yesterday to having sexual relations with three teenage girls over a four-month period.
At Monday's court appearance, Johnny Arellano 26, of Norwalk pleaded no contest to three felony counts: one count of oral copulation of a person under 16 and two counts of oral copulation of a person under 18.
He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 21 at Norwalk Superior Court. Arellano is expected to be sentenced to three years in state prison and ordered to register as a lifetime sex offender.
Deputy District Attorney Michael DeRose of the Victim Impact Program, who prosecuted the case, said Arellano was the former assistant track coach at Norwalk High School.
Between June and October 2017, Arellano engaged in sexual acts with two female students, the prosecutor said. A concerned adult alerted authorities and he was taken into custody on Oct. 5, 2017, the prosecutor added.
After further investigation, law enforcement learned of a third teenage girl who was involved in a sexual relationship with Arellano between August and September 2017, according to the prosecutor.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
NORWALK – At Tuesday night’s regularly scheduled Norwalk City Council meeting, all members voted to accept the recommendation of the city attorney, Roxanne Diaz, to approve the hiring of Jesus Gomez as the new city manager.
After a statement from the city attorney touting the achievements and qualifications of Gomez, the council voted with no comment or discussion to approve his hiring.
In addition to Diaz’s statement, the city of El Monte had a statement which listed his accomplishments including “The approval and construction of over a billion dollars of private and public investments.”
Gomez’s yearly salary in Norwalk starts at $260,000 with annual costs of living adjustments after the second year.
He is also entitled to other benefits commensurate with his level of employee status.
If he indeed takes the helm of the city on or before February 1, 2018, he will also receive a one-time lump sum payment of $20,000.
A copy of Mr. Gomez’s contract with the city of Norwalk is available on the city’s website.
HOMELESS: Also Tuesday, The Norwalk City Council began hearing suggestions and direction for the current homeless situation within the city limits at a special meeting of the normally five-member board Tuesday at 4:30 PM in the council’s chamber.
Absent from the first of a multi-faceted process was Vice Mayor Leonard Shryock. No explanation was given for his absence.
Kris Kuntz, Senior Associate, with Lesar Development Consultants, was the afternoon’s first Presenter regarding the process.
Lesar Consultants was awarded up to $49,000 on December 19, 2017, to “Develop the City’s (Norwalk) homeless plan.”
Tuesday’s special meeting was the council’s opportunity to discuss such a plan.
Kuntz, opened with questions regarding the definition of homelessness and how a person became homeless.
He presented the “Housing First,” idea as a possible solution.
According to the United States Council on Homelessness, “Housing First is a proven approach in which people experiencing homelessness are offered permanent housing with few to no treatment preconditions, behavioral contingencies, or barriers.”
While not the only model available to today’s homeless situation, it was the methodology that Kuntz presented Tuesday afternoon.
His presentation to the council was followed up with a more in-depth initial presentation to the department heads or representatives from the various city departments at a city staff input session held the next day at the Social Service Center on Alondra Blvd.
Both presentations seemed to highlight some of the questions regarding homelessness including; potential causes, responses and successes with the “Housing First models.”
After an initial briefing on the idea and a retort by Mayor Luigi Vernola, he asked, “Who’s going to pay for this?”
Vernola also questioned the use of the phrase, “Human right of housing,” which was expressed as an opinion of Kuntz early in his PowerPoint presentation.
Vernola’s concerns were also addressed about those individuals with mental health and other issues.
Addressing some of the financial questions was Los Angeles County official Michael Castillo who gave highlights of current county and other agency-level funding which is currently being exercised.
With an approval of over 69% of the voters last March, Measure H was approved which provides funding for homeless programs in the county.
According to LACounty.gov, “Measure H is expected to generate an estimated $355 Million annually for services to combat homelessness.
Speaking in terms of financing, Vernola stated, “I’m a business person.”
Continuing, he pressed on regarding the homeless individuals part in a Housing First scenario, “They’re not giving up nothing.”
Council member Margarita Rios explained resources as a “Trickle down,” effort at distributing resources reminding everyone that, “There’s a lot of layers here.”
Adding her concern for the people of Norwalk, Council Member Jennifer Perez asked (about the homeless), “Where do we put them?”
Rios added her concern regarding,” First responder training.”
Council Member Tony Ayala may have said it best when he shared perhaps his and everyone’s sentiment, “We are struggling to understand this.”
Ayala himself was on the lines last year during the “Count the Homeless,” event held to better assess the number in each area.
This year’s homeless count is scheduled for Wednesday, January 24. Meet at the Social Service Center at 7 p.m. To volunteer, go to www.theycountwillyou.org/.
The meeting adjourned with the understanding that this is the first in a multi-step process where the next steps would be several meetings with city staff, citizens, faith-based groups and others to continue the process.
The next Homeless Agency and Provider input is scheduled for Tuesday, January 30, 2 p.m. at the Social Service Center at 11929 Alondra Blvd.
For more information regarding the meeting schedule, call (562) 929-5544.
By Raul Samaniego
NORWALK – The words seemed simple enough: “City of Norwalk announces appointment of Jesus Gomez as new City Manager.”
I was happy. Over four months had passed since the forced separation, or firing, of former Norwalk city manager Mike Egan.
No official reason was ever given. Sure, old clichés were flying; “We were looking to move in a different direction,” and “the city was stagnate” emanated from the still new-look City Council with three fresh faces in: Jennifer Perez, Margarita Rios and Tony Ayala.
In the meantime, the city was on the hook for a year’s salary equivalent to the former city manager as per his employment contract. That was over a quarter million dollars.
“Contract” is not exactly a four-letter word, but there it is. In the terminology of our wonderful judicial system, contracts are better than gold.
Anyone ever watching a televised court show has heard that question, “Did you have a contract?”
The contract for the city manager of Norwalk is a big deal. It should be. When asked, the City of El Monte produced a copy of the current employment contract between Jesus Gomez and the city. It lists a solid figure of $195,000 base salary per year. This arrived in my email within an hour after making the request.
I made a similar request to the city clerk’s office here in Norwalk for a copy of Gomez’s new contract and resume. I thought that was a reasonable request.
Twenty-four hours later, I was still without a copy. Hell, even one of my sources within the city stated they had a copy of Gomez’s resume in their possession, and they are not management. I asked them, why don’t I?
My article regarding the appointment of Gomez as new city manager ends with, “Salary and compensation offering were not available as of story deadline.”
Additionally, I had to add, “Initial requests for comments from Jesus Gomez were not offered as of story deadline Wednesday.”
I did receive a call after my story deadline from the Norwalk city clerk’s office sharing that the city did not have the requested documents available. I thanked the assistant for her assistance and told her we’d pick it up again in the morning.
Come Thursday morning, I had a good night’s sleep to refresh my perspective and I began dialing city hall. I requested clarity on our conversation from the evening prior. I simply asked, does the city have the requested documents or is the city withholding this information?
I was placed on hold immediately.
Five minutes later, I was directed to the city information representative. She agreed to call me back with the information I requested.
In the private sector, contracts are vital. During a 20-plus year career in the electronic field, I was blessed with some sizable deals and small ones. I never moved forward without a signed purchase order or sales agreement.
Evidently, in the city of Norwalk, a wink of the eye, a handshake or a verbal okay is what is needed to secure employment as city manager.
Now, let’s be fair. While waiting for the information Wednesday from the City of Norwalk, I started my research on Gomez. After all, El Monte and Norwalk are similar. That is, El Monte’s population is just over 116,000 people. Norwalk’s 2015 population was listed as 106,531. We had nine murders last year. El Monte reported eight.
El Monte’s household income was listed as $39,535 while here in Norwalk, our household income is reported as $60,770. (For comparison, Norwalk’s southern border city of Cerritos household income is $91,487).
While Gomez was recently offered a new five-year contract extension to his $195,000 a year position, he was contractually obligated to give 45 days notice to the El Monte City Council of his intention to voluntarily leave his position.
Tuesday’s announcement by the city that Gomez is expected to take the helm of Norwalk’s top position falls well under that stipulation. There was a caveat that the El Monte Council could allow an exemption to that 45-day statute.
So where is the new city manager’s employment contract? According to Vicky Yoshikawa, senior management analyst and public affairs official for Norwalk, the city attorney shared that it was standard practice to announce an agreement with the finalized approval occurring at the first council meeting after the reaching of an agreement.
According to Yoshikawa, it was the city attorney’s office which conducted the search for a new city manager, not the Human Resource Department.
So, with a public record of a signed agreement expected Jan. 16, let’s all offer an international recognized “fingers crossed” symbol and hope for the best.
For the record, I don’t think the city is “always trying to keep information from me (or any other voter, taxpayer and resident).”
It just seems awfully hard sometimes to get an answer.
By Raul Samaniego
The Norwalk City Council has chosen Jesus Gomez to fill the role of city manager, effective Feb. 1.Read More
NORWALK – Norwalk’s own Rashaad Penny has had a historic season rushing the football for the Aztecs at San Diego State, but many fans believe he was conned out of a Heisman Trophy despite his ridiculous statline.
It’s ok though because it definitely won’t be the last we see of him.
Expect to see Penny every Sunday for the next few seasons, because he has Marshawn Lynch-type explosiveness paired perfectly with Le’veon Bell’s patience and vision.
Penny led the FBS in rushing and all-purpose yards this season, leading SDSU to a 10-3 record. His 2,248 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns were not enough to even make the top three finalists in votes.
2017 was his first season as the starting running back for SDSU, and already Penny surpassed Donnel Pumphrey’s single-season school record for total rushing yards, a record that was set just last year.
The 6-foot, 225-pound highlight reel machine returned for his last season so that he could showcase his next level abilities for the pro scouts as the featured back.
His decision proved to be the wise one considering his new stock value after finishing fifth in the Heisman voting and single-handedly dismantling the Army defense last Saturday in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
It was Penny’s time to shine and Norwalk’s lucky Penny rose to the occasion, despite the last-minute heartbreaking defeat on a successful two-point try with only seconds remaining.
Penny went off for 221 yards rushing with four touchdowns in his last college football game of his career.
He joined elite company on Sunday becoming only the fourth player to ever rush for 200 or more yards in five straight games. Only Marcus Allen, Barry Sanders, and Jamario Thomas have done so in FBS history.
One of his greatest plays of the game will never be seen on a stat sheet, but it was definitely noted in NFL scouts’ notebooks around the league. It was on a kickoff return when Penny took on the role of lead blocker and blasted every Army defender in his path off their feet, clearing the path for his teammate to easily score to answer back before the half.
By William Odis Martin
NORWALK – The Norwalk City Council approved the first phase of the auxiliary parking lot east of the Metrolink station, another preferential parking zone area, a renewal of a $10,000 reward and the acceptance of consulting services regarding a potential homeless plan in the city on Tuesday.
Concerned with potential health risks to those who will use the auxiliary parking lot, Vice Mayor Leonard Shryock reminded the staff that, “They’re (employees) the ones who are going to be taking the risks.”
Shryock was referring to the ground below the creation of the auxiliary parking lot which may be contaminated from years of previous dubious storage and dumping of harmful chemicals.
City staff responded that tests were done and that any presence of chemicals were not detected at above acceptable levels.
Shryock was the lone dissenting vote when the final tally was made regarding the plan to move forward.
■ In a continuation of a Public Safety Commission recommendation from Nov. 7 of this year, the council heard testimony from about a dozen residents regarding the creation of another preferential parking zone.
After staff had researched and prepared a report for the commission, Resolution 17-94 was placed on the agenda for approval or declination from the five-member Council.
After final review and presentation of additional petitions in favor and against, Council voted to accept the findings of the commission.
This preferential parking zone will encompass 15200 – 15300 blocks of Graystone Avenue between Ferina Street and Barnwall Streets.
Implementation isn’t expected until early 2018.
■ In a Norwalk double homicide case dating to 2015, the council approved Resolution 17-95 which authorizes the offer of a $10,000 monetary reward regarding the murders of Father and Son Walter Vicente, 49, and Andrew Vicente, 24.
The reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the crimes.
■ Finally, the council approved the staff recommendations for the city to engage the firm of LeSar Development Consultants to prepare a non-binding plan for the homeless situation in the city of Norwalk.
Further information will be made available for citizen and staff input with a final report due approximately next Spring (April 2018).
The value of the agreement is not to exceed $49,000 with the funds being provided by a grant secured from the County and will not affect the city’s general fund negatively
By Raul Samaniego, contributor
NORWALK-- A groundbreaking ceremony was held last Thursday for major exterior renovations at Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District’s Corvallis Magnet Middle School.
The afternoon event marked the start of extensive landscaping improvements, new construction, remodeling work and an outdoor marquee at the campus. The renovation project — scheduled to take a year to complete — is funded through Measure G, the district’s capital improvements bond passed by voters in 2014, and a similar bond, Measure S, which was passed in 2002.
“This work is one of several cost-effective projects for the district that will help provide more safety and convenience for our students, staff and visitors,” said NLMUSD Board of Education President Chris Pflanzer. “It’s also a smart and long-term investment for the community.”
Corvallis Middle School, which opened in 1962, is a science-technology-engineering-mathematics and arts magnet school with an enrollment of more than 700 students. The site, located near Norwalk High School, has been in need of various property-wide improvements for its playground areas, parking lots and pedestrian walkways.
Work at Corvallis will begin in a few weeks with the project expected to be completed in December 2018. Interior renovation work has been done at the campus in previous years through Measure S funds.
“We are very happy to celebrate this beginning for wonderful improvements that will help the school continue its excellent education programs and strong record of academic achievement,” said district Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian.
On hand for the ceremonial turning of the shovels were NLMUSD Board of Education members and district administrators, along with staff, students and parents. Also in attendance were City of Norwalk elected officials and administrators along with local business representatives.
Another groundbreaking event for similar exterior renovation work at Benton Middle School in La Mirada took place Dec. 13. The project is also expected to take about a year to get done. Benton Middle School, built in 1952, is a magnet visual and performing arts campus that serves 500-plus students.
NORWALK -- The City of Norwalk Recreation and Park Services Department is collecting non-perishable and canned food until Sat., Dec. 23 at the Norwalk Arts and Sports Complex to help feed local families.
The most needed items are: canned meat and soup, dry cereal, cereal bars, juices, canned beans, peanut butter, pasta and pasta sauce, baby food, baby formula and diapers.
All Collected items will be donated to the Social Services Center’s Emergency Food Cupboard to be distributed to families experiencing difficulties.
The Norwalk Arts & Sports Complex is located at 13000 Clarkdale Ave. For more information, please call (562) 929-5566.
NORWALK -- As part of its continued efforts to increase graduation rates, Cerritos College recently joined the Interstate Passport network to provide students with a seamless pathway to transfer their lower-division general education courses to out-of-state universities and increase their ability to complete their educational goals.
Member schools in the program more than 20 universities, including the University of Hawaii-West Oahu, Western Oregon University, University of North Dakota, Northern State University, Dixie State University, Southern Utah University, and the University of Utah.
Cerritos College is the first California community college to join the program among top four-year colleges and universities.
“The Interstate Passport program’s streamlined transfer process will allow our students to complete their education faster with less debt, and lower foregone earnings from unduplicated learning,” said Rick Miranda, vice president, academic affairs. “It will increase successful transfer and completion for our students.”
Students who complete the Passport Block with a minimum grade of “C” or its equivalent in each course will receive the Passport-Lower Division General Education and can transfer to any of its member universities. Students who transfer with a Passport to another member institution will not have to repeat or take additional courses to satisfy lower-division general education requirements in the Passport’s nine areas.
The new Interstate Passport℠ partnership at the College adds another innovative, student completion initiative that puts students first. The College also boasts Cerritos Complete, AIME, Finish First, Scholars’ Honors Program, and other programs geared toward college completion. In May, the College honored its largest graduating class in the campus’ 60-year history with more than 3,000 graduates in the Class of 2017.
For more information about Interstate Passport, visit wiche.edu/passport.
NORWALK -- TEDx is returning to Cerritos College on April 3, 2018.
The College hosted its first TEDx conference in March that featured dynamic faculty and community speakers. TEDx is independently run and is designed to encourage new ideas.
TEDx at Cerritos College is currently seeking speakers with “ideas worth sharing” around the theme Strength in Diversity. Cerritos College is guided by its core value of celebrating diversity in people, philosophies, cultures, beliefs, programs and learning environments. Online applications will be accepted until Jan, 1, and speakers will be notified Feb. 1.
For more information, requirements, and application, visit the TEDx Cerritos College webpage, Presenter’s Application, or contact Monique Valencia.
NORWALK -- Norwalk’s Lindsay Mendez, who has achieved much success in New York’s theater circuit, will return for one night only in “Back from Broadway,” playing this Sunday, Dec. 17, at the Beverly O’Neill Theatre at the Long Beach Convention Center.
Mendez starred as Jan in the 2007 revival of “Grease” before being cast as Elphaba in Broadway’s 10th anniversary production of “Wicked.” She followed that up with the 2011 revival of “Godspell.”
Mendez -- who is the daughter of former Norwalk mayor Mike Mendez -- earned widespread praise for her performance as Rose Fenny in the 2013 Off-Broadway production of “Dogfight.”
She was nominated for a Drama League Award in the Distinguished Performance category, as well as nominations for a Drama Desk Award and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Musical.
Mendez returns to Broadway this spring as Carrie Pipperidge in the revival of “Carousel.”
Tickets to see “Back from Broadway” can be purchased online at musical.org or by calling the Musical Theatre West box office at (562) 856-1999, ext. 4.
NORWALK – The city of Norwalk has been awarded a $70,000 grant that will be used to help prevent and combat homelessness in the city.
The grant, which is funded by Los Angeles County and administered by the Home for Good Funders Collaborative, will fund the cost of a consultant and Norwalk’s administrative overhead related to plan development.
At its meeting Tuesday, the City Council prolonged its decision on hiring LeSar Development Consultants to help develop the homeless plan. In its bid, LeSar proposed meetings with “City Council, stakeholders, and the Social Service Commission to gain community input on concerns and solutions before drafting the plan for City Council consideration.”
Council will review the item again at its next scheduled meeting, which falls on Dec. 19.
Under terms of the grant, a final plan must be adopted by June 30, 2018.
NORWALK – The Norwalk City Council on Tuesday approved a temporary ban on new gas stations so city officials can study their long-term effects on the community.
According to a staff report, local zoning regulations for gas stations were established before today’s trend of combing gas stations with 24/7 convenience stores and car washes.
Gas stations also require the construction of underground tanks to store and dispense fuel, making it difficult to sell or repurpose the properties after gas stations close.
Another concern are the locations of gas stations. According to Bing Hyun, Norwalk’s acting director of Community Development, Norwalk’s zoning regulations do not provide location criteria for gas stations.
“The City needs to re-evaluate the appropriate locations for gas stations based on current land uses and the City’s projected development when fewer gas stations are needed,” Hyun wrote in a report to council members. “As the use of electric and alternative fuel vehicles continues to increase, the long-term economic health of the City should also be evaluated.”
Council voted 4-0 on the agenda item, with Councilwoman Margarita Rios absent. The moratorium will run through Jan. 19, 2018, but can be extended up to two years.
Eric Pierce, editor
By Raul Samaniego
NORWALK – The Norwalk City Council voted 5-0 on November 21, to approve Ordinance 17-1698 which called for the changing of Election Dates to comply with California Senate Bill 415.
For Norwalk residents, it means that with the approval of the ordinance, “all five council members have added another 12 months to their terms,” according to City Clerk Theresa Devoy
With mayor Luigi Vernola, vice mayor Leonard Shryock and council member Margarita Rios up for re-election in 2019, they now have until March of 2020.
Both new council members Tony Ayala and Jennifer Perez will be up for re-election consideration in 2022.
Rios was elected to complete the term left vacant when Marcel Rodarte left in 2016.
SB 415 was signed by Governor Brown in September of 2015. It was hoped that by moving those municipal elections from odd-numbered years to even, it could increase the voter turnout for those elections.
By doing so, proponents of the effort hope that by having more voter turnout, the vote could better represent the demographics of the region.
Norwalk has had a 51.9% average voter turnout during even numbered years and a dismal 12.5% average in the odd-numbered years.
In last November’s presidential election, 70.9% of Norwalk’s registered voters turned out at the poles. For those who don’t remember, that ballot was the longest in California’s history.
This transition was mandated by the law which becomes such on January 1, 2018.
The Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District took similar measures last year when it adopted the mandates also.
The measure does not mean that the State will only have elections in even years, just municipal elections for the selection of officials representing the constituency.
Those who had demonstrated a higher level of voter turnouts in odd years are exempt from this stipulation.
NORWALK – Local homes and businesses are invited to participate in Norwalk’s annual “Holiday Home and Business Decoration Contest.”
Nomination forms are available at city facilities and online at norwalk.org/holiday-contest.
A photo or short video must be submitted with a nomination form. Entries are not required to be self-nominations; you can nominate other homes or businesses.
Entry deadline is Friday, Dec. 8.
Viewing and judging will take place between Dec. 18 and Dec. 29, and winners will be announced in February. Contest winners will receive signage commemorating their award and recognition at a City Council meeting.
For more information, call (562) 929-5735 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
NORWALK -- A controversial proposal to open a homeless shelter at a former juvenile correctional facility in Norwalk is dead.
Mayor Luigi Vernola is expected to make a formal announcement at tonight’s City Council meeting.
State and county officials had been eyeing the former California Youth Authority facility on Bloomfield Avenue as a location for a winter homeless shelter.
But in a letter to Vernola -- dated Nov. 21 -- county Supervisor Janice Hahn said the Norwalk site "is no longer a viable option."
"Therefore, the County of Los Angeles will not pursue its utilization for that purpose," Hahn added.
Read the full text of Hahn's letter to Vernola below:
By Eric Pierce and Raul Samaniego
NORWALK – The Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District announced today that it has won a prestigious 2017 Golden Bell Award for the Norwalk Education Alliance, a career and college readiness initiative to enhance local economic development.
Conceived in 2015, the Alliance is a multi-agency effort to provide a formal and sustained joint commitment to guide residents of all ages into greater futures via higher education, career technical training and entrepreneurship.
The Alliance’s various accomplishments, through resources provided by NLMUSD, have included creating a list of “soft skill” standards for young jobseekers, conducting mock job interviews for hundreds of high schoolers and holding a career expo for area residents.
“It’s a great honor for our district to earn this Golden Bell Award,” said NLMUSD Board of Education President Sean M. Reagan. “As a partnership, the Norwalk Education Alliance has done wonderful work on behalf of education and the community.”
In addition to NLMUSD and the City of Norwalk, the Alliance partners are the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce, Cerritos College, Little Lake City School District, Santa Fe High School, Southeast Los Angeles County Workforce Investment Board and the Long Beach Small Business Development Center.
Golden Bell Awards are sponsored by the California School Boards Association to promote excellence in public education and school board governance by recognizing outstanding programs and governance practices of school boards in school districts.
Awards are given out for a variety of categories. The rigorous judging process includes site validation visits. The NLMUSD, along with all other Golden Bell winners, will be formally recognized by the CSBA at an evening ceremony Nov. 30 in San Diego.
The NLMUSD entry for the Alliance was submitted in the program category of Community Schools Through Partnerships and Collaboration.
“We care very much about the academic and economic success of our community and our Alliance is proof of that,” said district Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian. “It has been a great group effort and we are happy to share this award with all of our partners.”
Joanne Jung, director of NLMUSD’s College and Career Pathways program, believes that educating and preparing the next generation’s workforce should always be a shared responsibility.
“It has been an amazing experience working with our partners,” she said about the Alliance. “Together, our civic leaders, local businesses, surrounding school systems and community organizations, are all contributing to a better future.”
For more information about the Alliance and its purpose, visit the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District’s special webpage.
The webpage has a City of Norwalk “Now You Know” video about the Alliance program in 2016. To see it directly on YouTube, click here. There is also a city video about the program for this year, click here.
By Alex Dominguez, staff writer
NORWALK -- Norwalk officially broke ground on the highly anticipated Norwalk Fitness Village project Monday morning.
Four of the five members of city council took shovels in hand, flanked by various business officials, city staff, and community members.
“Our residents have long requested innovative opportunities for dining, shopping, and other services,” said Mayor Luigi Vernola. “We are pleased to be able to show that we are listening and bringing popular new businesses and additional jobs to the area.”
Located at Bloomfield Avenue and Imperial Highway, the new promenade-style center will include a 37,000 square foot LA Fitness gym, Chick-fil-A and Panera Bread restaurants, and an outdoor stage for small entertainment purposes. Other businesses have yet to be announced.
According to a report made by QSR, Chick-fil-A generated over $7.9 billion in revenue in 2016, averaging about $4.4 million per unit throughout 2,102 total stores.
The same report shows Panera Bread generating $5.2 billion in sales, averaging $2.7 million throughout 2,042 stores.
Vice Mayor Leonard Shryock said that he hoped the new center will signal Norwalk as a “tremendous business destination.”
“We’re real excited and looking forward to reaping the benefits of this beautiful development,” said Shryock.
The plans were passed by the Planning Commission back in February, and then again by City Council back in April.
Councilmember Jennifer Perez – who was serving as a commissioner at the time of the Commission’s vote on the project – described the project as a “new beginning.”
“It’s a refresh. The new energy and the new excitement that’s coming in from the owners of the property, the developers, to the tenants between the restaurants and LA Fitness; it’s truly going to rejuvenate the excitement coming into our city,” said Perez. “We’re right at the gateway center of our city coming in from Santa Fe Springs, so it’s going to create a whole new vibe.”
By Eric Pierce
NORWALK -- Rising rental prices have pushed Norwalk past Downey as one of the most expensive cities to rent in Los Angeles County, according to an analysis of real estate rental listings by Zumper, an online rental database.
The Zumper Los Angeles Metro Report analyzed active listings in October across 18 metro cities to show the most and least expensive cities and cities with the fastest growing rents. The California state median was $1,663 last month.
Listings are aggregated by city to calculate median asking rents.
In Downey, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is $1,350 per month, more expensive than Whittier, Baldwin Park, Hawthorne, Bellflower and Pomona.
Downey rent, however, lagged behind Norwalk, where residents pay an average of $1,390 for a 1-bedroom unit. Norwalk rental prices grew 13% last month.
Santa Monica continues to be the most expensive city to rent, with an average rent of $3,180 for a 1-bedroom apartment.
Pomona and Bellflower tied for the most affordable city in the metro with prices at $1,280.
NORWALK -- Norwalk mayor Luigi Vernola claims he opposes a proposed winter homeless shelter in Norwalk, despite a letter that indicates otherwise.
Last month, Vernola wrote to California governor Jerry Brown asking for help in opening the former California Youth Authority facility on Bloomfield Avenue as a temporary shelter.
“We are proposing the use of the site as part of a Winter Shelter Program, where homeless individuals and families may seek shelter and warmth during the cold, wet weather season,” Vernola wrote.
In a brief interview Wednesday, Vernola backtracked, claiming he only wrote the letter to solicit a response from the governor.
"I don't want the homeless shelter over at the CYA, period," Vernola said.
The mayor also claimed to have missed Tuesday's town hall forum due to complications from diabetes.
Pressed for more information, Vernola said, “Let me make some phone calls,” promising to call back with updates. He did not.
Reporting by Eric Pierce and Raul Samaniego.