Monrovia officials will attend the agency’s next board meeting, which will no longer include eminent domain proceedings.
Fences appear to be mending in the hostile negotiations between the City of Monrovia and Gold Line Construction Authority.
Each side has recently made public gestures signaling a desire to compromise. The city delayed a vote on a proposed sale agreement Tuesday and will postpone the next City Council meeting in order for Monrovia officials to attend the next GLCA board meeting on July 5, according to Monrovia City Manager Scott Ochoa. In return, the GLCA has agreed not to hold eminent domain proceedings at that meeting.
“…The city had been contacted by GLCA staff and we were requested to not act on this matter at the present time, and that the GLCA may have identified a path forward,” Ochoa wrote in his weekly report released Monday. “In exchange for Monrovia’s good faith in not acting, GLCA would respond in kind by not initiating an eminent domain action on Monrovia at its special July 5th Board meeting.”
Habib Balian, CEO of the GLCA, said last week in an email that his agency continues to pursue a compromise with the city.
“In the interim, the construction authority board has instructed its negotiators to explore with city officials work-arounds that satisfy both city and authority interests,” Balian wrote. “The Authority remains hopeful that negotiations will produce a result that is satisfactory to all parties.”
While negotiations progress, Monrovia officials continue to insist that they have no interest in settling a lawsuit filed against the city by a local property owner. George Brokate, who owns a strip of land along Evergreen Avenue that could be condemned by the GLCA if the city reaches a deal, sued the city earlier this year and his lawsuit is the primary complication holding up a potential Monrovia-Gold Line deal.
Brokate and his lawyers argue that the city would breach a previous settlement agreement and invite an eminent domain action against him if the city sold the GLCA 14 acres of land to be used as the location of a $120 million rail maintenance yard. The yard must be completed somewhere along the Gold Line Foothill Extension for the project to progress.
The Gold Line has asked the city to join it in settling Brokate’s lawsuits (he also has another suit against the GLCA), but Monrovia officials have bristled at the idea and continue to.
Mayor Mary Ann Lutz and the City Council wrote a response to a Pasadena Star-News editorial last week that accused Monrovia of “grandstanding” by refusing to agree to GLCA’s terms.
“We have no standing in the lawsuits against GLCA, and the lawsuit against Monrovia has no merit,” the Council’s response reads. “Thus, why should our residents shoulder an additional financial burden on top of accepting the M&O facility in the first place? Claiming that Monrovia is to blame is worse than wrong, it is absurd. And if exposing such absurdity is “grandstanding,” then so be it.”
What do you think the end result will be in these negotiations?