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Rather like the Grinch who stole Christmas, Bob Tanabe of...

December 26, 2002

Rather like the Grinch who stole Christmas, Bob Tanabe of La

Canada Flintridge is working hard to spoil the gift that residents of

Glendale and the Crescenta Valley recently received, the deal to

preserve the Oakmont View V property as open space. ("Oakmont: Be

Careful What You Wish For," Community Forum, Dec. 21-22)

Unfortunately, Mr. Tanabe is sadly misinformed about the

situation. Either that, or, like the Grinch, his heart is just a few


sizes too small.

Let's have a look at what he claims to be the case:

* The developers of Oakmont are laughing all the way to the bank.

The developers of Oakmont have for years claimed their property

was worth $46 million. Their own appraisal in September 2000 valued

the land at $41 million. A settlement price of $25 million, with the

city paying a little more than half that amount, is hardly a bad deal

for the residents of Glendale.

Earlier this year, the American Land Conservancy independently

appraised the property at $22.5 million, an amount the developer

rejected. And the city evaluated appraisals and purchases for similar

properties in other hillside communities before reaching a decision.

As City Manager Jim Starbird indicated in his report to the City

Council, "Factoring in even conservative assumptions for costs and

exposure for litigation, it seemed that the proposed purchase price

was a very reasonable alternative to continued litigation."

* The Oakmont property is nothing but tumbleweeds and "fire


Obviously, Mr. Tanabe has never set foot on the Oakmont property.

If he had, he would not have made such a statement. However, the best

evidence available to dispute his assertion is simply a photograph of

the canyon that runs through the center of the property.

* The Oakmont project would bring the city much-needed revenue.

There is absolutely no evidence that Oakmont would be built at a

profit to the city. The increased cost of city services -- police,

fire, schools, parks -- could and probably would offset the tax

revenue generated by the project. Reports from sources as diverse as

the Trust for Public Land and the Bank of America have repeatedly

indicated that residential land is the most expensive for local

government to support because it costs the public more money than it

pays in taxes and charges.

* The city's reserve funds have been "all used up."

Nowhere has it been written, or has it been stated, that the city

of Glendale has depleted its reserve funds in order to make the

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